John Hemming MP: Why I’m calling for a review of the smoking ban

The smoking ban was a good example of how the UK tends to make bad law.

The debate at the time was whether or not to pass a smoking ban rather than how to handle the issue of smoking in public places – hence people were either for or against.

I supported, and still support, a general smoking ban. However, at the time it seemed clear to me that there was a strong argument for having ventilated smoking rooms.

What has developed is a situation where a number of pubs and clubs have lost custom with people drinking and smoking at home. We also have sheds (aka smoking shelters) in pub gardens. These tend to be ramshackle devices as permanent shelters require planning permission. They are heated with outdoor heaters.

We also have smokers gathering at the entrance to pubs. The end result is that people who wish to go to a pub who are non-smokers almost invariably have to suffer from some secondary smoke.

At the same time you have smokers in their 70s and 80s who are forced out of buildings. I accept that part of the strategy is to reduce smoking. I have some difficulties with the state making decisions as to exactly how people should live their lives and then bullying them into doing this. I am enthusiastic about schemes which encourage healthy choices, but I am not a fan of generally harassing smokers.

What I proposed in 2006 (at the report stage) was that local authorities were able to license rooms with adequate ventilation for people who wish to smoke to do so. The rooms would not include a bar so workers would not have to live in the smoky environment.

If we had those rooms now people who wish to avoid smoke whilst going to a pub would be able to do so. Those elderly people forced out into the cold would be able to stay inside and workers would not find themselves substantially more subject to secondary smoke than they are now.

Hence it seems a reasonable way in which the law could be changed.

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  • Absolutely right, John. But I fear for the abuse you are about to suffer from the absolutists.

  • Hi. Just a personal opinion: I am what I call a responsible smoker. It means I smoke away from others, even in an outdoor crowd I move away. However, like said, the ban is killing the pub/ club trade. I wish I could smoke in a room with other smokers in a pub. The common sence approach would be to have “split venues” (for want of a better term) with smoking and non-smoking areas, thus giving people the choice.

  • Chris – So basically if you don’t like something we should just ban it outright? Did you ever give any thought to what the ‘Liberal’ bit of the parties name might possibly mean? The review is a good idea founded on a good liberal principle.

  • The issues seem to me to be:

    What evidence is there that the pub trade is suffering just from the smoking ban – is the decline also due to other factors – the recession, long-term changes in customer preferences and the vast differential between what alcoholic beverages cost in supermarkets and public houses?

    About these proposed ventilated rooms – is it actually possible to construct a ventiliation system that extracts all the toxic fumes from cigarette smoke? What about when people open and close the doors? What about on hot days when the doors will be open?

  • ‘What has developed is a situation where a number of pubs and clubs have lost custom with people drinking and smoking at home.’

    Well, actually no. If there was a government that took on the supermarkets over their alcohol sales then an awful lot of the problems we have might be resolved. Any number of places seem able to manage with a smoking ban, and I see no reason why pubs should be a special case.

    Pubs need to dumb up. There might be an argument that planning law needs to be relaxed for pubs – but it needs to be relaxed wholesale anyway. Might it be possible that some pubs are acutally places where people don’t want to go to? That the pubs that are closing are just not very good? Or at least not good enough to tempt people to? Of the pubs that have closed in my town I shed tears over none.

    As it stands, the supermarkets are able to pile it high and sell it cheap, leaving people to turn up at pubs drunk, or worse, with a bottle of £5 vodka in the handbag. And to save anyone asking, yes – I live directly next door to a pub. Of course, taking on the supermarkets might put those £4 bottles of wine that the middle classes love in jeopardy. But hey – there’s always the smoking ban to blame.

    Adam – We have, ‘split venues.’ These are pubs where there are good smoking areas.

  • Adam Bell – Good point.

  • Simon Foster 4th Jul '11 - 4:53pm


    As one of your constituents:

    a) I don’t have any problem with the smoking ban.

    b) Adam Bell’s point about the beer tie would make far more of a difference to local pubs.

    c) There’s a lot more important issues you could be campaigning on.


    Simon Foster

    PS: And when is the roundabout outside the new Tesco’s at the Swan Centre going to be finished? (local issues, local issues, local issues….)

