Have we lost all perspective on smoking?

ciggiSmoking indoors is banned in England, Scotland, Greece, Holland, Spain and now Syria to name but a few countries where you can’t light up in an enclosed area. This of course is to protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke.

Anti smoking health awareness campaigns are everywhere including on cigarette boxes. It would be very difficult for me to imagine anyone in any part of the world that doesn’t know the dangers of smoking. But it seems that all of this is not enough.

MPs in the UK supported an amendment to outlaw cigarette vending machines and force shops to keep cigarettes under the counter so that they are out of sight in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland has its own separate bill.

The vending machine ban was proposed by the former Labour minister Ian McCartney, who said it would “change history”. Mr McCartney said that vending machines were responsible for children smoking.

While it’s been hailed by health enthusiasts as a “brave move” , Some other MPs think this is one step too far. Conservative MP Philip Davies said:

“This is the nanny state gone mad. On every conceivable level this particular ban is wrong. It goes against the principle of individual responsibility, free choice and people making their own decisions.”

Does he have a point? It’s fine to make people aware of the dangers of smoking but where do we draw the line between health and safety and violation of personal freedom? Have we lost perspective on smoking?

Last year, The Correctional Service of Canada decided to outlaw all smoking after discovering that a partial ban, which allowed smoking only outdoors, was being violated.

This week, nineteen inmates serving lengthy federal sentences will argue in court that a complete smoking ban introduced in federal prisons last year tramples their rights.

In Canada as well, the two largest provinces — have announced that they are suing tobacco companies for a total of $80 billion. The lawsuits aim to reduce smoking and recover some of the health care costs associated with smoking.

And, New Yorkers migh be facing a smoking ban in all public parks, in the latest attempt to make the city smoke-free.

96 Responses to “Have we lost all perspective on smoking?”

  1. October 13, 2009 at 11:47


  2. 2 Michael in Ft. Myers, Florida
    October 13, 2009 at 12:15

    I am a smoker who whole heartedly supports such bans. Most public places here in the states already have bans, including several outdoor parks in California. My view is that the less places that I am able to smoke, the easier it will be for me to quit, and I am already on that path. Those who look at this as trampling on their “right to smoke”, need to consider those around them. My baby brother, for example, is so allergic to cigarette smoke that I can’t even come within a few feet of him within an hour of having a smoke because his reaction is so severe that he’s had to go to the emergency room. He was almost a shut in for most of his 20’s because of smoking being allowed everywhere, and has only recently begun to explore the now smoke free world of adults, and he’s not alone. Children should NEVER be anywhere near smoke, and when I’m at a bus stop I won’t light up if there is even one other person there who isn’t smoking. You do have the right to smoke in your own private home, but in public you must consider others!

  3. 3 Iain in Canada
    October 13, 2009 at 12:58

    I think the issue on smoking is a done deal, I am not a smoker but fed up of the constant berating of smokers and the increasing amount of laws to stop smoking everywhere, or do away with tobacco altogether. In Canada now you have to be at least 50ft away from the pub doorway when smoking, no nipping out for a quick smoke you have to take a hike into the middle of nowhere. However, there is a frightening new phobia thats starting in Canada and gaining hold elsewhere. The scent-free policy, its already been adopted in Halifax. No scents in public places. This doesn’t mean no perfume, but no deodorant, shampoo, hairspray, skin cream, laundry powder, fabric conditioner or even mouthwash with scents. A new class of “victims” has arisen who are sensitive to every chemical out there. It sounds crazy, but google it, and you will find it everywhere and with growing support – it will be coming to the UK soon. With things like this I fear that “evil and terrible” smoking will be outlawed everywhere and remaining smokers will be shunned by a vocal nanny state.

  4. 4 steve
    October 13, 2009 at 13:24

    Why not ban alcohol and beef since they are both unhealthy as well? Ban fast food, ban fried foods.

  5. October 13, 2009 at 13:35

    I think the no smoking lobby have done exceptionaly well for themselves. I have no objection to the ban on smoking in enclosed spaces,I would have strong objections to a ban on smoking in the open areas,such as parks and city streets. Whilst non-smokers object to breathing second hand smoke,they have no qualms about me breathing their second hand exaust fumes,by the lung full,in inner cities? They have achieved a great deal of their goals,but now become paranoid and dictatorial.

  6. 6 gary
    October 13, 2009 at 13:44

    MP Philip Davies is correct if one assumes that every potential or current smoker is capable of rational “free choice” before or after the fact of becoming one. This assumption is not true and he is thus incorrect. Many adult smokers face difficulties approaching impossibility trying to stop because nicotine is remarkably addictive. Children often make poor choices because they’re children.
    Mr. Davies’ concerns about a “nanny” state are justified. It is easy for large groups of people to think they know what’s best for a minority and thus to casually hinder the exercise of free will. No such hindrance is proposed here. Preventing children form starting the habit or helping adults stop a proven destructive activity are no more curtailments of free will than confining street crossings to pedestrian crosswalks are requiring foodstuffs to be handled in a sanitary manner. Those who believe they exercise free will in smoking would not be prevented from doing so. For the State to be a domineering nanny is a bad thing; but for it to exercise the care and concern of an appropriately protective mother is a good thing. However, I suspect Mr. Davies and others will also object to this last thought.

  7. 7 Roy, Washington DC
    October 13, 2009 at 14:34

    I’ve seen plenty of smoking bans pop up around the USA during the past few years, so I’ve seen this debate played out time and time again. It essentially boils down to a debate between property rights and a smoker’s right to smoke, versus society’s right to be reasonably protected from a known health hazard.

    Going into detail on where I stand would make this post a bit on the long side, so I’ll sum it up as follows: When you open your doors to the general public, you have to follow rules regarding their health and safety. If society decides that this means no more indoor smoking (or cigarette vending machines, etc.), too bad.

  8. 8 nora
    October 13, 2009 at 14:40

    Tobacco is the only over the counter ant-psychotic, and lots of poor people use it that way. It quells hunger. A smoke is still cheaper than lunch.

