The British Medical Association (BMA) has voted by a large majority for the illegalisation of tobacco for people born after the year 2000.
Dr. Tim Crocker-Buque, who is a Specialist Registrar in Public Health, said “Smoking is not a rational informed choice of adulthood…Eighty per cent of smokers start as teenagers as a result of intense peer pressure.”
“Smokers who start smoking at age 15 are three times as likely to die of smoking related cancer as someone who starts in their mid-20s.” He also added on BBC Radio Three Counties today: “one in two smokers will die of their habit.” Croker-Buque also alluded to the “nihilism” of smoking.
However, Simon Clark of the Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Tobacco (Forest) is not so convinced.
Clark writes on his blog: “Prohibition won’t work. Criminals will make a fortune selling cigarettes to anyone who can’t buy them legally….The idea that free-thinking adults could be barred from buying cigarettes because of the year in which they’re born is both preposterous and discriminatory.”
He concludes by saying “It’s arbitrary, unenforceable and completely illiberal.”
It remains to be seen whether the government will actually implement such a ban, as they would lose substantial tax revenues. Also, if history repeats itself, some anti-smoking groups may even oppose the ban.
In 2003, North Dakota State Senate proposed the full illegalisation of tobacco. Although defeated by 88-4, the Republican Wes Belter, chairman of the Finance and Taxation Committee, was frustrated with the anti-tobacco groups ” ..that testified against the tobacco ban, including the North Dakota Medical Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, North Dakota Public Health Association and North Dakota Nurses Association.”
The anti-smoking groups said: “There’s no evidence banning tobacco would prevent and reduce tobacco use because no such approach has been implemented… The ban also could take away certain funding for these groups for tobacco control programs.”