Government aren't resisting them either. The Department of Health's John Tilley said this on the matter in October 2009.
“Action on smoking in the home will be a necessary part of future strategy on tobacco control."Don't think anything has changed since the election, by the way. A new government makes not a jot of difference and John Tilley is still in the same job, doing exactly the same as before.
Whenever I raise this issue, though, the general response is that it can't be enforced. "It's my home, Dick, what they gonna do? Peer through the windows?", they say, "My home, my rules", etc etc etc.
Well, via Reason, we get a glimpse of exactly how such bans will be achieved in the future.
Last week the Minnesota Supreme Court agreed to hear a case in which the Institute for Justice is challenging a local ordinance that lets housing inspectors roam people's apartments to make sure they're up to code. Red Wing, Minnesota, began requiring the inspections in 2006 as a condition of granting rental licenses to landlords. If a landlord or occupant does not agree to an inspection, the city can ask a judge for a warrant. But because the visits are classified as "administrative inspections," the city does not have to show there is any reason to suspect that a particular building is substandard. Armed with administrative warrants, inspectors can poke their noses into tenants' bedrooms, bathrooms, closets, and even, until a recent revision of the law, refrigerators and medicine cabinets. Although they are ostensibly looking for hazards that need to be corrected, they are expected to report evidence of certain crimes—including methamphetamine production, child abuse, elder abuse, and pet abuse—to the police. Inspectors thus can serve as proxies for the police, who would not be allowed to search people's homes without probable cause to support a criminal search warrant.No warrant. No permission. Nothing. It's not an isolated case, either, such arrangements are becoming commonplace in the US.
Now, two things are required before this is to be applied over here in support of a smokefree homes law. The first one is easy, and is also very much on the anti-smoker radar. In fact, more than that, there are 827,000 matches on Google at time of writing for "smoking around kids child abuse". This wouldn't even require legislation, merely an addition to the list of recognised abuses that social services should be looking for.
The second is more problematic and would require legislation, and they will probably do so under the environmental banner.
The example in America is for rented accommodation and revolves around licensing - a tool of the state I've also mentioned before - for ensuring the safety of the property (thereby interfering in a contract between two mutually consenting parties, it should be noted), but could be equally applied anywhere really, and for private homes as well.
We've already seen the requirement for Energy Performance Certificates enforced by the EU and omitted from the abolishment of Home Information Packs for property vendors. Considering the fact that our dozy MPs are already scared witless at the absurd idea that they may drown in their offices, it's not a big step towards inspections of all properties for the sake of the planet, is it?
Oh, and while they're in there, they may as well keep an eye out for ... well, exactly what the inspectors in Minnesota are told to have a sneaky watch for, really.
Hell, why even stop there? While checking the environmental efficiency of the fridge freezer, the inspectors could make a mental note of alcohol contained therein, or the prevalence of unhealthy processed food. Once the state is inside your front door, don't ever think that it won't be tempted to take the 'next logical step' and pry into other areas.
If the current political mindset is intent on enforcing smoking bans in homes, they won't let a silly concept like private property get in the way.