Sunday, 13 January 2013

No one is seriously talking about a complete ban in smoking in pubs and restaurants

So said Clive Bates (formerly a director of Action on Smoking and Health) in 1998 – a different generation of tobacco control that could still respect choice and recognise that smokers should have access to public recreational space. Just six years before a comprehensive smoking ban was implemented in the Republic of Ireland, and nine years before such bans covered the whole of the United Kingdom.

If nothing else this shows how money thrown at a situation changes the tone of public discussion. A policy that was declared to be unthinkable in 1998 turns into superstrong smoking legislation in four separate legislatures in the United Kingdom less than a decade later.

Clive Bates was moderate by today's standards and has joined the debate in recent months.

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