POLITICS is said to be the art of smoke and mirrors. Rishi Sunak’s announcement at the Conservative Party conference to copy New Zealand and put the age for smoking up by a year, each year, in England ("SNP under pressure to follow Rishi Sunak's vow to phase out smoking", heraldscotland, October 4) came out of the blue. At first glance, it looks like a good way to stop children from ever starting smoking. There was no consultation with Wales, Scotland or Ireland about this.

Sadly, this badly thought-out, headline-grabbing plan in no way addresses the fact that, hidden in the clouds of vaping, our children are, like the smokers of the past, inhaling vast quantities of the highly addictive stimulant drug, nicotine. The new drug misuse trend is the cheap and attractively designed, child-friendly, disposable single-use vapes. They contain quantities of nicotine far higher than many cigarettes. The World Health Organization reports that one in three child vapers are becoming cigarette smokers. That should be no surprise to anyone, as we have known for decades that Big Tobacco, which owns most of the vaping industry, has planned for decades ways to replace the quitting adult smokers with a new generation of nicotine addicts.

In Scotland alone, it is estimated that 51,000 under-16s are vaping. Most of them use the cheapest vapes costing £4.99 or less. If they buy two of them a week, in one year that will cost them £519. That apparently-small sum generates an income to Big Tobacco of £26.5 million from the 51,000 young Scottish vapers. That translates into around £260 million in the UK.

If our PM were serious about wanting to stop children becoming addicted to nicotine, he would have completely banned disposable single-use vapes. That simple action would not have cost the Government one penny. It would stop Big Tobacco using our children as nicotine mules to sustain their profits. It would also stop the dumping of five million hard-to-recycle disposable vapes .

Max Cruickshank, Glasgow.

Read more: Ukraine cannot win the war. We must do all we can to stop it now

Kirk has abandoned its founding principles

MAY I reply to John Milne's reply (Letters, October 4) to my letter of September 30?

A circular was recently sent out from 121 George Street. Here is an extract: "The Church of Scotland is forming an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion group as we strive to shape strategies and tailored projects fit for the whole Church in this very important area. This group’s focus will be to ensure that the culture, policies and practices of the Church reflect our values in general, and the values of equality and inclusion in particular, based on the 'protected characteristics' set out in the Equality Act 2010 (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation)."

The circular mentions "our values in general". What are these? Are they based on the Church’s Declaratory Articles? Do they reflect the founding principles of the Reformation? Are they Biblical? Are they moral, spiritual? Do they connect with and reflect Christianity of the centuries? Are they faithful to Jesus Christ?

The Church of Scotland’s exercise of political correctness has damaged it irreversibly. Founding principles have been abandoned. Little distinct Christian identity remains. The Church offers no alternative, no Gospel, no Christian challenge to contemporary understanding and mores. And here it is again immersing itself in post-modern cultural wokery.

It offers no theology, no spirituality, no confession and no disagreement with nor even any evaluation of the extremities of intersectionality, critical race theory, post-colonial theory and queer theory.

Rev Dr Robert Anderson, Dundonald.

Keep up the fight for freedom

REGARDING correspondence on the war in Ukraine (Letters, October 4): Nato should have gone in really hard at the start. The Ukrainians are surely allowed to shake off the Kremlin's yoke if that is what they want. Vladimir Putin will carry on to Moldova, Slovakia, Hungary and then the Baltic States if the US and Europe show any sign of weakness.

Ask yourself whether you would wish the Russian criminal government to run your own life? As Churchill said, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

Freedom does not come cheaply and is often paid for in blood.

Margaret Baisden, Lochmaben.

Strange priorities

THERE is plenty for the media to contend with these days, what with Russian aggression in Ukraine, climate uncertainty, inflation, mass immigration and much more including, of course, an important by-election today in Rutherglen.

Given all these heady issues it seems odd that today's Herald devotes-one third of its front page to a photograph of a football match in which the home team lost ("Agony for Celtic", The Herald, October 5), an outcome which I understand is not uncommon as they have not recorded a home win in that particular European competition for more than 10 years.

The decision therefore to print this on your front page is hard to understand, particularly as you have a separate sports section specifically for this type of news.

James Martin, Bearsden.

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A brighter outlook

NEIL Mackay reminds us that dads suffer from empty nest syndrome too ("We men need to share the pain of empty nest syndrome", The Herald, October 5). My husband experienced similar feelings when our two rays of sunshine migrated to London. However today, on looking at this weekend’s UK weather forecast, it prompted some fatherly advice: "Stay south - your futures are bright.’’ Alison Ram, Helensburgh.

Binary choice JOHN Gilligan’s father was incorrect (Letters, October 4). There are not two types of people. There are 10. Those who understand binary and those who don’t.

Gordon Whyte, Glasgow.