The Freedom Organization for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco (Forest) released a new report stating that “smoking is no longer seen merely as a health risk to the consumer but as a moral offense to be kept ‘out of sight, out of mind.’”
The report follows an uptick in smoking and vaping bans across England, Wales and Scotland. Freedom of Information requests were made to 340 authorities in England and Wales and 32 authorities in Scotland; 283 provided responses.
More than 100 councils banned smoking outside council buildings and on council grounds, and 68 percent of councils had a policy restricting smoking and vaping for employees during working hours. There were 49 councils that banned smoking and vaping breaks completely, even if workers were clocked out, and the bans also included walking between work appointments.
Many councils, says the report, are introducing outdoor smoking bans by stealth. “This isn’t about the risk of passive smoking, it’s a moral crusade,” said Josie Appleton, author of the report. “Smoking is being treated as a shameful activity that should never be seen in public spaces or near official buildings.”
Absurdly, according to Forest, some councils are stopping their workers from vaping too, which makes it harder for smokers to give up. “It would be better if councils focused on providing public services rather than interfering in the lifestyle choices of their employees and residents,” Forest wrote in its report.