If you don’t like smoke, don’t go to a smoky pub.
More blinding than the simplicity of the above statement is the fact that most people don’t seem to understand it.
“Oooh I hate it when I go out to a pub/club and I have to breathe it in and my clothes smell like it when I come home oooooh” — THIS is the argument Joe public grumbles instead, in favour of a BLANKET restriction on smoking in ALL pubs, bars, clubs and other private establishments. Let’s get this right here: they are advocating preventing ANYBODY smoking a cigarette, rollie, cigar, pipe, etc. in an establishment where everybody around them is either doing the same or has agreed they are happy to do it.
If you are one of the ones who doesn’t think the world’s gone mad, and this is in fact a great move that will make pubs much nicer for you to be in, read on – I’m talking to you now.
Say you have sensitive hearing. You want to go for a night out with your mates, so you go to a club. Almost straightaway your ears are being assaulted from all sides by ‘BOOM TSS BOOM TSS BOOM TSS’ from the sound system and a constant stream of “PINT O’ STELLA MATE”/”LEAVE IT RICKAAYYYY”/”WANNA SHAG INNIT” from the clubbers all around you. Two hours later, you leave the club and your poor little ears are ringing like crazy.
Incenced at the noise you were “forcibly” subjected to, you ring the managers to complain — and you’re surprised when they laugh at you, and ask why you went in there in the first place if you didn’t like the noise. THEY hang up.
The moral of this story kids? If you don’t want to go into a place that has stuff going on that you think will hurt you (like a Lion’s enclosure, the starting grid of a racing track, and obviously a nightclub), DON’T GO IN.
So where were we? Ah yes, smoking. Yes, it’s dangerous, and personally, I hate it; I find it hard understanding why anyone would want to waste their money (and their lifespan) just keeping themselves out of withdrawal. If you were thinking I was a ’25-a-day’ man, you couldn’t be further from the truth; I have asthma, and cigarette smoke doesn’t do the best things for me, let’s say. So if a pub is filled to the roof with smoke, you wouldn’t get a coconut for guessing that I would rather find somewhere less smoky, preferably free of it. If I can make that choice, every time I go out, without any grudges on the people enjoying themselves with their smoke…
…why can you not?
I believe it just boils down to 3 reasons.
— If it’s the fact that you don’t KNOW you’re going into a smoky pub (leaving aside the fact that you’d SMELL it as soon as you got within spitting distance of the door), why not campaign for big signs outside such establishments with “SMOKING ESTABLISHMENT” on them? Would that make it clear enough for you?
— If it’s the fact that bar staff could be “passively smoking”, those who are disgruntled can be given this advice: if you don’t like the working conditions, don’t take the job. If you want to work in a bar that allows smoking, expect to breathe the stuff in. Same as you expect to breathe in coal dust if you work in a mine, breathe in traces of toxic chemicals if you work in a chemical works, breathe in nasty smells if you shovel cow poo all day… Similarly, you can’t complain if you get tinnitus because you go to death metal gigs every day of the week and stand by the speakers. You haven’t got anyone but yourself to blame if you take a job in an openly smoke-friendly pub and then complain that you can’t stand smoke.
— If it’s (as I suspect) the fact that you simply can’t stand watching other people doing what they want to do, however harmful it could be to them, and you have some strange paternalistic desire to ‘protect them from themselves’, you obviously haven’t ever driven a car, sunbathed, lit a gas stove, had a bath, used a drill, climbed a flight of stairs, eaten fast food…
If people want to go into a pub, and smoke, you have NO RIGHT to tell them not to because they’re doing themselves harm. The best way of bringing about more pubs that are smoke-free, have no loud music, or offer anything you’d prefer, is to refuse to enter pubs that DON’T satisfy you. If you have any nice smoke-free pubs in your area, USE THEM.
Passive smoking is only dangerous if you choose to do it.