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Friday, 12 April, 2002, 13:19 GMT 14:19 UK
Should smoking be banned in public places?
People visiting smoky public places two or three times a week and those working in the hospitality industry are at high risk of smoking-related disease, according to new research.

Pubs, clubs, restaurants, casinos, concert halls or sports clubs are all deemed to be at risk.

The findings have been released by the London Assembly's Smoking in Public Places Committee after months of investigation into the damage caused by passive smoking.

In one year, passive smoking was found to be linked to more than 1,000 deaths in London from coronary heart disease.

Should smoking be banned in public places? Do you feel it would benefit your health? Or does it infringe on the rights of the individual to smoke?

This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


On a recent trip back to my home town, Sydney, I was delighted to see the results of the laws passed in New South Wales preventing people from smoking where food is served. As many Sydney pubs have restaurants, you are able to go for a great pub meal and drink without having to breathe other peoples' noxious fumes - it was fantastic! I say, bring it on England!
Gordon, London


If we never did anything that was bad for us or others, we wouldn't get out of bed in the morning.

Mike, UK
I think a ban on smoking would show a worrying trend. Will our rights be cut down further and further in the future by people who say that it's not good for us/them/society? Where is the line drawn and who decides who makes these decisions? In the future do we ban drinking because it causes car crashes? Do we ban adding salt to food because it causes diseases? If we never did anything that was bad for us or others, we wouldn't get out of bed in the morning.
Mike, UK

Anyone with half a brain and any conscience, must see that one group's addiction should not be allowed to kill another group of innocent people. And if they don't see it that way - they should be forced to see it that way!
PaulC, Largs, UK

The NHS is now planning to introduce a new drug to help people quit smoking at a cost of 50 million per year. Meanwhile we are still allowing tobacco to be advertised. Ban smoking in public places and eventually ban it altogether.
Tom, UK

The smokers do not care for their own health, how can we expect them to care for others? So, some higher authority needs to restrict them.
Sarah Hamilton, U.S.A

Why do we need legislation? If everyone is so against smoking, then why don't pubs/clubs etc. simply enforce their own smoking ban? The reason is that not enough people would use it. I am a non-smoker but I firmly believe that legislating everything is not the way. If the public really want smoke free areas then we will get them by voting with our feet, we shouldn't need laws.
Ollie J, England

There is absolutely no question that smoking should be banned in public places. It is unquestionably a dirty, unhealthy and disgusting habit. If people want to smoke and don't care about their own health or that of anyone else, let them smoke in their own home and in their own car. They do not have the right to injure someone else to satisfy their own disgusting habit.
Stephen Jennings, USA


Get out of the 70's people. Stop smoking

Lori Smith, USA
Get out of the 70's people. Stop smoking. It's so passe. And you absolutely do not have the right to stick your stinky habit in someone else's face. No smoking anywhere!
Lori Smith, USA

I think smoking should be banned in some public places but not all. I use New Street Station in Birmingham every day - although smoking is banned in any part of the station, all the smokers stand outside the main door having a cigarette before they go into the station, so I still have to walk through a cloud of stale smoke to get into the station and get my train. This kind of selfish behaviour is what gives smokers a bad name. People can choose not to go to a smoky pub but you can't choose to avoid a station which is on your route to work every day. I object to having to breathe any kind of pollution - that includes cigarette smoke, and car exhaust fumes from the ridiculous numbers of cars on the road when I am cycling to the station in the morning. We all need to think about what we are doing to our environment and start showing some responsibility, towards ourselves and others.
Fiona, UK

I think that a ban on smoking isn't implementable - the smoking public are too stupid and selfish. All it would mean is that it would go underground and become a bigger problem - like cannabis. After working in a shop which sells tobacco, I know the mindset of the thousands who came in to buy these overpriced poison sticks, and they would still smoke in the streets, legislation or no. I feel sorry for these worthless people who take pleasure in such a disgusting and utterly filthy habit, and even more sorry for those like myself who have to smell their fumes. Don't try to liken car fumes to cigarette smoke - it smells nowhere near as bad.
G Douglas, Scotland

If you banned smoking in public places, where would all the cool people hang out?
Stephen, UK

I certainly think smoking should be banned on crowded dance floors. I have kittens every time I see some selfish, inconsiderate idiot flailing their arms about with a lighted cigarette in their hand!
Jane, Wales, UK


I am glad I have quit but I am certainly not going to join the sickening throng of health and culture fascists who have found in smokers a new pariah class to beat up

Arjun Sen, United Kingdom
I speak as a smoker who has finally managed to quit - after 25 years! I am glad I have quit but I am certainly not going to join the sickening throng of health and culture fascists who have found in smokers a new pariah class to beat up. I'll never forget that I enjoyed my smoking for so long and the battle to stay a non-smoker will be an active one for as long as I live. Smoking should not be banned in public places. All public places should have smoking and non-smoking sections. The smoking section should reflect the size of the smoking population instead of being a token gesture. It's a commonplace absurdity nowadays that in public places the smoking sections are bursting with people and the non-smoking areas are half-empty. Is it fair to treat smokers as second-class citizens like the trains that are overfull in second class and near empty in first?
Arjun Sen, United Kingdom

