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The smoking ban three months on: a freedom gained or one stolen?

Cat Johnson loves the ban, Charlie Butterworth hates it. Who’s right?

Published on October 10th 2007.


The smoking ban three months on: a freedom gained or one stolen?

Smoking ban – I love it

Cat Johnson gives her opinion

Has there ever been a less cool time to be a smoker? Gone are iconic images of screen sirens inhaling languidly on a gold cigarette holder (very Audrey Hepburn). With the smoking ban we now get the pleasing sight of people jostling for position under a patio heater, trying to break the record for how quickly they can finish a cigarette. Or even worse snuggling up to a cigarette bin and for some reason still stubbing fags out on the floor.

The lure of smoking has disappeared so fast I’m feeling annoyingly smug about my newly acquired status of former social smoker. Things are decidedly peachy. Of course we’re all aware of the health benefits, the arguments about passive smoking and so forth, they’ve been rammed down our throats long enough by health and safety zealots.

These are the most important reasons for the ban but there are more superficial and pleasing aspects. No longer do I wake to the fetid scent of stale smoke in my tresses. Oh no. These days they’re more L’Oreal than Lambert and Butler. And if like me you’re partial to dancing, it’s also wonderful not doing the cigarette dodge. Too often, and with great annoyance, I’ve committed a much loved frock to the great charity shop in the sky because some over enthusiastic reveller (aka drunken git) jabbed me mid-move. Sophie Ellis Bextor had a point about murder on the dance floor.

In fact the sooner all smokers see the light the better. The pauses in conversation whilst they slope off for their nicotine hit can be annoying and you never know if lurking outside is some Marlboro smoking floozy ready to chat up your beloved. On the plus side your paramour’s absence might create an opportunity for making eyes over your Bellini with a hot barman.

The only real downside with the elimination of smoke is the emergence of odours such as sweaty armpits and parfam de flatulence.

But we can live with that. For the sake of mind, body, clothes and a far more pleasurable evening out, people who want a return to smoking in public places must be mad.

All bans are bad

Charlie Butterworth wants to de-regulate and it doesn’t stop with smoking

The smoking ban is part of a package of bannings, of don’t-do-this, don’t-do that have cascaded from government in recent years.

If we can’t do something because it’s bad for our health, then we can’t do something because it’s a security threat, or it will contribute to blah blah global warming or it might offend a religious group. And whilst we’re not doing things then let’s make sure we’re watched on CCTV and carry invasive DNA dosed ID cards.

The smoking ban is simply part of a process. It’s part of a banning line that will one day ban alcohol. If the logic of the smoking ban is that it’s bad for our health then so is alcohol. If passive smoking affects the innocent bystander then so do drunks. So why not ban alcohol? Give it until 2015 folks, and it’ll be in the sights of the new puritans.

Smoking is a freedom. People get pleasure from it and it’s up to them if they kill themselves. If non-smokers don’t like it they should open their own bars. The truth is, smoking has an edge that non-smoking, doesn’t – put simply it’s ‘cool’ to smoke. And as a lot of ‘cool’ people smoke then people want to hang out with them.

The smoking ban should be abolished… and that should just be the start. We should allow people to smoke whenever they want, to drink in public places, to have wild festivals without health and safety fascists, to bet merrily at any time of the day in casinos. We should un-ban it all, even drugs.

No, don’t be shocked. Think about it: the hopeless would continue being hopeless, addicts would still be addicts, but the majority would be free to choose for themselves. And we’d regulate ourselves. We don’t all take drugs now, we aren’t all permanently drunk, not all smokers smoke a packet or two a day. We could if we really wanted. Yet we don’t.

We only need laws against items such as guns which obviously and fatally affect others.

The smoking ban should be revoked straight-away, almost all behaviour bans should. Time we were treated like adults rather than children thought likely to do wrong at any moment.

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110 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

godOctober 10th 2007.

Hey us heavly beings dont go to private clubs with the lower 'upper class' rif-raf! No we have no reason to drink with such lazy scum, who seem to have high opinions of themselves because they are lazy. We prefer to go drink with nicer lower life forms such as those that work and earn a living, to support the upper and lower class parasites in earth's society.

Less intelligent than SkipOctober 10th 2007.

Sure Hazlecastle, call it the 'Cancer Arms' or 'Heart Disease Hotel'?

AnonymousOctober 10th 2007.

Never called it a conspiracy. All I was saying is that some less reputable scientists have been known to take the corporate pound in funding and happen to make findings public without them being put through the peer-reviewed process that any piece of worthwhile research would go. Once the research does go through peer-review, more often than not, it won't make it into print.

Cool smokerOctober 10th 2007.

Hey guys, I go through 50 cigarettes a day and I am an athlete! I am super fit! Saying that cigarettes is bad for your health is a myth, they are actually good for you! Scrap the smoking ban and make people breath my smoke in, it will do them good, and if they dont like it then they dont have to stand near me. It's selfish of people not to give me my right to smoke anywhere I please!

chasOctober 10th 2007.

I like the way some anti's complain about smelling after a night out. We all come into contact with something that smells everyday, be it at home, work or simply walking near roads. I get the impression that some people don't like washing.

non-smoking birdOctober 10th 2007.

I can see both sides to the argument but am in favour of the smoking ban. Smoke is definitely an irritant for me, I end up with streaming eyes and a graveyard cough - not pretty!!! It's great that I can now go to the pub for a quick drink and not come out stinking of cigs and with my mascara dripping down my face. Smokers are obviously used to the smoke and never noticed its effects - remember your first cig? surely you must've coughed and spluttered until you got used to it - that's what it was like for non-smokers all the time when we had to enter smoke filled pubs.

KerryOctober 10th 2007.

