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Many smokers feel like pariahs, says Norway's new health minister, and that's stupid

Breaking news.

Norway's newly appointed health minister has caused controversy (sic) by saying people should be allowed to eat, smoke and drink "as much as they want".

"My starting point for this with public health is very simple. I do not plan to be the moral police, and will not tell people how to live their lives, but I intend to help people get information that forms the basis for making choices," she told Norwegian broadcaster NRK in an interview on Monday.

"People should be allowed to smoke, drink and eat as much red meat as much as they want. The authorities may like to inform, but people know pretty much what is healthy and what is not healthy, I think."

"I think many smokers feel like pariahs. So they almost feel they have to hide away, and I think that's stupid. Although smoking is not good, because it is harmful, adults have to decide for themselves what they do.

"The only thing we as governments are to do is to provide information so that people can make informed choices. That is why we should, among other things, [devise] a tobacco strategy now, which will help prevent young people from starting to smoke and often want to make more adults quit."

Full story: Let people smoke, drink and eat red meat - Norwegian health minister (BBC News).

Note the inevitable (and unnecessary) BBC dig:

A populist politician with anti-immigration views ...

What do her views on immigration have to do with her views on smoking, eating and drinking?

PS. If you're wondering how an increasing number of smokers are being made to feel like pariahs, check out my previous post.

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Reader Comments (4)

More politicians thinking like this would be great. If the left wants to stop the right or far right, it should change its patronising and sneering stance on these issues.

I stopped supporting the left of politics because of the holier than thou and jackboot attitude to forcing lifestyle changes on people who just want to be left alone. I find it creepy that they are trying to force us all into the perfect examples of good health based on a state approved lifestyle.

If the Norway health minister is an example of right wing policies it seems much less opressive to me despite all the noise and propaganda around it.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at 20:48 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

It is the non-thinking politicians who are pariahs which is why they remain unpopular and unwanted. When are going to have the intelligence to copy Norway?

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 10:53 | Unregistered Commentergray cooper

For a Norwegian minister to say this is quite powerful and carries a lot of weight especially when one considers Scandinavia's long term flirtation with and support of paternalism (with the possible exception of Denmark). If Norwegians are fed up with this, then things really have gone too far. I hope Sylvi Listhaug keeps this up and with the increasing misfortunes of our established political parties, I hope our MPs and others start taking notes. I may be being a little optimistic, but I can't help but think that the war for free choice is very much still on.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 19:18 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew O'Dowd

This is a refreshing change from the typical antismoker propaganda that leads to the persecution of smokers.

Minister Listhaug is right, but as can be seen from the spin in the BBC article, I suspect the tobacco control 'apparatchiks' will target her with propaganda and ad hominem attacks to suppress dissent.

I wonder if they will ban her from the FCTC's and its meetings...

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 21:21 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

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