Smoking is injurious to health, a fact known to everybody. Over the past decade, this information has trickled down to every level of society. It is proof of how education can bring about change in society. From a time when you could smoke in every restaurant, bus, theatre, train, airplane and even office, smokers are relegated to small depressing cubicles called Smoking Zones while the rest of the world does not have to contend with passive smoking.
No, this is not about how wonderful all this is, but quite to the contrary really.
Banning smoking from public areas was an idea that was embraced even by the smoking community. Most of us felt the need for such an action, not because we wanted fewer spaces to smoke, but because we knew that smoking in public spaces was uncomfortable to others. Many of us practiced this much before such rules came into place; a lot more did not and hence the need for the rules. However, this lack of fight from the smoking community has meant that people making these rules are now taking things to the extreme.
You walk into an airport and the whole damn place is a No Smoking zone. Ditto for railway stations, offices, you name it.
Now the Health Minister says he is going to ban smoking zones altogether since the workers maintaining it may not be smokers. I say make smoking a prerequisite on the job description for such a role.
The incidence of smoking did not come down by banning smoking, but it was achieved through education. This should be persisted with and over time smoking as a habit will disappear. Putting people at discomfort is not the way. All it serves to do is send the whole thing underground. Today people get into toilets in the train and smoke inside that small cubicle making it very hard for the next person using the toilet.
Although this does not require a massive rethink, it could do with a little more thought.