    Since we are banning things, why not ban hunger?

  9. 9 steve
    October 13, 2009 at 14:47

    Banning smoking in parks is just pure hatred of smokers. There’s absolutely no risk to non smokers in parks, and in fact, in NYC, the automobiles procude incredible amounts of exhaust, which makes even indoor smoking seem miniscule. The diesel from busses is a significant factor in juvenile asthma. I remember whe I lived in london, the air was so nasty from car polllution, that if I wiped my nose with a tissue, black soot would appear on the tissue. This is just pure hatred of smokers. Imagine doing that to any other group…

    It’s interested. Here in Virginia, a tobacco state, we have a smoking ban in bars going into effect on December 1. But a republican governor is expected to win the November election, and he stated he is against the ban. Will it be overturned? Most of the new bars where I live were already nonsmoking already. Should owners be able to do what they want on their property given that people already had a choice to go to smoking or non smoking bars? Most bars were already nonsmoking without the government telling people who they can do on their own property.

  10. 10 Jennifer
    October 13, 2009 at 15:08

    I have no problem with smoking being banned. Unlike food choices, which only affect the person consuming the food, second hand smoke can be detrimental to innocent bystanders physical health. I think that people who smoke should be courteous of those who do not. There are people who have issues like asthma, that make any cigarette smoke inhalation very detrimental.

  11. 11 steve
    October 13, 2009 at 15:12

    @ Michael

    Do you ever drive a car? If so, you force people to breath in your exhaust fumes. How come that doesn’t worry you? Your exhaust fumes are far more hazardous to people that cigarette smoke is. Ever see the black smoke belch out of trucks that are delivering the products you buy? If you didn’t buy those products, there wouldn’t be that black smoke belching out of trucks. If you didn’t use electricity, they wouldn’t hav to burn coal or natural gas, releasing harmful emissions… Cigarette smoke is the least of our worries.

    • October 13, 2009 at 18:24

      How right you are Steve! That’s why I take the bus to work every day, and I have to walk 5 miles on top of the bus ride because where I live isn’t very public transportation geared. Many things add to the harmful pollution of our bodies, but I can at least control my own personal contributions. Think numbers, Steve. If every smoker were as “polite” of a smoker as I am, there would be ZERO talk about secondhand smoke. And just FYI – I grow all of my own vegetables and herbs, buy free range meats from local merchants that are accessable by bus, and a whole lot more, which in and of itself will do nothing noticable to help, but the more of us that live this way and consider others in all that we do, the more that the effect will be evident.

    • 13 Tom K in Mpls
      October 13, 2009 at 18:33

      steve, your parallels don’t hold. Currently our civilization requires the transportation that produces the fumes. Without the fumes you loose what makes our life possible, for the time being. But all we get from cigarettes is a fix for a shrinking minority. While it may be a smaller issue, it is one we can address now. So why put it off?

  12. 14 steve
    October 13, 2009 at 15:13

    @ Roy

    “When you open your doors to the general public, you have to follow rules regarding their health and safety. If society decides that this means no more indoor smoking (or cigarette vending machines, etc.), too bad.”

    Then society can also tell restaurants what kinds of foods they can and cannot serve given that lots of foods are unhealthy, such as fried foods, red meat. Sushi, because it’s not cooked. That would have to be banned as well. See the can of worms you are opening up?

    • 15 Roy, Washington DC
      October 13, 2009 at 16:37

      @ steve

      Restaurants are already subject to numerous health regulations. Smoking bans fall under that category.

      As for the argument about cars and exhaust, first, vehicular transportation is essential to society. Smoking isn’t. Also, vehicular exhaust dissipates into the atmosphere. Cigarette smoke in a confined space does not.

    • 16 justtech3
      October 14, 2009 at 20:55

      This is a slippery slope argument. There are already limits of various kinds of foods.

  13. 17 steve
    October 13, 2009 at 15:16

    If we’re banning things because of how they smell (ie smoking) can we ban homeless people from public who smell like urine? Can people wearing perfume/cologne be banned as well? How come the anti smoking crusaders are opposed to even comprosmises, like separately ventilated areas where non smokers don’t have to go anywhere near? Because it’s about social engineering, they want to ban things they don’t like. Next, will be your foods. And yes, the foods impact other people as well. I know someone whose father died because another person had a heart attack while driving and crashed into him, and the heart attack was due to improper diet which caused diabetes, which.. Then again, smoking can lead to heart disease as well.

    • 18 Iain in Canada
      October 13, 2009 at 19:38

      Steve, they are ALREADY banning people who wear any form of scent (be it only laundry soap on your clothes that smells) from public places (look at Halifax Canada, the whole town is cent free. They even tried to ban using pesticides and slug pellets in your own garden (this was voted down by a slight majority). Banning smoking is just the first step. I shouldn’t be worried about it being banned in public places, no doubt there will be a movement to ban it completely. Scents are next and then you’ll be banned from growing flowers because people are allergic to pollen. More and more of our freedoms are being eroded and people at chopping at the reigns for total control of our lives.

  14. 19 Susan Bruce
    October 13, 2009 at 15:26

    The only effect of not displaying cigarettes in small shops will be to make them lose out to supermarkets – surely undesirable? Everyone knows they can buy or order all the cigarettes they need with their weeekly shopping and if the cigarettes are hidden in local shops so you don’t even know who sells them… well, you’re going to get them from the people you know do sell them, aren’t you? No one wants to encourage smoking amongst young peoplewho haven’t already started but, a good way of tackling that would be to continually increase the legal age limit for buying cigarettes; it used to be 16, now it’s 18… keep adding a year! In the meantime, stop penalising the over 50’s who have been lifetime smokers and can’t give up; smoking is legal yet, if you’re a smoker, you can’t go for a meal or a drink without being forced to stand outside, often a long way outside, to have a fag – thus totally ostracising people who started smoking at a time when the health risks weren’t recognised. There should be smoking areas in pubs and restaurants, it’s easy enough to install particle extractors to protect non-smokers. As for the absurdity of banning smoking in parks… WHY?

