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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 December, 2003, 16:30 GMT
Should smoking be banned?
Smoking should be completely banned in the UK, according to a top medical journal.

The Lancet said tens of thousands of lives would be saved by making tobacco an illegal substance and possession of cigarettes a crime.

An estimated 1,000 people a year in Britain died from inhaling second-hand tobacco smoke, its editorial claimed.

Smokers group Forest said the article was a sign that "the health fascists are on the march."

Would you support a ban on smoking? How would it be enforced? Would a ban in public places be sufficient? Or do you think smokers are being treated unfairly?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received.

As like most non-smokers, I don't want to be a passive smoker
Naseem Ramsahye, UK

I am a non-smoker. I would imagine that banning smoking altogether would cause an illegal trade in tobacco similar to that of cannabis and other drugs. Would this then mean more crime that can be attributed as a 'drug-related crime'? It would also make smoking seem to be 'cooler' to kids, who in their teenage years want to rebel. I think that maybe a ban in public places would be sufficient if anything is going to be put in place at all, as like most non-smokers, I don't want to be a passive smoker.
Naseem Ramsahye, UK

It's not a question of seeking to criminalise smokers. Rather smokers need to be civilised. Just because smoking isn't illegal, doesn't mean you can ruin our meals, stand next to us on the railway platform, throw your fag ends in the street, flick ash on our clothes, smell awful next to us in the lift etc. If the threat of a complete ban can reduce the complete selfishness of so many smokers then bring it on!
Andrew, UK

Banning smoking in public places is long overdue. This should be indeed practiced by all the nations of the world. Smokers would probably argue that they have every right and all the freedom to smoke to their heart's content. But it should be emphasized to them that their killer second-hand smoke inhibits the rights and freedom of people to live a healthy life.
Janet Paulin, Philippines/Australia

No, I don't agree with a complete ban on smoking. Yes, lives could be saved but by banning smoking you are taking away people's free will to live their lives as they choose. If someone wants to smoke, drink, overeat, drive to fast, bungee jump off a bridge, sky dive without a parachute, it's their choice. All are dangerous, potentially life threatening activities. However, we do not need Big Brother to tell us how to live our lives.
Luke, UK

Excessive legislation is becoming the new English disease
Al, UK

It doesn't surprise me that banning smoking is the next item on the prohibitive society's agenda. If this lot have their way we will end up having less freedom than citizens of China or North Korea - both of which allow smoking including smoking in public places. I find it worrying that so many people's knee jerk reaction to anything they find disagreeable is to have a law against it - excessive legislation is becoming the new English disease.
Al, UK

Yes. An increase in areas that involve family events/places would be more effective.
Sean, UK

Why pick on smokers? Why not ban every form of recreation that has a record of fatalities? I'm a non-smoker, but I'm trying to be realistic and fair about this issue.
Chris Hunter, England

I would love to see smoking banned in this country but I can't see it being enforced. Why don't we strike a happy medium and ban it in public places? Then those who want to slowly kill themselves can do so without affecting me.
Emma, UK

I enjoy the benefits provided by a class of people who are happy to pay massive duties in order to shorten their lives
Bob, UK

With the government earning £9.5 billion per annum did the Lancet suggest how to make up the shortfall - general taxation; are non-smokers happy to pay 3p in the pound more to save smokers lives? I for one am not; I enjoy the benefits provided by a class of people who are happy to pay massive duties in order to shorten their lives. Keep on smoking!
Bob, UK

I never smoked until I was posted abroad on active service. Then, on pay days it was one pace forward, salute, pick up your money, pick up your 50 free cigs, salute, and one pace back. And, I've smoked like a trooper since. I don't want to smoke and I've tried everything to stop, lotions, potions, pills, patches, gum, hypnotherapy and acupuncture, I've even tried willpower and that was as bad. If smoking is so bad for me, can I take the government to court for attempted murder? They gave me my fist one after all is said and done.
John Lock, Wolverhampton, UK)

Banning smoking is a brilliant idea. Once the black market in cigarettes gets organised the price of a packet of twenty might even be cheaper than they are buying them legally.
Mike, UK

I doubt they would because the government would lose a lot of revenue. Also if people want to smoke it's their choice, after all it's supposed to be a free country.
Ian O'Brien, UK

