Monday, 2 July 2007

Official self congratulation at English smoking ban

Don’t tell a small lie, no one will believe you – but tell a big one…

Trade union leaders have applauded the smoking ban in England as a step forward for workplace safety - describing passive smoking as the "third biggest cause of deaths at work".

This is absolute patent drivel. How many work places actually allowed smoking anywhere, other than in very limited smoking rooms? As we can all attest not many.

Most employers effectively banned smoking on various grounds such as fire safety years ago. It has been banned for years on public transport and in most offices. I don’t know of any factories where it is allowed.

So, even if we accept the ever inflating claims of the passive smoking brigade, this ban will have virtually zero impact in reducing so-called passive smoking, except in environments where smoking was still actually allowed like pubs and clubs.

These days? ‘Third biggest cause of deaths at work’? Indeed...

Alan Johnson the UK Health Secretary lauded the smoking ban in England as the: "single most important public health legislation for a generation". Suggesting the ban on smoking in enclosed public places, would improve the health of hundreds of thousands of people.

It is only likely to really improve the health of ‘hundreds of thousands of people” if it makes smoking so much bother that hundreds of thousands of people were to give up smoking as a result of the ban.

He might have done better, with out setting a dubious authoritarian precedent, by offering a substantial cash bounty, as a one off, to those who gave up smoking for over a year. To be paid back with interest if they took it up again.

Anti smoking figs for death by passive smoking in the UK vary between 1,000 and 4,500 pa. Given the amount of pollutants around how can they tell with any certainty if these are due to cigarette smoke, exhaust fumes, or in the case of older people all the muck from coal fires and smog?

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