Is the UK a nanny state? Well according to one woman’s outlook, reporter India Knights, it seems to be an agreeing answer. In my opinion, knights has a laissez-faire attitude and is rather negative about the UK government, stating that we are a “nanny state”. Although some people may agree with her, I think we are given a fair amount of free will but knights has the idea that we are like caged hens. The government have never made any extreme laws (unlike in Kansas where it’s illegal to put ice cream on cherry pie) but have made laws to benefit us in many ways.
The smoking ban is a genuine act as the government do not charge tax and do not base it purely on their own financial interest, so really nanny does care. This can be compared to the ‘guns allowed’ policy in the US where everyday citizens are allowed to purchase firearms; if our government were to allow the same we may be seeing numerous gun riots and pools of blood. Knights describes us like “a nation of adult babies” but the government has to make laws in order to manage us as the normal human being is not capable of total independence.
Social life is a subject that Knights has analysed a great deal within her article, saying how the smoking ban has affected it negatively. She states that “half the restaurant got up and went outside while the other half sat about twiddling their fingers and looking fed up. ” This is purely the smokers fault, because if they didn’t smoke then they wouldn’t be experiencing this problem. To be honest smoking is the antisocial activity. How can an evening be enjoyable if you smoke while your friend is choking on your second hand smoke?
Another problem she points out is the fact that “the smoker will constantly interrupt the conversation to go and have a smoke outside. ” An average meal lasts about one or two hours and going without a cigarette in that short space of time means that you’ve got a serious problem on your hands. Knights also over exaggerates about the number of smokers saying that “every other person was outside on the street” but to be fair very few people now smoke due to the ban.
The smoking ban has actually changed the public attitudes to smoking and has made a positive mark. It has now made people aware of how ‘uncool’ smoking is and how it’s not ‘in’ anymore. Smokers used to think it was attractive and cool to smoke, but are stained yellow teeth and smoky odour really attractive? People who smoke are now avoided and more and more people dislike smokers. Almost every day I see people shift away from smokers outside pubs while covering their noses. It’s like smoking is almost degrading.
This has had a knock on effect on smokers and now thousands are trying to quit. Active effects of changing attitudes are the introduction of stop smoking campaigns like the new NHS stop smoking plan and the launch of the Nicorette brand. All these changes do affect the future too, maybe causing the future generation to smoke less than at the present. Knights did mention an effect of smoking, which was heart disease, but doesn’t treat the matter seriously by comparing smoking with ‘junk food’.
Smoking is definitely a serious matter as 106,000 people in the UK die each year due to smoking. Smoking, putting it basically, is ingesting tar and other nasty chemicals into your lungs. It can also reduce your life expectancy by ten years and cause illnesses like cancer, which is not very good news. In Knights article she brings up the fact that alcohol isn’t banned saying “we are free to give ourselves cirrhosis of the liver 24 hours a day. ” In my opinion, this is a very bad comparison as smoking is so much more severe than drinking.
Smoking can affect the people around you by them inhaling your poisonous second hand smoke, whereas alcohol only affects the person who is drinking. Another point is that smoking can get very addictive and may take months to quit but drinking can’t, unless you’re an alcoholic. Knights acts as if smoking is banned entirely, but really it’s just smoking inside public places. In my opinion she is completely overreacting with the whole situation. In her article she has expressed how the smoking ban is “killing the businesses of those who try to provide it. ” However this is not entirely true.
Due to the fact that smokers are no longer allowed to smoke in public places, many non-smokers can now go out and enjoy a meal without constantly having to hold their breath. Since smoking has been banned more people have been going out as now they don’t have to battle their way through the smoke to get to their table. It has also created a friendlier atmosphere in all public places; attracting more families, more people so more income. Now smokers and non-smokers can go into public places, whereas before the ban non-smokers always avoided those ‘smoker places’.
Knights also states the issue of smoking at home and says “who would ever dream of lighting up anywhere near their children are now forced to do so. ” Firstly, who forced her to do so? Knights instantly assumes that at home she has to smoke in front of her children, but there are such things as windows or just going outside all together. Knights talks negatively about the ban and the government throughout her article, however there are many benefits of the smoking ban. One would be that it saves a huge amount of money, with less people smoking there are less people going in and out of hospital.
It also saves money for the smokers who decide to quit as they no longer have to buy cigarettes, which improves the current economy. It also removes an aspect of peer pressure. Smoking used to be popular and others were pressured to smoke in order to fit in, but now public attitudes have changed and have removed that facet. Additionally, because of changing attitudes, many people are starting to quit smoking which is benefiting their health. In conclusion the smoking ban is proving successful in many ways and a majority of people are responding positively towards the new law.