Smoking Ban

I HAVE this theory about death.
If you're too fat, you'll die of some heart-related problem; if you're too thin, you'll die of some immune-system or blood-related problem; if you're just right, you'll be murdered because someone will be round to smash your smug little face in. If you're a smoker, well, it doesn't bear thinking about, diseases are queueing up to grab your butt.
However, Nanny State (she's the one with permanently pursed lips who will never let you out to play) is once again taking a demolition ball to smash an ashtray. From tomorrow smoking is banned in all public places in England.
As a non-smoker I have no particular problem with that. It will be good to have a drink in a pub without going home with your clothes smelling like a chain-smoking gorilla's armpit. Smokers will be that sorry little bunch outside the pub huddled under an open-sided shelter in the pouring rain. It can't have sides, like a bus shelter (more of which later) or a shed, you see, because that would once more make it a "public place".
Serve 'em right, I say, puffing their foul little fumes in my face. Now if only I could deal with that little problem with the lager-drinker in my life.....
It's obvious a pub is a public place, as is a restaurant, a cinema and a theatre. But the Government's definition of a "public place" is wider than my ass (and that's pretty wide, I can tell you). Churches, too, come under the heading. Damn, no more rolling-up while taking Holy Communion then.
Lorry drivers can't smoke in their cabs. Oh yes, I can see that ban working, can't you? Twenty-five stone Bert from Blackburn - the one with the shaved head and love and hate tattooed on his knuckles - is going to park up for the night at some transport cafe, hop down from his truck after a gruelling day on the road and light up in a force 10 gale while he eats his bacon sarnie.
Now you people who work from home, beware.
The law says that any part of a private home that is used solely as a place of work will have to comply with the ban. It doesn't matter if you are the only person who uses it. If you're smoking and you see a man with a clipboard peering in your window, you've had it, mate. He's either from the Smoking Gestapo or a rating officer from the council - either way, you're stuffed.
Beware also if you're a smoker who uses public transport. Bus shelters with three sides are considered "substantially enclosed", therefore no smoking, but if there's just a roof, you can smoke. See helpful diagram at top of page.
God help you if the 25-stone trucker, taking a bus to visit his dear old mum, is a non-smoker. He might not agree with your definition and your open-ended bus shelter might end up in your open end.
Having a marquee on your own lawn for your wedding? Sorry, no smoking unless there's just invited guests under the canvas. If you have waiters and waitresses, a bar with bar staff, a band or a disco with DJ, smoking is not allowed - not unless they've all come as guests and you're not paying them.
But for all you smokers out there, I have a cunning, cunning plan. Use the Luvvies Loophole. The law allows smoking as part of an artistic performance "where the artistic integrity of a performance makes it appropriate for a person who is taking part in that performance to smoke".
Get your tights out, lads, work up a nifty routine for which smoking is an integral part (paradoxically, one pointing out the dangers smoking might work), find a corner of the pub, recite a few lines and puff away to your clogged up arteries content. Just don't ask me to be a witness in your subsequent court case.


  1. Mrs Table, I always suspected the law was an ass, but it takes a woman of your intellect to prove it. Goodness knows how many hours you spent poring over the legislation to produce this post. One point needs correction - there are no chain-smoking gorillas, but even if there were, their armpits would smell better than tobacco fumes.

  2. Wasn't there a play recently about Churchill and there was a lot of fuss because it was said he shouldn't smoke his cigar? Do you remember that? Perhaps it's a result of this that the loophole has come about! Great post.

  3. I didn't realise the thespians had got away with it; but then they managed it with the fire department.

  4. This wouldn't have happened when Churchill was Prime Minister!!!

    I'm not a smoker anymore, but I know a few and I feel for them!

  5. I would like to put all the miserable tossers who installed this ridiculous law to the sword! I don't smoke anymore, but I very nearly started again just to piss the government off. Let them fine me! Let them try! Since when did we need the government to wipe our bottoms for us? Smoke up, fellas! Choke 'em all!
    Ps. People with clip boards should all be hanged.
    Pps. As always, quality observations and bone dry comment from Ms Table. All hail.