So it's cool to smoke? You are definately one adult who can't act their age and should be treated like a child. There may be many reasons why the ban isn't particularly ideal but boy am i glad that you're not my representative where it really matters!

AnonymousOctober 10th 2007.

What next we get fined for not recycling our **** ? control is everything what about civil liberty ? It drives people appart as a smoker you classed as a person who is refused the right to drink his pint inside a building he is refused to enter his own car with a cigarette and soon he will not be employed by a company if he admits smoking so much to equalitythe old man who always had his mild and a cigar on his pension day in a pub to meet the remaining friends is forced to stay at home so much to giving the elderly dignity

Paul EganOctober 10th 2007.

who says less people are using the pubs? who cares if less people are anyway? idiot!

AnonymousOctober 10th 2007.

With all of the rain over the summer it was so satisfying to see all the selfish smokers having to puff away in the rain. Keep them away from us non smokers!!

WayneOctober 10th 2007.

JR - I vote yours the best response by far, clearly written and to the point. Of course it helps that I agree with the point.

AKOctober 10th 2007.

I love the ban! Despite the odd whiff of a stale fart or someone's acerbic B.O., it is nice to get home with reasonably fresh smelling clothes and waking up the next day without feeling like you've smoked a ten-pack yourself. You wouldn't pee in a swimming pool and expect others to swim in it, or would you?

josolOctober 10th 2007.

Get real, all you stinking smokers. You know everyone and everywhere is better without it. Just give it up once and for all and be happy - wow, and maybe even healthy too!

CarlosOctober 10th 2007.

Fag ASH the effects are NOT proven- there is no evidence except for quack statistics. Another thing it is the owners who should decide as they are the ones who put their effort into the venue. Nuff said- good post Charlie.

SpawnMeister666October 10th 2007.

Whilst I can understand and appreciate the health implications of smoking, both first hand and passive, I am 100% against the smoking ban, and have been since it was first proposed.People should have the right to CHOOSE whether they want to go in a bar that is smoking or not. They should have the right to CHOOSE whether they want to WORK in a bar that is smoking or not.What everybody fails to mention when discussing the ban is the impact it's had on the pub trade. Pubs are going out of business at an alarming rate, as a direct result of this draconian ban. People are losing their livelihood and their careers as a direct result of this ban.Farmers make a complete mess of their jobs and create the foot and mouth crisis and they are compensated for the loss of their stock. They are actually paid money by the EU to NOT farm a certain percentage of their land.Where are the compensation packages for the small pubs that are being driven out of business by this ill thought piece of legislation forced through by the government?And, going back to that right to choose thing I mentioned ealier, how come no-one seems to care about the health implications to members of staff in the bars in the Houses of Parliament, all of which are EXEMPT from the smoking ban?Surely if this ban had to be brought in because of the critical health issues to people it should have ALSO been brought into and affect the bars where the politicians that voted for it drink....Spawny

National Smoking Day, 31st December 2007October 10th 2007.

The Great British People are alive and kicking and fighting against this obscene attack on 1/4 of our population.Support National Smoking Day on New Year's Eve!Register on http://www.nationalsmokingday.com

chasOctober 10th 2007.

I too, believe the lies of ASH. That's why I am a supporter of the Anti Smoking League.

RP McMurphyOctober 10th 2007.

NHS director: Can you use your moment in the sun to provide the names and adresses of people killed by passive smoking in Gt Manchester in the past year? Just three will do. Thankyou.

PaulOctober 10th 2007.

I have just been on my jollies to Crete I have never seen or smelt so many ignorant gits in my life every meal we had we had to put up with them smoking yes we tried to sit where nobody was smoking then just as the food came the table next to us lit up and that was even when they could see we had a three year old with us ….something had to be done people are ignorant

chasOctober 10th 2007.

The Anti Smoking League also told me to ignore Freedom 2 Choose, because they constantly expose the lies of ASH.

chasOctober 10th 2007.

I was told by ASH that I could kill all anti's if I go within a mile of them with my deadly smoke. I love it.

Paul EganOctober 10th 2007.

Hey I smoke and all you sad people that dont need to get a life. You have taken away my rights. I have a right to smoke, its my choice! Every time I light up on the bus someone moans at me, and whats it got to do with them?The government should lift the ban and give smokers back their freedom!

MicheleOctober 10th 2007.

Believing that smoking is cool is what got me started on this ridiculous habit in the first place at the age of 15. Grow up Charlie - I finally have and as a recent non smoker have now seen the light, thanks in part to my own kids who are obviously far cooler and edgier than Charlie will ever be! What's cool about smoking 20 a day for over 20 years? Calculate the financial cost of that not to mention the health costs and I'll tell you how edgy being skint and coughing like a 90 year old is.Not!The ban has made it far easier for us new non-smokers not to lapse when we go out for a drink too. I say keep the ban and were it not for my strong belief in freedom of speech I'd say let's ban nobs like Charlie spouting his very uncool crap too!

JoolsOctober 10th 2007.

It's 'Cool' to smoke and only 'cool' people smoke?! I've heard it all now, if that's why you smoke, then you really do have a problem. I'm defo all for the smoking ban, why should I have to avoid smokey bars to save coughing like an old hag the next day, when I've gone out for a drink, not to be covered in someone elses smoke, have stinky hair/clothes etc and be a step closer to death!?!Drinkers may drink and you don't expect a pint being thrown at you every 5 minutes on a night out ( depends what you've done and who you are obviously) but seriously, it can only be a good thing, I just wished they had done it years ago!! I've seen many an elder relative die from lung cancer, throat cancer and had to have bits of tongue, gum, throat removed etc in their last dwindling years and thats the sad,sickening fact. Anyway, either give up or Wrap up stinky smokers, it's gonna get colder out there!!

Tim EOctober 10th 2007.

