Leader comment: MSPs can make a real difference – by being bold

The smoking ban was highly controversial in Scotland - until it was actually introduced (Picture: Ian Rutherford)
The smoking ban was highly controversial in Scotland - until it was actually introduced (Picture: Ian Rutherford)
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The smoking ban was highly controversial when it was introduced in 2006. Even some non-smokers thought it was an appalling infringement on the liberties of the individual that people were to be forbidden from lighting up in pubs.

It was the kind of legislation that makes politicians fear for their careers.

However, almost overnight, attitudes changed as people experienced the joy of a smoke-free bar. The change in the law also led societal changes, with some smokers deciding not to do so in their own homes, out of concern for the other people living there.

READ MORE: Second-hand smoke exposure falls by 97 per cent over 20 years

As The Scotsman reports today, a new study has found there has been a 97 per cent reduction in exposure to second-hand smoke in Scotland over the last 20 years, largely because of the smoking ban.

Such a significant and beneficial change was achieved because politicians were brave enough to take a potentially unpopular decision. They should be applauded.

And the current crop of MSPs should learn from their example and be prepared to take bold steps to solve today’s social ills – like the NHS crisis and soaring rates of obesity.

READ MORE: Scottish smokers offered £160 incentive to quit