As I write this, I am aware this is one topic that may not be accepted by many, however, I am going to discuss it anyway.
Thanks to the directives of our wise government, there are comprehensive laws in place throughout Bahrain to prohibit smoking in public places.
Be it parks, restaurants, and even cars, one is not allowed to smoke in the presence of others.
This is what is practiced in other civilised countries and is surely a healthy way to live and let live.
But what about some other places like bars and nightclubs? Why is smoking still allowed in such joints? After all, these are some of those places that are frequented by many of us, especially on the weekends and many of us are not smokers. Why, then, inflict on us the smoke and the resultant health risks?
The scourge of smoking has increased to such an extent in nightclubs and bars that it has become virtually impossible for anyone who does not do so to be there.
These joints are generally small and congested, as compared with the number of people who are there. Also, these have narrow alleyways and present a rather closed and claustrophobic look that aggravates the situation for anyone who does not smoke. Isn’t this a severe health hazard to the non-smoker, and the smoker himself?
In many European nations, smoking is prohibited everywhere and in bars and restaurants, if someone has to take a puff, he has to leave – go outside, indulge and return. This has to be implemented in Bahrain as well.
This will surely ruffle quite a few feathers and many would object but I am sure, over time, people would get used to it and fall in line. This would be a major step in ensuring the health of countless thousands of those who do not have toe smoking habit and also tend to curb it among the smokers themselves.
Banning smoking in public places a number of years ago also met with some resistance initially but people soon got used to it. This new rule, if and when implemented, would also go the same way, with initial opposition and resistance and the falling in line.
In doing so, Bahrain would also become the first Arab nation to take this revolutionary step, that would be testimony to the awareness of its people and its wise leadership.
Recently, on a visit to a neighbouring country, I was very surprised that smoking is permitted in commercial centres and even in well-known luxurious hotels, never mind that it presented the country’s disgusting and shameful image.
This is unacceptable.
I am aware many readers would not be amused at this suggestion and would argue that the first step should be to close the bars and nightclubs and stop the sale and availability of alcohol.
However, these two are separate issues and my suggestion is only based on my concern in improving the situation as far as people’s health is concerned.
The Ministry of Health should work seriously in bringing up such legislation, protect people’s health and prevent disease. This is an integral part of the ministry’s mission.
I am certain also that this decision would be opposed by cigarette manufacturers, who would claim it will hurt their profits and balance sheets but I must emphasise here that the health of our people comes first and foremost.