Finally, its done. From 1st July 2007, no smoking will be permitted in closed public premises. Phew. It's a wonder that it has taken the UK government so long to come to this conclusion. To be fair to them, smoking policy is a contentious issue and most governments are struggling with it. Though the harmful effects of smoking are documented pretty well and the negative impact it has on the health of the individual, it's also true that selleing cigarrettes generates huge revenues for the government and also hotels, pub, clubs and entertainment facilities.
When I visited California in 2004, the first thing that I noticed was the lack of smoke stench in public places. California has been sticking to the "No smoking" policy for more then 15 years now. Though there were murmurs when the law was introduced and some short-term financial setbacks, in the long run, the state has recovered and is doing exceedingly well. I guess it will be the same in the UK as well.
Every time, I used to visit a pub, I used to hate the smoke filled environment and the extent to which my clothes used to stink of smoke. I normally made it a point not to go to restaurants that allowed smoking but after a while it becomes hard as there are very few non-smoking restaurants in the UK. I dont have a problem with people smoking per se and hurting themselves, but I wouldn't want to be a casualty of their habit. I can see their argument coming. That non-smokers shoudln't be visiting places that allow smoking. But I do know of a lot of smokers who themselves wouldn't enjoy sitting in a smoke filled room.
Now, I dont care. The government has stepped in and there will be no smoking allowed. Good news for non smokers.