The British Medical Association want a total ban on smoking smoking in public. They include offices, factories, pubs and restaurants in their definition of public spaces and cite as support for their proposed measure the fact that 17000 children small children are hospitalised every year as a result of passive smoking.

A large-scale Californian survey, the results of which are published today in The British Medical Journal has shown that not everyone agrees that passive smoking is a as bad as the British Medical Association would like us to believe.

Wherever the scientific truth lies surely it would be more sensible for pubs and restaurants to decide their smoking policy themselves. Those which wanted to attract smokers would allow smoking while those which didn’t wouldn’t. Setting aside spaces in offices and factories for those who wanted to smoke would also seem to be a better solution than an outright ban. I’d be interested to know from our US readers how the total ban on public smoking in New York is going. I suspect it is being ignored on a large-scale and people’s respect for the law is diminished.

I also want to know what thousands of small British children are doing in offices, factories and pubs.