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Smoking ban
How weird; I find myself agreeing with Jack McConnell. Maybe there is a point to the Scottish Parliament after all?

What a difference it will make if smoking is banned in work-places. Pubs will no longer have an antisocial atmosphere.

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What's weirdest is that it's been pioneered by the Irish ;)

And, apparently, Norway.

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In the case of banning smoking in places of work, the principle is to protect people from the actions of a minority. This is similar to banning drink-driving on public roads - it used to be commonplace (still is in some areas), but the public risks are accepted to be high enough to justify banning it.

Of course, there is nothing to stop you smoking in your own house, or drink-drive on your own land, or doing plenty of other things that would not be acceptable in public.

In general I'm not happy with banning things (I don't like censorship, or the idea of banning country sports for instance), but with smoking I can see an overwhelming public benefit in introducing a ban.

Plus I hate smoke.

A friend of mine in the SCA in Denver is an artist. Unfortunately, her art wasn't paying the bills, so for years she worked as a waitress. She spent 15 years in the smoking section at that particular restaurant.

She now has horrible asthma -- really bad. I'm not just talking an inhaler; she has a long list of meds she takes daily. She's been hospitalised. Luckily for her, she's in the city that houses the US' National Asthma Center (their spelling :).

Her doctors are positive it was all of those years working the smoking section that did her in. They've seen too many other similar cases. :(

Re: Smoking Ban in CA

We "banned" smoking from places of work in the State of California in 1998 to protect the employees from long exposure to smoke. It has been proven over the past thirty years that the additives in cigarettes which are released into the air are carcinogenic- and not filtered. There are many innovative ways of enforcing the law. One has been to have a sealed smoking room in drinking and eating establishments, in which the smokers are free to smoke in, but they order and pick up drinks/food at the bar. Hence everybody is kept happy, and there is no need to add pavement or whatever. I must say I haven't ever seen the latter done in Northern California... if we add pavement anywhere, it's to benefit pedestrians, and has little to do with legislation concerning smoking.

Smoking as such is up to the individual I suppose, but I think with a little investigation one would think twice about starting, or even starting up again... I moved to Scotland because the quality of air is better here- less pollution in the air overall. So why undermine this healthy environment by mucking up your [and your mates'] lungs?!

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I have learned something- I was under the belief that drinking was illegal in public, e.g. outside space such as streets etc, and that you could only consume alcohol in licensed premises like a pub, restaurant, or arena. This is the case in California- they are even tough about possession in your vehicle- open cans bottles etc in drivers' seat. So at least in this there is consistency.

In terms of your comment, one could argue that it is the actual behaviour after too much drink that is the problem- violence, loudness, and of course how many times have you had to side step piles of vom on the pavements of St Andrews after Freshers week and Raisin weekend, etc... (?)- but you can't very well tell people that they are not allowed to roam the land while under the influence of alcohol. This would certainly curtail some of the events you have planned for when you return to St A's, n'est ce pas?

Besides which, the question concerning smoking is that second hand smoke is directly related to health problems of employees in regular contact with it, and is a health hazard. As far as I know, alcohol does not produce a byproduct that is detrimental to those around the user, but is rather a social nuicance. One could say that other than drink driving, the only person harmed directly by a person having a drink is the person herself. Legislation such as the smoking ban protects "workers", which is why it will be popular in a Labour government.

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I will welcome it with open arms. I moved to the UK from a city that had enacted a smoking ban before California or New York City. The city council enacted it, but bar owners complained. They felt they'd lose business; the smokers would go to other towns. So, the city council compromised and made it a ballot issue on the November elections. Guess what? The populace voted it through quite readily.

As an asthmatic, I was overjoyed. I was able to go to bars and hear live music; I couldn't do that before. No longer did I worry about the smoke from the very nearby smoking section of restaurant coming my way.

And guess what? A year later, the bar owners confessed that their business had increased -- the non-smokers returned!

I moved here and starting wondering if nobody had heard of lung cancer, asthma, emphysema etc. There are pubs I can't go in at all; I've tried with some, and we've had to leave right away. There are music venues I can't go to because they're too small and don't have much ventilation. We left an Eliza Carthy concert early once at La Scala in London due to too much smoke; it was bothering Ian also. La Scala is now non-smoking; we can return! :)

After Unicorns in Glen Rathlin, we took a short holiday down in the Republic of Ireland. Ah, it was lovely to go into a pub and breathe freely. The landlady at our b&b warned us she ran a no-smoking house -- was that okay, or did we need to go elsewhere. Oh no, that was okay, we assured her.

Bring it on! :)

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