03 April 2006

Right - or wrong?

Rob Simpson writes: I'm a proud smoker who is disgusted by the draconian news laws to ban smoking in public places and I'm appalled at the tactics of the anti-smoking lobby. However, I feel your approach to this issue is hindering our cause and merely helps to polarize opinion. Claiming that smokers have a right to smoke in pubs is no argument at all and only antagonises non-smokers, creating more anti-smokers.

The vast majority of people in this country would be happy to allow smoking in smoking rooms so we should be concentrating our efforts on the weak evidence of a link between passive smoking and cancer etc, but at the same time supporting exclusions to the ban for smoking rooms, allowing bar staff to work in a smoke-free environment, not irritating non-smokers with our smoke but still allowing smokers to smoke in enclosed public places.

31 March 2006

Moving the debate forward

Gauloise Gary writes: Despite the anti smoking posts, can I sound a more constructive note? Can I be the only one who has found a reluctance in the mediato engage in debate on the forthcoming English smoking ban?

Of three letters addressed to politicians, all found their way to the NHS customer relations team (who propogate propaganda) and none received an intelligent reply. Of three letters to the media, the Guardian failed to publish; BBC Ceefax did, but they altered the punctuation and spoiled the sense; and the Independent on Sunday ....well, they used a 'bite-sized' paragraph which merely paraphrased what I said (albeit quite intelligently ).

I think we should all start a massive letter writing campaign. Yet maybe this is wasteful. Should we be moving the debate forwards to actually dealing with the future? Whilst the opposition thinks the game is over, it is up to all tobacco users to devise a strategy beyond that of going outside on the pavement.

Some kind of networking? Some sort of outdoor venue? Any ideas out there? We are gonna drown unless there's a medium to swim in ... where's my glass of water?

30 March 2006

Make smoking illegal

Michael Gray writes: Forest as a group obviously does not understand the meaning of democracy. The will of the people of Scotland and of the UK is to see the disgusting and vile habit of smoking eliminated. The narrow-minded selfish people that inflict their murderous smoke on other should be ashamed.

In my opinion, and that of the majority of my friends and people I know is that a public ban is not enough. Until smoking is made illegal the debate will go on and slowly the rights of the majority will win.

The right to work in a healthy working environment is being jeopardised by those that think they are out with society. This should not go on and thankful the Government is starting to see sense. The sooner smokers lose their right to damage the health of themselves and others the better.

27 March 2006

A dying breed

Chris writes: To all the staff at Forest, I sincerely hope you are diagnosed with aggressive lung cancer and a few wee secondaries in the liver and bones. This smoking ban is the best news ever. Smoking is an addiction that weak people can't overcome due to them not being able to withdraw from nicotine. I have never smoked and train every day. I come from a background of, "You look after your body and your body will look after you."

Every lunchtime as I walk from my office to the gym I see fat, lazy, overweight, thick as pigshit civil servants all standing outside their buildings, drawing on their fags I walk taller and prouder and thank the lord that I don't smoke. You're a dying breed, literally.

26 March 2006

Scotland the slave

Colin writes: As a private hire cab driver I am saddened to see Scotland move closer to a police state with the introduction of the excessively draconian anti-smoking laws. Not only will my takings be decimated as people shun pubs and restaurants but I am faced with a fine if I smoke in my cab.

As a responsible smoker, I never smoke with a passenger on board and if I am having a cigarette in the rank whilst waiting for work, I always open all the windows to clear the cab en-route to my hire. Now it seems as my car, which is a licensed private hire, is my place of work, I am not allowed to smoke in it even when off duty, so if I decide to go for a run to Oban fishing I can't even smoke in my car when it's being used as a private car.

Even more Pythonesque, if I need a cigarette whilst working I must stand at least 5 feet away from the entrance to my car, with cash being carried. This makes the cab drivers even more vulnerable to assault and robbery. Please also bear in mind that the main cancer causing agent in a cigarette is also present in car exhaust fumes, in actual fact one lungful of a car exhaust is equivalent to 20 cigarettes, this has more to do with passive cancer than a cigarette ever had.

Contact your MSP and voice your protest. We are organising industrial action to support a repeal for private use in the cab trade.

Celebrating the ban

Rog writes: Just writing to celebrate Scotland's ban on smoking in public places. Can you really deny that this is not making life healthier for all Scots? Don't you think people should give up smoking to avoid damaging their health? Or is tobacco money just too tasty for you?

My vested interest? Health. My Dad was killed by tobacco. I hope that makes you happy because you seem happy discouraging others from giving up. I'm not interested in choice. This is not a political or a choice issue. It is a health issue. For you, it's a money issue. I guess you're in favour of people legally doing coke, heroin or speed? Anyway, can't wait until the wider ban comes into force south of the border too.

24 March 2006

Driven to despair

Tony writes: As an indirect employee of the biggest supermarket chain in the country, as an LGV driver, they have suddenly decided to ban smoking in all their trucks, DCs, and other workplaces. I can understand shops and confined places but to ban it in vehicles is just petty.

I understand they have to comply with government legislation next year but this is getting ridiculous. Do they realise how many truck drivers smoke? Do they also realise the shortfall in class one drivers? I hope it backfires on them. I tell you, living in this country is like living in a communist state, being told what you can and can't do.

Whatever happened to ...?

Jules writes: I would like to know what happened to freedom of choice? Are we no longer free to choose what we do with our lives? How come people who are alcoholics and people who take drugs are not subject to the same harassment? Because at the end of the day we ARE harassed.

I am lucky on some respects. I work for a sports centre and am the only smoker. However, my boss has no objection to me smoking. His only request is that I spray with deoderant when I have had a fag (mainly as I am the receptionist and I do not feel that this is unfair and is a just request), and that - because the sports centre is attached to a school - I smoke outside the school gates, which is fair enough.

But I have been in places of employment where smokers are treated like lepers. Are we the 'new' lepers of our lifetimes? This is getting stupid. Our freedom of choice is being taken away and our rights being compromised.

23 March 2006

Q: What are the effects of snus

Verite writes: I am told that in Sweden there are fewer tobacco-related illnesses. Is this possibly because more Swedes take snus?