The smoking ban, how far will it go?

The smoking ban, how far will it go?

This is a topic that divides opinion. Whatever side you sit on, there are many valid arguments, however that’s not what we’re discussing today. What we at Discuss are interested in, is just how far the ban will go. Are we going to see a full ban when it comes to smoking, is this for the best? Is it fair? Is it even within the UK’s legal system to enforce a full ban?

It’s worth pointing out that at this moment in time (November 2015) smoking is currently banned in all public indoor spaces in the UK.

A little bit of background info
On July 1st 2007 the social scene changed dramatically in England. Overnight smoking was banned. No longer would non-smokers come home frustrated by the smell of stale smoke on their clothes, whilst on the other side of the coin, some smokers genuinely had their nights out with friends ruined by the ban. Fast forward 8 years and a new law has been passed which means driving with a child (someone under the age of 18) is now illegal, even if you’re related or they have given permission.

Another milestone in 2015 came when Brighton took the first step to becoming a smoke free city. The City Council decided it would consult residents on whether parks and beaches should become smoke free areas. The results have yet to be announced, but if Brighton did indeed opt to make these public hotspots smoke free, it would be a hammer blow for the tobacco industry – not to mention residents who enjoy smoking.

In an attempt to counteract the smoking ban, some smokers turned to e-cigarettes, but even these odourless cigarettes are now under scrutiny.

Why do so many people care?
The topic has gained so much notoriety because smoking was such a popular habit (or hobby) for so many people. To any non-smoker out there, think how you would feel if you were told “hey, it’s now illegal to have a quick nibble on some delicious chocolate indoors, go outside in the rain and eat your widely scrutinised snack”. Understandably, you would be annoyed, however it’s worth considering that if smoking wasn’t also harmful via second hand smoke would it have gained so much attention in the press? Probably not.

What do we think?
Like most of you reading this we (the Discover team) are divided. Whilst there are benefits for a full ban, it’s clearly not fair to say to someone who has indulged in smoking for the past however many years, that it’s now illegal, you can’t buy them in the shops and if you’re caught smoking, you’ll go to prison.

No one knows for sure if a full ban will happen, but what is interesting is that the tobacco industry still draws in and addicts everyday people in the UK, despite the smoking ban, tax increases and public health warnings. Did you know – in the UK:

  • 10 million adults smoke
  • 22% of men and 19% of women smoked in 2013
  • 200,000 children aged 11-15 start smoking each year
    Source: ASH / Tobacco Manufacturers Association