Smoking 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.