Sunday, February 18, 2007

Up in smoke

It seems that I am not the only one ignoring the smoking ban:

View As Web Page
From The Sunday Times
February 18, 2007
MEPs’ cigarette ban goes up in smoke
Nicola Smith

IT WAS a ban that left even the politicians who issued it gasping. After 43 days
without lighting up, the members of the European parliament have reversed a
decision forbidding smoking in their buildings.

Despite backing smoking bans in countries from Sweden to Ireland, when it came
to sticking to their own new year’s resolution MEPs proved that they lacked

A 12-member committee of MEPs, which included some smokers, decided that the
ban, which had been in place at the parliament’s premises in Brussels and
Strasbourg since the start of last month, was “unenforceable”. Politicians and
bureaucrats from Poland, Malta and Greece were among those who helped force the

Critics and antismoking lobbyists condemned the move as an “absolute disgrace”
and hypocritical when the European Union is promoting smoking bans across the

Deborah Arnott, director of the antismoking charity Ash, described the latest
decision as “scandalous”.

“There can be no justification for politicians to place themselves above the law
and it makes a mockery of the commission’s proposals for an EU-wide smoking
ban,” she said.

Smoking bans have been introduced in Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Belgium
and Sweden. France joined the smoke-free club this month and smoking in enclosed
public areas will be illegal in England from July 1.

The European parliament has long been a champion of the antismoking lobby,
hosting events and issuing frequent statements about the dangers.

However, senior officials said the U-turn was necessary after a revolt by MEPs
and staff who began smoking everywhere in protest at the restrictions.

“They are adapting the decision to reality. After January 1 people started to
smoke all over the building and we had more smoke and problems for nonsmokers
than before,” said one senior parliamentary source.

Nigel Farage, the UK Independence party leader, said he had been one of the MEP
rebels flouting the ban. “I have been ignoring it since January 1 and I have
smoked in more places than before. I don’t want to be told by PC people what I
can and cannot do,” he said.

The thing is, as much as I hate the smoking ban, Ms Smith gets across a very good point. That it's one rule for them, and another for us. MEPs who have been calling for smoking bans across the EU, and supported the health commissioner when he said he wanted to ban smoking across the EU, won't have a smoking ban in their buildings.

I don't want a smoking ban anywhere. I personally think that it's something which can be sorted out on a local level, for example by a pub landlords and the freedom of people to use choice to decide where they frequent. But I'd be pissed off if I were someone who was facing a massive loss in profits and possibly losing my job because of these fascist rules being forced upon us, yet those very same people did not have to obey those rules.

No comments: