The Scottish Government's plan to make Scotland "smoke-free" is meaningless unless backed by Government measures to forcibly restrict the sale and consumption of tobacco (The last gasp, Cover story, November 25).

This is part of a trend for the state to clamp down on all sorts of lifestyle choices, including drinking alcohol, eating fatty and sugary foods, using sunbeds and so on.

In moral terms, what business of Government is it to order the free choices of responsible adults? When politicians set themselves up as the arbiters of people's private lives, it opens the door to all sorts of unwarranted meddling. Anti-smoking campaigns to "denormalise" smokers are sinister. Health lobbyists are now aiming for a ban on smoking in private cars, supposedly to protect children. What next? A ban in the home? Are we to be punished for feeding our kids pizza?

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We all know the risks of excessive smoking and drinking. Rather than bullying us, the Scottish Government should ask itself why people in Scotland choose the instant gratification of too much drink, TV and fatty food. It's not because we are stupid or ignorant. Instead, there is a clear correlation between social deprivation and ill health. If you make people miserable, they are more likely to choose escapism. Family breakdown, unemployment, welfare dependency and failing schools are the fault of our politicians, yet none of them has been tackled effectively by the Scottish Parliament, for all its eagerness to restrict our lifestyles. Our politicians are blaming the people of Scotland for problems of their own making.

Tom Miers

Editor, The Free Society


Well done to our politicians for this positive health improvement target. To achieve it, they will have to build on the success achieved with the banning of smoking in public places. Many male ex-smokers are benefiting from improved health, with fewer heart attacks and blood pressure problems. Fewer boys are starting to smoke.

Sadly, though, the decades of liberated women smoking like men are now kicking in, with increasing numbers of older female smokers being diagnosed with related health problems. That figure has still not peaked, which should make us even more determined to eliminate smoking in children and teenagers, who are still insidiously targeted by the tobacco industry to ensure a new generation of smokers to replace the thousands of successful adult quitters.

Max Cruickshank

Author of Fags Booze Drugs + Children