A total smoking ban inside pubs in Western Australia comes into force on Monday. I learnt this from Sam Ward's Yobbo's View blog which has been revived after a short period of inactivity.
The ban is a good move. Smoking is not prohibited but you must step outside to do so which increases the inconvenience cost of having a smoke. The ban also eliminates possible health hazards of passive smoking and eliminates the difficulty, for non-smokers, of having to put up with tobacco stench while they have a drink. These are nasty external costs that smokers impose on non-smokers. There is an informative wikipedia entry on the case for smoking bans. A ban on smoking in all pubs and clubs in Britain will be enforced from next year.
While you might argue that a mix of facilities offering the right to smoke and the right to enjoy smoke-free air might offer greater choice there are useful features of an outright ban. Those who wish to cease smoking but who experience self-control problems in giving up will benefit from the ban. This is particularly so since alcohol and cigarette consumption are strong complements - in simple language smokers particularly want to smoke while they drink and incentives to quit smoking are increased by breaking the association between having a drink and having a smoke. In addition a total smoking ban protects hotel staqff from the hazardous effects of cigarette smoke.
There are arguments that smoking bans also improve business in pubs and clubs - basically non-smokers return.
Smoking is the major preventable cause of death in the modern world today. Only libertarian crazies can oppose moves to discourage it. Oh yes, I am a bigoted ex-smoker and proud of it.