It wasn’t just the inevitable health campaigners, pro-choice spokespeople and pub trade associations chipping in, but also analysts, insurance companies and NHS spokespeople.
With pretty much everyone having something to say, headlines reflected the plethora of views: ‘Diehard smokers ready to fight ban’ (Sky News, 2 July), ‘Smokers choke on “injustice” as ban starts’ (The Independent, 2 July), ‘Consigned to the ashtray of history’ (The Guardian, 1 July).
Some key messages emerged from the fug. Pub landlord-led Freedom2Choose challenged the ban on human rights grounds, while pro-smoking campaigners Forest denied any evidence of ‘the dangers of passive smoking’ (The Guardian, 1 July) and thus saw no need for the ban. This opposition was counterbalanced by health campaigners, who predicted that 500,000 deaths would be prevented and that the ban would encourage people to stop smoking.
With councils promising a ‘softly softly’ approach to prosecuting offenders, and landlords swearing defiance, we can only wait and seewhether smoking in public will be truly stubbed out.