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A Ban on Smoking in Public?

Ireland has become the first European country to implement a ban on smoking in public, with others soon to follow. DW-WORLD readers generally support the idea, but a few worry it means an erosion of personal freedoms.

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A couple of pints and a pack of smokes is a thing of the past in Ireland.

I totally support this smoking ban. Where I live, there is no smoking ban in bars or restaurants (there must be a separate no smoking area for larger restaurants, but it is a joke since there is usually one big room where the non-smoking side usually can still smell the smoke from the smoking side). Most of the people I know do not smoke and hate to go into bars where their clothes smell afterwards. Because of this, bars here don't exist for me, most of my friends, or my family anymore. I definitely feel that a well-managed smoke-free bar will make it just fine after a ban. -- Martin Katz, U.S.

Considering the majority of Germans do not smoke, myself included, it seems this country has a tyranny of the minority. One cannot go into a restaurant or pub in Germany and enjoy a nice evening out without inhaling the toxic fumes of someone's cigarette. What is worse is that complaining about it here in this country leads only to ridicule. In a country that prides itself on "going green" and denouncing major polluters like the United States, it seems a tad hypocritical that Germany ignores a pollution that, as far as government regulation is concerned, is simple to implement, and would do more to save lives and improve the health of Germans than shutting down a few nuclear power plants! But, ah, that would be too simple. Perhaps the inner spaces of Germany need to start "going Green" instead of pointing fingers at other countries in a self-righteous denunciation of other countries who already are doing so much to tackle pollutants in homes, restaurants, pubs, workplaces and public buildings. It is laughable seeing a German "Green" denouncing nuclear power while holding a cigarette which will kill them faster than uranium stored inside protective shields. -- Glenn Lea, Canada

Personal freedoms are seemingly being eroded by "nanny-states" who wish to police every aspect of our lives. Smoking bans are a primary example. One can only hope the Irish rise in quiet revolt and ignore their new comprehensive ban. Whatever happened to accommodation? If you want smoke-free sections in restaurants & bars, then mandate owners create separate sections with appropriate ventilation systems. Complete bans? Throughout the entire EU? Please! I know you are targeting my cheeseburger next. Where does this interference stop? -- Dennis Jordan

As a Dane now living in Toronto, Canada, where the ban has been enforced for more than 4 years, I think it's okay! I am a smoker myself and I do enjoy going out to bars and other places and not having to worry about a smoke free section or not. It's also very nice that you can sit down and enjoy a dinner without smelling the smoke next to you. -- Stig Pedersen, Canada

I live in the U.S. and used to live in California where there is a public smoking ban. It was great to be able to go out and not have to breathe smoke, have clothes that smell like ash trays and get a runny nose and a cough. Recently, I moved to Missouri where I grew up. Here, there is no smoking ban, and I really miss it. The truth is, wherever you go, there are enough smokers that they totally dominate the atmosphere, turning any room into a smoky cloud. I think it's awesome that Ireland has banned public smoking. New York and California have both proven that it works in the U.S. -- Matthew Akin, U.S.

Regarding your article on Ireland's ban of smoking in public places, as a former smoker, I can certainly understand the need for a cigarette, especially when enjoying a few drinks. My wife and I, however, stopped going out for a drink years ago. Not because I felt the need for a cigarette, but, because our hair and clothes smelled so bad after a few hours out in a smoke-filled room. I think that banning smoking in public places is the right way to go. While I can sympathize, I also applaud the action. Smokers can always step outside. -- Eric Maginnis, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

As a smoker trying to quit, I find that implementing smoking bans in public places like bars, restaurants, hotel lobbies, etc. is a step in the right direction. I live in Montgomery County, Maryland (right next to D.C.), and they have just implemented a smoking ban in bars and restaurants. I love it because I am not tempted to smoke as much as I am when I go into Washington, DC. Best of all, my non-smoking friends love the fact that they are not subjected to smoke which they find increasingly intolerable. Bravo Ireland. -- Jonathan McKnight, Maryland, U.S.

I think the ban is long overdue! I always knew it would happen sooner or later. In the long run, smokers will be thankful for the ban. Those older smokers who just can't or won't let go of the habit, will just die off. -- Joan Quilter, Santa Cruz, California, USA

I live in the U.S. and visited Spain in 1998. While there and seeing the contrast in smoking, I was struck by realizing the progress the U.S. has made in creating a more smoke-free environment. It was then that I most appreciated the progress my country has made. Being subjected to second-hand smoke just about every where I went was quite annoying. The rest of the EU should look to Ireland as a leader in this important public health issue and follow. -- Debbie Gaudreau, U.S.

The entire state of Florida has implemented a smoking ban in all public areas as well, but bars are not included in the ban (as long as the bar is not in a restaurant). It would have been impossible to pass the ordinance without this exception. -- Russell Lipoff, U.S.

New York's smoking ban has not been a success as they claim. In act the ban may be repealed in the near future. The government in New York State seldom tells the truth. -- Jim Coyle, U.S.

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