  15. 20 Gary Paudler
    October 13, 2009 at 15:34

    If the tobacco industry didn’t have so many politicians in their pockets and provide jobs and profits to farmers, it would have to be considered a criminal enterprise. For decades the cigarette makers steadfastly denied that their product was addictive while they did everything they could to make it as chemically addictive as possible.
    Fast food and cars are only emotionally addictive, but sure – go ahead and ban them too. Children do not have a “right” to buy cigarettes from vending machines so that proposed ban will produce benefits to individuals and society in exchange for the minor inconvenience of addicted adults.

  16. 21 T
    October 13, 2009 at 15:37

    Smoking should be banned in all public places. If you want to do nicotine, please do it in the privacy of your own home.

  17. 22 patti in cape coral
    October 13, 2009 at 15:40

    I understand the reason for banning smoking in enclosed areas, but banning it at outdoor areas seems excessive. Has there been any progress on making a marginally safer cigarette? I know a truly safe cigarette isn’t possible, but I thought they were working on one made of lettuce or something like that? I’m a nonsmoker that isn’t particularly offended by cigarette smoke. I don’t like the way it smells on my clothes after I’ve been at a pub, tho.

  18. 23 Tom K in Mpls
    October 13, 2009 at 15:55

    I am a Libertarian, in a nutshell, I oppose ‘excessive’ government and laws and support more personal freedom and responsibility. It would follow that I would oppose these laws. But there is the consideration of others. If smoking was only a direct effect event, it should be left alone. I had totally given up going to bars due to smoke. Not only could I not handle the stench, but I get congested. Smoking affects many others around the smoker. The rights of one ends when it affects the rights of others. Since it is an addiction with no clear personal benefits, it is the smoker that needs to have their rights cut.

  19. 24 steve
    October 13, 2009 at 15:58

    Imagine if society tried to ostracize obese people like they try to do with smokers.. The funniest thing I have ever seen, was in San Francisco, where I saw people walking down the street smoking marijuana, scolding people for smoking cigarettes outside of a bar…

  20. 25 Elias
    October 13, 2009 at 16:21

    If governments are really serious about the health risks of smoking then cigarettes should be banned all together. The fact is the tax they receive is tremendous which is a source of revenue governments enjoy without which they would have to increase taxation on other consumer needs which they rather avoid. Car accidents, alcohol, fatty and salty foods, guns which are easily available in United States, pollution of our enviroment, all these are responsible for many deaths are other examples which should be looked into for banning purposes.

  21. 26 archibald
    October 13, 2009 at 16:31

    It should be illegal for pregnant mothers to smoke, smoking while in cars with children and/or any smoking that forces others to breathe second hand smoke in enclosed spaces. I was once a smoker and sometimes still enjoy an occasional fag, but, I am strongly against forcing others who do not smoke to endure the habit.

  22. 27 jens
    October 13, 2009 at 16:43

    I would bet a large sum of money that alcohol has killed many more people indirectly via car accidents, general accidents, domestic violence etc, than second hand smoke will ever do. in fact the verdict is still out as to how “lethal” secondhand smoke is. yes it is an severe irritnant, especialy to people with pulmanory diseases and it can lead to severe breathing restrictions. i enjoy a cigar occasionally, but dislike smokey bars and completly refuse to eat in a restaurant that has no smoking ban.

    nevertheless, if one looks at the statistics of passive smoking vs alcohol related secondary deaths, tobacco is extremly safe…..

  23. 29 Anthony
    October 13, 2009 at 16:49

    There is a very easy way to fix this. Make Marijuana legal. The only people who don’t want it legal are big companies that stand to lose money, and those they have brainwashed.

    P.S. It looks like it may pass in California in the first quarter of 2010 :). (And I haven’t smoked pot for 9 years, but I still want it legal)

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  24. 30 Anthony
    October 13, 2009 at 16:51

    Why not outlaw vending machines? Do you know why you can’t buy booze, porn, and weapons from a vending machine? Because it’s not a good idea.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    (Sometimes I wish they had mixed drink vending machines like the coffee machines. My work days would be much funner)

    • 31 Tom K in Mpls
      October 13, 2009 at 18:39

      I’ve seen beer and porn in vending machines. People will make money when and where they can. The control comes from where they machines are located. And yes, they are rare.

  25. 32 Dave in Florida
    October 13, 2009 at 16:57

    Here in the US smokers always yell about their “right to smoke.” Did I miss something…? Where in the Bill of Rights does it say anyone has the right to smoke? Smokers do not have a “right,” and need to stop with that lie.

    I am a non-smoker who actually is not in favor of a total ban on smoking, although the ban in indoor public settings is good. If you want to kill yourself, go ahead. However, make no mistake — smoking is a choice not a right.

    • 33 Jennifer
      October 13, 2009 at 18:26

      Thanks for bringing this point up.

      These “rights” people yell about are a little silly.

      Smoking is a choice, but my brother having an asthma attack as a result of your “right” is not.

      • 34 Tom K in Mpls
        October 13, 2009 at 18:42

        People have a right to do anything that is not illegal. At least in the US. I am sure it is true in all industrialized nations.

  26. 35 steve
    October 13, 2009 at 17:20

    I can prove it’s just an animosity towards cigarette smokers that is behind this. Look to places where Marijuana is legal. You can still smoke that indoors. People even fought in Canada to be able to legally smoke pot inside, but you can’t do that with the cigarettes. The cancer causing agent in cigarettes, or anything else that burns, is the tar, from burning. Burn anything and it produces tar. So to say smoking pot inside is okay, but not cigarettes, is out of pure animosity.

  27. 36 steve
    October 13, 2009 at 17:20

    @ Dave

    Where does the bill of rights say you can have an abortion?

  28. October 13, 2009 at 17:26

    Smoking is never a right, because no rght that i know of gives you the go ahead to trample on the rights of others. I support the ban on smoking in public places.

