England also to ban smoking in pubs
I think I speak for all of us at Europhobia when I say "the bastards!" We've already covered how smoking bans in public spaces don't actually help people to quit smoking, and everything Rhona was saying about Scotland pretty much applies to the proposed English ban as well.
The fact that the English ban is in restaurants and "pubs that serve food" (whatever that might mean) makes this even more nonsensical. It smacks decidedly of a vote-winning ploy, aimed at the self-righteous, largely middle-class non-smoking lobby who want to be able to have a nice glass of chianti in a gastropub (probably along with their goujons of plaice in a light dill sauce with a side of sauteed asparagus and curly fries) without coughing on someone else's smoke.
The people who want to ban smoking in pubs are precisely the people who don't understand what pubs are all about. It's like me going into a vegetarian restaurant and getting annoyed that I can't have a nice juicy steak.
But hey - smokers can still go to pubs that don't serve food! So that's all right then. Pubs without food are - these days - usually in working-class areas. So the poor can still smoke themselves to death, as long as they don't do it where Tristram and Priscilla can be upset by their fumes and coughing.
Smoking has been a central part of pub culture for centuries - the majority of regular pub-goers either smoke themselves, or don't mind - and non-smokers have the ability to go elsewhere if they don't like it. It's called market choice.
So why can't this sort of decision be left to the landlords? The Wetherspoons chain (one of the largest in the UK, with pubs in most towns) are already introducing chain-wide smoking bans. This alone will give most towns at least one smoke-free pub. If the market is calling for more non-smoking drinking dens, more will appear, just as more no smoking areas are appearing in pubs and restaurants throughout the land.
Why legislate to force something on people when the market can dictate? That way everyone's happy - smokers get to smoke, non-smokers get to have pubs where they aren't bothered by me lighting up.
Update: Oh God... I appear to be agreeing with the Tories... (Although the proposal by the "Lib Dem Youth and Students" to introduce "smoking licenses" for pubs may also be workable...)