Anorak News | Pipes Down

Pipes Down

by | 27th, March 2006

‘SCOTLAND the brave. So brave that the locals think nothing of stepping outside into the driving rain to smoke a cigarette, or a salmon.

Oi! You can’t do that in here

Some Scots might be brave enough to remain in the dry and warmth of their local pub, blowing smoke into the face of the bassa in the uniform ordering them to stub it out on pain of a £50 fixed penalty fine.

But, as the Times reports, Sunday, day one of the ban on smoking in public places in Scotland, passed without much incident.

Jack McConnell, Scotland’s First Minister, realises there will be some resistance to the ban, but foresees no great problems.

“I think we’ve got to be realistic about this,” says he. “There are going to be people who will be inconvenienced by the ban. But I also believe Scotland is a law-abiding country.”

That’s great. Not only do you get to give up the dreaded weed, but the powers that be will pat you on the head for doing so. Scotland the brave. Nothing less.

Of course, all this banning is for the common good. As the Times reports, 13,000 Scots die from smoking-related disease each year. Passive smoking accounts or 865 Scots every year. In all, 27 per cent of Scottish adults smoke. And 23.8 per cent of Scots women smoke during pregnancy.

Of course, critics may point out that Scottish people will still die, even with the ban in force. Until the Government rules otherwise, death will come to us all, including Scots, both smoking and non-smoking.

And they may also note that with more Scots not smoking, and so living longer, the burden on the already decrepit pension system will be hard felt.

And then there is the lost revenue from the sale of fags. And the Times hears the Scottish hospitality sector warn that the ban could see 142 pubs disappear and 2,500 jobs lost. So that’s less income tax and more dole.

Add to that the impact of the smoking ban in England and Wales, which follows next year, and the situation is magnified.

But never fear. If the upholders of Scottish law do their jobs, and McConnell is wrong and his countrymen do break the law, the fines will role in.

Now, if the Government can just ban fatty foods, including the deep-fried Mars bar, they will surely have won the day…’

Posted: 27th, March 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink