Well as you know yesterday the government voted for a blanket ban on smoking i n pubs and clubs. Before I go into my political position on this let me start by explaining my personal vantage point. I have nearly all my life been a non-smoker. Recently i decided i like the odd cigar when go out to pubs (a bit fucking poncy i know) but this has not really effected my position.
To be honest i think the government has gone overboard - and that the actual aim of the decision was to move towards a de facto ban on smoking (ie a society in which it is so uncomfortable and annoying to be a smoker that people stop). We all know that smoking is bad for your health. Yet it is - or at least can be - a pleasurably activity. We are constantly faced with decisions where we have to balance the need to protect our health against pleasure. Drinking as much as I did last night was probably not good for me healthwise but i made a decision that the enjoyment i got out of getting fucked outweighed - for me - the damage i may be doing to my liver. A similar argument applies to smoking. In fact i find the idea that each cigarette takes 20 seconds off your life quite appealing - it means if I smoke a whole pack i'll probably shit myself one less time before i die. Of course smoking and drinking are not completely equivalent - most obviously second hand smoke can damage your health. What this means is not that we need a blanket ban of smoking of deference to non-smokers but instead that we need to provide opprotunites both for people who choose to smoke and those who do not to enjoy themselves. We could for example liscense a certain number of smoking pubs for each locality hwile keeping the others smoke free. This is similar to the way things worked on trains with smoking cars. To be honest I do not understand why we no longer have smoking cars. In fact I do understand - it's because the neo puritans pushing all of these restrictions are hiding behind the passive smoking argument. The reality is that they cannot bear wto see people choosing to harm their health and regard it as their right to intervene.