Before the Guardian broke the News of the World story I was planning on writing a blog in relation to the smoking ban as a result of John Hemming's contribution to the Lib Dem Voice. I didn't get round to it then so here I go 10 days late.
I was really happy when the smoking ban was introduced, as a none smoker I would wake up after a night out needing a shower and a fresh set of clothes (not that I don't always change my clothes you understand, but even going out with a jacket or the trousers would never be suitable for the next day). It was so refreshing to wake up and only have to worry about the hangover that I was very supportive.
I now think that I'm wrong. Like John Hemming I am still in general agreement in principle of no smoking in public places, however like he says, I feel there is a very strong, and very liberal argument for having ventilated smoke rooms.
I know once you take away the black and white definition of being unable to smoke inside a public place then it becomes much harder to police, but at the same time people should be allowed freedom of choice. It would also be very difficult to stop smoke moving from the ventilated rooms to the normal area when people are moving in and out.
In principle though I support revisiting this and seeing if we do currently have the best legislation, including looking at the possibility of local authorities being able to licence such places - as long as they meet strict building regulations regarding ventilation and that no employee would have to visit such room against their will. I admit that this may cause discrimination against non-smokers who apply for jobs at such establishments and I also think more details would need to be considered, but like I said, I agree with looking at this in principle.