Saturday, January 9, 2010

Why the smoking ban should be extended

More good reasons for Zapatero’s governemnt to go ahead this year with their plan to intensify the banning of smoking in public places.

This weeks statistics make a convincing case: the number of people hospitalised because of heart attacks went down by 10 percent and more than a million people (a reduction of 8 percent) quit smoking in the first two years after the law went into effect four years ago.

Strangely though, tobacco sales decreased by only 2.8 percent in 2006, which suggests that a stronger ban will be needed to have a long lasting effect on the problem.


Czarny Kot said...

For me the smoking ban is like abortion: I really can't decide where I stand.

As an ex-smoker ( 2 years since my last tab) the smoking ban in the UK is a good thing.

However, I do think that a more flexible, less draconian policy should be implemented.

I would suggest smoking and non-smoking areas. If this is not possible I would suggest that 50% of bars, restaurants etc.. be made smoking and the other 50% non-smoking.

Brett Hetherington said...

Thanks for that comment. I admire your open-mindedness and your ability to stay off the death sticks for two years!

The problem is that here in in Spain, a "less draconian policy" has been operating for almost four years but tobacco sales have not been greatly reduced and most cafes, bars and restaurants are still completely smoking areas.

The facts are that: "Businesses occupying more than 100sq m have eight months to set up a separate smoking area. Smaller premises have to indicate whether they are smoke-free. The government says the ban is necessary because smoking is the biggest killer in Spain, with 50,000 smoking-related deaths annually. Surveys show that about 30% of Spaniards smoke. A government-sponsored opinion poll released in December showed more than 70% of respondents backed the ban."

Czarny Kot said...

Having lived in Spain, I really can't imagine a total smoking ban ever being implemented.

Despite the popularity of smoking in Spain, they also have a very high life expectancy.

Perhaps the healthy Mediterranean lifestyle cancels out the cancer sticks..

Brett Hetherington said...

Yes, I can easily understand how you might think that a total ban could never be implemented. I sometimes have that impression too. As you've lived here, I'm sure you'd agree that ignoring rules (and often laws) is a very popular Spanish pastime. (So much so that it reminds me of Italy sometimes!)I just think that progress can be still be made but that it may not get to the point that the very health-conscious want it to. I think you're absolutely right about "the healthy Mediterranean lifestyle." Here, we eat food, not "food-like substances" as I heard a US author on Jon Stewart's Daily Show call the standard American diet.