How will the new smoking law affect us?

HEALTH SECRETARY, Patricia Hewitt called it a moment, which “is going to save thousands of peoples lives”. She was referring to the vote made last Tuesday which saw MP’s from all three main political parties voting unanimously on a full smoking ban across public places in England. With changes coming after growing fears of the effects of second-hand smoke.

The ban which is due to be introduced in Summer 007, has received mixed reaction during a survey carried out on York campus by Nouse last week; with the most prominent argument against the ban being concerns over civil rights. James Copeland from Alcuin college said its an “infringement on civil liberty”. Helen Tillen also from Alcuin added “if we want to die, why can’t we? They are trying to eradicate all the cool people from society.”

Such concern over whether it is people’s right to be able to smoke in public societies was the main reason behind several MP’s voting against the bill in the commons last week. Simon Clark director of smoking support group Forest thought “The Government should educate people about the health risks of smoking but politicians have no right to force people to quit by making it more difficult for people to consume a legal product.” These views were shared by a non-smoker who argued “bars and clubs should decide whether to be non-smoking”.

Despite this, several students thought that the risks posed to bar staff in a smoky environment were ‘unacceptable’. A York Graduate, currently working at the Charles said ‘the fact that I won’t be working in a smoky environment any more is brilliant. I won’t have to clear any more ashtrays, or ask people not to smoke at the bar.’

With second hand smoke being widely considered to increasing the risk of cancer and shortening life expectancy, health worries were as expected the main argument of non-smokers and smokers alike who were in favour of the ban. Smoker, Matt Gregory said ‘I don’t think people who are non-smokers should have to breathe my fumes, it’s embarrassing!’ This view was echoed by Owain Lewis a non-smoker who thought that ‘peoples lives are more important than others addictions’.

This was the common view of the majority of non-smokers who were surveyed, with many expressing their pleasure at the reduction in air pollution in bars and clubs. Lucy Watkins was asked in Vanbrugh bar on Friday evening about her thoughts on the new legislation and said ‘I think it’s a really great idea, just here in Vanbrugh it stinks of smoke and it’s awful, the changes are a good thing for health’. James Copeland was more interested in not having to wash his jumpers so regularly.

Although the students interviewed lavished much praise upon the laws, some undergraduates voiced their concerns over the Governments role in encouraging Britain’s smoking epidemic over the decades. Tom Van Rassum, a smoker who was surveyed in the Charles on Friday evening said ‘I don’t see how the government can tell me I can’t smoke’, ‘if people want to go out and smoke they should be able to. Its our choice’.

His friend Jonathan Davidson, who is also a smoker, added ‘the amount of money the government has got from us over the years from taxing cigarettes and now they suddenly expect the population to stop smoking, are the government going to provide nicotine patches?’ Some also criticised the government for being old-fashioned. Kevin Atkinson, a York resident argued this is not New Labour this is old Conservative. We argued about Russia doing this kind of thing in the seventies.

However as one student who wished to remain un-named remarked “the bill is bound to cause controversy as there are so many views”.

Key Facts:

The smoking legislation will come into force in Summer 2007

In England smoking will be prohibited in all public areas including bars, clubs and restaurants

Fines for smoking in non-smoking areas are to be raised from £200 to £2500

20 comments

  1. 3 Oct ’06 at 2:37 pm

    Roger Foulser

    Hi re the smoking ban due to take effect from July 2007.I have been informed that MP’S will be able to smoke in the bar at the house of commons, as this is classed as a palace, is this correct?

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  2. This is true: Westminster is exempt as it is classed as a Royal Palace. There have been a couple of Early Day Motions submitted by MPs asking that the ban is extended to include the smoking room at Westminster, suggesting that at least a few MPs are uncomfortable with this double standard.

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  3. I work in supported housing for people with mental health problems, we have a drop in centre where they come during the daytime and we have a smoking area there, do these laws mean that they cant smoke here? It worries me because for most of them they smoke a lot and it is therapeutic for them, if they cant smoke in the drop in centre, then they may not come in and therefor miss out on the support they need.

