Leading article: Smoke signals too far

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The Independent Online

The ban on smoking in enclosed public places introduced in England three ago, following the example of Scotland, has made life more pleasant for millions. It has also reduced smoking overall; some were persuaded to give up completely, while many more found themselves indulging less as the opportunities dwindled. The positive consequences for public health are already being observed and will multiply with time.

But instead of seeking to consolidate the undoubted gains from a ban that, contrary to some expectations, has been well observed, the Royal College of Physicians now wants a ban on smoking in private cars and parks. Even if there are still gains to be made, these are bans too far; Englishmen and castles come to mind. The police and their ubiquitous cameras would be far better deployed catching drivers who persist in using their mobile phones behind the wheel than detecting smokers. If there is any under-enforced law on the statute book, this is surely it.