Friday, 19 December 2008

smoking ban 0 , choice 1

smoking ban 0 , choice 1

Youth smoking continues to rise

Almost a third of young adults in Scotland smoke. The number of young people smoking in Scotland has returned to a level last seen nearly 10 years ago, according to a report by health officials.The survey revealed nearly a third of people between 16-24 are smokers. In 2004 the number of young smokers in Scotland had fallen to just 25% but by 2007 that figure was 31%.The NHS Health Scotland and Scottish Public Health Observatory study revealed that in the 16 to 19 age group, females are more likely to smoke - while the highest rates are found among young offenders and care leavers. In the 16-19 age group, young women generally have higher smoking rates than young men. In the 20-24 age group, male rates exceed female rates. In 2006, 28% of 16-24 year olds in Scotland were regular smokers: an estimated 166,000 young adults.

Some specific groups in the population have much higher smoking rates than the average. Four in five young offenders smoke - 2000 young adults - and two thirds of care leavers - 1000 young people a year.

More proof prohibition does not work. It just makes smoking seem more of a 'forbidden fruit' and increases the trend among people, particularly the young, to see it as a 'cool' and 'rebellious' thing to do. Laws such as this often have reverse effects - the government and its apologists would do well to remember the law of unintended consequences. Yet still the government is pushing for more bans, more laws regulating tobacco and alcohol.

They don't seem to acknowledge this policy isn't working. They seem to just have their heads in the sand on this one. They want to 'normalise' smoking, politician double speak for engineering an atmosphere that stigmatises people for their habit. Ministers seem absolutely sure of their right to push their agendas on all of us and for us to conform to the non smoking 'perfect citizen' model. This is health fascism. This further shows the disastrous effect of letting special interest groups dominate policy and the effect this has of fragmenting society into those who weld the law against the smokers and the oppressed smokers themselves.

The government wants to drastically reduce smoking by 2012 but it wouldnt dare ban smoking, and of course it has a vested interest in making sure smoking rates don't fall too fast; the tax revenue it generates for the state is just too vast.

In 2008 the fascists now sport dietary healthy eating charts and do yoga, instead of swastikas and jack boots. This may seem like an exaggeration but it's all heading that way. Yes, you may enjoy your 'guilty pleasures' right now like chocolate and caffeine and 'unhealthy food' but how long is it till they clamp down on those too?


John said...

Er, no.

There was no ban on young people, or any other people smoking. There was a ban on smoking in public places so that non-smokers were not forced to participate in passive smoking. Before the ban, many people were forced to smoke passively. The ban was to give people freedom from other people's smoke. And as such, the ban could be depicted as freedom-loving measure.

No, the libertarian objection is not based on our objection to prohibition. It is based on the fact that the state was interfering where it had no business to do so. People were already quite free to walk out of smoky pubs, clubs, and restaurants and to choose smoke-free ones.

And actually, prohibition does work. Look at Singapore's drug prohibition laws. If the political will is there, and the all-powerful state wishes it to work, it will work. (It could have worked in America in the 20's, had America not had a very decentralised political structure and a comparatively libertarian culture.)

Libertarians do not oppose prohibition on the grounds that it does not work. They oppose it on the grounds that it unwarranted interference by the state in the life of individuals. And they fear the authoritarian state which is becoming more and more centralised, and more and more effective in surveillance of its citizens, and more and more able to interfere in the lives of individuals.

Dan Vevers said...

Or to put it another way John: prohibition does not work in a society that values individual liberty and privacy at least reasonably highly, as I would say, despite everything, the UK still does - i.e. the State isn't (or I certainly hope not) aware of all our private doings, habits, transactions etc. Of course, in the current authoritarian political climate how long that tradition continues remains to be seen.

Singapore, of course, executes even lower-rung drug dealers. Prohibition works there because the choice is between your life and your liberty to do what you want with your own body. People tend to choose the former.

Interestingly, the smoking ban has neve really been one of my bugbears. Even from a Libertarian perspective, I think there's something to be said about why should non-smokers have to pick and choose between public spaces because they don't want to passively smoke? That said, there are some prerty effective extractor fans on the market these days.

scottF said...

i think you maybe misunderstood.

i know there was no ban on smoking ,only in certain areas.

my point was the prohibition was wrong.

and the ban is not freedom loving it restricts choice.
if the pubs etc want to place a
smoking ban on those who enter their property that is fine,it is after all a private property
but the state imposing a ban on property owners who do not want to have one is morally and legally wrong(violates rights).

it couldn't have worked.
prohibtion has a reverse effect it always does , of course it depends on the people but it makes the illegal drug etc seem more exciting.

i oppose prohibtion because its state interference AND because it doesnt solve the 'problem'.

the evidence for passive smoking is shaky at best.

the smoking ban is a major libertarian issue.

Dan Vevers said...

Yeah I agree with you Scott, particularly on the issue of the rights of private property owners. But it is one of those issues I've never been particularly incensed about, probably because the ban had come into place before I ever went to pubs. Smokers going outside (and I am one) just seems normal to me now, I suppose, and I can see the other side of the argument.