Smoke-free hospitals: finger-wagging at the working class?

Back in 2004 John Reid went against the grain by warning the anti-smoking lobby that they ran the risk of “patronising” the working class. 

His comments still echo into 2016 and through the announcement of a total ban on smoking in hospital grounds in Northern Ireland.

First things first, though: the ban isn’t about “smokers outside the hospital doors” and nor is the issue at hand, as this would be solved by a simple smoking shelter policed with the zeal (and funds) officials have now found to pester smokers at their lowest ebb. It isn’t about whether people should be smokers. And it isn’t about helping people to stop smoking either, as telling a concerned relative or sick patient to stop smoking right this second without the element of choice and the willpower to quit is hardly an ideal technique.

Instead, have a listen again to the vox pop on Nolan Live (see 42min 50secs) to see if you spot something interesting? In short; those for and against the total ban – neatly smoke-screened inside the emotive issue of those hospital door smokers – are broadly divided on the issue into two groups depending on the person’s accent. If you don’t want to watch the clip, you can probably guess the rest.

While I very much dislike attempting to stereotype strangers based on their accent, there’s something pretty distinct going on the vox pop in that the more ‘posh’ voices (who are statistically less likely to be smokers) were generally in favour of a ban.

A commentator on the show, Andrea McVeigh, felt that the smokers should either do without or accept the help offered to give up on the spot.

And therein lies the problem. A complete ban, including on those smoking in their own car, is essentially telling those with a genuine addiction visiting a sick or dying relative (and the medical staff trying to save that person’s life) that, in the case of the former they should stop smoking that second or go elsewhere at what could be one of the lowest ebbs in their life.

I wouldn’t have liked to have seen someone say that to my very elderly, former POW, grandfather when he was alive. A former professional barman, his family and “a wee smoke” were his favourite things in life. And in later his years and condition he would have been distressed and confused by being told to ‘just go without’ or wear a patch.

Statistics from England in 2014 show that unemployed people were twice as likely to smoke and that those in “manual” or “routine” jobs were over twice as likely to smoke as “managerial” and “professional” respondents.

And social policy academic Professor Paul Stickler has written that “figures from the UK show that people in lower social classes, including children, are more likely to suffer from infective and parasitic diseases, pneumonia, poisonings or violence” while “adults in lower social classes are more likely, in addition, to suffer from cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease”.

Meaning that those most likely to be most affected by the total ban could also be more likely to find themselves in hospital sooner. And for the worst possible reasons, at the worst possible time.


Full disclosure: there is something I find concerning about the health promotion lobby in that, among some excellent and valuable work, surely their support for one ban or another is limitless in nature as campaign after campaign must continue to be staged to keep the salaries – paid for by taxes and charity donations – flowing?

For example: I remember watching the Press Association (Northern Ireland) website in the days around the announcement that smoking would be banned in bars here. The debate moved on to binge drinking in less than 24 hours.

Back to the ban then and, while one South Eastern Trust patient is legally challenging the consultation behind the ban, I’m certain the surveys used by hospitals will be checked to ensure it was made clear that smoking in a person’s own car would be included as opposed to making the issue about smoking at hospital doors.

Notes from a Royal College of Nursing debate raised concerns about “policing the behaviour of our patients” and asked what this would do to the therapeutic relationship. A concerned hospital worker quoted in the Andersonstown News points out that one smoking warden is employed at the Royal Victoria Hospital. In the article the Belfast Trust responds that the warden is being paid for by the Public Health Agency and that “all staff” are expected to do their part to assist in enforcing the ban.

The hospital employee also explained that “there are leaflets everywhere” (i.e., more funding found in austere times) and wondered “what if a loved one has died?”.

Conscious that no one is on hospital grounds for any fun reason or likely to be in a mood to make an instant decision on their health choices, I’m mindful that those smokers (and non-smokers who support them) are – to use Nolan Live as an example – represented against officialdom and their backers by the likes of a drafted-in Anthony Worrall Thompson, if by anyone at all.

Who, then, represents those concerned in Northern Ireland when the quangos, charities and civil servants get fired-up and go too far? Although all that tax revenue might cause a few raised eyebrows in other government departments if they really did become far too effective.

Ultimately, there’s a difference between a helping hand held outwards and a wagging finger pointed downwards. And there’s a time and a place for strong-arm tactics and lecturing.

Among the sick and grieving is no place for either.

