Thursday, 24 June 2010

Smoking ban miscellany

Question: When can a pizza delivery driver smoke a cigarette in his vehicle, while a builder in his van can't? Answer at the end.

As regards the fag ends strewn outside pubs and clubs thanks to the smoking ban, an interesting development in Dundee is amenable to psychological, physiological and sociological analysis. I think.

Anyway, the development in question is the placing of a couple of metal pales outside a local hostelry which I have the dubious pleasure of regularly passing on foot. Having observed the matter a few years before the smoking ban became part of the general law, I had concluded that the presence or otherwise of a suitable receptacle had little relevance as to the destination of the fag end - it would almost invariably end up otherwise than in the receptacle provided.

Thus it might not have been expected that the two metal pales would make much of a difference as compared to a wall-mounted receptacle, but in fact it has, with most of the fag ends now ending up in the pales.

Why should this be? Well perhaps putting the fag end into the pale takes less physical effort than putting it into an ashtray on the wall.

But it seems that many smokers may litter the pavement as an act of defiance; a sort of civil disobedience in response to the ban, as one smoker put it on the internet. Thus why would the pale make any difference in this regard?

Well you can chuck a fag end into a pale with the sort of macho contempt that smokers often dispose of their waste with - fag ends are thrown rather than dropped - whereas placing this into an ashtray on the wall is, well, kind of wimpish. Thus by accommodating an element of macho contempt, the pale attracts more fag ends than something on the wall.

Any better explanations on a fag packet to the Scottish Government, please.

Another act of defiance relates to the flouting of the ban by smokers in vehicles - who are the most visible example - and I took this photo of a driver who was sitting alongside a queue of cars and self-evidently wasn't bothered who might be watching him. The signage indicates that this is a licensed private hire vehicle. Of course, officialdom sometimes tell us that because few tickets are handed out for this offence then compliance is virtually complete, whereas the reality is probably that there is little meaningful enforcement and thus little deterrent - as the photograph perhaps suggests - and that smokers have found ways of circumventing the rules.

As for the pizza delivery driver, the answer is that he/she can smoke if they're delivering the food in a car. Cars are exempt from the legislation unless the vehicle is a licensed taxi or private hire vehicle.

And not a lot of people know that. But I suspect not a lot of people wanted to know that anyway.


Anonymous said...

A smoking ban means it is against the law to use or permit a legal product on 'private' property

Stuart Winton said...

Indeed, perhaps a better idea might have been not to ban it in private places between consenting adults rather than foist it on to the rest of us in public spaces.