Of course smoking should be banned in public. It is now a well known fact that smoking or passive smoking can be bad for your health. Obviously illness caused by smoking varies from people to people a sort of 'Russian roulette'. So why is it permitted for smokers to put non-smokers' health at risk, infringing their individual right to breath clean air! I am all for individual human rights so long as it doesn't effect others health.
Andrew Trimby, UK

I am highly in favour of banning smoking in public places. I can get aggressive when I enter a public place blue with smoke.
R.Dirven, The Netherlands

Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable deaths in the developed world. Anything that can cut it down has to be a good thing. However, I have my doubts about whether banning it in public places would make any difference. It is already banned in all sorts of places (buses, trains etc) and the bans are widely ignored. I got on a bus in London one evening when even the driver was smoking. Perhaps it would be better to concentrate on enforcing some of the bans already in place.
Adam, UK


As an ex-smoker I can see why those that smoke think that banning smoking is possibly an infringement on their human rights, but what about the rights of those that don't smoke?

Karl, UK
As an ex-smoker I can see why those that smoke think that banning smoking is possibly an infringement on their human rights, but what about the rights of those that don't smoke, and don't wish to inhale smoke from other peoples 'fags' (Paul Bennett!)? Is it not right that non-smokers should be able to walk down the street, go into a bar, or a restaurant, or even work in a smoke free environment? Those that choose to smoke have every right to do so, but when it affects the health of other people then they should be prevented from doing so. I wonder If a smoker could be charged with actual bodily harm for the damage their smoke does to others?
Karl, UK

I am a non-smoker, and I don't believe that smoking should be totally banned in public places. Although I believe that smokers should only be allowed to smoke in well ventilated areas (or outside). As the main problem with passive smoking comes when the smoke is allowed to hang in the air. I do think that some of the arguments of the smokers are rather strange as many have compared smoking to driving a car, which to my knowledge is not an activity done in a crowded pub or restaurant. Other smokers argue that non-smokers should boycott areas that allow smokers or even shops that sell tobacco products, which would mean non-smokers avoiding supermarkets, newsagents, petrol stations, pubs, clubs and restaurants - hardly a realistic or practical suggestion!
John G, England

This country could not survive under current taxation levels without smokers. The revenue from tobacco tax far exceeds the cost to the NHS of smoking-related illnesses, and earns the Treasury billions each year. The image of the smoker as a social pariah is a stark contrast to the tax breaks that smokers give to the population as a whole. Ban or reduce smoking by any means, and watch general taxation skyrocket.
Dan, UK

First of all, I have little faith in the whole research on passive smoking. The study supposedly showed that a between a smoker and the non-smoking spouse, the chances of developing cancer were higher than the smoking partner. But doesn't that encourage the non-smoker to take up to the habit to actually lessen the risks? Perhaps divorce in this case is the only answer. I have always believed that the science conclusions concerning the passive smoking issue were flawed and probably manipulated. Another thing to remember that the American administration that gave us the passive smoking issue also wanted mandatory urine analysis of all employed citizens for illegal drug use. In short, the whole debate is about taking away the freedom of choice for the imagined good of the society. Fine, but shouldn't this include all health-related bad habits, such as drinking alcohol? It strikes me as rather ironic that people are complaining about the dangers of passive smoke in the local pub! It isn't a health club and the risk alcohol poses to your health are as great if not greater than smoking. Aren't there much more dangerous substances that people should be concerned about?
Mike, Turkey

So, non-smokers choose to go bars where people smoke, complain they are smoky, and start demanding all bars should be smoke-free. Great logic. On that basis, why not make all restaurants vegetarian, so that non-meat eaters won't ever be nauseated by the sight of a rare steak? Instead of insisting that every one should march to their tune, why don't non-smokers open and attend non-smoking bars? Of course, these bars won't be financially viable, but maybe we could direct some of our cigarette taxes towards subsidising them. It would be worth it for a break from all the whining!
Stephanie, UK


Legislation is already in place. It's called the Litter Act

Ian Henry, Germany
Banning smoking in public places is not necessary. Legislation is already in place. It's called the Litter Act. It just needs to be rigorously enforced.
Ian Henry, Germany

I suggest we should ban alcohol completely. Think about it. There are many diseases linked to alcohol, so it would save life. It would save businesses money since many people with hangovers would not call off sick. In terms of "passive drinking" think about the effects on unborn babies. In addition to that, there are all the victims of fights started by drunks and of course the victims of road accidents due to drink driving. How do our non-smoking friends feel about this? Let's see how many "if used in small amounts it doesn't harm you" or "That would be an infringement of our rights" I get from them?
Anthony, London, UK

What right does a smoker have to allow their pathetic addiction to contribute to the death of a non-smoker? Non-smokers don't seem to have any rights in this issue. If I go to a bar, club, cafe, I want to enjoy breathing clean air and not worry about my socialising leading to my untimely death. Smoking should certainly be banned in public places - throughout the world.
Douglas, UK

Oh, for God's sake! It's a bit of smoke haze from a few shreds of smouldering foliage - not a cyanide gas attack! What a pampered and pathetic shadow of a formerly tough people we have become! If you want to live a pollution-free life and breath sterile air, go and live in Antarctica and eat penguins. Raw of course - because you don't want to spoil the atmospheric purity by lighting a fire.
Chris B, England

