In this week’s issue of PLos Medicine, two experts, Simon Chapman from the University of Sydney in Australia and Jeff Collin from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, debate the need for a smoker’s licence.
Chapman’s recommendation is for a type of smart card licence which would be designed to limit access to tobacco products. Proposed details include:
– an annual cost (depending on the number of cigarettes smoked),
– reissue each year,
– daily limits for the number of cigarettes bought, and
– completion of a test of knowledge about the health risks of smoking.
Ultimately, the data collected from licence applications could be used to develop better smoking prevention strategies, he says in the article.
Collin, on the other hand, argues that a licence would increase the stigmatization of smokers, while drawing the focus away from the tobacco industry.
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, Canada currently devotes 75 percent of tobacco packaging to pictures and text discouraging the habit, making it one of the leading countries when it comes to warning people about the dangers of smoking (fourth in a ranking of 198 countries). But, 17 percent of Canadian still identify themselves as smokers.
Personally, I’m all for the introduction of a smoker’s licence in Canada. We’re all aware of the health impacts of smoking and the impact it’s having on our health care system, so why try and make the habit a little less accessible.
Would you support a smoker’s licence? Do you think a licence would encourage people to quit smoking, or even discourage teens from picking up the habit in the first place?