    • 38 Tom K in Mpls
      October 13, 2009 at 18:46

      The concept that the rights of one ends when it infringes on the rights of another, is what laws are usually based on in a democratic society. It is based on a majority consensus. This is why we are seeing increasing anti-smoking laws.

  29. 39 steve
    October 13, 2009 at 17:42

    @ Mary

    So then automobiles must be banned, right? Someone could run you over. Loud music should be banned. Why should anyone else have to hear someone else’s music? Annoying people should be banned. Why should someone have the right to annoy me? People shouldn’t be allowed to cook ethnic foods in my building because they smell them. Why do they have a right to stink up my apartment?

    See my point? On a daily basis, people always infringe upon others, yet we don’t ban those things, and the risk is far worse, especially from automobiles, or from alcohol.

    • 40 Tom K in Mpls
      October 13, 2009 at 18:49

      Eventually, gas engines will be banned. When technologies make it practical. As for food smells, people would rather smell others than give up their own. Most people are reasonable.

      • 41 Iain in Canada
        October 13, 2009 at 19:44

        Tom, scents are being banned, there is a movement to ban scents in Califronia and it is outlawed in areas of Oregon. There is no scientific evidence that the actual scent is harmful, although people do dislike it and complain of headaches and shortness of breath. And if you look most people aren’t reasonable a small and vocal minority wants all scents outlawed, and they are getting their way very rapidly!

  30. 42 John in Salem
    October 13, 2009 at 17:45

    I have to agree with Michael in Ft. Myers. I’m 58 and still trying to quit. Smoking took my father at 66, my best friend at 41 and now one of my two older brothers, at 61, has lung cancer and less than 6 months to live.
    ANYTHING that discourages smoking is fine with me.

  31. 43 steve
    October 13, 2009 at 17:51

    @ John

    Then why not have tobacco completely banned? What’s the point of restricting its use to just being at home. The governments are in on it. They NEED the tax revenues that cigarettes produce, hence why they wouldn’t ban it. Where would the revenues come from? I think with the FDA regulating tobaccco, it will probably be easier to quit, as they can control the amounts of nicotine that goes into cigarettes.

    • 44 Tom K in Mpls
      October 13, 2009 at 18:54

      steve, the US learned how stupid it is to suddenly and totally ban anything that has some social support. Look at the Prohibition Act of 1919. Give us time, it will happen. Also, the tax revenues fall far below the costs of administration and senior health care.

  32. 45 James Turner
    October 13, 2009 at 18:01

    We love to call our self a Christian Nation….. How can you be a Christian Nation when you continue to harm your brother?????? In a real Christian Nation it would be a mote question….. Any smoking is bad for the body! To much fast food is bad for the body, to much liquor is bad for the body, to much food period is bad for the body, to much water is bad for the body, but all these things the body can adjust to and we survive! No amount of smoking is good for the body!

  33. 46 steve
    October 13, 2009 at 18:12

    @ James

    What level of fast food is good for the body? Driving a car is bad for the body because you could be walking instead. For some people, smoking helps ease their anxiety. Would you rather them use alcohol or prescription drugs?

    There’s no requirement for alcohol to survive. You need food, you need water, and nothing else. So we should then ban alcohol, and cars, and everything because they are not needed. You don’t need candy bars. Why not outlaw candy?

  34. 47 Jessica in NYC
    October 13, 2009 at 18:17

    I strongly believe in people’s individual rights and responsibilities. Parents need to be more responsible about which environmental and society influences affect their kids. It’s should not the governments responsibility to legislate individual parents responsibility. Banning smoking indoors or in walk ways is enough to safe guard the public. Banning people of legal age from smoking is a violate of their rights.

  35. 48 steve
    October 13, 2009 at 18:43

    @ Jennifer

    And I have friends that are dead because someone felt they needed to drive an SUV. Being around loud noise causes my left ear immense pain and sometimes i stumble and fall down. Should noises be banned because I’m hypersensitive to them? To alleviate this problem, i don’t go to clubs or music venues, because loud noises bother me.

  36. 49 steve
    October 13, 2009 at 18:48

    Think of this analogy. The anti smoking crusaders would want to prevent smoking even in a bar, that is ONLY smokers, and the owner and all employees are smokers. Protect who from what then given they are all smokers? So the same could be said of banning homosexual sodomy. Even if there are consenting partners, it’s still raises a risk for HIV transmission. How can you ban one but not the other? Both are cases where people clearly consent to unhealthy activities… If someone can do what they want in their bedroom, why can’t someone do what they want in their own bar? It’s not like bars are open to the general public. You have to be of legal age, you have to make the dress code.. people get kicked out all the time because the owner doesn’t want them there. Why control certain things, but not other things?

  37. 50 steve
    October 13, 2009 at 18:55

    @ Tom

    “The concept that the rights of one ends when it infringes on the rights of another, is what laws are usually based on in a democratic society. It is based on a majority consensus. This is why we are seeing increasing anti-smoking laws.”

    Try sleeping in Manhattan with your windows open, on first Avenue, then come back and tell me if you still believe that. Constant traffic, people screaming, car alarms going off.. You’d be up all night. People don’t really think that way. They always infringe upon others..

    • 51 Tom K in Mpls
      October 13, 2009 at 22:34

      I get enough of the same thing in the Minneapolis suburbs. It is a trade off between a private, ideal, heaven on earth and what it takes to support what you need to live your life as you want it. In the case of cigarettes, a few want it and society doesn’t need it. As for cars, sorry steve, we need them enough to put up with the noise. My posting stands. ‘Ideal’ will never happen.

  38. 52 patti in cape coral
    October 13, 2009 at 18:56

    Didn’t I hear something about there being incentives to quit smoking such as lowering health insurance rates if you quit, etc? These sound like better measures to me. And I’m still convinced there has to be a way to invent a less harmful cigarette somehow.

    • 53 Tom K in Mpls
      October 16, 2009 at 04:13

      patti, btw, that is the key to more affordable health care. Smokers and fat people pay more. Just like drivers with accidents and tickets do for car insurance.

