Saturday, January 12, 2008

Behind the Smoke

If readers wish to raise their own subjects for discussion, then I'm very happy to help. One of our regulars, CS of Westgate, has asked if I might gauge your opinion of his argument on the present smoking legislation as it affects 'host families' something we have quite a number of in Thanet. He writes:

"As is known the law changed July 1st 2007 making all enclosed public places and workplaces in England smoke free. As has been highlighted in the local press and on the News several people have been fined for breaking this law, even whilst no visitors/paying persons were in the premises. If one owns a Pub/Hotel/Guest house receiving paying guests etc., no smokers including the owner’s weather they have guests or not are allowed to smoke in the premises.

An anomaly appears in the law.

If one receives foreign students into ones home (they being young and mature students) they are paying guests. This income is taxable. Based on this it is an income and classed as a business.

It has been stated that the law doesn’t apply to host families surely one is doing the same if one has a taxi. One is plying for trade. If one has a pub/hotel etc one is inviting visitors to come and stay therefore the same should apply to host families.


I agree legislation needs to catch up. By being a host family you are inviting /accepting people to come and stay with you this apparently is regarded as a private domestic arrangement. But entertaining family and friends in a pub after it is closed should this not also be classified as a private domestic arrangement?

I must assume that the law also follows for a shopkeeper who owns his own business and smokes in the business when the business is shut. They are liable for a fine just the same

The law is an ass, because a student can be in the same room as a chain smoker or even a couple of chain smokers causing damage to the young person’s health but the couple can be safe in the knowledge that they cannot be prosecuted or fined."


Anonymous said...

I bet the elderly man in the photo with the cap on in the photo smokes a pipe. Is there a smoking ban in nursing homes?

Bright red.

Anonymous said...

This also brings to mind the plight of one-armed car drivers,if a person can be fined for smoking or changing a cd without taking their eyes off the road then surely a man or woman with only one arm cannot or should not be allowed to drive cars.
The law say's that the vehicle must be under full control at all times,a slow manual gear change can be classed as not under control because one hand is off the wheel,in fact I was warned recently by the police for not having both hands on the wheel.

Little Weed said...

My family close their hotel over Christmas. Yet with no guests and no staff the whole family had to stand outside to smoke, which did seem slightly ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

In Answer to Anonymous 9:21pm
My further understanding of the law (unless it is hospital regulations) is that smoking is not allowed within the Hospital and/or its grounds. The Hospital may make its own regulations banning smoking within its confines but I have on many times seen people smoking in the small courtyards. As for nursing homes, I am not sure but perhaps Dr Moores may be able to let us know.

In Answer to Anonymous 9:31pm I am not aware of one armed driver being allowed to drive manual cars but know of drivers who use only one hand with a steering wheel attachment with automatic transmission. I have previously insured one eyed drivers driving both manual and automatic cars.

In Reply to Little Weed 9:33pm Again this shows the anomaly and farcicalness of the law.


Anonymous said...

Smoking may cause cancer but people that vote Labour are poor and it serves them right for being so lazy. They need to work harder. As Margaret Thatcher said " Greed is good for you, where being poor makes you lazy" and everyone knows poor people spend all their money on fags. Poor people make me angry.


anon again! said...

anon again!

You're avin a larf, aintcha? The smoking ban is the best thing any British Government has introduced -ever... the next thing is to close down all the pubs/clubs that allow binge drinking leading to obnoxious behaviour, then ban all acohol from football games to stop the mindless morons pulping each others brains. Drink Drivers should be fined £1000 and banned for a year without any question. If they cause death through drink drives, Jail for 5 years at least, also without question. In Sweden and Denmark you can be Jailed for having alcoholic drinks IN your car, you don't even need to have had a drink. British Law's are a farce and way too lax to be of any damage to the unlawfull.
The 'poor' are the ones who are drunk, driving an un-taxed un-insured vehicle, throwing their fag ends from their moving vehicles. Great Britain?
You're avin a larf mate!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely right!

Michael Child said...

I have grave reservations about legislation that insights the law abiding to break the law.

Nick O'Teen said...

Other than the Fox-Hunting legislation the smoking ban has been one of the worst pieces of legislation enacted by a Labour controlled parliament in the past 10 years. This poor legislation has been further affected by councils like TDC and its woman 'Gauleiter' and gang of expensively paid 'Gestapo' rushing around haeassing normal law abiding people. If the owners of a pub/ hotel/ restaurant/ taxi/shop wish to smoke on THEIR premises when the public is not present THAT is their business; all they have to do is ventilate by opening windows and all risk of 'pernicious smoke' is removed in seconds and the public are not at risk when allowed access again!