Yes, inhaling smoke is a danger, but we used to have to deal with sabre-toothed tigers back in the stone-age. Get on with life and stop whingeing!
Andrew (non-smoker), Germany (British)

The biggest pollutant in your country is the 'there could be a link' stories put out by various vested interest groups. In the recent past we have the CJD scare, the MMR scare. How about putting your energies into something that actually matters instead of getting wound up over the latest hype?
John, France

I think that it is a marvellous idea. Smoking in public places is banned over here in California. It is so nice to come back from restaurants and bars without the smell of cigarettes on my clothing and in my hair. The one thing I dislike about travelling is that when I go to bars I always end up with that foul smell on my clothes. At first people here despised the idea. However, one no longer hears the complaints that used to be voiced. In some bars you can find smoking rooms, so the people who are really bent on the whole idea can go there to pollute their lungs.
Renee, USA

I know some smokers are responsible but others clearly are not. When I'm standing at the bus station waiting to go home after work I have no choice but to breathe in the smoke from others. I have no choice, I can't go and stand anywhere else as I'd probably miss the bus. It's often the same at train stations. A smoker has the right to smoke but what rights do I have as a non-smoker? The only choice I have is to drive in to work which is hardly good for the environment and kicks out it's own pollutants. But it's not just the smoke, it's the litter as well. Why can't smokers dispose of the dog ends properly and not just dump them on the street.
James, UK

As an ex-smoker I understand the defensive stance that smokers take when their "rights" are brought into question. However, I think the solution to the "no public smoking" issue at some US airports could work. Basically they have installed glass-walled smoking rooms. It's actually quite entertaining when you're waiting for your flight to watch these rooms become smokier and smokier. But hey, if you want to sit in there and suck down those fumes, more power to yah!
Cath, USA

As someone with asthma, I have great difficulty eating in non-vegetarian restaurants, waiting for trains, or doing other activities in which I am forced to inhale cigarette smoke. I have no objection to separate smoking rooms but so-called two table "non-smoking" sections are absurd. I think the 10% of all people with asthma and other respiratory ailments deserve the same accessibility accommodations as those in wheelchairs. A smoking environment is simply inaccessible or harmful to a substantial portion of the population.
Alice Meynell, UK


A ban on smoking in public would really help me

Kate, UK
I am a smoker but I would love to give up. A ban on smoking in public would really help me, because that's exactly when giving up gets hard - when everyone else is having one. I also think on a similar issue we should impose much tighter restrictions on car owners to minimise exhaust fumes. Maybe eventually we could have a city that doesn't stink.
Kate, UK

Certainly smokers have rights but so do non-smokers. If you want to smoke go right ahead but do it in your own home. I should not have to inhale your smoke in the work place, the street, bars or restaurants, just so you can have your nicotine fix at the expense of your own and others' health. Occupational Health and Safety, is a serious issue today. With all the overwhelming information on the effects of passive smoking I think that smoking in a workplace should be deemed an occupational health hazard.
Dale Ross, Nova Scotia, Canada

As a smoker I do take offence to many of these comments claiming that I pollute the air of others. I would also like to breathe fresh air when I venture outside. Unfortunately this is denied me by the vast numbers of non-smokers who pour their stinking car exhaust fumes into my lungs. They don't seem to care about that do they? If the Government ban smoking in public places then they ban toxic car exhaust in public places too. And the 10 minute smoke break at work is less than the 30 minutes break many others have going for food and coffee and chatting to friends on the telephone. Not to mention smokers fund the NHS three times over. And if you object to smoking why on earth do you buy products from companies that sell tobacco products.
Steve, UK

The arguments put forward by the smokers really are weak. The whole point is that you are causing harm to others. It is not your "legal right" to cause harm to others (Julius, London), nor is it comparable to eating smelly food or shouting (Guy, England). Smelly food and sitting next to someone who shouts a lot will not give me a sore throat or lung cancer.
Andrew, New Zealand

I don't live in the UK so I don't feel I should comment on what you should or shouldn't do. I live in California in the USA, where smoking has been banned in restaurants and bars for about six years. It is great! The first time I went to my favourite bar after the ban was introduced, I could breathe and when I came home my hair and clothes didn't smell like smoke. I also have friends who have come from Europe and enjoy our smoke-free environment.
Shaquina, USA

It should be banned. I hate coming back from a night out and stinking of smoke. I also can't understand why pubs that have non smoking areas always put them so that you have to walk through the smoking area to get to them, it should be the other way round! Anyone who says the rights of the individual are being infringed upon may have a point, but what about the individuals who are having their rights infringed upon by the smokers who causing them harm? Smoking causes far more damage than it does good therefore it should be banned.
Tom O'D, UK

I have a choice where I go and what I do, to a certain extent. If I don't like being in a smoke filled public place I'll go away. I think that the smokers are not the selfish ones in this argument. I think it is the people who want to see some sort of smoking legislation that are being selfish and not exercising their right to make a choice. If you can't stand the smoke go away!
Charlie, Holland


Let's go for zero tolerance of smoking in public places

Janis, England
My father died of passive smoking-related lung cancer, and I feel very strongly that people who choose not to smoke should not be subjected to others' exhaled (more dangerous) smoke in public places. I avoid restaurants that permit smoking and am glad that theatres and cinemas are now non-smoking. Let's go for zero tolerance of smoking in public places.
Janis, England

Singapore has introduced severe limits on where people may smoke, and it is great! Restricting the locations where cigarettes may be purchased, and where they may be smoked should do wonders for the health of the nation.
John Atkins, England

I think anyone who wants to ban smoking in public places should leave the city and get a life in a sterile oxygen bubble - that way they can have all the healthy clean air they like, and I can enjoy my legal right to smoke a cigarette in peace.
Julius, London, UK

Whilst smokey rooms aren't exactly pleasant, I think that people shouldn't harp on about pubs and restaurants as if they have a god-given right to be there. "The management reserve the right to refuse admission" means exactly what it says.
Chris, UK


Should shouting be banned?

