They added that as smoking was not a health condition, being asked if you were a smoker was, therefore, not a health question.
The ASA noted that Asda had followed the BMA and ABI guidelines in considering smoking to be a lifestyle choice
The ASA case in question revolves around whether Asda, in advertising life insurance with "no health questions asked" can get away with asking potential clients if they smoke or not.
Here in the real world, where smokers are regularly discriminated against on the basis of not only their own health (NHS costs,) but others (second hand and the fabled third hand smoke) it's hard to see how "do you smoke" cannot be construed as a health question.
One does, however, wonder what other "lifestyle choice" questions the nice people at Asda also ask, since the adjudication is strangely quiet.
- Have you had sex with a man, or anyone who's had sex with a man, in the past 60 years?
- Have you ever consumed excess ethanol?
- Do you religiously eat your five-a-day?
- Do you regularly use sun factor 5,000 when going outdoors in daylight?
- Do you own, or have you ever owned, a mobile phone?
I'm sure the list is, if not endless, quite large.
Well at least we now know you can tell your doctor to mind his own business when he asks how many you smoke, since it has no bearing on your health whatsoever; it's simply a lifestyle choice.