A licence to smoke

Female Smoker

Sydney University public health expert Simon Chapman has prompted the Australian government to provide smokers with yearly licences that would identify the quantity of cigarettes they could purchase.

Giving up the licence would be compensated with the payment of all the fees paid. If you give up smoking at 40, for example, you might be looking at a windfall of a few thousand dollars.

“If a person puts an additional dollar on a pack and put that into the incentive fund, the person stopping smoking would get all that money back as well,” Mr. Chapman said.

A specific glory of the licensing system would be a efficient anti-smoking strategy, with health authorities gaining from having a list of smokers’ data and details of their habit. Someone who, for example, proved resolve one year about quitting by claiming 10 cigarettes a day rather than 20 could be aimed with an individual incentive to take that final step.

Mr. Chapman wants governments to be bold in their thinking and treat tobacco like the dangerous substance it is.

Cigarettes, in contrast, are widely available to any adult person.

“Tobacco is marketed in the way it is as the style of marketing was set up long before the proof was in about the negative affects of smoking,” Mr. Chapman said. “But there is that evidence since the 1950s.” Certainly, the program would be complex. Licensed tobacco retailers would need to have a swipe-card reader and be prohibited from selling tobacco products to anyone who does not have a licence. People applying for a licence would take a test to find whether they completely knew the risks of smoking.

That the tobacco industry would struggle the initiative tooth and nail was evident from a declaration that British American Tobacco made this year.

“Manu adult people enjoy cigarette smoking and will continue to smoke and it’s their right. It is sold a controversial product, but it’s a legal.” Jeff Collin, a public health specialist from Scotland’s Edinburgh University, condemned Chapman’s proposal from a different perspective, stating that the target of anti-smoking campaigns should keep with the providers, rather than move to customers.

“Another apparent criticism is that, if tobacco is so dangerous, why not ban it?” Mr. Chapman said. “Some people are greatly hooked. It would be a formula for a very significant black market supplying those desperate people.”


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