Monday, October 06, 2008

Yul Brynner was right

Do you smoke? You shouldn't you know, it's bad for you. I know that it is bad for you because I see at least three graphic and disturbing advertisements every day on television telling me how my legs will drop off, or I'll get cancer and die if I carry on smoking.

Oh, you don't smoke? Neither do I. Gave it up years ago. Bad for your health. Gives you cancer and makes your legs drop off.

So why the hell am I still subjected to these damn ads that turn me off my dinner every night? Because there are still people out there who smoke, who are slowly killing themselves and costing the taxpayer funded healthcare system a fortune doing it.

I don't need to be told not to smoke anymore, something radical needs to change, and sharpish.

In future, in order to purchase tobacco products, you will need to present a licence. If a police officer spots you smoking on the street you may also need to produce your smoking licence, just like you need to produce your drivers licence when in control of a motor vehicle.

The licence only costs around $100 per annum, the proceeds of which go towards funding the licencing system, with the remainder going to the department of health. We can use the existing RTA infrastructure for producing the licences, so the actual cost of administration should be pretty low. You will have to renew the licence once a year in person - if you are too ill or infirm to visit the RTA, then what hte hell are you doing smoking? You will have to watch a video of all the latest smoking ads, explaining just how bad it is to smoke. That way only those who currently smoke, or intend to smoke in the future will be subjected to them. This will save the taxpayer advertising expenses that normally go to newspapers and television stations. After the video, you will be recquired to pass a short knowledge test on the dangers and health risks involved with smoking to prove that you understand just how detrimental it is to you. If you are unable to pass the test, it is clear that you are unable to understand the dangers of smoking, and therefore need to be protected from doing yourself harm.

If you want to smoke, I believe you should be allowed to do so, but understand you are now in the minority, costing the community money, and you should be able to prove that you understand what you are doing, put up with some inconvenience for doing it, and put back some of that money into the public health system. Why the rest of us are still burdened so for your habit is beyond me. If the above described system had been in place when I was a smoker I would have quit much sooner, or not taken it up at all.

This won't happen any time soon, of course, but can anyone give me some intelligent reasons why it shouldn't happen?