About to be snuffed
Stars and Stripes June 20, 2007
Like politicians in the States, the English legislators who passed the ban on indoor smoking that will take effect July 1 likely did so in a congenial manner.
Debate may have gotten passionate, but civility was the order of the day.
Newmarket resident Roger Masterson says that, and the smoking ban in general, are a load of bull.
“I’m 78 years of age, and I’ve been smoking all my [expletive] life,” Masterson said last week in a Newmarket pub. “If I want to get cancer, it’s my [expletive] business. They want to control my freedom.”
As the ban’s start date nears, people across England are debating the move and its consequences for business owners, public health and the hazy pub that some say is an integral part of English culture.
The law bans all smoking in indoor public places, from the pub to the club.
The staff at the Golden Lion pub in Newmarket has been preparing for the ban for months. It has customized the garden out back for the smokers, installing massive ashtrays attached to the walls, manager Ian Whitfield said last week.
“You can’t really say what’s going to happen,” Whitfield said, adding that pubs with no garden access or food service might have a harder time luring customers.
“They’re going to have to rely on the drinkers still coming in. It’s always been a place for you to smoke.”
Matt Low, a 19-year-old from Newmarket, said he thought the ban was fair enough, but that it might lead to violence when handfuls of drunken patrons are milling about outside of clubs on a Saturday night.
The immediate beneficiaries will be both smokers and nonsmokers, who won’t have to contend with indoor secondhand smoke, said Tech Sgt. Micheal DeCarmo, an RAF Lakenheath-based airman who holds tobacco cessation classes at Lakenheath and nearby RAF Mildenhall.
“Because that smoke won’t be so concentrated inside, even the smokers themselves will have less intake of secondhand smoke,” he said.
The inconvenience of having to step outside may eventually move smokers to kick the butts, he said.
“Based off of past experiences of stopping smoking in the NCO clubs and bowling alleys, initially you’re going to see a wave of people very upset about it,” DeCarmo said.
Bingo may be an unexpected casualty of England’s smoking ban. According to an article in the Guardian newspaper this month, a similar smoking ban in Scotland crippled businesses as attendance declined significantly, and English bingo operators are bracing themselves for more of the same.
One club in York is expecting a smelly side effect from the ban, according to BBC News. Managers at the Nexus club said this month that cigarette smoke currently masks body odor and the stench of stale beer, vomit and toilets.
In preparation for the ban, the club has installed fragrance systems which pump out smells including strawberry, chocolate and vanilla, according to the BBC report.
“We know that once the smoke and cigars have all gone there are going to be other smells that appear,” club manager Allan Coleman said in the article.
Between opponents and supporters of the ban are people such as Jamie Carpenter, a half-American, half-Englishman who said that smoking is invariably part of English culture.
“But it’s probably going to entice me to quit,” the 24-year-old said. “Other people not smoking around me will make it easier.
“At the same time, it annoys me, that whole ‘nanny-state’ thing.”