Health risks of smokers on trains

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Sir: I was appalled by the report of passengers breaking the law by smoking in defiance of the by-laws on the 0824 Tonbridge to Charing Cross train (23 February). I hope, probably in vain, that Network SouthEast will identify and discipline the guard who not only permitted this infraction but allegedly empathised as a fellow smoker. Experience on the Waterloo-Weymouth line makes me doubt it.

Here the Type 442 trains are air-conditioned. Recently, smokers banished from one part of the train have been relocated in a small, ill-ventilated compartment adjacent to the luggage van through which other passengers are forced to pass. The atmosphere there can be so bad that there are often empty seats, even at rush hour. What is worse, anyone going to buy refreshments has to run this nauseous gauntlet since this vehicle also houses the buffet, only the narrow servery of which is designated a non-smoking zone. Smokers, however, not content with being able to fill the buffet lounge with smoke, commonly ignore the signs in this area. Buffet staff often allow them to use ashtrays on the counter. Most guards, when approached, will ask smokers to desist, though generally to little effect, but there are some who are hostile to anyone asking them to enforce the by-laws.

In the interests of health and hygiene, never mind the cost of cleaning, smoking should be prohibited on trains and emphatically in areas where food is prepared and sold, just as I understand is the practice of hawking phlegm on to the floor.

Yours truly,


Winchester, Hampshire