  6. First of all, thanks for the kind comment on my blog! It's nice to know people notice me ...

    Now ... smoking. Yes, I am a SMOKER. I didn't even know about this ban until my 10-year-old son told me the other day. Apparently, hotels are exempt because they're classed as homes, so I can see the pubs emptying and the hotel bars filling up. I rather think quite a few breweries will feel the pinch. I may be wrong, but I would say the percentage of smokers in pubs is higher than the overall percentage. Not that I go to pubs very often because I rarely drink. Have to limit my vices.

    I am now going to deliberately start a home business and PUFF AWAY LIKE MAD. I know smoking is bad for you and all that, but to say you can't smoke in your own home if you work there is totally ludicrous. I mean, come on!!!

  7. What? You can't smoke in your own home office?

    I mean, I love the smoking ban in bars here in Massachusetts (even though I light up once in a while myself), but in one's own home? That's crazy.

  8. Does sound a bit extreme, when you put it like that. Paradoxically, the effect here in Scotland, where the same law was introduced a couple of years ago, has been to drive all the smokers in restaurants to the tables outside. So these hardy souls are polluting the nice fresh air - while the non-smokers keep warm inside.

  9. Like your site - shall we swap blog links?

  10. Mr Bananas: I'm sorry that I thought there were chain-smoking gorillas. I must have got them muddled up with beagles.

    Flowerpot: Churchill without a cigar? That's unthinkable!

    Pi: Perhaps they all want to play Churchill!

    Akelamalu: Mr C. wasn't very PC, was he! He probably would have given his famous V-sign to this legislation.

    Witchfynder: I'm with you - very tempted to start smoking again despite having given it up 20 years ago (showing my age here).

    Witty Woman: We have a village pub but our nearest hotel is five miles away. Smokers can drive to the hotel but not drink; or walk to the pub and not smoke. It's all getting so ridiculous.

    Sassy Sundry: This is just one of thousands new health and safety laws we've had over the past few years. It's all getting past a joke.

    Mother At Large: I'm not keen on inhaling secondhand smoke myself but I wouldn't have thought it was beyond the wit of man (but obviously beyond the wit of our government) to have designated smoking rooms. As for links, 'tis done - you are now linked!

  11. Hiya

    Thanks for the comment.

    I didn't realise the smoking ban was tomorrow. Shall I go to the pub now? Erm...still no.

  12. I am boycotting the smoking ban in protest, whats next alcohol like the Aborigines ? I didn't fight the Japs at Dunkirk for this kind of crap.

  13. Kit, likewise! Will drop by again soon.

  14. Mrs Table: Great post, as always.

    I would like to point out a scary facet to this ban. It is more draconian to any ban in Europe. It is a 'self policing' ban (therefore, the government can take billions in tax from smokers but expect everyone else to enforce it).

    If I light up (yes, I smoke) in a bar I COULD be fined if the only council worker dedicated to police the borough sees me. I would be fined £50. But the manager of that pub would be fined £2,500.

    Are the government therefore instigating a bully-boy state? I think they are. They are also causing more stress to the already struggling private businesses in this country.

    In reply to flowerpot: The Churchill saga happened in Edinburgh when Mel Smith was playing Churchill and the council bods threatened to close the theatre if he smoked a cigar on stage. Therefore, the 'artistic integrity' loophole in the law has been brought in. Churchill would be rolling in his grave, if it is big enough for his girth that is...

  15. We were the guinea pig for this, Kit. Once it was shown to work here, then other larger states adopted it.

    And it does work. Believe me. Even smokers would not wish to have the law rescinded now.

    Whether it works with you guys will be down to enforcement. Here, it is a case of almost total self-enforcement by the staff and (more importantly) customers of pubs, shops, etc. The health authorities do inspections but these very, very seldom lead to prosecutions.

    Smoking while alone in a work vehicle or in a home office on the other hand, although contrary to the letter of the law, is ignored. You may call this an Irish solution to an Irish problem, but I can it being practical and sensible. The aim of the ban was to reduce so-called passive smoking.