  • At the moment the smoking ban creates two tiers of venues, those who have outside areas that can accommodate smokers and those without. All this legislation would do is create a third tier that have space for a smoking room. Which also begs the question how big can the smoking room be? If the bar is walled off from the rest of the venue can the whole venue in theory be a smoking room? What about the health of glass collectors, how is that accounted for? Will music be allowed in the smoking areas? How about seating? Tables? Food? WIll there be restrictions on how many and what kind of venues can have them? Will there be a procedure for removing smoking licences and will they be separate from alcohol and entertainment licences?

    I’m afraid I’m with those in favour of keeping the ban on this. The effects of passive smoking are well documented and the millions of permutations of how this legislation might work will easily lead to abuse and a slide back to the old status quo. As someone with some experience of pubs and clubs, licensees and their experienced lawyers would stretch this to the limit so as to make it almost pointless (barring the revenues it would give to the government). Any new legislation would have to be robust in its drafting and in its enforcement and I am certain neither of those things would happen.

  • The ban needs to be revisited because in its current form it is illiberal. If Lib Dems don’t care about that then what on earth is the point of the party?

  • “As it stands, the supermarkets are able to pile it high and sell it cheap, leaving people to turn up at pubs drunk, or worse, with a bottle of £5 vodka in the handbag.”

    Is that a new thing though? Certainly I remember doing that when a 19yo student (well not in my handbag)

  • I can’t help but think that there is a lot of very uncritical thought in assuming that the decline in numbers of pubs is due to the smoking ban. It would be interesting to see some actual data on this issue but I suspect it would indicate that there are far bigger factors at play here, particularly competition from supermarkets and mismanagement of premises by some of the major pub chains. I would also like to state that I am a regular pub-goer and I have rarely had issues with smokers outside of pub entrances, if I had, I would probably stop going.

    In terms of the actual suggestion itself, I have no objection to having well ventilated smoking rooms without a bar, however, I’m not convinced that this is what we should be doing with our political capital at this point. We face disaster in 2015 if we do not make the most of the next few years to make a real positive impact on this government and to recover some of our lost voters. It is true that some are protest voters who will never be regained but I think that we need to make a concerted effort to gain back some of our natural supporters, particularly in Scotland.

  • Simon McGrath 4th Jul '11 - 6:42pm

    John – good points

    Duncan “As it stands, the supermarkets are able to pile it high and sell it cheap, leaving people to turn up at pubs drunk, or worse, with a bottle of £5 vodka in the handbag. And to save anyone asking, yes – I live directly next door to a pub. Of course, taking on the supermarkets might put those £4 bottles of wine that the middle classes love in jeopardy. But hey – there’s always the smoking ban to blame.”
    What a dreadful thought , the working classes being able to enjoy a cheap drink. Needs to be stopped straightaway.

  • GreaterMids 4th Jul '11 - 7:43pm

    “We face disaster in 2015 if we do not make the most of the next few years to make a real positive impact on this government and to recover some of our lost voters”

    There are 12 million smokers in this country, DunKhan. Just sayin’.

  • I am 70 years old and have endured a chain smoking father, smoke blown into the room from an open fire and rode a bike in the London smogs of the 1950s. I have no health problems. Second hand smoke will not harm any healthy person.
    If ventilation systems can get rid of all the fumes in factories and hospital theatres then surely it can get rid of a little bit of cigarette smoke.
    Since the smoking ban I hardly ever go to pubs and have learned that loneliness is now a big killer.

  • There is no doubt that the Smoking ban has had a massive impact on our Hospitality Industry. We can see from other EU countries that giving the public choice works and businesses continue to be profitable ( unlike here in the UK ) it is time for the smoking ban in our Pubs and Clubs to be Reformed to allow the business owners and the Public Choice. Prohibition and Discrimination is Not the way forward and we need to have the coalition Break down the Barriers to Business.

  • Pro banners have very short memories – the difference in prices of supermarket and pub booze hasn’t changed much for many years, even when adjusted for inflation. Drinkers have always been prepared to pay a premium for a service, that’s why prices pub prices are higher and vary according to pub quality. Problem is, at least half of the pre ban customers were smokers. Now that they no are longer provided with the same service, the value for money of pub booze has fallen. Hence many choose to stay away and resort to the next best thing – cheap alcohol for home consumption. I know many people who have said as much. What’s more, the almost sudden and dramatic increase in pub closures post July 2007 started well before the recession kicked in. The effects of the ban are obvious.

