I am increasingly tempted to start smoking once more. Given the authoritarian stance that the government takes against the partaking of tobacco, it is only a matter of time before lighting up will have the lure, excitement and increased health risks that came with drinking in prohibition America.
The latest in the ongoing war on smokers is the government’s 340,000 quit kits, set to cost the taxpayer in excess of £700,000. Disturbingly, as part of this latest campaign to conincide with New Year, a video once again shamelessly attempts to laden parents with more guilt for smoking. Smokers are increasingly being attacked and ostracised by a government that is more concerned with controlling, than in letting people determine their own lives. If they continue to infantilise the people of this country, any remaining and necessary willpower to quit will be destroyed.
But more than this, the government is undermining the discovery process that customers are undertaking in attempting to quit smoking. By backing certain techniques and technologies in its quit kits, alternative and potentially better solutions for those that wish to stop smoking are being crowded out of the market by NHS subsidies. It is the company’s that best appeals to its politicised agenda that wins.
A better policy would be one where people were treated as adults, built upon the foundation of the freedom to smoke on any private land with the owner’s permission. Instead of taxing the poor and remarkably inelastic smoker, the governent should instead redesign the health system so that the resulting health costs are borne by the smoker. But this is not likely to happen any time soon, not least because of the £9.9 billion in tax revenues brought in each year to government coffers. Instead of passing on the cost to smokers, as things stand smokers should be getting a rebate from the government. Perhaps one that could allow them to go private to deal with any smoking related diseases free from the underperforming NHS.