Smoking Ban

The Maori Party is drafting legislation to ban smoking and make it illegal to produce or sell tobacco.

Now there are two main arguments against trying to ban smoking. The first is practical – it simply will not work as too many people are already addicted and a huge black market would merely be created.

The second is philosophical that people should be free to kill themselves if they choose to do so. Taking that stance to extremes you would also have to consider not criminalising ‘P’, heroin etc.

However it is worth considering the issue purely from the health and safety perspective. Let’s assume that somehow tobacco/cigarettes has not yet been invented and a company suddenly invents it. Now it would have to submit it to medical safety authorities in various countries such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US. And could anyone imagine it would be approved? I mean it would be like asking for permission to sell flavoured arsenic in school cafeterias. “Hello FDA, we want to sell this product that will horribly kill over quarter of the people who use it, knock years or decades off their life and massively increase their costs of health-care.”

Now I am playing devil’s advocate here somewhat and not actually advocating that smoking should be banned. But that it is worth reflecting such a lethal product would probably fail to be accepted as a safe product for sale if it were not already in such widespread use.

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