Nigel Farage Says Smoking Ban 'Silly And Illiberal'

Nigel Farage has insisted he would scrap the smoking ban and has pointed to Germany for support, claiming the country had realised how "silly and illiberal" the ban was.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, the Ukip leader, who smokes himself, claimed the German solution of separating smoking and non-smoking areas would be Ukip's sop to the clean-living.

However slowly but surely Germany is bringing some of the toughest anti-smoking laws, despite having one the highest numbers of smokers in Europe.

Nigel Farage is himself a smoker

On 1 May one of the strictest non-smoking laws comes into force in the North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state of Germany, with Cologne at its capital, which makes it illegal to smoke in separate rooms and smokers' club.

Both Bavaria and Saarland have imposed a total ban. There are different rules in different areas in Germany as the law is decided at state rather than federal level. However Germany is far from deciding banning smoking is "silly and illiberal."

Germany has had a ban on smoking in public buildings and transportation for five years, with the ban also applying to government agencies, courts, buses, trains and airplanes. Glass lungs filled with cigarette ends have also been installed in front of public buildings in Germany to encourage people to quit smoking. Smoking has been banned at Munich's Oktoberfest since 2011, although it was first brought in voluntarily, it is now enforced.

Nigel Farage claimed obesity killed more people than smoking 'but you wouldn't ban doughnuts'

When asked about the countless lives that banning smoking in pubs is estimated to have saved and the danger that smoking in bars and clubs poses to young people, who may be tempted to take up the habit, Farage replied: "Of, course, the great danger with young people is if you ban things it makes them more attractive.

"Obesity is killing more people than smoking, you could ban chip shops, you could ban doughnuts. The point is we are big enough and ugly enough to make our own decisions."

Many took to social media to criticise Farage for supporting a repeal of the smoking ban, saying the restrictions saved the lungs of bar staff as well as those who had gone there to drink. Farage was accused by some of merely wanting to repeal the ban to allow him to enjoy a cheeky fag in his own local, while others said, if he wanted people to make their own choices, why was he not in favour of gay marriage?

Farage also came under fire for insisting that obesity killed more people than smoking, with the chief executive of anti-smoking charity Ash, rubbishing his claims.

Deborah Arnott told the Huffington Post UK: "Claims that obesity are kiling more people than smoking are simply not true. A hundred thousand people each year die from smoking where as figures from obesity aren't nearly as well worked out.

"Smoking figures come from long term studies over 50 years and a quarter of all cancers are linked to smoking. Last figures I saw showed something like 30,000 people die from obesity each year and these studies aren't as thoroughly researched.

"Farage also seems to forget that the smoking ban is popular.

"This isn't a nanny state measure. There was a large public debate about it at the time and people wanted the government to support them on this. On free vote, a majority of 200 voted in favour of the smoking ban. This wasn't a party political matter: it came on the back of massive public popularity and that popularity has continued to grow."

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