Smoke gets in your lungs

When the forthcoming ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces was announced, I realized what one of the consequences was likely to be. My fears have been borne out. This was the realization that banning smoking inside would lead to a massive increase in smoking outside. We had already become accustomed to seeing pitiful gaggles of people standing smoking outside office blocks and other places where smoking was banned and on a visit to Ireland (which implemented a ban much sooner than we did) we saw the same phenomenon outside pubs and similar establishments. It was obvious that this would happen here.

Some pubs and cafes have provided outside smoking areas for customers. In other cases, outside tables are being used by smokers despite the fact that smoking is prohibited at them (often the tables have “No Smoking” notices affixed) because they are within the precincts of the building, and nothing is being done to curb this practice. In theory, the owner of the premises could be fined for allowing smoking but there is no sign that the police are doing anything about this, despite the fact that the smokers are operating openly in full view.

What this all means is that it is now difficult to walk down a street without without becoming a victim of “passive smoking”. You might think that smoke dissipates quickly in the open air but it isn’t necessarily the case. Except on very windy days, streets offer a fairly sheltered environment. Fumes from traffic, smoke and steam from heating systems and restaurant kitchens and tobacco smoke from smokers contribute to a long lasting fug that the pedestrian has to walk through. Sometimes it is sufficient to walk quickly on but on other occasions it isn’t so easy to escape: waiting in a queue at a bus stop, for example, you are often subjected to smoke from cigarettes and you may feel unwilling to move for fear of losing your place.

We are quickly building up a problem that will need to be dealt with sooner or later but as far as I know there are as yet no plans to tackle it. In fact, the opposite is true and local authorities seem to be giving aid and comfort to smokers. I refer to the increasing appearance of ashtrays affixed to lampposts and other street furniture. While there may be a simplistic view that this is a good thing because it helps prevent smokers’ litter fouling the pavements, it is bad because it sends the message that it is perfectly acceptable to smoke in the street.

Finally, don’t I feel just a little twinge of sympathy for smokers who are being “harassed” and “discriminated against” (their words, not mine)? In a word, no. There is overwhelming evidence that smoking is very bad for both smokers and those around them. If smokers want to damage themselves, that’s up to them but they do not have the right to damage me. If they don’t have the guts to give up their habit, then let them smoke in private. I look forward to a total ban on smoking in all public places, open or closed.

About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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8 Responses to Smoke gets in your lungs

  1. Joe Camel says:

    The fact that you bitch about a wisp of cigarette smoke while breathing a couple pounds of car exhaust and industrial fumes a day indicates a need for a brain transplant.

    You may get a sadistic ego trip kicking smokers around with the permission of corrupt politicians, but I’d be afraid of getting my own arse kicked if I were you.

  2. SilverTiger says:

    Nice argument. By that logic we shouldn’t bitch about getting burgled or mugged as long as people are being murdered.

    The point is that we shouldn’t have to put up with any pollution, the smoker’s or the car driver’s.

    And in case you’re wondering, I don’t drive.

  3. Joe Camel says:

    Well,I smoke and drive and the idea that I need your permission for either one gives me the RED ASS.

  4. SilverTiger says:

    You don’t need my permission to drive or smoke, as you very well know, so the remark is without force.

    I am giving my opinion on the smoking law in England. You are entitled to disagree with my opinion and I am happy to discuss the topic with you sensibly but not to trade insults.

    If you wish to make a case against the smoking ban (do you even know its provisions?), then it would serve your purpose better to give thoughtful reasons. Just shouting at me doesn’t help your case.

  5. Joe Camel says:

    Look, Silver.

    Neither your opinion nor mine is worth warm spit because the smoking law is the work of politicians corrupted by and subject to the dictates of the World Health Organization, Google “FCTC” to get smart about it.

    You may have an opinion about smoking–chances are your opinion was different ten years ago before antismokers were given the upper hand — but what is your opinion about an international dictatorship of an obscenely rich medical establishment?

    It’s not just being fined for smoking or not wearing a seat belt– its being treated like livestock to maximize the power and profits of medicine men.

    If you sincerely want to discuss this nightmare you can start by logging onto
    FORCES INTERNATIONAL, an anti-healthist website.

    If you are one of the rectums who want to deprive a billion people of the benefits of tobacco because it makes your clothes stink of something besides sweat , we have nothing to discuss. OK?

  6. SilverTiger says:

    Fine, let’s leave it there, then.

  7. baralbion says:

    If you engage in the self-indulgent activity of smoking, or choose not to wear a seat belt, why should I have to pay through my taxes for your treatment in hospital when you subsequently need it?

  8. gimper30 says:

    Your problem is a classic case of departmentalization. You choose to read and buy into the epidemological association, i.e. junk science, between smoking and your health at the expense of any scientific proof. Try spreading your wings a bit so you look at all sides of the issue. People who can’t do this are either lacking intelligence or are in the pay of the pharmaceutical giants. Your OOH, is that smoke I smell is not enough.

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