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A Healthier England
May 23, 2007 6:37 AM   Subscribe

As the smoking ban in England looms ever closer, some are considering its possible unintended consequences. Who will be the unintended winners? Wine merchants, chefs, online bingo sites, paparazzi, and people who make outdoor heaters. [Previously]
posted by chuckdarwin (75 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
...but not actors.
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:49 AM on May 23, 2007


The congestion charge smoking ban will destroy business in central London all of England.

It must be overturned immediately.
posted by eriko at 6:49 AM on May 23, 2007


We're doing this on 1/6. My response was to give up a few months ago.

/smug
posted by pompomtom at 6:50 AM on May 23, 2007


Note how they decided to start the ban in July and not January...
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:51 AM on May 23, 2007


Everyone will be a winner. Sweden has been smoke free since June of last year and the bar owners and personnel have had far fewer sick days, there has been a big increase in the number familes with children visiting restaurants, and I don't see any decrease at all in the number of people in the (many) bars I frequent.

Even the addicts who have to put on their coats and go outside in the middle of winter in this miserable climate don't seem to complain too much. And for us non-smokers, it is fantastic to be able to go out for a drink without having to leave stinking like an ashtray.

Welcome to the EU, England. Now I will look forward twice as much to going back to the Flask (my old local) for a pint.
posted by three blind mice at 6:53 AM on May 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Chuckdarwin We're (Aust) doing it in winter. NFI who thought that was a good idea.

three blind mice While I'm in favour of the bans, I really fail to see how having more children in restaurants can be considered a good result.
posted by pompomtom at 6:59 AM on May 23, 2007


I'm just surprised to see the BBC acknowledge the existence of the law of unintended consequences.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 6:59 AM on May 23, 2007


Welcome to the EU, England.

Thanks, and welcome to 1973 to you too.

I'm a smoker and I'm mostly in favour. I worry already that we're losing traditional pubs at a rapid rate of knots and I'm slightly worried that the big chains are the ones who'll stand the hit whilst the independent pubs lose out, if there is an impact on people going to the pub. I don't see how there can't be tbh, but then the Scottish, Irish and Welsh experience seems to suggest any impact has been negligible there. So, tentatively, I'm in favour.

If this harms my local in any way, shape or form though I'll become a one man heavy breathing terrorist campaign wheezing his way through a list of culpable targets.
posted by vbfg at 7:00 AM on May 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


I know someone like this: "You're down the pub, all your mates have nipped out for a cigarette, you don't smoke but don't want to sit on your own - what do you do? Join them. For some, standing outside while mates smoke has resulted in them taking up the habit."
posted by pracowity at 7:01 AM on May 23, 2007


Anyone know when France implements it btw? That I would like to see.
posted by vbfg at 7:02 AM on May 23, 2007


OK, the people taking up smoking just because they are standing outside anyway == Darwin Awards.
posted by DU at 7:05 AM on May 23, 2007


In Ireland the ban was brought a few years ago. I smoke and not smoking in pubs doesn't bother me, and I definitely smoke less than I used to. I don't know anyone who started smoking since the ban because of going outside to join smokers. I know of a fair few people who quit like pompomtom.

One of the nastiest unintended consequences that I noticed at first was the smell. Cigarette smoke used to cover up other smells in pubs, especially those coming from the toilets. In some pubs, not all of course, these smells began to take over shortly after the ban.

As far as food goes, there are more pubs serving food and the quality is generally better than it used to be. However, it bugs me that pubs think they can charge restaurant prices when the quality and service don't compare. But that could just be to do with the new Irish greed thing that is so in vogue at the moment.

The celebrity/paparazzi thing isn't an issue as I think Bono has quit. If not then at least he's paying some tax.
posted by Elmore at 7:05 AM on May 23, 2007


I was in Scotland in February and have to admit to being somewhat deflated to find that smoking was allowed in none of the pubs I visited. Chalk it up to an American's skewed understanding of the British culture, but I had hoped to find smokey pubs full of gesticulating Scots and mangy soccer hooligans rather than the prim and reserved customers drinking half-pints in places such as The Last Drop and The Bow Bar. Boo.

On a day-to-day basis, smoking bans are phenominal, but for the vacationing smoker-of-opportunity they suck butt*. Maybe they could institute smoking days during which people could all smoke together in the pub, pretending to be as oblivious to smoking's lethal effects as their grandfathers were. Or smoking in just a few pubs? No? Dang...

* Ha.
posted by Pecinpah at 7:07 AM on May 23, 2007


(Also: outdoorheaterslol)
posted by DU at 7:07 AM on May 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


We did this in NYC a couple of years ago. Here's my take - I would have stopped going to pubs/bars as I got into my mid 30s if this had not happened. Now that I can go to a pub and breathe, I've kept the activity as part of my lifestyle. The amount of money I've saved on dry cleaning/laundering because my clothes don't reek like smoke after a night out is probably enough to buy a few pints a week. That right there is extra money in a pub's pocket that they wouldn't have otherwise. I don't know if that will translate to the UK, but I don't see any pubs/bars going out of business here at a faster rate than usual. On the contrary, as is usual for NYC, they keep opening at an astounding rate.
posted by spicynuts at 7:08 AM on May 23, 2007


I'm not that bothered about this either. In fact, most smokers seem to be getting on with it. The whole "Stopping smoking in July" Conversation seems to go like this.

Non Smoker: YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO SMOKE IN JULY.
Smoker: Yeah, I know. I can pop outside for a cig though. The good thing is it'll probably mean I'll cut down.
Non Smoker: BUT I BET YOU'RE FURIOUS. IT'S THE NANNY STATE GONE MAD.
Smoker: Not really. Smoking really is bad for you. And everyone says the bars are nicer in places with the no smoking ban. Plus non smokers won't get stinky clothes.
Non Smoker: BUT YOU'RE AN ADDICT. YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO COPE. THE WHOLE OF THE BREWERY SYSTEM WILL CLOSE DOWN. THERE'S GONNA BE AN APOCOLYPSE.
Smoker: It'll be fine.
posted by seanyboy at 7:10 AM on May 23, 2007 [13 favorites]


Pecinha, those are tourist pubs. The prim half-pint drinkers around you were probably other tourists.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:11 AM on May 23, 2007


I dunno, I don't like pubs here in Scotland smelling of old puke, sweat and stale beer. I reckon tobacco was much better. Perhaps we could all get tonnes of incense sticks going or something.

However, I do have very fond memories indeed of the ban in the US, memories that involve going out for dinner with three girls.
posted by imperium at 7:13 AM on May 23, 2007


And hey, Happy Dave, the Bow Bar isn't a tourist pub! The Last Drop may be, but the Bow is a classic Edinburgh residents' boozer. I mean, you can't actually bar tourists (or bottle them), but they don't make up much of the clientele.
posted by imperium at 7:14 AM on May 23, 2007


Your favorite prohibition sucks.

If some bars and pubs want to go smoke-free, fine.
But there are plenty of us who LIKE to smoke with a beer in one hand, and a pool cue in the other.
There is still a market for it. Why do all you free-market-haters have to socialize the lives of others with your draconian laws?
posted by Balisong at 7:15 AM on May 23, 2007 [3 favorites]


There are some pubs in Scotland that have seen a dramatic drop in business since the ban was introduced. They tend to be old-man-dive-bars, so no great loss as far as I am concerned. Those pubs that offer food (once a rarity in Scotland - pubs are for drinking!) have mostly seen an increase in custom.

I find that I am smoking less when out on the town, and I can taste more of the fine Scottish ale. A very positive outcome.

