Scots reject further restrictions on smoking
Scots reject further restrictions on smoking87% say smoking ban has gone far enough, substantial majority opposed to bans on smoking in cars, on public footpaths and open air parks, outside pubs, clubs and places of work ...
THE Scottish public is overwhelmingly opposed to further restrictions on smoking, with almost nine out of ten people saying the current ban has gone far enough. These are the findings of a major new poll conducted by Populus for the smokers' lobby group Forest. 63% believe the current policy to be about right, while 24% think it goes too far. Only 11% believe it does not go far enough.
A large majority of Scots believe it would be unreasonable to ban smoking in private homes (76%), private cars (69%), public footpaths (69%) and open air parks (66%). A substantial majority are also opposed to a ban on smoking on beaches (61%), outside pubs and clubs (61%), and places of work (61%).
The poll also showed that the majority of Scottish residents strongly reject any moves towards smokers being discriminated against in areas such as employment and medical treatment. A huge majority, 84%, think that being a smoker should not be a barrier to getting a job, while two-thirds believe that whether a person smokes should not affect them getting medical treatment.
The survey also found that further restrictions on smoking ranked just fifth on a list of priorities for improving public health, with only 8% of people considering it to be the most important. According to the poll, 44% of people in Scotland believe that reducing poverty should be the Executive's number one priority. This is followed by improving housing conditions (22%); providing more facilities for physical recreation (9%); reducing alcohol consumption (9%); further restrictions on the sale and consumption of tobacco products (8%), and banning advertising of food high in sugar, salt or fat (3%).
Forest spokesman Neil Rafferty commented: "Where smoking is concerned, the Scottish public clearly believe that enough is enough. Smokers may seem an easy target but they are voters too and a large number are sick and tired of being lectured and treated like lepers. Politicians of all parties should listen to public opinion and reject further attacks on those who choose to smoke."
Brian Monteith, MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife and one of the leading opponents of the smoking ban, said: "Apart from a few anti-tobacco zealots and health fascists there is clearly no demand for further restrictions on smoking. The Executive's ban already goes too far and will cost it some votes in the Labour heartlands. It should take heed of this research and resist any temptation to use its regulatory powers to stigmatise smokers further."