And lo, and behold, this year there’s another. A Populus poll in the Scottish Mail on Sunday revealed that 54% of Scottish adults believe that pubs and clubs should be allowed to have separate smoking rooms. Yes, this is on Simon Clark’s blog, but it refers to an article that isn’t online, and he provides a snapshot of it.
As I said before, this issue isn’t going away, despite what the anti-smoking lobby would tell you. It was wrong in 2007, and it is no less wrong in 2016. This is something that the general public seem to recognise, even if the political élite don’t. There is no real public acquiescence, but a huge well of bitterness and resentment.
In 1929, despite various problems, US Prohibition was still regarded as pretty much a done deal. Four years later, the Great Depression had swept it away.
I continue to firmly hold the view that there was no need for any legislation on this issue, as the market was already responding to meet the genuine demand for non-smoking areas. But pretty much any solution short of what we have now would have been preferable to some extent. One that springs to mind is that, given the head-in-the-sand antipathy of many CAMRA members to
working-class smoky pubs, smoking could only have been permitted in keg pubs. Problem solved at a stroke. What could possibly go wrong?
More seriously, why not just prohibit smoking in any areas of pubs where under-18s are admitted? That would kill two birds with one stone – protecting children from any exposure to tobacco smoke, and creating more areas of pubs where adults could enjoy a drink out of earshot of their happy laughter.