Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Smoking ban e-petition, Westminster

The Government doesn't intend doing anything about the smoking ban, any more than the Scottish Government does. Still, it's opened up the e-petition site, and two petitions on the smoking ban have been accepted.

Amendment of the smoking ban allowing proprietors of businesses to decide whether or not to allow smoking on their premises.
(directed to the Department of Health) and
 The smoking ban has lead to economic misery for many thousands of businesses. Pubs are closing at an unprecedented rate. Even non-smokers admit that the atmosphere in pubs has been adversely affected. The streets in our towns and cities are now being blighted by crowds of smokers gathering outside pubs, causing noise and litter pollution. Give landlords of public houses the choice - smoking or non-smoking! At the moment there are enough pubs for people to be given this choice - but for how much longer?
(directed to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).

Both (quite preposterously of course) recommend the owner be able to choice whether to allow smoking on his own premises, and the World Health Organisation will be very unhappy with the Coalition if they allow such a proposal. Even though a European standard for air quality was published in 2007, rendering the ban unnecessary in the eyes of any reasonable person, the European Commission would also be horrified if anyone actually got a say in the matter on this issue.

A tally of 100,000 votes guarantees a debate on the issue. The petition is open for a year.

I have featured two petitions because they are directed towards different government departments. I have never been quite sure why it is the Department of Health's business to plan legislation affecting businesses. Anybody would think the health service had no problems of its own to sort out. This applies to Scotland as well. Scottish legislation on smoking, starting from the Department for Health & Social Care/Sport (or whatever) has been aimed at the hospitality industry and now threatens shops and vending machine operators.

It is fairly galling to feel one has to petition for the right to treat smokers with some dignity and consideration – no government should require its citizens to enforce such laws against one another.

7 comments:

George Speller said...

Um . . . . the e-petition site seems to be broken. And we've only had it five minutes!

Belinda said...

One of the links just worked for me. The other said it was busy!

auntieban said...

Have you seen the one about extending the ban?

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/2389

Put up yesterday like the others, it's now got all of 3 votes!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, something went wrong.

Sorry if you're experiencing problems accessing e-petitons. There is currently a much higher level of demand than we expected.


BOTH LINKS

Belinda said...

What on earth did they expect ... limited demand perhaps??

JJ said...

It's just as well that Google aren't anyway near as popular then - isn't it?

I suppose at around 167 million hits a day that's so much lower than the e-petition site, huh?

Peter Adams said...

Unfortunately if you look at the No 10 e-petitions there are two almost duplicate petitions. One from Daniel Connolly (Amend the smoking ban 209) and one from David Greatrix (Smoking ban review 100). This dilutes the numbers which then makes it hard to achieve the 100,000 target. Those planning an e-petition should have a look through the list and encourage their supporters to join whatever one is already on the list and is nearest to what you are try to submit. Or if the original petitioners can get together they can withdraw one and get all the supporters to resubmit on the remaining petition.
Those who came up with the 100,000 number know that it will be hard to achieve this figure due to fragmentation of the numbers. If you have a look http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions you can see the only one over the magic number is the one calling on "Convicted London rioters should loose(?) all benefits" that however lets those in Manchester, Birmingham and other cities of the hook (which has nothing to do with amending or reviewing the smoking ban)