Smoking Ban in England
The 1st of July 2007 AD
Scotland banned smoking in March 2006; Wales on April 2nd 2007, and Northern Ireland on the 30th of that month. When the smoking ban came into place in England on July 1 2007 the whole of the UK was covered by legislation with slightly differing definitions of where the law applied; but in essence smoking in the UK in public places was made illegal.
The jury is still out about the repercussions. We can guess that dry-cleaners will be less than delighted, as a night in the pub no longer means ciggie-smoke drenched clothing – though 10 minutes in a beer-garden is another matter. Awning and shelter manufacturers in contrast - shelters less than 50 per cent enclosed in Scotland - are lighting up Havanas (at home or in the open air) as pubs, office buildings and factories install their products to keep tobacco fans dry. The medical profession has reported falls in heart attack numbers. In spite of dire warnings a mixed picture has emerged about pub usage.
But me no buts; or butt me no butts perhaps. But. Even some of us who hate the smell of smoke in a car; who enjoy a night in the pub far more now that we are not sharing unwanted cigarettes; who are stunned to see smokers sneaking a quick drag outside hospitals; even we have a nagging doubt about how far the state will go in its well-intentioned intrusions, and how far it should have gone. Does this presage restrictions on our red meat intake or the availability of butter? An alcohol ban at some future date – it is a poison albeit a delightful one in moderation – or perhaps rationing? Like nicotine addicts with their drug of choice, politicians are always keen to quit legislating, but not just yet.
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