They didn't fool us. When the powers-that-be chose 1 July to introduce a ban on smoking in virtually all enclosed public spaces, they might have been relying on summer to soften the blow for die-hard puffers, but they hadn't reckoned on the ceaseless downpours. Not that it deterred us: what, after all, are canopies for? Now it is winter, and visits to the pub are punctuated by trips outside. Better that, though, than basking under a patio heater and risking death by eco-censure.
Has it changed life? For smokers, the feeling of being beyond the pale is almost as uncomfortable as the nicotine twitches that send us outside. Memories of lighting up just after knife and fork are pushed together, or the familiarity of a bar with a blue-grey haze, have gained a misty nostalgia. But for non-smokers, life is better: clean air, clothes and hair, and a reduced risk of contracting a fatal illness. In the entertainment industry, exposure to second-hand smoke has dropped by 95 per cent; and fewer bar workers in Scotland and Ireland have reported respiratory complaints since the ban. It's hard to argue with that - unless you're a tobacco firm whose cigarette sales have experienced a dip (11.6 per cent in the month following the ban).
But who realised the heroic job tobacco was doing in masking the smell of flat beer, stale sweat and mouldy peanuts in pubs? And those 'It is against the law to smoke in these premises' signs at the supermarket, dry cleaner's, dentist's and funeral parlour? A notice that warns you that you will be in breach of a law that it had never occurred to you to break - that, surely, is a beautiful illustration of repression.
You're banned ... Five more who got the chop
1 Rapper Snoop Dogg is forced to cancel his nationwide UK tour after being refused entry into the country
2 Prince Harry is prevented from fighting in Iraq. General Sir Richard Dannatt decides it is too dangerous after the Prince receives specific death threats. More upsetting for Harry, he's also reportedly banned from visiting nightclubs for fear of terrorist attacks. (Luckily, the ban doesn't last)
3 Video game Manhunt 2 is banned in Britain due to its 'unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone'. The protagonist of the game sneaks up on victims and bludgeons them to death with axes and sledgehammers
4 Respect MP and Celebrity Big Brother joke George Galloway is suspended from the House of Commons after it emerges that his Mariam's Appeal charity was indirectly financed by Saddam Hussein's regime
5 Duran Duran's video for their single 'Falling Down', which features semi-naked models, drugs and suspender-clad nurses, is banned from television