Doing our thinking for us

It is currently illegal to smoke in a place of work and to do so will render you (and the owner/operator of the premises) liable to a hefty fine. This also applies to people who smoke in company vehicles. In Wales, the WAGs (Welsh Assembly Government) are considering a new law banning any person from smoking in any vehicle at any time, if there is a child in that vehicle. That law will obviously leach into UK-wide legislation in time and will lead to an eventual ban on all smoking in vehicles.

I think it is important that we protect the health of young people as best we can, but only within the basic tenets associated with a free society. The introduction of such draconian legislation is, in my opinion, a clear sign that our politicians have lost the plot when it comes to running the country. This sledgehammer approach to legislation does nothing except undermine the confidence people have in our law makers. Education is far and away a better way to achieve results than legislation, but education is expensive and requires effort, whereas blanket legislation is simple and seems to fall within the mental capabilities of our politicians.

The law banning smoking in pubs would be a joke if it hadn’t had such a devastating effect on the public house industry. Surely it was not beyond the wit of the legislators to leave a degree of choice for the consumer? At no time was any non-smoker forced to visit a pub that allowed smoking – in fact, my (admittedly small) experience of ‘non-smoking’ pubs that existed before the ban came into effect seems to suggest that, in the main, they were unviable. Had the law continued to allow smoking, but only if air circulation/cleaning equipment was installed to a reasonable European Standard, then the pubs would have a choice and so would the consumer. Instead, we have the ridiculous example of the former MP for Cardiff, Julie Morgan, actively campaigning for the smoking ban and then supporting the refusal of a planning application from a local pub for the erection of an outside smokers’ shelter. Anything for a few more votes, eh?

I should point out that I am a non-smoker who dislikes the smell of people when they return from their ‘fag break’. I also dislike the smell of sweat and cheap perfume that seems to have replaced the smell of smoke in a busy pub.

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