- For Teachers
I would be happy if anyone could give me a clue to what mistakes I am making in this essay. Certainly they are to be found. Thank you
In England on Sunday 1 July 2007 a smoking ban was initiated to make virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces smokefree. In letters to the editor of The Independent three English citizens express their criticism, salutes and considerations concerning the controversial law.
Do their stands hold water or is it simply hot air?
Manchestrian Phil Griffin, introduces his considerations through the following sentence: ”At least on Monday 2 July I will have one less pressing reason to draw on a calming cigarette with my drink in my pub…”. Having said that, P. Griffin continues the rest of the letter with a stance of positivity towards ”[his] lovely smoke-filled pubs”. This illuminates the fact that even some debaters that are pro-smoking actually realize the benefits of narrowing down their smoking habits. The health gains of a smoking ban are obvious to many, including the diplomats behind the law and most of the non-smokers of England. Ale enthusiast and non-smoker Paul R Barrett from Brighton responds to P. Griffin’s letter and claims that he ”will raise a glass [in an old pub on July 1 2007] to not having to breathe foul air”. This might be the exact reaction which the government had hoped for during the planning phase of the smoking ban.
It would be a lie to claim that the entire English population has greeted the new restrictions with open arms. The first and the third of the letters express the viewpoint that the smoke-filled pubs represent an old English tradition, violently murdered by the government. Pub owner/Bartender Victoria Saunters ends her letter saying: ”Sorry, England, but the pub culture we’ve shared for centuries is finished”. The argument is rooted in a nostalgic fondness for the smoke-filled English pubs, as P. Griffin describes: ”…the nasty pubs that I grew up in, the muggy beer soaked places with foam-stained glasses and stub-stacked ashtrays…”. Despite his selection of dark semantics he warmly describes the ”nasty pubs” as a location he will rather spend time in, than he would like to spend time in an ”ersatz cafe…”. These comments are conservative in nature and the familiarity of the smoke-filled pubs is valued greatly among these debaters. The smoking ban is viewed upon as a great loss for the English culture. On the other hand non-smoker P. R. Barrett points out that the smoking ban in Ireland hasn’t diminished the atmosphere of many Irish pubs, and he further claims that the ban in England will not differentiate significantly in that area. This argument speaks against the assumption that smoking is equal to a nice atmosphere. One should keep in mind that Barrett is a veteran ale enthusiast and therefore that he doesn’t represent the majority of the general pub visiters. Barrett’s definition of a ”great atmosphere” may not be similar to the likings of a ”common man”.
Perhaps that is the reason why V. Saunters spots a tendencial lack of visitors inside the pubs. Instead she sees how her usual guests are either abscent or outdoor among non-smokers. Not only are the small businesses in danger but the pubs will no longer be able to function as centres of village communities or as public fora. One could argue that the recent lack of a British national identity might indirectly be partially caused by the smoking ban. Another reason for the lack of support towards the law, is that diplomats supposedly still smoke in public areas, like on the forth-coming G20 summit in London. Saunters hints at the same criticism: ”Are the diplomats who escape this ban immune to lung cancer or indeed to the effect on good, honest, hardworking taxpayers like myself who have been hit again?”. Once again this can be interpreted as a conservative standpoint.
The health issue is undoubtly a strong ground for the smoking ban to be placed, even though several reasonable suggestions speak against the law. In the end it comes down to one’s preferences of value, and in many cases it will prove relevant to distinguish between the politically left- or right orientation of a person who is opinionated about the smoking ban issue.
Thank you so much