Saturday, 22 September 2012

Scotsman reports on petition

Having submitted two previous petitions (both listed in the side bar) on the smoking ban, press attention was something I did not particularly expect. However the Scotsman has given this account, and it is a fair one:
A group called Freedom to Choose Scotland, which has previously lobbied for an end to the ban, says that new European Air Quality standards on indoor areas, published since the smoking ban, backs up its case.
The group says these guidelines do not suggest good practice involves a ban on smoking. It is recognised as a pollutant, along with others, but ventilation requirements are set out to deal with these.
The Petition states: “Ventilation, or clean air technology is a developing science and ventilation includes extraction and other methods of air cleaning,
It adds: “Any effective air cleaning system removes toxins regardless of their source.”
The EC document that first prompted us to submit Petition 01451 is called EN 13779 – Ventilation for non-residential buildings. As the petition says, its section on 'good practice' does not call for a general smoking ban. but concerns the quality of air brought in from outside and the way exhaust air is released. I would be lying if I claimed to understand it all. But the point is that the rules are the same for tobacco smoke as for everything else. Indeed if you look at Table 3 (p. 17) you will see that, while smoking is treated differently from non-smoking, even smoking is described only as a 'moderate' level of pollution.

The article also picks out another important point: removing toxins 'regardless of their source'. Why single out a single source of (relatively mild) pollutants when our whole environment is stuffed with regulation-breaking levels of them? It really doesn't make sense.

It makes no more sense than to say the doctrinaire solution of preventing smoking in public places will always prevail, when we have the collective will and the understanding required to obviate the need for a comprehensive ban.

So a huge thanks to Scott MacNab for the write-up in the Scotsman. It comes shortly after stories in the media about pub closures prompted by a report: 'Local pub, local hub? The future of the Scottish community pub', which you can download from here. The report does not flinch from the impact of the smoking ban on pubs, but its main concern is the duty escalator on beer, which has made it much more expensive for consumers in recent years. It describes Scottish pub closures in stark terms: 703 community closed in Scotland since 2007 (nearly one-fifth of the total). This cannot be doing Scottish social and community life any favours.

More soon.

Petition link here: please keep sharing, the closing date is 22 October!

1 comment:

Michael J. McFadden said...

Viva La Swiss! :)

While reading this article I was reminded of a stray thought that had come knocking at my door once and then wandered away forgotten into the mist. I've noticed a lot of stories about "drunken hooliganism" in the UK press over the last few years. I'm *guessing* that there may be a connection between an upsurge and the smoking ban. If you have a way of word searching the Daily Mail or Scotsman etc within specified date ranges it might be interesting to see if such stories increased pointedly when the bans came in.