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People and Politics Forum 25. 04. 2008

"Do smoking bans always make sense?"

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More information:

Smokers' Revolt – How the Smoking Ban in Bars and Restaurants is Being Circumvented

The southern German state of Bavaria boasts the toughest non-smoking regulations in the country. But the government there is no match for resourceful innkeepers. Thousands of them have used a loophole in the law to turn their establishments into "private functions" or "smokers’ clubs." Once again, it has become difficult for non-smokers to find a fume-free place to eat or drink. We listened to some opinions in Bavaria.

Our Question is:

"Do smoking bans always make sense?"

Horst Nigrin, in Ecuador, writes:

"Yes, I think they do make sense. Although I am a smoker myself, I believe certain areas should remain smoke-free, also out of respect for non-smokers. I think mutual respect is the key to joint considerations."

Gerhard Seeger, in the Philippines is skeptical:

"As we saw, there are always ways to get around bans..Mutual understanding and common sense might be worth trying. Here in the Philippines, there's a strict smoking ban on public transport and in shopping centres, but only because private security guards are everywhere.."

Ryan Reed, in the USA, writes:

"We've had smoking bans in bars and restaurants for a long time now. Some clubs have rooms where smokers can go, and I find it much more pleasant not to have to sit in a room without fresh air, although I also light up every now and then..."

Muhammad Faisal, Pakistan:

"I am pretty sure smoking bans make sense as enviroment protection and health care make sense."

Josef Winter, in Thailand, says:

"The programme revealed that smokers make up a large percentage of customers in bars and restaurants: 13 out of 16 were turned into smoking clubs. Free-market forces couldn't have made a clearer decision...Whether smoking is allowed or not should be left to the pub operators and owners. But taxes and other government fees should be used to maintain a fair balance with the number of non-smoking places, reflecting the demands of guests."

Martin Burmeister,in Venezuela, notes:

"Here in Venezuela they don't have a general smoking ban, only on public transport, in airports, government offices etc. and places where the owners or operators decide. It's worked and I don't recall any complaints, official or otherwise."

Take it easy, says Sebastiao M.J. de Oliveira, in Brazil:

"Born in Bavaria, I've lived in Brazil for 23 years now and as a smoker I think the Bavarians have gone totally over the top! In Brazil there's a smoking ban but the people take the typical, relaxed and likeable Brazilian approach. There are smoking zones and other, closed locations where smokers can keep to themselves. Smokers respect non-smokers, and it's mutual..WITHOUT strict controls, but with "Jeitinho Brasileiro!"

John Horrocks, New Zealand:

"New Zealand has a non-smoking public place policy. When people smoke in confined rooms, their clothes smell of cigarette smoke. If you are a non-smoker and present, your clothes will also smell of cigarette smoke."

Jeanne Magaard, in the Philippines, doesn't agree:

"Smoking bans have never made sense to me. Smoking is a form of outlet or relief for many, and it is not right to take it away from them."

Rolf Bockmühl, also in the Philippines, supports bans:

"Yes, of course! Bans aren't usually taken seriously here, but - intriguingly - protecting non-smokers nearly always is. That's a good thing, and I just don't understand how smokers can ride roughshod over people who don't smoke and can't defend themselves (kids, youngsters, the elderly) and are subjected to hazardous cigarette smoke...so please, protect us non-smokers against those who won't listen to reason."

Herbert Fuchs, in Finnland, is outspoken:

"This law is senseless, ridiculous and totally exaggerated - and I'm saying that as a non-smoker (for some 20 years), especially for pub and restaurant owners whose existence is at stake. One shouldn't take this ´holier than thou`attitude, and the stressed-out person of today needs his usual vice more than ever..A pub in Nuremberg had the following sign: "The other half will also die without smoke and nicotine."..Everyone should live as he or she wishes and this ban is born out of arrogance."

Mohammed Ben Khayal, in Libya, suggests:

"Different methods can be used to stop smokers lighting up. But signs here and there won't lead to anything sensible.. Instead of bans, smokers should be told right away: "Surrender your fags!" Hard work needs hard talk."

The People and Politics desk reserves the right to edit and abbreviate texts.