'The scene is set for the final curtain'

From creating nonsmoking sections to banning smoking in the outdoors; the pace of change had been so rapid that it was easy to forget it had all taken place in the space of twenty years. To provide some context, consider the ASH (New Zealand) booklet of 1987 which called for nothing more severe than a smoking ban on all domestic flights, on the basis that they were seldom more than one hour long. ASH made no demands of restaurants, airports and did not mention bars at all, only suggesting that nonsmokers tell the waiter that it would be a nice if there was a nonsmoking section. Two years later, the American chat show legend Steve Allen wrote The Passionate Nonsmokers' Bill of Rights. This book was, at the time, one of the most uncompromising anti-smoking texts to be published and yet it viewed a smoking ban on airlines as "one of the final frontiers of the nonsmokers' rights movement".

Two decades later, total smoking bans in aeroplanes and restaurants were taken for granted. The real 'final frontier' for nonsmokers' right groups remained on the horizon. For some, the fight had only just begun. "We've got to start somewhere," said Georgia State Representative Paul Smith as he proposed outlawing people who smoked in automobiles...

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