Soon to be smokeless


in Daily updates, Law, Oxford

Lamb and Flag, Oxford

A sign I passed this evening reminded me of how I will only be around to appreciate one day of the new UK smoking ban in enclosed public places, such as pubs. I would not hesitate to call it long overdue. It will make conditions better for people who work in pubs, improve overall health, and end the experience of smelling like an ashtray for days after spending any time in such places.

Of course, it will probably take months for the majority of the smell to seep out from chairs and curtains around the UK. Once that has happened, however, the UK will be a more modern and appealing place.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Anon May 16, 2007 at 10:36 pm

Unrelated, but cool:

LibriVox: free open source readings of literature

Tristan Laing May 17, 2007 at 12:00 am

More modern, but undeniably less cool.

Milan May 17, 2007 at 12:12 am

Less cool?

The whole idea that smoking is cool is just the lingering effect of toxic propaganda from cigarette advertising. Once people start associating smoking with Emphysema rather than James Dean, it might be hoped that the delusion will be overcome.

Edward May 17, 2007 at 3:19 am

I wouldn’t get too excited about the anti-smoking laws. What I’ve found with Ontario’s similar laws is that a lot of people now have to take to the streets to smoke, and thus, you can’t walk a city block without bumping into (usually multiple) smokers. And inhaling their smoke, of course.

The only true ban would be to ban it in all public places, enclosed or otherwise. Banning cigarettes altogether is politically impractical (nor necessarily desired – people ought to look out for their own health, not government), but certainly controlling exposure risks to others is important.

Mike Kushnir May 17, 2007 at 10:44 am

i’m sorry, milan, but i’m going to have to agree with tristan.

the image of smoking can be a very sexy and cool one. what would james bond, james dean, audrey hepburn and joni mitchell be without smoking? successful, sure, but integrally different.

while i completely agree with you that it’s a good policy, i think it’s also worthwhile mourning the death of a collective pastime in societies where it is much more well-established than in vancouver.

Mike Kushnir May 17, 2007 at 10:46 am

^ granted, as someone who does light up on occasion…

Milan May 17, 2007 at 11:12 am

Mike and Tristan,

It doesn’t make sense to argue about what is cool using logical arguments. Also, I recognize that there is a cultural connection between smoking and ‘coolness.’ Even so, I hope that this will eventually be discredited by the dual recognition of what smoking actually does to people and how annoying it is to those around you.


Running into smokers outside could well be a pain, but it sure beats having dinner somewhere and being exposed to fairly concentrated smoke for an hour or so. There is also the importance of indoor smoking bans to bar and club staff, who would otherwise be exposed to it for eight hours a day.

R.K. May 17, 2007 at 11:09 am
A random Wadhamite May 21, 2007 at 11:37 am

When you took the above photograph, did anyone lift any eyebrows as you snapped away? I’m just curious, as I never know when it is okay to photograph inside a building with anonymous people on the other side of the camera.

Milan May 21, 2007 at 11:45 am

As one can determine from the file number (img_0539.jpg), this photo was taken a really long time ago. As such, I don’t remember specifically.

In a general sense, I find that it is unproblematic to take photos of people who are:

a) part of a normal scene, and not dominant in it


b) going out of their way to be visible, like those busking or in a parade.

. February 12, 2009 at 10:28 am

Cash bribes ‘help smokers quit’

Bribing smokers with cash incentives helps them stop, US research suggests.

Smokers are three times more likely to kick the habit for at least six months when they are paid up to $750 (£520), a new study has found.

Nearly 900 General Electric workers took part in the test across 85 US sites. The results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

GE will launch a similar scheme in 2010 for all US employees, believing it will be cost-effective in the long term.

It aims to save some of the estimated $50m spent annually on extra costs for smoking employees.

The company believes it will get back what it spends over three to five years, through reduced illness and increased productivity.

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