  • What about the people who are sick and are doing everything they possibly can to fight for their health, and they have to breathe in other people’s smoke? Doesn’t their health have any importance? Doesn’t the health of those needing care at hospital outweigh the emotional needs of someone who is addicted to something which not only causes diseases in themselves, but also those who are forced to breathe in their smoke?
    How about helping people deal with grief without poisoning themselves?

  • Then the debate is how to keep the smoke away from everyone else, not about people smoking.

    In NI they have gone for a total ban: including people smoking in their own cars.

  • Dan

    So delightful to see patients wandering about outside in their dressing gowns and hauling their drips, then dragging themselves back to a ward to bring the dirt and grime with them.
    But sure, as long as they have their smoke, never mind about cleanliness and infection control for the ward and the other patients.
    Selfish gets.

  • hugh mccloy

    keep people distracted over the smoking ban, that will divert some attention away from an underinvested and fragile health system.

    Fact is it’s not illegal to smoke, provisions should be made.

  • The total ban DOES keep the smoke away.

  • hugh mccloy

    Does it keep cdiff or mrsa away ?

  • At too high a price for the small amounts of smoke involved if a shelter away from others was provided.

    The second hand smoke from someone in their own car while you are elsewhere can’t be doing much harm to anyone except one person.

  • Ie, same as any hospital visitor?

  • Gingray

    I’ve no problems with providing a shelter, but after being up at the royal maternity unit, in the triage rooms at the front, the stench of smoke was disgusting, the staff hated it, but no matter how often patients and visitors got told to use the shelter for smoking, it was ignored.

    So if it’s not enforced, a shelter is pointless, and if you are enforcing, how much more difficult is a complete ban?

  • Turgon

    At some level I accept your point: banning smoking in cars seems a bit ridiculous indeed a bit “health nazi”. Furthermore providing a place to smoke a long way away from the hospital could be engineered. However, this is not an especially well thought out or well informed article.

    Smoking was banned on airline flights years ago and I know of no one who does not go on holiday because they cannot refrain from smoking for the duration of a flight.

    I think hospital inpatients are routinely offered Nicotine Replacement Therapy as patches etc. Hence, the addictive element can clearly be addressed.

    In terms of smokers outside the hospital doors some of those visiting, walking in and out etc. will have asthma etc. and as such their health may be compromised by having to walk through what is at times a fog of smoke.

  • Turgon

    Those provisions cost money which then cannot be spent on actual health care. If we provide smoking shelters at a thousand pounds or whatever each in every hospital that is quite a few hip replacements or whatever we could have funded instead.

  • I don’t think anyone is in favour of the ‘hospital door’ scenario, so it is a red herring in the debate.

    A nicotine patch ignores the fact that people are entitled to feed their addiction however they wish if it can be done without harming others.

    As for the flight: being an in-patient or someone visiting a sick relative daily is different from a few hours on a plane.

  • The total ban costs money too.

  • A ban isn’t needed at all if the shelter is properly enforced (since the cost of enforcement can be found for a total ban).

  • Turgon

    The hospital door is far from a red herring. It is an annoyance to many staff, patients and relatives. Your dismissal of this is high handed in the extreme.

    As to feeding the addiction in any way they wish: that is utter nonsense. They are harming others with second hand smoke if they are in the hospital or as I noted above at the front door.

    Furthermore your logic is utter nonsense. Patients admitted with alcohol withdrawal are treated for it with medications other than alcohol . No one gives an alcoholic with DTs a bottle of vodka in hospital, nor a heroin addict a syringe of diamorphine. In this case, however, nicotine addicts are given nicotine: just not a cigarette.

    Being admitted to hospital one has to accept a certain loss of autonomy for the greater good of all. One cannot choose which bed to sleep in, nor when to be fed. The same is true of smoking. A suitable alternative is offered. If patients are so determined to smoke that they will not accept any alternative to smoking one has difficulty accepting that every one of them is sick enough to continue to merit hospital in patient treatment.

  • Turgon

    And that ban improves overall health: unlike the shelter. Funnily enough that is what the NHS is meant to spend its money on: health.

  • Gingray

    Then I would be OK with enforcement of shelters.

    Assume there is no risk to patients or staff from people coming in stinking of smoke.

  • Except it isn’t what I said. My point was that everyone agrees that the ‘hospital door’ scenario shouldn’t happen, therefore it should be prevented instead of being used as an excuse for a total ban.

    An alcoholic’s addiction is one thing as it cannot reasonably be ‘fed’, it is reasonable to allow people the choice and facility to smoke – away from the hospital doors – should they chose and be well enough to do so. Same goes for their visitors.

