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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 January, 2004, 10:01 GMT
Should public smoking be banned?
Man smoking (generic)
Smoking in public places has been banned in New York
The banning of smoking in public places in Wales moved a step closer on Friday.

Measures to ban the practice throughout the country were backed by the House of Lords after a Bill which would let the Welsh assembly put an end to it for good received an unopposed second reading.

Sponsored by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, she said it was a skeleton Bill "to allow the National Assembly of Wales to ban smoking of tobacco by any person in a public place in Wales."

"The power includes discretion for the Assembly to make regulations applying different provisions for different purposes for different cases," she added.

So should people be given the right to breathe clean air - or does this symbolise the end of our right to choose?

This Have Your Say is now closed - read a selection of the replies we received below.


Smoking should be restricted to private premises - passive smoking is harmful to all involved. Wales should lead the way in the UK.
J.C. Williams, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Being a non smoker, I realise the dangers caused by smoking. But, I remain uncertain about a ban. A ban would make a nonsense of our rights to opt for the lifestyle we want, unhealthy though it might be, and could create a kind of "Big Brother" mentality where freedom is restricted. Surely there must be a middle way which would give all some degree of flexibility?
martin jenkins, Fishguard , Pembs.

Yes, ban it! Smoking should be pushed into obscurity. The addicts will never agree to it. But, in the end it's for their own good, and everyone elses!
Rob Sinistral, cardiff,s. glam

I don't feel too strongly about it either way, but taxes on tobacco are considerable source of revenue for the government (no, it is not nearly offset by the cost of medical treatment for smoking related diseases. If cigarette sales start to sag, expect a tax increase in other products. Probably alchohol.
Johnny Williams, Malta

We are not allowed to burn piles of leaves in our gardens. How come people can burn leaves in their mouths?
Brian Messent, Neath

Public places such as theatres and cinemas already exercise a virtual total ban and other places such as restaurants and pubs have no smoking areas so why is further legislation necessary?
Mavis Griffiths, Gilwern, Monmouthshire

I recall a time not so long ago when smoking was allowed in the work-place, in the cinema, on aircraft, buses and trains. It didn't cause mass disruption then when there was a ban, so why now? I very much resent the enjoyment of my meal being ruined by both the ignorant and inconsiderate smoker and also the resterauntuer who packs tables close together and doesn't have the courage to ask people to resist sparking up for a couple of hours! Smokers - don't you dare hark on about infringement of civil liberties when your habit impacts upon those who have to work amongst the fog.
Clare , Swansea

YES!!!! It should be banned. I'm fed up of not feeling comfortable when out. I'm fed up of smelly hair and clothes. I'm fed up of people making decisions for me regarding my health - I'm being force fed smoke everywhere. I want to enjoy my future and smell the roses!!!!!
Jayne , Newport, South Wales

Oh Please, will the idiotic 'Ban Smoking' lobby just stop making an issue out of nothing. I don't smoke, but if it bothers me to breathe in other people's smoke, which sometimes it does, then that's my problem. If it bothers you then it's your problem. Get a life and stop messing with other people's. Freedom of choice. Let's stop becoming a second America. If i see 2 old men smoking pipes and drinking whiskey over a game of chess in a scottish pub i'd hate to have to call them criminals for it. If you think they should be then you have serious issues. All those fanatics who want to 'follow USA's lead' just go on and move to New York. You'll be at home there. Don't try and tell me they have it right. Cigarettes illegal but guns legal! What a dumb joke! I suppose you would have had Winston Churchill behind bars, and unable to run for prime minister because of his criminal record for lighting a cigar. I'd much rather see whinging, interfering busy-bodies be banned from public places. They do more damage to this society than smokers.
Nima, London

So I said to the smoker, "the residue of your habit is that acrid smoke, which you blow around with a generous and carefree attitude. The residue of my habit, drinking, is wet and warm........would you mind if I used your generous and carefree attitude to share some of it with you?" - no comment from the smoker. Yes, it should definitely be banned.
Graham Boon, Houston & Efail Isaf

We are not allowed to burn piles of leaves in our gardens. How come people can burn leaves in their mouths?
Brian Messent, Neath, UK.

