As major announcements go, it was up there with Kerry Katona’s facelift or Top Gear cancelling itself.

When Prime Minister Sunak took to the stage at the recent Tory conference, we watched, and hoped against hope, that after 13 years of rule, there were going to be solid, targeted actions to address the predominant issue affecting us all at the moment: the cost-of-living crisis/ catastrophe.

This disaster has proved to be a runaway train of angst, grief and human desperation as we steal and rob, and beg and borrow, just to be able to put food on our tables and heat in our radiators.

But no: what we were left with, bereft of any tangible strategy to claw ourselves out of the self-induced mire, was an attack on a subset of the working class: the smokers.

As an ex-smoker of 20 years standing, I gave up 15 years ago and have been married to my vape ever since. The health improvements have been, for me, staggering. From being out of breath when tackling a flight of stairs, I can now cycle 100 miles no problem.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Brett Ellis is opposed to Government plans to ban smokingBrett Ellis is opposed to Government plans to ban smoking

For anyone born after 2008, the ability to buy cigarettes will be erased.

The ban on sales will be raised by one year, every year and a time will come when a 50-year-old, like me, will be hanging around outside the local Costcutter with the teenage hoodies. Them trying to acquire a bottle of cheap Czech vodka and the smoker begging a 51-year-old to purchase him a pack of 20 B&H.

With Labour having ruined the pub trade in 2007, the Tories are now taking up the mantle where, after decades of enjoying the spoils of tobacco tax, they will do little but open up a once thriving black market and ensure that any gains, through cost savings in the NHS, are gobbled up by increased customs control expenditure as criminal gangs tap into the market through the importation of illicit Rothmans.

People smoke because they are addicted, yes, but more so, such as me when I was an advocate, because they enjoy it. They find it relaxing. It relieves stress.

Oh, and more so, I never really understand the ‘it saves lives!’ argument.

If folk want to smoke, and die younger, then that is their choice and this, or any government has no right to issue diktats to the contrary. That said, I can never see this getting through as we watch the final thrashings of an administration coming to the end of its days, and await a different brand of lunacy next year as we switch from blue incompetency to red inadequacy.

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher.