There is a lot of talk of late of banning smoking in public. People who oppose this ban are wrong*. I will now dismantle any argument you may have heard against the smoking ban:
1. If you ban smoking in public, you have to ban car exhausts
Not bad. However, there are four main flaws with this argument: if your car is modern, efficient and clean, car exhaust fumes are less toxic than cigarette smoke; cars tend to be used in well ventilated areas; car exhausts cannot be selectively aimed at people’s faces; and cars are useful rather than recreational (to the point where society would stand still if they were illegal).
2. It is my right as a human being to smoke
It is my right as a human being not to be given lung cancer by an idiot. My right not to die clearly takes precedence over your right to kill yourself. Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose. Your right to exhale carcinogens ends the exact same place. (I actually stole that soundbite from someone on TV who inexplicably replaced the phrase ‘the exact same place’ with ‘at my place of work’. Nice soundbite, idiot.)
3. If you don’t like smoke, don’t go to bars where people smoke.
I see. I can, off the top of my head, think of three smoking bars I frequent called ‘The Oak’, whereas I know of precisely one non-smoking bar (and, for the record, very nice it is, too). I think I should be allowed to socialise without being given a choice of ‘Arcadia or cancer’.
4. It is part of our culture.
So is Marco from Big Brother.
5. Use the non-smoking area if you don’t like smoke.
Do you know how many pubs and bars have a permanant non-smoking area? I can think of precisely two, and that includes the non-smoking bar I mentioned earlier, and in the other you have to walk through the smoking area to get to the non-smoking area, or indeed the bar. (I can cope with that, but I’ve met the odd heavy asthmatic who couldn’t. I guess it’s excessive to cater to people with such specific disabilities everywhere.)
A comment on the BBC website states that ‘having a smoking section in a pub or restaurant is like having a peeing section in a swimming pool’. Genius.
That’s all the invalid arguments I can think of in favour of public smoking for now. I suppose you can submit some in the forum and I can destroy those as well if you’d like.
*Some people say it’s a matter of opinion, but more informed people know that some opinions (like, say, ‘Saturday Night Live is a clever and satirical look at modern life and everyone involved is a genius.’) are just wrong. Some things are better than others no matter what their fans think. They’re biased, after all ’” they’re fans.