Alex Massie

Further Tales from the Bold New Scotland

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It could have been worse, I suppose. There was a proposal that you'd soon need a special license to be permitted to purchase cigarettes in Scotland. Presumably this would be accompanied by arm-twisting from "health care professionals" to persuade you to stop, or mandatory sessions with a shrink to demonstrate that you were indeed sufficiently and genuinely bonkers as to be granted a special license to enjoy abuse tobacco...

Happily, if somewhat surprisingly, that proposal hasn't actually passed. Yet. Still, yesterday the Scottish parliament confirmed that it was going to ban the display of cigarettes in shops. Apparently a ban on tobacco advertising - itself an outrageous abridgment of liberty - was not enough. So, cigarettes must now be sold under the counter as though they were contraband or, you know, illegal... All this, of course, is part of the effort to "denormalise" smoking, especially amongst teenagers. Said brutes, however, seem unlikely to be persuaded by such piecemeal efforts...

Next on the agenda: banning coin-operated, un-staffed tanning studios and making it an offence to permit anyone under the age of 18 to use a tanning studio. Seriously.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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