Licence to smoke?
Tue, 20 Nov 2012 5:02a.m.
By Imogen Crispe
A proposed smoker’s licence could see people forced to take a test and pay a fee before they are allowed to buy cigarettes.
The licence, proposed by Sydney University professor of public health Simon Chapman, would require applicants to pass an online 'risk knowledge' test to make sure they know the dangers of what they are about to do, as well as paying an annual fee to keep the licence.
Licence holders would be given a card which they would have to show or scan whenever they wanted to purchase cigarettes or tobacco.
Action on Smoking Health director Ben Youdan says the idea is one option which could help achieve the New Zealand Government’s goal of becoming a smoke free country by 2025.
He says there is a need for people to be coming up with ways to help smokers quit.
“If we are really serious about getting smoking rates right down […] we do need to be considering quite radical ideas.”
Mr Youdan says tobacco should be treated as the “harmful drug which it is” and likes the idea of the risk knowledge test.
“Making sure smokers really understand the huge risks of smoking is certainly something that’s an important consideration.
“The tobacco industry does a great job of playing down the risks.”
He also likes the idea that the scheme would offer people’s annual fee money back to them once they have quit and given up their licence.
“I think that would certainly act as a real incentive for people to make a quit attempt.”
But just the idea of applying for the licence may also be an incentive to quit.
“The hassle of getting the licence in the first place could prompt people to make a quit attempt,” Mr Youdan says.
But he thinks there are a number of potential disadvantages to this idea, one being that it would take a lot of bureaucracy, money and time to get it in place.
His main concern though is that it places the burden of responsibility on the smoker, rather than the tobacco companies.
“We need to be quite cautious about things which shift the burden of responsibility and blame from the tobacco companies.”
He would prefer a solution which required not just smokers to have licences, but everyone involved in getting tobacco to the market – the growers, the manufacturers, the importers, the wholesalers and the retailers.
British American Tobacco New Zealand (BATNZ) spokeswoman Susan Jones says the company strongly opposes Mr Chapman’s idea of a smoker's licence, saying it would “stigmatise and discriminate against smokers”.
"It is an insult to ask informed adults who have made the choice to smoke to sit a test before they can obtain a licence.
"There is universal awareness of tobacco health warnings in New Zealand so Professor Chapman’s suggestion that smokers would have to pass a licensing test serves no practical purpose.”
She says BATNZ also worries about the negative impact licensing could have on tourists who wouldn’t be able to buy cigarettes, and on dairy and convenience store owners who “depend on tobacco to keep people coming through the door”.
Read the full smoker's licence proposal here.
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23/02/2013 12:29:42 a.m.
what a load of crap,where do these people come up with these ideas,after watching sponge bob lol
9/12/2012 12:18:05 a.m.
As a smoker that does intend to quit, i still have to say that this and all other ides like hiding them behind doors, plain packaging etc is just an extra cost to everyone involved and smokers are going to quit when they feel its the right time for them.
If it is forced upon them there is no doubt in my mind that it will go underground alongside Marijuana and if alcohol is deemed illegal then home brew and underground sales will increase again. NZ government is creating criminals by restricting people.
Vehicles, Roads, Cigarettes, Alcohol. the police abuse etc was never so bad before the government wanted to find extra revenue in the things we like to do. sorry for my rant everyone, First ever post.
1/12/2012 2:30:51 p.m.
This is the most ludacris thing i have read in a while, Pathetic revenue collectors
23/11/2012 7:27:56 p.m.
I don't understand why something so harmful isn't just illegal like other harmful drugs. I used to smoke, so I know what its like. If it was illegal, it would be easier to give up, because when you have given up and others around you still smoke, thats often what makes you start again. While I relate to what CS says below, doing something so health damaging isn't going to help it just adds more subtle trauma to all the major ones. I don't believe sky high prices are the answer though.
23/11/2012 2:43:48 p.m.
How about nut-job academics have to pass an empathy license test before they promote their 'ideas'?
1: Were you born on the 'right' or 'wrong side of the tracks'?
2: Ever suffered a trauma?
3: How about multiple trauma's?
4: Ever actually lived in the real world?
5: Ever been so angry,disillusioned,disenfranchised or just plain unhappy that a touch of lung cancer in latter life seems a small price to pay for just getting through to the next day?
21/11/2012 1:18:58 a.m.
egbert pukunui wrote:
I remember at highschool seeing Action on Smoking and Health tracts strewn around school library tables .
What would such people do if hoi Poloi (by presumably divine grace)forgot to smoke tobacco from tomorrow on ? Perhaps they would need nicotine patches . They were fanatics then and this is the latest evidence .
Ironically they and others are right about tobacco , but their tactics seem weird , their strategy doubtful . There is already homegrown tobacco about - wanna criminalise it to reinforce the squeeze on commercial tobacco ? The more tobacco is driven up in price the more people will value it . Jobs for cops and gangsters . Oh, and policy consultants from groups like ASH .
20/11/2012 11:29:52 p.m.
Terence Hodgson wrote:
As a smoker, and over 50, I support many attempts to make the habit void. A smokers' card could be quite fun; but if ASH wants radical ideas, how about making tobacco purchase illegal for anyone over 40. Slide this scale every year until smoking is a dead thing. BUT, because you're so preachingly mindful of health, such a thing must go hand in hand with a similar effort to make NZ booze free. Booze is leading this country in its rush to the bottom.
20/11/2012 2:44:54 p.m.
this is the most dumbest idea in the world....
20/11/2012 2:23:44 p.m.
and lets have the same thing for alcahol and see what happens then... how about everything thats bad for us being banned? its obvious we are not a free country and will continue to be so until we completly reform the political system and return power to the people...
20/11/2012 2:22:24 p.m.
I think it would be great for the people working in the stores that sell smokes. There would no longer be issues with stores having to do age checks, all they would have to do is make sure everyone has one of those cards no more trying to guess a persons age, no more backlash when you ask someone over 18 for id. Also perhaps spot checks for people out smoking in public to make sure they are carrying their id card, would put a stop to kids taking their parents smokes and smoking them in the park.
I also think the same should apply for alcohol making everyone produce a licence card and anyone seen in public drinking alcohol without one of those cards gets a fine. Once again this would help the issues with underage drinking. I don't smoke but would be happy to produce a card when purchasing alchohol.
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