    Also realise that most people have been conned regarding the dangers of SHS. Even the claimed risks are minuscule. ASH et al love to bandy %age figures about. Most are totally meaningless when not placed in any real context. For example, the much quoted 25% increase of lung cancer rates caused by passive smoking actually means the rate has increased from 10/100,000 to 12.5/100,000 pa. They even had to change statistical benchmarks to arrive at this ‘massive’ increase. We are regarded as gullible fools. The ban was purely and simply a political tactic to further denormalise smokers and accelerate pub closures (drinkers take note – you’re next)

    They’re now proposing outdoor bans based on absolutely nothing, other than for righteous reasons. The war on smokers is corrupt, rotten to the core. Try researching the other, suppressed side of the argument. And don’t assume these are all tobacco sponsored lies. The pharmaceutical companies have made billions at our expense. They are not in the slightest bit concerned about individuals.

    Anyway, it’s patently clear that the non smokers who didn’t use pubs regularly 4 years ago haven’t stepped into the breech. They were never going to – because most don’t like pubs. Not then, not now – period. The experiment has failed. Can we have our pubs back now please?

  • People will still have to work in these “ventilated rooms” and my (limited) understanding is that not all the carcinogens are in the smoke and that other by-products contain them. It’s no good putting a protection in place to exclude workers who do not wish to work in the room as like the sunday trading legislation it will be sidestepped…

  • The smoking ban has certainly succeeded. It has pitted smoker against anti-smoker and I must say that the rudest and cruelest (and childish) comments are all coming from the anti-smoker camp.
    I am not a smoker and have now been excluded from the late night ‘smoke-ins’ that a lot of pubs now have. The doors close officially at around 9 p.m. and the selected crowd of smokers stay behind with the doors locked and the till taken out. There are whip rounds to cover the price of drinks and the whole thing is a ‘private party” This is now so very common in every town. I do not get invited.
    Supermarket drink was always cheaper:
    So this is not the reason that pubs are closing. Recessions have come and gone without any adverse effect to pubs. The only pubs that will survive will be the Gastro pubs and the ones that close early to accommodate smokers only.
    At the end of the day it will be the anti smoker that loses out as they will noy maybe want the ‘child friendly’ new pubs and will not be welcome in the ‘lock ups’ that close their doors early.
    Some anti smokers really believe that a wisp of smoke is more lethal than risin and that so called ‘second hand smoke’ will kill them stone dead at 100 yards downwind, others are really more concerned that they object to the smell pf smoke (smokers). I would ask if this category really believe that they smell as fresh as a daisy and that many smokers may object to their possible unsavoury smells ?

  • I asume everyone wittering on here about possible wisps of smoke leaking from the putative smoking rooms puts on their gas mask for the walk or drive to and from the pub?

    Otherwise they’d be hypocrites or lifestyle zealots.

    As a contributor said; if ventilation can work for hospital operating rooms and sterile manufacturing, what magicallly makes it not work for pubs?

  • David,
    if ventilation can work for hospital operating rooms and sterile manufacturing, what magicallly makes it not work for pubs?

    Smoking is banned in hospital operating rooms and sterile manufacturing plants. This is an argument almost as stupid as the original article which contains such absurd propositions as follows…

    We also have sheds (aka smoking shelters) in pub gardens. These tend to be ramshackle devices as permanent shelters require planning permission. They are heated with outdoor heaters.
    I’m sure ‘ramshackle’ sheds would be illegal under health and safety/building standards legislation and the landlord would be prosecuted. Are there examples, or is the MP just setting up a strawman?

    We also have smokers gathering at the entrance to pubs. The end result is that people who wish to go to a pub who are non-smokers almost invariably have to suffer from some secondary smoke.

    My local pub deals with this problem by having a sign, enforced by the barman, which states there will be no smoking in doorways. The secondary smoke argument is also daft, as exposure is minimal and fleeting as the cigarette is being smoked outdoors. Another strawman.

    At the same time you have smokers in their 70s and 80s who are forced out of buildings
    Really? You have documented examples of this. At that age smokers tend to be so ill they cannot make it to pubs.

    If this is the best argument an MP can come up with against the smoking ban then perhaps it is right to keep it.

  • David. I am 70 years old, I have no health problems and have many friends who used to go to pubs and clubs, until the smoking ban. Perhaps you haven’t heard that people are living longer. Some elderly may be handicapped and have to use mobility scooters to get about, so it it fair that they have to struggle to go outside to have a smoke?

