Monday, March 01, 2010
The blogosphere has been busy commenting about Nick Hogan, who has been jailed for allowing customers to smoke in his pub. The story is here
I've never smoked and so you might think that I was in favour of the ban. Far from it. I think that it's outrageous that one minority can dictate to another how they should behave. Apparently the smoking ban is an EU directive. Go into bars in eastern Europe or Spain and see if they're taking any notice. They're not.
And quite rightly so. Since when is it the task of government (and an unrepresentative and unelected one at that) to define whether private establishments should allow smoking on their premises?
I wouldn't mind, but smoking is allowed in the bars in the Houses of Parliament. It's one rule for them and another for us.
If the majority of members of a private club decide to allow smoking, what right is it of anyone else to interfere? If a pub chooses to ban smoking, that's up to the pub. The customers will vote with their feet. Likewise, if it chooses to allow smoking, those who object can go elsewhere. This is what markets are about, surely?
Despite what the anti-smoking brigade may say, the evidence against secondary smoking is flimsy to non-existent. They say- what about Roy Castle? Didn't he die of lung cancer?
Yes he did. And yes he did work in smoky clubs a long time ago. But so did I. Both my parents smoked and the smoke hung in a cloud in the living room. You could taste it. However, I'm still here and still healthy. My dad died of cancer and yes he was a smoker. Did smoking kill him? I don't think so. When he was a young man he worked on the railway and they used to lag the boilers of the engines with asbestos. He told me they used have snowball fights with the stuff. That's more likely to be the reason.
I'm against a blanket ban on smoking because I believe that the individual should have the right to choose. I don't believe for one moment that the state has any right to impose bans like this. Prohibition didn't work and this won't work either.
I live next door to a pub. Before the ban you'd never know it was there. Since the ban, the noise from the beer garden and smoking shelter disturbs the peace- my peace. What do I do? Do I complain about the noise? If I do and he closes down as a result, then I'm just part of the problem instead of part of the solution.
I'm a musician and my livelihood has been affected by the ban. Pubs are closing at an alarming rate. If I do get a booking then I play to a half full room, because the audience are outside smoking. The ban is hurting the entertainment industry but we must shut up and lump it.
Soon they are saying that they will ban smoking in the home. Surely that's my decision, not the government's?
Meanwhile Nick Hogan is in jail- as a lesson to others. He has no income and no way of paying his fine. His wife can't get to see him. If you feel strongly about this, please go to Old Holborn's site
where you can donate to pay his fine. It now stands at over £2000.
And lobby your MP