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Smoking in Pubs

The gentle golden hue of nicotine on once-white paintwork used to be a standard feature of the finest traditional pubs. But soon to be no longer - unless some bright spark at Dulux comes up with "Pub white" to go next to Magnolia on the colour charts.

As the tide of righteousness sweeps across these islands, the battle for the poor bloody smoker has already been lost. Yes, it's a filthy habit, yes people should quit and yes, non-smokers have the right to unpolluted lungs. But there are better ways of handling this than removing the right to a fag and a pint for everyone.

For example, let the market decide. Some pubs will stay smoky, some offer smoke-free rooms and some be completely free of the demon weed. Customers can choose and pubs will react to that choice. Or take the Australian model - all pubs are non-smoking but can have a sealed area for smokers if that's what they want to provide.

Tobacco is still a perfectly legal substance from which the government and non-smoking taxpayer make a great deal of money and to trample over smokers' rights to enjoy it when out in a social drinking environment is verging on the hypocritical. Still, that never stopped the baying of the self-righteous politicians, busybodies and tabloids. Just keep your fingers crossed they're not after you next. Who's the next unpopular group to suffer the spotlight of the "you should know better" lobby? The overweight? Anglers? The desk-bound unfit?