I think smoking should be banned because it doesn't do good to the youngsters and the lungs.
Nicholas, UK

Yes, ban it in all public places. I don't need scientific proof that passive smoking is harmful. I feel it doing its damage to me every time I find myself in a smoky atmosphere. No-one will convince me that passive smoking is not harmful. For me, it means coughing fits, streaming eyes, a blocked nose, itchy skin, a blinding headache and a sore throat, all of which come on within minutes of being in a smoky environment. How can something which has this effect be risk-free? Smokers, if want to kill yourselves, fine - just don't try and take me with you.
Sian, Swansea, Wales

It is not fair for anyone to inhale such a foul cancer-causing smell if they are a non smoker. Non smokers have the right to be able to inhale clean air. Smokers have the right to smoke outside or in their own homes.
Maggie, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion

I am a smoker and I wish I could give up but I have struggled, and tried many times but I can't. Don't people realise that it is an addiction and it is not easy to give up. The people who work in pubs and complain about customers smoking should not have taken a job in a pub in the first place. Alchohol is dangerous to your health and well-being - are they going to ban that aswell. what happened to choice? I am a smoker who does think of others and will not smoke around non smokers or where i am not suposed to but let me have that choice!
nic.m., swansea,wales

San Francisco has banned smoking for many years, not only in public buildings, but also in bars (pubs). There was a lot of controversy at first, but everyone accepts it now. Even smokers have reported that they like the smoke-free environment. Business has not suffered, and folks like me can now frequent places that previously existed in a haze of smelly pollution. Good luck, Wales!!!!
Kirk Thomas, San Francisco USA

I think smoking should be banned because it doesn't do good to the youngsters and the lungs. Also it's higly addictive
nicholas, u.k. london

Ban smoking in public? How about banning the use of motor vehicles because they pollute? While we're at it, let's also ban outdoor barbeques and any facility that burns fossil fuel!
Marilyn, USA

In 10yrs time, will we look back on this argument as we now look back on the seatbelt argument? If only 20% of the population smoke why are there so few non smoking pubs?
Gary, Swansea

I guess that some of the people wanting to ban smoking are also people who drive stinking diesel powered cars to go to the shops or go on holiday by plane using thousands of gallons of fuel which then pollutes the atmosphere for all of us.
Mike O'Shea, Copenhagen, Denmark

I spend four months of most years in North Wales. It is such a wonderful place, however, the smoking in dining establishments is very difficult for me. In Canada smoking has been banned for quite some time and people say they really enjoy eating out. It would be so good to have smoking banned in restaurants and pubs, plus other public places.
Nita Booth, Newfoundland, Canada

Smoking is recognised as a practise that leads to serious health problems and probably premature death.There's many times more people affected and killed each year by the effects of smoking as there are by guns, drug abuse, drink driving and other such events that we have deemed socially unacceptable. The pro-choice arguement for allowing smoking in public flawed: if only the primary user was affected, that's fine but all the evidence suggests that second hand smoke is equally lethal and other second-hand smokers are equally affected. So why are we even debating this ? Here we have a practise that kills the user and the people around them so why are we wasting lives when the answer is staring us in the face?
Brian, Vancouver, Canada

Ban smoking in public? How about banning the use of motor vehicles because they pollute? While we're at it, let's also ban outdoor barbeques and any facility that burns fossil fuel! Let's ban alcohol! Let's all become a Big-Brother society!!!!
Marilyn, Oklahoma City, USA

Yes. Yes. And thrice yes! I am fed up of having to enter into clouds of filthy acrid smoke left by people in front of me. Why should I have to breathe in the filthy cancer -idden smoke left by others as I merely walk along a street? Also there is the litter and legal side of things. I see so many drivers flick their butts out of the window to end up as more detritus on the side of the road! And you cannot use a mobile phone at the wheel or eat at the wheel so why smoke? Ban it!
Michael J Pope, Newport, Wales

I think that smoking should be banned even though business will struggle, it is the right thing to do!
Mark Sawallich, Portland, OR

I would be interested to know if the North American bans have changed the smoking habits of the US and Canadian drinkers. Has it just been a ban for the benefit of the non smokers or have the smokers found it easier to pack it in without being surrounded by other drinkers lighting up?
Mac, Wilthsire UK

Why should smokers be allowed to blow poisonous smoke in my direction? If I had the money I'd open a non-smoking pub.
Dave, Pontypridd

Having a smoking section in a pub is like having a urination section in a swimming pool.
Farris, Barry, UK

How exactly would it be enforced? People smoke everywhere now regardless of other peoples views or wishes. The number of times I've got the bus home only to have a few drunken idiots smoking all over it. It's not always safe to ask them to stop.
John Kelly, Cardiff, Wales

There is actually no reputable evidence that second hand smoke causes serious illness. Most of the claims are based on a single US study that is not mathematically credible. If we base legislation on belief we are obviously heading down a road of persecution and suppression of freedom.
Peter Tabord, Caernarfon, Gwynedd

