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New Smoking Laws and What’s Next?

I’m a smoker so I suppose I’m a bit biased about the new law banning smoking in pubs and restaurants etc. Just to get a few facts into the discussion.

Smoking is legal and raises over nine billion pounds in taxes.

Smoking related illness costs the NHS over 1.4 billion pounds – so the government make a nice profit. Not to mention the benefit of killing off smokers before they claim their pensions and cost a packet to support in nursing homes etc.

So I can’t claim they’ve brought in this law to reduce expenditure. The evidence on passive smoking is not as clear cut as for direct smoking illness but that’s always a problem with statistics.

Anyway, I’m not stupid enough to think that smoking is a good thing and although I think this new law is an example of the nanny state running roughshod over the rights of the individual for the benefit of society, it will help smokers to give up. The first law banning smoking in public was implemented by Adolph Hitler in Germany, incidentally.

I’ve tried to give up myself, more than once. Problem is that you are doing OK until you see someone having a cigarette and then the urge hits you. Nicotine is an extremely addictive drug, some experts think it is easier to get off heroin than the weed and I think they’re probably right having met ex heroin addicts who can’t give up smoking.

What is unforgivable is the health service discriminating against smokers on the dubious moral grounds that it is ‘self inflicted’. We’ve paid five times over for the health service! What about people who get drunk and have an accident? Should they be made to be drink free for a month before they get treatment? Or car drivers who crash frequently due to their habit of driving around? What about those people who go on skiing holidays and return with a broken leg, costing the rest of us money to treat? And never forget that being overweight seriously damages your health.

So I’m half for and half against the new law. However, having heard an interview with a minister from the Department of Health they’re already thinking of the next target, the booze.

To paraphrase “The extra years of life from giving up smoking are being lost due to alcohol related illness”

So it won’t matter that we can’t smoke in the pub anymore because those dens of iniquity are in the crosshairs. Not only will it provide a huge improvement in public health but it will reduce drink related crime. No more noisy vandalism and fights outside the pubs.

Even unwanted pregnancies will be reduced as the minister said drink was a cause of this. Funny, I’ve got it wrong for all these years – I thought something else made babies.

Anyway, once we have closed down the pubs we can tackle that final great public health problem – obesity. Restaurants offering meals of over 500 calories can be closed down and it can be made illegal to sell any food considered too high in fats or salt etc. In fact, any food that tastes good could be banned to deter over-eating.

Don’t worry, those pubs and restaurants can all be turned into health education centres and gyms.

In the future we will all live longer due to these fantastic changes. The average life span may increase by 10 years. Even better, it will feel like far longer than that.

Posted in Rants and Raves
5 comments on “New Smoking Laws and What’s Next?
  1. mushroom says:

    [quote]
    > In fact, any food that tastes good could be banned to deter over-eating.
    [/quote]

    And that is when allotmenteers will be in the crosshairs

  2. John says:

    Well there are some sites where you are forced to follow organic methods. I suppose it’s a short step to defining what crops are acceptable!

  3. ClaireMc says:

    Hurrah hurrah for the nanny state. Bar and club workers are thought to passively smoke the equivalent of 30 cigarettes in an evening shift. I think that’s a good enough reason on its own to ban smoking in public places.

    The ban seems to me to be just a natural extension of the creeping civilizing of shared space. Anyone else remember when every bus, cinema, restaurant and workplace was full of a thick fug of fag smoke? Basically, we all stank. The quality of life of the majority has just been vastly improved, but I can understand why a smoker can’t empathise with the rest of us as their experience of being in a smoky atmosphere is totally different from that of non-smokers.

    Last bit of rant – I’ve lost two relatives to lung cancer and the financial cost/benefit of smoking to the tax payer seemed very much beside the point during their painful and distressing deaths.

  4. John says:

    I mentioned the tax cost thing because people claim smoking is a net cost to the government and I was trying to be fair to the gov.

    Hardly a rant, ClaireMC – pretty reasoned and reasonable arguement.

  5. legend says:

    grow your own tobacco!

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