Cigarettes Should Be Illegal 

Cigarettes Should Be Illegal 
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I read an email the other day that contained this bummer of a statement: “Cigarettes are the only legal consumer product that, when used as intended, will kill half of all long-term users.”

It’s not news, but it’s true.

If somebody invented cigarettes today, they’d be tossed in the clink. A thing you burn, that creates annoying smoke, and will kill you if you keep using it? And it’s addictive, designed to make you want to keep using it?

There is no reason for cigarettes to be legal. Maybe you don’t like the government telling you what to do, but currently the cigarette companies are the ones telling you what to do.

Specifically, they are telling you that it is a-OK, even cool, to light some carcinogens on fire and inhale the smoke. As a bonus, you’re messing with the lungs and brains of people who come near you. Why the hell would you want to do that?

The government is very, very belatedly dealing with the situation (how long have we known cigarettes are useless death sticks?) but this litany of recommendations and restrictions don’t really go far enough.

There are now plans afoot in various places in the world to regulate the amount of nicotine in cigarettes so that it falls below addictive levels. (The FDA recently opened up a docket for public comments on this very topic in the US, for example.)

If this becomes the new norm, nobody will have the excuse that they’re smoking because they are addicted. You will literally be filling your lungs with garbage smoke for no reason. Good luck to the tobacco companies, who will probably still find a way to market the heck out of this.


  • The government is very, very belatedly dealing with the situation (how long have we known cigarettes are useless death sticks?) but this litany restrictions don’t really go far enough.

    Hmm, plain packs, graphic stickers, no smoking in pubs, restaurants, in cars with kids, taxes to push it over $20 a pack, no advertising, no open display in shops, and so on.

    Not far enough? They’ve been travelling this path since the 1980s and you claim it’s belated?

    About the only thing left any more is to ban them. They will get there, but sheesh, with all the restrictions I can’t see how you can ever claim it’s not far enough with a straight face.

    • The part in brackets is key – governments the world over have known cigarettes can cause serious health damage since the 1940s. So yes, waiting until the 1980s to get serious about it is certainly belated.

      • I don’t smoke, I hate smoking, but for Beth to claim that 40 years of our using higher and higher excises and also increasingly stronger advertising action, including a long-time ban in sporting, and our world leading plain packaging laws are “inaction” is simply overstating the mark.

        It’s not inaction, it’s 40 years of actually working to change societies views, make it unaceptable, and push this junk out of existence.

        Australia is leading the world in stamping out this terrible habit, and has been for 40 years. Not inaction, long term, positive change.

        • If you read my previous comment to you, it hasn’t been 40 years. It has in fact been closer to 20 years. Most of the progress in this regard has been done since 2000 and primarily it’s been in Australia. Many other countries have done little to nothing about it.

        • Yet we managed to ban guns overnight following Port Arthur – governments can ban cigarettes overnight if they wanted, but they are as much addicted to the $revenue as the smoker is to nicotine

    • Most of those things you mention didn’t start happening in the 80s or even the 90s. I still remember when Rugby League competed for the Winfield Cup and the Cricket series were sponsored by Benson and Hedges. Both of these were very prominent in the 80s and continued well into the 90s.

      The actual bans on smoking are all pretty recent…as in, they have mostly only happened since the turn of the century.

      Plain packaging didn’t start in Australia until 2012 and other countries like the UK have only started following suit in the last year or two. The ban in smoking in restaurants, and also the ban in smoking indoors varies a little from state to state, but NSW for example didn’t introduce restaurant smoking bans until 2001 and the indoor smoking ban didn’t fully come into effect until 2007. It took them until 2013 to ban smoking around children’s play equipment, and smoking in cars with children under 16 didn’t start until 2009.

      You might want to recheck the source of your facts.

      And that’s only really talking about Australia – despite this late action, Australia is still one of the most progressive countries when it comes to banning smoking. Only a handful of other countries so far have introduced plain packaging. Many European and South American countries still allow you to smoke indoors, even in restaurants and pubs where food is being served.

      We have a looooooong way to go before they are outright illegal. Australia is actually one of the closest countries in the world to doing this, but even we are a long way from it becoming a reality. And the cynic in me says they will never be made illegal because the government makes too much money off them. One can hope, though.

