Hello and greetings to all the little imperfect human beings that read these words of wisdom.
Let me start off by saying that my drug of choice is a bottle of vino and perhaps too many fish fingers and so I understand the need that some people have to light up their cigarette. I did, in my youth, have the occasional fag (stop it) and I used to smoke great big King Edward cigars but I sort of grew out of it - I was never addicted.
Smoking is not illegal but it is not allowed in certain places and I know that this has caused some people great anguish as they believe that their human rights have been trampled on and that smokers are treated like lepers.
The reason this debate has come to my attention today is that on our local news yesterday morning we had a report about the council placing signs near school gates asking people not to smoke in that area - a not unreasonable request in my opinion.
Although the signs are not enforceable in law, it was hoped that smokers would make a free choice to smoke away from the gates and playground areas thereby lessening the impact of smoke on others, especially children.
Later that morning, as I perused Twitter, I noticed this tweet by one of our local radio presenters:
"From today, you could be fined if you're caught smoking in the open air around Nottingham's parks and school gates. But is this realistic?"
"about as realistic as fining people who pollute our streets by dropping litter, like fag ends!"
Later still as I drove to work I was listening to the self same radio presenter (a self confessed smoker) as he dealt with this subject, he had input from various members of the public who were for and against the idea and then he upset me by quoting my tweet - but he did not quote it all and thereby changed the context...I didn't like that!
I also didn't like that he also seemed to be expressing a view that smokers were being persecuted - so I rang in and they put me through on air...we had a conversation in which I expressed the thought that a smokers right to smoke was no greater a right than my right not to have smoke forced on me.
This whole idea that non smokers don't understand is a non starter for me...I don't deny your right to smoke but I demand an equal right to remain smoke free. If I can move away from a smoker I will, but if I have to be somewhere, like dropping a child at school, why should I have to tolerate your second hand smoke?
Later that day I sat in the home of a man who was telling me about his recently deceased mother - a life long smoker. He too was a smoker and he lit up a fag as he dealt with the emotions of his loss and as he was in his house I simply accepted that I would leave smelling of smoke.
There are some who like riding motor cycles - it's legal to ride a motor cycle on the road but not on the path, we accept that there are things we can do legally but places where we cannot do it - that's all the council are asking here, smoke all you like but why do you need to do it at the school gate?
If you want to hear the interview - find me on Twitter or Facebook and I'll send you a link.
Addendum: 16th November
Sorry but I can't resist...the news is reporting moves to ban smoking in cars and of course the smokers are outraged. The argument they offer is, 'it's my personal private space and I should not be stopped doing whatever I wish'!
WRONG...it may be a personal space but it's a personal space on wheels that moves at high speed and can kill others if not controlled properly AND there are many things that you are already stopped from doing in your mobile, smoke filled coffin - like driving it whilst drunk or at excessive speed or in a dangerous and reckless manner or without due care and attention or without a seat belt or whilst using a mobile phone...so there!