  39. 54 steve
    October 13, 2009 at 19:02

    @ Patti

    They have “electronic cigarettes” now that produce no smoke and are eletrctical, but I hear they aren’t quite the same, yet people still ban their use indoors, despite producing no smoke, because the people are still smokers and people like to punish them. I don’t think it’s possible to have a less harmful cigarette that you actually smoke, because it’s the tar that causes cancer, not the nicotine. Burning anything produces tar. It’s why burning food on the grill, or smoking food, is carcinogenic…

    But everyone dies anyways. it’s not like if they banned smoking, people would live forever. People would just live longer and cost the state a lot of money and would be more likely to get alzheimers…. My friend’s grandfather, dying of Emphsyema, still didn’t quit, because at his old age of 90s, smoking was the only thing he enjoyed….

    • 55 Susan Bruce
      October 13, 2009 at 22:23

      Yes, my dad was the same. There’s another thing to consider here too; hospitals and Homes for the Elderly are enclosed areas and also work places so, for old people who have smoked all their lives, there is an additional fear of ending up in either of these places which can be a real deterrent to them seeking the help they need. I’m only 52 but I would never seek help from a doctor if I thought it might result in my ending up in hospital and having to go without cigarettes for more than a few hours – I can survive on nicoteine inhalators for only so long… I already can’t go to pubs or restaurants because after eating or drinking I do need a cigarette. As I already pointed out, and someone else has raised this too, it is perfectly possible for such places to have separate areas for smokers with particle extractors installed. Not all premises have to do it, indeed, as has already been pointed out, a lot of restaurants and bars choose to be non-smoking and that’s fine, but there should be choice. Similarly, totally banning smoking in all workplaces (indeed, not even letting people smoke outside but often having to walk quite a long way from the building, places smokers at a real disadvantage in finding a job they can cope with. And yes, I do accept that some people have very severe asthma – my friend’s daughter can’t breathe in the same room as someone who’s been smoking within the previous 2 hours, but, neither could she breathe on city streets. As for banning smells – personally, I find that being near anyone wearing strong perfume makes me feel physically sick but to ban it would be absurd. I agree with the person who said that these extreme anti-smoking laws are based on hatred and if any other group in society was being ostracised in the way smokers are there would be huge public outcry. Imagine you banned people with physical deformities from restaurants or bars because they might put others off their food?

  40. 56 jens
    October 13, 2009 at 19:30

    The argument that passive smoking killes millions of people has never been substantiated. it is an argument that is based on fake science. as i said i am sure more people have died as a consequence of alcohol abuse or a driver having a heart attack because he needed to eat 10 burgers a day, but the anti-smoking lobby was excellent at making their point.

    i would like to form an anti-obisity lobby now, since obesity cost me as a tax and insurance contributor a lot more than people who smoke. Tax sugar and stop subsidizing corn starch syrup….

    while we are at it ban chewing gum. people who chew gum are often reckless and disposse of them by spitting the gum out.

    i think we need more state. in fact every person should have his her own official that watches over him/her nannies them through everything and fines them immediatly if they do something wrong.

  41. October 13, 2009 at 19:58

    I recently went to LA on vacation.
    Total journey time was 17hrs. Not allowed to smoke at Airport or during flights, I bought a pack of nicotine patches. On arrival at hotel, I found I had not packed my pipe and baccy. I continued using the patches. I am now in my fifth smoke free week!
    I am definitely feeling the benefits of being “smoke free”, but I don’t think smokers should be treated as “second class citizens”
    As for forcing retailers to “Hide” their tobacco products under the shelf, force cigarrette companies to change their packaging, I think “Nanny” has gone too far.

  42. 58 steve
    October 13, 2009 at 20:01

    The newwest target of the left: the hamburger


    I’m pretty much entirely vegetarian, yet I don’t shove my views down other people’s throats.. Stop banning things because you don’t like them.

  43. October 13, 2009 at 20:46

    We cannot have a proper debate on Smoking/passive smoking until there is irrefutable proof of the consequences.
    Statistics are meaningless.
    i.e. if I have a 20% risk of having lung cancer due to passive smoking, then it also follows that I have an 80% risk of not having lung cancer. I’ll take the 80% thanks.
    There is also the “bias” attached to statistics.
    Since the government are biased against smokers, their statistics will show a higher rate of related illness.
    Conversely, the tobacco companies’ statistics will show a lower rate.

  44. 60 Kassandra
    October 13, 2009 at 23:21

    For those who believe that people are completely rational beings who are capable of making their own prudent choices and thereby, not needing the intrusion of the government, I would just like to ask you: “Do you really, sincerely believe in this statement?” Because I surely don’t.

    The only concession that is reasonable to allow humans in terms of personal rights is the one mentioned earlier by Tom K, specifically, that the rights of one ends when it infringes on the rights of another. And please do not start providing ridiculous examples of loud music (restrictions for which do already exist), exhaust and chewing gum. Consider real issues of real importance.

    Am I ever glad that things (at least in this country) are NOT left to the individual prerogative. Existence in such a world would be even more of a hell than it already is.

  45. 61 scmehta
    October 14, 2009 at 07:02

    Yes, it certainly is one step too far. I’m not speaking for or against tobacco or any other kind of smoking; But, can we really make our environments, inside and outside our abodes, absolutely free of any smoke or pollution? What about the other kind of smokes and/or pollutions from the factories/industries, coal/wood-burning, air/road motor-transport, chemical/nuclear plants and many other sources? And, if we are that much worried about the people’s health, then what about the other kind of drug-addictions? How much of control can you possibly have over them? Limited, isn’t it? Frankly speaking this kind of overbearing attitude, by the authorities, is most likely bound to compel the people to take to other addictive alternatives, which will eventually increase the menace of drug-addiction-much more dangerous to the health of the users in particular and the society in general.

  46. 62 Linda in Italy
    October 14, 2009 at 12:39

    As a 50-a-day smoker, I have learned to live with the indoor smoking ban in bars and restaurants, thank heaven I live in a country with a mild climate! I am also lucky enough to work from home so can puff away to my heart’s content, just as well as my brain doesn’t work without nicotine. I accept that indoors my smoking could annoy people, although I too fail to see why many places could not have a separate space for smokers, with independent ventilation.
    Trying to ban smoking outdoors is just plain Fascist. As has already been pointed out, in cities the fumes from the many completely unnecessary vehicles is far worse, when I lived in London I never felt the need for a car.
    I was appalled when, visiting the UK last year I discovered you couldn’t smoke on open-air stations, here in Italy trains are non-smoking, but you can hop out for a fag at stops on the way, and there is a always a jolly band of smokers clustered around every door. By the way, this band usually includes the train guards, so we are in no danger of the train leaving without us!

  47. 63 Crispo, Uganda
    October 14, 2009 at 12:49

    The ‘complacency’ in enforcing these bans have resulted in recurrence of the problem. Until governments wake up to enforce these bans without laxity, then we shall see the whole problem solved.

  48. 64 patti in cape coral
    October 14, 2009 at 12:57

    Wow, an electric cigarette, that is so ingenious!

  49. 65 gary
    October 14, 2009 at 13:27

    Discussions on the subject of smoking seem always to degenerate into arguments about competitive “rights.” These are loads of rubbish. The fact that a person can act with free will, irrespective of his or her willingness to accept the consequences of the action, does not imply or deny a right to perform the action. Just as is a hammer, free will is a tool. I have rights to own a hammer and to drive my nails into my pieces of wood. I could exercise my freewill and strike people with my hammer; but it isn’t my right to do so. The hammer’s lethality is unimportant. I could choose to drive my nails into wood in the studio where the WHYS guys are try to do their thing, but this wouldn’t be my right either. The fact is as simple as it is to some unwelcome: None of my rights may interfere with anyone else’s rights, nor may theirs interfere with mine. There exists several, usually thought to be ten, really useful suggestions that help people sort out their mutually beneficial uses of free will. I recommend them, so that no one’s rights get trampled.

  50. 66 vijay Pillai
    October 14, 2009 at 14:38

    Ban smoling for life from home ,office, street and publich places so people cna stand at bus stand with dignity instead of smokers in bus stand but non smokers 50 years away form bus stand running ot catch the bus. that means iof no ban at bus stands, the smkers have already taken over.health is wealth to odl saying true indeed

  51. 67 Kelly from Chicago
    October 14, 2009 at 14:59

    I am a nonsmoker. I feel that many recreational drugs shouldn’t be outlawed; personal poor choices for health don’t need to be regulated. Outlawing drives it underground and taxes the system.

    However, smoking is the one thing where I agree it should be banned. I find smoking to be pretty rude. While commuting down the street in downtown Chicago, people smoke and blow into the crowd of commuters! It’s not just bad for one person’s health, it’s bad for the rest of us, and a public nuisance.

    Cigarettes would be a personal, private choice if the smoke wasn’t so pervasive at getting everywhere and stinking up places with death-smoke. Ban them.

  52. 68 steve
    October 14, 2009 at 15:15

    @ Linda

    It’s because they don’t approve of your behavior. It’s not about health of any other people. They simply don’t want you to smoke, so any separate area, with seperate ventilation, is not good for them because they simply don’t want to allow you to smoke. Now imagine that happening to any other group. If you could take away any of the risk to other people, yet still not allow them to do it, it’s just about animosity towards a group. Imagine doing this to a group like homosexuals, and there would be an uproar.

    I Rockville, MD they have banned smoking in outdoor parks already. In chevy chase, MD, they several years ago actually tried to ban ALL outdoor smoking. That was overturned, but they really have animosity towards smokers even when the smoking puts no risk on anyone else, and is far less risky than the auto emissions out there. Also, has anyone noticed how bad bars really smell without the smoke? They smell horrible. True. my clothes don’t smell like smoke anymore, but I have a washer and dryer, and I’d rather not smell a bar that smells like a bathroom.

  53. 69 steve
    October 14, 2009 at 15:17

    @ Gary

    “None of my rights may interfere with anyone else’s rights, nor may theirs interfere with mine. There exists several, usually thought to be ten, really useful suggestions that help people sort out their mutually beneficial uses of free will. I recommend them, so that no one’s rights get trampled.”

    Do you drive? EVERY time you choose to get into a car, you put all drivers and pedestrians at risk.. You could easily walk, and you walking into me wont hurt me nearly as bad as driving into me. Being a pedestrian who has been ran over by cars before, I can tell you, I physically have gotten trampled by other people’s “rights”that never get questioned, and I doubt, I, or anyone else, will ever be proven to get killed by 2nd hand smoke, but I know plenty of people woh have been killed in automobile accidents.

  54. 70 steve
    October 14, 2009 at 16:18

    @ Kelly

    “While commuting down the street in downtown Chicago, people smoke and blow into the crowd of commuters! It’s not just bad for one person’s health, it’s bad for the rest of us, and a public nuisance.

    Cigarettes would be a personal, private choice if the smoke wasn’t so pervasive at getting everywhere and stinking up places with death-smoke. Ban them.”

    Smoke outside produces virtually no risk of any harm, unlike automobile exhaust, which you don’t even question. Look up the relationship to diesel exhaust in big cities and the rate of child asthma.. Cigarettes smell bad, that’s the reason they should be banned? Well all sorts of food smells bad. Dog poop smells bad. Should we ban all things that smell bad? Do you realize that you burning a non soy candle in doors is VASTLY more dangerous for you than any cigarette smoke you breathe outside? Should non soy candles be banned? Or again, is this just about animosity towards smokers?

  55. 71 steve
    October 14, 2009 at 16:19

    Sorry people, but when you ban people from smoking indoors, from bars you never would have went to in the first place, they are going to smoke outdoors. That’s the consequence of smoking bans. If you don’t want to smell smoke on the sidewalk, then let people smoke in Moe’s Tavern, where you wouldn’t go anyways because of all of the smoke. Why not let people do what they want? You can choose to avoid it.

