Smokers welcome in a free society
Christopher Snowdon writes in Spiked
Christopher Snowdon quoted in The Express and The Daily Star
Matthew Lesh writes in The Spectator
“In the past, anti-tobacco crusaders would at least give a nod and a wink to J. S. Mill’s harm principle: ‘The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.’
“Advertising bans were meant to protect children, while banning indoor smoking at pubs was to prevent second-hand smoke in enclosed locations. Politicians have consistently exaggerated ‘harm to others’ to justify interventions across all sorts of activities. But at least there was a philosophy of intervention, with a nod towards limits on state power over individuals in cases where the activity did not impact others.
“Not all smokers want to quit, despite the universal knowledge that the product is unhealthy. But the mark of a free society is accepting and tolerating that not everyone can, should or does live the same. It means, against our judgemental instincts, accepting the freedom of others to make decisions about their bodies so that we can do the same.”
Read Matthew’s full piece here.