After my last protest against UK prison smoking bans, I’ve now received the response that was sent by the Ministry of Justice to my MP. Here’s the complete letter (click to slightly enlarge) from the Ministry, with all names redacted:There are two remarkable passages in the letter, in my opinion.
First is the assertion in the second paragraph that there is “no evidence linking smoking as the causal factor in any incidents of violence”. Yet there are a number of newspaper reports that do exactly that. Doesn’t the Ministry of Justice read newspapers?
Second is the bizarre assertion in the fifth paragraph that “Recent research is showing that smoking does not relieve stress, rather it presents the appearance of reducing stress, when its action is to relieve the withdrawal oriented stress of not smoking.” What’s meant here is that the only real stress that smokers are ever under is the stress of not having smoked a cigarette recently.
This is why the next sentence goes on to say that “Research shows that smokers are more likely to suffer anxiety, and that stopping smoking can have outcomes equivalent to a course of antidepressants.” Stop smoking, and become happy!
Whoever wrote this nonsense is clearly a virulent antismoker who refuses to accept that there are any benefits whatever from smoking. This might not be too surprising in the Ministry of Health, but it’s rather surprising to find it in the Ministry of Justice in a Conservative administration.
The letter was written on 8 December 2017, and since that date the Supreme Court has ruled that the the 2006 Health Act does not apply to prisons. Which means that really all the current prison smoking bans should be revoked.
I’ll be composing another letter to my MP pointing this out.
Perhaps readers may have some of their own observations to make.