Thoughts on the Smoking Ban
Last night (Saturday 30th June) I was presiding at a private dinner, at a privately owned venue. The people who had served the meal had withdrawn, and the doors had been closed, so the justification for the legislation - that employees might be affected by secondary smoking - did not apply. Nevertheless, from the following evening onwards event would have been caught by the new ban on smoking.
So after the toast to the Queen, I said to the people present that, although I do not smoke myself and do not normally encourage others to do so, I thought it would be very churlish to deprive those members present who do smoke of their last opportunity to do so legally.
Several people said to me afterwards that they appreciated the gesture - one or two felt very strongly that it is no business of the government to tell members of private clubs what they should do in private.
I support the principle that those who want to breathe clean air should be able to do so but that those who smoke in private, or indeed in public places where cigarette smoke is not thereby imposed on people who are required to be there, should be able to make that decision.
The problem with this act is that the practical implementation of it, which sometimes goes way beyond what the legislation actually says, (as where some councils have banned smoking in parks), sometimes goes beyong enabling those of us who want to breathe clean air to do so, and can come close to vindictive harrassment of smokers.
At the rate we are going, with eased restrictions on soft drugs and increased restrictions on smoking, it will not be long before cigarette smoking is treated more severely than drug abuse.