If only the tobacco industry were as fierce and effective as Ms Farren suggests! The sad truth is that the tobacco lobby has been led dreadfully. First by denying the obvious for so many years (tobacco can be bad for you) and then by falling into the trap of making it seem as though the pub-smoking battle was fought between smokers and abstainers not, as was the case, between individual businesses and an overbearing government. It was a question of property rights as much as anything else.
Full post HERE.
I have some sympathy with this view of the pub-smoking issue. Unfortunately passive smoking became the dominant issue and regardless of the truth tobacco control had the best and most succinct soundbite: 'Passive smoking kills'.
We tried to bring property rights into the debate but it was pushed to one side and the issue ultimately became one of health versus business. Publicans should of course have stood up for property rights but the pubcos and hospitality trade associations had very little to say on the subject. More fool them.
Anyway, in the light of former Labour minister Bob Ainsworth's call for the decriminalisation of drugs, you might be interested in another Massie post.
On Tuesday he wrote:
The Drug Warriors appreciate the importance of everyday, uncontroversial use of drugs. That's why anti-smoking zealots and harpies want to "denormalise" tobacco use. It's time, therefore, to include tobacco in the Drug War discussion. My guess is that in 10 to 15 years time there will be, if current trends persist, a serious discussion about tobacco prohibition. The battle for minds and lungs is already joined and The Outlaw, Michael Heath's great cartoon strip in this magazine, was prophecy as much as it was satire. Alas.
In the end, the mind-set is the same: it's a battle for control. In this respect and this instance, the present British government is no more liberal than its authoritarian predecessors. Sometimes it uses a big stick, other times it just wants to "nudge" you in the correct direction but always it favours coercion over freedom and your ability to make your own informed choices. That's true whether you're talking about alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, ecstasy or any other stimulant.