Should the smoking ban be lifted?

15 October 2010

The debate about the smoking ban has been reopened by an MP's attempt to introduce a bill to exempt pubs and clubs from the blanket ban, and give private members' clubs the option to have a smoking room.

What do you think?

  • Should the ban introduced in all public places across the UK in 2007 be lifted, as long as pubs and clubs have self-contained smoking rooms?
  • Or are you happy to socialise in smoke-free areas and support the ban on smoking in public places?

What is your view on this? Have your say, and debate the issue here on PCS comment, a selection of the comments will be published in View, the monthly magazine for PCS members.

Please note that we reserve the right to edit any contribution before publication. We do not guarantee that all contributions will be published.

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  1. Wrong to attack smoking?

    11 November 2010

    To read many of the postings on this discussion one would be led to believe that it is the smoking ban that has caused lower attendances in pubs, and the closure of many. Is this a fair and correct evaluation? The heyday and popularity of pubs has continued unabated for many years, but they are now rapidly losing their status as a local meeting place for people to congregate. In comparison with Britain in the 50's, 60's, 70's and even 80's, there is now little reason to actually leave the home as people can watch the many channels that are now available on television in peace and quiet, and alcohol can be obtained far more cheaply from other sources. In addition, there are far more pursuits and activities that people can now occupy themselves with. Perhaps the British culture of going down the pub every night has run its course? Time please.

    Lin Black
    Bread and Circus

    11 November 2010

    Part of the problem, is also very cheap booze, on sale in supermarkets. Roman Emperors were careful to provide plenty of diversions for the masses. Under 'New' Labour, the equivalent has been booze and football. ! With football heading for bankruptcy, and a crackdown on cheap booze, intersting times lie ahead ........

    Justin Wheeler
    Balanced Approach

    8 November 2010

    I've always thought that laws were made by learned people who took care to achieve a sensitive and balanced result. My immediate reaction when the ban came in was that this was a law based on spite (e.g. I don't like it so let's ban it). When you hear that more laws were passed between 1997 and the end of Labours tenure than in all the years since the Magna Carta up to 1997, then you realise that our freedoms have been dangerously compromised. I know smoking is in itself dangerous, but we must be allowed to be adults somewhere outside our homes.

    Peter Lucas
    Ban everything!!

    5 November 2010

    The Lord Protector (Oliver Cromwell) must be turning in his grave when he sees that people are trying to reverse the sensible decree of banning smoking in pubs. After all, it was he who quite rightly shut ale houses, banned drunkeness, banned may poles (or was it a ban on pole dancing?), banned horse racing, closed theatres, and as a finale he banned Christmas. In fairness to the great man, I believe he occasionally smoked a pipe though.

    Lin Black
    workers may not have a job with rights to protect

    5 November 2010

    Pubs are closing because of the ban, you only need to walk down the street to see boarded up pubs. Workers have lost jobs because of this. I am sure most of these people would probably rather work in a smokey atmosphere than have no job. Also when applying for work in a pub - you know what you are applying for. These workers did not blindly apply to work in a pub without knowing that smokers went into them.

    maryjane connelly
    Smoking Ban

    4 November 2010

    If Pubs & clubs were allowed to have self contained smoking rooms, what about the poor, non-smoking bar staff who would be forced to work in the poisonous and foul smelling enviroment? Everyone should have the right to work in a safe and healthy enviroment.

    Richard Mortlock
    Workers Rights

    4 November 2010

    My earlier post made it quite clear, I do not support the coertion of staff, into entering a smokey room. That does not mean, that a blanket ban , as we now have, should prevent a pub from using, shock horror, a space which has Four Walls AND a roof !!! as a smoking room for customers. This was obviously a law drafted by urbanites, who still have hundred of pubs to choose from, after many have closed, and little understanding of consequences. If only we had team, tasked with foreseeing the Unintended Consequences, of so much botched legislation. In a small rural community, the closure of the ONLY pub for miles, is a hard-felt blow.

    Justin Wheeler
    Who would have thought it?

    4 November 2010

    On a website that supports the rights of workers who would have thought that there are people that actually think it is OK to create working conditions that are, without argument, dangerous to people's health. Of course you should be free to choose to smoke or not and going to the pub is not compulsory but spare a thought for the low payed workers who do not have such a choice. A pub is a place of entertainment for the many but for some is a place of work. These people have every right to be protected under the law even if it creates inconvenience for the 30% of the adult population that smokes

    Alan Norman
    Lift the ban in pubs and clubs

    1 November 2010

    The ban should remain in most public places but i think that pubs etc should have a choice. This ridiculous idea that people will flock to pubs now that they are smoke free is rubbish. Our local has one more person who comes for one pint once a week. Business establishments are closing down and livelihoods ending not solely due to the ban but it doesn't help. Pretty soon we will be back to the slogan 'BRITAIN DOESN'T WORK'. What next an alcohol ban in pubs?

