Prohibition not the cure for smoking

Some might call them nanny-state measures, but I have no problem supporting smoke free laws.

Smokers’ right to indulge their addiction comes a very distant second to other people’s right to breathe uncontaminated air.

It’s a filthy habit and while I understand that once addicted to tobacco it’s very difficult to give it up, I’ve never understood why anyone would want to take it up in the first place. It’s even more difficult to understand now it’s illegal in indoor workplaces and smokers are forced on to the streets where they huddle against the weather getting their fixes.

I’ve never had a problem with the imposition of tax on tobacco either because high price must be an incentive to quit.

However, there is a point where taxes get so high it creates a black market. That’s happening in Australia where home-grown tobacco – called chop chop has a ready market. Cigarette smuggling is also a problem there and in Britain where  young women are being offered free holidays abroad if they’ll smuggle cigarettes back with them.

That’s why I don’t support Hone Harawira’s call to ban cigarettes completely.

On Q&A this morning he said:

I’d like to see the production sale and manufacture of tobacco in Aotearoa banned yeah.  I think that unlike alcohol and other drugs which people like, with cigarettes most people actually want to stop more than 80% of smokers want to stop, so it’s not like there’s going to be a black market, it’s an opportunity for us to do something to help this country become healthy.

He’s wrong. Prohibition doesn’t work.

Making it even more difficult for people to smoke in public places, exerting social pressure, doing whatever can be done to show it’s an unattractive, unhealthy and stupid thing to do might work. Banning tobacco completely won’t, it will only create a black market.

2 Responses to Prohibition not the cure for smoking

  1. pdm says:

    As a non smoker for all of my 63 plus years, apart from a couple of short lived experiments as a kid I have no time for smoking. Mrs pdm also has never smoked and is is of the same view – yet all of our four children all smoked for a number of years with one, at age 30 in a few weeks, still doing so.

    But to ban smoking would be a very very dumb move.


  2. gravedodger says:

    H P as a sucker who started at school and Quit with some gentle ribbing and school learnt propaganda duly delivered to the home by my daughters, I am proud to say that I have enjoyed more years off the weed than on. As to addiction I have known many who managed to quit cold turkey with a significant event that ended in ED or the cardiac unit and I guess those who ignore those warnings do not live long enough to change that stat. As a former practitioner of what I now regard as a regrettable habit that does impact severely on adjacent non smokers I am as pleased as anyone that bars, restaurants, and other places where the smoke causes offense are now smoke free.
    One bit of nanny state that I support I suppose.


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