Discussion Forum
Smoke free pubs!

From Andrew Hall
Sunday, 1 July 2007

I know I'm probably out of line here, but I do wonder whether the smoking ban, introduced today, is not a little unfair. I'm not a smoker and I dislike smoking. But today I went into my local, the Fox and Goose, and a group of people - good friends of mine - were reduced to huddling in the small porch of the pub as they smoked their
cigarettes. Inside were a group of oh-so-smug people - the sort who'll make a half pint spin out for most of the afternoon. The regulars were, in effect, treated as pariahs.

'Quite right', I hear the self-righteous saying and nodding in approval. 'They've only themselves to blame'

But surely this whole affair is too draconian. Yes, I agree that some 'foodie' pubs need to be smoke free, but other pubs, where the whole ethos is pints and tobacco should be tolerated too.

Why can't we have a system where pubs that permit smoking have a big red 'S' symbol at their door, signifying that, if you enter, you may encounter tobacco smoke?

I hate the term 'do-gooders' but sadly, it rings true in this instance. The 'do-gooders' have succeeded with respect to banning tobacco in public places, But, as we all know, a do-gooder's work is never done. Their next target will undoubtedly be alcohol, and indeed, we've already seen recommendations that warning notices should be
displayed in pubs and etched on beer glasses about the dangers of drink. It's not much of a jump from there to total prohibition.

So crow away, those of you rejoice in the smoking ban and yet drink beer, wine and spirits. Be smug while you can be. But be warned - you're next in the firing line

From Tom Standfield
Monday, 2 July 2007

Andrew, I am old enough to remember the furore when the "do-gooders" brought in laws to stop people drinking and driving. Drinking and driving was normal. Nearly everyone did it, including me. We never thought people would change. But they have, and it has saved thousands of lives, many of them teenagers or men in their young twenties. The social climate has changed in a generation or two from one where drinking and driving was accepted as normal to now where it is seen as anti-social. Hey, what's so wrong about doing a little good?

My mother died sooner than she should have done because of smoking related heart disease and my cousin is currently dying of lung cancer, caused by smoking. Most of us will have people in our families or close friends who would be alive today if they hadn't smoked. My parents didn't know any better. The ads said smoking was good for the health. But we know different thanks to epidemiologist Richard Doll and others. My partner has not been able to tolerate smokey atmospheres for some years (health related), which means we haven't been able to visit pubs very often for while. That can now change.

If my children and grandchildren can grow up in a world where they are less likely to die prematurely of lung cancer or heart disease caused by smoking then I welcome the ban.

And I can also look forward to going out for a pint a little more often!

From Simon Trapp
Monday, 2 July 2007

In response to both of the previous posts on this subject.
My wife Julia and I are the owners of the Fox and Goose.
Not long after taking the pub over, we installed a no smoking room in the pub, and began asking our customers not to smoke at the bar. The choice was therefore provided for those who wish to, or not, to smoke or be subjected to smoke.

We view the Fox as our home, our customers are guests in our home, and we have now been deprived of the right to choose whether or not we can allow our guests to smoke in our home- a privelige of choice which still remains for the non-pub owning population.

I see this as a gross infringement of my rights, even as a non-smoker. I do not see this as a function of goverment - they are here to govern, not to dictate. It is government by depletion of choice, and a dangerous road. And the phooey we were fed regarding the ban protecting the workforce - no one goes (or rather, went) into the pub trade without realising they would be subjected to smoke. Choice. If you choose not to work in a smoky atmosphere go and stack shelves at the Co-op - or something!!

Those of you who know us will know that Julia has major health issues, and cannot drink, is on a majorly controlled diet, and is continually declining in mobility. One of her few pleasures in life is to smoke, and she is now performing a criminal act if she smokes in part of her home. How does that sound to everyone else? When it becomes a criminal act for you to drink more than 21 units of alcohol - whether inside or outside of your own home- how will you feel?