It won't succeed unless we start by banning it from television and films. I don't want my kids to see people smoking in my living room!
Clive, UK

Can't we concentrate on tackling real issues? Like poverty, racism and various other injustices?
Lizzie, Scotland

I know you non-smokers entertain some eternal life fantasy, but we are all going to die. Can't we concentrate on tackling real issues? Like poverty, racism and various other injustices?
Lizzie, Scotland

What a wonderful way to create a new criminal underclass. Before heroin was made illegal there were around 500 registered heroin addicts in the country. You can see the difference prohibition made there with today's figures! It makes me wonder whether or not the people making statements about banning it have been indulging in some substance abuse themselves.
Mark, UK

A total ban in public places, workplaces, etc. is probably more practical
Lesley, Scotland
Ideally I would like to agree with a total ban on smoking. I am aware that this is impractical and I can't force my views on others but I think a LOT could still be done in that direction. A total ban in public places, workplaces, etc. is probably more practical. Advertising should be banned. Cigarettes should be sold only to over 18s with ID cards, and retailers should be imprisoned for not complying with this. Excise duties should be raised so cigarettes cost at least three times their 1948 level in real terms and raised at least once every three months to stay that way.
Lesley, Scotland

It is impossible to justify having tobacco legal while other similar drugs, such as cannabis are illegal. Either legalise both or ban both. This schizophrenic approach is not sensible.
David Patrick, UK

So we should ban tobacco? Our law enforcement agencies can't cope with current illegal drugs so how would they cope with banning tobacco? The criminal world would soon fill the gap left by such a ban, who would fill the taxation gap? What should we ban next, alcohol, cars, dangerous sports, fast food?
Peter, UK

Yes ban it completely, I am a smoker on & off but would love to see it banned
Kevin Hill, UK

What about alcohol, that's a drug it causes violence, drivers of cars to crash, killing others, domestic violence, families to split up, suicides. In light of that fags don't seem too bad.
Mike, England

Who will pay for the NHS if Tobacco Tax disappears?
Roger, England

As far as I'm concerned everyone should have at least one vice
Kirstie, Spain
As far as I'm concerned everyone should have at least one vice - be it chocolate, alcohol or cigarettes. I am a smoker, I have the odd drink too and I indulge in chocolate once in a while. I am not overweight, I am very rarely ill, and don't cost the NHS a penny.

Banning smoking is not the way to go - I chose to smoke as others would chose to eat what most health professionals would consider to be an unhealthy, fatty diet with no veggies, fruit or fibre. I wouldn't dare preach to them about their lifestyle - and no one will preach to me.
Kirstie, Spain

Legalise the use of cannabis and then ban smoking! Aren't we doing something wrong here? As an ex-smoker I would support a ban in public places, especially restaurants. Pubs and bars should be fitted with effective air conditioning which should be made mandatory.
John Norris, London

Cannabis is illegal and it doesn't stop hundreds of thousands of us smoking it. How will banning smoking tobacco work?
Jonny Blunt, UK

Don't ban it. Put another 10 quid tax on each packet and make the smelly, inconsiderate, addicts pay for the privilege of affecting our health as well as theirs.
Carl Beardshall, England

Of course it should be banned, just look how well the prohibition of drugs works, they're illegal and you never hear of anyone taking drugs. Oh wait a minute......
Matt, UK

The rest of us can sleep easy in our cotton wool cots safe in the knowledge that we will live forever
Wyn Evans, UK
I totally support the Lancet in its drive to rid society of any form of activity that would remotely encourage civil liberty and would in addition to banning tobacco also seek to ban anything else that Nanny thinks inappropriate. The death penalty could be invoked for persistent rule breakers and the rest of us can sleep easy in our cotton wool cots safe in the knowledge that we will live forever.
Wyn Evans, UK

As anti smoker I am totally against anybody's right to smoke in private being made illegal. Ban it in public places by all means, but not in private. What a stupid idiotic no brain idea. Illegal cigarettes? Very rich gangsters!
Paul Talor, UK

Ban the sale of cigarettes. Not the smoking of them. Tax people who sell cigarettes all their assets. Then make them clean the streets of dropped dog ends
Matthew, UK

