I would be the last person to defend the tobacco industry but the latest move to force plain, standard packaging has me questioning if we’ve been going about this the wrong way? I know the ultimate goal is to get more people, especially young people to either quit or not pick up the habit in the first place. We’ve gone from eliminating advertising, putting the product behind locked cabinets to this final strategy. The research is clear. Smoking causes cancer and a raft of other respiratory diseases. You would almost wonder why it isn’t illegal? Of course banning smokes would simply benefit the black market and would mean less tax dollars for governments.
We also know alcohol is deadly. Not just for what it does to the liver and heart but how many people have died because of drunk driving or have been killed in an alcohol fuelled rage? Yet that industry is allowed to advertise, albeit with many restrictions, and attract consumers with some great labels. I’ll often try a bottle of wine just because of the artwork.
Here’s the big difference. Alcohol is sold in regulated, stand alone stores. Anyone who appears under the age of 25 is asked for identification. Why can’t we do the same with tobacco products? What is the difference? Let’s quit demonizing a legal product and allow adults, yes adults, to decide if they want to play with their health?