Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Going After Smokers Again

There was a report yesterday that the Government are considering removing cigarettes from view in shops, and vending machines from pubs. All of this in an attempt to stop children from taking up smoking.

I have a few issues with this.

Firstly, how does removing a product from display stop someone from wanting it? I don't recall there being huge adverts for cocaine anywhere, but the demand for that seems to be increasing. Surely the fact that the cigarettes are only available from under the counter would make them seem more appealing? "Oooh, these must be really exotic and dangerous, I'll simply have to try some" etc.

Secondly, this doesn't actually stop them from being sold to people under 18. Enterprising children can still pool their cash and persuade someone who is over 18 (someone homeless for example, in exchange for booze or drugs) to get the cigarettes for them instead. If you want to stop children from smoking, try making them all smoke a pack of cigars at the age of five: that should put most of them off. Alternatively, invite people suffering from smoking related lung cancer to go round schools and explain what has happened to them and why.

Thirdly, it's already illegal to sell tobacco to under 18's. Enforcing the legislation that is already in place, rather than bringing in yet more pointless laws and red-tape would seem to be a more reasonable idea, don't you think?

Also, why are the Government actually bothering with this? The amount of money they make from the taxes on tobacco more than covers the cost of the NHS care smokers receive. The extra money goes towards pensions, and dead smokers won't be needing a pension. Less people smoking means less money from taxes, and larger numbers of people expecting pensions and health care into their old age.

The Government should actually be encouraging people to take up smoking.

And while I'm ranting, why not have pubs for over 18's only? No children whatsoever. Then you wouldn't need to remove the vending machines. And since everyone inside was old enough to decide things for themselves if they understood the risks, have the landlord decide if the pub is to be smoking or non-smoking. Pubs then start making money again (which goes into the Government coffers eventually), people continue to die young (saving Government money in the long run) and I stop having to endure other people's children running around screaming when I'm trying to have a quiet pint.

Oh, and I wouldn't keep feeling like I'm living in a fucking Nanny state.

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