A lot of you must be sick of my constant harping on about the smoking ban?
Before I go any further, I would like to make two things plain.
The first is that I do not advocate smoking. I would never encourage anyone to start, though I would encourage cigarette smokers to try out the pipe.
The second is that the ban does not affect me personally. I have a simple philosophy, and that is never to enter a pub that doesn’t want me, unless I absolutely have to.
So why should I care so much about the ban? There are many reasons.
The primary reason is that it is a very bad law. The law is supposed to be subservient to the people, and should be there to protect our basic rights. Yet here is a law that was created by government [who are also supposed to be subservient] without any demand for such law. It was created purely to impress the world that we were ‘leaders in the field’ and to this day, stands out as one of the strictest regimes. Laws are there to protect the people from those who would do them harm, yet there is no evidence whatsoever that smoking causes any harm to others.
Which brings me to my next point.
The laws that exist now were demanded, not by the people but by small groups such as ASH and the Irish Heart Foundation. I would ask what right any group has to demand a law? These groups seem to think that it is incumbent on them to protect the people against themselves. Freedom is supposed to be the right of every individual, yet how come these groups can get laws enacted that curtail the freedoms of individuals ‘for their own good’?
We are constantly being told that we are a tolerant society. We shout about racism and religious freedom yet when it come to one significant minority group, freedom goes out the window. Not only are smokers actively discriminated against, but the laws actually legitimise abuse against that minority. Non smokers now feel totally at liberty to chastise and castigate smokers even though what they are doing is perfectly legitimate. The fact that smokers form less that half the population is irrelevant. Itinerants and Muslims are also in a minority, yet the laws are there to protect them, and many other minorities. The smoking ban is also one of the few laws where the general public are asked to enforce it. There are smoking hotlines that the public are encouraged to use to inform on their fellow man. Publicans and business owners are deemed liable if someone smokes on their premises. Is this right?
One of the worst aspects of the smoking ban has been a raft of subsequent petty legislations such as the banning of tobacco displays in shops and the banning of the small packs of cigarettes. My great fear is that there are further laws in the pipeline banning smoking in the open air and in private cars, or even homes. This is intrusive, nonsensical and extremely petty. These laws serve no function other than to appease the tiny minority of fanatics whose aim is to socially engineer the population to fit the model of their ‘ideal citizen’.
I hate the law simply because it is one gigantic step too far by the Nanny State.
I came across this wee video yesterday. It is quite interesting as it goes into the origins of ‘passive smoking’. The subtitles require a bit of imagination and concentration, but it is worth watching nevertheless.
Tip of the cap to TheBigYin