    • 72 Linda in Italy
      October 14, 2009 at 22:07

      Well done Steve, fight the good fight! Most of these people wouldn’t go to the sort of bars where “health risks” are the last thing on the agenda anyway.
      How could we ever weep over the end of Now Voyager without our cancer sticks?

  56. 73 jens
    October 14, 2009 at 16:53


    that is exactly my point. there is no study that proves that second hand smoke kills….due to ethical considerations you cannot design such a study. all the other studies are ones that can attribute some evidence to this or that. there is no doubt that passive smoking can have severe effects on people suffering from respiratory problems. there is no doubt that passive somking can affect heart rates etc, but of this is far from killing somebody, unlike the person who is run over by a drunk driver or beaten to death by an alcoholic husband……

    the perception that outdoor smoking is damaging to a non-smoker is absolutly absured and is driven by hysteria and prejustice. even the smell outdoors gets diluted by air movement extremly quickly. the outdoor smoking ban is driven by people who have the urge to control other peoples life. mark my word the next group that is getting it in the neck are fat people, shortly followed by short sighted people, old and slow people etc.

    • 74 Tom K in Mpls
      October 14, 2009 at 19:56

      Why is it that some people feel that just because there are other problems in the world, we should not address another. Should we stop making general progress where we can because a bigger issue is stalled, or a new one arose?

      Please, explain this to me!

  57. 75 John in Salem
    October 14, 2009 at 19:25

    It is a mistake for British lawmakers, you, Shaimaa or anyone else to include the use of vending machines with anyone’s rights to be a stupid adult. It was a bogus argument used by the tobacco industry when we banned those machines here decades ago and it still is. Removing them had no effect on an adult’s ability to get cigarettes but it had a real impact on the availability of tobacco to children and that was the objective.
    You and others here clearly feel passionate about defending an individual’s rights in a free society but that has nothing to do with cigarette vending machines being an unnecessary and ultimately dangerous convenience.

  58. 76 Dinka Aliap Chawul-Kampala,Uganda
    October 14, 2009 at 19:53

    Smoking is a health hazard & should be ban completely if this law makers.

    • 77 Linda in Italy
      October 14, 2009 at 22:10

      Living is health hazard. Crossing the street is a health hazard. Working in an office (all that stress) is a health rhazard. Some would have that believe that using a mobile phone is a health hazard. Why not just turn up your toes now and give in to the unequal struggle?

      • 78 Dinka Aliap Chawul-Kampala,Uganda
        October 15, 2009 at 17:54


        Its seem that u’re a pro-smoking lobby!,i agree with u on other problems you raised above relate to hazard & at the same-time smokers should be ban from getting access to health-care otherwise the quit, do U agree?.

  59. 79 Jim Newman
    October 14, 2009 at 22:30

    Hello again
    I was a smoker – not heavy – and I tried to stop several times without success – six months – eighteen moths – three months that sort of thing. At the age of forty I decided that I would go on a fast (I fasted regularly two or three times a year for a length of time set beforehand usually 5 to 7 days) and then only take up the things that I wanted to again. It worked. I stopped smoking and am now the typical ferocious anti-smoker.
    In Switzerland, where I worked as an engineer, my office was a smoke free zone.
    The family I married into were nearly all smokers including my wife. Most have now given up and, of course my house is also a smoke free zone.
    Although I’m against bans in general I unashamedly support all bans against smoking.

    • 80 fmog
      January 15, 2010 at 00:28

      I bet your home is not a chemical free zone. So no smoking in the house, instead absord the chemical cocktail of poisons in your paint and wallpaper, carpet and fire retardent furniture as well as in the domestic cleaners and and room fresheners. You think you know how smoking can damage your health but have you any idea of just how dangerous your own home is?.
      I have made my three score years and ten and smoked on and off most of my life. Have no problem being in a smoke free zone but really enjoy relaxing with a roll-up. But I really resent being told I shouldn,t smoke by people who have chosen to quit or never smoked in their lives.
      Everything in moderation I say and live and let live.

  60. October 15, 2009 at 01:01

    I wholeheartedly agree with restrictions on smoking in public buildings and grounds where people gather in significant numbers. But there should be designated smoking areas. Otherwise, smokers will secretly violate the rules by sneaking smokes wherever they can. We should also set aside public funds budgeted to educate people about smoking and help others with smoking cessation.

  61. 82 James Ian
    October 15, 2009 at 07:26

    Wow I really like this topic too, be because I do feel strongly about it. The freedom thing is and issue but if smokers are smoking in areas that their smoke invades another persons breathing space then I believe that infringes on the other persons rights. Also if a smoker is consuming publicly funded health care then his smoking related health issues affect the non smokes health care costs. Even if the person is privately insured it is possible that he or her health care could raise the cost for everyone else insured by that company.
    I was always told my rights ended where someone else’s began. Meaning I could do anything I wanted to myself as long as it didn’t affect anyone else around me, directly or in directly. It didn’t take me long to figure out how limiting that was. I lived in a house with other people, I lived in a neighborhood with other people, I lived in a town with other people, I live in a world with other people. Like it or not just about everything I do affect someone else. I try and concentrate on my responsibilities in the world and not pushing my rights to the edge of someone else’s, it just works better for me that way.

  62. 83 steve
    October 15, 2009 at 13:50

    People, look what’s happening. What happens when it’s you they come after.

    In Canada, truckers get fined for smoking in their own trucks, which they own, becuase it’s considered a “workplace”.


  63. 84 steve
    October 15, 2009 at 13:53

    @ James

    (1) Automobiles pollute the air much worse than cigarettes do. Why doesn’t that rule apply to cars as well? Given cars pollute so much more than cigarettes could. Also, cars contribute greenhouse gases, and aid global warming… Isn’t it selfish to drive a car given how much more harmful they are to other people?

