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Monday, February 18, 2008

A License To Smoke

A proposal in the UK would require cigarette smokers to pay for, and obtain, a "license" to buy cigarettes.

BBC News:

    Smokers could be forced to pay £10 for a permit to buy tobacco if a government health advisory body gets its way.

    No one would be able to buy cigarettes without the permit, under the idea proposed by Health England.

    Its chairman, Professor Julian Le Grand, told BBC Radio 5 Live the scheme would make a big difference to the number of people giving up smoking.

    But smokers' rights group Forest described the idea as "outrageous", given how much tax smokers already pay.

    Professor Le Grand, a former adviser to ex-PM Tony Blair, said cash raised by the proposed scheme would go to the NHS.

    He said it was the inconvenience of getting a permit - as much as the cost - that would deter people from persisting with the smoking habit.

    "You've got to get a form, a complex form - the government's good at complex forms; you have got to get a photograph.

    "It's a little bit of a problem to actually do it, so you have got to make a conscious decision every year to opt in to being a smoker."

    'Extra bureaucracy'

    He added: "70% of smokers actually want to stop smoking."

    "So if you just make it that little bit more difficult for them to actually re-start or even to start in the first place, yes I think it will make a big difference."

    But Forest said it would be "an extra form of taxation, while tobacco taxation is already at record levels".

    Forest spokesman Simon Clark said that when the cost of administration, extra bureaucracy and enforcement are taken into account, "the mind boggles".

    He added that the people most affected by the proposals would be "the elderly and people on low incomes".

From where does LeGrand obtain his objective, non-biased information that "70% of smokers actually want to stop smoking"? Nothing is cited in the story, thus, I can only presume it is yet another study from the, "I Pulled This Statistic Out From Deep Within My Ass Institute."

I like how LeGrand refers to it as a "scheme," for that is exactly what it is.

I'm sure Minnesota's Anti-Smoking Nazis are already working on implementing a similar "scheme".

Maybe a license to purchase cigarettes is a wonderful idea. Perhaps we can carry this wonderful idea over into other aspects of society. Perhaps we should have to pay for, and obtain a license before we are allowed to purchase and eat fast food, fatty food, ice cream, pie, cakes and candy bars. It goes without saying that each of these items would require its own separate license.

Perhaps we should be required to pay for, and obtain a license before performing the bodily function of defecating. If we all defecated less, the world would be a better and healthier place.

The Nanny State knows what is best for us, we should all implicitly trust in it and become zombies to what we are told by The Ministry.

Black market sales of cigarettes will only increase as the prices of cigarettes increases and the legal purchasing of cigarettes becomes more complicated.

I think there should be a tax and fee paid by non-smokers. They are the ones who not paying their fair share. They are the ones who are a burden to society. They are the ones getting a free ride on the backs of smokers.



I find it amazing the lengths the nanny staters will go to to villify smokers. Citing health and safety as their primary concerns. And yet they seem to stop just short to making smoking illigal. Hmmm. So if they make you get a permit to buy cigarettes, does that mean if they see you smoking and ask for your license, they can haul you off to jail if you don't have a license? Will gifting cigaretts to a non-licensee be a crime?
Excellent points I didn't even think of, Dane!

You think things out so well, you examine every aspect!

Indeed, "may I see your tobacco license," - "you don't have one? Off to jail!"

"Gifting cigarettes" - EXACTLY! You covered so many bases I didn't think of. Congrats!!!
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