Wednesday 11 January 2023

Prohibitionists turn out to be prohibitionists

"No one's talking about banning smoking!"

If I had a penny for every time an anti-smoker said something to this effect when lobbying for their latest piece of tobacco control legislation I would be a wealthy man. They would affect to be mortally offended by the accusation of being a prohibitionist. 

But now that New Zealand is introducing actual prohibition, their only question is when their own country is going to do likewise. The Labour Party is already expressing an interest. They were lying all along, as I say in an article for Spiked...

Where are these people now that New Zealand is actually introducing prohibition? How do they feel about the political party that is tipped to form the next British government being keen to do likewise? Do they feel betrayed by politicians who have taken their ideas to illiberal extremes? Are they disappointed that their ‘think of the children’ rhetoric has got out of hand? Of course not. They’re laughing up their sleeves and congratulating themselves on gaslighting the public year after year. With the proverbial frog now boiling, they can do it all over again with vaping, gambling and alcohol, secure in the knowledge that they won’t be rumbled until it’s far too late.

I was on a panel at last year's Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum in Washington D.C. making the case that the odds of tobacco prohibition were under-priced at that it  is more imminent than many people think. As I say in the Spiked article, all it takes is a glory-hunting health minister or a legacy-seeking prime minister. Tobacco Reporter recently published a summary of the discussion.

Snowdon started by noting that, despite the negative U.S. experience with alcohol, prohibition has always been the natural conclusion of the anti-smoking campaign. “Prohibition somewhere is probably more imminent than some people think,” he said, pointing to New Zealand’s recently announced policy of gradually raising the age at which consumers can buy tobacco until it covers the entire population and the United States’ plan to require tobacco companies to reduce the nicotine in their products to a level at which nobody would want to smoke. “Both are variations of prohibition,” said Snowdon, but neither country is calling it that, instead using euphemisms such as “tobacco-free generation” and “endgame.”

Read the rest here.

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