Who monitors smoking ban plan?- John McLellan

MPs voted for an eventual smoking ban on Tuesday evening.MPs voted for an eventual smoking ban on Tuesday evening.
MPs voted for an eventual smoking ban on Tuesday evening.
Maybe the SNP’s “nothing good ever comes from the Tories” attitude is softening, but then who would have thought a Conservative Prime Minister would come up with something as impractical and illiberal as Rishi Sunak’s convoluted smoking ban plan?

It should come as no surprise that an SNP Green administration is keen to follow suit and embrace a move to criminalise something which people might enjoy, even if it’s bad for them.

There might be a few blips, but the overall trend for smoking is downward, perhaps a product of unpredictable weather which makes standing outside for a puff in a howling gale less than attractive.

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And if the justification is the cost of treating smoking-related illnesses to the NHS, then given the increasing number of morbidly obese people waddling around − up from 17 to 28 per cent of the adult population since 2008, compared to 11 per cent who smoke − maybe they should ban chips.

But even if you agree with the plan to make it illegal to sell tobacco to anyone born after 2009, who exactly will enforce it?

Young people already run rings round shopkeepers and bar staff with a roaring trade in fake ID, council trading standards teams would need significant investment to be run on a shoestring, and the Scottish Government’s Hate Crime Act has just forced the police to become drama critics.

Meanwhile, the SNP-Greens are presiding over the introduction of decriminalised “shooting galleries” for heroin addicts, seemingly powerless to stem the tide of drug deaths. No wonder police officers despair.

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