Smokers? We should lighten up

PUBLISHED: 12:25 23 March 2007 | UPDATED: 22:39 28 May 2010

THE ban on smoking in public places is only 14 weeks away - and it is focusing a lot of minds, not least those of our hard-working pub landlords. For many of us, smokers and non-smokers, smoke-free pubs are an alien concept. But from July 1 that s exactly

THE ban on smoking in public places is only 14 weeks away - and it is focusing a lot of minds, not least those of our hard-working pub landlords.

For many of us, smokers and non-smokers, smoke-free pubs are an alien concept.

But from July 1 that's exactly what we will have, and reactions to this gargantuan lifestyle change have been varied but, I believe, largely positive.

I'm already counting the days to cleaner evening with my well-earned pint.

As well as not getting stuck next to anti-social chimney people at the bar, I will, I trust, no longer return home from the pub or restaurant and be forced to hang my smoke-tainted clothes in the hallway for a couple of days before being able to put them in the wardrobe.

And it will be healthier. In time fewer and fewer of us will die.

I am full of admiration for the management at the Rose and Crown at March, which has taken the bull by the horns and decided to ban smoking two months before the Government deadline, as a means of getting the regulars used to the new regime.

And I note that a few other

Fenland pubs are planning to provide external shelters to cater for their customers who are addicted to the weed.

All very laudable, and were I a pub landlord I would probably feel obliged to do the same.

But I can't help wondering about the long-term future of this.

If the Government is keen to stop smoking in pubs - and presumably all parts of pubs - I wonder how long it will be before our nanny leaders will rule that these external shelters are part of the pub and, therefore, subject to the no-smoking ban.

Much as I am keen to see the end of smoking in public places (and I guess most smokers see these new rules as a major aid in their bid to kick the habit), I hope the legislators will back off.

After all, the new regulations will herald a momentous and historic improvement to the way we live, and we should be grateful for that.

And the smokers in their shelters should be allowed to continue with their unhealthy habit.

When all is said and done they are consenting adults and will only be harming each other.

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