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Control freaks

Stoke-on-Trent city council is the latest local authority to jump on the anti-smoking bandwagon.

According the BBC News website:

People in Stoke-on-Trent are being asked about proposals to "control" smoking in some public spaces.

The city council will launch a public consultation on its plans in October and, depending on the results, will seek to make some areas smoke-free.

The report (Stoke-on-Trent City Council approves Hanley smoke-free plans) includes a quote from Forest.

That headline, btw, is inaccurate. If I read the report correctly, the council has approved plans for a consultation. It hasn't (yet) approved plans to extend the smoking ban to outdoor areas, one of which is Hanley bus station.

Then again, we all know where this is heading.

It reminds me of the three or four year period before MPs voted for a national workplace smoking ban.

Prior to the 2005 election the Labour government showed very little desire to introduce a comprehensive, nationwide ban. Instead it was rumoured Tony Blair was happy to leave it to local authorities to decide their own policy.

One day therefore I would find myself addressing a council committee in Plymouth. A few weeks later I'd be doing the same in Middlesbrough, then St Albans, and so on.

A decade or so later we're facing a similar situation, but the issue now is outdoor smoking.

The question is, how soon will it be before an MP or minister (Jane Ellison perhaps) tries to drive through legislation for a national ban on smoking in outdoor public spaces.

Don't give them ideas, I hear you cry. Don't worry, I'm sure someone has already thought of it.

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Reader Comments (3)

The only "public spaces" where a ban could be enforced are those which are actually private, such as restaurant and pub gardens or terraces. In practice, crowds of people who've had a few drinks on a Friday night will stand smoking just the other side of a rope designating the boundary, causing stress for pub staff and inconvenience to the general public.The success of the indoor ban in these private spaces is due to the potential £2500 fine for the property owner. Councils like to think they own parks, but I doubt they'll be fining themselves £2500.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at 12:10 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Bagley

I think that politicians must be banned from living off smokers ridiculous taxes because it is a gross misuse of representation. Who do they think they are kidding?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at 17:02 | Unregistered Commentergray

When are we going to have a consultation about exhaust fumes ? Far more dangerous than second hand cigarette smoke . Smoking 20 fags in an enclosed space wont be very pleasant . Stand in an enclosed space with a car engine running and youd be dead in twenty minutes . The phrase about wood and trees springs to mind .

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at 20:25 | Unregistered CommenterSimon Spalding

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