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The smoking ban three months on: a freedom gained or one stolen?

Cat Johnson loves the ban, Charlie Butterworth hates it. Who’s right?

Published on October 11th 2007.

The smoking ban three months on: a freedom gained or one stolen?

Smoking ban – I love it

Cat Johnson gives her opinion

Has there ever been a less cool time to be a smoker? Gone are memorable images of screen sirens inhaling languidly on a gold cigarette holder (very Audrey Hepburn). With the smoking ban we now get the pleasing sight of people jostling for position under a patio heater, trying to break the record for how quickly they can finish a cigarette. Or, even worse, snuggling up to a cigarette bin and for some reason still stubbing fags out on the floor.

The lure of smoking has disappeared so fast I’m feeling annoyingly smug about my newly acquired status of former social smoker. Things are decidedly peachy. Of course we’re all aware of the health benefits, the arguments about passive smoking and so forth, they’ve been rammed down our throats long enough by health and safety zealots.

These are the most important reasons for the ban but there are more superficial and pleasing aspects. No longer do I wake to the fetid scent of stale smoke in my tresses. Oh no. These days they’re more L’Oreal than Lambert and Butler. And if like me you’re partial to dancing, it’s also wonderful not doing the cigarette dodge. Too often, and with great annoyance, I’ve committed a much loved frock to the great charity shop in the sky because some over enthusiastic reveller (aka drunken git) jabbed me mid-move. Sophie Ellis Bextor had a point about murder on the dance floor.

In fact the sooner all smokers see the light the better. The pauses in conversation whilst they slope off for their nicotine hit can be annoying and you never know if lurking outside is some Marlboro smoking floozy ready to chat up your beloved. On the plus side your paramour’s absence might create an opportunity for making eyes over your Bellini with a hot barman.

The only real downside with the elimination of smoke is the emergence of odours such as sweaty armpits and parfam de flatulence.

But we can live with that. For the sake of mind, body, clothes and a far more pleasurable evening out, people who want a return to smoking in public places must be mad.

All bans are bad

Charlie Butterworth wants to de-regulate and it doesn’t stop with smoking

The smoking ban is part of a package of bannings, of don’t-do-this, don’t-do that have cascaded from government in recent years.

If we can’t do something because it’s bad for our health, then we can’t do something because it’s a security threat, or it will contribute to blah blah global warming or it might offend a religious group. And whilst we’re not doing things then let’s make sure we’re watched on CCTV and carry invasive DNA dosed ID cards.

The smoking ban is simply part of a process. It’s part of a banning line that will one day ban alcohol. If the logic of the smoking ban is that it’s bad for our health then so is alcohol. If passive smoking affects the innocent bystander then so do drunks. So why not ban alcohol? Give it until 2015 folks, and it’ll be in the sights of the new puritans.

Smoking is a freedom. People get pleasure from it and it’s up to them if they kill themselves. If non-smokers don’t like it they should open their own bars. The truth is, smoking has an edge that non-smoking, doesn’t – put simply it’s ‘cool’ to smoke. And as a lot of ‘cool’ people smoke then people want to hang out with them.

The smoking ban should be abolished… and that should just be the start. We should allow people to smoke whenever they want, to drink in public places, to have wild festivals without health and safety fascists, to bet merrily at any time of the day in casinos. We should un-ban it all, even drugs.

No, don’t be shocked. Think about it: the hopeless would continue being hopeless, addicts would still be addicts, but the majority would be free to choose for themselves. And we’d regulate ourselves. We don’t all take drugs now, we aren’t all permanently drunk, not all smokers smoke a packet or two a day. We could if we really wanted. Yet we don’t.

We only need laws against items such as guns which obviously and fatally affect others.

The smoking ban should be revoked straight-away, almost all behaviour bans should. Time we were treated like adults rather than children thought likely to do wrong at any moment.

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15 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Signor ServiceOctober 11th 2007.

I don't want smoking everywhere, just in pubs, which were never meant to be health clubs. Without the fumigant properties of the noble tobacco, as well as the stink of lavatories, feet and armpits, there is the quite natural smell of beer, which unfortunately attracts flies. Without the smoke one is constantly waving these little bastards off your drinks, out of your eyes, off your face, etc. It is obvious why smoking took off in pubs and inns five centuries ago and why bans (such as those in the Imperial and Nazi periods in Germany haven't lasted.

