One the things that I feel strongly about are the awful right that all smokers believe that they have to simply light-up and smoke in public. Although recent survey data suggests that the majority of the UK public would support a public ban, there appears to be a reluctance to pursue a final decision. What are the government scared of? Is it a potential loss of political support?
From a pure health (I am talking about all non-smokers like myself!) perspective, I do not want passive smoking to hit my lungs. It is my decision not to indulge in this awful habit so why should I have to breathe in somebodys second hand or cigarette end smoke?
The situation is worse for those that work in clubs and restaurants. Having a no smoking area in a restaurant can sometimes help, even better if it is air conditioned too. However, all too often and this is true in small restaurants, the smell becomes immediately apparent, especially as many smokers indulge in after dinner smoking.
I remember a trip to Morocco, going for a Mexican meal. We had to change seating three times and gently request (why are we all too polite during these situations?!) the obliging waiter to open a few windows. A huge smoking mountain was located on one of the tables where four diners had clearly completed their meals and drinks but were actively pursuing in the act of generating as many nicotine-ridden clouds around them as they could. As they laughed and howled, they had no sense of guilt or remorse as to the anguish they were causing amongst fellow diners.
Is there a solution to this? The problem is about acceptance of social etiquette, personal space and equal rights. All these qualities appear to be presented as an official waiver form to smokers. It is as if when smokers first light-up they are given such a form to complete. Unfortunately, they omit to read the small print that promises in return new depths of coughing and a strong percentage probability of dark internal cancer ridden lungs. It is also troubling that there is a younger group of smokers arising (pardon the pun!). They are likely to add to the time bomb of health care provision needed unless they are educated.
There is some light at the end of the tunnel or should I say cylinder of death. Both New York and Ireland have introduced public smoking bans. Recent shock advertising has brought home to many the horrors of the internal facts.
There is a need to address the key issue on why smokers start in the first place. No one is immortal and it is certainly not cool. However, these blind thoughts are present. If shock and practical implications tactics are not fully working, what can be done to discourage Smokers? Maybe we need to focus on the feeling or sensation. Smoking is a stimulant that is highly addictive, but the reason for its attraction could be linked to the apathy, self-respect, personal destructive nature and projection of invisibility.
Celebration of life, all it has to offer and how others can benefit from your presence rather than loss, could be another angle to challenge this evil.