In the UK road accidents kill over 3,000 people every year and cause nearly 300,000 casualties. Why not outlaw cars and impose vehicles pulled by donkeys or mules instead? The fundamentalism underlining such statements is really frightening and the anti-tobacco lobby is becoming more and more hysterical. I can think of far better causes to support. Anyone out there to lobby for more legroom in airplanes? Or for more frequent renewal of the air in the cabin during long flights? Or don't anti-tobacco fundamentalists know that since smoking on board has been forbidden, the air renewal in the cabin has greatly decreased, thus increasing far more the risk of respiratory infections?
Anna Smith, South Africa

What people choose to get up to in their own home is up to them. If someone is dumb enough to smoke then they deserve all that they get. If the government wishes to cut health costs then those who smoke should be made to pay for any medical care they require rather than having it funded on the NHS. I assume that next on the list to be banned would be alcohol, chips, cars, sweets etc.

Great idea - I can't stand smoke in my face - however isn't there something welcoming about the smell of a faggy, beery little boozer? - perhaps they should bottle the scent and sell that instead.
Kathryn, UK

Yes a complete ban should be imposed in all public areas
Mags, England
Yes a complete ban should be imposed in all public areas, hospitals in particular should operate a complete ban, if you have to wait in an area near an entrance door you might just as well be a smoker yourself
Mags, England

Right anti smoking campaigners say smoking costs lives, it's expensive, anti social, and smells. That is just 4 I will add a few more, causes fights, a contributor to wife/husband beating, animal cruelty, and crime. And i will then say that all that is due to drinking so why not ban that!!!!!!! It's much more anti social.
Nicky Coombs, England

I would break the law out of principle if fascist rules like those proposed came into force. Nanny state? Not whilst I'm still alive
Ben, England

I'd suggest an effective ban on murderers, thugs, thieves and paedophiles before we worry about smokers.
Stuart, UK

Great idea, should be simple to police, fair on the majority of the population, and the Health service can refuse to treat people who then have smoking related diseases. Should save tonnes of money.
Dave, UK

Since obesity is also a major drain on the NHS and also an issue of public comfort (ever tried sitting next to a very large person on the bus) can we also ban doughnuts, chocolate, full-fat dairy products, crisps and cakes? If we can also ban televisions and computers so people don't spend hours sitting in front of them getting fat we'll all be so much better off.
Dave Tankard, UK

Prohibition has never worked; it glamorises the activity made illegal. Make it more difficult to smoke by all means, but making it illegal is worthy of ridicule.
John, UK

I fully support a total ban to protect myself and the weak willed.
H Plummer, England

If people are really concerned about unhealthy air pollution, there are a lot greater villains than smokers. Anyone who happily pumps carbon monoxide fumes into the air for 2 hours every day driving to and from work has no right to have a go at me for smoking.
Matt, UK

There is a dangerous intolerance abroad in this country
Greg, UK
There is a dangerous intolerance abroad in this country. People move swiftly from disapproval of another's attitudes, pastimes and activities, to proclaiming that anything that offends them should be banned. What is truly dangerous are the number of your correspondents who feel that the world can be so ordered to reflect only their tastes and prejudices - always the first steps on the slippery slope to tyranny.
Greg, UK

Every time I come home to UK I am appalled at the high level of smoking relative to other advanced countries It should be totally banned in public & commercial premises. You are falling way behind in tackling this health issue.
Chris French, Australia

I agree with a ban in public places but a complete ban is unenforceable. The most justifiable penalty to put on smokers would be a significant cost increase as an additional tax. I don't smoke, but as a regular drinker I would accept higher prices due to the additional cost burden placed on the NHS if I became ill through alcohol.
Graeme, UK

The is difficulty with tobacco is that it is a social drug, like alcohol, and would prove difficult to ban entirely as this will drive it underground and onto the black market. It is not a bad thing to ban tobacco as it is a proven killer but and the end of the day it is individual choice in whether to smoke or not.
Lee Evans, Wales

I used to smoke 40 a day and found it difficult to imagine life without my ciggies. I stopped 12 years ago, thank goodness, and have never wanted to light up since. I have turned into what I vowed I wouldn't - a "born again non smoker". The habit is disgusting - please ban it asap in public places. Just getting a whiff of somebody else's smoke in the street is bad enough - but pubs are simply revolting. The sooner smokers are made aware that their habit is the biggest con trick in history the better. Despite many claims made by smokers (it calms me down, it perks me up, a meal isn't satisfying without a cig etc )smoking is an addiction which will harm or kill you or others and makes tobacco company directors very rich
Paul, UK

