A recent change in European law regarding the circumstances by which a person can be committed to a mental institution by the state has meant that in future anyone found guilty of smoking a cigarette in a designated public 'no smoking' area could in theory find themselves being committed to a mental institution indefinitely.
Although a statement from Brussels says the 'treatment measure' would only be applied very rarely for any first offenders, nevertheless they admit it is not a possibility they can rule out especially if the offence happens to take place in the presence of children.
Justifying the measure a spokeswoman for the European Community,a non-smoker, explained sternly,
"People who smoke cigarettes are clearly not right in the head. Though we recognize that the citizens in some of our member countries (England!) already comply with the 'no smoking' laws brought in a few years ago largely without complaint, we've found that unfortunately this is not the case in others. People there ignore the no smoking signs completely. We're determined to put a stop to such behavior and we believe this measure is just the thing to achieve it."
She continued more calmly, "I want to make it clear this should not be seen as a punishment but rather as a treatment for what is a very dirty social disease, and in the majority of cases offenders will be released back into their communities after a year or so when we are confident they've been cured of this dreadful addiction. Of course any repeat of the offence afterwards would bring them back to the hospitals where the more risky treatment of lobotomy would have to be tried, though from what I understand of the procedure significantly more people survive the operation today than the mere 5% of just a decade ago."