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  4. i think smoking shouldnt be banned as like it has been said, the government makes so much money from tax of cigarettes, they are going to loose quite alot of money since people wont be buying cigaretes and plus they are going to offer nicotince patches which will cost the government money, money which they wont have from not getting tax from fags.

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  5. 30 Mar ’07 at 9:23 pm

    Sieglinda Joachim

    Tom, have you thought about how much money tax money the NHS spends on lung cancer, heart disease, COPD and all of the upper respiratory tract infections caused by smoking? The goverment is not going to loose money due to the smoking ban, it is going to save a massive amount of money.
    But even if the goverment would have lost money on the smoking ban(which it will not), the human suffering caused by smoking would be worth the loss of the tax revenue from fags. Where are your morals?

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  6. On this one, Sieglinda, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Particularly since earlier this year one of my brothers (a long-term smoker) had one of his lungs removed, and my other brother works in an intensive care ward and will see a family lose someone everyweek from the effects of smoking. You could place a massive tax on heroin, but thats no argument for selling it in Boots or putting a vending machine next to the bar..

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  7. 2 Apr ’07 at 9:09 am

    Sieglinda Joachim

    Sophia

    Sorry to hear about your brother’s illness, it must be very difficult for him and your whole family. I understand because my mother-in law had COPD and suffered for many years before she lost her fight to lung disease in 2005.

    A note to smokers who are still smoking in the presence of others before the ban:

    Soon it will be against the law to harm others by exposing them to your second hand smoke, why not do the right thing now and CHOOSE to not harm others NOW by refraining from exposing them to from today.

    MOST IMPORTANTLY-

    For years you have argued that you should have the choice to smoke and that others have the choice to not be in the pub with you breathing your fumes. But…. infants do not have the ability to choose to protect themselves by getting up out of their prams and avoiding your smoke.

    Not only does in utero and childhood secondhand smoke exposure cause decreased lung function and asthma in children, but such exposure is also responsible for poor lung function and respiratory disease in adults. Men who report postnatal secondhand smoke exposure and women who report prenatal exposure are more likely to have respiratory problems as adults.

    The 2006 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, “The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Secondhand Smoke,” has concluded that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke and that, on average, children are exposed to more secondhand smoke than adults.

    Children are significantly affected by secondhand smoke. Children’s bodies are still developing, and exposure to the poisons in secondhand smoke puts them at risk of severe respiratory diseases and can hinder the growth of their lungs. Secondhand smoke is a known cause of low birth weight, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, middle ear infection, and other diseases. The health effects of secondhand smoke exposure from conception through childhood lasts a lifetime.

    DEADLY STATS
    If both parents smoke, baby’s SIDS risk is 3½ times greater than if neither parent smokes.
    If mother smokes, but father doesn’t, baby’s risk is 2 times greater.
    If father smokes, but mother doesn’t, baby’s risk is 1½ times greater.

    Secondhand tobacco smoke exposure raises adolescents’ risk of metabolic syndrome – a disorder associated with excessive belly fat that increases one’s chances of heart disease, stroke, and type II diabetes.
    Secondhand smoke exposure impairs a child’s ability to learn. It is neurotoxic even at extremely low levels. More than 21.9 million children are estimated to be at risk of reading deficits because of secondhand smoke. Higher levels of exposure to secondhand smoke are also associated with greater deficits in math and visuospatial reasoning.

    If you reached down and broke your child’s arm, brutal though it may be, your child would most likely recover. The damage you do to your child when he or she breaths in your smoke is PERMANENT brain and lung damage.

    Soon the law will change and smoking will be considered child abuse as it is in the US. Soon the first case where someone who’s baby died of SIDS will be tried for murder when high levels of nicotine are found post-mortem. Will it be you?

    Do you need to wait for the law to change in order to control yourself from harming your child?
    Why not make the choice, of your own free will to not harm your own child?