Most law-abiding Brits will comply with this outrageous legislation without the need for busy body Tory (heaven help us) Cllrs and petty minions going round to catch people out. What sort of society have we become when citizens doing no harm are relentlessly pursued by the authorities whilst the serious problems of criminal activity all over Thanet are not being addressed? Why couldn't we have left it to individual businesses to decide whether to be smoking or non-smoking? To argue that smokers in the open air on hospital, KCC and TDC sites are posing a risk to others is utterly fatuous. Employees having to stand on the street (off-site) are likely to inhale far more toxic emissions from passing traffic than the smoking cylinder in their hand. When will we ever return to a tolerant society again? Will a new Tory Govt turn back the tide? I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

O.K. so 24 hours later no one comment about the students who are placed with a host family/business who may not smoke but have to endure the obnoxious situation they are placed in...........Thank you Your views were appreciated


Anonymous said...

Thay have the simple expedient of checking before they take a place in a home at a ridiculously cheap rate offered by most of our language schools that the house they are going to is NON _BALLY SMOKING! Its as simple as that and does not require any further interference by Government in peoples lives! Its called CHOICE, CS of 10.53! Let the people use it!

Anonymous said...

The Council does actually have a legal obligation to enforce the smoking ban. Residential Care Homes, I believe, may have a designated smoking room as the residents are deemed to “dwell” there.

The host family situation is one I hadn’t thought about before, and it’s an interesting question. I suppose it would be open to any family to an smoking in its house, or any student to ask not to be placed in a smoking household.

For my own part, I confess I do smoke, and wish I didn’t, but I never do so indoors, including in my own home. I support the smoking ban. It’s transformed pubs. I also do not believe anyone should be permitted to inflict their smoke on others.


Cllr Ewen Cameron

Anonymous said...

There is a world of difference having breaches of the smoking ban reported to you and then acting on it (how the police deal with most crime) and having Cllr Gideon and the team of enforcement officers (employed at our expense) going round looking for breaches. It seems to me that our EU partners have the right approach to life in these matters and in Britain we have local authorities that relish and revel in enforcing bans. Is it something in our psyche or what? I am critical of the excessive over-enthusiast and un-necessary enforcement. (By the way, reserve a room /study in your home and instal a decent extractor fan and smoke in comfort!)

Anonymous said...

There is one place in Thanet where you can smoke with no fear of getting caught - The MP's office !
Go in and take a big lungful and tell me then that they are not above the law.

Ewen Cameron said...

The enforcement officers are actually existing environmental health officers. There are no additional employees. They enforce health, safety and hygiene issues in a wide range of areas not related to smoking, albeit their time was prioritised to non-smoking enforcement, temporarily, following the ban coming into effect. This is to ensure everyone “gets the message”. Local authorities up and down the land, and under control of all sides of the political divide, have been doing the same thing.

I’m not aware of Jo Gideon prowling the streets looking for breaches (I know she has many more things to occupy her time), but it’s an amusing thought!

Outside of Council affairs, my own Firm, as you might expect of Solicitors, issued detailed guidance on this. There are some apparent anomalies, at least, so far as I understand the Law. For example, if I am driving my own car, but with a work colleague as a passenger, on business (e.g. going to visit a client), then I am not permitted to smoke. If I am driving the same car, with the same colleague, but the journey is social, I am.

The difference does not matter a great deal to me, as I would not smoke under either circumstance. If the nicotine devil grabs me, there is the simple option of stopping, getting out, and getting the nicotine fix outside.

I suppose that, wherever there are boundaries, there are anomalies. Perhaps it’s simplest to accept them. Or better, stop smoking.


Cllr. Ewen Cameron

Anonymous said...

Cllr Cameron, I might have misunderstood the advertisements in our local papers last spring but the IOTG ran an advert for 2 posts with TDC for smoking enforcement officers! IOTG also reported before Christmas that Jo Gideon was out and about with enforcement officers and police! I admire your own consideration for non-smokers but does that same consideration apply to non car owning pedestrians as you drive past them belching out noxious fumes? What's my point here? Basically that a spurious 'health' campaign against the evils of second-hand smoke have diverted attention from the real health risk posed our children by vehicle exhaust fumes.