Smoke ban an over-reaction says Parliamentary report

By Iain O'Neil

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Passive smoking Smoke ban Smoking ban

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The Government has been warned to take account of the damage it does to personal freedoms with legislation like the smoke ban. The Economic Affairs...

The Government has been warned to take account of the damage it does to personal freedoms with legislation like the smoke ban.

The Economic Affairs Select Committee has published a report today which says the smoke ban is a good example of Government over-reaction to a minor problem.

The report warns the Government: "More attention should be paid in the formulation of policy to the trade-off between personal liberty and public regulation. Policy formulation should take greater account of the specific and accumulated impact of legislation on personal freedoms.

The case of passive smoking is an example in which policy demonstrates a disproportionate response to a relatively minor health problem.​Economic Affairs Select Committee.

"The case of passive smoking is an example in which policy demonstrates a disproportionate response to a relatively minor health problem, with insufficient regard to statistical evidence."

Many in the trade argued that the complete ban was a step too far particularly with modern venitlation technologies.

And there have always been arguments over the statistical evidence used to back up the threat from passive smoking.

The House of Lords Select Committee's report also says the biggest danger from passive smoking occurs in people's homes and says the smoke ban will have no impact on this problem.

It states: "Given the evidence about the impact of passive smoking, we are concerned that the decision to ban smoking in public places may represent a disproportionate response to a relatively minor health concern. It may be that the unstated objective of policy is to encourage a reduction in active smoking by indirect means. This may well be a desirable policy objective, but if it is the objective, it should have been clearly stated."

Government Health Minister Caroline Flint defended the smoke ban.

She contacted the Morning Advertiser to say: "The Government firmly believes that the scientific and medical evidence demonstrates clear health risks associated with secondhand smoke exposure.

The body of evidence in this area is detailed and extensive, has been critically reviewed and is internationally accepted.

Legislation to reduce people's exposure to secondhand smoke has been introduced, with great success and much public support, across the world, as the evidence of the risks associated with secondhand smoke exposure has accumulated."

What do you think about the Lords' assertions? Is there enough evidence to warrant an all-out ban? Email us by clicking this link

Your CommentsRobert Feal-Martinez​ via email 07/06/2006"Freedom to Choose, The Big debate. Can be rightly proud of what we have achieved the tenacity of our members has resulted in the discover of many lies and deceit. Much of the Committees evidence was provided through our various contacts and I would like to single out Loraine McGregor who has built a rapport with a number of senior Peers (indeed she's now on first name terms) . Her dogged determination has been an inspiration. But we also must not forget Iain O'Neil from the MA he has been with us all the way. Lets now hope that the National Media will take up th story and investigate the background of lies, deceit and deception behind the implementation of this ban. I goes to the heart of Government and certain elements of the scientific community, and charities. It must be exposed if democracy is to prevail in this country. As the report says, 'if ETS is a problem', the Government has condemned children to greater exposure. Surely that must say to even the most ardent antismoker, that the Government has lied over ETS. Would any Government knowingly put our children at risk?. Not even I would believe that. This Government is capable of most things, but not that. The conclusion is therefore obvious, they know there is no risk."

Bill Gibson​ via email 07/06/2006"A message to Caroline Flint MP and Alan Thompson

Medical experts argued that the risks posed by passive smoking in public places were "relatively minor". As a result, the peers say they were concerned that the decision to ban smoking was a "disproportionate response" to the actual dangers posed by passive smoking.

The Lords have made their views known as a result of Ms Flint's own evidence where she openly stated that 95% of the smoking problem lay within the home. Now link this to the statement made by Patricia Hewitt, Health Secretary who on the 14th of February 2006 laid claim to the fact that the Government proposal which she was presenting was a good deal...then promptly voted against her own proposal.

Why should we trust politicians ever again

Colin Grainger​ via email 07/06/2006"I am delighted to read this news in todays Morning Advertiser. As Bob says, the MA have been unique in reporting this whole debacle in a fair, calm and responsible way. I also echo his congratulations to The Big Debate, an unfunded group, who have worked extermely hard for a simple thing: choice.

I am tempted to scream "We told you so!" from the rooftops, but will refrain. I do find it remarkable that Caroline Flint would still want to continue with this charade, despite being honestly informed by well respected Peers that they (HMG) are using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. The science is nowhere near conclusive, actually, its downright flimsy, and I think that deep down, the anti-smoking brigade know this already. My feeling is that if the true solution were proposed and implemented, I refer of course to ventilation, their reason to exist would evaporate. And they simply cannot allow that.

The world is now waking up to learn that smoking bans are baseless in fact, and that health lobbyists are guilty of misrepresenting science to further their agendas."

Ken Nason​ via email 07/06/2006"At last some truth.

I am so immodist that I will shout "told you so"

Many experienced trade people posted continually in "another place" that professed to carry the title of our trade. Stating that the science was flawed the reason was for social engineering purposes and that the reason given of"protection of workers" was a lie.

This we did from the outset and faced the full fury and abuse of the baying dogs of war let loose by those who wish to control the free law abiding people of this nation.

Morning advertiser and all those involved in exposing this deceipt perpetrated on the people of this nation deserve due recognition.MA time to apply the death blow to this lie.

Let's do the same for the other big government lie for control....ID cards the biggest threat this nation has faced to its liberty since 1939.

Loraine McGregor​ via email 07/06/2006"I was absolutely delighted to read this article today. Having watched the Lords Debate every step of the way, I have seen many very determined Lords state their real concerns regarding the smoking ban, delivered with a passion which clearly demonstrates their disbelief of the "science" which has ben fed to the Government on this issue. They have been able to look the Health Minister in the eye and ask important questions regarding the so called evidence upon which this proposed legislation is founded. The replies, however, were merely repetition of the same statistics, sciences and opinion polls, calculated on behalf of HMG, under pressure from the highly funded Anti-Smoking groups. Statistics were dragged up from years gone by and despite requests for further information from the Lords wishing to see a democratic outcome to this Bill, I only ever heard from the Health Minist

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