I didn't vote for this. I realise we are supposed to live in a democracy, but removal of choice is not democratic. In order to try and allow some freedom of choice for our customers, we have recently built a new beer garden for the pub, in the hillside away from the road, but how long will it be before choice is further eroded and smoking banned in all outside areas? Not long, this is just the foot in the door.

From Johnny Marascalco
Monday, 2 July 2007

Everyone must recognise that this legislation is not about the rights of pub customers or the removal of their choice to smoke, it is about protecting the rights and health of the pub staff.

The selfish individuals criticising this legislation are in effect arguing that these workers do not deserve the rights which protect the rest of us in the workplace, or more significantly, that their choice of job opportunites be limited to exclude pubs, clubs and bars.

From Ian M
Monday, 2 July 2007

Simon you are incorrect in your assertion that the Fox is your "home". The living quarters joined to it may be but the pub is run as a business for profit (unless you do not charge for drinks and only your friends are allowed in). That is the reason it falls under this legislation.

You state that prior to the ban you provided a room in your pub for non smokers. How was that room reached? I suspect by walking through smoking areas!

You talk about choice. The number of smokers in the UK is now below 10 million. The majority of the population is now non smoking and that majority now chooses to be able to enjoy nights out, be it at the cinema or in a pub without breathing in second hand smoke.

I choose to take my children out for a meal without having selfish people blowing toxins into their faces. I choose to get on a bus or into a taxi without it reaking of stale smoke.

Also to argue how we would I feel if it became illegal to drink more than 21 units in or out of your home is childish. Whilst we are all aware of the problems with binge drinking etc. I think I can confidently state that 99.9% of your customers who drink in your pub go home peacefully without harming themselves or anyone else. Unfortunately 100% of smokers are harming someone else the moment they light up. They are harming everyone who is within 10 feet of them.

The only downsde to this ban is that on a warm summer evening the beer gardens of pubs are going to be full of smokers, but I guess that's only a matter of time!!!

From Simon Trapp
Monday, 2 July 2007

Ian. I am perfectly within my rights to cosnsider the areas from which we trade to be part of our home. Of course, we sell drinks for profit. That is how we pay our mortgage and feed our kids, but we own the building, and very much view the area of the building which is the pub as part of our home, and our customers are all our guests and for the most part our friends. Do you come into the pub? Do you know what it is like?

Yes, currently the no smoking room is accessed via the bar - but a less heavy-handed legislation, calling for smoking rooms rather than non-smoking rooms, and excluding the bar area from the smoking area, would solve that problem here and in most pubs - I would have made the no smoking room into the smoking area, and those wishing to buy drinks would be able to without passing through the smokey areas. However, it is of course entirely right that buses, trains etc should be no smoking as there is less of an element of choice as to whether folk can use them. We all have a choice as to whether to go to the pub or not.

My main point is that my freedom of choice, as the person who owns the pub and knows, a great deal better, how my business works than a do load of Whitehall mandarins, and as having surely a right to choose, is being eroded.

You still have the choice- whether or not to go to the pub, and had that choice before the implimentation of the ban.
My reference to 21 units a week refers to the real fear amongst the sane and thinking part of the population, who are not taken in by the bland assurances of our so called government, that the ban is indeed merely the first foot in the door of Big Brother controllism. The next stage will be that it will be illegal to smoke outside, and when our Controllers get fed up with that, what next? Rationing of alcohol, perhaps, because that's bad for us as well, and we will all have little ration cards to carry round to be ticked off with each unit we buy.... Will you still thinks its childish then?

From Julie Cockburn
Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Smoke free is great. I went to a fantastic concert at the Trades on Sunday the 1st day of no smoke, Tongue and Groove with Omar Puente on violin.

I was able to stay right to the end because my eyes weren't streaming from the smoke, and I was able to wear the same jumper the next day because it wasn't reeking of that bitter old ashtray smell of other people's fags. If my jumper used to end up stinking like that then my lungs must have suffered just as much.

