“Smoke free” England?

by vpundir | June 15th, 2007

England goes Smoke Free on 1st July. Or so claim the numerous roadside hoardings (billboards) and bus & tube posters (signs).

While I welcome the initiative, I find the whole campaign hilarious. First of all, if you strip-off the spin, England is not going smoke FREE; it is going smoking PROHIBITED. Yes, you guessed right! Factories won’t be shut down, and vehicles won’t be stopped from running.

Secondly, the ban applies only to enclosed public places and workplaces, meaning that one can still smoke in open public places. Not a bad idea at all, but it does mean that “England goes smoke free” is a bit of hyperbole.

What takes the cake though is the fact that, ironically enough, among the entities exempted from the ban are hospitals (though not all hospitals). I wonder what the thinking behind this policy is…were they thinking, “Well, you can smoke at the hospital, as you can be provided quick treatment in case you faint”?

Another interesting fact is that while the leaflet for individuals is available in many different languages, the “Everything you need” guidance manual for businesses is available only in Arabic, Bengali, Classiscal Chinese (I assume they mean traditional Mandarin), Gujarati, Polish, Punjabi, Turkish and Urdu apart from English. Is that a sign that the Arabs, Chinese, Indians (four of those eight languages are Indian), Poles and Turks own and/ or run most of the pubs/ bars and other establishments that contribute to smoking in enclosed public places?

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