Dick Puddlecote has some typically excellent posts about the government's latest steps towards tobacco prohibition - in particular the pharmaceutical connection and the fact that the smoking ban was never about secondhand smoke.
I would add one small observation. It was promised as far back as 2005 that the smoking ban would be reviewed in 2010. This review will indeed begin in July. A 'review' implies that all aspects of the ban will be looked at, including the social effects on communities and the financial effects on pubs, clubs etc. It implies that the ban could be repealed or made less draconian. It also implies that it will be entered into with an open mind, with voices from all sides heard.
Anyone familiar with the small clique of individuals and state-funded organisations who actually dictate policy in this area will suspect that the review will be nothing of the sort. They would be right. It will be a closed shop, with only the shrillest voices from ASH and the Department of Health allowed to be heard.
But even the most hardened cynic would at least expect them to wait until the review begins before publishing the foregone conclusion. Alas, that is not the case. Today's publication shows that it will only be a question of how far the ban is extended:
Smokefree legislation, introduced in 2007, continues to see high levels of compliance and public support. We have undertaken to review the impact of smokefree legislation in 2010.That review will provide an opportunity to examine whether the legislation is working and where it can be improved, and will also enable assessment of what more can be done to extend protection.Particularly, we will look to promote and support smokefree prisons and examine the case for extending smokefree requirements around building entrances.
For the benefit of younger readers, I should point out that Britain was once known for its democratic process and its commitment to personal liberty.