    Read
    McMartin, K.I.; Platt, M.S.; Hackman, R.; Klein, J.; Smialek, J.E.; Vigorito, R.; Koren, G., “Lung tissue concentrations of nicotine in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS),” Journal of Pediatrics 140(2): 205-209, February 2002.
    Yolton, K. et al., “Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Cognitive Abilities of U.S. Children and Adolescents,” Environmental Health Perspectives, 113(1): 98-103.

    Thank you,
    -S

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  8. Ive seen so much effort in telling people how bad smoking is to them and those around them.As well as the ban the age to buy cigarettes is going up to 18.i wonder where the loss of tax money is going to come from.
    It would be nice to see the government put half as much effort into stopping people being killed,maimed and beaten by those who drink alcohol.

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  9. people should be able to smoke in public houses has the owner of the public houses are going to be out of business as they will lose customers that may have been going for months/years their is alot more smokers then non- smokers

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  10. Why all the focus on the smokers? i understand that it is a public safety risk BUT what about all the alchohol abuse and the risks involved with drinking ‘one too many’? is it just me that thinks that we are perhaps just a little too harsh on the smokers while in the meantime there is a growing problem with youth and all ages for that matter related to alchohol? drunk drivers kill – yes? never heard of accidents caused by smoking!

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  11. No one has ever died of good health. All these people that might otherwise die at a younger age may well live longer to claim state pension and develop much more expensive illness that we can all have to pay for. We are all going to die a fact
    12 million people do smoke many enjoy it. Bars /clubs should have the freedom to decide. The revenue lost to the state will be recovered by more taxes upon the non smockers as well.Carbon foot print and related is just one such area.
    Mean while people will consume class A & B drugs untaxed in doors in the warm. I now smoke more, instead of having one now & then when I please I have to get my fix in craming setions 2/3 when I can Taxes paid by me in fags = £4000.00PA. Privet health insurance would provide a room and all the staff in the Savoy for that anual priemium

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  12. I’ve been successfully quit smoking, because my frined is died at heart disease. I’ve learned many information about it. And i just quit smoking. It’s difficult, but it’s need

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  13. I believe that there should be no smoking laws or bans exept for in hospitals smoking is a persons right and the government is taking away our rights day by day if someone doesnt want to smoke then they dont have to smoke.
    smoking should be accepted by the government and the people who dont smoke if you dont like to be around people who smoke then dont go to places where they smoke it is simple if you need to go to that place then deal with it
    you just cant stomp on peoples rights and say that just because I dont smoke means that you cant smoke. Life is not fair. this is supposed to be a free country and it is becoming a Totalitarian run country soon we will have no rights.
    whats next no talking in public places. think about other people. because every person in the united states has equal rights. and that is how it should be.

    email: [email protected]

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  14. So, Bob Motz, your argument basically is that smokers should have the rights to smoke wherever they want, therefore restricting the rights of non-smokers to have clean air in places were they want to go to work, drink and eat?

    Businesses aren’t allowed to stick chemical ridden fumes into public places, I don’t see how you can justify individuals doing it either.

    The difference between talking and smoking is that no-one ever died of talking, and it’s not like the government has stopped you smoking in your or your friends houses, is it?

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  15. Chris,

    Actually part of the legislation involves people not being allowed to smoke in their own homes if they work from home under certain conditions:

    http://www.smokefreeengland.co.uk/faq/locations.html#home

    Hope this helps.

    Peter

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  16. Peter,

    Then it isn’t just their home, it is also their workplace.

    I’m sick to death of these ignorant smokers using that argument Bob used. “Oh, you’re taking our rights away!” The difference is you *choose* to smoke, you don’t have to! Smoking affects others so you shouldn’t be able to go around smoking near people who don’t want it in their face.

    Besides, smoking is a filthy habit, I don’t see the attraction to it at all. Get some backbone and give up, otherwise do it in your own private space.

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  17. you know wt iam a teenge smoker and i think its alowed of bulls

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  18. That *must* be satirical.

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  19. Smoking makes my health bad, that’s why I quit smoking! Indeed,it is not very difficult

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  20. This is a very informative post, i was searching in google for Lung Cancer and came across this post. My niece is suffering from Lung Cancer, information mention in this article will greatly help me in offering her some advice.

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