Norway’s health minister Sylvi Listhaug has caused controversy after stating that ‘people should be allowed to smoke, drink, and eat as much red meat as they want’.
“My starting point for this with public health is very simple,” Listhaug told Norwegian broadcaster NRK, days after being appointed the country’s new health minister.
‘The moral police’
“I do not plan to be the moral police, and will not tell people how to live their lives, but I intend to help people get information that forms the basis for making choices.
“People should be allowed to smoke, drink and eat as much red meat as they want. The authorities may like to inform, but people know pretty much what is healthy and what is not healthy, I think.
Listhaug also added the only thing the government can do is ‘provide information so that people make informed choices’.
However, the politician’s comments have been branded as ‘harmful’ by Norway’s Cancer Society.
“Many will adhere to what she says. That is to say, public health [has been] set back many decades,” said Anne Lise Ryel, a Norwegian jurist and politician for the Labour Party, according to the BBC.