    (2)Sure, smoking increases healthcare costs, but not as much as weight related issues do. What happens when the government tells you what you are allowed to eat and what not allowed to eat? I could easily argue you are harming yourself every time you eat meat and someone else is going to have to pay for it.

    • 85 James Ian
      October 15, 2009 at 16:37

      Ok Steve lets just all stop driving vehicles, Yeah like that’s really an option. Steps are being taken to curb that type of polution but unless you want to totaly shutdown our already week economy that is jsut not an option even though personaly I wish it were.

      And as far as I’m concerned I would not mind at all if detramintal fast foods, alcohol, sweets and all the crap food people eat would be outlawed, I’m tired of seeing fat people everywhere I go. And yes I could sure live without meat.

  64. 86 steve
    October 15, 2009 at 14:01

    @ John

    Should condom machines be banned because sex is a risky behavior? Should candy vending machines be banned given the high rates of obesity and the absolute lack of nutritional benefit of candy?

    Again, the logic of banning smoking in bars just confounds me. A bar is a den of vice. Everything is unhealthy there. I understand completely banning smoking in offices, lobbies, restaurants, but a bar is an unhealthy place… Alcohol is bad for you. Bar food is bad for you… Sometimes people like to do bad things, hence why cities like Las Vegas exist… I don’t see a problem with having a bar for smokers, but certain people on the left don’t want anyone to be allowed to smoke, even if it were just all smokers, and non smokers had their own bars..

  65. 87 jens
    October 15, 2009 at 15:00


    fat people cost more than smokers, because smokers die quicker, while fat people can have multiple by-pass surgeries, strokes, degenerated hips and knees, diabetes, require lipitor etc etc. Does the goverment do anything about this and tax deep-fried mars bars???

    • 88 James Ian
      October 15, 2009 at 16:42

      Jens I could care less about unhealthy foods too so you are not really bothering me with your statment. In fact I have writen congress about put large taxes on sugars, sweet and fast foods to help pay for this health care thing. I don’t eat that stuff and it makes me sick and mad everytime I see some fat person in a electric wheelchair craming their face with the stuff.

    • 89 Tom K in Mpls
      October 15, 2009 at 17:39

      jens, two things. First, in many cases, smokers can be kept alive just like critical obesity cases. Second, are you suggesting that we ignore one problem just because another seems bigger ( nice pun? ) at the moment. I say we do all we reasonably can, all the time.

  66. 90 steve
    October 15, 2009 at 16:54

    @ James

    If it were really about health then, then you would stop driving. Cars pollute vastly more than cigarettes pollute. It’s not even a minute comparison about how much pollutants cars, trucks and SUVS put out.. People got along for tens of thousands of years without cars. And not only do cars pollute, but they also can hit other cars, or pedestrians.. Why should I have to risk being run over so you can drive?

    It is an option, you just don’t want to make it one….

    • 91 James Ian
      October 16, 2009 at 12:04

      Yes Steve I can see how it would be much easier to get all the vehicle off the road then it would be to get cigaretts out of public venues. NOT!!

  67. 92 Prem Nizar Hameed
    October 16, 2009 at 08:18

    Smoking kills many more than what road accidents do. In addition, the smokers are the root cause of giving their family members some kind of smoking related diseases. As soon as some people finish their meals, they rush to have a puff. As if they were so impatient during the meal time. Also, I have noticed a particular thing in some of the healthcare seminars. Speakers more often emphasize about what we want to eat and what we have to avoid or minimize. Do not eat meat do not eat butter avoid oily food etc. but not a single word for stressing how injurious the smoking is. A person who is having a mixed diet in limited proportion can well maintain his health if he has no smoking habit. Also, ads for cigarettes should be banned. Simply printing statutory warning in small letters on the cigarette pack does not make any sense. Whatever economic losses occurred for eradicating this habit is not at all a loss but a reasonable domestic expense to carve out healthy citizens. Yoga and breathing exercises will help one to come out of this habit. But one must follow sincerely. Don’t argue that if a smoker cannot give up this. Determination to stop it is very important.

  68. 93 Roger Smith
    October 16, 2009 at 12:19

    Everyone knows that secondhnd smoke is not healthy but there is no study that actually proves it is harmful!, we are getting OTT over smoking, it is getting unpopular anyway and probably dissapear completly in 50 years. I wold rather have public houses with smoking instead of none at all. pubs now are only cheap restaurants.

  69. 94 fmog
    October 16, 2009 at 14:26

    I haven’t had time to read all the comments but am appalled at the vitriolic hatred of smokers apparent in many of those comments I have read.
    I am in my seventies and have rolled my own cigarettes for most of the years since my teens. I am as healthy and active now as I have ever been but then I live in an almost chemically free house. I bet most of you dont. You are breathing in a cocktail of chemicals every day, in cleaners, paint, fire retardents, room fresheners and many more in your homes and in public places. Blaming the smoking of cigarettes is the easy option.
    I agree that the heavy smoking of cigarettes is damaging to health of the smoker and those in close proximity but not light smoking. The incidence of lung cancer and emphysema only spiraled out of control when the Cigarette manufacturers added all the toxins in order to produce a better looking product and increase their sales.
    Ban cigarettes by all means, but a more democratic argument would be to force the Tobacco companies to remove the toxic additives (and all the manufacturers of cosmetics, cleaning products, paints etc) and the world would be a much healthier and friendlier place..

  70. 95 fmog
    October 16, 2009 at 14:28

    Incidently they are much more civilised in Spain where if you are a smoker and wish to eat in a restaurant or bar you are shown to a non smoking area.

  71. October 17, 2009 at 07:46

    I have tried to quit for several years- over 15 in fact! I finally found something that helped me. I quit a little over 2 years ago and have not looked back. I could not have done it without the help of the stop smoking expert. It is definitely worth checking out. You can find it at http://tinyurl.com/nomoresmokes. I’m telling you, after I quit, my lungs thanked me and I have felt better than ever before… Not to mention I can actually taste my food! Seriously, check it out!

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