Observant visitors to Carlisle's continental market will have noticed that it's not just one continent that's represented.

There were French, German, Spanish, Greek, Dutch and Polish stalls - all occupying space in English Street, and probably irritating Brexiteers.

But there were also food, drink, clothing and ornaments on sale from India, Thailand, Turkey, Mexico and Kenya. And on Saturday I bought an Australian ostrich burger.

When I sat down at one of the tables to enjoy it I found myself next to an empty cigarette packet.

I hadn't seen one at close quarters for years, so picked it up to examine. "Smoking causes impotence," it warned on one side. "Smoking while pregnant harms your baby," added the other.

And there was a gory picture of a diseased lung, unpleasant enough to put you off your ostrich burger.

These messages and images will be familiar enough to smokers, but as one of the 81 per cent of the population who don't smoke I was surprised how much of the packet they took up.

Of course the scary packets are only the latest anti-smoking measure. The prohibition on tobacco advertising and the increase of the age when you can buy it were then followed by the ban on smoking in public places. And Britain has the highest taxes on cigarettes in Europe.

Banning smoking altogether would be desirable if it was possible. But it probably isn't.

Now only 19 per cent of the population smoke - and that proportion is falling as smokers give up or die prematurely. But cigarettes are more addictive than heroin, and those determined to continue would either buy them abroad or on the black market if they were illegal here.

All we can do is make it as difficult as possible, increasing the taxes, the warnings and the services for those who want to quit.

A blanket ban on cigs might not work, but other bans could. And that's why I'm in favour of stopping the sale of high-sugar, high-caffeine energy drinks to under-18s.

It's happening in England and my guess is the rest of the UK will follow.

Nearly 70 per cent of youngsters aged between 10 and 17 drink energy drinks, according to the Government’s childhood obesity plan.

And those who do so are drinking on average 50 per cent more of the stuff than the EU average for their age group.

It's a problem because they make pupils unfocused, disruptive and unable to keep still - as well as leaving them fat with rotten teeth.

Some of the major chains have already stopped selling them to under-16s and around a fifth of smaller shops have signed up to a voluntary ban.

To my mind this is progress, but to others bitterly oppose it. Every time a government proposes a ban on something harmful there are accusations that it's the work of one of the evils of the modern world, "the nanny state".

It's a phrase popularised by right-wing newspapers, owned by people who probably employ nannies themselves. And it's true that restrictions on personal choice aren't ideal. But often they're essential.

In the case of smoking, the personal choices of smokers do affect others.

We mightn't have to breathe their smoke in pubs and restaurants any more, but we do have to pay for their illnesses.

I have no problem paying tax to the NHS. But I'd rather my money was spent treating people who get cancer through no fault of their own rather than those who self-inflict it.

And to suggest the Government is interfering with our personal choices ignores the fact that the tobacco, alcohol and sugar industries have been interfering with our choices for decades, and fight fiercely against any kind of regulation.

Educating people about the risks and letting them make their own decisions is daft in the case of the under-18s. It would equate to telling them that smoking is dangerous and then making cigarettes available in schools.

Adults benefit from some regulation too. Since free plastic bags were banned three years ago, the number issued by supermarkets has dropped by 86 per cent.

Before the compulsory charge was introduced, 140 bags were issued per person every year. Now it's fallen to 19 per person. Don't tell me that would have happened without Government intervention.

Maybe it's patronising or over-protective for governments to regulate some of our behaviour. But is that really worse than being obese - or dying from lung cancer?