Lifestyle Economics

The road to cigarette serfdom

Christopher Snowdon writes for Spiked!

IEA Head of Lifestyle Economics Christopher Snowdon has written for Spiked! responding to proposals to crack down on smoking from Shadow Health Secretary, Wes Streeting.

Christopher wrote:

“Having spent most of my adult life studying the machinations of mendacious prohibitionists, I can tell you how this will play out. These things usually start with a politician in a thinly populated Anglophone country seeking to make a name for themselves,

“It helps if you have a prime minister who is looking for a ‘legacy’. Tony Blair passed the smoking ban at the fag end of his premiership.”

While Streeting sees New Zealand’s smoking policy as a good example, Christopher sees it as a warning:

“Since the smoking age is 18 in New Zealand, the lifetime prohibition on cigarette sales to anyone born after 2008 won’t have any effect until after 2026. By which time Ardern will have left office, probably to take a cushy job at the World Health Organisation. In the meantime, anti-smoking fanatics will be frantically lobbying their governments to ‘follow New Zealand’s world-leading example’.

“The public consultation mooted by Wes Streeting makes it almost inevitable that the UK will emulate the Kiwis. The public-health blob will inundate the consultation with carbon-copied responses in favour of prohibition, and if the government declines to introduce the policy or decides to wait for further evidence, nanny-state activists will portray this as a ‘u-turn’ and accuse Streeting of being in the pocket of the tobacco industry. That is exactly what happened in the plain-packaging campaign.”

You can read Christopher’s full article here.