I have decided that, in the face of the media witch hunt going on at the moment (and from looking at today's Sundays, I don't think there's any other word for it), I am going to have a daily 'good news' item. Again, this is from today's Observer, but I'll summarise some of it here.
Since the smoking ban was introduced, there has been a record rise in the number of people giving up smoking. The figures for April to December 2007 (only 9 months) were up 22% on the previous year. 80% of people think the ban is a good thing. And fears that more people would smoke at home instead haven't been realised. There is also good news about people with lung conditions now being able to socialise without harming their health, and a predicted fall in the number of heart attacks (as happened in Scotland after they introduced their ban).
As someone who voted for the full ban, this makes me feel good.
The report ends by saying that the ban contributed to the closure of 1,409 pubs in 2007, compared with just 216 in 2006. I'd like to see more evidence of this. Has the number of people drinking in pubs gone down since the ban? Or have they switched to pubs where it's easier to smoke outside? I know a few pubs have closed down recently in east Bristol; some have been empty for a while and locals are concerned they're going to be sold off to property developers and turned into flats. But they tend to be in areas which are already well-served by pubs, and I suspect there may just be too much competition for them all to make a profit.