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« 'Healthier, happier, freer' | Main | Government versus the people »

Scotland's new tobacco control plan tightens the net on smokers

I was expecting the Scottish Government to publish its updated tobacco control plan this week or next, but the timing, late yesterday afternoon, still took me by surprise.

I was on a train at the time, returning from London where I had been doing an interview for BBC Look North on an initiative by Hull City Council to ban smoking at the gates of local schools.

Suddenly I began getting requests for a response to the Scottish Government's proposals to create a 'smoke free generation' by 2034.

The plans include 44 measures some of which – banning smoking in prisons and hospital grounds, for example – are already in the process of being implemented.

As a result the papers that have run the story have focussed on a 'new' idea – that of banning people from smoking in social housing:

We will explore with local authorities and housing associations the idea of tobacco-free clauses in tenancy agreements and smoke-free housing alternatives being offered in social housing.

I say 'new'. It was first flagged in October last year following which ASH Scotland denied that they wanted to ban people smoking in their own homes.

Anyway, back to yesterday's announcement. The Times took a slightly different tack, leading its report with the headline 'Smokers face minimum price for tobacco'.

You can read Forest's response here. So far we've been quoted by The Times (Scotland), The Scotsman, Scottish Daily Mail, Scottish Daily Express, Daily Record and Edinburgh Evening News.

Indicative, perhaps, of a certain anti-smoking fatigue, the Scottish Government announcement has not been reported universally. BBC News Scotland, for example, has ignored it.

Personally I'd like as much coverage as possible so we can demonstrate how little public support there is for further anti-smoking measures.

The plan to ban smoking in social housing is particularly egregious. Last night I was trying to get my head round it because it wasn't clear whether the idea is to ban smoking in people's homes or in communal areas such as stairwells.

This morning I read that some people are already banned from smoking in their homes by their tenancy agreements. The result is they smoke in stairwells and other communal areas, hence the proposal to ban smoking outside their homes as well.

In short, it's clear that the goal is to ban smoking inside and outside social housing. That, along with the ban on smoking in hospital grounds (under threat of prosecution if you light up), is truly despicable.

Inch by inch the net is tightening on smokers despite (as our latest poll suggests) a general lack of public support for further anti-tobacco measures.

The good news? Some of the Scottish Government's plans are, for now, merely up for consideration so there's time to make as much noise as we can. And we will.

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Reader Comments (5)

We have to be seen and heard. How about organising a bus full of smokers to protest peacefully outside of the Scottish parliament. We have been ignored for too long and ASH has been allowed to lie, mislead and manipulate govt without scrutiny or debate. This new plan is nothing more than powerful wealthy lobbyists and smokerphobic politicians forcing their beliefs and preferences on vulnerable poor people who cannot fight back.

Perhaps vapers could also, this time, stand up for the right to smoke. If they don't, the right to vape will be gone soon after. If they think that screeching to allow persecuted smokers to vape will winfavour it won't.

Can we now use the word thugs to describe these tobacco control bullies? I fail to see why it is wrong. They must be made to see that their behaviour is unacceptable.

Thursday, June 21, 2018 at 11:54 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Very happy to organise a protest outside the Scottish Parliament, Pat, but the overwhelming majority need to be resident in Scotland. Certainly worth looking into.

Thursday, June 21, 2018 at 14:01 | Unregistered CommenterSimon


As I have thought for a long time, the snp are slowly but surely following the diktat of the former German government of the 1930’s, slowly slowly carrying out the same characteristics only it is smokers who are the target as it is not against the law to victimise them as it was not illegal in 1930’s Germany to victimise whom they victimised. This anti smoker is not the only lines of 1930’s Germany they are attempting, remember the named person act they tried to implement but was stopped by the Supreme Court also they have amalgamated all the separate police forces in Scotland into one police force, easier to infiltrate one force than eight separate forces. This is history repeating itself because it is not taught in schools anymore. I can only hope that the vast majority of Scots waken up and get rid of these anti smoking anti social zealots within the Scottish government before they damage the way of life with their poisonous politics. Pat is correct in her view that a lot more resistance is required throughout the UK in order to put forward both sides of the smoking and anti smoking camps for at the moment it seems that the noisiest camp at the moment is the likes of ash and the false prophets who are running the health service at this time

Thursday, June 21, 2018 at 17:34 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Kerr

This move toward prohibition and overt persecution of smokers needs to be resisted at every step. Hopefully a sufficient number of Scottish residents protest this totalitarian blueprint.

But the resistance needs to go further--tobacco control is a globally, co-ordinated conspiracy and they won't stop with Scotland--Wales and then England are no doubt next.

Thursday, June 21, 2018 at 19:22 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

I see your point but not only the Scottish are affected. I want to visit Scotland but the thought scares me because as a smoker I wonder how safe it is and as an English person encouraged to "visit Scotland" , I feel a protest is relevant to show as a visitor that the treatment of smokers is important to me.

It would be great to have non smokers there too to show that most non smokers are tolerant and respectful people who support rights for smokers. The rabid anti smokers pushing this hate campaign need to be isolated and exposed.

Also as a protestor from England, it would be great to show the parliament in England that we don't want that kind of Scottish bigotry here.

This must be fought, resisted and ignored. If made law it crosses a line and smokers must disobey.

Friday, June 22, 2018 at 11:53 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

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