From Lou
Tuesday, 3 July 2007

I am not wishing to get into the rights and wrongs of the situation here.

Previously however - as non-smokers - we did not have any choice if we wished to go out for a drink - there were smokers in all pubs (maybe the new Dusty Miller was an exception to the rule here). Therefore if we wished to go for a drink we had second hand fag fumes and smoke inflicted upon us. Lump it or leave it situation.

We have been to one particular pub which is very popular for the food they serve, and have a separate seating area for diners. There is a large smoke extractor installed right next to this area which either does not work or is not put on, so the dining area gets all the smoke and fumes. Not nice.

It has been known for us to come home and shower after an evening out, and waking up to the of smell cigarettes on the pillow is horrible.

Last Sunday at our local was a delight - I did not get smoke in my eyes whilst trying to have a relaxing drink at the pub, I did not come home reeking of someone else's nasty habit, and I did not have to change my clothes for the rest of the evening. My lungs were probably better off too!

From Ian M
Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Your comments about having the choice whether or not to go to the pub is a typical comment from those who are opposed to the ban.

Why should I (and the other 50 million non smokers) be forced to have our choice of where we go dictated to by a small, declining selfish minority? Smokers in public areas have for too long ruined other people’s enjoyment of an area. This was the freedom of choice that was being eroded before the ban.

Smoke is invasive and cannot be contained by having a separate area. We have all laughed at how ridiculous the separate smoking areas on planes and trains and in restaurants are.

I am sorry you are so opposed to a piece of legislation that will make such a difference to the health and quality of life of you, your family and your customers.

Julie I am pleased you enjoyed your smoke free evening. I took my family out for a pub lunch on Sunday and it was a joy to be able to eat without clouds of smoke billowing around. It was also pretty amusing to see people huddled outside under the shelter as the driving rain lashed in from all sides. If ever proof was needed of how pathetic an addiction smoking is that was it. Torn between the choice of getting soaked to the skin or not having the next fix, drenching was preferable!

From Rev Tony Buglass
Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Ian wrote: "If ever proof was needed of how pathetic an addiction smoking is that was it. Torn between the choice of getting soaked to the skin or not having the next fix, drenching was preferable!"

I would change the word 'pathetic' to 'powerful.' If anything illustrates how easy it is to be enslaved to the weed, that's it. I don't think it's amusing to see people driven out into the storm by the craving for the next fix, I just think it's desperately sad.

I am in favour of the ban, because people who work in public places have no choice about being there, and need to be protected against second-hand carcinogens.

But I can't gloat over our victory, if victory it is, because people are suffering. The Duke of Wellington, surveying the carnage after a battle, observed that if there is anything sadder than a battle lost, it is a battle won. I watched my dad try and fail umpteen times to kick the habit. He simply couldn't. Choice can be an academic concept for the addict.

From Ian M
Tuesday, 3 July 2007

A fair point Rev. I stand corrected

From Andrew Hall
Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Ian, perhaps you are not as intransigent as your earlier posts suggest. If, as you now accept, smoking is a 'powerful' rather than a 'pathetic' addiction, you'll surely begin to appreciate what a draconian step the outright banning of smoking in public places is.

Let me give you an example.

Every Wednesday afternoon for the last 30 years (and possibly longer), a chap from Hebden Bridge has been going into the Fox and Goose. His routine is always the same - he has a bottle or two of beer (small bottles of barley wine), and smokes a pipe of tobacco. Wednesday afternoon is generally a quiet time in the Fox. To my certain knowledge, nobody has ever objected or passed comment (except in jest) about his smoking habits. In fact, most of us look forward to our Wednesday afternoon sessions - we have learnt so much about Hebden Bridge from him. The bar staff too are all smokers, and none have ever objected to him.

I saw him the other day. He appears to have effectively barred himself from the Fox. He has difficulty in climbing the stairs to the beer garden, where he could legally light his pipe (and to give credit to Simon and Julia, they have done a great deal to make the Fox as inclusive as they possibly can), and like so many people of his age (he's approaching 83 by the way), he's distressed that something he's done all his life, would, from 1st July, turn him into a criminal.

