I don’t suppose Andrew Lansley has noticed, but the last by-election was won by a smoker – one George Galloway – who was perfectly happy lighting up in front of the cameras.
That is something a Tory or Labour politician or Nick Clegg would never have the courage to do. Or, perhaps, be allowed to do.
The anti-tobacco professionals have gone far too far in a country that prides itself on freedoms.
Denying cigarette companies the right to decorate their cigarette packets is a draconian measure of which Stalin’s censorship police would have been proud.
It suggests that the Government thinks it can control our thoughts and our desires.
Well, it can’t. I admit there are many people who don’t like smoking, and things should be made convenient for them, but there are ten million people (myself included) in the UK who do.
According to Lansley, they are all fools, slowly killing themselves (who isn’t?) and, according to him, others around them.
I don’t believe the second-hand smoke stuff. How can you know? It is all highly exaggerated. I speak as someone who has smoked for 58 years and I’m still here (and I’m fine, thank you).
I’ve no doubt Mr Lansley’s friends in the pharmaceutical industry are pushing this to increase the supply of their ghastly antidepressants on us but I prefer the calming effects of tobacco.
As you might have noticed, the consumption of antidepressants is on a steep rise as smoking declines, and we have no idea of the long-term effects of that.
Why is it that not all smokers die younger, as it says on the packets in that ugly typography? Could some people have weaker lungs? I don’t know. Neither does he.
I see his chum David Cameron was selling arms in the Middle East lately. It was the armament manufacturers who were called the ‘merchants of death’ in the last century.
Now, according to Mr Lansley, it’s the tobacco trade, which has given enormous pleasure to millions. I say to the Health Secretary: we all die. It’s what you do in between birth and death that’s the concern of most people.