The government is planning to ban the display of cigarettes in cornershops and other privately-owned premises. Since tobacco is as yet not illegal, it is unclear on what basis this proposed law rests. Cornershops will still be allowed to sell packets of cigarettes, but presumably they will have to be sealed in a titanium vault in case somebody notices them. As the government also disapproves of alcohol, pornography and calorie-causing foods, the average cornershop is soon going to be looking pretty empty.
“Outlining the proposals, Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said it was “vital” to teach children that “smoking is bad”. “If that means stripping out vending machines or removing cigarettes from behind the counter, I’m willing to do that,” she said.”
Keen to support any measure which increases the power of the state, David Cameron gave it his backing.
“The Department of Health, which is keen to prevent youngsters from smoking, has cited research that suggests someone who starts smoking at the age of 15 is three times more likely to die of smoking-related cancer than someone who starts in their late 20s.”
So someone who starts smoking 10-15 years earlier than someone else is more likely to develop lung cancer? They had to do research to find that out.
Government has its uses. Some things should be illegal, while other things should have age restrictions. However, if a product is legal, everybody should be able to purchase and enjoy it without harassment, with the caveat that there will be some restrictions (such as no smoking in schools or hospitals). If people wish to smoke in privately-owned premises (e.g. a pub), they should be able to. It is up to the owner of the property to set the rules. If people wish to purchase cigarettes they should be able to do so, without being constantly bombarded by anti-smoking messages. Lung cancer is horrible, but at the end of the day if people want to increase the risk of lung cancer by smoking then that is their choice.
As a society we have two choices. We can either ban things we disagree with even if the banned thing does no harm to others, or not. The government thinks it knows what’s best for people in every area of their lives, and legislates accordingly. Why arenâ€™t more people annoyed by this attitude?
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