This is a proposal for the government to relax – or overturn – their excessive ban on smoking in public houses by allowing them all to set aside a specially designated room for their use.
This room should be well-ventilated – with properly functioning air conditioning vents / extractors – and checked monthly by Health and Safety officials and passed fit for purpose. Secondly, the room should be segregated from the rest of the pub area (but easily accessible) by a set of saloon doors with windows that should be kept closed to prevent smoke blowing out to the rest of the bar area.
Why does this idea matter?
I am a non smoker myself (having never smoked) and I do object to my clothes smelling of stale cigarette butts when I go to pubs, restaurants, clubs, etc, but even so I think it is wrong for all smokers to be forced outside of pubs just to light up. Regardless of special smoking canopies and terraces being erected outside pubs for their benefit, there are TWO distinct disadvantages to this – and it's clear that the government haven't thought this through properly before rushing through the legislations.
Firstly: likely obstruction of pavements and noise pollution problems. Nobody likes to see an intimidating gaggle of blokes all loitering outside of the pub smoking and raising their voices (even more so if they're all drunk). Where pubs are situated in residential streets this problem is very acute and far from solving one problem this no-smoking rule actually creates two more, of which the other is:
Secondly: pavement litter. Uncountable millions of cigarette butts now lie permanently wedged within the cracks of pavements around the vicinity of our pubs, thanks to the government's no-smoking legislation. This is one of the most unsightly consequences of this law, and no amount of street sweeping or provision of cigarette-bins for the smokers will eradicate this problem.
There simply is no logic in a pub existing at all if a large proportion of its clientelle is forced to stand outdoors. Surely the whole point of a public house existing at all is to provide a place for people to make as much noise as they want so long as it is contained within its four walls – NOT through having them all standing outside for long periods.
Of course, I fully support no smoking bans being allowed to stand in the majority of enclosed public spaces such as shopping malls, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, snooker halls, etc… but to outlaw smoking completely within the confines of public houses is just a legislation too far. Pubs by their very nature are places for social interaction that involves smoking as well as drinking. To restrict smokers' liberties in this way is actually counter-productive. And this counter-productiveness has been amply demonstrated the length and breadth of the country whereby thousands of pubs have been forced to close every day – thousands !! – as a direct consequence of this smoking ban.
The fact that pubs are losing patronage and valuable business daily because they have been ordered to send smokers outdoors instead of providing a designated room for them within should really serve as a loud wake up call to the government if they – as they claim – show the slightest bit of concern or compassion for the plight of England's licensees and landlords who are all under immense pressure as their clientelle dwindles at an alarming rate, forcing many of them with no option left but to shut up shop.
THIS is the legacy of an ill-advised and ill-conceived piece of legislation that really should be reversed forthwith.