Rising Star: Sylvi Listhaug

Hat tip to Igrowmyown for drawing attention to this:

Norway’s newly appointed health minister has caused controversy by saying people should be allowed to eat, smoke and drink “as much as they want”.

Sylvi Listhaug also said smokers were made to feel like pariahs.

A populist politician with anti-immigration views, she was appointed as the new health minister on Friday, a year after being forced to quit over a security row.

Critics say she has little understanding of what public health is.

“My starting point for this with public health is very simple. I do not plan to be the moral police, and will not tell people how to live their lives, but I intend to help people get information that forms the basis for making choices,” she told Norwegian broadcaster NRK in an interview on Monday.

“People should be allowed to smoke, drink and eat as much red meat as much as they want. The authorities may like to inform, but people know pretty much what is healthy and what is not healthy, I think.”

Smokers were made to feel like pariahs, Ms Listhaug, herself a former smoker, added.

How astonishing! A Minister of Health who isn’t yet another bullying killjoy! A Minister of Health who thinks people should smoke and drink and eat whatever they want to! Whatever next?

Public Health Norway must be apoplectic.

But, as a populist politician in a Europe where populists are on the rise, and looking set to  sweep into the EU parliament later this month, she is perhaps a harbinger of things to come.

After all, if Nigel Farage became Prime Minister of the UK (something that I’ve read being seriously discussed recently) would he be pushing for more restrictions on smoking and drinking? Of course he wouldn’t. And neither, I surmise, would Marine Le Pen or Matteo Salvini. Nationalist populists in government aren’t likely to bring in yet more rules and regulations: they’ll be revoking and repealing them. The rise of national populism in Europe will likely be very bad news for the Public Health and Tobacco Control bullies.

And is Ms Listhaug really a former smoker? A little further down the above article, it says:

Ms Listhaug says she only smokes rarely now, mainly on social occasions.

So she’s a “social smoker” who only lights up when her friends do.  But I’d say that if she’s still smoking at parties, then she’s a current smoker, not an ex-smoker.

And are the critics right in saying that “she has little understanding of what public health is”? It seems to me that she has a very good understanding of what Public Heath is all about: puritanical bullying and browbeating and banning. And she doesn’t want to be one of “the moral police” that they are.

What’s surprising about this is that it’s happened in the long dark shadow of Norwegian ex-PM Gro Harlem Brundtland, who in the 1980s and 1990s more or less single-handedly not only set the World Health Organisation on its current antismoking healthist busybody path, but was also one of the driving forces behind the environmental movement and global warming alarmism. (It seems that she still is.)

And Brundtland is still alive, aged 80. And is no doubt demanding that Sylvi Listhaug be fired and replaced with a proper anti-smoking bully like she was, and probably still is.

Yet perhaps it’s not surprising that a Sylvi Listhaug should appear in Norway in reaction to the oppressive presence of the likes of Gro Harlem Brundtland.

However Listhaug does also say:

“Although smoking is not good, because it is harmful, adults have to decide for themselves what they do.”

So she thinks smoking is harmful. When are we going to see Ministers of Health who say that Smoking Is Good For You?

More about Sylvi Listhaug here.

About Frank Davis

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11 Responses to Rising Star: Sylvi Listhaug

  1. Timothy Goodacre says:

    This is exactly the sort of person we need in the same role in the UK. Chuck out all the public health bullies. Abolish PHE and ASH. Tell the medical lobby to get on with curing people and not continually bullying them. Currently in the UK the tail is wagging the dog and needs dealing with.

  2. Mark Jarratt, Canberra, Australia says:

    Most encouraging, and yes, astounding that Minister for Health (a personal not social good) Listhaug actually understands the public in public health is code for prohibitionists in positions of unelected unaccountable power. The squealing of public health pigs having their snouts evicted from the taxpayer funded trough may well be audible here in the Antipodes… excellent news. In the meantime, now we have an obesity ‘epidemic’, to provide another trough for those who know not only what we should eat, but how much. The proponents are doubtless aware of the huge successes of Public Health England in interfering with food formulation, and taxing drinks they arbitrarily deem to contain ‘excessive’ sugar. 😳

  3. DP says:

    Dear Mr Davis

    At least Sylvi Listhaug is a step in the right direction, despite Brexit repeating the ‘not good’ mantra.

    Here’s another politician saying how it is and should be – Mark Latham, Downunder:


    The tide appears to be beginning to turn.


    • DP says:


      This was a few years before the bigger lie of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming – CAGW – more accurately: computer aided global warming.


  4. smokingscot says:

    I’m sure the decision makers were aware of her views on this topic before they placed her in position.

    So logic indicates the government goes along with it.

    If she wants to take this further then she will need to stop Norway’s annual contribution to FCTC and quit funding the anti smoking groups, meaning Norway will be in breach of its treaty obligations.

    To avoid that then Norway will have to pull out of FCTC – and that’ll be a first.

    I’m delighted she holds this position, however there’s a great distance between what she would like to do and actually making that happen on the ground. Severe entrenched opposition to beat.

    Did a check of the price of a pack of ciggies. 116 Kroner is about £10.20.


  5. Smoking Lamp says:

    This is a refreshing breath of fresh air, or should I say freedom.

    Meanwhile back in California, the City of Beverley Hills (in the LA metropolitan area) is looking to ban nearly all tobacco sales (exempting a few cigar bars). An account of that plan is at “Proposed tobacco ban sparks fiery debate in Beverly Hills” https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/beverly-hills-banning-sale-tobacco-products-62888710 Of course the majority of the comments come from antismokers (either the brainwashed or the astroturf controllers). The ‘war’ continues. Tobacco control must be destroyed.

  6. Joe L. says:

    However Listhaug does also say: “Although smoking is not good, because it is harmful, adults have to decide for themselves what they do.”

    It’s a shame Listhaug feels obliged to add that tired and unscientific disclaimer. However, it is certainly refreshing to see a leading “authority” of “health” claim that they believe smokers are made to feel like pariahs and that he/she does not intend to be the “moral police.” Given today’s state of affairs I welcome people like Listhaug with open arms.

  7. Rose says:

    Hope springs eternal.

  8. tsshb says:

    Wait–she only smokes occasionally? But how could such a thing be possible? Isn’t smoking as addictive as heroin? And how could one be a “social smoker,” when smokers aren’t supposed to have any friends? It’s almost like everything I’ve ever been preached about smoking has turned out to be false. Her mere existence spits in the face of tobacco control. But what has it come to when saying “people should be allowed to do things” creates such a whirlwind of controversy?

  9. slugbop007 says:

    My youngest brother, Eric, worked as a bartender at the Daisy Club in Beverly Hills in the early 70s. One of his steadiest customers was Groucho Marx.


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