The smoking backlash

November 6th, 2007 at 8:50 am by David Farrar

The other day one of the ZB panel questions was whether the National Anthem should be compulsory in schools, and my response was nothing would be worse as compulsion tends to lead to a backlash, especially amongst younger people.

With that in mind, I view with interest the NZ Herald story that there has been a significant increase in smoking rates, despite the massive campaigns against smoking.

A Massey University survey for the Ministry of Health has found the number of people aged 15 to 45 who have smoked at least once in the previous year has increased from 31.1 per cent in 2003 to 35.8 per cent.

The survey may be a blip of course. It happens.

I’m by no means against public health campaigns. But this is a useful reminder that they can have little effect or even be counter productive.

UPDATE: On the subject of banning bad things, this other Herald story is fascinating.  For the first time in ages cannabis and P use is dropping.  Why?  because people are using legal drugs more, such as party pills.  So what is the Government about to do?  Ban party pills.  And guess what that might do to cannabis and P use then?  Okay – not as simple as that, but there are links.

Incidentally according to a 2001 report we’re a drug crazed lot. We are 2nd highest for cannabis, 2nd for amphetamines and 3rd for E.  Only average for cocaine and heroin though.

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