Guy Hammond, England
Should eating smelly food be banned in public places? Should shouting be banned? I am not a smoker and think it's an ugly habit, but have a care that one day the freedoms you enjoy aren't trampled by an over-eager majority.
Guy Hammond, England

Some weeks ago I was driving along the motorway when someone in a passing vehicle threw their dog-end out of the window. It landed on my car near the air intake and the car interior was immediately filled with the awful smell of dead cigarette. My point is this - let's encourage smokers to be more considerate about how they dispose of smoking materials. This includes cellophane wrappers of fag packets, plus the packets themselves, as well as dog-ends. A huge proportion of litter in town and countryside is smoking related.
John Welford, UK

Back in the 1980's the US started the same campaign that I see the UK doing right now. Smokers beware...here in the States we are so restricted that it makes smoking impossible anywhere but outside - and even that has restrictions!
CindyLu Webber, USA


The answer is for pubs to have extractors in various places to remove the smoke quickly and efficiently

Pete Grayson, UK
I'm sorry but the anti-smokers all seem a bit sanctimonious to me. I don't smoke but about half of the people I socialise with do. If they have to go into a special room to smoke I either have to go with them to be able to talk to them or I have to ignore them. The answer is for pubs to have extractors in various places to remove the smoke quickly and efficiently.
Pete Grayson, UK

Yes, smoking should be banned in public especially outside train and tube stations. Forcing me to inhale the poison is not fair.
Tara, UK

I'm a non-smoker but I am not in favour of a ban. Places like pubs and restaurants are where people go to relax. For many people this will include having a cigarette. There are plenty of pubs that have non-smoking areas.
Rob S, UK

I would suggest that smoking in all public places is banned. Establishments would then apply for a license for smoking to be allowed on their premises (should be easily got). The license would allow smoking provided the establishment was willing to install excellent air conditioning that reduced the tobacco to a specific number of particles in the air.
Sean, UK


They are inhaling my fags without paying for them

Paul Bennett, UK
I think that all passive smokers should be taxed. They are inhaling my fags without paying for them - it's not fair!
Paul Bennett, UK

Laura is absolutely right about getting the same breaks as smokers during a working day. What I say to her, and other non-smokers is DO IT. Gets you away from the VDU. Gives you a moment to gather your thoughts. I've worked out many a work problem either standing alone with a ciggie, watching the world go by, or talking things over with a pal in a relaxed manner. No employer who allows 'fag breaks' should object to 10 minutes (legally allowed once an hour, I believe) away from a computer screen.
Pat, UK

Smoking should be banned at the workplace. Alternatively I would like all the 10 minute breaks everyday that all of the smokers get!
Laura, UK

The individual has no rights in this matter if their actions directly affect the health of others.
David Bennetts, UK

I loath cigarette smoke and in an ideal work it would be totally banned and we could all come back from a night out without stinking like an ashtray. However since so many people smoke I think it is a better idea to have properly sectioned off areas in bars and nightclubs and a total ban in any establishment that serves food. That way people who must, can smoke but the rest of us can enjoy clean air. I think this would prove popular. I have seen on many occasions smokers on trains for example who prefer a non-smoking seat but nip down to the smoking carriage whenever they want to light up. I think many smokers prefer not to be in a completely smoke filled environment. I think smoking in public places (indoors) is incredibly selfish and rude, and more awareness needs to raised about personal responsibility when it comes to this issue.
Jessica, Scotland

Maybe we should introduce legislation to ensure that smoking areas in pubs have adequate ventilation. If not, then no smoking. The landlords will be forced to fork out for the ventilation systems in order to keep their smoking clientele. If they do not, we will end up with a mixture of smoking and non-smoking pubs - something a lot of people will be happy with. Let's not ban smoking. After all, the taxes from cigarettes easily cover the amount spent in healthcare for smoking diseases and leave a lot of money to subsidise the non-smokers.
Richard Carr (ex-smoker), UK


I cannot cope with the fact that my cigarette smoke may contribute to the death of another

Stephen, Northern Ireland
As a smoker I know the risks of smoking, I get the chest pains, the coughs and I'm still in my 20's. I can cope with the fact that these things might kill me because it's my choice, but I cannot cope with the fact that my cigarette smoke may contribute to the death of another. I don't feel that a total ban on smoking in public places is the answer, but I do believe that it's a person right to breath fresh air and not air polluted with the carcinogenic chemicals of others.

