Sunday, February 17, 2008

Smoking Licences

Labour thinks smoking is bad, unhealthy and a burden on the National Health Service but because tobacco brings in so much revenue they can't simply ban it.

Smokers could be forced to pay £10 for a permit to buy tobacco if a government health advisory body gets its way.

On top of the massive tax on each pack of cigarettes.

Professor Le Grand, a former adviser to ex-PM Tony Blair, said cash raised by the proposed scheme would go to the NHS.

He said it was the inconvenience of getting a permit - as much as the cost - that would deter people from persisting with the smoking habit.

"You've got to get a form, a complex form - the government's good at complex forms; you have got to get a photograph."

Say hello to even more money going to the smugglers who already make a killing on black market cigarettes! Not to mention a market in false smoking licences- and exactly how are they going to police this? Surely one person could use his licence to buy cigarettes for everyone he knows? Is there also going to be a limit on how many cigarettes one person can buy in a week? Are shops going to have to be linked up to a national computer database tracking each card-holder's purchases? If only there was some example of some prior Prohibition to which they could look to for guidance.

Note too that he wants smoker's to go through this every year. One wonders if that £10 fee will ever actually make it to the NHS- or will it be used to pay for the department that handles smoking licences?

Obviously, Labour is interested in something likely to increase government bureaucracy, increase taxes and reduce individual freedom-

A department of health spokeswoman did not rule out such a scheme as part of the next wave of tobacco regulation.

She said: "We will be consulting later this year on the next steps on tobacco control."

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