Forest Eireann — 14 Comments

  1. If you ask me it all comes down to freedom – non smokers like to point out  that they should have the freedom to go to a pub and have a pint without having smoke blown in their faces – and I agree they should have that freedom.

    But shouldn’t smokers also have the right to go to a pub sit down and smoke if they want to? Otherwise they are basically being turned into second class citizens. Such as suggestion immediately polarises people – non smokers will say “no they shouldn’t what about my rights?” and smokers will say “yes we should what about my rights?”

    So it needs someone to step back and say “well whats the fairest solution?” Well to my mind the fairest solution would be to create a limited number of ‘smoking licences’ i.e. say 30 smoking licences are created for pubs in Kerry. Another 30 for Clare and so on.

    Then whatever pubs are willing to pay for one of the thirty licences available in that county can have the ban lifted on their premises. The smokers can then go have a smoke in these pubs. The other pubs that don’t want to pay for the licences or are out bidded or are too slow or whatever simply continue as normal. And the non smokers can go to these ones.

    You could argue thats going to create segration of smokers and non smokers but isn’t that happening already? This would simply mean that both smokers and non smokers get what they want – a pub that suits them. If smokers want to go to a non smoking pub well they’ll just have to smoke outside as per normal. If non smokers want to go to a smoking pub well they know what they’re in for. But the bottom line then is is the individual’s choice not some politician’s.

    The other main argument against such a policy would likely revolve around staff and second hand smoke etc – well I guess you’re talking freedom of choice again, if you are willing to work in a smoky environment then what right has the government got to say “no you’re too stupid to make that decision for yourself.” If your not willing to work in such an environment well you know where the door is.

  2. Vespasian – The modern argument is the “right” to smoke free air.  Is this a “right” though or a reasonable expectation?  As such “rights” can be mutually exclusive, I don’t think they can be claimed.  For example, I am allergic to artificial scents.  Does this give me a “right” to demand a perfume free pub or restaurant?  No.  Of course it doesn’t and if the government introduced a law banning the wearing of perfume in public, I would be the first to complain.  There has to be a level of tolerance and respect on both sides.

    While I would ideally like to see the law repealed altogether, I think a fair compromise is for pubs to have smoke zones, and smoke free zones.  Modern air conditioning  can easily cope with the demands of a smoke filled bar, to the satisfaction of everyone.  Why not leave the whole business in the hand os the law of supply and demand?  If a publican [and this of course applies to any business] feels that there is a demand for a smoking bar in his [or her] area, the he should be allowed open one.  If a business feels that the smoke free way is the right way, then let them continue as they are.

    One thing that amuses me is that prior to the ban, I rarely if ever heard people complain about smokey pubs.  It was accepted as the norm, and few complained.  I remember one pub near me opened a smoke free room around twenty years ago.  It lasted a few weeks, but as no one was using it, they removed the partition and reverted to business as normal.

    The law is divisive and is turning ordinary citizens against each other.  Non smokers now feel they have the right to castigate and vilify smokers because “the law is on their side”.  Is this right?  That law is a bad one.  There was no demand for it at the time, and it was merely an exercise in “showing the EU that we can be leaders in something”.

    Robert – Are you going to stand for them in the next election?  😉

  3. “For example, I am allergic to artificial scents. Does this give me a “right” to demand a perfume free pub or restaurant?  No.  Of course it doesn’t ”
    Erm…, Detroit March 2010:
    The city of Detroit’s decision to ban employees from wearing any scented products in the workplace has sparked an national conversation about how far is too far.Under the ban, employees are asked to not wear perfumes, colognes, after-shave, body and face lotion, deodorant (though we hope they mean scented deodorant, and not all deodorants), or use scented candles.

  4. One thing Forest could organize to punish the government would be to hit them where it hurts. Tax revenue. Imagine if we all quit for just one month or better still three months. I bet that would bring the politicians to heel. ‘Course there may be one teeny weeny flaw in my plan. 

  5. If a campaign is just web based it has immediately lost
    over 90% of its potential supporters.Unless a regular
    hard hitting news sheet is published and distributed ,
    the number of active supporeters will remain minimal.

    Reach out to those standing in the shadows otherwise 
    nobody will listen.

    Still waiting 

  6. Frank – Heh!  I had read about that ban, but didn’t mention it as I didn’t have the link to hand.  Thanks for that.

    TT – The flaw in your plan is that the fuckwads that run our country would compensate for the loss in revenue by increasing the tax even further.  If you don’t believe me – there are calls to increase tobacco tax to help fund cigarette smuggling.  How fucking moronic can they be?

    BoruRYO – I don’t know what their plans are, but I would imagine they plan more than just a website?  [And don’t worry.  Godot will be along any minute.]

  7. TT – I’m gobsmacked!  You never cease to amaze me.  Yes.  Do start Forest USA and I promise to be the first to join.  🙂

  8. Just in after a local meeting and a pint (or two) to follow. We got into the bar about 11ish and 3 of us popped to the  ‘shed’ for a smoke. The other 5 non-smokers followed shortly afterwards and we spent the rest of the evening out there!
    Anyway off to check out this FOREST lot now…

  9. How easily led you all are. FOREST is an astroturf campaign. It’s an industry-sponsored lobby group started by the tobacco industry, funded by the tobacco industry, and trying to portray itself as a genuine grass roots movement. It depends on gullible people signing up thinking they’re “sticking it to the man” when they’re really just being manipulated by corporate interests.

  10. Is that right now, Eamonn?  Isn’t it strange how often that argument comes up, yet no one complains that the anti-smoking lobby are heavily funded by the pharmaceutical industry?

    As a matter of interest, what difference would it make if FOREST were entirely funded by the tobacco industry?  Would it make the gripes of the smoker any less valid?  Would the smoking ban be any less divisive?


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