Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Trollied Tuesday: A pint and a fag

It's the first anniversary of the smoking ban; at the very least all those puritanical bores who were unable to enter a pub or restaurant without keeling over from tobacco fumes have stayed away from the pubs because, being puritanical bores they don't much go to pubs.

The trouble is that,with the puritans having had their way and ensuring no one else has the choice of entering, owning or working in premises in which smoking is permitted, lots of other people are staying out of the pub.

Remember, that there are those in this world for whom the height of felicity is a drink, a smoke and good company. Since you can no longer get this outside of the privacy of one's own home (or a beer garden, weather and space permitting) people are staying away from the pub. More than 1,000 pubs shut last year and the Sunday People warned this week that 20,000 pubs are in danger of closing as a result of the ban. I can only urge you all, as I have before, to go down the pub.

This BBC piece on the unintended consequences covers some of this ground. I am particularly struck by the loss of good conversation.

Peter Morris is trustee of a social club in Doncaster with more than 1,000 members. In a letter to the Times last week, he wrote: "I've lost count of the times that an interesting discussion has been curtailed because the smokers disappear to the smoking area. Non-smokers are reduced to 'minding' places at tables until their friends return."

As an occasional smoker of cigars and, as such the sort of person who finds themselves alone save for a row of half-empty glasses, this is the aspect of the whole business the annoys me the most. If I just wanted to drink by myself I could do so in the privacy of the back streets around King's Cross Station.

It would be nice to think that in future July 1 would be the one day of the year where those who regard the smoking ban as a crude, heavy-handed and counterproductive measure would be allowed the freedom to puff away in some designated indoor areas. (I'd take up the fags specially for the day to do so). But then tolerance and indulgence have never been hallmarks of the puritanical mindset.



Blogger shakira said...

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6:46 am  

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