When the smoking ban was introduced here five years ago, it was going to have a radical effect on the health of the country.
It was going to “encourage” people to give up smoking and was going to discourage people from starting.
A report by the division of Population Health Sciences at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland has been published which comes up with some interesting facts.
Apparently, smoking levels were dropping from 33% in 1998, to 27% in 2002. Since the ban was introduced, levels have risen again to 29%. This is hardly a dramatic fall in the number of smokers?
So, apart from alienating a significant sector of the population, what has the smoking ban actually achieved?
For a start, it has been a major [if not the biggest] factor in the closing of over 1,000 pubs.
Pub trade is down by an estimated 15%.
There are complaints of littered streets outside pubs and offices.
Non smokers say their clothes smell better after a night in the pub.
There is no argument regarding the pros and cons of passive smoking as there is no hard statistical evidence that it is harmful.
The one single thing it has completely failed to do is to achieve its primary objective, namely to cut down on smoking.
Apart from making people’s clothes smell less smoky, has it really been worth all that trouble, expense and loss of employment?
Is it time to have a rethink?