I have no objection to being told that I can only smoke in a special room put aside for smokers and I think that creating special areas / rooms is perhaps a better alternative than an out and out ban. One query I would have though, how many "non-smokers" have a vehicle that gives out unacceptable levels of harmful greenhouse and poisonous gases? What are we more at risk from?
Stephen, Northern Ireland

I am a smoker. I do not smoke in my home as I have a young child and do not believe that he needs to inhale the smoke - but what is the problem of smoking outside? Surely people know that when you start a car in the morning, it is like the equivalent of 40 cigarettes at once, let alone the rest of the journey. Factories, buses, coaches, trucks pump out far worse on a massive scale - is it because smoking is visible therefore it is a tangible thing to argue against it? I also believe that if restaurants/ pubs etc had far better extraction facilities and pumped clean air inside, then smoking in these establishments would not be a problem. Even as a smoker, I do not like the smell of smoke near to where I am eating or in confined spaces, and always respect non-smokers. By the way, more people die from alcohol related incidents then smoking - FACT !
Billy, UK


Maybe if non-smokers had some respect for personal freedom, smokers would be more respectful

Anthony, London, UK
I would agree on a ban on smoking in certain places on one condition. That we can have places where non-smokers are banned. Maybe the solution is to have places where the ventilation is adequate and not what we currently have. Maybe if non-smokers had some respect for personal freedom, smokers would be more respectful. I once went on Eurostar with my smoking-seat reservation. A non-smoker arrived in the carriage, sat down and proceeded to criticise and insult smokers for the rest of the journey. We had paid for those seats and the right to smoke. No-one forced that person to sit where she did. In the same way, when I go to a friend who is non-smoker, I wouldn't even dream to ask them whether I can smoke or not. I just go out when I want a cig. But if they come to mine, they have to accept it will not be smoke-free even if I try to restrain myself. I think that's what's called respect. Maybe before talking about ban, we should learn the meaning of that word and compromise.
Anthony, London, UK

Oh yes please! I am asthmatic and am allergic to tobacco smoke. I don't care about pubs (never use them) but would love to be able to walk around railway stations, for example, without being subjected to tobacco smoke. Yes, it's a freedom issue. Smokers who assert their "freedom" to smoke immediately and summarily remove the freedom of all those around them to breathe clean air. To listen to some smokers you would think that stopping them lighting up where and when they please is some kind of human rights violation. Well, if they absolutely can't do without their nicotine fix the very second they step off the train, I propose that they be offered free addiction treatment on the NHS, because they clearly need help. Certainly the UN charter on human rights does not, at present, list the right to inflict toxic fumes on those around you.
Guy Chapman, UK

I hang in a group of about 20 people and there is only one other person and myself who don't smoke. We sometimes find that we have to go outside as the smoke gets to us and makes our eyes stingy. I think smoking should be banned in public.
Joy Hamilton, Northern Ireland


Why subject others to the same poisons from your smoke for no other reason than because you can?

Keith Millar (ex smoker), UK
I would like to raise one point in response to the people who are equating smoking pollution to vehicle emissions. Legislation is being put in place for vehicle emissions from company cars to added taxes on the price of fuel etc. Vehicles are however a necessary tool for people to use, not always, but most of the time to enable them to carry out their jobs take patients to hospital, enable disabled people to have the same freedoms as others etc. Until a viable alternative is found, one cannot sensibly ban or over restrict the use of vehicles to the same degree as is being discussed about smoking in public places. Smoking however, is a completely selfish habit that benefits no-one and has no real purpose other than to mildly stimulate the smoker and eventually lead to an early demise, usually painful and unpleasant and also deeply upsetting for those around them. Yes we have individual rights but why subject others to the same poisons from your smoke for no other reason than because you can?
Keith Millar (ex smoker), UK

To everyone who likes to point out how much us smokers cost the NHS - if I die at 50 of a smoking related illness I won't be having my hips replaced, I won't be spending years in expensive residential care in my decrepitude, I won't be being treated for the plethora of other afflictions which affect the elderly. Whatever treatment I may receive for my smoking related illness, it will almost certainly amount to a lot less than the treatments the non-smokers need for 30 years or more in nursing homes and geriatric wards up and down the country.
Iain, UK

Smoking in public places forcing adults to inhale second hand smoke is bad enough, but yesterday evening on my way home from work I let a people carrier pull out in front of me. Inside there were three children sitting in the back and two adults BOTH smoking in the front. If that is not child abuse I don't know what is.
Jacqui, UK

I think smoking should be banned at certain places, since second hand smoke is especially harmful to children, I think places like parks and shopping malls should be smoke free.
Patrick, UK


The old ashtray smell coming off your clothes after a night out is enough to turn anybody's stomach!

David LJ, Isle of Man, UK
The biggest turn off on the planet and it should be banned everywhere! The old ashtray smell coming off your clothes after a night out is enough to turn anybody's stomach!
David LJ, Isle of Man, UK

I'm a non-smoker, who doesn't like breathing stale smoke. But I'm against a ban - I believe it should be up to the management of an individual pub, club, restaurant, shop, hotel or whatever to define their own policy on the matter. Then let the individual choose whether he/she chooses a smoking or a non-smoking environment. If enough people feel strongly enough about it, economics will see to the rest.
David Moran, Scotland/Australia

I am a non-smoker and when I go the pub for a drink, I know that when I return home I will be stinking of smoke, however I still go regardless. It would be nice to ban smoking from public places however I can't see this happening while so many people smoke. Where would it all stop? I find exhaust fumes offensive, shall we ban cars?
A Brearley, England

There definitely should be a ban in public areas- it's one thing doing it in private, but I don't think people should jeopardise the health of other people that don't what to die of lung cancer.
Deborah, UK


Why should I have to be at the same risks and smell as bad as they do, just because they don't care about anyone else?