  • Roger Stephens 5th Jul '11 - 9:00am

    John is right and is stating the blindingly obvious. Some other countries have taken a much more sensible approach. For example, on the island of Madeira (part of Portugal) cafes, restaurants and bars are either “smoking”, “non-smoking” or a mixture of both. You know before you enter what the status is because there are coloured stickers on the window that designate the smoking status. (Just for the record, Madeira is an autonomous region of Portugal so I don’t know if this regime applies on the mainland.) Any places that allow smoking have to have adequate air conditioning. By the way, I’m an ex-smoker who stopped after 40 years but I am not a Holy Joe. My partner smokes in the house and can smoke in my car. As now a non-smoker I resent having to go outside with my smoking partner and smoking friends when we’re at the pub just because THEY have to because of our silly law. As a “democrat” I accepted our party’s conference decision a few years back to back the smoking ban but as a “liberal” I was appalled that we were steamrollering the rights of others. So come on, John, words are fine but what are you now going to do about it?

  • There can not be a pure Liberal view on the smoking ban as either way you infringe someones rights. However based on the section of the party that brought forward the idea of the NHS their is a logic to the ban and early statistics suggest that it is working. As a Liberal I believe in the right of consenting adults to do what they want with other consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes – this may include acts that are physically harmful to themselves and that many people find abhorent. However to let people carry out these acts in public is unacceptable – so no to smoking rooms.

  • John Brace; yes the Kings Cross fire was started by a cigarette, but at the time smoking was banned in deep-tube underground stations. And Benjamin was clearly referring to ‘normal’ railway platforms. So your point is?

    g; the point is that adequate ventilation is, in every other circumstance where air-borne pollution arises or air-cleanliness is important, seen as a solution to addressing the build-up of noxious contaminants. (Deadly) radon build-up under vulnerable homes would be another example. There are standards for airborne workplace contaminants which adequate ventilation can ensure are adhered to. But ventilation, we are told, ‘doesn’t work’ for smoking. Why, when it works for everything else (there’s a very big ventilation industry out there; do you suppose it would survive if its produces weren’t effective?). Why is that? Indeed, g., you concede that ventilation does work by agreeing that the cigarette smoked outdoors is adequately ventilated away. We’ve agreed ventilation works. Now let’s talk about the specification necessary to allow separate smoking rooms (a throw back to pubs before greedy pubcos ripped the interior walls out), shall we?

    “I’m sure ‘ramshackle’ sheds would be illegal under health and safety/building standards legislation and the landlord would be prosecuted.”. Oh, g., you really are an authoritarian aren’t you. Are you sure you shouldn’t be in the Labour Party?

    I notice no-one addresses the point about traffic pollution. I suppose all the health zealots/hypocrites not only wear gas masks on the public road, they equally don’t go to barbecues, enjoy an open log fire, paint their rooms’ walls or grill/fry steaks. or burn candles. Of course not. They live in an entirely clean-air world, apart from the constant dread of cigarette smoke.

  • If someone can demonstrate to me that the ventilation systems (a) will work, and (b) will ensure that no smoke gets into other areas of the pub, then I’d support that. Until then, no.

    There are better ways to help the industry – differential taxation for “on” sales, ending of the beer tie – than this.

    And for those who argue that it’s illiberal – what about my right to go to a pub and not have my eyes streaming, my clothes smelling, and my nose choked? There were – to my knowledge – no pubs in Scotland which were completely non-smoking prior to the ban, so I avoided them. Not having the smoke has made them a much more pleasant place.

  • Simon McGrath – Please don’t try to get prolier than thou.

  • Strange that people are still saying ” what about my right to go to a pub and not have my eyes streaming ect ect ”
    Have you actually read the article?
    We are talking about a ventilated room here, if an establishmen chooses to make use of it, especially for smokers. You would not have to go in it hence the issue of your rights are meaningless.
    This proposal should be taken up if only for the sake of common decency.
    There is nothing to be proud of in subjecting people, particularly the elderly, to having to stand outside, in all weathers. Many older women, myself included, a regular pub go-er for many many years, now restrict my visit to the pub to occasional trips according to the state of the weather, and holidays in this country have ceased. Full stop. I,m glad to see some common sense being applied at last.

  • What would be wrong with pubs being allowed to apply for a license to become a smoking venue, giving everyone the choice as to whether go so a smoking pub or a non-smoking one?

  • @Dave Page
    The first day the smoking ban came into force I walked past my local. It was empty and all the bar staff were outside smoking. Is that not manifestly absurd? I’m not claiming that it is illiberal to restrict the freedom of one group to prevent harm to another but the smoking ban in its current form goes much further than that. I fully support the right of people who wish to socialise in a smoke-free environment but it is not beyond the whit of man to balance the rights of those people with the rights of those who do wish to smoke. I can’t see why, for instance, it is illegal for someone to set up a private club where people can smoke if they like. Any argument against private smoking clubs that I’ve ever seen has been pretty thin and farfetched.

