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Stogie News: Governments to Require Licenses to Smoke?

18 Feb 2008

Despite the fact that StogieGuys.com is about cigars, not politics, we’ve spent considerable time and text communicating the evils of government-imposed smoking bans. And rightly so. When the state violates the private property rights of bar and restaurant owners in this unjustifiable fashion, it eliminates many occasions that would otherwise be perfect cigar opportunities.

CigarIt also eliminates liberty. I’ve written before that smoking bans, like many government regulations, present a slippery slope. These invasive laws – once relegated to restaurants, workplaces, and bars – have moved closer to our homes, cars, and other private places. Many anti-smoking zealots will not rest until tobacco is outlawed completely.

A recent BBC article signals the next trend in their indefensible crusade for more regulation and less personal freedom. A senior government advisor in England is publicly proposing that smokers be required by law to purchase a £10 ($19.61) permit to purchase tobacco.

Professor Julian Le Grand, a former adviser to ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair, says that such a law would encourage smokers to quit. “You’ve got to get a form, a complex form – the government’s good at complex forms; you have got to get a photograph,” he said on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Professor Le Grand goes on to say that “it’s a little bit of a problem to actually do it, so you have got to make a conscious decision every year to opt in to being a smoker…So if you just make it that little bit more difficult for them to actually re-start or even to start in the first place, yes I think it will make a big difference.”

These outrageous statements help demonstrate that the anti-smoking movement isn’t about secondhand smoke or public health; it’s about using the government to violate the rights of the minority. Politicians and bureaucrats think they know what’s best for smokers, and they will use their power to criminalize activities that they deem worthy of eradicating.

Thirty years ago, the concept of government-imposed smoking bans on a grand scale was almost incomprehensible. So is it all that insane to think that we’ll have to get permits to purchase cigars in the future?

Patrick A

photo credit: Flickr

Drew Estate

7 Responses to “Stogie News: Governments to Require Licenses to Smoke?”

  1. Gilster Monday, February 18, 2008 at 4:24 am #

    From the linked website.

    From Simon Clark at Forest

    ~snip~

    Sept, 2004

    When we finished, Reid turned to his senior advisor and asked: "What do you think?" Julian Le Grand didn't hesitate. "I agree with them," he said, nodding in our direction.(Activists from Forest) Reid thought for a moment, then said (I paraphrase): "Yes, I've always been pretty dubious about passive smoking."

    ~snip~

    On Friday Feb 15, 2008

    On Radio Five's Stephen Nolan Show I reminded Le Grand of what he had said. He claimed not to remember but added, helpfully: "I don't actually think the arguments on passive smoking are all that strong."

  2. Gilster Monday, February 18, 2008 at 4:26 am #

    Click onto 'Gilster' for the website link

    Report written on Feb 16th

  3. Sean Monday, February 18, 2008 at 5:46 am #

    "A senior government advisor in England is publicly proposing that smokers be required by law to purchase a £10 ($19.61) permit to purchase tobacco."

    …possibly the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.

  4. dk6 Monday, February 18, 2008 at 6:21 am #

    I think it's more about revenue generation than health concerns

  5. Ricky Friday, February 22, 2008 at 3:40 am #

    This kind of stuff makes me sick. It'll be an idea that's adopted here in the US soon enough and there won't be enough people standing up for personal freedom to prevent it from happening. This is the Prohibition of the 21st Century, the only problem is this time nobody cares.

  6. Jon Friday, February 22, 2008 at 5:53 am #

    I was born and raised in Southern California (Los Angeles, specifically) — a region that has always been on the forefront of the anti-smoking crusade. And I can see the argument from both sides. On one hand, I genuinely do believe that most of the anti-smoking regulations here in California (and the US) were made with good intentions, and were predominantly directed at curbing secondhand smoke. At the same time, I disagree wholeheartedly with them. The road to hell, as they say, is paved with good intentions like these.

    I guess you could call me a libertarian and a strict Constitutionalist. I believe in personal liberties, as old-fashioned as lawmakers these days would seem to think they are. So it disturbs me to see "nanny state" government interfering with personal choice any time it happens. Smoking just happens to be a very easy target for the government, because it's tough to argue logic against emotion.

    Now, this idea — of charging for permits, of willfully imposing a bureaucratic nightmare on would-be smokers — seems downright fascist. What we have in California is just misguided liberalism run amok. But what seems to be going on in the UK is a slow, steady march toward really scary government. Not just with this issue, but with any number of other liberty-curtailing laws and regulations they've been discussing there. I feel bad for my brothers and sisters in the UK who may soon have to deal with this crap.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. License to Smoke « Great Cigar Articles From The Web - Monday, February 18, 2008

    […] UK Government to curb your bad habits. They’ll require you get a license to smoke. Read the full article at Stogie Guys. Posted by stogielover Filed in Cigar Articles Tagged: smoker rights, smoking […]