You smoke, I choke. It gives you cancer so stop it.
Billy, Wales, UK

Smoking in public places has been banned here for several years. All restaurants and pubs, etc. are smoke free. Everyone complies because pub, etc. owners receive hefty fines if they do not enforce the ban. Business has not fallen off as a result. I never go to Bed and Breakfasts, pubs or restaurants that allow smoking when I am in Wales or other parts of the UK. A smoke free place will get my business every time.
B. Ballard, Victoria Canada

Why should smokers be allowed to blow poisonous smoke in my direction? If I had the money I'd open a non-smoking pub.
Dave, Pontypridd

I applaud the idea of completely banning smoking in all public places. The majority of smokers are very inconsiderate towards others around them. There is nothing that I do that effects the health and well-being of those around me in the way that breathing in other peoples smoke does to me. The right to chose? I would like to exercise my right to chose to remain smoke free. Unfortunately, I do not know of many pubs and bars that will afford me this right - so I guess I will just have to suffer along with the rest of the majority of the population - the non-smokers!
Julia, Cardiff, Wales

Smoking should be banned everywhere in and outside
Cordell Jones, Swansea Wales

Here in Ontario Canada, smoking is banned in all public places including bars, restaurants, theatres, and workplaces. It's the one thing that really gets me whenever I come home to Wales - it is particularly bad in pubs. It always amazes me how many people - particularly women who still smoke in the UK.
Geraldine Armitage, Burlington, Canada

I should say so and, if I had my way they would not receive free medical treatment, I would make all smokers take out insurance.
Helen Ball, Newport, Gwent

I visit my local pub on a Thursday. and although there are few people smoking, my clothes are stinking of smoke
M.H.Read, Cardiff

Yes and No. Restaurants and shopping centres yes. Pubs, clubs, bars, cafes etc No. Although I am a non-smoker, it doesn't bother me if people smoke in front of me. If you ban smoking then your pub profits will go down by about 40 per cent overnight!!! Pubs will close and so on ,it's your decision whether you want pubs or not. I certainly do.
Nick R, UK

For years smokers haven't given a damn about the rights of non-smokers to breathe clean air. North America is rapidly becoming smoke free in public with all the whines about restriction of freedom and lack of choice. The truth is that most businesses do very well after a smoking ban as non-smokers outnumber smokers 3:1 The biggest bonus is the health of employees who are forced to inhale for 6-8 hours per shift.
Diane, Edmonton, Canada

I feel sorry for those people who work in pubs, bars, hotels etc. who are constantly breathing secondary smoke. At the very least there should be special smoking rooms set aside with air extraction systems that are separate from those of the rest of the premises.
Gerry Duggan, UK

You smoke, I choke. It gives you cancer so stop it.
Billy, Wales, UK

I think smoking should be banned in all public places its disgusting. We live in California and smoking is banned in all public places and in some counties they are talking about having no smoking streets. You go in bars in the UK and your clothes smell and god knows what it does to your health Its long overdue.
David Austin, UK/USA

Hopefully the American idea of banning peoples rights in public places will stay there
Richard abbot, Swansea, Wales

EXPERT VIEWS
Below a man who believes in the freedom of choice, a pub manager, and the director of campaign group Ash put forward their arguments.


Simon Clark is the Director of Forest, the "voice and friend" of the smoker. "There's no need for a total ban. We would like to see areas that are non-smoking but people should be left to chose.

It's not the politicians job to dictate people's lifestyles. We're becoming an intolerant country and I believe that choice is essential. We would be creating a new criminal class - which is ludicrous."


Terry Radford is the manager of the Mochyn Du pub in Cardiff. "It would be very difficult to ban smokers in public places as they can be very belligerent - it seems to me that lots of them can't read as they don't seem to see the non-smoking signs!

You could say that it's an infringement on people's civil liberties but we as workers also have the right to clean air. I would like to be in a smoke free environment but I really don't think that it would be possible."


Naomi King is the Director of Ash Wales, a campaigning public health charity working for a response to tobacco. "We believe that the health of employees has to be protected and no one should be forced to work in a smoky environment if it affects their health.

"Yes, the public have rights but so do employees. We want non smoking to be the social norm. I've spoken to people who stay away from bars and restaurants because of the smoking. It would be nice to see Wales taking the lead - we're just putting off the inevitable."




SEE ALSO:
Stop smoking: One week on
13 Jan 04  |  Magazine
7m offensive to stub out smoking
13 Jan 04  |  Scotland
Legal threat over passive smoking
12 Jan 04  |  Northern Ireland
MSPs' views on smoking sought
12 Jan 04  |  Scotland


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