    • The government is very, very belatedly dealing with the situation

      But remember that the author of this particular article is Beth Skwarecki, who is based in Pittsburgh, PA. She’s not talking about the Australian government’s efforts, she’s talking about the American government (presumably).

    • Pretty easy to claim it’s not far enough. How about banning the sale for anyone born after the year 2000. Super easy to check on any form of ID, just look for the first digit. Oh, it’s a 2, sorry, no smokes for you. Sadly we are already in 2018 and this has not been implemented.

  • Bloody hell, it’s quite obvious that those that are hooked on nicotine and whatever else is in the things to reinforce the addiction are NOT going to stop because, well, they are addicted. The only thing Governments can truly do is shut down the actual factory where they are being made. The things are as dangerous as any other drug that has been banned, and as soon as they find a drug house they raid it, so why not big tobacco too. And don’t get me started on alcohol either. The only truly ethical recreational drug is Hemp, it does far less damage than either nicotine or alcohol, let’s hope it is taken off the dangerous drugs list real soon.

    • Alcohol is perfectly fine as long as you are responsible about it. The issue is a lot of people aren’t. They binge drink alcohol with the sole purpose of getting drunk, and that’s absolutely a problem. But it’s totally okay…perhaps even healthy, to have a drink a couple of times a week with a meal. To put some kind of blanket ban on alcohol (outside of the current laws that prevent you from doing some things like driving while intoxicated and having minimum age requirements) would be punishing those that don’t abuse it and drink responsibly.

      But this discussion isn’t about alcohol so I’ll leave it there.

      • Just a short rebuttal, my comment only briefly mentioned alcohol.
        Alcohol consumption by younger adults from early teens to mid 20’s has been shown to make it harder for them to quit it as older adults. Sure a lot of people may just consume smaller amounts, but the risks for the younger set should outway the use by all. Alcohol is a dangerous drug and does more damage the longer it is used just like any other addictive drug.

      • Hang on a minute. What about someone that enjoys a social cigarette and isn’t knocking down two packets a day… Surely that person has as much rights to be able to buy a cigarette as you have to be able to buy alcohol.

        Oh and the “Smokers cost too much in health care’ argument that will undoubtedly come along. Aus Gov published that they have a $832,000,000 net effect gain per year from Tobacco income versus costs (healthcare, fires (really), etc)… Perhaps all of you Non-smokers should pay a higher medicare than the smokers….

        • Smoking is never good for you. Ever. Alcohol has been shown to even have some health benefits when consumed responsibly. There’s your difference. Even a social smoker is doing damage to their body whenever they light up.

    • The only thing Governments can truly do is shut down the actual factory where they are being made.
      Its been illegal to grow tobacco in Australia since 2006. Since then, various departments do what they can to shut down illegal plantations, so not sure what else they can do after making it illegal to grow here.

      Banning the sale of processed tobacco would cost too much revenue, which is the real reason its still legal to buy them. With the budget in such a hole, no Government is going to ban cigarettes outright, so its going to be a while before that happens.

      By then, I have little doubt something else will come along to justify selling them for just a little longer…

  • I haven’t done extensive research in e-cigs (feel free to correct me if you’re more knowledgeable on the subject) but from a few recent articles I’ve read recently, they appear to much less of a danger than actual tobacco so surely the govt. should make it a bit easier for people to switch?
    Prohibition rarely works (people will find a way, if they want it – tobacco black market will thrive and then nobody wins) but harm minimization seems a better option IMO.

    • I think you’ll find that the main manufacturers of E-Cigs have been bought out by the Tobacco companies, so no doubt they are conjuring ways to make that addictive also.

    • I think the tobacco companies research would show that people think e-cigs are daggy. Harping on about ‘being safer for you’, reiterates that they aren’t safe in the first place.

  • I Couldn’t disagree more.

    I hate government control like this. If someone wants to smoke, they should be able to. It also shouldn’t be taxed 1 billion percent. If we go down this path they’ll bloody have a fast food tax soon and then they’ll ban fast food. It may sound stupid, but where is the line? Its control to the highest degree. Everyone should have the right to manage their own health.

    • Sorry but managing your own health doesn’t cut it when there is a public health system paid for by taxes.

      • arrr yes! i hear you.

        But if something as detrimental as junk food is ok how is smoking different? Health problems occurring due to people eating too much junk food, being overweight, result in way more deaths than smoking. Whats the difference?

        Once again, where is the line?

