Sunday 4 December 2016

Debate about smoking, premature death and role of the State is now over

Published 17/05/2016 | 02:30

Since the introduction of the ban in 2004, the percentage of the population smoking has fallen to around 20pc. REUTERS
Since the introduction of the ban in 2004, the percentage of the population smoking has fallen to around 20pc. REUTERS

The tension between freedom of choice and radical public health measures will always spark arguments about the 'nanny state.'

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However, when it is a super junior minister in the Department of Health who is taking on the role of persecuted smoker, it adds a whole new twist to the debate about how far the State should go in protecting citizens from our growing list of lifestyle vices.

The reality is that Disability Minister Finian McGrath's wish to reverse the smoking ban and introduce designated areas for smokers and non-smokers in public places instead is as redundant as a pile of old pub ashtrays at this stage.

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