If you make smoking illegal then you should also make alcohol illegal
Mel, London
If you make smoking illegal then you should also make alcohol illegal. For exactly the same reasoning. Regardless of my opinion on the subject you cannot make one substance that has addictive qualities legal and another illegal when both contribute to cancer, death and indirectly affect others. Alcohol can affect others through domestic abuse, driving under the influence, underage drinking; the list goes on. There is the job market to consider as well. How many thousands of people would instantly hit the dole queue and as a direct result whose taxes would go up. It is not exactly a thought through concept is it?
Mel , London

I don't see how there is an argument for keeping public smoking legal - smoking in public places affects everyone, whether they "choose" to smoke or not. If you have to smoke, do it someplace where it'll only affect you (and your loved ones!) Perhaps they could follow the example of certain airports and have dedicated areas in public places where smoking is allowed, so that those who "choose" not to die young of lung cancer can "choose" to avoid doing so.
Duncan Armstrong, Scotland

The tobacco manufacturers must be stopped. They sell and market a product that they know will kill their customers. How can that be justified?
Robbo, England

300 million cigarette ends are discarded every day in this country, along with 20 million cartons. Think about that for a minute
Gary MacMillan, Windsor, UK

The government will just have to think of something else to tax
Brian Lycett, England
Economic concerns aside, I would like to address an issue that smokers fail to understand: the smell of cigarette smoke is awful, and smoking is antisocial. Also, don't assume that when you smoke in the open air nobody can smell it, because we still can. A lot of smokers think that just standing near an open window when they smoke somehow means that no-one else in the will breathe in the smoke. An open window just helps circulate the air around a room more thoroughly! Why should non-smokers (the larger majority of the population) have to suffer nauseating and dangerous fumes from people who choose to still smoke despite the fact that it'll probably kill them, and will harm others? A full ban is the only option. The government will just have to think of something else to tax.
Brian Lycett, England

I work in a bar in the evenings and we don't have a 'no smoking at the bar' sign. Over the last two years I have been suffering with breathing problems and was recently diagnosed with Asthma due to passive smoking. I do not choose to smoke and feel angry that I now have a breathing condition due to others' bad habits!!!!
Leighanne Allen, England

I support a ban in public places but not a total ban. A total ban would infringe the individual's right to freedom of choice. However, as an ex-smoker, I am often forced to inhale others' smoke in public places. This is an infringement of my right to breathe smoke free air.
Harriet, London, UK

I'd rather have the freedom to smoke whatever I want, and be unhealthy, than not have this freedom, and be physically healthy. As good old president Bush recently said "Freedom is a beautiful thing". Some things are more important in the long run than physical health. If we are going to outlaw smoking then we have to consider why factories are still allowed to pump carcinogens into our air, and why we still drive around in cars that pump out toxic gases, which are a far more serious issue than cigarettes! Come on, get it right for once!
Lawrence, UK

A beautiful idea and that's all it will ever be
James Searby, UK
Is this potentially the most ridiculous idea ever to appear on the BBC pages? The thought of banning smoking will have smokers, the manufacturers, the Government and the police turning in their graves! I am a smoker and I would wholeheartedly agree with such a move if it was in any way possible. Unfortunately, there isn't a cat in hell's chance as smokers would complain about their civil rights, the manufacturers would complain at impact on the economy, the Government would lose a revenue stream and a way of slowing down an ageing population and the Police would have kittens at how they would even attempt to outlaw it. A beautiful idea and that's all it will ever be.
James Searby, UK

"Ban it" campaigners are invariably self appointed puritans who think its someone's "job" to tell other people what they can and can't do. My message to them - go to blazes! By all means educate, even regulate within reason, but stop there.
Ed Malone, Scotland

I think smoking should be banned. People only start smoking when in their teens so we are allowing an industry to promote an addictive poison for our teenagers which will cost them a huge sum of money over the course of their lives and almost certainly kill them in one way or another. No other addictive drugs are sold to children so why should tobacco be?
Sarah Mitchell, UK

