Author Archives: Zagham Farhan

We should be ashamed of our failure to oppose the Smoking Ban

The recent Tobacco and Vapes Bill, that passed its first reading in the Commons with an overwhelming majority, is decidedly anti-liberal and anti-freedom; and I’m extremely upset that the party leadership decided not to take a stand on this. When I first joined the Liberal Democrats, one of the primary reasons was that I believed us to be the last remaining party in this country to be fundamentally pro-Freedom, and to hold that as a core and imperative value. It seems that this is slipping through our fingertips.

The bill aims to do a number of things – my particular contention is with the idea of banning smoking for life for those who are turning 15 this year – thus making them a ‘smoke-free’ generation. It’s action on vapes is a separate matter, that I won’t address here. There are so many issues with this action, for anyone who cares about individual liberty.

Firstly, to smoke is an individual choice. Over recent decades, the wealth of scientific evidence has concretely proven the overwhelmingly devastating health impacts of tobacco – and I would argue almost no one legitimately disagrees with the idea that those who smoke know that its harmful. However, steps have been taken – such as the limiting of advertising and the proliferation of health advice – that have resulted in smoking rates also dropping significantly. In essence, people who smoke know what they’re doing. Restrictions on smoking in indoor places have also had an impact on second-hand smoking, again contributing to the idea that those who smoke are only harming themselves.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 51 Comments
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