        • The line is somewhere in between the two. Obesity isn’t just about the food you eat, but plenty of other lifestyle choices people make, so lumping the problem onto junk food isn’t entirely fair.

          Not saying it doesn’t play a part, but like alcohol, junk food by itself is fine in moderation, and obesity can be treated fairly easily – exercise for starters.

          Cigarettes create problems from the first one, and the health problems stemming from smoking only comes from that single source, not multiple ones like diabetes and obesity.

        • When i am walking past the shops, and someone is eating a big mac, my family and i are not inhaling noxious chemicals as a result of that action, so it doesn’t effect our health.

          It seems i cannot get near the local shops without walking through a cloud of smoke (often in violation of the not out the front of places that serve food laws).

          • man chill out. You’d be walking past car exhausts every day that probably do much worse things to you. Honestly cant stand it when people whinge about the smell. I dont even smoke but i grew up when people could smoke in shopping centers and movie theaters. we have it good today

      • also, saying we will provide free health care for you only if you abide by our rules is not ok.

    • The correlation between cigarette smoking and the national/public health cost is very high. Quitting smokes is not just a good thing for personal health, it’s also good for the national budget.

      • The correlation between eating junk food and the national/public health cost is higher.

        • Too true, but another subject altogether.
          Still, I think sugar is the demon you are talking about, so let’s get the big corporations to start making healthy food instead of the massive sugar and salt injections they are pumping into us all, well, the poor anyway.

      • non issue. There are so many laws trying to prevent that. Unless you’re trapped in an enclosed space with a smoker, breaking the law, It doesn’t matter.

        • Yes, I was responding to your broad, sweeping statement regarding government regulation of smoking with a broad, sweeping statement regarding one of the best reasons we have those regulations 🙂

  • “Life is another legal consumer product that, when used as intended, will kill ALL long-term users.” It’s not news, but it’s true.

    Please, the only real sin of any addicted is that they negatively affect the lives of others. Some we feel sad for and others we demonize. All require support of some kind but where do we stop our religious fervor in convincing others that we’re right and we will assimilate them?

    Alcohol is a reportedly a carcinogen at any amount which should alarm those that use methylated spirits as a natural “green” cleaner and germ killer. Too much oxygen will kill and, while fat is vital for human life, the obese are tormented for a variety of conditions they very often have little or no control over.

    Huh. The title says “Cigarettes should be made illegal”. So no problems with Cigars, chewing tobacco, rolling tobacco or snuff then hmmmmm?

    Oh and what about all the other products that humanity smokes to relax or get off???

    Spare me please.

  • Totally agree that they should be banned, but it’ll be like trying to ban alcohol – an underground market will simply pop up. Better to tax the hell out of it and inject that money into the public healthcare system, which will invariably have to deal with their shitty life choices. The same should really go for alcohol too – drinking to excess is just as bad, and again most of those alcoholics end up in the public healthcare system.

    The problem is people only ever see ‘new tax fucking government keeping me down!’ and don’t stop to consider the implications of their shitty choices. Attitudes are hard to change and take significant amounts of time, but a generation growing up with grandparents (or sometimes parents) or other family dying from lung cancer and end-stage COPD in their 60s or early 70s from a lifetime of smoking helps change them.

    • Apparently, this current generation will be outlived by their parents. You have to stand back and digest that! Christ, I hope they get big money to stop thinking of us all as worker drones… Yeah, that’s not gonna happen either, we’re all screwed I guess.

  • Yes they should, and cigarette companies should be sued the many billions it will cost to look after those affected by their cancer sticks.

  • Saying something should be made illegal *purely* because its bad for the person who freely chooses to engage in the activity, isn’t right.

    I know its addictive, but I think if the companies selling the product are forced to sponsor programs and promotion of said programs to help the person quit, then that’s probably far enough, although I also agree with the restrictions on advertising.

    Now when you bring other things into it, how these consumers negatively effect *other* citizens (with their passive smoke, their families with the wasted income, the health system etc) then it becomes fair to question if their should be societal (government) control, but wanting to ban things for everyone just because you think the primary aim should be to live as long as possible, is a bit of a worry.

    I don’t smoke, but whats next? Chocolate? Don’t you ****ing touch my chocolate!

  • “…even cool…”

    Smoking is cool. But it kills you, people around you, makes you smell and is annoying to non-smokers. But it sure as shit is cool.

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