Saturday, July 14, 2007

Smoke in Stoke

Due to a bureaucratic blunder, smokers in Stoke-on-Trent are still able to smoke in enclosed public places until 2nd August.

The oversight by the city council, apparently due to a misunderstanding of who was responsible for the enforcement of the smoking ban, means that smokers can light up in the local pub without fear of prosecution. However, a council spokesman did add that they had the power to ‘take details and further action retrospectively’ against people overtly flouting the ban.

The temporary respite for smokers does only apply to Stoke-on-Trent though, it’s not enough to just hail from the City, as Slash (the former Guns’n’Roses guitarist) will find out if Cardiff City Council decide to prosecute him for allegedly smoking during his recent gig at Cardiff International Arena.

If prosecuted Slash, real name Saul Hudson, could be one of the first cases in Wales where the ban came into force on 2nd April. Unsurprisingly, Slash does not appear to be concerned with the prospect of a £50 fine, stating “I won’t let any smoking ban bother me”. The arena could also land a £2,500 fine for not enforcing the ban.

Perhaps Slash should take a visit to the Friends Re-ignited website to let off some steam. Yes, the cheesily named website brought to you by Fisherman’s Friend purports to be your friend and help you through the trials of giving up smoking. Personally, I found the DaVinchy Code-esque flash content more annoying than soothing, but then I have no intention of sucking a fisherman’s friend either.

I haven’t been able to find any special offers on day-trips to Stoke-on-Trent yet, but I’m sure some enterprising company will manage a few last-minute deals. So for the rest of us we have the choice of a £50 fine, sucking a fisherman’s friend, or sticking to the Champix.

Jeff Talbot

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