    Stuart Livermore
    Smoking Ban in Pubs & Clubs

    29 October 2010

    Very soon, there won't be any pubs left, to enforce a ban in.!!! Another piece of 'New' Labour lunacy. If a Pub wants a smoking room, this should be ok, provided staff aren't coerced into entering it. The current rules have led to emissions overload: outside heaters, not to mention the wrecking of cultural traditions- sweetened tobacco being communally shared . If smoking is so bad, why hasn't it been made an illegal drug???

    Justin Wheeler
    quite right Dan

    20 October 2010

    Totally agree - if alcoholics pay their taxes then let them get help from the NHS too.

    maryjane connelly
    Looks familiar??

    19 October 2010

    Alcoholics pay more tax that non-alcoholics, that should at least entitle them to help from the NHS and a warm room to drink in. Why should a drinker who has worked all their life and paid every tax under the sun be turned away by the NHS because paragons of society reckon illnesses are self-inflicted? Many smokers have never worked, live off benefits and are a general pollution to society. Yet they get taken by the hand and get treated by the NHS, paid for by drinkers' hard-earned taxes. I am also astounded to see some of them with bus passes which not only entitles them to free travel, but they can take a companion on the bus free with them.

    Dan Tanzey
    taxes on fags

    19 October 2010

    Smokers pay more tax that non-smokers, that should at least entitle them to help from the NHS and a warm room to smoke in. Why should a smoker who has worked all their life and paid every tax under the sun be turned away by the NHS because paragons of society reckon illnesses are self-inflicted? Many heroin addicts have never worked, live off benefits and are a general pollution to society. Yet they get taken by the hand and get treated by the NHS, paid for by smokers' hard-earned taxes. I am also astounded to see some of them with bus passes which not only entitles them to free travel, but they can take a companion on the bus free with them.

    maryjane connelly
    Freedom of Choice

    18 October 2010

    I think smokers should be entitled to have a place they can go and socialise and still be able to smoke. The complete ban on smoking in pubs and clubs has been detrimental to landlords across Britain and many have lost their livelyhoods as a result. As far as I am concerned the only good thing that has happened as a result of the ban is that folk have realised they need to wash occasionally when they go to these places as the smell of smoke no longer covers up the BO. In my younger years as a barmaid I was fully aware that if I wanted to work in a bar I would need to breathe second-hand smoke. It was my choice. Smokers have been made social lepers because of this ban. If it is fair to have non-smoking bars then it should be fair to also have smokers bars, or is the government going to ban bars altogether because alcohol consumption is also detrimental to your health?

    Kat F
    Let's have joined up thinking

    18 October 2010

    Another great post Dan, I like it. lol. More liberal thinking regarding drugs will allow people to realise their true potential in sport. Our East German comrades had the right idea in the 70s, with 20-stone female shot putters with beards and hairy chests. Oustanding. Keep up the good work.

    Lin Black
    Light up for a more tolerant future

    18 October 2010

    Smokers are so, so cold now after four years of smoking outside, the old mantra of 'smokers die younger' could end up becoming true, but not because of smoking-related diseases. We need a common sense approach where everyone's choices are catered for and not just the few. The old approach of smoking in the bar and not smoking in the lounge in pubs seemed to work quite well and a pint without a fag just aint the same. If we were trying to be health conscious we wouldn't be in the pub in the first place.

    Marcus Ford
    Let's have joined up thinking

    18 October 2010

    I think we should lift the ban on smoking in public places, including bars, clubs, resturaunts, churches, hospitals and schools. This is an issue of personal freedom and choice and if people want to poison themselves, that is their business. Anyway, the extra taxes they pay on tobacco products will pay the additional costs to the NHS until they die. Then the undertakers get their share. In line with this new-found sense of personal liberty, I also think we should legalise and open opium dens, as in the good old days of Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty. Again, if you don't want to take it, don't go there. The same goes for marijuana, skunk and crack cocaine. No one forces you to become an addict and all this wingeing about secondary effects like drug-related crime and social deprivation is just more big government, instead of big society. And while we're about it, what about doping in sport? We'd soon see a few more medals if our athletes were allowed to reach their full potential.

    Dan Tanzey
    NO

    18 October 2010

    The danger of secondary smoking is not a myth and is a genuine threat to health which is why the ban was introduced in the first place. In addition, privately-owned pubs and clubs are still required to comply with health and safety regulations. If people wish to carry on smoking that is up to them, but I would prefer it if they did not put a strain on the resources of our already over-burdened NHS when they develop cancer, bronchitis, and other chest and blood pressure problems.

    Lin Black
    Choice is king

    18 October 2010

    It's all about giving choices and empowering the pub industry to decide for themselves if they want a smoking ban or not. It should have always been up to the landlord if they wanted to ban smoking, not the government.

