Do you think smoking should be banned in Leeds beer gardens?
Stop Smoking in Leeds Public Places
The battle to ban smoking in pub gardens is hotting up, so I read. The Royal Society for Public Health argues that smoking needs to be seen as abnormal and, therefore, current bans should be extended to include public open spaces, including areas outside schools, in public parks and in street areas outside restaurants and clubs etc.
As someone who helps people to stop smoking, my natural instinct is to support the proposal, of course. To be sure, smoking should not be regarded as normal and just as importantly non-smokers should not be subjected to other people’s cig fumes. I’m flummoxed that smoking outside school gates, for example, is still allowed. Parents who do so should be asking themselves some serious questions, like, “Do I need my head tested?” And the answer is: “Yes, of course you do.”
On principle, though, I don’t like bans per se. For example, I’d be in favour of legalising all drugs – not because I think taking recreational drugs is a cool idea but because everyone has the right to be a prat if they want – just so long as they make sure that being a prat doesn’t involve hurting anyone else. Use of such drugs in public would, of course, affect others and so that would be a no-no. Likewise smoking cigarettes affects others and, therefore, by logic should not be allowed in public either. What non-smoker is there who likes to share a park bench with someone gasping away on a Marlboro Lite or whatever? At the moment, it’s hard to sit outside a pub in summertime without coughing on someone’s cig smoke as the die-easy bands of smokers monopolise the gardens. If for commercial reasons pubs still wanted to construct smoking booths in their gardens away from others, I’d say let them do it. The sight of smokers in such facilities is a mite absurd, if not pathetic, which might be enough to encourage at least some folk to stop smoking or at least others never to start.