Banning smoking seems unfeasible and undesirable, but The Lancet has stimulated a good debate, hasn't it? It should be illegal to smoke in public places and near children - but banning out-right will only give the already massive drugs trade another market area. Put smokers in cold, exposed glass-houses outside offices and pubs to practice their 'orrible 'abit, but don't ban it completely.
David Maclure, Scotland

It would hand-over yet another multi-billion pound market to organised criminals
Tony Gosling, UK
Criminalising smoking would be madness. It would hand-over yet another multi-billion pound market to organised criminals, create violence to control that market, enable the targeting of teenagers by the nicotine pushers and expose the millions of people who continue to smoke to further harm from unregulated product. After the complete and utter failure of prohibition and the war on drugs, have we not yet learnt the lesson?
Tony Gosling, UK

At least we can start with banning smoking in public places. I've began to resort nowadays to coughing loudly and covering my mouth and nose when being forced to passive smoke when being caught up among smokers in an attempt to hint at their inconsiderate and selfish attitude towards others.
Abdurrahman, UK

If they banned smoking, it would probably save my life in the long run. I can't kick the addiction when the temptation is at the local shop. Please ban it!
Mat, UK

No, I don't think smoking should be made illegal. It would be better for everyone to ban it in public places. I used to work in an office where lots of people chain smoked and the atmosphere was horrible, but it is now accepted that there is no smoking. People accept that and would do so if extended to pubs and restaurants etc
Jackie Plume, UK

The physical and emotional effects of giving up smoking can be quite extreme
Emma, UK
I seem to recall that the physical and emotional effects of giving up smoking can be quite extreme - appetite increase, tetchiness etc - imagine all those people going cold turkey on the same day! Maybe as well as losing £9bn in revenue, the Lancet thinks that the government should spend millions handing out free nicotine patches to prevent a sudden increase in drug-related violence?
Emma, UK

Excellent article. To quote, every person on this planet has "the right to freedom from exposure to proven carcinogens" Surely no civilised human being can argue against that? I never want to be exposed to tobacco smoke again, yet just walking down the street each day, I am - why should society allow that?
Matt, UK

Ban the damn stuff. I started at 19 and trying to stop now at 26. Three months and doing OK. There is the argument that alcohol kills more people and we should ban that but the ratio of people who consume alcohol and have life threatening diseases from drinking is far less than those who smoke and have significant life affecting diseases. It won't happen as the government probably pays for NHS on the duty raised in tobacco.
Jane, Cornwall

We need better education rather than prohibition
Neil Pursey, UK
I'm an ex-smoker who gave up 9 months ago. Although I now think that completely banning cigarettes is a great ideal, practically it would drive thousands to the black market and is completely unrealistic. We need better education rather than prohibition. I don't mean the type that shows you how it kills you as this doesn't work. I mean the type that lets people know how easy stopping actually is. Smokers all reinforce the message that stopping smoking is somehow hard. It really isn't - honestly it isn't!

Doctors too need educating as the giving of nicotine replacements has got to be the worst thing you can do! Giving a drug addict the drug that keeps them keeps them in a state of withdrawal whilst they are trying to give up another form of taking that drug is masochistic! It just prolongs the withdrawal and makes people suffer and then fail. Doctors should learn how to educate smokers on successful techniques for stopping smoking rather than giving out quick ¿fixes' like replacement therapies and calling for blanket bans.
Neil Pursey, UK

Don't ban it, regulate it. Tobacco should be sold in a limited number of licensed tobacconists who only sell tobacco products and nowhere else. Give these tobacconists limited opening hours, but make sure there is one open at all hours, rather like chemist's rotas.
Brian, UK

Very silly idea. As stupid as banning pot. People will smoke it anyway, the government will get no tax revenue, and we taxpayers will have to pay the police & the legal system to apprehend and prosecute offenders. In the meantime the size of the black market will increase umpteen-fold.
Phil, UK

Whenever issues like this are debated someone always brings human rights into the argument whereas in reality this should be "human responsibility". In a truly civilised (and unselfish) society individuals have obligations and responsibilities to others rather than rights for themselves. The non-smoker must accept an individuals right to smoke but equally the smoker must accommodate the choice of a non-smoker not to breathe cigarette smoke. To make cigarettes illegal now would be very difficult but there must be some compromise to allow both sides to live in harmony.
Brian, England

