Sunday, July 1, 2007

Smoking ban in UK

In pubs and restaurants across Britain, from today, July 1, if someone wants to have a smoke, they will have to go out into the open space. No smoking in indoor public places. A similar ban has come into force in Australia's New South Wales and Victoria states.

Whether such bans have any direct effect on smoking is debatable. My belief is that if at all there is, it's minimal. It can at the most temporarily dissuade hardcore smokers from lighting up. For the casual smokers it will just be one more place not to light up when they already have enough alternative places to smoke.

A complete ban on smoking in pubs or restaurants is wrong. Smoking habit can't be kicked just like that. Many smoke not because they want to; they do out of habit. A ban only makes people to look for other places where they can smoke.

Sustained educational campaign is the best way out.

Instead of a complete ban, pubs and restaurants which allowed smoking should be allowed to have a room where customers can smoke. In this room, there should be messages on the need to cut the habit.

Allowing people to smoke outside is not a good idea either. Probably they can if there is no "smoking room". Ideally, smoking in public (open) places should be banned; because, it's logical not to allow in public something that is undesirable.

Instead, places like airports, railway stations, restaurants, cinemas, pubs, clubs, town halls, etc should have a closed (but well-ventilated) segregated rooms for smokers to light up. Such rooms should have anti-smoking messages. Besides, there should be sustained campaigning on the dangers of smoking.

This is more logical and democratic approach to stop people from smoking. Complete bans aren't the solution.

-- Discussion on this subject on Guardian blog: click here. There is an interesting post there on the first impressions of the ban. Keith Taylor says:

"First impressions? Not so bad. I've visited a few places with smoking bans in the past, and I've learned that most people are remarkably adaptable - we'll live. Yes, we'll probably all come to see this as normal. However, that is no defence of the ban. Adaptability is a fine thing, but the simple fact that we can eventually get used to something rotten is no proof that it's right..."


  1. Pradeep

    I agree that these bans do not help in reducing smoking habits. But it would greatly help the secondary smokers who are left with no choice otherwise. It is a good idea to avoid smoking in closed areas, even for smokers. Primary smokers inhale the smoke through the filter. Secondary smoke has no filter. When two smokers do the act together, they inhale each others smoke with no filtering

  2. Pradeep,

    Although ban on smoking is not a solution to prevent smoking, it definitely is a step towards helping the non-smokers breathe easy. And yes.. your thoughts on having designated smoking places with apt messages is a good one, but let me tell you, smoking is one habit that cannot be kicked off easily!!

  3. giving a large dose of advice to an addict helps not!! even if it is sustained over a long period with campaigns and advertisements and the such. it is like the dogs tail in the pipe for 'pantheerandu' kollam, story.
    bans in public institutions and planes & airports and so on works. i cant see anybody like a pub where others also come in order to enjoy???

  4. unless an awareness is created bans might not give long term results.I agree with Maddy , whatever we do the dog's tail will only remain curled.But any step towards curbing this habit is to be appreciated.

  5. the last sentence of my comment seems wierd..something got deleted I guess and now i dont remember what it should have read. What i meant was, you would not like to spend 3-4 hours in a dark, smoky room..even an ex smoker!!