Just prior to the smoking ban being enacted in 2007, I and other like minded people got together and set up an anti-smoking patrol watch in our local community. I have organised and run this watch with much success to date.
We gather photographic and camcorder evidence of anyone flouting the law of smoking in public places. We approached our local dentists and GPs, who then told us that anyone who smoked illegally would be refused treatment should their names appear on their patients’ lists. We also have the full support of our local police Superintendent – who agreed that this strategy would help in time to reduce smoking within our community. So far we have had no come back about Freedom of Information.
After several prosecutions we have seen the tide turning, but still need to remain vigilant on behalf of all our residents, after all it’s their health that’s at stake.
You have to remember that over 30,000 people are killed each year by SHS (second hand smoke), and this figure is rising year on year. We are still unclear about how many are affected each year by THS (third hand smoke), although there is good epidemiological evidence to show how dangerous it is to the health of young children.
I wrote to the then health secretary at the time Patricia Hewitt, who fully supported our efforts and asked to be kept up to date with our progress, which of course we did. I would like to see this kind of programme being rolled out across the country.
We are also supported by ASH UK, ASH Scotland, BHF and of course CRUK.
Dr Steven Johnson GP
Is there any other crime in the criminal justice system judged so adversely that it would merit the withdrawal of medical treatment? It is just not ethical for medics to pick on a specific group of (alleged) lawbreakers and deny treatment. I find it absolutely shocking that this comment has gone uncensored on the blog of a contender to the Labour Party leadership.
This story relates the intentions of NHS Grampian to treat smokers similarly – to punish them for flouting the legislation.
Withdrawing treatment on any other than clinical grounds must be considered very dangerous territory.