A call to ban smoking entirely is staggeringly naive
Gina, England
I welcome smoke free pubs, clubs and restaurants, but a call to ban smoking entirely is staggeringly naive. There is absolutely no evidence that prohibition works - all it does is adds to the black market and organised crime. People who refuse to acknowledge this are ideologues and zealots. Class A drugs are illegal but their use is hardly decreasing, is it? In fact it can be argued that Class A drug addicts find it harder to get clean because they're on the wrong side of the law. If smoking were banned, the only effect would be a massive black market, with Britain a gravy train for global organised crime.
Gina, England

I'm a smoker myself and, after trying a couple of times, find it very difficult to give up. I've always said that they should ban cigarettes! It would be hard for us smokers to cope with at first, but people would have no choice but to give up!
Michelle Williams, UK

The Government will never ban it. They get too much tax revenue (even after you take away the amount that smokers cost the NHS) to ever ban it - the tax hikes required for the rest of the population to recuperate the money would never be tolerated. As an ex-smoker I also find the Government's arguments that they're doing all they can to help smokers quit laughable since they do not subsidise cessation products such as patches, (which can be more expensive than smoking), nor let you know that you CAN get patches on the NHS, even though many GPs deny this is the case. Tobacco should be banned. It kills - that's all the argument that's needed.
Jo, UK

Smokers are drug addicts and should be treated, not tolerated
Dominic Tristram, UK
If smoking killed nobody but the smoker who chooses to do it, that would be one thing. The fact that smoking kills more than a thousand people who don't choose to do it, harms unborn babies, fills our streets with litter and makes going out unpleasant means that of course it should be banned. Smokers are drug addicts and should be treated, not tolerated.
Dominic Tristram, UK

Surely it is too early to propose that tobacco be made an illegal substance. There have been a number of moves over the past few years to try and cut deaths from lung cancer and we do not know fully whether these measures are having any effect on the disease.
Alastair Douglas, Scotland

If the government is truly concerned about the health and welfare of its citizens then tobacco should be a class C drug and sales and import outlawed. The fact is that the govt. is more concerned with gathering revenue, as they cannot even manage to agree to banning smoking in public places or at the minimum restaurants -- is this too much to ask?
Sean Aaron, Scotland

It alarmed me to learn that 1000 people a year in Britain died from second hand tobacco smoke. Perhaps then, every time someone dies from passive smoking we should start proceedings against smokers or the government for manslaughter. Alternatively, maybe the warnings on cigarette packets should be changed from smoking kills to smoking kills other people or smoking is manslaughter! Its about time smokers stopped thinking about themselves and considered others.
Phil Morgan, Lancaster University, UK

I would fight along side my 'coughing cousins' to stop such a ban becoming law
Jan, UK
I hate smoking but I would fight along side my 'coughing cousins' to stop such a ban becoming law. We cannot ban things that are not good for us as this removes all personal choice and freedoms fought for over many years. Sure, ban smoking in public places if we must but no government could ever hope to stop people smoking. Besides imagine the carnage millions of ratty, fag-less smokers would cause in the days after such a ban!
Jan, UK

A ban would not work and is insulting to human rights. Yet it would do a great deal of good and would counter the insult smokers make on others. I do not advocate a ban, for the reasons first stated, but reserve the right to ridicule and insult smokers without mercy, in return!
Anon, England

Although being a smoker, I am fully supporting this ban, I think this would encourage and give wheel power to those who wants to give up smoking. I think I smoke because I have a habit - not that I necessarily am craving for nicotine. This habit is instigated every time I walk in a bar or a place where smoking is permitted. By putting a ban, this would definitely help me to progressively stop.
Neil Patel, UK

If you invented cigarettes today they would be banned. Millions of deaths from lung and heart diseases, millions of children's health blighted, the second biggest cause of death by fire, one third of all litter is smoking related, the biggest cause of forest fire and arson, a major cause of car crashes, the damage to the environment from this pointless drug addiction and the sheer unpleasantness of being in smoky environments are reasons enough to ban any substance. How the tobacco companies have got away with killing so many people i will never know. Ban it. Now.
Bob Findlay, Ireland