Perhaps the best unintended consequence is the ease of striking up conversations with the ladies whilst outside having a smoke.
posted by Shave at 7:18 AM on May 23, 2007


Hi imperium! Fancy the Bow Bar at the weekend?
posted by Shave at 7:19 AM on May 23, 2007


Thank god for Balisong! For a moment there I thought we were going to get no pissed-off smokers commenting in this thread, thus denying me the opportunity to express my overflowing levels of gleeful schadenfreude, after years of having to do twice as much laundry to rid myself of other people's B.O... I absolutely cannot wait. I am genuinely excited.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 7:26 AM on May 23, 2007


Glad I could help.
posted by Balisong at 7:28 AM on May 23, 2007


Ah, yes, you're right. I was thinking of one of the other Grassmarket pubs.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:29 AM on May 23, 2007


Hate to tell you Game Warden, but you'll be smelling more people's B.O. in pubs once the ban comes into place.
posted by Elmore at 7:32 AM on May 23, 2007


I do think (as an American who won't be affected in any way by this, so perhaps I should -- in the net parlance of the day -- STFU) that this is pretty much amok-nanny-state, but I figure it's not exactly the end of the world, either. What bothers me about the smoking bans that have cropped up in many cities/states here in the US is that they often go hand-in-hand with out-the-ass cigarette taxation. This is usually rationalized by saying it'll encourage smokers to quit, but since that rationale is invariably accompanied by projected figures of how much the state will make off the tax, I can't help but feel it's a little disingenuous, and an instance of governmental bodies crassly profiting from fucking over a class of citizenry whom it is evidently socially acceptable to fuck over. But...I dunno, yay for puke/piss-smelling bars, I guess.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:32 AM on May 23, 2007


Any bar that can't clean their bathrooms and their floors, and so stink of piss or vomit when the smoke clears, probably isn't cleaning their taps or changing their kegs often enough. That's not a bar I would start my evening at.

At the end of the evening, of course, anything goes.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:41 AM on May 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Kittens, I think you are absolutely right about the correlation between the ban and the tax increase. That's certainly the case here in Ireland. The current price of a pack of 20 is about 7 euro, or US$9.50. As far as I can recall that's about a 1.75 euro increase since the ban was brought in three years ago.
posted by Elmore at 7:47 AM on May 23, 2007


Kittens for breakfast, this is an exchangew from an old programme called "Yes, Prime Minister" which you might enjoy. JH is the PM, SH is a civil servant.

JH: It says here, 'Smoking-related diseases cost the NHS £165 million a year.'

SH: Yes, but we've been into that. It has been shown that if those extra 100,000 people had lived to a ripe old age, they would have cost us even more in pensions and social security than they did in medical treatment. So financially speaking, it's unquestionably better that they continue to die at about the present rate.

JH When cholera killed 30,000 people in 1833, we got the Public Health Act. When smog killed 2,500 people in 1952, we got the Clean Air Act. A commercial drug kills half a dozen people and we get it withdrawn from sale. Cigarettes kill 100,000 people a year and what do we get?

SH: £4 billion a year. 25,000 jobs in the tobacco industry, a flourishing cigarette export business, helping our balance of trade, 250,000 jobs related to tobacco - newsagents, packaging, transport...



JH: We're talking about 100,000 deaths a year.

SH: Yes, but cigarette taxes pay for a third of the cost of the National Health Service. We're saving many more lives than we otherwise could because of those smokers who voluntarily lay down their lives for their friends. Smokers are national benefactors.

posted by vbfg at 7:48 AM on May 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


pompomtom writes "I really fail to see how having more children in restaurants can be considered a good result."

They are more tender. The smoked ones, mmmm mmh !
posted by elpapacito at 8:00 AM on May 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


SEE ALSO: SMIRTING
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:02 AM on May 23, 2007


Britain has been applying huge taxes to tobacco for years. Surely they can't increase them further?

Oh, wait a minute...this is the chancellor that gave us the fuel tax escalator, of course they can.
posted by Shave at 8:06 AM on May 23, 2007


Another annoying concequence is that all of the beer gardens in Wales now stink of cigarette smoke!

