Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Article excerpt

NO government is likely to risk a backlash - not to mention a catastrophic collapse of excise revenue - by banning smoking in one go. Instead, smokers face having their habit abolished by stealth in a thousand minor moves, none of which can individually be damned as a gross attack on freedom but which together add up to an effective prohibition.

The next stage in the criminalisation of tobacco is being enacted through the employment policies of various public bodies. Norfolk Health Authority, for example, has just introduced a rule forbidding its staff from smoking during working hours. A manager attending a meeting in another town, for example, will not be allowed to light up in his car; neither will staff be allowed to pop out for a cigarette during coffee breaks. Offenders will be sentenced to a counselling course. Council workers in Sandwell are facing a similar ban: they are to be forbidden from smoking in council cars and vehicles, and even forbidden from smoking in their own vehicles while on duty. …

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