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Friday 18 November 2005

Clearing the air [Lurks]

In recent years there's been a trend in the developed world to ban smoking in public places. Close to home Ireland set the pace with a blanket ban in public places including bars. Even famously unhealthy Scotland has introduced a blanket ban to come into effect early next year.
Not so in the UK, with our famously pandering government creating hideous legislation that would allow exemptions and enough legal wormholes that might have been exploited to gain faster-than-light travel. In the end more or less everyone declared over complex and unworkable. At present this weirdy partial ban looks set to be introduced in mid 2007 in the UK. Here's an explanation of who is doing what.
The exemptions include private clubs, which I suppose is fine by me, and pubs that don't serve food. The latter really pisses me off because I've wanted a ban in all pubs since forever. Ordinarily sensible human beings for some reason, I fail to be able to explain, will fire up cigarettes in pubs and fill the place with a noxious cloud of smoke that stings the eyes and, for me being as asthematic, makes breathing difficult the next day. Worse still, of course, people have to work there. This 'no smoking at the bar' shit you have in London right now is fucking absurd.
The problem is the leisure industry has whinged that when they ban smoking, people go to the place that allows smoking and their sales go down. That's right, because a small preportion of cancer-lovers will drag themselves and their friends into the cancer-friendly establishment. The only solution is a total ban. Then everyone's sales are the same. Surely it makes sense, I mean even Ireland worked it out and they know a thing or two about pubs.
Naturally our government cannot be trusted to simply do the right thing, eventually it transpires that the UK leisure industry has seen the light and declared their support for an outright ban. Thank Christ, common sense prevails!
Now the health community and the hospitality industry are both calling for an outright ban. Surely the government will act.
What's your view?


  1. I voted for a partial ban as there should be some scope for places like private clubs to apply for a smoking license, but don't think pubs should be exempt just because they don't serve food.

  2. Private clubs have employees that work in them, and thus should not be exempt. Outright ban is the only way to go.

  3. The problem with private clubs is they still have to employ people. There are all sorts of laws to stop people working around hazardous chemicals and fumes. Here we have something proven to cause a host of nasty ailments and yet these workers are afforded no protection whatsoever other than the insultingly naive 'please don't smoke at the bar' signs. You might say "well they know what they're getting into" and that's right to an extent but not everyone has the luxury of choosing where they work. That's why the law should protect you in your workplace. You might have to take a shitty job, but at least you wont get lung cancer for serving some fat rich toff a cigar in his private club while earning minimum wage.

  4. To further add the above, I thought I'd issue an appeal to the right-wing people who clearly don't have much regarded for the health and safety of people who have to work in these establishments.
    When someone in these kind of jobs gets lung cancer, you think their employer pays for it? You think maybe they've got medical insurance? Not a chance boyo, it's NHS all the way. Smoking costs the NHS around £1.5 billion a year. That's treatment we all have to pay with our taxes.
    And for what? For some misguided view that someone should be able able to poison themself? Hey I'm all for someone being able to poison themselves just so long as a) they don't spray their poison around the room and b) they pay to fix themselves up.
    Smokers give us neither of those considerations so remind me again why we're respecting their right to smoke?

  5. We got a total ban here 1st of july, and, well, all economical issues raised by the pro smokers is just not valid. In clubs it creates hilarious tidalwave effects when people move out to smoke, filled one minute almost empty the next :)
    That said, im against bans full stop. Laws based on opinion and personal "comfort" is rapidly becoming an issue all over. Thing is, i really belive in the "if you dont like whats out there creatate an alternative" mindset. Me and some mates semiplanned opening a smokefree place something like 10 years ago (ditched it because we all smoked, haha).
    And finally the health thing... Lots of things in life kills you, and as a matter of fact, smokers brings in HUGE amounts of tax. And they die early saving the society cash from pensions. Cant remember the place, but a study was done showing how people doing athletic stuff (like football) on the sparetime costs healthcare a f*cking lot more than smokers. Course, the employees in bars gets their share of evilness in the lungs. But jesus, there is no gun to the head. The employee thing is an aftercunstruction thing btw, it came quite recently after the debate fell through. Someone in the antismoking lobby must have been hit by lightning or something :)
    And this shit aint because i smoke (its actually kinda fun now standing outside talking to people you wouldnt otherwise, reminds me of the smoking carts on trains in the old days), its because i dread what will come next. Fat food? Sports? Knives in the kitchen? Running on sidewalks? Laws on helmet when you take a shower? Loud music? This aint a health issue at all, its about people wanting desperately to control what others do, persons AND companies. And i really think this is a dangerous path to go :/

