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Brian Monteith (Perspective, 22 December) accuses others of cherry-picking evidence then goes on to do just that in his ­comments on tobacco.

He says the smoking rate is going up, mentioning a fractional rise in one survey.

But be ignores the more ­recent Scottish Health Survey and the larger Office for National ­Statistics report, which both show a notable drop in Scotland’s adult smoking prevalence to 21 per cent in 2013, meaning there are now fewer than a million ­tobacco users.

He claims that youth smoking has gone up by a third in Australia, where standardised tobacco packaging has been introduced.

It is either hopeless bias or ­inexcusable ignorance to claim that “the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare has established that smoking rates of teens have increased by 36 per cent”.

The authors of the report he refers to conclude that there is no statistically significant change.

The figures he quotes on an alleged growth in illicit tobacco are from a discredited tobacco industry-funded report, not the Australian government research he mentions. Standardised packaging and prohibiting smoking in cars with children are popular measures with the Scottish public. 
A YouGov survey earlier this year showed that most ­people support them, including a majority of Mr Monteith’s fellow
smokers.

Sheila Duffy

ASH Scotland

Edinburgh