THE First Activist, in his first Programme for Government, proposed a ban on single-use vapes ("Single-use vapes could be banned over health fears," The Herald, September 6). As any criminologist will tell you, this is a disaster in the making.

If anything has been proven by the West's war on drugs, it is that banning substances leads to higher use. Humza Yousaf's policy will only encourage a black market for vapes and the quality (health-wise) of the products will decrease. The phrase "we didn't have a drugs problem until drugs were made illegal" springs to mind.

As (seemingly) one of the only teenagers in Scotland who doesn't vape, it is easy to view the vaping epidemic as something that will go away if you take the vapes away; but this is a serious addiction crisis, and addicts always find a way of getting their drug (whether that be nicotine, alcohol, or heroin).

The solution, therefore, is a serious public health response to this crisis from the NHS (the Scottish Government does have that power, before it tries to claim it doesn't) with interventions in schools; a crackdown on how vapes are marketed (banning public adverts, plain packaging, pictures of diseased lungs and the like), and petitioning the UK Government to introduce a levy on all vaping products (it would bode well with Middle-England voters; not that that will really change much at this stage).

Mr Yousaf is right, something must be done; but his proposal would make the situation worse. Scotland is already facing a public health emergency; let’s not make it a public health disaster.
Hugh Mulvihill, Edinburgh.

Did trams stymie Glasgow Airport?
WEDNESDAY'S correspondence (September 5) outlining Edinburgh Airport's apparent lack of ability to comfortably handle its arrivals from all the international carriers who inexplicably transferred en masse from Glasgow to Edinburgh Airport demonstrates what should have been Glasgow's future as a growing, truly international airport.

Passengers departing from Glasgow may have noted the apparently now-oversized security check area, now only ever partly used. This was to ensure that there was adequate passenger handling capacity before the next stage of airport expansion, a second international "finger" parallel to the present one, was constructed. This was because for some time before the pandemic, some international arrivals had had to remote-park then passengers were bussed to the terminal.

Again this shows the total and complete mystery as to why each and every established carrier at Glasgow moved to an airport further east, a shorter runway and some say with lesser facilities at times, and despite John Jamieson's letter on Tuesday (September 5) there are still more people nearer Glasgow than Edinburgh. One must suspect there must be a management difference, although Edinburgh now having tram links, especially now extended, may have played a part.

Did the Scottish Government sabotage Glasgow by scrapping the Glasgow Airport Rail Link (Garl), which would have been a direct non-modal transfer access to Glasgow? In my time with Strathclyde Region, one of my investigations was for alternative routes from Glasgow to the airport serving also other areas but Garl was always preferred.

From my professional experience as a civil engineer dealing with traffic and infrastructure, it is known that drivers, given a choice, do not favour buses, but will take rail, heavy (as ScotRail is) or light (as Edinburgh trams are).

Was it the trams? Will we ever find out?
John A Taylor, Dunlop.

Read more: The state of Edinburgh Airport shows the folly of dismantling BAA

Good luck to rail group
I GIVE praise to the campaigners for North East Rail in their bid to have the rail routes reopened in the Buchan area to Peterhead and Fraserburgh ("Study to look at rail expansion", The Herald, September 2) and wish them well in their endeavours. The line of route would be quite lengthy, branching off as it did before from Dyce, that to Fraserburgh around 38 miles and the connection off that at the former Maud Junction to Peterhead some 16 miles.

One thing in its favour is that this is now, at least in part, the Formartine & Buchan Way cycle and pathway route and has not been encroached upon otherwise to any great extent as far as I'm aware.

Problems could arise at the terminals the respective sites now otherwise used but this is not insurmountable as has already been done in station reopenings. An intermediate station at Ellon is, as given note, would be desirable.

If the will is there and benefits accrued on completion as has been achieved already (witness the Borders rail link) it worthy of coming to fruition. 
John Macnab, Falkirk.

Don't tolerate schools failure
IT seems that you can spend your taxed income on any legal thing, large houses in superior neighbourhoods, exotic cars, expensive holidays or private medicine, but you cannot spend it on your children’s education (Letters, September 2 & 5).

There can be no doubt that Scotland’s state school education system is, on most independent metrics, in crisis. Why is this? Because we, as parents, taxpayers and voters, tolerate this situation. It is as simple as that.

If people genuinely felt strongly about this situation they would be hammering on the door of the Education Secretary, rather than whinging about an alternative (private) educational system. Nothing changes in this world until it becomes impossible for it not to change. Phone, email or (better) visit your MSP at his or her local surgery and make it abundantly clear that you want much more money spent on education.
Doug Clark, Currie.

Nettle, where is thy sting?
MARK McGeoghegan ("We need serious policies for the challenges we face", The Herald, September 4) acknowledges the radical difference between "grasping the thistle" and "grasping the nettle". The thistle’s mechanical defence is by strong spines which wouldn’t be damaged by grasping. The nettle’s chemical defence, formic acid, won’t be delivered through punctured skin if the relatively fragile hollow spines are crushed by a firm rapid grasp.

In the Herbal of 1653 Nicholas Culpeper counts it as one of the nettles’ many merits that "they may be found by feeling for them on the darkest night".
Robin Dow, Rothesay.