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The question Smoking


Last week health secretary John Reid caused uproar by suggesting that smoking is 'one of the few pleasures left for the poor on sink estates.' And in Ireland smoking is now banned in all public places. Where do you stand?

I think this was a major gaffe by John Reid. Smoking falls into all social classes. Having holidayed recently in Ireland it was great to sit in bars and especially restaurants and not have smoke drifting across your space and to get home without the stench of smoke on your clothes. The sooner we have the same policy in the UK the better.

Mike Jackson, 47, technical director, Preston Smokers are a clueless bunch.

They know it is bad for them but keep on doing it. For their own good, and for the good of those who suffer their noxious fumes, smoking in public should be banned.

Kenneth Brown, 31, structural engineer, Edinburgh If you follow John Reid's logic, binge drinking is also acceptable. I think the status quo is about right.

Most people accept the balance. My biggest gripe against public smokers is the mess they leave behind.

David Rockliff, 49, consultant, North Yorkshire I totally favour banning smoking in public places. I know several people who smoke, but do not do so in their own homes because of the lingering smell it creates. Why should it therefore be acceptable to go to someone else's place of work and smoke there? Has Mr Reid suddenly forgotten how much smoking costs the NHS every year? It seems totally irresponsible to put forward the message that smoking is OK if you're poor.

Elaine Smith, 29, project engineer, Newcastle I started smoking at the age of 20.

I quit smoking at the age of 23.

One big reason is the cost of smoking in the UK. The price of cigarettes should be doubled and it should be banned from nightclubs.

I want to enjoy clubbing stink-free like in New York.

Serhat Narsap, 26, sub-agent, London I speak from a non-smoker's point of view, but it appears to me that it is more of a cultural activity than one linked to pleasure. If family and friends do not smoke then I suggest you are less likely to. It should be banned and the arguments compare to the debate in the 1980s on the compulsory wearing of seat belts when driving.

See how many lives that has saved.

Nigel Horwell, 43, regeneration manager, Cornwall Smoking in public places should be banned. However, this should be done only if the authorities intend to implement the ban. A ban on smoking in public covered places was enacted in Belgium in the late 1980s but it goes ignored.

Mark Meyts, 49, civil engineer, Southampton Banning smoking in public should not be necessary in a civilised society, where the exercise of good manners should ensure that no-one's activity discomforts others. The world is not ideal however. So perhaps the most reasonable approach would be to confine the vote to (well-informed) smokers. If they thought a ban would help them, perhaps a ban would be acceptable.

Andrew Fraser, 54, municipal engineer, Stirling As the government continues to heavily tax and warn smokers of the health risks, smoking will become a dying habit.

Brian Rousell, 32, technical services, Sussex

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