For a long time, there has been a ban on smoking Indoors in public places in Sweden. A new law is now being prepared to ban smoking also in outdoor public places such as bus stops, beaches, parks and even on people’s private balconies.
It’s unclear as yet if this law will pass but it’s an interesting case of Swedish beaurocratic imposition on the freedoms of the individual. Those for the ban claim the argument of health consciusness and respect for others in the public environment. They also claim that public spaces will become more accessible for people who today cannot move freely in public spacers such as asthmatics. Those against the ban claim that this is the state ínvolving themselves in something that is about individual choice and that barbecuing should also be banned in public spaces by the same argument.
Those for the ban suggest that it is easier to deal with unpleasant smoking habits if the law is on your side. For example, if a neighbour smokes on their balcony, and this smoke rises up into your apartment, it’s easier to get them to stop by throwing the law book at them.
Culturally, I think this is interesting. Is this about facilitating dialogue? I don’t believe so.
I think it’s more about the Swedish tendency to want to create law and legislation to solve interpersonal problems.