Rob Thurgood, UK
Absolutely! I hate the stink of smoke, and if I go out with some friends and end up somewhere smoky, then I come away stinking of smoke. If some people want to kill themselves and make themselves stink at the same time then fine, but why should I have to be at the same risks and smell as bad as they do, just because they don't care about anyone else?
Rob Thurgood, UK

As an ex-smoker, I don't particularly like the smell of smoke any more, but I think a ban, especially in pubs or clubs would be unenforceable as people always tend to smoke more in the pub anyway. A better idea would be to have certain sections of pubs cordoned off so people could enjoy a cigarette whilst the remainder of the pub could breath clean air.
Andrew, England

Never mind the rights of the individual to smoke, what about the rights of the individual to breathe clean air. My non-smoking doesn't hurt anyone.
David Akerman, UK

Yes smoking should be banned in public places. Telephone booth style spaces should be designed for people who want to enjoy a smoke so I don't have to come home stinking of smoke and developing the risk of lung cancer myself!
Dave Moose, UK

Smoking undeniably damages the health of others. As a non-smoker, I am delighted at the improvements made in excluding this pollution from my life. However, a much more damaging source of pollution remains virtually unchallenged - diesel and petrol engines. Compared with the damage from these, the effects of passive smoking are utterly trivial. Let's have effective legislation against vehicle emissions; it's more enforceable, gives bigger health benefits, and saves money!
Tom, UK


If people have a problem with passive smoking they're not going to resolve it by complaining. Let them avoid smoke filled places altogether.

Merlin, Czech (formerly UK)
I am not a smoker. I think it's a disgusting habit. Also an incredibly stupid habit. But that's just me, if someone else wants to smoke then that's up to them. As for passive smoking, well I don't like that either. I can either endure it or... walk away. If people have a problem with passive smoking they're not going to resolve it by complaining. Let them avoid smoke filled places altogether. If enough people do it, then pubs will either have to adopt a no-smoking policy or go out of business.
Merlin, Czech (formerly UK)

I don't know about infringing the rights of people to smoke, but what about the rights of non-smokers to clean air? I'm not sure banning it in pubs is such a workable idea, but there's nothing more annoying in a restaurant than someone next to you lighting up a cigarette and wafting the smoke in your face and across your food. I've no doubt passive smoking is dangerous to those of us who choose not to accelerate our trip to meet our makers, but how it is to be enforced is a good question. It's already banned on trains, but people still do it on trains. Much as I'd love to see a smoke-free environment, I'm not sure it's totally workable.
Steve, England

Yes, a complete ban on this selfish unhealthy and socially irresponsible habit is long overdue. Some will no doubt harp on about the extra revenue gained from taxes but that is more than accounted for in the cost of additional health care required to treat smokers and those unfortunate enough to suffer from diseases caught through passive inhalation. If people want to belch fumes out let them do it in their own homes and stop subjecting the rest of us to your filthy and foul-smelling addiction when we are trying to enjoy ourselves!
Shaun, Teignmouth, UK


I don't smoke myself, but it doesn't bother me that others do, it's their right, their body

Phil Hellary, UK
Oh my god no! I don't want to have even more restrictions placed over our own decisions! I don't smoke myself, but it doesn't bother me that others do, it's their right, their body. Smokers should know where to smoke and where not to. In subway stations or other tight spaces, sure, no smoking signs can be stuck up but why should it matter if people smoke walking down the street or sitting on a bench?
Phil Hellary, UK

Yes. At the same time a 50% tax should be added to the costs of all tobacco products. Funds to be used to help addicts cure their addiction.
Les, Switzerland

Never mind infringing the rights of smokers. What about the rights of non-smokers to breathe fresh air? In my hometown it is an offence to drink alcohol on the street, punishable by a 100 fine. No one ever died from inhaling other people's lager fumes, so why should tobacco be different? Confine it to specified areas only and get it off the streets!
Peter Martin, UK


Anyone talking about the rights of an individual to smoke, should remember that ALL rights only exist when they don't infringe on the rights of others

Reg Pither, England
Ban it now!! Especially anywhere near where food or drink is served. Anyone talking about the rights of an individual to smoke, should remember that ALL rights only exist when they don't infringe on the rights of others. If one person smoking can offend/litter/irritate/pollute the space of two or more others, then I'm afraid they have to back down to the will of the greater number. That's how democracy works.
Reg Pither, England

Oh please, not again. Clubs, restaurants, pubs are places where people smoke and have always done. Why not impose properly ventilated smoking areas and non-smoking areas as it is done in France? I do not smoke and have never done. I don't condemn people who do. I just wish people could respect each other. Let us not go in American style litigation where a teenager successfully went to court to prevent his mother smoking in her house or her car!
Pascal Jacquemain, UK (French)

Smoking should be banned at all railway stations, like it is on the Underground. I frequently encounter people smoking in the middle of crowded platforms and concourses then continuing to hold lighted cigarettes as they rush for their trains - the discomfort and dangers to other passengers are obvious.
Dave Howard, UK

I'll settle for it being banned in my transport office!
Alex, UK


Smoking, like all drug addiction, is conducted by selfish people, who if they don't care about their own health, are certainly not going to care about the health of others

David Butler, Australia
Smoking, like all drug addiction, is conducted by selfish people, who if they don't care about their own health, are certainly not going to care about the health of others. Therefore legislation is the only real answer to protect the innocent.
David Butler, Australia

Parents of young children are kidding themselves if they believe they are giving their children a good start in life by having the latest accessories and ensuring a place in the best schools. The most fundamental requirement to life itself is the ability to 'breathe'. Jeopardising your children's health is nothing short of neglect with young babies and toddlers unable to choose how close they are to the undisputed harm they will suffer at the hands of those entrusted with their welfare. The picture of the pregnant woman smoking with a toddler beside her is shameful. Selfish and wilful neglect pre and post-natal: what a start to a new life!
Beatrice, Northern Ireland

Yes, yes and yes again. Smoking in public obviously causes harm to others, it's been known a long time before this research. If smokers don't like it, then they can quit and face up to life like the rest of us. Maybe we should put 1.00 extra tax on tobacco products to pay for public 'Smoke Dens'. Left them have dedicated rooms where they can be kept away from us clean-aired people!
Mark J, Herts, UK

It certainly should. It is ridiculous that non-smokers should also have to inhale vile fumes because of another's addiction. Designated smoking areas aren't enough because they don't work properly.
Joe, UK


A blanket ban is not really necessary - I don't think there is any benefit in banning smoking in the open air!

John, UK
Smoking is already banned in many public environments such as on public transportation systems and in theatres and cinemas. Additionally many social venues like bars and cafes have separate smoking and non-smoking sections. The majority of offices also have no smoking policies. A blanket ban is not really necessary - I don't think there is any benefit in banning smoking in the open air! What is needed is a set of rules for enclosed public spaces, in order to bring a minority of establishments into line with the majority.
John, UK

If smokers are harming others via passive smoking, they should be charged with assault. Same as anyone else who harms another.
Brendon Kelly, England

As a smoker I would support this move to ban cigarettes in public places. After all I think we all could probably do with giving some healthy attention to our lifestyles. This may help us cut down and give us a chance to amend this habit.
Will, UK


It is downright unpleasant following somebody exhaling smoke as you walk into, say, the bus station

PJ, UK
I have no problem with considerate smoking - i.e. away from my sense of smell, and any possible contact. Many pubs/hotels used to have separate "Smoke Rooms", implying to me, that smoking was NOT allowed in the other rooms. I think that where a public building is open plan, smoking should not be allowed (but as an interim measure, perhaps limited to a single, well ventilated, area not more than a third of the total area). Where there are separate rooms, smoking should be limited to rooms representing, say, not more than a third of the area of the building; but there should be no other facilities (including access to toilets) in these rooms that are not available elsewhere in the building.

But it's not the disease effects of passive smoking that bothers me - it's the awful smell that puts me off my food and drink. I'd also ban smoking in open spaces where other people are present - certainly in cities and towns. It is downright unpleasant following somebody exhaling smoke as you walk into, say, the bus station. Also, smokers seem totally oblivious of the hazard they are presenting when wafting their red hot cigarette ends around, especially when they are holding them down by their sides - and inevitably out - meaning that if you're not careful you get your clothes burnt and ruined (or possibly get burnt yourself). Smokers, please have consideration for others.
PJ, UK

As a non-smoker I would not support an outright ban on smoking in public places on principle, but I would welcome an increase in smoke free locations such as pubs, etc. I have no objection to people smoking, so long as I am free not to smoke - passively or actively.
Martin, England, UK

I'm a non-smoker who suffers with asthma but would like common sense to prevail. If a club or pub is too smoky, I don't go in. If a restaurant doesn't have a no smoking area I don't go there. If market forces mean there's nowhere for me to go, then why should I stop everyone else enjoying themselves?
Jonathan Kelk, UK

I would agree on a ban on smoking in certain places on one condition. That we can have places where non-smokers are banned. Maybe the solution is to have places where the ventilation is adequate and not what we currently have. Maybe if non-smokers had some respect for personal freedom, smokers would be more respectful. I once went on Eurostar with my smoking-seat reservation. A non-smoker arrived in the carriage, sat down and proceeded to criticise and insult smokers for the rest of the journey. We had paid for those seats and the right to smoke.

No-one forced that person to sit where she did. In the same way, when I go to a friend who is non-smoker, I wouldn't even dream to ask them whether I can smoke or not. I just go out when I want a cig. But if they come to mine, they have to accept it will not be smoke-free even if I try to restrain myself. I think that's what's called respect. Maybe before talking about ban, we should learn the meaning of that word and compromise.
Anthony, London, Uk

I hang in a group of about 20 people and there is only one other person and myself who don't smoke. We sometimes find that we have to go outside as the smoke gets to us and makes our eyes stingy. I think smoking should be banned in public.
Joy Hamilton, Northern Ireland

I would like to raise one point in response to the people who are equating smoking pollution to vehicle emissions. Legislation is being put in place for vehicle emissions from company cars to added taxes on the price of fuel etc. Vehicles are however a necessary tool for people to use, not always, but most of the time to enable them to carry out their jobs take patients to hospital, enable disabled people to have the same freedoms as others etc.

