Feb 14th 2006

A total public smoking ban was not in the pre-election manifesto as it would have been folly to have put it in. That is not to say that the public in general will not appreciate that the maxim KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) is the way MPs were likely to go, particularly since they think the Irish have made a success of it.

In Ireland, the solution has been for most pubs to have outside areas, heated by ecologically disastrous gas heating, where people sit rather than inside.

While I have plenty of time for Patricia Hewitt, it is not in any way equivalent to bringing in seat belts in cars. In my opinion, not a single life will be saved -  deaths are sometimes postponed till later, more drawn out and sometimes worse. I had a very dear uncle who smoked heavily all his life, kept fit and died suddenly as result in his seventies, and another who had a worse time with emphysema.

There will be more smoking at home and more children will suffer from smoke in the home. I grew up in the 40's when everyone smoked and it may well have affected my health. I was asthmatic - though that could have been due to the massive amounts of asbestos I ate from my chemistry set and miles of central heating pipe insulation.

If there is much less smoking, the government will have to find another source of revenue to fund the health service and the pensions of those living longer.