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Will the smoking ban be subject to a 'nanny state' backlash?

As smoking has been increasingly curtailed in public, it's easy to forget that it's still one of the leading causes of death and illness in the UK.

It kills around half of those who smoke, making it the biggest one that's entirely preventable. The habit kills 76,000 people a year, according to the NHS.

Rishi Sunak has backed some radical steps, including a lifetime ban on ban on smoking cigarettes for those currently aged under 15 - to be achieved by raising the legal smoking age by a year, every year.

Under the plans, those born after Jan 2009 would never be allowed to buy them.

And now we can add a proposed ban on disposable vapes, which with their colourful branding and low-price tag, are blamed for driving a nine-fold surge in teenage smoking in just two years.

From a public health perspective, it's being hailed as a game-changer, and the vaping ban will reassure the message boards full of worried parents of teenagers.

But there's still something about the ban on cigarettes altogether, that sits uneasily, particularly with politicians on the right.

Boris Johnson recently slammed the idea of the gradual smoking ban as "barmy" and unworkable, claiming it would "criminalise yet another variety of ordinary behaviour".

Free marketeer Liz Truss - who warned her party against "banning things" - tonight says protecting children is one thing, but "adults must be able to make their own choices about their own lives."

"A Conservative government should not be seeking to extend the nanny state", she said.

Two disgruntled enemies of the prime minister, perhaps. But this week reports emerged that other libertarian Tory MPs are urging him to replace the ban with a rise in the smoking age to 21.

They are concerned it is a "sideshow", and the policy of age discrimination - which as this generation get holder, would require adults to show ID to buy tobacco - would cause confusion.

When these proposals come before parliament, they will likely get Labour support - but Sunak will want to limit any rebellion on his own side.

All anti-smoking measures - from the ban on smoking indoors in the UK in 2007, to plain packaging and a ban on smoking in cars with children - had their detractors, who said they were illiberal and unworkable. But in the end, they were approved comfortably by MPs.

Vapes won't be the controversial bit. Banning disposable vapes, on both health and environmental grounds is spreading.

According to the World Health Organisation 34 countries have banned them - including Brazil, India and Norway - although various degrees of success, and 87 have introduced restrictions.

The gradual smoking ban is trickier in terms of enforcement. The proposals were inspired by pioneering new laws passed in New Zealand, which its new government has now decided to scrap.

The prime minister responded that he'd thought long and hard about the ban and will go it alone.

As Tory MPs took in the news, first announced at the Conservative party conference last October, it came as a surprise to those who noted that he delayed a ban on buy-one-get-one free junk foods just months earlier - claiming it interfered with people's "right to choose" on a tight budget.

The difference with smoking, he said, was that - unlike other vices - there is no safe level for it.

Health experts warn that smoking is associated with poverty, and a ban would need to be backed by other measures including support to stop smoking, for which local government budgets are limited.

Whether these smoking measures are judged to be workable could be the test for whether ministers have, most likely after the election, a fresh look at restrictions in other difficult areas.