The smoke free legislation

The smoke free legislation1 came in to force across England on the 1st July 2007, this sets out that all work places and enclosed public places are now smoke free. This legislation has been put forward to protect the public and employees at work of the affects of second hand smoke. Second hand smoking cause's health risks such as lung cancer and heart disease2, it is 25% more likely to increase the likelihood of heart disease3 in work places second hand intake of smoking kills three times more workers than in accident at work places.

It has been seen that a large number of smokers die every year around 114,000 smokers die in the UK from the affects of smoking5, thus it is a crucial matter than needs to be addressed. There is five sets of regulation that have been stated under the smoke free legislation6 The legislation covers all enclosed public places and work places that will have to be smoke free. It has been of discussion as to whether smoking should be allowed in public places or restricted; nevertheless the new regulations have made it clear that as of the 1st July it will not be allowed.

The issue regarding this matter is in terms of the employers whether legally they are or required of to provide a designated smoking spot, or shelter area; this matter is clarified in the legislation as it makes it clear that employers are not legally required to provide such. On other hand if they do so it must not be enclosed or substantially endorsed and more importantly it must comply with planning regulations that are set. The legislation is effective in that it protects the majority from serious health risks such as lung cancer and heart disease7 that may result from the affects from secondhand smoke.

The legislations benefits health as the smoke free laws do prevent second hand smoke and also promote smokers to quit smoking8. The factor that impacts and prevents heart disease is smokers that do give up and the smoke free legislation does manage to address this9. The question to ask whether the smoking ban violates the right of individuals, under the European Human Rights Convention10Article 8 (concerning the right to respect for private and family life) an individual has the right to a right to a private life.

Enforcing the legislation may pose a lot of problems as smokes may reject it as it violates this right. It may be argued that the smoking legislation does not take into consideration the impact that this has on smokers. As smokers are of the opinion that the government agenda is to take away there freedom to act and think on there own account. There could be an alternative method, by which the government could have tightened the controls rather than put a straight ban to smoking in public places.

However it is believed that Smokers do not have the right to affect the health of others. On the other hand non- smokers may question their entitlement to enjoy a smoke-free atmosphere and argue that smoking is not necessary; smokers do have the right to smoke as long as they do not cause any health problems to the non smokers. Thus it can be seen as having a positive effective in protecting individuals from health problems.

The majority has accepted the regulation; there has been a positive attitude to the regulations that have been put forward. The issue here is of the freedom of individuals, with which responsibility comes and it needs to be understood that the freedom given is not do as you please. There is evidence that does suggest that the ban on smoking has had a positive effect in that on a average smoking has decreased since the ban, there has been cancer research that also emphasis the importance of this.

In conclusion it can be said that the legislation is effective in achieving its objectives that were set. Smoke free environment is a key measure that is a must and will in affect save a lot of people's life in the future to come11. In my opinion the exposure of smoking does have an impact on non smokers and there have been instances were individuals have even died. 12 However the goal is to prevent health problems and this may be in the long term successful in achieving a smoke free society.