    There has been quite a nasty, bullying, hysterical tone from some of those who support the ban. In fact the people I know who were most vociferous in it’s support (positively licking their lips at the prospect of excluding smokers from public spaces) are people who hardly ever go to the pub anyway and wouldn’t have been caught dead in the sort of working class pub where smoking was the norm. There is an unlovely side to human nature that takes pleasure in the discomfort of those who are disapproved of even if those people are causing no harm to anyone but themselves.

    When we consider people’s rights and freedoms we should leave aside our personal preferences and work from liberal principle. If you do that honestly then I don’t think the ban in its current form is defensible. Incidentally I think the same is true of the ban on fox-hunting though I have nothing but contempt for fox-hunters.

  • Diana Simpson 5th Jul '11 - 1:51pm

    I could never go into a pub before the smoking ban. I missed out from traditional British social life. Neither could I travel easily on buses. Now I can socialise with friends at a pub without the fear of loss of voice, severe irritation and choking and long bouts of coughing besides being confident that my longer term health propects are not being adversely affected. I now travel by car infrequently, mostly using public transport. The only problem to do with secondary smoke for me now is how to get up-wind from the smokers to enter the railway stations who’s personnel claim they have no power to stop smokers smoking under cover in their entrances (Kings Cross). How many more are like me?

  • @Andrew R
    A private club would still be a workplace for someone. If we accept (and I do) that the ban is a workplace / public health issue then anywhere that is a workplace needs to be protected.

  • Steve
    If properly ventilated there is no reason why such a club would be hazardous to health, certainly whatever risk there might be would be less than walking along the street. However I do accept that some people would find it an unpleasant place to work. The answer to that seems pretty simple – nobody is compelled to work in an environment that they don’t like.

  • @Andrew R
    “The answer to that seems pretty simple – nobody is compelled to work in an environment that they don’t like”

    Not quite true ask IDS, he would have us on our bikes to find a job we don’t like. If I were to become unemployed I would work anywhere to support my family as I am sure would many others.

    As to the health issues, as I stated in an earlier post I thought that the damaging elements of smoking were not simply linke to the smoke, but also to other residues.

  • No. See:

    Note: “…it is plausible but unproven that smoke residue could damage health…it seems sensible for smokers to consider the health of others and smoke away from other people, such as outside or in a specially designated room…”

    Exactly what is being asked for

  • Is passive smoking a danger; of course. Do people smoke more when they drink; well I and most people I know did or still do. Are people drinking less; unlikely they just drink at home. At least by banning smoking in pubs the staff won’t suffer from the effects of smoke; pity about the children at home; still they get to see more drunken and smoking adults.

  • Over 100,000 hospitaltiy staff have been made unemployed since the smoking ban and I wouldn’t mind betting that over half of them were smokers, because the majority of hospitality staff were smokers. I sure that if/when smoking is allowed in pubs and clubs again staff who smoke could easily serve in those bars.

  • As I recall before the ban some 67% of all those surveyed did not want a complete ban. If there had been surveys done in pubs by actual regular pub customers ,I,m sure the percentage would have been much higher. The simple fact is most pubs do not have facilities for smokers and the concentration of smokers who actually went to pubs was always higher than in restaurants or other venues so because of a lack of any sort of comfortable envirement , the smokers by en large have stayed away and by the sound of some of the remarks on here, some people who do not have any idea about running a business, apparently would like them to stay away and let the publicans suffer.
    The ban was designed in such a way as to exclude 12 million people from going out to socialise. I would hope that it was,nt specifically designed to put a considerable number of Licencees out of business but that is precisely what has happened.
    Before the ban smokers and non-smokers mixed happily together. The supermarkets have always sold cheaper alcohol and the pubco,s have always charged hefty rents. The only thing that has changed is the rather rapid decline in smokers and their friends.
    There needs to be an element of choice. I understand that what has been proposed is a seperate well ventilated room ,with no bar in,only for any venue which wants to provide such a facility it and where any non smokers do not have to go.
    One would conclude that this option could not possibly meet with any objections and if there are any one would have to question the validity of them.

  • I don’t know if there is a connection, but in my working-class area we had about six pubs which were thriving only about 10 years ago. Now there is one left and it, too, probably won’t last long.

