Thursday, February 16, 2006

Smoking Ban

Last night the majority of MPs voted for a complete smoking ban in pubs, clubs, restaurants and private members club. Personally, I think they were wrong.

Yes, there is a case for improving public health and I support that motive, but not in this draconian way. I failed to hear any MP give a case for supporting proprietors to make a choice as to whether their premises could be designated smoke-free or not.

A very significant part of the health budget is spent on treating smoking related illnesses, so why did MPs vote to allow smoking in hospitals. That is the first place where smoking should have been banned.

So the ban is in the name of workers' protection from passive smoking - but prisons are exempt from the ban. Does this mean that the rights of prisoners are more important than the rights of the prison staff??

I also hear that 95% of passive smoking occurs in the home, so this means there will actually be little gain in public heath from the ban. In fact, it could be argued that a ban in public places will lead to an increase in smoking at home, and therefore put more non-smokers, especially children, at increased risk.

So I think the extent of the ban was wrong, is draconian and will deliver little, if any, improvement in public health.