When I was in California a few years ago, I was surprised by how much smoking went on in certain bars. I assumed that the owners were turning a blind eye to the state's famous smoking ban (the first in the world).
In fact, as Simon Eldon-Edington explains, even fiercely anti-smoking California has allowed various exemptions. His article in The Publican is well worth reading, as it speaks of a rarely heard truth - that the UK and Ireland have smoking bans that are more unforgiving than almost anywhere else on earth.
Most of us think that the UK smoking legislation is pretty much the same as the rest of the world's. But in reality, it’s not. All US states (even New York), and most of Europe, have some exemptions to permit cigarette smoking inside certain bars, under certain conditions. The UK has zero.
All US states, and most of Europe, permit fully-enclosed outside smoking areas. The UK permits a roof, and two sides. Less than a pig sty.
The current UK smoking legislation therefore gives us the dubious honor of having the most draconian smoking legislation in the world. Should we be proud that we’re still the best in the world at something?
Meanwhile - in related news - Croatia has substantially amended its smoking ban, just a few months after implementing it. The reasons are familiar:
Since the law banning smoking in all public places was introduced in May, managers of cafes and restaurants say their businesses are being ruined.
Earlier this week, the Netherlands also "repaired" its smoking ban. With almost every other European country allowing significant exemptions and designated smoking rooms, is there any chance of the UK following Holland and Croatia and amending the smoking ban?
A full list of European smoking bans, and there exemptions can be read here.