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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Awright~! A TOTAL ban on indoor smoking in public places to take effect next year in England. 
15th-Feb-2006 08:57 am
I STILL remember coughing up black, tar-stained phlegm after an evening out in London. No more! *pumps fist*

British Ban Indoor Smoking

New York Times
February 15, 2006

LONDON, Feb. 14 — After a tortured debate, Parliament voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday for a total ban on smoking in indoor public places in England — a move that seemed certain to end the time-hallowed traditions of the smoky British pub, where a pint of ale and a cigarette once defined the downtime of generations.

The decision, by an unexpectedly high margin of 384 to 184, brought England into line with Ireland, which barred smoking in public places in March 2004, and with Scotland and Northern Ireland, where bans are to come into force over the next 13 months. The local parliament in Wales has also said it will seek a full ban. The English ban is expected to come into effect next year.

The issue was seen as so divisive in the ranks of the governing Labor Party that legislators were given what is called a free vote, allowing them to defy the party line.

The Tuesday ballot overturned the re-election campaign position of Prime Minister Tony Blair's government, which had supported a partial ban permitting smoking in private members' clubs and pubs that do not serve food. The compromise would have permitted smokers to congregate in drinks-only pubs.

Opponents of that policy — including Patricia Hewitt, Mr. Blair's health secretary and, according to the Press Association news agency, Mr. Blair himself — had said passive smoking would damage the health of workers in any club or pub, whether food was served or not.

"This legislation is good news for tens of thousands of bar staff up and down the country," said Steve Webb, a legislator from the Liberal Democratic opposition. "The key issue has always been the health and safety of people who work in public places."

Ms. Hewitt said a total ban provided a "level playing field" among all premises serving alcohol.

The government says around 600,000 people will give up smoking when the new law is enforced. "This bill is going to save thousands of people's lives," Ms. Hewitt said, comparing the ban to the legal requirement to wear safety belts in cars.

Some smokers, interviewed on British television, said the decision was one more sign of a "nanny state" encroaching into private lives. But campaigners from many antismoking groups welcomed the move.

Alex Markham, the head of Cancer Research UK, called the ban "the most important advance in public health for 50 years" since researchers linked smoking to lung cancer. Ben Youdan, of the group No Smoking Day, said, "Compromises can't be made when protecting people against a killer."

People aren't allowed to drive drunk; why should they be allowed to chain-smoke in enclosed public spaces? Both have the potential to cause harm to others, and that is unacceptable. It's about time.
15th-Feb-2006 10:53 pm (UTC)
I have to admit that I do smoke occasionally, (I used to smoke 2 packs a day, and now it's one pack every 6 months or so) but I walk out of my house -I live in the country- and smoke there so that my mother and my cat don't get second hand, which is actually deemed more damaging that first. If you want to smoke, that's fine, but it should not be at the cost of other people's lives, to insist on that is just insanely uncaring, and really makes you unequipped to live in society.
15th-Feb-2006 11:00 pm (UTC)
Congratulations for cutting down! I know it's hard; my mother was heavily-addicted for years and didn't quit until she was having trouble breathing and her doctor told her she'd be dead within 5 years if she didn't.

It breaks my heart, though, when heavy smokers fail to quit or flat-out refuse. Yeah, yeah, it's your body and all, but what about the people you leave behind when you meet an untimely death? I'm still mourning two friends of the family, a husband and wife, who both died of lung cancer within a year of each other. They weren't even 60 years old, and they left behind one son not even 25 yet. I get so angry on the kid's behalf when I think about it...
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