Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:
It is five years today since the smoking ban was introduced. For the majority of us this signals the time when we could eat and drink in restaurants and pubs without having someone smoking at the next table. For the smokers it means standing outside public places and freezing in the winter, all for a cigarette!
But the ban has had more far reaching effects than making most of us more comfortable. Fewer children have been admitted to hospital suffering from asthma attacks and fewer people have been admitted to emergency departments suffering from heart attacks. The ban has also brought more awareness of the dangers of second-hand smoke to friends and family and social disapproval has led to people smoking less.
Public health campaigns over the years have resulted in cleaner air for us to breathe – the Clean Air Act which stopped us burning coal in our fireplaces, the campaign for lead-free petrol which stopped us poisoning our children – were a long time coming but have achieved much since their inception.
Our environment is extremely important to us. A smoky, smoggy atmosphere is easy to see and so are its dangers. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is invisible – a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas as described in school chemistry lessons. In excess, it is dangerous.
If we keep pouring it into the atmosphere from our burning of fossil fuels we are warming the climate to a degree which will cause devastation in many parts of the world.
Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.