Friday, 25 January 2013
"Since The Smoking Ban...."
The other day on breakfast television I saw an item that made me feel really annoyed. It declared that 'since the smoking ban, reported cases of childhood asthma had fallen by blah blah percent'.
No, of course I wasn't annoyed by the fall in reported cases of childhood asthma. What annoyed me was the reporting method of this information.
To accompany the spoken report, they showed a man standing outside his house, in the snow, shivering as he drank a cup of hot beverage and smoked a cigarette. Outside his house.
Since when did smoking in one's own home become illegal?
The purpose of this piece of film was, clearly, to influence the impressionable public to think that nasty dirty smokers should not even be allowed to smoke in their own houses. That they should be ostracised and made to stand out in the cold.
I smoke between one and five cigarettes a day. Since my husband gave up, I do not smoke in the house. I would not dream of lighting up in the house of a non-smoker, or around children under ten, or in any of the places where it is no longer allowed, including open air railway platforms (ludicrous!). But whether or not people smoke in their homes is up to them, and should continue to be so. I think it is far more damaging for children to watch pap on television, to have access to internet porn and the soft porn of many music videos, to have unrealistic expectations about how they should look, to play violent video games, than it is to breathe in the smoke from the occasional tab, yet all these things are legal and actively promoted.
Most notably, the cases of reported childhood asthma were a lot higher in the ten years leading up to the smoking ban than they were in the 1950s and 1960s when everyone smoked, freely, everywhere. Could this rise have been connected more with all the chemicals in the air, in the foods we eat, and in God only knows what else that we don't know about, than cigarettes? Most smokers with children didn't smoke in the house, anyway ~ it didn't take an official ban to stop them doing so.
The other day I got ticked off by a 'jobsworth' type for smoking just outside a bus shelter, in the open air. He told me that 'they' would have something to say if they caught me.
Smoking is not a crime. There are very few places left where we can enjoy a fag without having to stand out in the cold; don't try to make people feel as if they are commiting a crime by choosing to have a cigarette in the privacy of their own home - or indeed in the open air. If I'm having a fag in a pub garden and you don't like it, go and sit somewhere else!