  • Very much agreed.

  • Or…forcing health decisions on people at the worst possible time.

  • Turgon

    You stated above “people are entitled to feed their addiction however they wish if it can be done without harming others.”

    Now you have said:

    “An alcoholic’s addiction is one thing as it cannot reasonably be ‘fed'”

    A wholly non violent alcoholic by your initial claim should be entitled to “feed their addiction” with alcohol and a heroin addict with heroin.

    Which is it? Are people allowed to “feed their addiction however they wish” or not.

  • Turgon

    Again you are changing the parameters of debate. You are asking that NHS money be spent on providing shelters to facilitate people damaging their own health. You are also opposing the NHS spending money on trying to stop people damaging their own (and others) health because you do not like how the NHS implements that policy.

    I have a degree of sympathy for your dislike of nanny state heath nazisim but your logic here is utterly confused and internally contradictory.

  • hugh mccloy

    Funny enough it spent its money on creating car parks that you have to pay for

  • Was referring to a smoking addiction clearly.

  • Turgon

    So how does smoking addiction differ from other addictions pray tell?

    Furthermore your initial statement did not specify smoking. It was as I quoted above. Why should the NHS facilitate smoking addiction in a way completely different to how it treats other addictions?

  • Yes, I would imagine a shelter would cost a lot less than employing a warden and is a reasonable provision.

  • It is a common, legal habit that can reasonably be provided for in hospital grounds with no harm to those who don’t smoke.

  • Turgon

    So if a shelter costs say £1000 and has to be replaced every say 5 years and we have say 20 of them in Northern Ireland. that is £4000 a year.

    I am no expert but that is probably 1 or 2 hip replacements. So you think that the NHS should cancel 1 or 2 hip replacements each year so it can fund smoking shelters.

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    And everyone who sees the sign saying smoking area 2km that way quits then and there… everyone quits. Who’s paying for the hip replacements that are being paid for with my taxes from buying cigarettes….

  • Belfast Barman(ager)

    Straw man.

  • Turgon

    Alcohol consumption and solvent use are common and legal (solvent abuse is not a crime) habits which can be reasonably provided for as well. I trust these shelters will also permit alcohol consumption and glue sniffing. That is the logic of your argument

  • We’re splitting hairs now so I’ll bow out.

  • As said elsewhere, we’re splitting hairs now so I’ll be on my way.

  • Turgon

    I am not splitting hairs at all. I am pointing out the costs to the NHS of your demands.

    You want these shelters paid for but are not willing to say what actual health care activity should be further rationed or not provided so that your shelters can be provided.

    That is the problem. Your shelter would deprive two people of a hip replacement every year.

  • Turgon

    Indeed. I trust if you develop a smoking related disease you will not expect tax payers to fund any cost beyond that which you have already paid in the duty you have paid on your cigarettes.

  • Turgon

    No your arguments have been tested and found without logic or merit.

    That is one of the great things about slugger. Better luck next time. We all make a mess of our posts at times. I certainly have.

  • Sure, if that’s what makes you happy we’ll call it a day with that. Each to their own.

  • Turgon

    Come back to us when you decide which other addictions the NHS should support in the manner of the addicts choosing. Also come back when you find that money tree which would allow us to build smoking shelters and still have just as much mount to spend on actual health care.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    As a life time smoker, I wholeheartedly agree with you. I’ve been hospitalised on a few occasions and once with a hip fracture, so I was immobile on that occasion. If I remember correctly I had no option but to remain fag free for at least 2 days until a zimmer frame became free. Even then I have no recollection of ‘fagging it’ outdoors during my time there. Was this traumatising? Not that I recall. Did I think this was a denial of my freedoms? Certainly not. Was I upset? Did I get angry? Did I experience withdrawal symptoms? Guess the answers.
    Projecting a class warfare scenario on this issue is in itself patronising and infantalises those we are encouraged (by some quarters) to see as marginalised, underprivileged and voiceless. We then see ‘them’ as being incapable of self restraint and empathy. This view further marginalises the ‘working classes’ (whatever the term means) because we then use labels such as feral, selfish, self indulgent and irresponsible. Kinda like the use of ‘lower orders’ during the 19thC.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    What if we just said to the smoking staff at a hospital “here, ye’s can smoke here but you have to provide yer own shed/bench/gazebo”?

    The NHS doesn’t have to pay diddly and people have their own refuge of the damned to hide in.