On the other hand it was odd going into a pub after work in England on Monday to smell cigs.

Its great being able to go out in Cardiff and not have to leave clothes to air for a few days to get the smell out -- I've got used to it, and its only been law since the second of April -- but in the Black Sheep on Monday evening it seemed so... babaric that there were people blowing clouds of foul smelling smoke at me while I was waiting at the bar.
posted by couch at 8:13 AM on May 23, 2007


Oh, wait a minute...this is the chancellor that gave us the fuel tax escalator, of course they can.

The fuel price escalator was introduced in 1993 by Norman Lamont. This chancellor abolished it in 2000.
posted by cillit bang at 8:19 AM on May 23, 2007


Yes, Prime Minister on Cigarettes
posted by criticalbill at 8:20 AM on May 23, 2007


I'm another smoker who doesn't mind going outside to have a cigarette, but I'm dreading the rest of the EU taking this up. It makes me really uncomfortable to leave my bag (or worse, my laptop) unattended when I'm in a pub or cafe in a foreign country, and I'll have to start doing that as smoking bans spread through Europe.
posted by cmonkey at 8:20 AM on May 23, 2007


One consequence of the new smoking ban in the state of Ohio: mulch fires.

Yes, you've got it. Idiot smokers (the intelligent ones snuff out theirs) step outside, light up, then toss them into the landscaping.

Next unintended consequence: local businesses replacing mulch with rock and stone to keep idiot smokers from burning the place down.
posted by cptnrandy at 8:27 AM on May 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


fellow scot , seconding both the "god , i never noticed how much the smoke covered the smell of this stinking bar before" and the "meeting people while outside for a smoke" points , but hey its bad for you and everyone around you, whats to grumble about ,

One interesting thing is the bans come in during the summer , when its relatively pleasant for people to be / stand outside for a cig , come the winter though everyone seems to get driven into the doorway.
posted by burr1545 at 8:31 AM on May 23, 2007


Hooray for banning stuff. Everyones a winner.
posted by twistedonion at 8:40 AM on May 23, 2007


Me...I'm trying to quit...again. I totally understand why non-smokers want nonsmoking environments, I do. On those occasions where I had successfully quit for any period, and went out with friends to smoking bars, I was astounded at how disgusting my clothes smelled the next day. Bleh!

That said; I don't see how anyone could say that they are free market proponents on one hand, and argue for the ban on the other.

If a smoker wants to have a smoking establishment, then they should be allowed to have one. If a business owner wants to have a non-smoking environment, then by all means, she should have one.

Where my problem comes in is when Big Daddy government comes in and decides that business owners aren't smart enough to make their own business decisions, and mandate the control of a legally procured product such as tobacco.

The tax issue is a whole 'nother kettle of ugly fish.
posted by dejah420 at 8:42 AM on May 23, 2007


but cigarette taxes pay for a third of the cost of the National Health Service

Well at least someone remembered that it isn't just smokers who are addicted to cigarettes. My understanding is that here in the US, not only have the states spent every last cent they won in the big tobacco settlements, creatively finding ways to use the $ as a general slush fund, they've issued bonds against future income from the settlements and have spent that as well. This was told to me as an anecdote by a friend who works on Wall Street so I don't know if there has ever been an expose or anything on this.
posted by well_balanced at 8:46 AM on May 23, 2007


btw, to those who complain about taxes... get a cheap flight to Spain, stock up on tobacco and give Brown the two fingers by supporting the common market. (flights and a years supply of Golden Virginia (52 packs) for just £195. Compare that to £416. Increased chances of skin cancer a bonus )
posted by twistedonion at 8:46 AM on May 23, 2007


I don't see how anyone could say that they are free market proponents on one hand, and argue for the ban on the other.

With perfect information and zero transaction costs, nobody would be a smoker anyway. The absence of the necessary assumptions in real life necessitates policymaking to make up for that in order to come closer to the end result that a truly free market would likely achieve.

