News Thursday November 15, 2012

Mixed response to ‘licence’ for smoking

According to a proposal at this week’s PLOS Medicine, licences for smokers should be employed to help cut down the number of smokers.

This radical suggestion by Professor Simon Chapman from the University of Sydney has had mixed responses and will require smokers to buy yearly licences which will limit how many smokers will buy. Not only is it believed that this will cut down the number of cigarettes smoked but will also deter young people from taking up the habit because of the cost involved. Professor Chapman has argued that there is currently not enough measures to deter smokers from smoking.

According to the suggested new legislation, smokers will be given a ‘smartcard’ as part of the licence and will be tested on their knowledge of smoking-related dangers. The smart card will also serve as a means to collect data to help create more effective anti-smoking strategies.

Critics of the new legislation are warning that it distracts from the real issue, which are tobacco companies and instead victimises smokers, further contributing to their isolation.

Professor Jeff Collins from the university of Edinburgh was quoted in the Mail Online saying: 'Fundamental challenge confronting any endgame strategy is that the move towards a tobacco-free society should address the social determinants of health and promote equity and social justice.’ He also said that: 'The proposal for a smoker's license should be rejected as failing this challenge.'

Currently anti-smoking legislation in the UK limits smokers from smoking in enclosed public places, however the government plans to implement standardised packaging for cigarettes, measures which have already been employed by the notoriously strict Australian government.

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