Smoking should be banned outdoors near food
A move is on to ban smoking in outdoor premises which serve food and it cannot come quickly enough.
While out smoking ban was controversial at the time, it really was a progressive move and has completely enhanced the comfort of customers in restaurants, pubs and clubs.
It took a while for smokers to get used to moving to a designated smoking area to indulge, but very quickly, it became the new normal.
However, there is no way that anyone should be permitted to smoke in any area where food is served.
Picture, the scene...it's a rare sunny summer day in Ireland and you decide to head out for a spot of lunch. You are seated in a comfortable terrace and just about to tuck into your meal when your neighbour lights up a cigarette and blows second hand smoke in your direction as you eat. Disgusting.
I'm aware that smoking is not illegal, and those who wish to do so are perfectly entitled, but why, oh why must they be allowed where people are trying to eat.
There is nothing worse than being surrounded by a cloud of cigarette smoke when enjoying a coffee or a meal.
We get so few fine days in this country where we can actually sit outside any establishment comfortably, that these areas shouldn't be the preserve of the smoking population, but because these areas are not used all year round, they are unofficially claimed by smokers.
The argument for smoke free outdoor seating areas is not being made simply to deprive smokers of their indulgence, but because their habit is so antisocial, it cannot be prioritised over the comfort of customers who are there to eat.
The second hand smoke is also health concern and is makes no sense that non-smokers should be made to put up with somebody smoking right beside them just because they choose to sit outdoors.
Nobody in their right mind can argue that smoke isn't an issue in small half-covered areas which are a fixture in many cafés and bars in Ireland.
Because it is outside the main premises, doesn't necessarily mean that it is suitable for smokers, and certainly permitting customers to smoke right beside dining tables shows a lack of regard for those who prefer to eat in a smoke-free environment.