Sunday, April 30, 2006
While people, can certainly choose what pubs and clubs they go to and while people can refuse to work in a certain establishments, most people have no choice but to work. As such, most people would agree that in theory that the government should prohibit employers from needlessly exposing their employees to danger. Alas though, theory is one thing and practice is another. For all sorts of reasons, regulatory bodies sometimes turn a blind eye to work place dangers and when called on this they simply deny the obvious. There should be no such discrepancy in the case of second hand smoke. The government readily acknowledges that second hand smoke is dangerous. It is for this reason that they require tobacco companies to say that “second hand smoke kills” on cigarette packaging and it is for this reason that they have already banned smoking in most workplaces already. Some governments have even mulled over the suing tobacco companies over the damage that second hand smoke has caused. All of this makes the failure of certain governments to extend such a ban to all workplaces particularly galling. But there is more. Eventually someone will get around to suing one or more levels of government for this and while private individuals and entities can always argue the merits of claim that second hand smoke is dangerous, the government, whose stated position is that second hand smoking is dangerous, would be forced to either concede the point, or undermine the basis one of largest public health campaigns in the country’s history and worse still the very legitimacy of all future public health campaigns.