Anyway, that's my dimestore economic analysis. Perhaps Becker & Posner would disagree.
posted by The World Famous at 8:51 AM on May 23, 2007


I don't see how anyone could say that they are free market proponents on one hand, and argue for the ban on the other.

It's the old problem of negative externalities.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:06 AM on May 23, 2007


I might actually go out to some pubs now. Particularly since without the cigarette smoke to provide cover, they will have to keep their washrooms cleaner. Double good!
posted by srboisvert at 9:09 AM on May 23, 2007


Well, there's a fair few Scots in here.. who'd have thought it, in a thread about smoking and drinking?

Looks like we're nearly ready for a MeFi meetup..
posted by imperium at 9:13 AM on May 23, 2007


Well, there's a fair few Scots in here.. who'd have thought it, in a thread about smoking and drinking?

Here's tae us
Wha's like us
Damn few,
And they're a' deid
Mair's the pity!

Must be the cigs.
posted by ny_scotsman at 9:25 AM on May 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


You're down the pub, all your mates have nipped out for a cigarette, you don't smoke but don't want to sit on your own - what do you do?

Meet a hot lady. Take off and leave the hosers to their cancer sticks.
posted by valentinepig at 9:25 AM on May 23, 2007


...producers said the Smoking (Northern Ireland) Order takes a stricter line with the words "smoking any other substance" banning any lighting up on stage.

Oh, please. Attach a red LED to a small battery, then roll it up in cigarette paper. Use Smoke/steam effects as necessary. Basic stagecraft. [NOT TOBACCONIST]
posted by Smart Dalek at 9:51 AM on May 23, 2007


This is not so bad; it's when they come for my right to snort a line off the toilet cistern I'll really be up in arms.
posted by Abiezer at 10:02 AM on May 23, 2007


Yeh, we've already got in Scotland, and goddamn it's changing society! For years civic leaders had tried and failed miserably to turn us into a "European city" with outdoor cafes and beer gardens.

Ban smoking? Hello! Suddenly every sawdust-floor boozer worth the name has outdoor seating, and the streets are packed. It's like they moved us to Madrid or something.

(People are spot-on upthread about the smell though, phew. The Garage -- infamous Glasgow meatmarket -- had to install scented smoke machines when the ban came in, as all the teenagers discovered just how unpaltable 1000 sweaty horny teenagers can really smell).
posted by bonaldi at 10:05 AM on May 23, 2007


The worst thing about smoking bans is it makes it much harder to sneak a toke of weed in the bar. Otherwise, hooray!
posted by jtron at 10:35 AM on May 23, 2007


I think banning it is the wrong tactic. How about let the pubs decide if they want smoking or not, and then charge the bar a fee to have smoking. A smoking license if you will. It would be a great source of revenue.
posted by hexxed at 10:36 AM on May 23, 2007


You can still find bars in NYC where you can smoke. Hookah bars allow smoking, as do cigar bars with liquor licenses. Additionally, there are several bars I know of (I'm not saying as I don't want them to get fined) that allow smoking M-W after 8-9 PM. Granted, these are all dive bars that really only serve regulars, but it's nice to be able to light up once in a while inside a bar.
posted by Debaser626 at 10:55 AM on May 23, 2007


I think banning it is the wrong tactic. How about let the pubs decide if they want smoking or not, and then charge the bar a fee to have smoking. A smoking license if you will. It would be a great source of revenue.
posted by hexxed at 1:36 PM on May 23 [+]
[!]


hexxed, I completely agree with you. In remote areas, it's understandable that all bars are non-smoking but I remember one particular instance of a restaurant owner (who smoked) he created a separate "restaurant" next door to his existing one that sat 15 people. Completely sealed off from the other, serving the exact same fare, and DOH shut him down. In this instance it seemed pretty ridiculous, as no employees were being harmed, and all patrons voluntarily entered. The non-smoking community was not affected in any way.
posted by Debaser626 at 10:59 AM on May 23, 2007


