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Shuggy

I don't think you're being selfish: despite being a smoker, I do think the views of those who absolutely hate smoking (and there are not a few) were (are) not properly catered for under the present situation. I've even been in pubs in Glasgow that are too smoky even for a hard-core smoker like myself.

However, I can see no reason at all why there can't be smoking and non-smoking pubs and restaurants. It's surely not beyond the capability of local government to regulate the amount of hospitalities that allow smoking? Then people could simply vote with their feet. But the legislation isn't really about that; it's purpose is not to eliminate passive smoking but active smoking - because the logical extension of the passive argument would be that it should be banned in people's houses too.

You could argue that it's simply a public health issue who's time has come - but the difference with government interventions to improve the pubilc health in the past is one of choice; prior to local government taking responsibility for providing clean water in the nineteenth century, those who contracted cholera from the filthy water that private companies pumped into the tenements of Glasgow didn't exactly do so as a lifestyle choice. This - I'm sure you agree deep down? - is pure Blair. He is deeply committed to the concept of legal moralism - the idea that people's moral improvement can be achieved by legislation.

Anyway, despite being opposed to this both on personal and political grounds, I'm quite looking forward to seeing how it goes. A couple of chains in Glasgow have pre-empted the ban and gone smoke-free already. I went in for the first time last night night and it was completely ridiculous: despite being about a million pubs one could go to to puff one's lungs out within easy walking distance, the front doors were swinging continually with about half the pub nipping out for a smoke.

Even I could wait until closing time. Brian Montieth MSP once pointed out the absurdity of the situation where one can receive a fine if you smoke tobacco indoors but only a warning if you smoke a joint on the street. I found his logic compelling...

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