Anorak News | Smoking Paper

Smoking Paper

by | 27th, October 2005

‘HOW strange it is that a ban on smoking might actually improve not only the air we breath but our diets, too.

Pickled egg flavour fags available now

After days of what the Times calls “shambolic discussions”, the Government has finally unveiled its Health Improvement and Protection Bill that will bring about a ban on smoking in enclosed workplaces and public places.

But while puffing at your desk is out, smoking in pubs and clubs is all well and good so long as the place doesn’t serve food.

And herein lies the rub. Food in pubs is routinely terrible. Waving farewell to the microwaved, snot-textured slops served up with chips can only be good news for the nation’s health.

Just because food is hot enough to remove the skin from your lips and described as being “farmhouse” does not mean it’s nutritious. It is merely filling. Drinkers are advised to forgo the crusty meat pie and just chew on the lemon is their gin and tonics.

And it seems a considerable body of people would rather smoke in pubs than eat in them. A survey conducted by the Times says that one in five pubs in England and Wales will stop selling food and allow customers to smoke.

This is, of course, not great news for bar staff, who, though no longer expected to act as waiters, will remain exposed to the effects of passive smoking.

One way to stop this would be for non-smoking bar men and women to work somewhere else. Or for the bar to be separated from the pub by a wall. Or for the bar to be relocated in the pub’s beer garden.

But it might all change. Such is the Government’s crushing indecision in this matter that, as the Telegraph reports, the entire programme will be reviewed in three years.

But what will change by then? The paper senses division in the Cabinet. It says Tessa Jowell, the Culture Secretary, and David Blunkett, the World and Pensions Secretary, wanted a complete ban on smoking in pubs and clubs. Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, wanted a ban, with smokers confined to separate, sealed rooms in which no drink or food would be served.

But John Reid, the Defence Secretary, was unhappy that people who liked smoking in pubs and clubs would be forced to stop.

So what we get is something short of what the likes of Cancer Research UK wanted and what Deborah Arnett, director of the anti-smoking group Ash calls “outrageous”.

In any case, as David Rogers, of the Local Government Association, points out, how will this ban be policed? “Do crisps qualify as food?” he asks. “Are pickled eggs? Given the health threat from second-hand smoke, it is imperative that the rules are crystal clear.”

So to avoid confusion, we urge you to forgo the delights of a boiled egg steeped in vinegar, a jumbo bag of crisps and those pork scratchings as you light up and stay on the side of the law.

And who knows, you might even live longer…’

Posted: 27th, October 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink