Saturday, 3 August 2013

Smoking in Southend

I've just been to Southend-on-Sea for a couple of days for a family occasion. I managed to get to three pubs, all on the front, but like most pubs on sea fronts, they weren't anything to get excited about. The best pint I had was Shepherd Neame Spitfire, and that wasn't quite cool enough.

I was sitting outside one of these pubs among the smokers and noticed a strange phenomenon. Although every single table had an ashtray, most smokers simply threw their cigarettes away without stubbing them out or looking where they were throwing them. The ashtrays weren't much used, but the ground in front of the pub and the adjacent pavement were littered with cigarette ends. While an accident is unlikely, it's not impossible. When I was a baby, the blanket in my pram began smouldering while I was in it because of a discarded cigarette; it was my sister who raised the alarm before I was injured. The London Fire Brigade says that "the fires caused by smoking materials ... result in more deaths than any other type of fire." The main problem in this situation, though, was that the place looked so unsightly, and I expect some people would be put off entering.

When people behave like this, it's hardly surprising that there are demands for the smoking ban to be extended. I don't particularly want the current ban changed, but such selfish and unnecessary behaviour will give ammunition to those who do.


  1. Well, people get out of the habit of using ashtrays. You reap what you sow

  2. Nonsense, Curmudgeon; that really is pushing your hobby horse to extremes. Do people smoke nowhere other than outside the pub nowadays? Or have they disposed of all their ashtrays at home, preferring to throw their cigarettes away on the carpet?

  3. There's no excuse for this sort of anti-social behaviour, and unless the pubs concerned have no garden, or other outdoor area, I'm surprised they allow people to stand out in front of the pub.

    I'm not anti-smoking by any means, after all I'm married to an ardent smoker, but the sight of people congregating in front of a pub puffing away, often partially blocking the entrance, can at times be very off-putting. I'm surprised the local authority allows this to take place on a public thoroughfare. After all, they tend to frown on people standing outside with glasses in their hands - something that can at times be intimidating and not conducive to attracting trade, so why should smoking be any different?

    Discarded cigarette butts are only one step removed from that foulest of substances which disfigures pavements up and down the country - namely discarded chewing gum. A horribly sticky mess to remove from the soles of ones shoes!

  4. I'm shocked...I thought no smokers went to pubs since the smoking ban.

  5. I gather smokers like to use the toilets for above average size defecations and refuse point blank to flush the toilet too. Scum.

  6. There's only one way you could know that, CL, and that is if you were sharing the cubicle with them at the time, which probably makes you scum too by association!


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