Almost a couple of weeks in and it’s been interesting to observe some of the changes since the smoking ban came about in England on July 1st. Being a person not adverse to visiting the odd public house or two I of course as a non-smoker welcomed that fateful day when I and my friends would be able to catch our breath in a public bar and other public places.
I’ve always tried to live and let live with smokers as we all have our own particular vices. This has not detracted from my dislike of going home smelling of stale tobacco after every evening out, nor the displeasure at struggling to draw breath, especially in some bars with low ceilings. The latter is a frequent occurrence as the pubs I often visit tend to be older, more historic buildings with just such a construction. It’s been a source of resentment to me that some of those places I would no longer visit because of that problem. Now no longer however.
There have been a few problems with the fallout from the ban. Outside every public building there now appears to be an ugly pile of disused cigarette ends from the groups of people taking a desperate drag outside. One also has to fight through a thick smog to get into those same buildings sometimes. The litter bins are often draped with discarded cigarettes, balanced precariously in lines across the edge of the bin, uggh!
Another development has been the types of constructions pub managers are setting up outside their businesses. These range from a few ‘Martini trees’ with strategic outdoor heaters to full-blown marquees. The latter plastic abominations often look incongruous stood outside some of the more handsome old pub buildings and have fallen foul of the authorities. One of my locals found itself with a visit from the local council one evening due to a marquee stuck on the front of the attractive old pub. Apparently it had three sides to it which constitutes a need for planning permission one presumes.
After trying to accede to people’s need to smoke for practically ever, it dismays me to hear smokers referring to themselves as ‘victims’ now. What on earth do they think the rest of us all were for all those years whilst being forced to inhale their smoke second-hand and smell like a dirty ashtray after an evening out?