  6. I actually agree with Hans, shock horror. I hate smokers, I avoid places where people smoke and I'd really like it if they all went away. But I don't like the idea of an outright ban because it's yet another nanny-statism decree that reduces our liberties yet further. What next, ban rock climbing because you might fall on someone below? Ban fishing because you might hit someone with your rod?
    I take the point of employee health, but some jobs are dangerous, why dont you just do something else if it bothers you?
    I'd like to see more incentives for smoke free places perhaps to encorage people to operate them and keep the choices open in life.

  7. When a job is dangerous, normally you'd ask the questions: does this job need to be dangerous? What makes it dangerous? It could be a policeman who naturally enough has a dangerous and essential job. When you're talking about a massive employment industry like leisure and entertainment, particularly in a service economy likes ours, it's naive to think that people are in a situation to choose to be in that or not.
    More importantly, you must then ask the question: why is it dangerous for them, is this something that has to be here? No, it doesn't. It isn't part of the job, it doesn't have to be. It's just some chap who has no disregard for his own health, imposing his disregard for health on you also. Why is his rights more important?
    The bottom line is you're for defending civil liberties even if that includes causing harm to others. I'm in favor of defending civil liberties when it causes no harm to others.

  8. Have to agree with Lurks. I had two chest infections this year, both, in the opinion of by GP caused by being in a v. smokey environment. Of the right to smoke vs the right not to be poisoned by someone else, I'll take the latter thankyouverymuch.

  9. Still working your way around it. When you apply for a job in a bar which has allowed smoking there are clues, ashtrays, smoke in the air, people holding burning cigarettes etc etc. And i havnt seen any articles about slave labour in pubs, or bartender trafficing.
    It all comes down to that there are lowwage highrisk jobs out there. I have one myself, diesel fumes and dust containing god knows what makes looking into a the tissue after blowing your nose a quite painful thing to do. Eliminating every job that has healthissues is just impossible. If there was to be a proper law about it, it should be about vents, air circulation etc. Just like in any other business. In pubs where people smoke and drink the air aint good. How do we limit the damage etc etc blah blah.
    The right im debating here is the right not to enter that establishment. Dont like the place on what ever grounds? Do Not Go There. Feel something is missing? Fill the gap by creating something instead of trying to force everyone to create things for you.
    This whole debate is just rediculous because it has NOTHING to do with a bleeding heart for some poor barmaids.
    It would have been absolutely hilarious if every pub and club just closed down. Wonder if they antismoke brigade would have tried to get the military to force them to open them up again on the grounds that they have the right to listen to music and drink beer :)

  10. If someone walked around spraying diesel fumes and dust in your work place just because it was their personal hobby, you might ask them to stop doing so. Of course it's more important that you stop working there rather than asking this idiot to stop.
    I can't quite follow your logic process saying it has nothing to do with people working in these establishments. This is a huge part of it and a quick Google on the smoking ban debate in Sweden revealed to me it was an overriding reason for the ban there too.
    In this country the health and leisure industry want a straight ban on smoking - I linked this from the first post - so they're hardly just going to close down are they? This 'don't like it don't go there' stuff is simplistic to say the least. People don't, at all times, sit there wondering about these threats to themselves. That's why have agencies to make sure people don't put poisonous stuff in food when no one checks the labels.
    If the entire debate is so ridiculous, I wonder why we're bothering to have it and why it's got more people posting on this web site than have posted for donkeys? If it's so ridiculous why is it that it's such an issue in this country and why are countries right across Europe introducing similar legislation? No pal, simplistic arguments and blurting out that it's all not important anyone and hell, people just die mmkay - it's just not going to cut it.
    They banned smoking in your country six months ago. They banned it in Ireland in 2004. Before too long it will be banned everywhere. Interesting results for a debate so ridiculous.