  16. If a lot of smokers suddenly start dressing and acting like mimes, I am going to blame you.

  17. I'm annoyed that hotels are exempt - I didn't realise that. I'm sure there are more non-smokers as proportion of population than smokers - so I will be pleased to go out more often for a meal now I can enjoy it in a smoke free atmosphere. I am slightly asthmatic so rarely went into pubs.
    I've never smoked - apart from as a teenager a couple of packs while I used to try poses in front of a mirror, Veronica Lake style - but soon 'gave up'. When he asked if I had ever smoked, the doctor told me this didn't count!

  18. Just seen it! Thanks for the link. x

  19. It will be very interesting to see how smokers will put up with this ban...not that they have much of a choice!

  20. Hi there! Thanks very much for paying me a visit. Love your blog and Carlsberg! I'm adding you on but don't feel the need to reciprocate - as you've seen I'm far from prolific :(
    Don't get me started on the nanny state. The latest nonsense is a potential ban on walking with mobile phones, ipods and the like. We just can't be trusted with the traffic apparently. Nothing like encouraging people to be stupid and abandon all responsibilty for themselves.

  21. 10.6 billion revenue from cig tax, 1.7 billion National health deficit, I'm wondering how smokers can be a drain on resourses. I'm also wondering how if the governments plan to stop everyone smoking works, where the lost revenue will come from. Silly really we all know where it will come from...the tax payer smoker or not.
    You made some good points.

  22. A friend recently brought a comment by yourself regarding myself to my attention, to wit-

    "but, on the whole, methinks, a grade one misogynist, arrogant, vowel-swallowing (and god knows what else), deeply untalented twat."

    Thank heavens that you are not so judged my dear. Your ability to evaluate people you have never met, with such a bellicose gasconade, supposes that you have some type of monomania or maybe just socially disfunctional.
    You are more than entitled to your opinion, but do try to remember that it is merely that, and unpleasant abuse speaks more of you, than it does of me.

  23. O my word!! Consider yourself told off. Want me to kick his ass for you?

  24. are you going to come around with your daddy to beat this guy's ass?

  25. No offence intended. As you were.

  26. Some brilliant comments - as always. As for Brian Sewell, methinks an imposter is using his picture and name as I don't believe for one second that the great man gives a flying f**k what a middle-aged woman from Devon thinks of him!

  27. Though I join you in suspecting we have not been graced by the genuine Mr. Sewell's prose, we can still savour a facsimile of his goodness with the help of The Sewell Sampler!

    Keep up the good work, from a first-time visitor.


  28. Hello Dear! So glad to know you. I adore the way you write, and I will gladly be back!

    I like nothing better than to sit around the kitchen table and share--food, ideas, stories. It reminds me of my Mom, and I love knowing that others connect that way, too.

    Thank you for reminding me of some long-forgotten memories.

  29. That's so funny... Once I had to pretend smoke for an independent film I was in and I was in a very public place. I felt cool... very cool.

  30. As a non-smoker, I hate the smoking ban.

    I hate the prissy, buttoned-up, morally-superior inspectors they employ to police this thing.

    These are people who were kicked out of Rotary clubs for being too smug.

    Damn them, I think I'll take up the fags.

  31. I am a smoker and we have bans all over the place here in Australia. It doesn't really disturb me. I keep my filthy habit to myself most times. I think that what it comes down to is people being polite. I never smoke near non smokers as I wouldn't expect a non smoker to be subjected to my smoke.

    Chefs have a common bond I think, because most cooks or chefs I have seen, smoke. In my world though.

    We are really starting to be outcasts in society. It is putting more pressure on me to actually quit. I do want to quit, I just havn't reached the stage to quit.

    If you visit country towns in Australia, everyone smokes and the bans just don't seem to exsist. Smoking is the norm and the non smokers are the outcasts. Weird huh?

  32. I don't care where they're allowed to smoke. I DO care when they've just put out their millionth cigarette for the day, climb onto the same bus I'm on and sit next to me,(an asthmatic), reeking of smoke permeated clothes, skin, hair.