Smoking has been banned in my province for a few years, and I think its overall made going out drinking more pleasant - the clothing thing has been mentioned here and I find that less second hand smoke has diminished the effects of a hangover. Overall, I've probably hung out longer and spent more money at the pub than I would have when smoking was okay. I haven't noticed more bars closing either....
posted by Deep Dish at 12:28 PM on May 23, 2007


As someone who quit in the last month, I'm all for encouraging people to give up the addiction. But I gotta agree with everyone upthread that it should be the choice of the pub owner.

Though, truth be told, having to go out in the freezing cold of winter to catch a smoke was a big reason I decided it was time to stop. There is just a weird moment when you are standing in -20f, huddling from the wind trying to get some small measure of relief from nicotine fit you are going through, to make you wonder if it's really worth it.
posted by quin at 1:06 PM on May 23, 2007


How about let the pubs decide if they want smoking or not, and then charge the bar a fee to have smoking.

Those of you whining about the "nanny state" "banning stuff" are completely missing the point. At least in Sweden the smoking ban was instituted for reasons of occupational health and safety - it had nothing to do with reducing health care costs for smokers or encouraging addicts to give up the addiction. This is simply lagniappe.

The fact of the matter is that second hand smoke is a significant work-place hazard. If a chemical plant exposed its workers to half the crap that comes out of a cigarette, they'd be closed down, and rightfully so.

Restaurant and bar workers are entitled to the same safe working environment that everyone else expects. This is what the smoking ban is about. Smokers have NO RIGHT to inflict the harm their habit causes on working stiffs who are just trying to earn a living.
posted by three blind mice at 1:26 PM on May 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


No one is forcing people to work in a bar that allows smoking. If there were both smoking and non-smoking bars, people could choose where they wanted to work and where they wanted to drink.

There are plenty of jobs that have negative aspects to them, including health risks - people who are concerned about them, shouldn't work there.

And I don't believe it is anyone's RIGHT to be a bartender, waitress or barback. If you choose the profession, you choose to deal with the risks.

I don't understand why there cannot be both smoking and non-smoking establishments.
posted by dindin at 2:03 PM on May 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Some countries have laws that mandate a safe workplace for all workers. Not just those fortunate enough to be able to pick and choose between available jobs.
posted by markr at 2:36 PM on May 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


This went through in New Zealand a few years ago, with exactly the same arguments that we've seen in this thread. Lots of dire predictions that it would mean the end for various pubs, lots of claims that smokers wouldn't go out to the pub anymore (even though nearly every single smoker that I know smokes outside, not inside, when they are smoking at home).

Result? Nothing much, really. Two years later everything's settled down, the smokers smoke outside. Non-smokers like me end up sitting outside more than we normally would, to keep our friends company. And that's about it.

It was really a massive storm in a teacup. Something tells me the same thing will be true in the UK.
posted by Infinite Jest at 3:14 PM on May 23, 2007


No one is forcing people to work in a bar that allows smoking. If there were both smoking and non-smoking bars, people could choose where they wanted to work and where they wanted to drink.

It's always entertaining to hear free-market proponents talk about "choosing" one's place of employment. It's even funnier in times of high unemployment, but it's still funny regardless.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:49 PM on May 23, 2007


of course this has NOTHING to do with the health of employees and everything to do with government control. i don't even bother to go out anymore. so boring, uninteresting. the mallification of the world. blah!
posted by brandz at 3:57 PM on May 23, 2007


Well, this document from the Northern Irish pub industry claims to show evidence that smoking bans hit pub profits to the extent that jobs are lost (2,650 in New York apparently). So some people really don't have the choice to work in a bar any more.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 4:05 PM on May 23, 2007


Happened in Vancouver two plus years ago. Same story. We had heaters anyway because people like to dine al fresco in our sodden chilly winters. One thing I've found: you meet the most interesting people from other tables when you're all outside smoking.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 4:24 PM on May 23, 2007


The fact of the matter is that second hand smoke is a significant work-place hazard. If a chemical plant exposed its workers to half the crap that comes out of a cigarette, they'd be closed down, and rightfully so.