    It’s a shame what has happened to my community. But, on the bright side, people can go out without their clothes smelling. So all those lost jobs and damage to the economy are worth it, eh?

    And I’m an ex-smoker who will never touch the stuff again. But I don’t want to tell other people what they can and can’t do with their bodies. I’m more worried about the pollution in my city and what it does to children than a bit of ciggy smoke.

  • Alan. So smoking should continue to banned in pubs because YOU like a drink of beer ‘now and again’. Doesn’t alcohol also smell and isn’t alcohol also addictive and bad for your health?

  • “Liberalism is about freeing people from chains.”

    No, it is the recognition that the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. It is a tough doctrine. Often people are only really liberal about the things of which they approve. And it is very tempting sometimes to try to prevent people making bad decisions. When we feel this temptation we tell ourselves it is ‘for their own good’ or we are ‘freeing’ them.

  • Phil Johnson 5th Jul '11 - 8:06pm

    KL and others-why are you still bleating on about smoke? If pubs were given the choice of being smoking or non smoking you obviously would NOT want to enter a smoking venue! As a non smoker myself I wouldn’t care which one i attended just so long as the old atmosphere was back, charisma had returned and a good time could be had by all!
    So I guess I won’t be going into many non smoking places as they are already dead, soulless and stink of cleaning fluids!
    Choice for licensees people-it is the answer!

  • Phil Johnson 5th Jul '11 - 8:13pm

    Alan-“The smoking ban was needed and should stay. It transformed my eating out experience for the better.”
    Typically selfish attitude-it suits me so it must stay! What about all the pubs that don’t want to entertain food, family days out ion the car park and screaming brats? Do they need to be smoke free in case you might wander in for a bag of nuts?
    You prattle on about a bit of smoke yet don’t say a single word about the diabolically polluted air we breathe in every few seconds-you need to do some serious homework!
    For God’s sake man, open your eyes to what is going on-and don’t be a hypocrite and be cremated when you peg out!

  • @Charles
    “because the majority of hospitality staff were smokers”

    Any evidence for that..

    “I sure that if/when smoking is allowed in pubs and clubs again staff who smoke could easily serve in those bars.”

    How would you police this ? Take the Sunday trading laws, they were meant to protect those who had a reason not to work Sundays. Ask a few shop workers how that works. In economic times such as these people choose workplaces out of need not a burning desire to work there…

    “Exactly what is being asked for”

    Not quite, because some are talking about a seperate room where non-smokers could be obliged to work.

  • How could anyone complain about All the Public having a Choice, It seems there are some people on this site that does not understand what this is all about, the whole point about a Reform of the smoking ban is that all people have the choice, both non smokers and smokers, non smokers would have the choice as to which Pub or Club they enter, that same choice would also go for the workforce, who but the most intolerant in the Country could have a problem with that. Adult choice for both Business and the Public is the way forward, common sense really.

  • I am amazed at the number of people that say that ‘smokers are addicts’ and they must be as they CAN’T go without a cigarette. Smokers most certainly CAN go without a cigarette, but do not actually WANT to. There lies the difference between being an ‘addict’ and a person that enjoys doing something.
    I do not smoke, but I enjoy my morning coffee. I would not crave that coffee if it were removed, but I would be pissed off if I could not have it. Am I an ‘addict’ ??
    I advise young people with ‘proper’ addictions like crack cocaine and heroin, and believe me these are actual real physical and mental addictions where the user ‘CANNOT’ go without a ‘fix’. It is ludicrous and childish to put smokers in the same category. Smokers are not in any sense of the word ‘addicts and ignorant people should take time to study the meaning of the word ‘addiction’ before posting.

  • Sure I don’t like to reek of smoke and that is probably selfish. But if a cafe or pub smelled of sewerage or rotting flesh, we would expect something to be done. Segregation of smokers and non-smokers in pubs failed. The filters and ventilation were nowhere good enough.

    Sad to see some twist my other comments. I believe that both beer and tobacco should be available. We have laws to prevent ppl who are too drunk from buying more in pubs. This is common sense. Their addiction is harming them. They have gone too far. The same with tobacco. Someone who is unable to refrain from a cigarette for a few hours is an addict. We shouldn’t be encouraging excessive addictions. Addictions take choice away from people

  • “””And for those who argue that it’s illiberal – what about my right to go to a pub and not have my eyes streaming, my clothes smelling, and my nose choked?”””

