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Last Updated: Monday, 22 November, 2004, 12:43 GMT
Do you support the smoking ban?
Do you want to see smoking banned in pubs?
Smoking could be banned in most restaurants, cafes and pubs in England under controversial new plans to be unveiled by the government.

Anti-smoking groups are critical of the move because it falls short of an outright ban, while pro-smokers accuse the government of fostering a nanny state.

You put your questions to Dr Sam Everington, Deputy Chair, BMA, in an interactive forum

The plans, to be outlined in a White Paper on Tuesday, follow Scotland's lead last week with moves toward a blanket ban on smoking.

Should smoking be banned in public places? Does the plan for England go far enough? Is the country being turned into a nanny state?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Your comments:

This topic was suggested by Liz Saunders, Worthing, UK:
Does the government's proposed ban on smoking in cafes, restaurants and pubs serving food, go far enough?

Ban smoking in cafes and restaurants - yes, but in pubs why not have a smoking room for those who need to smoke and fit adequate extraction fans to provide a safe environment for the bar staff. This would allow non-smokers to enjoy a drink without the danger of passive smoking and smelling like the bottom of an ashtray!
David Askew, Winchester Hampshire

This is great news. It's about time the government tried to drag our society into the 21st Century, and this is a huge step in the right direction. Smoking is disgusting at the best of times, but especially around food. It's great that something's being done at last.
Dave Waghorn, Southampton, UK

Alcohol does a massive amount of social damage
Jeff Vint, Chelmsford

Now the government is banning smoking, smokers need to join together and campaign to ban alcohol. Alcohol does a massive amount of social damage compared with "passive smoking". I can't choose not to be glassed or attacked by a drunk but I can choose to go to a voluntary non-smoking pub!!
Jeff Vint, Chelmsford

I work with people everyday who have smoking related diseases and with my colleagues try to get them to stop smoking. A ban like this would help us in many ways.
Peter Fisher, County Durham, England

Two of my colleagues who smoked both died of cancer. I had to inhale their smoke against my better judgement.
Paul B, Salisbury, Wiltshire

So this is what I voted Labour for? An avalanche of bans, fines and restrictions on our freedom. Never again.
David Hudson, England

It's one of the only things I hate when I return to England.
Jim Pallister, Florida

I'm an ex smoker but support the idea of a ban. However I think it should be down to the owner/manager of the pub, restaurants etc to decide rather than something enforced.
Kev Gregory, Liverpool, UK

Tony Blair will go down in history as the 'banning Prime Minister'! He seems to be on a mission to ban this and ban that. In short, he's a do-gooder. I, as a relatively light smoker, would be the last person to suggest that smoking is healthy; but there are far worse things in life: drugs, for instance. Martin White of Tokyo (email below) had it right when he said that exhaust fumes pollute the air far more. Walk down the street after a diesel bus has driven past, and see what second-hand smoke really is.
Richard, Swansea

I believe that the government have gone a bit over board with health issues such as the chocolate advertising ban and the smoking ban at the moment and are today influenced by America and any other EU countries.
Adrian Nurden, Chichester, England

I visited London and found I was unable to go into many of the coffee shops because of the terrible smoke smell. Therefore I went to Starbucks where smoking is prohibited. I don't think you lot know how bad your smoking is. California banned smoking, best thing ever.
Jo, California, US

I wholeheartedly support a smoking ban. I am a non-smoker as you may have guessed. Whilst I have no objections to those who want to pollute their lungs doing so, do it in the privacy of your own home and don't force me to smoke just because you do. Why should I be put at risk and end up smelling like an ashtray just because of the selfishness and arrogance of others? Smokers complain about their rights to smoke which is fair enough - what about my right to be able to breathe fresh air?
Stuart Kelly, London, England

A nanny state is not a bad thing
Malcolm Bray, Portsmouth, UK

I think the smoking ban does not go far enough. As far as I can see this is a climb down by the government to curtail bad press. Why doesn't the UK follow the example of Eire and Scotland banning smoking in public places outright, this way there would be no doubt. I am sick and tired of asking smokers to stop or move when I take my children out. I was a smoker and think that if the ban was in place when I smoked it would have encouraged me as a social smoker to stop sooner. A nanny state is not a bad thing.
Malcolm Bray, Portsmouth, UK

I run a local pub cribbage league. The diehard smokers have always said that they'll leave if a smoking ban were imposed on matches, yet I know there are many more people who would love to play if they didn't have to endure the smoke. I'm for the ban (and I'm an ex-smoker too).
Richard Lee-Buxton, Ledbury, England

Tony Blair will go down in history as the 'banning Prime Minister'! He seems to be on a mission to ban this and ban that. In short, he's a do-gooder. I, as a relatively light smoker, would be the last person to suggest that smoking is healthy; but there are far worse things in life: drugs, for instance. I do not subscribe to the notion that smoking is a drug.