Who ultimately benefits from smoking? Tobacco Companies. They made huge amounts of cash pushing it, marketed the idea of smoking as being cool,then stuffed cigarettes full of addictive substances so that smokers couldn't stop. That people prefer rolled up pieces of paper with leaves in to their mates is a sad reflection of how addictive this crap is. How did people manage 300 years ago, before tobacco arrived!!!!??

BenOctober 10th 2007.

passive smoking is a myth, google it and see for your self.

EOctober 10th 2007.

I agree with the smoking ban and it's a good move from the government to show people how harmful it is and how for once and all people in this country should take a bit more responsibility for their health. This may become a nanny state if people always let themselves be looked after.

CarolynOctober 10th 2007.

Charlie- if you want to smoke yourself silly then I have no objections, but I don't want my clothes and hair to reek and my eyes to sting and I am happy about the ban. Looks like its scarf and gloves and shivering on the doorstep for you this winter........

Smokin' JoOctober 10th 2007.

If they really want to ban it why not just get rid completely? Surely once the cravings have died down everyone would be much better off.Oh yeah I forgot, that little problem of the tax revenue lost.

JROctober 10th 2007.

Everybody is looking at this from their own individual perspective. However there are serious issues for society as a whole. In Ireland since they have introduced the ban 1000 bars have closed. This number is still rising. In Scotland pubs are often closing at 9pm because they have no customers. Bar Owners are stating that people are deciding to drink at home. I am sure that most of the bard in Manchester City Centre will stay open but locals will start to close with a vengeance. Also if Scotland is anything to go by so will our Bingo Halls. Therefore we can expect to see many people lose their jobs. It will also have a detrimental effect on the nation's health. In the last thirty years though our physical health has improved our mental health has detioriated. Experts agree that one of the main reasons for this is our greater social isolation. The smoking ban will only heighten that

chasOctober 10th 2007.

MPs have agreed not to smoke in their bars, so they are smoking in the toilets.

GetRealB4its2L8October 10th 2007.

Anyone capable of banging two brain cells together can see that inhaling a little methane, perspiration and beer odour (one of the best odours going) is much less detrimental than the numerous toxins and carcinogenic substances found in tobacco smoke.Someone who indulges there guilty little pleasure (whatever that may be) at the cost of others doesn't really have much respect for those around them or themselves for that matter!This is yet another indication of an endemic problem within our society; a real lack of respect for life and lack of appreciation for the privileged western/spoon-fed lives we are born into.People in our situation need to be more considerate in general and stop thinking about No.1 all the time.I live in hope.As far as the ban on smoking in 'public faces' its a bit of a no-brainer; unfortunately a ban is required because the people themselves are not willing to do the right thing, therefore some government of the situation is required. Its understandable that because smokers have gotten away with it so long, now its been taken away some of them feel a little aggrieved. But as more and more of smokers see that they are banging their nicotine intoxicated heads against an imaginary wall.Smoking sucks (excuse the overused pun), that's a fact!The sooner the ignorance, denials and excuses are left behind the better.

chasOctober 10th 2007.

Reet. I'm so sorry. I didn't realise that we smokers have also had our freedom of speech taken away, or is this rant only for anti's?

slimOctober 10th 2007.

'Most big chains'. So s.d the small pubs?

AnonymousOctober 10th 2007.

Has this rant been taken over by a load of Daily Express-reading people who read a headline and then consider it gospel? People arguing that passive smoking is just an irritant, sounds like a sensationalist headline from the above mentioned paper. I read this and it makes me angry, what does science matter when some journalist can just print some statement produced by somebody that is probably funded by a tobacco firm, as if it is infalliable. This is the same as the MMR/Autism scare and Climate Change sceptics, just go to the bad science website and see for yourselves how dangerous this sort of journalism can be! The smoking ban is a good thing, which will hopefully reduce diseases associated with passive smoking, and cause some people to give up smoking all together

Barney BreetOctober 10th 2007.

Surprise, surprise, Roy Castle did indulge in cigars... Not a well known fact.Regarding the supposed 17% drop in heart problems admissions in Scottish hospitals is based on conjecture and junk science, not to mention ASH's claims of dangers of SHS.UK National Smoking Day declared on 31/12/2007, visit:http://www.nationalsmokingday.comfor more details. Join the protest and stand up against this draconian, undemocratic law. Freedom of Choice

hatepubsOctober 10th 2007.

Do anybody use pubs today? Most working class smoke and we upper classes use private clubs.

t'October 10th 2007.

I'll never get the ban, I mean obviously I understand the thinking behind it, the father figure government keeping us all safe and that, but to me it's just another step towards some kind of Fahrenheit 451 type Orwellian nightmare.Right thinking or not; more people smoked in pubs and bars than didn't - fact. That's why the small smoking rooms of yesteryear became smoking venues and no smokers were corralled into smaller areas. Again, I'm not saying that's right, but it's fact.The problem is the venues; If pubs, bars, clubs and so on provided anywhere near decent air con or ventilation then it would never have mattered. Smoke simply wouldn't have been an issue before July, and the stink of sweat, farts and stale beer wouldn't be such an issue now.Moving on from the smoking ban, police chiefs are already talking about reducing the times for drinking, some wanting to ban it after 10.30 due to long standing social and health problems, and new laws are going through to stop anyone intoxicated being served in pubs, all for the greater good of course.I blame the right on credit card hippies for it all, still happily driving around in their 4x4's poisoning anyone unlucky enough to be in breathing distance but wanting nice clean air for their Pinot Grigio.What's next on the plan, ban cars for the same reason? Surely I have the same right to walk along the pavement or ride my bike and not be forced to breathe in fumes from incosiderate motorists?

hazelcastleOctober 10th 2007.

WHY CAN'T WE HAVE PUBS FOR SMOKING WHERE THE STAFF SMOKE AS WELL. I PERSONNALY WOULD NOT GO IN A PUB NOW FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME BECAUSE TO MY MY IDEA OF ENJOYMENT IS A DRINK AND A CIGARETTE, WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO GO OUTSIDE IN THE COLD AND RAIN.

hellersdadOctober 10th 2007.

Just a pity we didn't adopt the Aussie smoking ban - No Smoking within 3 metres od the entrance to any premises selling or serving food. Now the Aussies aren't to keen on being bossed around by their government, but it seemed to have been accepted without too many problems. UK please copy!

DazzleOctober 10th 2007.

Putting the obviously health issues aside. If you replaced fag smoke with "fart smell" in the above postings - do you think the smokers would then have a problem with smoking in public?

Less intelligent than SkipOctober 10th 2007.

Ok Skip, sorry Smart arse! arse thats smarting after all the farting?

Paul EganOctober 10th 2007.

You cant have smoking and non smoking venues you idiot! That would never work.You might as well just lift the ban if you are going to allow it in pubs again, duh!

english charlieOctober 10th 2007.

CarolynTried washing?

matthew fullerOctober 10th 2007.

well...thanks Charlie.I am a dual national so I have the slip off option.Know who your friends are.The point is you can rant and rave, lobby but will it stick. If in the end it you feel alien in a country you've known and enjoyed the relative 'libertarian' attitudes and the degeneration has been going on for years and you write shout and more....well.I hope I am wrong,but the pubs laws have only recently changed-ie the 11pm rule (put in place in 1915 to keep the factory workers sober!). The political parties have melded into one and the pod people have taken over the pub...How about a revolution..surely this site and the populous is not yellow...anyway the weather is better in Spain..oh why not be an exile and come back when it gets better?. I sort of enjoyed your spot and the best of British..PS could I stay on as an honorary Lafayette if the tumbrils start rollin'...oh why can't we compromise...

hatepubsOctober 10th 2007.

I didn't go in pubs before the ban and will not go in pubs now. It has nothing to do with the smoke, but because they are used by the lower classes and I have no reason to drink with the riffraff.

chasOctober 10th 2007.

NHS Director. Pleases answer R P McMurphy's question, name 3 people who have died in Greater Manchester in the last year from passive smoking.Roy Castle wrongly thought that one could only get lung cancer from cigarette smoke.

AnonymousOctober 10th 2007.

All Charlie's argument is complete rubbish. This isn't about big brother - it's actually about the non smoker's right to choose. I choose not to have your smoke in my face, on my clothes, in my hair and in my children's lungs. I choose to not have your cigarette casually hanging in my direction so you don't burn your clothes/skin but instead burn mine. So, I chose, I voted and non smokers won - that's the gamble and it's part of living in a democracy so get used to it.

LukeOctober 10th 2007.

wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy i love a good smoke me! stop the ban before i kill myself

Paul EganOctober 10th 2007.

That's right chas, its a really clever thing to do standing in the rain with you guys breathing in your poisonous smoke haha!

NHS Director of Smoke Free Gt ManchesterOctober 10th 2007.

Its my moment in the sun and I am taking it--Tracey there are four thousand chemicals in cigarettes,fifty of which are real killers.Had enough??

TraceyOctober 10th 2007.

Smokers, do you remember the Sudan I (a cancer causing food dye) scare a year or two back? How many of you avoided the foods that were contaminated? How many of you threw the potentially comtaminated food packets into the bin and DIDN'T feed them to your children/family/friends? Well, you wouldn't have would you? Why would you purposefully and deliberately give someone cancer causing chemicals, it'd be an awful thing to do?Sudan I was ONE carcinogen, do you know how many are in your cigarettes? If you wouldnt force people to eat poisoned food, why do you think it's ok to force people to breathe your poisoned smoke?

karenOctober 10th 2007.

So, apart from some highly questionable statistical 'evidence' (that most normal people find laughable), this ban is a good thing because of a SMELL? And then you moan about the annoying pauses in conversation whilst the smokers slope off for a cigarette. How selfish of them.

chasOctober 10th 2007.

Passive reading has cost more lives than passive smoking will ever do.

chasOctober 10th 2007.

Not all non-smokers are stupid. The sensible ones come outside with us.

kiwiOctober 10th 2007.

3 Brits die each year testing if a 9v battery works on their tongue.31 Brits have died since 1996 by watering their Christmas tree while the fairy lights were plugged in.19 Brits have died in the last 3 years believing that Christmas decorations were chocolate.How many Brits have died in the last year because of passive smoking?

vanessaOctober 10th 2007.

Absolute bollocks Charlie, I'm afraid. Someone drinking a pint will not have any impact on my personal space whereas someone blowing smoke in my face will. On a night out, there used to be more people polluting me than there was the odd fight or lairy behaviour in my presence

Smoking is the Devils WorkOctober 10th 2007.

Don't smoke it's a scummy habit. For scummy losers. I agree with Nice person, kill all smokers. But The Irwell River is too good for them, how about burning them alive?

chasOctober 10th 2007.

I agree Charlie and Nanny will be coming after fatties next. Nanny has announced that 50% of adults will be obese in 25 years time. I'd like to know where they get their figures from.

BobOctober 10th 2007.

2 points: firstly, it isn't a ban. As far as I'm aware, people who want to smoke can do it at home. In fact one of the few unpleasant things about this is that I now have to walk through a cloud of smoke to get into a bar from the addicts in the doorway, but at least once I'm inside the air is clean. Secondly, Charlie, I wished you had been with me when I was visiting my Mum in hospital after she'd lost half of her tongue, most of her bottom gum and a piece of her jaw to smoking related cancer and was perilously close to being dead. She looked so cool... Now, grow up you idiot.

LoLoOctober 10th 2007.

Gezzabelle, you must be my twin! I've had major rows with my mates since the ban cos I'm a learner non-smoker so won't go outside cos of temptation, but my buddies are all smokers and leave me to fend for myself for hours whilst they're tabbing and having fun with the "cool" (but very smelly) people outside. Half tempted to take smoking back up again and just allow myself to die of cancer for the sake of not arguing with my bezzies!

chasOctober 10th 2007.

It was a great idea to ban smoking in pubs? 'Millions' of non-smokers were going to use pubs after the ban, so why are less people using the pubs?

More intelligent than SkipOctober 10th 2007.

Hey Skip, you're another selfish idiot.Listen up moron, dont you realise that there are more people who drink and dont smoke than there are people who drink and do smoke?

JohnOctober 10th 2007.

So, all those sad bastards who are so addicted to nicotine that they are prepared to stand outside in the cold and rain are really cool. I'm going to have to re-adjust my perceptions somewhat. Maybe I've been missing just how cool skagheads are too, pass me that syringe Charlie, I wanna be as cool as you.

NHS Director of Smoke Free Gt ManchesterOctober 10th 2007.

Its a complete viral myth that the Commons and Lords contiue to allow smoking.They went smokefree on July 1st like everyone else.Similarly its a tobacco industry myth that pubs and bars are closing---most of the big chains have reported increased food sales and no big drop in customers.So the message is the same --step outside and save lives.Save your own life by ringing our friendly quit line on 0800 432 0303 Pat

NoBanjanOctober 10th 2007.

1 in 4 adults smoke, therefore 1 in 4 pubs should be for smokers, this would leave 3 in 4 pubs for the antis to inhabit!

James Chapman-KellyOctober 10th 2007.

Oh people please will you ALL get a life and realise just what a cock up this so called ‘ban’ is.Yes it’s great to have a smoke free pub but it doesn’t exist. In order to enter a bar you have to push your way through the community smoking section huddled in the doorway. The door has to remain open, no matter the weather, just so as the poor little addicts outside can still ‘relate’ to the goings on inside the bar. If you ask the bar owner to shut the door he says “But there are people smoking outside.” Well sod the ‘people smoking outside’ can’t they go and do it in a cave or maybe in the middle of the M60? I don’t smoke but I wish we had smoking rooms as opposed to this farce that masquerades as a law. Now where’s my new needle…….?

JeffOctober 10th 2007.

Let's have this right. There is NO smoking ban. You can smoke whenever you like. Just don't expect to have the right to do it in an enclosed space where your fumes endanger my health.

SoniaOctober 10th 2007.

It's about time. I'm sick of smokers holding their fags away fom themselves and aiming it in my direction. It's so much nicer to walk into a bar our restaurant without the thick smog of cigarette smoke clinging to your hair and clothing. I'm not a smoker and dont want to smell like I am One. And for the record, my fiance used to smoke and agrees with me

The Real Rod HullOctober 10th 2007.

to quote anonymous "...The girls who have their drinks spiked leaving them on a table in a club - and get raped by some creep....". So there you have it, the smoking ban causes girls to be raped. What's next, blaming this on Asylum Seekers.... Good to people keeping things in perspective........

AnonymousOctober 10th 2007.

Come on Charlie. You'll have to do better than that. Smoking affects all the non smokers who come close to it and spoils inside public spaces for a huge proportion of the country.Alcohol is totally different. It doesn't negatively impact on the environment but drunkens bums do and there ought to be tougher laws in place to deal with them.

AMCOctober 10th 2007.

I do think it's odd that you aren't allowed to bring your drink outside with you when you smoke, especially in bars that have tables and chairs outside. Either you have to finish you're drink or risk some skank nicking it (at best) or having it spiked.

SkipOctober 10th 2007.

Um, not sure one that response there - but I'm for the ban. Was the text too long for you? I'm a drinker. I don't smoke. So yeah, i kind of assume there is more than 1 of us...I love my smoke-free, BO-stanking, stale-beer-reeking pub.

Paul EganOctober 10th 2007.

Well I havent got a problem with it, might mean I'm not stood at the bar for an hour waiting to get served. Might mean these rip off places actually bring their prices down.

JoolsOctober 10th 2007.

Wow, so many ignorant people,( quite different to thinking you are having your freedom of speech taken away ( sadly in time, that is something that may just happen, as with my grandfather, who died of lung cancer after having parts of gum, throat, tongue removed in his last painful years). It's shocking in this day and age. You'd think smoking would be something just the older generation do now, that think it's too late to stop and were blinded by advertising and times when smoking was glorified back inthe 30s, 40s, 50s etc. Nowadays there's no excuse. Smoking is your choice I suppose, but don't try and airbrush over what it is you are doing to yourself and the people around you breathing in your passive smoke. You can still smoke when you want other than pubs or restaurants and I think thats fair enough, why do you think you are having 'your rights' taken away by that?? Crazy, smoke at home, 100 a day if you like, I'd just prefer not to have to join you when I go out for a meal or a drink thats all, not too much to ask for is it??

SarahhOctober 10th 2007.

I'm sorry...passive smoking claims a scam??? Ha ha ha ridiculous. So many people have died of throat and lung cancer who worked in smoky pubs/clubs and never smoked a fag in their life. I think the ban is literally an overdue breath of fresh air. Being a non-smoker doesn't encroach on other peoples' personal space, where as being a smoker does. How is it fair to force people to breathe in your cancerous smoke when it isn't their choice? The only thing that really irritates me about the ban is the fact that smokers are now smoking on the streets all around you and I find I often smell as bad as a night out in pubs and clubs, just from walking through town. I have also been stabbed a few times with a minging cig on 2 occasions by bimbos with bags who STILL cannot control their own fags!!!!! It isn't hard to remember to move your fag if someone walks past dammit!

Sue from ChesterOctober 10th 2007.

