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Fag end of pub opposition to a total ban?

Byline: Denis Kilcommons ,

Ireland's ban on smoking in public did not have the disastrous affect on the pub trade that was predicted.

The craic is alive and well - along with the Guinness - in a smoke-free atmosphere.

But British landlords are still opposed to legislation and would rather self-regulate themselves.

A report in The Publican magazine says the number of pubs with no-smoking areas has more than doubled in the past seven years.

Fifty-two percent had designated areas in the pub's dining area or at the bar where smoking is banned.

And six out of 10 landlords think a total ban would result in severe losses and closures.

This has not proved the case in Ireland where a total ban was imposed in March.

A report from their Office of Tobacco Control says business has not been affected. In fact, non-smokers have started returning to the pub.

Psychiatric hospitals, hotel bedrooms, prison cells and nursing homes are exempt from the ban, but all workplaces in the Republic of Ireland - including company cars, film sets and cafes - are now smoke-free.

And anyone caught smoking illegally by health inspectors enforcing the ban can be fined up to 3,000 euros (pounds 2,400).

Is it time for similar legislation here?

If it was brought in, there would be no nipping to the door of the pub for a quick drag. That would be smoking in public.

Would your back garden be classed as public? Could you be fined pounds 2,400 for lighting up next to the barbecue?

There would be no more smoking in the street, in parks or the open countryside. There you are, on top of Ben Nevis and a health inspector pops up from behind a rock and gives you a ticket for rolling your own.

I make no bones about the fact that I hate smoking. It smells awful, leaves a residue of bad odour on breath and clothes and it kills. Most people who smoke would like to be able to stop but the drug is so potent they can't. Nicotine is as addictive as heroin and kills more people.

So, from a personal point of view, I would be delighted to see a public ban which will give me the freedom of choice to inhale clean rather than polluted air.

And it might encourage social smokers to quit.
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Aug 18, 2004
Previous Article:Take with a pinch of salt.
Next Article:The Diary.

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