I have quit several times, sometimes for up to a year and a half, but I have never had withdrawal symptoms. Were smoking really to be a drug, I would have suffered from them. No, smoking, as far as I can see, is a habit, a bad one maybe, but a habit nevertheless. I can think of far worse habits!
Richard, Swansea

I would hope the government looks closely at the social implications of all this and not just the dodgy statistics
Nicky Jones, Boston

We're expat British smokers living in Boston where there are fully enforced bans. We have had a terrible time here. We've been reported by our neighbours for smoking even though it isn't illegal to smoke in your own home, threatened and abused when we stand out on the streets, stared at like we're dirty junkies, and generally just treated like second-class citizens.

While I accept that smoking regulations should be tightened (better ventilation, allowing business owners the choice to ban, etc.), I don't agree with these sorts of sweeping bans. They are poorly applied, vague and abused by the anti-smoking lobby. I would hope the government looks closely at the social implications of all this and not just the dodgy statistics based on junk science.
Nicky Jones, Boston

I welcome these moves and believe it is a step in the right direction. All societies need to grow and develop and personal rights should never be at the expense of someone else health and safety. It is unfair for bar and restaurant staff to be forced to suffer second hand smoke, which is proven to damage their health and the health of other patrons.
Liam, Liverpool

I don't recall such narrow minded distractions from the key issues like Europe, Filthy hospitals and their poor management, law and order. Hiding behind emotive issues like fox hunting and smoking in pubs is a sad state of affairs.
Paul Abrams, St Helens

Stop, stop, stop, stop telling us what we can and cannot do
Barrie Hunt, UK
Stop, stop, stop, stop telling us what we can and cannot do. Non-smokers go to non smoking pubs, restaurants, whatevers. Smokers should have their own places too... a total ban causes resentment, anger and divides friends... let people make their own minds up, we aren't imbeciles.
Barrie Hunt, UK

I currently work in a bar and I have to say that it will be a relief when the day comes that I can go home and not smell like an ash-tray.
Sean, Leicester

It is very selfish for smokers to impose an unhealthy environment to other people. Non-smokers who either like to have a beer, or have to work through no fault of their own in an establishment that has smokers should have rights as well. I have been in other countries that have a ban and it works. If people choose to kill themselves through smoking that is fine, but to allow them to put other people including children in danger is preposterous.
Ian, Ayr

England should definitely ban smoking in public place. Now living in California where smoking is banned, the bars here still have great atmosphere and you don't end up smelling like an ash tray the next day.
Simon, San Francisco, USA

Although a non-smoker I don't feel it is the role of government to get involved in this matter. Everyone has a choice and if someone feels the environment they're in could damage their health the answers simple, leave. Personally any moves towards a nanny state are moves too far.
Paul, UK

It is a sensible compromise
Jon, Reading, UK
It is a sensible compromise - it allows some venues to continue to allow smoking so smokers can still go to a pub and smoke if they wish, but allows the majority who don't smoke to have a pleasant meal out without being exposed to an increased risk of death and clothes that stink of smoke.
Jon, Reading, UK

I cannot wait for smoking to be banned, it is a horrible thing, anti-social and dangerous to peoples' health, even those who do not smoke. I have not been to a pub since 1991, most of my adult life, because of all the smoke. It would be lovely to go back some time and enjoy a drink and some food in a clean environment. I am not happy the government have only gone so far in banning smoking in pubs; the smokers will go to those pubs not serving food, and the food-serving ones may stop selling food in order to 'compete' and get their regular customers back.
Rod Maughan, Baldock, Herts

