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Firstly my apologies to all the smoking fans out there... I believe that everyone could benefit from a complete and total smoking ban, in public and in private. There are several reasons that vary from the mundane stuff, like people not smelling like an ashtray all day long, to the impact that smoking related disease has on the tax payer and valuble NHS resources.
I believe that smoking was publicised more in the post war years because it was an appetite suppressant and seeing that rationing was still in force, allowed food to go just that little bit further. It's ironic that at a time when the UK was enjoying its healthiest diet, the major cause of so many health problems was being advocated at the highest levels.
My Granddad was a smoker for 40 years, ranging from five a day in the post war years to forty a day when he ran his own business. In his mid sixties he fell heavily and broke his leg. In the years that followed the leg failed to heal properly due to the lack of proper blood flow to the region, and the subsequent toxin build-up created a tendancy towards ulcers which required daily treatment and re-dressing. He continued with this painful condition, heart problems and chronic asthma until he died two years ago, in his early eighties. From this I'm sure you can gather that my experience of smoking-related illness is a very painful one.
In the wider community I find smokers are generally willing to impose their habit on those around them and in their surroundings in the form of butts on the floor and ash tapped on any surface they can find. Waiting for a bus the other day, a woman tapped an ash on the handle of her pram, which fell off and blew straight into another child's face. When the little girl started crying, the woman smoking turned around and tutted at her! I know this is just one example, but it only takes one inconsiderate person in a crowd to cause a lot of discomfort and distress, even in the open air.
Smoking areas outside pubs, clubs, workplaces and other public venues go some way to confining the fumes, and I'm very glad that I can go out and meet my friends without having to use fabric freshener on myself when I get home. I still think there are measures to be taken at places like bus stations (as above), train stations and streets; anywhere you may find lots of people gathered together.
Smoking has been cited as a major contributor in a wide range of serious health conditions, including heart disease, cancer, lung conditions, infertility and growth and development problems in young children. The only way that young children can be affected by smoking is if they are exposed to it in the home. The health issues that are aggravated or caused by smoking cost the NHS millions of pounds to treat each and every year, money which could be ploughed into research, maternity care, care for the elderly, treatment of degenerative disease and A&E services. The taxpayer subsidises NHS services and I would be interested to know what proportion of contributions go towards smoking aggravated conditions, rather than being directed towards paediactrics, for example.
On the flip side, the government earns a lot of money from the taxes and duty on cigarette and tobacco sales. Again, I would like to know where these fund are directed - if they go towards the treatment of people who have suffered disease as a result of smoking then I feel the balance may be redressed slightly. I'm guessing though that this is not the case.
Tobacco is grown in areas where I'm sure the land could be better used to grow crops for the local community. I appreciate that the tobacco industry creates work and opportunites for locals where it is grown, which would have an economic impact if the tobacco company moved out. However I don't think that a ban in just one country would have this effect.
I'm sure there are many people out there (smokers and non-smokers alike) that will disagree with me on several points, if not all of them! Whatever your opinion, thank you for reading and debating on this issue - everyone's opinion matters so please speak up and have your say.
A well written argument, but I disagree that the Government should ban things that are harmful to individuals. After all, it is a free country and we should each be allowed to make the benefit versus risk choices that are required by such things. I don't smoke, but if others choose to smoke, that's their decision (which won't stop me trying to dissuade them). I wouldn't like the Government to ban the internet because it causes repetitive strain injury, or driving because thousands of people die on the roads, etc! Mike.
fabgirly 03.04.2009 22:52
Although you do make some good points as a smoker I have to say that I think the ban was wrong. I think that we have a right to smoke and that if they had allowed pubs,etc to have totally separate rooms or simply choose to go no smoking it would have been better. xx
Claiiiree 16.03.2009 00:49
i dont like smoking, but i dont see it ever getting banned in private any time soon..