Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Public says no to smirking in the bar!
Having made a plea for our help before coming to a decision on how to vote in the debate over banning smoking in ALL pubs and clubs, David Miliband and Steven Hepburn have received a rather loud and resounding YES from the public.
Our Members of Parliament can be happy in knowing that their free vote (using their own beliefs, rather than following the party whip) will reflect the general concensus of the majority. Local people (at least the non-smokers) have made it plain that they prefer to drink in a public house, private members club, or working men's club where smoking is absolutely outlawed. The weight of arguement has fallen on behalf of those who work behind the bar and are regarded as needing the protection of the law to ensure their good health, and that any exceptions to the proposed ban would discriminate against those who would have to work in a smoking environment.
I have never visited Ireland, where a total smoking ban has been in place for some time, and I'm sure it would be an enlightening and informative experience to go. I've heard stories of pubs erecting tents and marquees in the garden as a haven for smokers, apparently one establishment has bought a bus and parked it outside so punters can use it to smoke in.
J D Weatherstones who already operate a smoking ban in some of it's outlets in the U.K. are already admitting to a downturn in sales at these pubs, so perhaps there may be a knock-on economic black cloud for public houses in general.
A total ban may well be good for the nation's health but will it be good for the health of the industry?
For smokers, such a total ban will be no laughing matter either, there may be no room for compromise as the matter comes before the Commons, no room for a dedicated smoking area or well ventilated smoking room. Will we see the day when small crowds gather outside the entrance to our "locals"under a haze of cigarette smoke, without a smile or a smirk to be seen?
Curly's Corner Shop Message Board ran a small poll on the matter, it was viewed 222 times, but only a few people cast votes, however, of those who did, 72% were in favour of a total ban, and only 22% were in favour of an exception for private members clubs. A telephone and web poll ran by the Shields Gazette also found 78% of respondents in favour of a total ban.
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