Do you mind if I smoke? No – do you mind if I fart in your face?

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

As I type, MPs are debating whether to ban smoking in pubs and clubs in England. The choices are a total ban, a ban in pubs not serving food (with complex definitions of food, so it has to be cooked on the premises I think – peanuts don’t count), and a ban in pubs but not private clubs.

I’m all for a total ban. an opponent said this morning that MPs shouldn’t be telling people what they could and could not do, but that argument only goes so far. Presumably this chap would object if Parliament said they weren’t going to legislate about people going round stabbing random strangers.
This whole ‘nanny state’ argument gets my goat. We elect politicians precisely to take up challenges such as this.

It isn’t about smokers’ rights, it’s about everybody’s rights. A smoker’s right to light up extends as far as the next person’s nose or, more importantly, their lungs. It’s bad enough visiting some pubs but imagine working there. For many bar staff it isn’t a matter of choice whether they work in a smokey atmosphere or not, it’s a matter of necessity. I’m old enough to remember the days when offices allowed people to smoke. I used to sit next to a girl who lit up several times a day and let me tell you, as nice as she was, it really wasn’t a pleasant experience. Working in a bar with smokers must be a thousand times worse – more so, I would imagine.

If there is no ban, or only partial ban, I for one will begin a campaign to ensure that all public swimming pools have ‘urinating’ and ‘non-urinating’ sections clearly marked. And why not make pubs have masturbation and non-maturbation zones too? It makes far more sense than having smoking and non-smoking sections.

Actually I can see that one catching on. Sorry for any images popping up in your head right now…

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