Yes, whilst us smokers are outside breathing in amoungst other things fresh air, the non smokers are left inside awaiting our return taking in the fumes of urine from the toilets - lovely.

Charlie ButterworthOctober 10th 2007.

Matthew, that was a long posting and in parts I sort of enjoyed it. But then you finished with that 'leave the country' line which is always the last refuge of the coward. Stay put and fight situations don't run away. By the way all you anti-smoking ranters, nothing you have said alters my opinion on banning the ban one tiny jot.

choppaOctober 10th 2007.

Charlie...smoking has not been banned...smokers have been asked politely to smoke outside and not play their ****ty smoke in people's faces...you are welcome to your cancer but we don't want it!

antOctober 10th 2007.

I smoke but I don't mind the smoking ban...it annoyed me that there wasn't that freedom to choose, but at least I didn't go home smelling of smoke...I like the taste, the act, but don't like the smell...also I think the outside smoking area puts you in a great place to meet new people. It's the inconsiderate venues like the Academy that bother me though where they don't let you go out for a smoke...

NHS DIRECTOR OF SMOKE FREE GT.MANCHESTEROctober 10th 2007.

Busy at weekend so could not mail.Lots of tobacco industry propaganda coming up.Fact---1000 bars have not closed in Ireland.I talk to the local authorities in Ireland regularly and I was in Dublin with relatives recently and the place is jammed.Second hand smoke-or passive smoke--again I would rather listen to doctors in Ireland,America, and the U.K The tobacco industry has propagandists all over the show.Anyone who wants to join me at the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Institute( you will remember Roy never smoked but developed lung cancer cos of working in night clubs)or Christies in Manchester and we can talk to patients who never smoked but because of their work they developed cancer.I am no scientist but it seems to me if 114,000 people die each year cos of smoking ie one in two smokers over 50 if we breath in their toxic smoke in bars and clubs it is bound to injure our health.There is no going back and kids in manchester will have the best chance to grow up without the deadly dangers of smoking .

andyOctober 10th 2007.

Charlie is spot on.Freedom2choose. Passive smoking harm claims are a scam. Smoke is just a smell at worsse an irritant. This can be eradicated by ventilation under an indoor air quality standard. If the ban was really a health issue ventilation would have been chosen over sending everyone outside to breathe genuine carcinogens in town centres. Let owners choose if they want allow smoking, let customers choose a smoking or non-smoking establishment. Anti-smokers- you wait, if you drink alcohol, coffee or eat fatty foods- you are on the healthist hitlist! http://www.freedom2choose.info

Barca's great!October 10th 2007.

There is a middle ground to all this. I've just come back from Barcelona where some bars are smoking and some not.I don't know if it's their choice or by application but everyone has a license. Some bars/restaurants have specific times when you can smoke. Generally after the food has stopped. There law seems well thought out unlike the comedy that exists here. I would like the choice. It is possible and as a ex bar owner I know the trouble this one causes many owners and staff.

traceraceOctober 10th 2007.

Good post Charlie!Cat...what a load of piffle!Fag Ash Lil....Might be well documented...but there is NO scientific evidence, to say shs is anything more than an irritant, at worst...Its just a load of waffle, made up to brainwash people like you en mass; that don't bother to do the research!Just take what the government and government funded charities...ie ASH say as Gospel!"oh it must be right because the goverment say so!Suggest you all visit www.freedom2choose.info..There you'll discover non smokers and smokers alike...who will open your eyes to the truth!

chasOctober 10th 2007.

I am thinking of joining the Anti Smoking League. They speak with common sense. They condemn Freedom 2 Choose for continually exposing the lies of ASH.

chasOctober 10th 2007.

I am totally against Freedom 2 Choose. They are dreadful, for they keep exposing the LIES of ASH.

AnonymousOctober 10th 2007.

With all of the rain over the summer it was so satisfying to see all the selfish smokers having to puff away in the rain. Keep them away from us non smokers!!

Charlie ButterworthOctober 10th 2007.

Dear Anonymous, you're right it's all a big conspiracy theory. I work for a tobacco company and I was also working for M16 when we caused the Diana crash and I was on the grassy knoll when Kennedy was shot en route, with a group of FBI agents, to Area 51 to interview aliens.

Nice Clean PersonOctober 10th 2007.

You dirty, dirty, dirty smokers invading our nice clean space. You stand on corners, with foul smells coming out of your mouths, stubbing your dripping tar sticks out on the pavement, then you filth, arrive at a table next to me at dinner. I can smell you. You are foul and should be put in sacks and drowned in the Irwell. There is no excuse for you to be in the same city as me. Move to the Isle of Man you smelly grossbags. Cat is right. Hunt down Butterworth like a rabid dog and pike the *******.

baggioOctober 10th 2007.

full marks to 't' for comparing cars to cigs. suppose you've never driven a car then or ever accepted a lift in one.i've yet to see anyone get to work via a cigarette.i was never pro the ban but after listening to the selfishness of smokers i'm completely for it now and going out is so much nicer now. my eyes don't sting anymore.

NHS Director Of Smoke Free Gt.ManchesterOctober 10th 2007.

Interesting posts but not many facts. Fact one--the smoke free legislation was introduced to protect workers from the dangers of second hand smoke.The Chief Medical Officer had comissioned a report which showed that people like bar staff that were exposed to second hand smoke had a 25% increased chance of producing cancer or serious heart problems.These findings were similar to studies by doctors in Ireland and in America.Fact two---the health of all bar and club staff in Ireland(three years into the ban) and in Scotland (over one year into the ban ) has greatly improved because of the superior air quality. Fact three---a recent study across nine Scottish hospitals showed a 17% drop in admissions for heart attacks one year after the ban.For me the greatest achiement on the ban is that children and young people will grow up in a smoke free greater manchester.The tobacco industry has always depended on pubs and clubs to encorage kids to smoke.We are breaking that connection and protecting the lives of people who work in those places.Every day fourteen people in greater manchester die of smoking related diseases and tens of thousands have chronic bad health because of smoking.I am proud of the NHS and local authority staff that have started this smoking revolution and have stood up to the tobacco industry.

chasOctober 10th 2007.

