News & Comment

Report documents 'persecution' of smokers

Mon 4th July, 2011

Smokers are a new persecuted minority, according to a new report by privacy campaigners.

Legislation designed for public health has been used to intrude into smokers' private lives by local authorities, health bodies and housing associations, according to the report.

It claims smokers' right to act freely in their own homes or vehicles has also been severely curtailed.

"Without care the future for many smokers will be characterised by discrimination and persecution, even when their actions have the minimum impact on the lives of other people," said Privacy International director Simon Davies, who compiled the report for smokers' rights group Forest.

"In future smokers may face a choice between secrecy and social exclusion. Social organisations, landlords, service providers and employers may themselves be deemed irresponsible if they fail to pursue an exclusion policy."

The report highlights the use of non-statutory fines and controls, increased surveillance, allegedly discriminatory practices and a shift from a 'public health' approach to smoking to a 'demonisation' approach.

Source: Politics.co.uk (4 July 2011)

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