Senior ServiceOctober 11th 2007.

Synchronicity or what? After the Daily Post's sensationalist front page last Friday about another threatened “smoking ban for drivers” and this one to be rigidly enforced by Merseyside Police, editor Mark Thomas had to print a retraction in yesterday’s Post. The Police took him to task because it was completely untrue. Such a pity that the retraction was hidden in a little box at the bottom of an inside page whereas the original was a front page headline!

William Brown-StreetOctober 11th 2007.

Why is it that the Liverpool Echo and Daily Post continue to print anti-legal-smoking articles? Isn’t the press supposed to be neutral? Yesterday there was some spurious ‘survey’ which ‘proved’ that ‘most’ publicans wouldn’t reverse the smoking ban. The sponsor was actually Britvic, a soft drinks company that is one of the few people making money out of the smoking ban (presumably because more screaming children are being taken into pubs. As is well established you can say what you like with 'surveys', it's all down to interpretation.

AnonymousOctober 11th 2007.

the worst thing about the smoking ban is that whenever I go out of the office for a bit of fresh air, the entire street is filled with people standing there smoking. I hate it. Please all sod off and give us our fresh air back you selfish people!!

annieOctober 11th 2007.

signor service, you are sooo right about everything that you said.

Robert Feal-MartinezOctober 11th 2007.

Freedom, Truth, Honesty, Choice. All the things smoking bans are not. Freedom, the rights of 14 million people and their friends to carry out a legal pass time. Truth, Passive Smoking is a bigger lie than the 'cheques' in the post. Honesty, the politicians, ASH etal have lied to the public. Choice, smoking, no smoking and mixed venues in hospitality. The simple reality is that ETS was an invention by the anti smoking lobby to propogate Social Engineering. If you want to change this ban the only mainstream party who have committed to offer choice is UKIP. Come the next election there will be a UKIP candidate in your area. Look at their policies, they are what Britain stands for. Vote UKIP. Failure to do so will mean the British people being shackled by Europe.

Nick O'TeenOctober 11th 2007.

I fail to see what Europe has to do with the smoking ban. A man's fundamental right to smoke flourishes on mainland Europe.The smoking ban, like all pernicious crazes and health-fad hysteria comes (along with gun-gang culture, baseball caps, hoodies, the highest sexually-transmitted diseases and underage pregnancy rates in Europe) from the United States of America.

wayne rockOctober 11th 2007.

All joing here and tell everyone about us, this smoking ban experement is not going to work, we are taking the Governmets to the high courts,Its all a scam and cover up for the real reson in the higher cancershttp://www.freedom2choose.info/

Signor ServiceOctober 11th 2007.

Well said, Mr. Brown-Street! I implore the editors of the Daily Post and the hysterical Echo to see the B.B.C. report here, read what it says and take note for their future deceitful, non-news anti-smoking propaganda.http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7093356.stm

Dr. BronowskiOctober 11th 2007.

What kind of a name is 'Cat' for a human being? I blame the parents.

Helen MacOctober 11th 2007.

It's a no-brainer. Once my clothes smelled filthy. Now I can go to a pub or a bar for a night out and the next day I'm not coughing and spluttering. The smoking ban is the best thing that's happened in years

Signor ServiceOctober 11th 2007.

Can I offer you a gasper, ma'am?

John BullOctober 11th 2007.

Why do UKIP spokesmen have such exotic foreign names?I reckon it's all a secret European conspiracy to kick Great Britain out of the European Union of our brother nations.

A. E. ScousemanOctober 11th 2007.

Pubs used to keep the drinkers inside out of sight so as not to corrupt children and the public. This silly smoking ban has led to the pavements outside pubs being obstructed by foul-mouthed, drunken yobs, harassing and intimidating passers-by going about their normal business to work or the shops, women in particular. Usually these morons aren't even smoking, but this intolerable state of affairs is a consequence of this stupid smoking ban.

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