Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

In My View

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

In My View

Article excerpt

Byline: By Gordon Castle

Let me just make it clear from the start that I do not smoke. I do not like smoking. I have made strenuous efforts to ensure my children do not smoke, and I would prefer to enjoy my pint of beer in a pub where no one smoked.

Even smokers are hard pushed to disagree that it is a dirty, unhealthy, anti-social, expensive, pointless and frequently dangerous addiction. No rational person can claim that they are unaware of the evils of tobacco and even many hardened smokers approve of the Government's attempts to discourage smoking and prevent youngsters from taking it up ( although, like most of the adult indulgences that children are warned against, its glamour increases in proportion to the direness of the message.

Recently, there has been a consultation process going on regarding proposals for banning smoking in the workplace. The Government has put forward four options, one of which envisages a complete ban in all establishments, including even public houses that do not sell food, and one of the other options, apparently favoured by the Government, envisages a partial ban, effectively exempting those pubs and bars that do not sell food. Northumberland Care Trust, perhaps unsurprisingly, is strongly in favour of a complete ban, and it may be that the majority of those consulted concur. I do not.

The avowed purpose of the legislation is to protect employees from the effects of passive smoking. Without going into the evidence for this newly discovered threat, it seems entirely reasonable to me that people should not generally be exposed to the nuisance of others smoking in their places of work. However, let us not get carried away by an excess of missionary zeal. People who apply to work in pubs where smoking is permitted merely need to know that they will be exposed to this hazard. It will not then come as a surprise to them anymore than it does to the customers. Just as customers have a choice about which pubs to patronise, so do applicants about where they want to work. We do not seek to protect other workers in the way proposed for bar staff. …

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