Until a viable alternative is found, one cannot sensibly ban or over restrict the use of vehicles to the same degree as is being discussed about smoking in public places. Smoking however, is a completely selfish habit that benefits no-one and has no real purpose other than to mildly stimulate the smoker and eventually lead to an early demise, usually painful and unpleasant and also deeply upsetting for those around them. Yes we have individual rights but why subject others to the same poisons from your smoke for no other reason than because you can?
Keith Millar (ex smoker), UK

To everyone who likes to point out how much us smokers cost the NHS - if I die at 50 of a smoking related illness I won't be having my hips replaced, I won't be spending years in expensive residential care in my decrepitude, I won't be being treated for the plethora of other afflictions which affect the elderly. Whatever treatment I may receive for my smoking related illness, it will almost certainly amount to a lot less than the treatments the non-smokers need for 30 years or more in nursing homes and geriatric wards up and down the country.
Iain, UK


I also do not find it acceptable that people should have to work in smoke laden rooms

Brendan, UK/Australia
I would thank Jonathan UK, not to give away my hope of being able to go to restaurants without suffering because of others smoke. I have shifted tables and sometime left before finishing meals because someone has lit up and it has just been too unpleasant. I won't bore you with my symptoms. It is already the norm to ban smoking in restaurants and cafes in Australia. I also do not find it acceptable that people should have to work in smoke laden rooms. At present I don't think the Benefits Agency would find dislike of smoke a reason for the 'unemployed' not accepting a job otherwise suited to their needs. Anyway, we should not allow volunteers to work in unsafe surroundings without some form of independent legal counselling in every case. In short, ban smoking in all public places. Reserve it to private homes (no minors present) and open spaces designated for smoking.
Brendan, UK/Australia

I'm an ex-smoker and I dislike it very much and am aware of the dangers it can cause, but a total ban in public places? What does that mean? Will people be stopped and searched by the police for materials which will prove that a person had the intent to smoke in a public place? How will I be policed? Will you be able to smoke in the privacy of your own privet back garden without having the police around because your smoke is floating over next doors garden! It will all become silly.

And what about children? It will encourage them to smoke knowing that it's banned in public places will make it more of "Hard -Image" to smoke about in public. I agree there should be non-smoking areas in public places, but a total ban no! There are more dangerous products floating in the air in this world like car fumes for example. I think banning smoking in public is just a scapegoat for our environment issues!
Paul, Surrey, UK

Is there anything left in this godforsaken country that isn't controlled, monitored and licensed? Why can't all you do-gooding, Guardian reading, nice sensible high visibility cycling jacket wearing hippies just go and weave your Tibetan lentil baskets in some nice CCTV monitored park somewhere and leave the rest of the normal population alone. And take those baby on board stickers out of the back of your stupid people carriers while you're at it. No-one cares!
John, UK


It's easier to pick on smokers than it is to take on big business, who cause more deaths per year than smoking does

Stacey Turner, American in the UK
The government has no right to ban smoking in public for the "health" and "safety" of others until they are prepared to ban power plants using fossil fuels, plastic manufacturing, oil drilling, strip mining, and the internal combustion engine. Since the government has no interest in protecting us from those dangers, what is their reason to ban smoking? It's simple. It's easier to pick on smokers than it is to take on big business, who cause more deaths per year than smoking does. Wake up, people. Stop being led around by your noses and start complaining about the stuff that ACTUALLY MATTERS.
Stacey Turner, American in the UK

I am a smoker and do not enjoy smoking in restaurants, even if you can. The one thing that does get my back up are the people calling for a ban in 'open air places'. These sorts of people wind smokers up with their tutting etc. and then wonder why they do get smoke blown in their direction. There is such a thing as personal space and if someone invades that then expect the consequences. I believe there should be smoking areas in bars etc. with proper extractors, so that we can all get along in life without all the hypocrisy (exhaust emissions and fossil fuel users) and backbiting that exists in the UK today.
Martin, UK

I have smoked for 50 years. My wife has never or ever will smoke and cannot enter a smoke filled environment. At home I smoke outside unless it is raining heavily in which case I smoke in the kitchen. To disperse the fumes I simply installed a ceiling fan and do not have a problem. Most of the problem relating to non smokers is the fact that the owners of most of the public places where smoking takes place (bars, restaurants etc ) are to mean to install any method of dispersing the fumes.

Smoking will only create a passive effect if the fumes are just allowed to accumulate. All it requires is some movement in the air to alleviate the problem. I have no problem with anyone who does not smoke but have to admit that the guy who stood in the bar the other night and obviously had not had a shower for a couple of weeks at least, managed to clear more people from the bar than any of the smokers. Can anybody tell me why it is such a big problem in UK when they do not have the same problem in many other European countries.
Norm Owen, UK

 VOTE RESULTS
Should smoking be banned in public places?

Yes
 76.70% 

No
 23.30% 

7261 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

24 Jul 01 | Health
Passive smoking 'harms heart'
11 Feb 00 | Health
Passive smoking risk 'overstated'
08 Jan 02 | Northern Ireland
Campaign to cut cigarette deaths


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