Deviation from Default

Posted on Fri 19 November 2004 in general

It didn't take much convincing for me to skip the Gym last night and head into town for a few drinks with Lee and Sheila. I haven't seen Sheila for a while as she has been busy climbing mountains and beating up black belts which leaves little time for our more pedestrian life-styles ;-)

When I got back from the pub and was getting ready for bed I noticed how much smell my jumper had picked up from a little under 2 hours in the bar. It didn't seem that smokey at the time so it goes to show how much you're probably inhaling without realising. My experiences visiting Ireland have convinced me that smoke free pubs are a fantastic idea. The government's white paper attracted a lot of criticism for having a nanny state approach to public health. The most debate was triggered by its proposed smoking reforms. I think the governments approach is although well intentioned the wrong approach. The arbitrary nature of allowing smoking in places that only serve cold food seemed, well arbitrary. I also worry that by denying smokers access to the same sort of entertainment facilities as the rest of us we will end up with people staying at home drinking cheap booze from the supermarket and smoking in front of their kids.

My solution would be to extend the licensing laws so if a "public" places want to cater for smokers they can apply for a license. The license would depend on showing that non-smoking areas and places where workers worked (like the bar area) meet a certain air quality standard. You could even enforce minimum air quality standards in the smoking areas to mitigate the effect of smoke filled rooms. Hopefully this way you would still get 100% smoke free pubs for the majority with some pubs willing to bear the cost of additional ventilation to cater for smokers.

For the record I'd still go to the smoke free pubs out of preference. But my libertarian ideals call for some fairness to people who choose to smoke. Next week, my compromise solution that will keep everyone happy on the fox hunting debate.....