Vice Squad
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Britain Mulls Public Smoking Ban

Today's Guardian brings word that British pro-smoking-ban forces are not happy that Tony Blair is looking at leaving the choice over public smoking bans to local authorities. (And though I cannot find it on the web, yesterday's Guardian included a debate over the pros and cons of a smoking ban, where some apparently well-known musician represented the anti-ban side. I'll try to bring a copy along the next time I secure an Internet connection here in Zurich.) From today's article:
Last week the British Medical Journal published research showing the risks of passive smoking were higher than previously thought. Past studies found that it was linked with a 25% to 30% increased risk of coronary heart disease, but the latest figures put the rate at 50% to 60%.
Today I visited the grave of James Joyce, who is buried in Zurich, where he died in 1941. (Tonight the Joyce Foundation in Zurich is holding a Ulysses reading -- Ill look into the smoking rules.) Next to Joyce's grave is a statue of JJ in a seated position, holding a book in one hand -- and a cigarette in the other. (Even in smoking ban Ireland, smoking outdoors is still OK.) Later, saw a Van Gogh self-portrait where his ear is bandaged and he is smoking a pipe. For some reason, I felt compelled to pass along these "tobacco in art" stories. I promise to adhere more strictly to the Vice Squad mission when I return to the States. And speaking of the good ol' USA, the smoking ban in Massachusetts went into effect today.

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