No Smoking Provokes Ire

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What a drag it is that Andrew Stone ('The Drag Factor', December SR) seems to have inhaled at least some of the misinformation being peddled by most of the media about passive smoking.

In the surveys so far undertaken four out of five have found no link between passive smoking and ill health. He claims that it 'is the most lethal workplace hazard'. Yet it is estimated that 40,000 die every year from traffic fumes. The support for a total ban in pubs in a London poll is only 42 percent, while two thirds of Scots are against the proposed ban there.

The point is that a proposed total ban is not based on strong evidence of ill health effects, or on public opinion, or upon a sound comparison of its supposed dangers with other hazards in our lives.

Prohibition in the US comes to mind, and not seeing this connection is perhaps why he cannot understand that the government's anti-smoking stance is not at odds with its welfare attacks, because it is not based on a concern with our health but on a desire to control and repress.

Phil Hall
London