THE EDITOR, Sir:
The strangest thing that the tobacco-control people seem not to get is that no one is asking for a retreat on the smoking ban. What people are asking for is practical and commonsensical regulations.
They refer to tobacco-vested interests. Many would be surprised to know that many of these so-called pro-health advocates get huge non-governmental organisation (NGO)-funded salaries for their efforts. In fact, many are now questioning if some of these groupings care less about a reduction in government revenues, while their flawed policies cause the illicit trade in cigarettes to thrive, than they do about sustaining their million-dollar NGO salaries being funded by overseas interests.
Many who are trained medical doctors abandon their daily practice because it is more profitable to become NGO project-funded enterprises.
The clear issue here is that governments must be careful not to allow these NGO businesses to hijack public policy with their one-sided, vested-interest, salary-driven positions.
Careful, Minister Ferguson: Same knife stick sheep stick goat. Governments and ministers should lead and develop public policy that hears and understands all contending views, and then implement policies that take into consideration all the issues. It's clear that the minister of health knew little of the elements that he signed into law.
The truth is, no one in their right mind can be against the smoking ban. Indeed, I have heard where the cigarette company itself is publicly in support for it. As a non-smoker, I believe persons who smoke should know, in the law, where they can do so. Equally, businesses should be allowed to designate outdoor areas where their patrons can smoke.
Minister, address those matters and you will have a good law that then becomes enforceable.