3 thoughts on “Don’t turn e-cigarettes into another tool of the state health nannies”

  1. Posted 21/08/2015 at 13:51 | Permalink

    At one time, I believe, schoolboys were positively required to smoke cigarettes, on health grounds! One of the (many) problems with the Nanny State is that Nanny keeps changing her mind, on health matters as on many others. This is just one aspect of the not-so-familiar problem that state instructions, if backed by coercion, are likely to involve high risk. (For example, the state schooling system requiring all their schools for many years to use a very poor method of teaching primary school children how to read.) How much better — and less risky — to rely instead on the trial-and-error, competitive ‘discovery procedures’ of the market. Douglas Jay got it exactly wrong: the gentleman in Whitehall really does not ‘know better what is good for people than the people know themselves’. (Lord Salisbury very wisely advised us: ‘never trust experts’.) In any event, freedom means freedom even to make mistakes (and thereby, with luck, learn from them).

  2. Posted 24/08/2015 at 08:42 | Permalink

    If Mark Littlewood would care to do some research, he will find that various studies disagree over whether smokers contribute more or less than the costs incurred by their habit. It is far from being as clear cut as he makes out. This is a separate issue, of course, to whether the state should try to control people’s behaviour because it runs a medical service.

  3. Posted 24/08/2015 at 08:55 | Permalink

    I should also add that Mark Littlewood’s figure of £12bn from tobacco taxes is spurious as this figure includes VAT, which is not a tobacco tax – it is levied on most goods and services. The correct figure for tobacco-specific taxes is around £9.5bn. What he also forgets is that although taxes on tobacco are high (as a percentage of the selling price), were nobody to buy tobacco, they would spend the money currently paid in tobacco taxes on other things that would also attract tax (in the form of VAT), so although there would be a shortfall in revenue, it would would be less than £9.5bn.

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