    I’m sure we’ve all seen makeshift sheds and modified bus shelters all over the country at some point, why not create an environment where people make their own shed or sanctuary?
    *Enter the lawyers and ambulance chasers*

  • David

    Turgon would you have any objections to a shelter being paid for and maintained by hospital staff or voluntary donations?

  • hugh mccloy

    money well spent ?

  • hugh mccloy

    Smokers contribute quite a bit in terms of duty

  • hugh mccloy

    would it? thats scare mongering at best

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    I noticed in my rural area there was once a culture of erecting benches all over the place; in bus shelters, top of a hill and even at minor river confluences.

    How they got them there is beyond me but someone obviously wanted a bench and made it so.
    If smokers want to erect a corrugated tin shack for smoking then I say let them tear away.

  • puffen

    As I start work tonight, heavy with foreboding that I might have to challenge a smoker outside ED at 2am, I don’t think so.)

  • The language is borrowed from John Reid in 2004 but, as always, the language isn’t the point nor are any of the things you listed inferred.

    Ultimately, more lower income people smoke while the health promotion lobby could be reasonably assumed to be salaried professionals, it is merely an observation (not least because the point was made in 2004 and still seems to be the case).

  • Greenflag 2

    At the risk of sounding lacking in empathy I recall my old man’s 5 reasons for not inhaling the nicotine .

    1) . You make the rich richer ( tobacco companies -shareholders – merchants -distributors etc )

    2) You make yourself poorer both in money terms and healthwise .

    3) You are paying the rich folks to kill you .

    4) Not only are you paying them to kill you but so that they do so slowly and agonisingly over the last 6 months to a year of your life . Not good .

    5) And finally the one which convinced me that the cancer sticks were a very bad idea . By the time they have reached 65 ( if they reach 65 ) the average smoker in Ireland /UK will have spent about a quarter of a million pounds inhaling and exhaling smoke . This figure he calculated on an annualised basis multiplied by the years and allowed for the otherwise growth of saved income , loss of interest ,and the rule of 72 etc .

    But what really scared me at the time or at least made me pause was when he said if you really want to spend a quarter million on killing yourself slowly over 40 years he knew somebody who knew somebody who could provide the terminatory service for a lot less and with less pain for just 10,000 . I’m sure he did’nt at least I hope so 😉

    On the other hand and there is always an other hand there is that 1 or 2 % of smokers who for perhaps unique genetic reasons manage to avoid the big C and who live to a ripe old age -coherent and cogent to the end . I know of two examples . One was my great grandfather a pipe smoker and accurate spitoon user who almost made it to the 100 (4 months short ) and the other was former German Kanzler Helmut Schmidt who puffed away well into his mid nineties being so stubborn as to insist on being permitted to smoke while participating on TV political panel shows . They made a very unGerman exception for him .

    As to the poor smokers being talked down to by their educated non smoking betters I relate later a heart warming tale from one of those poor girls who found herself in such a situation. but more anon.

  • Not sure what you mean? The smoking ban isn’t working in that case? All the more reason to opt for a shelter to have somewhere to send people rather than telling them to stub it out?

  • I’m a former smoker – quit in my 20s – and probably agree with every point. I really didn’t want to play the odds, although my great grandparents also smoked the whole lives with no apparent health issues. I used to wonder if the tobacco had fewer chemicals in those days.

  • Greenflag 2

    They do indeed . Some 3 million a year manage to kill themselves via the nicotine route while enhancing the coffers of the People’s Republic of China where all the tobacco companies are state owned .

  • Don’t see why not – I dislike the idea of depriving those out to save lives of a smoke, bearing in mind their own health decisions are their own business.

  • Greenflag 2

    Probably the case i.e fewer chemicals -but then in those days only the strong survived infancy , There was less preventative care . I recall reading somewhere that life expectancy in Manchester in the 1820’s /30’s was 19 such was the horrific toll of infant mortality . Of course that was well before your great grandparents time .

    Kanzler Schmidt passed on last year still puffing away to the end !

  • puffen

    You haven’t a clue have you, like the senior management who make sure they are never anywhere near casualty at the weekend, let’s put it this way,you might en up getting the fag end stubbed in your face, welcome to the real world.

  • I understand that – they’re the people who’ll ignore whatever is in place no matter what it is.

  • Greenflag 2

    A poor girl from the East End of London ( Could be Belfast or Dublin or Glasgow or any other big city ) was invited to a ‘Charity Tea ‘ at the home of a local magistrates wife -probably Woman’s Institute .
    The little girl sits at the table turned to her hostess and said .