    That is a quote from a pro-ban person above who ‘occasionally goes to the pub’. (For occasionally, I should read ‘never’).

    That is the level of thought which people who are smokophobic operate at. It is emotional blather – nothing to do with rational thought.

    What has struck me very forcibly in the last four years of the ban (and even before that), when reading comments in newspapers and such, is just how many of our fellow citizens seem to think in a purely emotional manner. What they think and say does not even have to have any truth in it, provided that it suits the bill. The quote above is a perfect example. It begs the question, “If you suffered so much on the first occasion that you went into a pub, why did you ever go in there again?”

    Don’t confuse ACTUAL HARM with smells and dislikes, and remember that the ban was ONLY enacted to protect workers. If you separate the workers, then there is no need for the ban in pubs and clubs. QED.

    Also, remember that there is no proof whatsoever that second hand smoke actually harms anyone. It is a statistical construct with very doubtful evidence. The evidence has been concocted by that front group ASH with government and chemical industry funds. ASH is a front group for Tobacco Control in the Health Dept and for the Chemical Industry.

    We should also remember that the purpose of the smoking ban was never to protect the health of non-smokers – that is another mirage. IT WAS TO STOP SMOKERS SMOKING AT WORK.

    I wonder why Mr Hemming MP said:

    “””I supported, and still support, a general smoking ban.”””

    I heard a quote from another MP – a Labour MP – who supports ventilated smoking rooms. He said much the same thing about the ban in general, but he qualified that statement with the words (or words to the effect), “…..because it is Labour Party policy”.

    No. The smoking ban is an aberration which encroaches upon our personal freedoms and on private property. The odd thing is that it would have made much more sense had it specified public property (libraries, hospitals, parks etc) in the first place, and not private property.

    NB. That is called ‘rational thinking’.

    Fancy being terrified of a whiff of tobacco smoke! Are you smokophobes mentally ill?

  • Ooopst! Didn’t close off the italics at the right place. Never mind.

  • ASH has been contradicting itself for quite a while. Here is a quote:

    “””For example, when Christopher Ogden, chief executive of the Tobacco Manufacturers Association, said in 2010 that the smoking ban had severely threatened the pub and bingo industry because of lost jobs and livelihoods, the reality was a little different. Data from the Office for National Statistics shows a net increase in the number of people visiting pubs since the smoking ban. When England went smoke-free in 2007, the number of premises licensed for alcohol increased by 5 per cent, and it has continued to grow every year since. “””

    There are two things that this quote is saying:

    1. That Ogden is mistaken since “the reality is a little different”. In fact, according to this quote, MORE pubs are opening than are closing.

    2. That the recession has not affected pubs since “more people are visiting pubs and licences have increased by 5%” and, “…….. it has continued to grow every year since” Therefore, according to ASH, no pubs have closed either because of the smoking ban or the recession. But then see this second quote:

    .”””Pubs, like all small businesses have been hard hit by the recession…””” From Arnott (ASH, England)

    So which is true? Have new pubs been opening all over the place and thriving, or have pubs been hit by the recession? Or are all these boarded up or demolished pubs just a mirage?

  • Junican You have it spot-on, I think the word for it is Propaganda and paid for by the Taxpayer.

  • Ventilation not prohibition.

  • I have no problem with adults smoking where and when they like, but all I can say is that I now enjoy going to the pub and eating out whereas before it was a really unpleasant experience. Of course that is a selfish attitude (unlike those who argue not for themselves but solely for the licensing trade).

    I understand 2/3 of smokers want to give up. I have witnessed the hell that smokers go through when trying to kick the habit and have the greatest sympathy for their position, so why should we make it harder for them?

    I understand nicotine is more addictive than most if not all banned substances so it is easy to understand the protests of the remaining 1/3 still in denial, but I still believe that the more we as a society send the unequivocal message that inhaling poisonous smoke is really not rational behaviour, then there is more chance that not only children who are not old enough to make a balanced choice before they succumb to the addiction, but also developing countries that are still being conned by Big Tobacco, are more likely to have the freedom to choose their lifestyle.

  • Sorry forgot to add “..smoking when and where they like – as long as I don’t have to put up with the smell myself…”

  • Paul Kennedy 10th Jul '11 - 7:38am

    Yes, I remember the days when some “enlightened” pubs and restaurants (and even buses and aeroplanes) had non-smoking as well as “general” (ie smoking) areas. Everyone (smokers and non-smokers alike) crowded into the non-smoking areas which consequently had standing room only. Meanwhile, it only took one smoker in the “general” area to ruin the atmosphere for everyone else. And now you want to take away our new-found liberty by reintroducing these third-class drinking, dining and travel areas? No thanks.

