Restricting smokers is the last straw – to retain our liberty we must vote Leave

The question must be asked, if we allow our freedom of choice to be removed, what will follow?

Flo Lewis
Monday 13 June 2016 12:31
Comments
Menthol cigarettes and 10 packs of cigarettes will be banned in the EU
Menthol cigarettes and 10 packs of cigarettes will be banned in the EU

Becoming an adult is typically associated with greater liberty and personal freedom. At the age of 18 in the UK, you are deemed an adult and can choose to vote in elections, get a mortgage and purchase an alcoholic beverage or tobacco. At this age, society regards us as able to make our own choices and come to our own conclusions.

Instead of gaining more freedom however, it appears that our right to determine our own lives is being removed. Not by our own elected government, but by a faceless bureaucracy located in Brussels.

The EU has brought in many regulations “for our own good”. Many are so bizarre that, apart from the odd joke regarding bendy bananas, vacuum cleaners, kettles or toasters, regulations have gone virtually unnoticed as the application has not directly affected the average person in a tangible way. I do wonder now though if perhaps the EU has taken it too far.

The latest victim is that of the menthol cigarette and packets that contain less than 20 cigarettes. No one is denying that smoking is bad for your health and can reduce your lifespan. The information and assistance to quit is significantly better now than in previous generations, but does that mean that we should no longer have a choice?

The smoking ban of 2007 removed smoking from enclosed public areas so that those who do not wish to smoke should not have to passively do so. Fair enough – it’s their choice not to smoke and that should not be infringed upon, but what about our right to choose to smoke?

It all comes down to the subject of personal choice, and the freedom to make those informed decisions. This is an invasion upon our own personal liberty to choose what flavour of tobacco to smoke, or what quantity we are allowed to purchase it in. It takes away our right to make that decision for ourselves.

The argument is used that flavoured cigarettes and smaller packets are easier to obtain and smoke and so would appeal to beginner smokers. In reality those who will be affected are those who by choice or financial restrictions opt for a smaller pack, most notably those in lower income, or those enjoy a different flavour as part of their individuality. Individuals who are not on a high income will suffer the most, as those on higher incomes can afford to purchase 20 cigarettes as the norm.

As legal adults, is it not their right to have the choice to smoke, regardless of income or social status?

The question must be asked, if we allow our freedom of choice to be removed, what will follow? There are many things that are considered unhealthy, so what will be next? How long will it be until something is banned that is tangible in your life? And if we do not speak up when others rights are infringed, how can we expect others to speak in defence of us?

These directives have been applied to us with no ability to revoke them. Unlike our own government, we cannot elect an opposition in the next election who can overturn the mistakes of their predecessors. For us, the public, there are no votes or referendums on these directives: they are simply enforced.

Flo Lewis is the Chairman of LGBT* in UKIP

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