    ‘I see you keep your house very clean ‘ Cleanliness is next to Godliness you know ‘
    The lady smiled and gave a knowing wink to her husband .
    ” Is your husband working ‘ ? asked the little girl .
    ‘But of course ‘said the lady . “What a strange question for you to ask ‘

    ‘And are you both keeping off the drink and fags ‘ asked the poor little girl ;

    “What an impertinent little girl ‘ cried the magistrates wife .
    “When you are out visiting you should take care to behave like a lady my child ”

    ” But I do ‘ said the little girl close to tears .

    “When the ladies visit our house they always ask these questions ‘

  • Lionel Hutz

    Out of curiosity, do you know of any hospital rule that prevents people from taking a swig of a hip flask beyond the criminal laws around drunken disorderly etc.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Have to say there’s a flaw in the your assertion that there’s a flaw. You’re assuming that hospitals ban these things completely on hospital grounds. So say a patient is in hospital, and he goes out to his friends car in the grounds and has a drink…. is he banned from doing so? should hospital staff forcibly stop him?

  • Turgon

    “You’re assuming that hospitals ban these things completely on hospital grounds.”

    That is the whole point. That is the decision made. Try reading the article. In addition I did suggest that I am not keen on such a ban in cars etc. Try reading what I wrote rather than simply making silly attacks which prove that you did not do so.

    I think a designated smoking area some distance from the hospital buildings might well be reasonable. I do not see, however, why the NHS should pay for a shelter. Whether it should allow its employees or a third party to build such a shelter is a different issue: one I have not commented on.

    The issue about alcohol is exactly the point I made to cjohnston. If one wishes to allow smoking then one must logically allow drinking and inhaling solvents – both are legal. That is a point he seemed to object to. In actual fact alcohol consumption if it does not lead to violence or incompetence in staff etc. is less of an issue as consuming alcohol does not hurt the person beside you. Smoking beside them can.

  • chrisjones2

    A simple answer may be to refuse to employ any who smoke in the first place. Would you knowingly employ a cocaine addict? Or an unrecovered alcoholic?

  • chrisjones2

    “A nicotine patch ignores the fact that people are entitled to feed their addiction however they wish”

    ….and the state is entitled not to treat them

  • chrisjones2

    Yes….as it may interact with medication

  • chrisjones2

    “underinvested and fragile health system”

    that is awash in money but doesn’t always use it well

  • John Collins

    My grandfather was born in 1890. He used to tell a yarn that when he was about ten years old his father caught him smoking the pipe. The old boy did not condemn him, but filled the pipe to the brim with tobacco and freed and cleaner it out thoroughly, so that his beloved son could ‘enjoy a right smoke’. Thinking his old man was doing him a favour ‘ he enjoyed a right smoke’. He would relate, in his late eighties, that he never got as sick in his entire life as he did that day.However his father’s plan failed as he still took up smoking and had his last smoke a few hours before he died, of cancer, at 88 years and six months, having smoked for over three quarters of a century.

  • John Collins

    If you were an alcoholic, who was an inpatient in an alcoholic treatment unit, and you went and drank in the grounds of the unit, you would stand a very good chance of been discharged forthwith and certainly if it happened more than once you were gone

  • Vinny Gracchus

    Reject smoking bans. Outdoor bans are about social control and not about risks from second hand smoke, see: Bayer, R. and Bachynski KE, “Banning Smoking In Parks And On Beaches: Science, Policy, And The Politics Of Denormalization,” Health Aff, July 2013 Vol. 32, no. 7, 1291-1298. The abstract from that paper reads:

    “Campaigns to limit tobacco use started in the 1970s and have led to bans on public smoking, which have been extended to parks and beaches. A review of state and local statutes shows that during 1993–2011, smoking was banned in 843 parks and on 150 beaches across the United States. Three justifications for these restrictions have been invoked: the risk of passive smoke to nonsmokers, the pollution caused by cigarette butts, and the long-term risks to children from seeing smoking in public. Our analysis of the evidence for these claims found it far from definitive and in some cases weak.”

  • Old Mortality

    Any chance of the NHS ‘weeding out’ its morbidly obese staff before wagging fingers outside the doors. I am much more disgusted by the numerous lumps of uniformed lard waddling around inside our hospitals

  • whatif1984true

    In Tokyo one is not allowed to smoke in public. The sole exception is at designated spots which are signposted on a pole. Smokers cluster round the poles. They also ban the use of mobile phones on public transport (for speech).

