Saturday, 7 August 2010

How bad can it get?

It was bad enough to start with ... the penalty for smoking in an enclosed public place is £50. Peanuts to many people of course so they created an additional penalty of allowing smoking, and doubled the fine ... fifty times over. I never learned whether Hamish Howitt, Tony Blows or Nick Hogan saw their customers fined at a rate that matched the number of times they were convicted of allowing smoking.

In Barbados, imprisonment for persistent indoor smoking applies both to smokers and the proprietors of now 'smoke-free' premises. (The fine for allowing smoking is only ten times the fine for smoking. The fine for smoking is $500. The exchange rate today: BD$1 equals 31p.)

Nobody to my knowledge has been imprisoned for contravening the legislation yet, but Nick Hogan was imprisoned for non-payment of a fine (and released after the funds were raised by the public).

The worst example I've seen of a penalty for smoking was in Saudi Arabia in 2009 where a man was sentenced to 30 lashes (albeit persistently and after requests to stop).

Interestingly a further account of this incident is found on a web site calling itself Middle East Censorship News. It is most unlikely that judicial tradition in Europe will accept this kind of penalty for smoking (or for allowing smoking), but one wonders whether the World Health Organisation envisaged the consequences of encouraging extreme anti-smoking policies in parts of the world with a greater tradition of censorship and physical brutality towards their people.

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