George Osborne blasted over calls for a smoking ban with experts branding comments ‘crazy talk’

George Osborne, former U.K. chancellor of the exchequer, poses for a photograph following a Bloomberg Television interview on the opening day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. World leaders, influential executives, bankers and policy makers attend the 49th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos from Jan. 22 - 25. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

GEORGE Osborne has been told to butt out over calls for a smoking ban.

The ex-Tory Chancellor, a puffer himself, said governments have been too afraid of intervening over fears of “nanny statism”.

George Osborne has been told to butt out over calls for a smoking ban

Advocating a ban, he told the Times: “You basically phase it out. Of course you’re going to have lots of problems with illegal smoking but you’ve lots of problems with other illegal activities.

“It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try and ban them and police them and make it less readily available.

“I thought that was a compelling public health intervention.”

The Institute of Economic Affairs hit back: “This is crazy talk. Prohibition would lead to a crime wave and deprive the government of £12billion of revenue.”

Simon Clark, of smokers’ lobby group Forest, added: “Osborne’s comments are a classic example of ‘Do as I say, not as I do’.

Fortunately he’s no longer in politics so his views should be treated with the contempt they deserve.”

The Government wants to make Britain “smoke free” — fewer than five per cent of adults — by 2030.

Mr Osborne also said the sugar tax he introduced in 2016 should be broadened to cover fruit juice, milkshakes, biscuits and cakes.

Downing Street said there were no plans to implement either of his proposals and that Rishi Sunak was committed to personal responsibility.

A Tory MP added: “And we wonder why we didn’t win in Red Wall seats when he was Chancellor.”