Restaurant and bar workers are entitled to the same safe working environment that everyone else expects. This is what the smoking ban is about. Smokers have NO RIGHT to inflict the harm their habit causes on working stiffs who are just trying to earn a living.
posted by three blind mice at 1:26 PM on May 23


Such as Transit workers and Highway workers who suffer much more damage to their lungs (esp transit workers whom I've never seen wear face masks) than the average person, STFU and stop driving.
posted by Debaser626 at 8:28 PM on May 23, 2007


or taking mass transit...
posted by Debaser626 at 8:29 PM on May 23, 2007


Pope Gulty: It's always entertaining to hear free-market proponents talk about "choosing" one's place of employment. It's even funnier in times of high unemployment, but it's still funny regardless.

Well, we've had several bars go out of business thanks to a local ban. I guess they can't choose THOSE places anymore. How's that help employment again?
posted by RavinDave at 2:17 AM on May 24, 2007


I work in an office of sixteen people. Out of that office, three of us don't smoke, and two are going through the motions of trying to give up. The rest have been smoking since their early teens. Yesterday there was a conversation about the smoking ban - all the smokers are furious.

I choose to find this hilarious, because I don't think I should have to apologise for wanting to breathe clean air, while most smoker's seem to be acting like they're some kind of oppressed minority. When in fact, if you have any kind of social life at all in the UK, it will revolve around your lungs coming into contact with other people's smoke. If you choose to avoid these places, you're ostracized from most people's daily interactions. So for however long, people's preference for/addiction to smoking have been placed above everyone else's right to stand in a enclosed public space and breathe clean air. Health and a respect for other people should always come before anything else. I don't lecture you on your smoking, you don't let your smoking impact me. End of story.
posted by saturnine at 4:41 AM on May 24, 2007


The effects of the smoking ban on my life -- in Scotland -- have been almost entirely positive. I'm borderline asthmatic and I hate second-hand smoke; pubs are suddenly havens of refreshment where I can breathe, and my clothing doesn't stink the next day.

The only trouble is, hangovers aren't as bad and I can drink more. Ah well, time to get the T-shirt that says THE LIVER IS EVIL AND MUST BE PUNISHED.
posted by cstross at 6:07 AM on May 24, 2007


Now all they need to do is ban alcohol and pubs and bars will become safe places to visit.

In all seriousness, I would be interested to see what the figures are on the impact on society by smoking tobacco vs. alcohol consumption.

Because your alcohol consumption is not as smelly as tobacco smoking it is easy to forget how unhealthy drinking is. Every pint of strong lager you drink is equivalent to 2.5 mars bars in calorific value.

I don't appreciate smoke-free pubs (which already exist in the UK) unless they are very busy, when the lack of smoking makes a difference to the comfort level. When they are quiet they are very boring, like a beer library.

I like talking to smokers, the smoking room is not just a place for comedy. Something about being able to maintain the addiction in the face of common sense, scientific fact and societal disproval is good.

Having said that, smoking is mental. It really is completely crazy to use the amazing complex lung mechanism to deliver drugs to the system. Shows that there is more to drugs than the active substances.

I wonder if the ban will cover the hooka bars that are popular at the moment.
posted by asok at 7:48 AM on May 24, 2007


I wonder if the ban will cover the hooka bars that are popular at the moment.

Yes, as far as I know.
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:06 PM on May 24, 2007


Guinness has 210 calories per pint, a UK Mars bar has 230 calories.
posted by NortonDC at 5:30 PM on May 25, 2007


It's also really fucking hard to dye a mars bar green on any given day of the year.
posted by vbfg at 8:13 AM on May 29, 2007


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