    David Sheffield
    Allow publicans to decide

    18 October 2010

    If a publican wants to allow people to smoke in their bar then they should be allowed to make the decision. Equally if they do not want a smoking pub they should be allowed to ban it, that way everyone is happy. Non-smokers could go to a non-smoking bar, while smokers go to a bar where they can smoke. It allows each individual to make an informed choice on where they wish to go.

    maryjane connelly
    The pub atmosphere has been ruined

    18 October 2010

    I am a non-smoker but support the partial lifting of the ban in pubs. Of course, if the bar sells food, it should remain banned but in other pubs, provided there is modern and adequate ventilation provided, I don't see a problem. What happens now is that so many people go outside the bar, non-smokers as well, to be with their non-smoking friends that there are often more people outside the pub than in, therefore, ruining any atmosphere. Paul

    Paul Wilmot
    Amended, yes

    15 October 2010

    As someone said before, amend it, not repeal it. There's no decent argument against separate smoking pubs and non-smoking pubs, or separate smoking rooms. The ban as it stands is intolerant and an attack on working people whose pubs, clubs and bingo halls are being decimated. Middle class gastro pubs don't give a fig and would stay non-smoking (most were before anyway).

    Alan Thrower
    free choice

    15 October 2010

    I would suggest either separate smoking rooms or smoking pubs and clubs. As long as they are: Clearly marked as smoking/non smoking pubs and have sufficient air management systems and most pubs and clubs already have these installed anyway. As for staff, smokers would naturally seek employment in smoking pubs some some non-smokers may also choose to do so but those who wish to work in a smoke-free environment will also have the opportunity to find employment in those pubs. Everyone would be catered for with no effect on legislation regarding smoking in public buildings which pubs and clubs are not.

    John Watson
    Not before time

    15 October 2010

    The ban needs amending while we've still got some pubs left. It was never going to work. We don't have a reasonable climate, and it was always inevitable that people would object to being thrown outside. The pubs and clubs have taken a battering because of the last government's ill thought out plans. This sounds like a reasonable solution with a choice for landlords, a choice for smokers and a choice for non-smokers. The government could also do with the extra revenue. A win-win situation all round.

    sheila donald
    Amend the Smoking Ban Now

    15 October 2010

    With more than 6,000 pubs closing their doors since the introduction of the smoking ban in July 2007, the damage to the hospitality trade and people's social lives has been incalculable. Amend the ban, allow smoking premises and start treating us like adults. As an added bonus, state-funding for 'fake' charities like ASH should cease forthwith.

    Bill Crombie
    Why not?

    15 October 2010

    It won't harm to have a designated smoking room in public buildings. It will reduce littering outside pubs and clubs and keep the smokers happy and calm.

    R L
    Amendment is imperative

    15 October 2010

    Surely no sane person now believes the myth of the dangers of secondary smoke. Vegetable matter burning on bonfires/coal/wood fires all come in the same category as tobacco being burned. So do we ban them all if we believe that they are a danger to public health? Public buildings should be 'smoke-free' as people do not always have the choice to visit them. However, pubs and private clubs that are privately owned should not be dictated to in regards to what takes place in their own property, as people have the choice to go there or not. Tobacco is a legal product and most anti-smokers seem more concerned about the smell rather than the perceived notion of health 'dangers'. There are many smells that people don't like. I personally would hate to come home and have to wash my hair and clothes after visiting a place where people have smothered themselves with perfume and deodorant or have been eating and breathing out garlic.

    Jane Tosler
    YES

    15 October 2010

    This isn't about smokers and non-smokers, this is about property rights. The smoking ban was a step backwards and should be lifted immediately. Property owners should have the right to choose their own smoking policy, and smokers and non-smokers would be equally free to choose which venues to visit. The law should simply make it illegal to smoke inside any venue the owner of which wishes to remain smoke-free. This would be a fair and just use of the law that protects people's rights, and not denies them.

    Phil Williams
    Freedom2choose

    15 October 2010

    Before the smoking ban about 80% of pub regulars were smokers, but now only about 40% are smokers. It is definitely smokers deserting the pubs that is the main cause of so many closures. Allowing separate rooms or smoking and non-smoking pubs is the best way to put a stop to all the closures.

    Chas Win
    Amended not lifted

    15 October 2010

    To me public places are places that are provided for people by the goverment - schools, hospitals, librarys, trains etc, the ban should remain in places like these, but places like pubs and clubs are not funded by the goverment. In fact they pay the state to provide a service for people who want to use them, people are not forced to use them. The people who operate these places should have the right to say who they want to cater for, a choice "between those who dislike smoking or the rest of the people." Before July 2007 nobody was forced to go into pubs and clubs that had smoking, if they wanted to people who disliked smoking had the right to open up their own no smoking venues. Now there is no choice for anyone who wants to open a pub or club, do it the goverment's way or no way at all. If this is what the goverment and supporters of the smoking ban think is fair and profitable the facts prove they are wrong, thousands of pubs and clubs have been forced to close down.

    clif e
    No!

    15 October 2010

    Smoking is a filthy habit, and we should protect those who don't wish to smoke by continuing to enforce the ban

    Claire
    Personally think it should be lifted

    15 October 2010

    If it's clear that it's a smoking room, then let's let people make the choice for themselves.

    Robbie P
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