It has to stop. There is no basis in protecting health. It is quite simply driven by the mission of public health to treat smokers as pariahs, people to be pushed to the margins of society:
The smoking ban should be extended to include all outdoor public areas, according to health experts.Imagine Glastonbury, Reading or Leeds Festival without smoking (of any kind). Consider what will happen to your local when smokers have to move half a street away to enjoy a fag. Those smokers - getting on for a fifth of the population - won't be there. And what happens when a fifth or more of your business goes away? No more local pub. Half the nations festivals and concerts unviable. Empty bars. Closed restaurants. Hundreds of thousands more jobs destroyed by public health.
Exclusion zones should stop smokers lighting up in parks, pub and restaurant gardens, at public events and shopping areas.
All university campuses and schools, beaches and sports and leisure facilities should also fall under the crackdown.
I'll say it again - there is no health ground for this at all. None. Banning smoking indoors at least had the merit of a very marginal health benefit to non-smokers working in a smoky environment. These proposals from the Royal Society of Public Health are quite straightforwardly an attack on smokers and their right to make the personal choice to inhale tobacco smoke.
I haven't smoked for over ten years but I don't see why those who choose to smoke should be ostracised, excluded and treated like pariahs. In fact I find such an idea to be offensive and the people making it to be the worst sort of hideous fussbucket. The fanatics of public health aren't going to stop until all of the pleasures on their list of sins are marginalised - booze, fags, burgers, fizzy drinks, red meat, bacon, cheese, chocolate, boiled sweets, jam, cheese, cake, cream: all labelled, resitricted, controlled, hidden away, taxed and if they can get away with it banned altogether.
Children will be force fed a grey, dull vegetable diet washed down with tepid water. The legion of tutting health worrywarts will peer over their specs at mums who let their kids have a Happy Meal. We'll be weighed, measured, lined up, checked and made to fill in forms describing, in ever more detail, our bad habits. All so some public health "nurse" can lecture us about eating or drinking the grey uninteresting pap that the Church of Public Health recommends.
None of this is about making our lives better. It's not about our health. It's about an ideology of control. A belief that because the state provides healthcare this somehow gives them the right to tell us how to live our lives, to ostacise us for smoking, to denormalise drinking, to tax sugar, and to force manufacturers to take anything approximating to taste out of the food we buy.
It's time we stopped indulging these nannying fussbuckets. Time we told them to butt out of our lives. Time to point out that whether we smoke, drink, eat cake or go to a burger bar is absolutely none of their bloody business. Time to close down public health.