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Minister accused of intolerance after branding smokers 'foul'

Tue 6th September, 2011

Scotland's Environment Minister has blasted smokers who lit up in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh during a fireworks display.

Stewart Stevenson used Twitter to describe four people puffing away next to him as "foul". He also praised New York's ban on smoking in parks

Simon Clark, director of Forest, said: "Calling smokers 'foul' says more about Mr Stevenson than it does about smokers.

"It demonstrates an alarming intolerance towards a significant minority of the population.

"Not even the most rabid anti-smoker could argue that their health is endangered by someone lighting up outside. And if you don't like the smell there's a simple remedy. Walk away."

Mr Clark also said that tobacco raised billions of pounds for the Treasury, and called for smoking rooms in Scotland's pubs and clubs.

"Smokers have every right to smoke somewhere but, thanks to illiberal politicians like Stewart Stevenson and his pals in Holyrood, they are all forced to smoke outside," he added.

Paul Waterson, of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said: "We certainly would not support any moves to ban smoking outside. 

"Just because New York has done it does not mean to say it's right."

Mr Stevenson later tweeted saying: "No ban yet suggested by me. But we should (look] at whether New York experience helps or hinders.".

Source: Scotsman (6 September 2011)

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