Smoke screen

It is an accepted and indisputable fact that tobacco use is dangerous to health. However, campaigns against its use are virtually all bogus and based on nebulous research of the “studies show” variety, notable in the ridiculous claim that children too young to buy cigarettes take up smoking because of seductive packaging.

Conversely, a study on “passive smoking” in California, monitoring 180,000 non-smokers over 30 years, found no evidence of increased risk of heart disease or cancer among them, however intense or prolonged the exposure.

Further evidence is all around us in the form of thriving elderly survivors who grew up surrounded by smokers. Now I read that the UK government has considered banning e-cigarettes in public places in England “to ensure that their use did not undermine smoking prevention by reinforcing and normalising smoking”.

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What arrogance! Where is the evidence? It is no function of government to prevent citizens from engaging in any lawful activity, which smoking certainly is. If tobacco is so deadly, to smokers or non-smokers, government is failing in its duty to protect us by outlawing its use.

As to the plain packaging theory of discouragement, implementation should logically restore cigarettes to public view, especially as potential purchasers would then be exposed to the strongest – and currently hidden! – deterrent of all; the bold logo reading “SMOKING KILLS”.

Robert Dow

Ormiston Road


I write in response to Lynne Simpson’s claim (Letters, 29 April) that e-cigarettes could renormalise smoking. Research by Professor Robert West of University College London found no evidence that e-cigarettes renormalised smoking.

Research published by Action on Smoking and Health found that e-cigarettes do not act as a gateway to smoking. We have seen a fivefold increase in the number of e-cigarette users in Scotland over the past two years. All these people are now smoking fewer or no cigarettes. This should be a cause for celebration, not concern.

K Knight