  11. I'm with the total ban lobby on this for these reasons;
    Smoking personally = lots of health risks = your choice = legislation is not there to stop you from doing bad things to yourself unless it could impact society (like downloading kiddy pr0n for instance)
    Second hand smoke = lots of health risks = not your choice = you should be protected from it
    So you should be protected from second hand smoke always. If you are a bus conductor on a bus you're protected. If you're a waiter in a restaurant you're protected. Why would it be any different for a bar worker in a bar?
    It's just bad for you and that's it. Bar jobs are low paid stuff requiring hundreds of thousands of workers in every country and it's not really true that the majority of those workers have a "choice" to work knowledgeable of those risks.
    Imagine a cult that blew orange powder in the air to celebrate a religious day of a week every week year in year out which was then conclusively proved to cause cancers and deaths in people who were near them but played zero part in the ritual. It became clear that literally millions of people had died of it while we were unaware globally but now we know. Would we say that those people should be able to continue this practice in a public place of any kind where people worked? Would we fuck.
    It really is compromise politics which, as always, are bullshit.

  12. Its rediculous because its not about the health of the workers. That argument was pulled in when the debate about smokebans halted to a stop. This whole issue was started by people like yourself who doesnt want to smell smoke when they drink their beer or eat their food. To believe that guys that doesnt give a flying shit about the working class in any other situtation suddenly grows a huge heart for just their lungs... well thats just not very believable now is it.
    Do not enter the premises. Its that easy. Dont want a tyre on your head? Then dont not attend F1 races. Dont want tinnitus? Dont attend concerts.
    And second hand smoke... jesus, outside its negitable so dont enter closed places where people smoke. Boycott bars that allow smoking. let the owner know it. Dont work at those places. Without employees you cant run the place and without customers they have to close.
    *EVERYONE* has known for ages that smoking causes cancer. Its not hidden. But taking calculated risks is what everyone does every day.
    And to have people that uses other drugs and are obese to talk about costs in the presence of one of the largest taxcash cows in the western world... I mean cmon.

  13. I don't know how the debate went in Sweden but that's not how it went here. It was passive smoking kills people let's protect them. Anyone fight that? (Ridiculously small no). Then people said oh well how about exempting pubs which don't serve food. And that got passed.
    So let's examine this;
    No smoking in public enclosed places because it kills people through second hand smoke. Agreed.No smoking in workplaces because it kills people through second hand smoke. Agreed.No smoking in workplaces which are pubs that serve food because it kills people through second hand smoke. Agreed.No smoking in workplaces which are pubs that don't serve food because....err... even though it kills people through second hand smoke.... errrr....there's no food so it must be alright. Denied.
    Clearly a joke. Either have a problem with it at a proper level (freedom of choice) or don't. If you do have a problem with it, I don't have to accept your viewpoint for me but I can respect it. But the carve out on non-food serving pubs in this country is the sought of risible shit this government is getting a longer and longer record for and doesn't stand up to any kind of thinking about.

  14. Thats kinda my point aint it. You get it semi passed because that shut the people up that was pushing the issue the hardest (people that wanna eat their food without annoying smoke). This whole thing was started by the ones that found smoke annoying, not a swede nor a UK thing. It was in the states, our commie/nazi lobby groups just followed. Been following this for long since it is the starting point of when society goes to shit together with surveillance cameras and opinion registration. Its a beautiful world :)

  15. I think that all this stuff basically keeps on supporting my argument that the state is failing, society is failing and existing religions are failing. We need a new world order.
    We need The Church of Electric Death.

  16. The EED-MASS, annual rAMaLAN meetings where we wallow in our own filth and leftover lager bottles.
    The religion where the l33t inherit the earth, most of EED are fucked then.
    The Father (Slim), the Son (Muz, he's ickle) and the Holy Ghost (Shinji!). Even have our very own castoff who was onced a cherished soul of the highest skillset Satan (billox)
    There's a comedy sketch in there somewhere, grease your MAC10 and pray for divine intervention.