PaulYou are so right you can't have smoking and non-smoking pubs, because nearly every pub would want to be smoking.

NeetOctober 10th 2007.

Chas - "The Anti Smoking League also told me to ignore Freedom 2 Choose, because they constantly expose the lies of ASH." - You are getting so repetitive - its boring! take the needle off the record will you!

Fag Ash LilOctober 10th 2007.

I never minded smoking one way or t'other until I got pregnant. I knocked drinking on the head for the sake of the little one - fair enough - but was forced to avoid bars and pubs because of the (Charlie, please note): WELL DOCUMENTED effects of passive smoking. Inhaling the equivalent of several fags on a night out just wasn't a risk I was prepared to take. Once the ban came in, I was able to get my social life back on track. It's all about choice: smokers still have the choice as to whether they smoke or not. They just have to go outside to do it. I'd like the choice as to whether I inhale cigarette smoke or not. As for drunks having an impact on innocent bystanders? Give over, Charlie...

MikeOctober 10th 2007.

Appart from narrow footpaths outside bars being an unavoidable cloud of chemicals you have to pass through the smoking ban is fantastic.... sunday morning and my hair, my bed, my clothes, my chest & finally my head are all chemical free.

MsCrowOctober 10th 2007.

Charlie's argument is so old, arcane and ultimately, selfish. Nowhere is there the acknowledgement that the 'right to smoke' is also the selfishness to not consider anyone else. The ban was also a godsend for smokers, a real impetus to stop smoking and it worked for me. Grow up, the smoking ban is not a government conspiracy.

JanieOctober 10th 2007.

Charlie - you say "Smoking is a freedom. People get pleasure from it and it’s up to them if they kill themselves." What about those who don't want to kill themselves as a result of it yet have it forced upon them? By having everywhere as a smoking venue you are removing the freedom of those who don't smoke which you obviously seem to think registers on a much lower scale of priority. I think there could be a happy medium here and I am very sympathetic to the needs of those who are addicted to the weed. It would be great if there was some way of housing smokers in an enclosed, ventilated, covered area so they don't have to endure the unpleasant side of it by having a fag outside in the cold - and that's coming from someone who absolutely hates the habit with a passion.

chasOctober 10th 2007.

I wish it was true.

Cooler than youOctober 10th 2007.

I'm with the smart, respectful people here who appeal for smoking and non-smoking venues. That way, everyone has a right to choose. Seems the only fair way of doing things while any poisons (booze, caffeine, happy house) are legally available to pep up people's social lives. Trouble is, the places where you could smoke WOULD be the coolest, and all the whingey, self-righteous non-smokers would want in. And their vague, unrealistic, judgmental nonsense feels like it takes more years off my life than crack. Anyone got a light?

Paul EganOctober 10th 2007.

I'll second that GetRealB4its2L8! Jolly well said mate! Bring back respect in this society! Bring back disapline for kids!, bring back the school bus! Let poloce do their job!.......

ChasOctober 10th 2007.

RP. Don't ask NHS an impossible question.

Someone with a brain.October 10th 2007.

Hurray for the ban! Now the selfish ignorant idiots who are too dumb to realise the harm they are doing to themselves, are finally forced not to do the same harm to others who are more intelligent and choose not to poison themselves. I say dont just go on the street and poison yourselves, go poison yourself in another country then I dont have to keep paying such high taxes to keep you alive in hospital when you have cancer, heart disease, premature aging of just about every organ in your body.. You're breathing in poison you idiots! Killing yourselves slowly. Do you know what carbon monoxide does? Forget the nicotene, go educate yourself about all the other harmful toxic substances you are breathing in. Stick two female twins aged 30 next to each other. One has smoked for the last 15 years, one hasn't. One looks 45, one looks 25. Rest my case, use some will power and quit you fools! And stop complaining when finally you are not allowed to poison me!

Ivan BellOctober 10th 2007.

We have ATS in one of our locals. the Gaffer says its his private residence after closing time.The other local just does ATD, After time drinking, so locals have a choice.

chasOctober 10th 2007.

paulAsk the landlords. I won't use abuse, I leave that to losers.

SkipOctober 10th 2007.

"I read it on the internet, it must be true..."So, passive smoking is now not bad for you? According to whose research exactly? Passive smoking has never been published as being a "scam" - far from it. At best, there is some research which has indicated that the risk may not be as great as previously thought. To be fair, one of the "risks previously thought" was a 30% increase of coronary heart disease. Yes folks, that is a 30% INCREASE. So, maybe it is only 25%, maybe even only 20%...And as for the smell that has been mentioned; I assume you are complaining because you can smell stale beer and BO rather than smoke. Was that the basic gist of your argument? Hilarious. Does the BO (or the fart for that matter) get into your clothes and follow you home? I'll have to try that one as an excuse some day. In fact, I've actually copied and pasted that one to send to a few friends in case they miss it.Your right to choose should not take precedence over mine. Smoke. Go to Oxygen Bars. Become vegans. But leave the bar staff and the alcoholics to our poisons of choice.

GezzabelleOctober 10th 2007.

I can see points to both sides of the argument. I miss the social aspect of smoking as now all the fun people who are still smoking go outside to rainy Manchester to have a cheeky tab whilst I'm left at the boring table with the health freaks. Saying that, I could go out and join them I suppose. It is great to wake up the next morning and not STINK of stale smoke. I think I am getting my hangovers quicker too since the ban, and I'm sure this is down to the fact I am no longer a passive smoker!!!! :) :) :)

matthew fullerOctober 10th 2007.

