Aren't governments going a little too far by banning smoking from places of entertainment? It happened in Ireland last week, Malta two days ago and this trend is set to spread.

Wouldn't it be better if tax on smoking quadrupled overnight then surely only die-hard smokers would continue their 'bad' habit while governments would benefit from increased tax revenue.

I know it's a basic human right to be able to breathe fresh air but isn't it a basic human right to be able to have a *** with your pint?

Anyway for those who are still interested, I still haven't touched a cigarette since I quit last December. (Pat on the back for me)

...and for those who think we are debating whether or not smokers actually feel like outcasts, we're not. We're debating whether we think smoking should be banned from public places or places of entertainment.
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Nobody forces anyone to not smoke just as no one forces anyone not to drink. If I have a beer, that's my business. If I have ten beers and then get in my car and drive, now it's someone else's business. Similarly if I have a cigarette out of doors, in my own car, or in my home, that's my business. But if I smoke around another person who has chosen not to do so, I'm forcing that person to smoke, compromising their choice not to smoke, or forcing them to leave.

Public places are public because everyone can assemble there. If everyone cannot assemble there, they're not public anymore. The rights to freedom of movement and assembly are generally protected in western society. There's a difference between taking away someone's choice to smoke and taking away options of where that behavior can occur. Just like there's a difference between individual sexual freedom and regulations banning public sex.

Something to think about: Do you light a cigarette because you need to smoke, or because you want to smoke? I think many people would answer that the former is true because nicotine is physically addictive. Now, do people have to accomodate other individuals whose needs arose from a personal choice? I'd say no. Person A is in no way obligated to suffer because person B inflicted suffering on him or herself that doesn't affect person A.

I think it's pretty obvious that smokers are willing to pay ridiculous prices for tobacco. Who does that actually benefit though? Will taking more income from low-income smokers by heavily taxing them really improve the situation? I'm not suggesting a solution, but just pointing out that that additional tax revenue has to be spent in a way that benefits everyone more than smokers quitting smoking for it to make sense. Wouldn't it make more sense if everyone just smoked less? Smokers always complain about the price of cigarettes, but that rarely seems to change their consumption of tobacco. If cigarettes were US$10 a pack, I'm sure many people would still buy them. Perhaps they would buy fewer, but it would not make people quit and we're still stuck with the same problem.

There's another problem though. Expensive cars or jewelry are psychological addictions. Nicotine is a physical addiction: one that some people cannot control. Raise the price of expensive cars and jewelry and people will stop buying them. Raising the price of tobacco through taxes will only reduce consumption to some minimum level. If you raise the price too high, now you have a black market. Now the government has to spend all its extra revenue to stomp out the black market. (I'm against legalization of other drugs by the way, and for what I think are good reasons...if we need to talk about that, start a new thread Emotion: smile ).
Great words, Chamaleon!

I myself hate cigarettes. My mother used to smoke A LOT since she was a teenager, and she died (at the age of 49) of a devastating throat cancer.. She suffered a lot, and all the family too..

No cigarettes around me and my kids, please...Emotion: big smile
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Brilliant Chamaleon! I don't think smokers should be made to look like outcasts, or raising the price of tobacco is going to help smokers to give up smoking but I am of the opinion that smokers should respect non-smokers when sharing places.
Of course we shouldn't make people feel like outcasts. But some habits force a person to assume some other responsibility. If I choose to drink, the law says I have to consider the safety of others when I get behind the wheel. I don't think it's too much to expect smokers to respect others' wishes not to breath bad air when both people have an equal right to visit an establishment.

No, our laws and regulations need to respect all individuals equally. But I can only hope that the added annoyance of having to go outside the bar to smoke will convince more people to quit.
Living in Ireland and experiencing the smoking ban for the last 5-6 weeks, as a smoker it really hasn't bothered me that much. It just means I don't smoke all those unnecessary fags during a night out - I just have 2 or 3 and really enjoy them. However, the pubs do seem so much duller without that haze of smoke - it definitely takes away some of the atmosphere.

The only really irritating thing is the insistence of the health inspectors' on hounding publicans who have tried to make an outside area even remotely comfortable for their smokers ie. a certain number of 'screens' or wind-barriers constitutes a room etc - that's maddening.
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i can't believe thay banned it in Malta. Will they really be enforcing that? Should lead to some lively moments. What about having smoking bars and clubs and cafes, and non-smoking ones? i don't know if a ban would mean you can't start up a smoking bar. that would seem very unfair to me. you could put up big signs so that everyone knows that if you go in there it's a smoking atmosphere. then it's a matter of clear choice. Does that mean that you can never go out and have a cup of tea and a ciggarette at a cafe somewhere? Jesus.
I should have updated this post a while ago as since I started this thread, the Maltese government, under severe pressure, decided to U-turn and change the law to banning smoking from public places (government departments etc) with the exception of bars, clubs, restaurants etc.

The new law (as far as I can see) is that bars, clubs, restaurants etc must provide non-smoking areas and have extractor fans in smoking areas.

As for the question re enforcing, no, I have neither witnessed nor heard of anyone being fined for breaking the new rules. So Tom, next time you're over here you can happily smoke a *** with your cuppa! [C]
I don't think it's fair for someplaces like bars to be able to have smokers and other places it is forbidden. And yes you can get a $25.00 citation for anyone under the age caught smoking. I do agree with not forcing it on other that don't.
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