I recently met Perry in London where we briefly discussed the ins and outs of banning smoking. He was all against it, and I, for my sins, did not see a problem with it. Maybe its down to personal experience.
Most of the comments left over on Samizdata support Perry in his argument – include my old mate Frank McGahon.
So l am going to attempt some form of rebuttal.
1. Smoking kills.
2. Passive smoking kills.
3. People smoke.
4. People smoke in public places – hence they are called ‘public’.
5. People have rights.
I can choose to work in a bar, or I can choose not to. But in choosing a profession or job should I also have to make a choice about my health? Why should I have to choose whether or not I work in a healthy environment?
Surely everyone has a *right* to work in a healthy environment? If you work in an office and a no-smoking policy has been implemented by your employer, is that an attack on your civil rights, or an attempt to either stop litigation, or save the health of employees?
Equally if people work in public places, and believe it or not people do, do they not also have the right not to be exposed to a smoke environment?
I should not have to decide that I can either a) work in a healthy environment, or b) work in an unhealthy one. All working environments should be healthy. If it was a matter of choice not many people would work in bars – but they do, and smoke is an extremely unhealthy side effect.
Perry argues that: I do not smoke, though I did puff on a Havana recently, and I generally do not like smoke filled rooms. However, I do not have anyone holding a gun to my head forcing me to go into a smoke filled room against my will or compelling me to take employment with someone who allows people to smoke on their private property (such as a restaurant or bar owner). And yet millions of people see nothing wrong with legitimising threats of violence against others to force them to not smoke for nothing more than their personal convenience.
Perry, saying that inhaling second hand smoke is a matter of personal inconvenience, rather than a direct effect on my health is to miss the point.
I don’t think the State is being heavy handed in Ireland. If people want to smoke, fine, but do it where it only affects the health of the person who chooses to smoke, and their fellow smokers. If you want to smoke around people who are working in public places then tough. Get over it.