It is a disgusting and harmful habit that is forced on other people
Oliver Shuffrey, England
Smoking should be banned in public places. It is a disgusting and harmful habit that is forced on other people. Comparing smoking to fatty foods is irrelevant because people eating causes no harm to anyone but themselves. Cigarette butts litter our streets and the stench of smoke fills every bar, pub and club in the country.
Oliver Shuffrey, England

No (I am a non-smoker). Drink is far more dangerous but I seem to remember that an attempt to legislate it out of being in the US in the 20's gave organised crime the foothold it had been waiting for. Banning smoking will create a black market and a further opportunity for organized criminals. Don't these doctors and academics ever stop to think about the wider implications of their stupid statements?
Chris, UK & Germany

I am not a smoker, yet I do believe that smoking should not be criminalised. Why give another source of revenue to the criminals? Why stigmatise a whole section of society? Society has the right to choose: if a pub bans smoking then smokers won't go there and non-smokers will. Let people vote with their feet. Ban it in public-owned buildings and places where large amounts of people need to congregate, like shops, theatres, trains etc. Outside people can do as they please, other places should be at the discretion of the owners.
Carl Roberts, England

Ban smoking in public places? YES! Ban smoking completely? NO! This country could not afford to do without the £9bn p.a. tax revenues, but I hate coming home from a pub or restaurant stinking of other peoples' smoke.
Chris Smith, UK

Alcohol, chocolate and crisps will be next in line
Lesley, UK
As an ex-smoker, I agree that the benefits of giving up the weed far outweigh anything I have ever done health wise. However, if we were to use cigarettes as our first step to outlawing what is not good for us, then I assume that alcohol, chocolate and crisps will be next in line. Where will it all end? Drunks being victimised for a problem they clearly need help with? Obese people being treated as second class citizens? We are constantly being bombarded with the facts; cigarettes are bad for us as are all manner of other things. Let's leave it to individuals to make their own choice. After all, if smokers and drinkers were to give up their habits, the Chancellor may have something to say about it!
Lesley, UK

I quit smoking a month ago having been a heavy smoker for 11 years. The change in my attitude has astounded me. A month ago I was in the Forest camp, truly believing that I was being victimised by having to spend half my life feeling guilty about smoking. The signs were it was only going to get worse! In my opinion though this attitude is all part of the evil of Nicotine Addiction. Not until you live life as a happy non-smoker do you realise just how much cigarette smoke spoils the environment and health of non-smokers.

However I think banning any substance is completely ridiculous as it only criminalises otherwise full and good members of a society. Not to mention the fact that it then automatically becomes 50% more attractive to young people! A ban on smoking in public places is plenty enough.
Rob, England

Yes - let's ban it once and for all. As an ex-smoker, I know how hard it is to quit but anyone who says they don't want to is lying. Forest should be ashamed of itself by trying to justify self-destructive behaviour by linking it to human rights. People only smoke because they are addicted.
Robert Munro, UK

When will people accept that being born is itself the infliction of a fatal disease!
Ray Lawton, UK
When will people accept that being born is itself the infliction of a fatal disease!!. People have choices and it is as wrong to ban smoking as it is for non-smokers to inhale smoke. Room must be made for both - those that want to be protected from life itself and those for whom living to the full is important - no matter how long or short it may be. More people die each year from life itself, not to mention heart disease, cancer of all types, road deaths etc. etc. If smoking is to be banned then ban alcohol as well... eventually the 'do gooders' will eventually ban everything, including sex. End of mankind!
Ray Lawton, UK

The evidence from other illegal substances would suggest that banning a substance doesn't really reduce it's use (even in public judging by the smells that I detect on public transport). It does however create a black economy based on organised crime (vis 1920s prohibition in the USA). Regulate, and enforce the places and circumstances under which these substances are sold and used seems the only real way forward.
C.M.Sheard, UK

Fantastic idea - there is nothing good about smoking at all. It costs money and causes misery which is plain for us all to see. If it could not be bought in the shops then thousands of kids would not get into it. 40 years later we will have a healthier nation.
Ian J, Leam Spa, UK

Doctors urge public smoking ban
25 Nov 03  |  London
Q&A: Passive smoking
25 Nov 03  |  Medical notes
Charity backs anti-smoking bill
08 Nov 03  |  Scotland
Passive smoke strategy 'has failed'
23 Sep 03  |  Scotland
EU public smoking ban considered
19 Sep 03  |  Health


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