It's a dirty, expensive habit. Aside from the much-touted health risks there are the other issues - the stained teeth, the bad breath, the smelly clothes...
Yeah, it's a bad thing.
And yet I still smoke. I'm not ignorant of the facts and don't need some nanny-state "expert" to keep ramming said facts down my windpipe at every opportunity. I'm intelligent enough to make my own decisions regarding my habits, and let's face it, it is a legal habit. It's not as if I'm a crack-head, a weed-smoker or a line-snorter. I'm a lightweight by comparison - I only do tobacco.
Opportunities for smoking have been curtailed by the powers that be, so that I'm no longer allowed to smoke in the pub, in the workplace, in any enclosed public space. According to the signs at the local hospital, I'm not allowed to partake outside in their unenclosed open-air car-park (I can, however, legally stand in their car-park and breathe in all of those noxious fumes from the cars, lorries and ambulances etc.). The same holds true at the local doctors' surgery. At home I have set my own restriction to smoke outside. That said, if the weather is inconvenient, I can get a dispensation to smoke in the corner of the back room so long as either the adjacent back door is open, or the extractor-fan is on. Failing that, I have the option to sit in my car and fumigate myself therein.
Now there's this push to ban smoking in cars with children. In my opinion that's no bad thing, but I'd be interested to see some facts, or at a push some stats, comparing the dangers that kids face due to cars. I'd hazard a guess that more kids die or become seriously injured due to piss-poor driving, drivers under the influence of drink, drugs or mobile phones, vehicle-failure due to inadequate maintenance, lack of use of appropriate child-restraints etc. than would ever die or become seriously ill due to the effects of passive smoking in cars. Like I said, it's just a guess. Give me the figures and prove me wrong.
Fine, I say, let's have that ban, it makes sense. But what about the other proposal, to ban smoking in all vehicles (even when there are no other occupants)? I can see there being civil-liberty battles if that one floats to the top of the gazunder. If an Englishman's home is his castle, surely his car is his tank/troop-carrier/assault-vehicle? The emphasis there is on the "his". The inside of my car isn't a public place, it's a private place, and when I'm the sole occupant it's my private place. Don't like it? Tough.
Let's face it, these piecemeal bans are the signs of Governments with no bottle. If smoking really is as bad as they say, they should have the courage of their convictions and ban it. Totally. It shouldn't be difficult for them, they're good at banning things like 100 watt bulbs and all frosted bulbs (which aren't as energy-inefficient as initially supposed, as the heat produced by them in the home reduces the level of central-heating required), and iodine and sodium chlorate, both of which are perfectly safe when used by a competent person for a legitimate task. Yet you don't see them banning things like unhealthy food (in order to fight the war against obesity) and light-pollution (it's heartening to know that a fair proportion of the rates that you pay for street-lighting goes towards the pointless illumination of the sky rather than the street, isn't it?).
Oh yes, silly me, I was forgetting the tax-man's take on these issues. There's not much revenue to be had from light-bulbs, iodine and weed-killer. According to various sources of information freely-available on the internet (and so not listed here), it appears that the revenue from tobacco is somewhere between four and five times the cost of smoking-related illnesses to the NHS, and I'm assuming that that factor will be greater after today's budget.
Now here's a thought: if the Chancellor was to drastically reduce the revenue from tobacco (cut it by, say, 75%), then he could claim with much justification that smoking is too much of a strain on the NHS, and any actions taken as a consequence of that (such as a ban) would be hard to argue against. Hmm...
I could go on, but I'm busy today. I'm off outside for another smoke - it's part of my duty as a supporter of the economy