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Friday 23.02.2018 | Name days: Haralds, Almants

Professor: Smokers must have a special licence

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Smokers must apply and pay for a licence to buy tobacco and to see how many cigarettes they are allowed to smoke per day, says Simon Chapman from the University of Sydney.

He insists that the application process should even include a test to find out if smokers understand the risks of smoking.

The professor claims that the world is in great need of the next generation of truly effective anti-smoking measures. He thinks there is still insufficient control of tobacco products.

Chapman compares cigarettes to antibiotics.

“In contrast to the highly regulated way we allow access to life-saving and health-enhancing pharmaceuticals, this is how we regulate access to a product that kills half its long-term users.”

He also suggests building in a financial reward to entice smokers to quit, reports BBC.

“As a quit incentive, all licence fees paid during a smoker’s licensed smoking history would be fully refundable, with compound interest. Licence surrender would be permanent and reapplication not permitted,” he explains.

Although Chapman is a renowned public health expert, his proposal has drawn much criticism.

Jeff Collin, professor of global health policy at the University of Edinburgh, argues that the measure would target consumers rather than the industry.

His views are shared by British American Tobacco, which told the BBC: “Asking people to sit a test before they can obtain a licence is an insult, not only to smokers, but to any adult who has the right to make informed choice whether to smoke, and how much to smoke.”

“It would be a nightmare to police and hugely expensive to administer, and would criminalise smokers who would be forced to seek out illegal sources of tobacco if they chose to exceed their licensed allowance.”

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