    The smoking ban is not bad law. It is one of the best and most enlightened laws ever to come out of the Westminster Parliament.

  • dear john hemming
    hope you are well.
    i admire what you and emily have done for us in the past, and the fantastic work what you are doing for to help families against forced adpotions etc.
    so it gives me no pleasure and great sadness, in having to voice my aption against your choice reguarding the smoking ban.
    i do not believe this has been given enough thought,
    you say its because of pubs and clubs losing trade, or closing down, i am able to take my family out now because the smoking ban is in place, otherwise i would be ill after coming in contact of pasive smoke,
    also many clothing shops have closed down and you can not say this is due to the smoking ban, far from it, this is just recovering from the damage labour done eg puttin us almost on the bring of becoming a 3rd world country the econimy is tight and the gov are trying to bring us out of this dilema as we speak, but thats anotherstory, but what i am getting at is the fact the pubs and clubs are claiming its the smoking ban when its not the smoking ban fault, i know many pub and club and resturant owners and when i ask about trade since the smoking ban, they openly amit its not really affected them, like they expected, its business as usual because of the few ppl who refuse to go since the ban more none smokers go out and those who do smoke respect the ban and go out side,, and socilize outside with ppl they may never of spoke to if they were inside smoking..

    i am upset you can even concider this, like you dont care about the health of none smokers as long as the smokers are happy and get what they want
    so thinking long and hard about this ,

    for it to work and to make sure none of the pasive smoke can come thorugh to the rest of the building would mean they would have to have to go out the back door into the fresh air and out to the out building to smoke room
    because if its just a door separating the two rooms then the smoke will come into the none smoking part and this will defet the object
    so pubs and clubs would have to build an outhouse ( aprox a meatre away from the main door for the building where the ban is in place to prevent passive smoke entring a none smoking area )

    my concern is really important messure you have to take on board for this to work and protect staff’s health…..

    as for the room well then for none of the workers not to be affected by the smoke then you got another problem because somebody has to clear the classes and bottles emty the ash trays and dont forget the cleaners the nx day all that passive smoke will still be lingering day after day whilst staff clean prepare and organise the room for events parties etc
    whilst doing this they will be breathing in that passive smoke,
    so unless the law also state that the employers are legally not allowed to send a none smoking memeber of staff into the room to maintain it or clean it at any point then your gonna have another issue to contend with under employment laws that go along the smoking ban review, how is the smoke from the room meant ot escape and how do we know for sure its clear and safe to go into at any one time,

    also club sercurity staff will have to be present at all times in the case of a fight break out etc so how will their health be affected by this rule, of allowing a smoke on premises,
    will the law say only staff who smoke will be allowed to do the job and its unlawful to expect a none smoking memeber of staff to entre that room for any reason even work related and that they can not lose their job if they decline entering room or partisapate in clearing any part of the smokers stuff including ashtrys etc that is part of the room that is deadicated for smokes to protect their own health.

    if others wana kill yourself with smoking fine go a head but dont go around killing inisent ppl because of ur addictions,
    for me personally, if i have been around somebody who smokes upto 3 cig a day in the same room as me will make me extremely ill, for weeks, unlike my netherw, he will be in hospital so, so we suffer badly so we will lose out if smoking is reintroduced in public places
    if the smoking ban is lifted your saying you can smoke make ppl ill because its better comform for the smokers and tough on those of us who get ill from your pleasure and comfort of smoking.

  • lol:@Junican
    well i am living prove passive smoking makes ppl ill
    my asranged dad smoke 3 cigs in the house, i was too polite to ask him to smoke at the door, knowing it make me ill, but when i visited him i didnt relieased he restarted smoking
    he thought how can 3 cigs mke me ill so didnt offer to stand at the door,
    anyway i cme home and i was ill for weeks afterwards,
    so yes maybe if you researched a little more then you would know for facts it rally is harmful
    my nethew can be in hosptial if his around too much smoke,
    two uncles died of of smoke related lung cancer.
    so again smoking and passive smoke affects peoples health
    and it must of been proven hence why some states in america, irland and uk plus more have implaced a smoking ban in the first place, they dont just go adding bans without some justifacation the law is not going to change because mp wakes up on moring and says ok today i going to ban smoking with no justifacation lol

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