It's too easy to say that people like that should simply leave their pipes at home. As Tony has illustrated, and you Ian understand, it most certainly isn't that simple.

If we are so narrow minded that we cannot tolerate people like this in our pubs, then we shall certainly be the poorer. If it's a choice of respecting our elders and being enriched by their knowledge and experience, or having the risk of clothes that smell a bit of tobacco smoke, I'd have the former any time.

From Johnny Marascalco
Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Cough! Cough!

Can't hardly breathe for the sentimental fug.

Andrew, you may choose that, but the majority (73% according to the Beeb) do not want it.

I confess, I am not happy about the ban, but I cannot deny the fact that it is a positive thing and completely unavoidable in civilised society.

From Ian M
Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Just because something has always been that way doesn't make it right. I don't accept the ban is draconian. The attitude of smokers that they have always smoked in pubs and so everyone else must lump it, is. This is the point that smokers must realise. No one is stopping you from smoking. That is a fact - you are free to enjoy your tobacco in your own homes or outdoors. You can continue to enjoy your habit at any time.

What this legislation does is protect those who do not wish to breathe in a second hand toxic mix of pollutants. Narrow mindedness and respecting our elders doesn't even come into it. Respecting the rights of the majority who wish to live their lives without the constant dangers of passive smoking is.

It is selfish and downright arrogant to say if you don't like it don't come in. As I have pointed out before smokers are now in the minority, like drink drivers before them. They have to realise that the rules have changed.

From Larry Kin
Wednesday, 4 July 2007

I like to carry a little asbestos pulper around with me, I feed in bits of asbestos into it and it quietly pulps them into fibres and blows them out into the air (don't worry I keep it well-oiled it makes no discernible noise apart from an occasional puffing sound).

I really enjoy doing this; admittedly if I stopped doing this I wouldn't be particularly physically ill, but I would get a little irritable perhaps, find it slightly difficult to sleep for a couple of nights, and maybe put a little weight on such is the power of my little asbestos pulper. (On balance though the weight gain might not occur since I would be able to taste Mrs Kin’s cooking again.) More importantly though: I would crave carrying my little asbestos pulper around with me if I left it at home. Now, you may dismiss this craving as unimportant, but the cravings really are very strong, I feel genuine psychological discomfort when I don’t have my little asbestos pulper with me.

Rather than feel discomfort I should be allowed to use my little asbestos pulper wherever I wish and I should be allowed to blow little asbestos fibres into the face of whomever I wish. In particular I should be allowed to blow asbestos fibres into the faces of bar staff- they are here to serve me.

But some do-gooders claim that the bar staff should have their health protected (apparently there is some spurious evidence that suggests my little asbestos pulper causes mesothelioma and suchlike). This argument really doesn’t carry any force, every single bar person in the whole country has chosen from a wide range of careers and have settled on bar person as their career of choice. They have all had free choice about the career they wanted to do, none of them have been forced by economic circumstances into doing a less than ideal job so that they can afford to live. If they don’t like my little asbestos pulper then they can easily find another job.

To further demonstrate the fallaciousness of the do-gooders’ argument consider its natural extension- are they suggesting that we should somehow improve the working conditions of all employees? What ridiculous folly that would be! They are employees not employers - they should be grateful for the work that is given to them by their masters and not ask for trifles such as healthier working conditions in return.

Let us hope that the law on little asbestos pulpers doesn’t go the way of the law on smoking.

From Bernie Smith
Friday, 13 July 2007

To be perfectly honest Larry, I think that is bang out of order. Asbestos kills, and no-one had the choice locally. Very low indeed.

From Ian M
Friday, 13 July 2007

Our point exactly Bernie. Smoking Kills and anyone in the vicinity of a smoker has no choice whether they breath second hand toxins or not!