In many countries it is now illegal to smoke in public places. It is only fair that people who wish to smoke should have to leave the building.
Do you agree or disagree?
The issue of smoking and smoking bans is an emotive one because smokers and non- smokers both tend to hold strong views about their rights. Many countries have now chosen to ban smoking altogether from indoor areas and public places, which is a radical change from the way things used to be until quite recently.
Non-smokers have been complaining for years that they should not have to breathe in other people’s smoke in places such as the workplace, restaurants and cafes and on buses, trains and planes. It is hard to argue that non-smokers do not have a right to be protected from this. Smoking also causes problems for the owners and workers in such places who have to clean up after smokers or redecorate more often.
Generally speaking, therefore, I am in favour of smoke-free workplaces, transport and buildings. Non-smokers should not have other people’s smoke imposed on them. We have to accept, however, that there are a large number of people who smoke and will continue to smoke. Many of them enjoy the company of other smokers and feel it is unfair that they should always be made to stand in doorways when they want to smoke.
In a consumer age that seems to put choice above everything else, shouldn’t they have the right to meet and socialise with other smokers if they want to? A more balanced policy than the one now in place in many countries would be to allow certain cafes and restaurants to apply for a smoking licence. These places would then have to advertise themselves as smoking places.
Certain areas of buildings such as workplaces could also be made into smoking rooms or areas but only if the company wished to. Such measures would still give the majority their smoke-free environment but protect the wishes of the minority that smoke.