HiI am a non-smoker so am not particularly biased for this reason against the ban.However, I am dismayed the ban has been imposed. I feel it is draconian and an example of the erosion of liberties over the past few years in the UK-some subtle, some not.Mayor Bloomburg of New York imposed a ban there a few years back. Elizabeth Wheelan; President of the American Council on Science and Health, (who one would think would not have a pro smoking agenda )said she or her colleagues could not correlate a link between SH Smoke and mortality/ extreme health problems for workers or conclude one PROVEN CASE of death related to 'passive smoking'. She stated Mr Bloomburg's comments were 'vile' and a smoke screen for his personal dislike of smoking.The World Health Organization (WHO) could not find a link between mortality and SH Smoke in their reseach some years back.As an aside , I recently was in San Fransisco with friends and family members.Whilst in the open air waiting for a cable car, a woman came up to us and said one of our party should go smoke in the corner. At the same time smog (like many CA cities) hung low over the area. She drove a very large 4x4.In the corner,an escape artist (street performer) was trying to unpick his locks-we think he must have been a smoker.I apologize for the levity.I sometimes wonder where the old California of the the days of exploration and freedom has gone.It now in many instances has an 'automaton' and stilted attitude in it's officials( in turn leaking down to many of it's citizens)and a very hypocritical attitiude.Also the passive smoking advertising is blatantly misleading.Ironically it is what you 'cannot smell or see' in industrial and vehicular carcinogens that are most damaging.I abhor this type of advertising.I do not deny that smoking has a detrimental effect on the smoker in many instances.I do not promote smoking.In an 'Independent' article of a few years back, John Carlin's headline was 'America's curious concept of freedom' in relation to their ban and inconsistencies in policy making. Many people even left the state because of this!. On a lighter note he writes "should chocolate be declared unlawful because of the the risk of obesity or the diabetic 'using it' or indeed baked beans taken off the the shelves because of the noxious risks"!.Also quote "In a US high school an 18 year old student was banned from playing an American Football after a random drug test detected traces of nicotine in his blood. The very same student would be entiltled not only to drive,but to vote, get married and join the army/own a gun". Politicians ignore the rights of smokers (some 48 million)" he says. Surely we can have strong filtration systems if need be and non-smoking sections.As Is I say I'm a non-smoker,and understand some people want to be seperated We all used to have coal fires . In a Telegraph article from 1989,it indicated non-smoking sections were small and often unrequested or indeed if they were viable; how the mindset appears to have changed with many people.Do we have to shift violently the other way!. Below is an extract from a Canadian medical journal...the comments of doctors in relation to SH Smoke: Our impression of the WHO andits published studies and statements isthat they are carefully considered andcontain sound science, although theysometimes lapse into “bureaucratese.”In the study, the relative risk(RR) of a nonsmoker who lives in ahouse with a smoker was given as1.16, with confidence intervals of0.093 to 1.44. Thus, it is entirely possiblethat the RR would be less thanthat expected — below 1.0.This suggests that the figure isnot statistically significant, but thestatistical and epidemiologic fraternitiesprefer to give their results withthe appropriate confidence intervalsrather than tests of significance. Unfortunately, positive studies aremuch more likely to be included inmeta-analyses than negative ones.Meta-analyses need to concern themselvesnot only with published studiesbut also with other studies that forone reason or another have not beenpublished. Much more importantly,meta-analyses need to review andcheck the raw data of all publishedinvestigations to ascertain whetherthe data have been analysed appropriatelyor manipulated to support aparticular point of view. We do not favour tobacco companies and their use of advertising.However,the rejection of truth and the acceptanceof unproven hypotheses to furtherone’s concept of ethics or socialjustice is wrong too. Many studies involvingsecondhand smoke are notconvincing, and answers aboutwhether it causes cancer are farfrom established. Unfortunately, ithas become customary to torture thedata until they confess. We needmore science, less hyperbole and lessenthusiasm for unproven points ofview. We support regulations banningsmoking in airplanes and hospitals, not because secondhandsmoke causes lung cancerbut because some nonsmokers sufferdiscomfort as a result of the habit.Dildar Ahmad, MDW. Keith Morgan, MDChest Diseases UnitLondon Health Sciences CentreLondon, Ont. please take time at your convenience to see: http://www.forces.org/evidence/evid/second.htm and http://www.forestonline.org/output/Page1.asp Also , much of the research in to the negative aspects of SH Smoke is based on 'epidemiology '-an inexact science.Much of the evidence seems to be surpressed with regards to pro smoking results. In conclusion Sir, I feel it is all becoming very 'Un-British' and it would not be too rash to say I feel like leaving the country because of it and other current policies. Thank you very much for your time and attention,Matthew Lance Fuller.

JimOctober 10th 2007.

Nice clean person I bet you smell lovely, shame you're mad. Let's de-regulate drugs I agree Charlie.

chasOctober 10th 2007.

So if they are 'rip off places', you obviously don't use them, so what are you complaining about?

AnonymousOctober 10th 2007.

Just some of the serious downsides of the smoking ban - the old guy who lives alone and only spends a half hour every day to half half a lager and a fag at his local - where he has someone to talk to - now stays at home alone!!! The young parents who will now stay at home - buy cheap booze and smoke around their children, who have no choice in the matter. The girls who have their drinks spiked leaving them on a table in a club - and get raped by some creep. The fights which break out because their are drunken people hanging about on streets having a fag - instead of inside a venue where they are controlled! The problems bar staff have - how do they know if people have gone home or out for a fag - glasses are cleared quickly in most city centre venues to prevent use as a weapon - how do they judge it? Not very well thought out to my mind!!!!!

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