PinkNews.co.uk’s Editor, Benjamin Cohen takes a look at the impact of the smoking ban on the gay community and argues that it may be Labour’s finest hour.

It’s strange that after nine years of governing Britain, with all the changes to the way that the gay community is treated, Labour’s most lasting change will be a ban on smoking in public places.

In my mind, it easily stands alongside the introduction of Civil Partnerships and the equalisation of the age of consent as the most positive move forwards for the gay community.

Gay men are more than twice as likely to be smokers as their straight counterparts. The NHS estimate that 12,000 gay men die from smoking related diseases every year, much more than die from HIV/AIDs.

Banning smoking in bars and clubs all over the country will change the gay scene for the better. I can’t express how much I hate coming in from a night on the tiles, stinking of smoke. How I loathe having to force my boyfriend to rinse his hair to stop the smoke keeping me up at night. And how I resent all the extra washing to ensure that my clothes don’t smell of an ashtray.

I’ve long thought that public smokers are the most selfish of individuals. Not content with slowly killing themselves whilst puffing away on their little cancer sticks, they dare to inflict their vile habit on the rest of us. Whatever the pro-smoking groups say, passive smoking kills and it’s morally wrong to knowingly shorten the life of those around you.