  • Jollyraj

    What if they start smoking after getting hired.

  • Old Mortality

    Well if they can employ so many fat people, why not?

  • Greenflag 2

    Your grandfather was one of the lucky ones as was my great grandfather . Smoking is like betting on a horse at 100/1 odds and hoping to win 99 races in every hundred .

    Nicotine is more addictive than heroin which is why the tobacco companies focus on the Asian and African markets in search of more forgive the word ‘puffers ‘ .

    The Germans – knew in the 1930’s that smoking was cancer causing and Hitler actually wanted to make the habit illegal and close down all tobacco factories . It was his Army Generals who persuaded him that unless his soldiers had access to tobacco they would become ‘unmanageable ‘ and discipline would become impossible to implement and he could forget winning any war

    The Americans knew post 1945 but the tobacco companies pulled every trick from the bag and used disinformation , bribery and corruption and even had medical doctors paid to promote smoking as good for the ‘Nerves ‘ and health generally .

    And in some respects it’s the same today with other products .

  • Caita

    We give needless tax breaks to the church that you so love.
    Why can’t we also give smokers shelters?

    If we are prepared to accommodate your hobbies, why not theirs?

  • Lorcs1

    We lost a little girl 4 years ago, stillborn after full term due to a strep C infection.. On our first appointment with our second pregnancy (no issues btw) I can still remember my partner in floods of tears in the triage room at the front of the maternity hospital as the plumes of smoke wafted through the window.
    Every time we went for an appointment we’d have to walk through a gaggle at the front door standing in their dressing gowns, puffing away and it would set my partner off again.
    They kept my partner in for a few days in the early pregnancy unit for observation, and 3 girls on the ward spent most of their time at the front door, which was no bad thing as the ward smelt like an ashtray when they were in it.

    If they wish to smoke during pregnancy and harm themselves and their unborn children, then thats their choice, and it would be wrong to take that away from them. But its much worse that they made our hospital visits so much more uncomfortable and distressing.

    The NHS has a duty, not just to treat existing illnesses, but to encourage a healthier lifestyle overall. If this means banning smoking on hospital grounds and making patients/visitors 500 metres to havea puff then so be it.

    They have every right to refuse the help of the NHS if they disagree with the policy. I only wish the smoking ban had been brought in sooner.

  • An awful experience at an awful time clearly, thank you for explaining and sorry to hear about your loss.

  • Sharpie

    This is a crazy position to take and speaks directly to the patronising attitude the article addresses. You imply that it is more wrong to smoke than abuse alcohol despite the much greater medical, social, and economic consequences; than to tell a doctor for years that you can’t sleep, that your nerves are bad, or that you have a continual headache so you can access your favourite prescription, or worse than to eat too much or than to ride a motorbike or horse or downhill mountain bike despite knowing its heightened risks of serious injury.

    The state is entitled to treat them, just as it is entitled to treat anyone who partakes in risk-taking behaviour. It’s what we pay taxes for and its what the NHS is for.

  • Sharpie

    Hip replacements are £6000.

  • John Collins

    Oh I agree with you. It is a disgusting and often fatal pursuit.

  • Greenflag 2

    Eventually fatal or in most instances but so is life in the end . Some people get pleasure from it .Never understood the attraction but disgusting ? There are other things I’d find more disgusting . An idiot comatose on the pavement from binge drinking – a bankster still unjailed after looting millions or billions or a hypocritical clergyman or politician preaching one thing while practising another .

    But thats ‘humanity ‘ for ye . Cows bulls and calves but cattle one and all ! Save us from the storms o Lord and from those who feed us till we’re broad .

  • Sir Rantsalot

    Don’t be daft. Illegal drugs or alcoholism are not the same. Using your logic, it would be ‘don’t employ someone who drinks an average amount’. Good luck filling that position ????

  • babyface finlayson

    Alcohol consumption and solvent abuse lead to behaviour changes which cause management issues (and potential risk to others) for already hard pressed staff. Smoking does not.

  • babyface finlayson

    Maybe everyone does agree, but from a personal point of view I never see any thought for others on the part of hospital door smokers.
    No apology is ever offered for smoking in your face, no attempt ever made to move a few feet away.
    There is a selfishness and sense of entitlement which I think gets peoples backs up (mine anyhow) and does not help their case.
    That is more annoying than any health risk to a passerby which is surely negligible.
    Having said that I would be in favour of shelters and some kind of enforcement. In time the message would get through and enforcement would become easier.