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John Simkin

Changes in Society: Smoking in Public Places

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A report on passive smoking is currently being withheld by the government. According to the doctors who wrote the report, it clearly states that the evidence suggests a clear link between passive smoking and cancer. It also recommends a ban on smoking in public places like pubs and restaurants. It seems strange that this should happen at a time when the government is discussing the possible legislation on this matter. However, the report was leaked to the Guardian and the government was forced to acknowledge this evidence.

Earlier this his week, John Reid, the health secretary, launched the government’s blue-print for disease prevention. This includes measures to deal with smoking.

The government has proposed that smoking in the workplace and in enclosed public-places such as restaurants and some bars will be banned. However, the government has succumbed to the pressures of the tobacco industry and is doing this over a very long period of time.

Government departments and the NHS will be smoke-free by the end of 2007, cigarettes will have been banned from all enclosed public places and workplaces other than licensed premises. By 2008 the ban will hit pubs that serve hot food.

These measures clearly restrict the freedom of smokers. However, it increases the freedom of those who wish to be in a smoke-free environment.

Is the government right to introduce these measures? Should it have gone further? What is happening in your country? Do you agree with your government?

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Smoking in all public places including bus stops is illegal here since September. All I can say about it is WONDERFUL!!! No more going out and coming home with a coat, hair, shoes, everything (!) stinking of fags even thought I've never smoked in my life and none of my close friends or family do.

There has been a lot of debate about it in the papers ever since the ban came into effect but most people seem happy about it.

Perfume is also banned in the workplace including schools. If only they would legalise gay marriage I do believe we could call ourselves truely progressive:-)

Rowena

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Smoking in all public places including bus stops is illegal here since September. All I can say about it is WONDERFUL!!! No more going out and coming home with a coat, hair, shoes, everything (!) stinking of fags even thought I've never smoked in my life and none of my close friends or family do.

There has been a lot of debate about it in the papers ever since the ban came into effect but most people seem happy about it.

Perfume is also banned in the workplace including schools. If only they would legalise gay marriage I do believe we could call ourselves truely progressive:-)

Rowena

The refinement of social manners historically is extremely interesting is it not. For instance 50 years ago it would not have been uncommon to visit a packed cinema where over half the audience were smoking away merrily without a single splutter or complaint from the non smokers sitting in the thick haze of tobacco smoke.

Now one only has to light up within one hundred yards of a fellow citizen to faciliate an appallingly exaggerated choking fit and the hurling of both accusations of child murder and compensation claims in equal quantity.

Such is progress I suppose :)

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Guest Stephen Turner

As a smoker I accept the need to protect those in vulnerable occupations from passive smoking.

As a bicycle rider I look foward to the day when my needs to be protected from breathing in petrol fumes recieve the same consideration, I am not holding my breath, although perhaps I should...

Edited by Stephen Turner

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