Saturday, October 29, 2005


I guess I shouldn't use the failure to pass a comprehensive and workable piece of anti-smoking legislation as a stick with which to beat the government, as it was always kind of obvious that a compromise measure would ultimately be chosen. All the same, the current solution (smoking will be banned in all pubs which serve food) doesn't really have much of a motivation that I can understand. Are we seeking to ban smoking because it has serious consequences for second-hand smokers or because we have a kind of aesthetic aversion to it while we are eating or socialising?

I'm not a smoker, and nor do I have any objection to smoky pubs. At the same time, I can see why banning it is appealing, because - for all the understandable complaining about 'the right to smoke' - it is a right which directly impinges upon others. But banning it only where food is available misses this point entirely; what protection are we offering the staff and customers of pubs which don't offer food? None at all.

We end up with a lazy, half-cocked solution, where a clean break would have been far more courageous and justifiable. Oh well.

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