I totally agree with a healthier approach to lifestyle and fair consideration should be given to both non smokers and smokers. The government should look closely at its policies and revenue generated from alcohol, tobacco and also fuel. After all, the UK government has enjoyed many years of substantial income from excessive taxation of the British public and should now consider redressing the balance by diverting the phenomenal amounts spent on weapons, wars and killing people into promoting a healthier existence for all.
Stephen Rowe, Devon

What amazes me is that I haven't heard one person say "what statistics" - "where exactly do you get these figures on passive smoking from?" Government and health officials say "statistics prove" and people just accept it. No questions asked. Boy, 1984 is getting closer and closer!!
Rita Kitto, Geneva, Switzerland

I work in nightclubs, where, like every nightclub in the UK, we can only trade if we serve food. No one wants the food, so where does this leave nightclubs? A ban is utterly unworkable in that environment.
Dominic Gillespie, Mold/UK

I am currently living in San Francisco, there is a smoking ban here, when I first came here I thought that I would never get used to going outside for a smoke, but now it really does not bother me in the slightest, and I am returning home to England soon and the idea of going into a smoky bar or restaurant is just plain horrible, bring on the ban
Claire, San Francisco, USA

All people at least in the developed nations should know the consequences of smoking. 450,000 deaths a year in the USA alone, plus millions more with smoking related morbidity. I have lost several family members to smoking including my father at 56 years old. I have the absolute right not to have to inhale second hand tobacco smoke. If the USA and the UK are looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction they are right in our own neighbourhoods - cigarettes, cigars and pipes.
Stephen Hauskins, Santa Cruz, California USA

As a Brit, now residing in Boston in the US where there is a total ban on smoking in pubs and restaurants, I can't wait until we in the UK follow suit. New York City managed it, why can't we? It makes such a difference to going out of an evening, to be able to return home without your clothes stinking of second-hand smoke! Who cares if we live in a nanny state if it's a healthy, thriving state?
Xavier Koenig, Cambridge, MA, US (Brit)

As a smoker, it dismays me to see the government running roughshod over our rights, and not handling the situation in the way it should be handled. If they want a ban, then they should pay for it, and this means giving real assistance to people who want to quit, and not some silly helpline number.
Paul Kerton, Reading, UK

Maybe someone should invent a plastic bubble that smokers put round their heads to stop them polluting everyone else's atmosphere? Its not about nanny state it's about the human right to breathe clean air!
David, Blackpool, UK

Face it, smoking is only "social" for smokers. For everyone else it's downright anti-social. When non-smokers frequent pubs we leave stinking of smoke - whether we wanted to or not; we inhale it - whether we want to or not. Smokers already have the right to choose whether or not to smoke; it's about time non-smokers did too.
Tony Smith, Farnham, Surrey

Being a smoker, I should by the nature of the idea want to oppose it, however there are only good reasons to ban smoking as it is a cancer causing addiction and to give people less chance to inflict it on other via passive smoking is a good idea as well as taking away the opportunity to smoke. Everyone plans to give up eventually but most never do, maybe this will help the health of the nation
Hugh, Haslemere, UK

A lethal virus for tobacco plants will be the only way to finally eradicate tobacco smoking.
John Warner, Lincolnshire, England

As an ex-smoker of 20 years, I understand how difficult it is to quit. I went through the process half-a-dozen times before succeeding a year ago. I still crave, and I do not criticise anyone who smokes. But I do criticise the double-standards of non-smokers who drive cars. The pollution you exhale, in tonnes every year from your filthy exhaust pipes, at chest level for small children, disgusts me. Give up your addiction to private car ownership, before criticising smokers.
Martin White, Tokyo, Japan

As a non smoker I am vehemently for the banning of smoking in public places. What I do object to is the arrogance of smokers to complain about a "Nanny State", even as a smoker they must realise the benefits to society about reducing the addiction to a harmful and dangerous drug. If tobacco had been discovered last week, it would be graded class A, along with Heroin.
Tony Doyle, Wilmslow, UK

I am a smoker, and see no problem with this ban. Smokers can always go outside. Bring it on.
Mark Toulson, Liege, Belgium

I would never go to England if such a ban was put in place. It's madness!
Evan, San Francisco

I smoke. I cannot wait for smoking to be completely illegal and banned everywhere. Maybe then I will quit.
Steve, Durham

Scots smoking ban details set out
10 Nov 04 |  Scotland

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