Saturday, February 16, 2008

Roll it up and smoke it

A Brit policy wonk (Julian Le Grand) is suggesting a smoking license. For the nominal cost of £10 - that's about $20, but really not much considering that's less than the cost of two packs of twenty cigarettes.

Professor Julian Le Grand, chairman of Health England, said more people might stop smoking if they had to "opt in" by applying for an annual permit and paying a £10 fee. "Some 70% of smokers actually want to stop smoking. So if you just make it that little bit more difficult for them to actually re-start or even to start in the first place, yes I think it will make a big difference," he told BBC Radio 5 Live. He said some people would be deterred from smoking if they had to make the effort to fill in a complicated form, get a photograph taken and pay a charge.

While I can see that would piss a lot of people off, I actually think this idea has some merit. More important than making people choose to continue to smoke, it might actually have a greater deterrent effect for the recovering smoker. It would make that first pack on the way to permanent backsliding all the more difficult.

I only question whether the £10 would actually cover administration costs.

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