- Politics and Social Issues»
Ways to Help Make the World Smoke-Free
Make cigarettes extremely expensive
When cigarettes are expensive, only criminals will have cigarettes. Or something like that. Extensive economic studies indicate that making a thing cost more provides a negative incentive to purchase that thing. When that thing becomes crucial for survival, then wars may break out and the economists go running for the hills, but for the most part we can trust the numbers.
A current pack of cigarettes is regulated about at much as a Constitutional amendment, but people continue buying the things by the carton. We observe:
- State minimum price schedules4,
- Regulatory seals5,
- Strict requirements for packaging6,
- Age-limits for purchase7,
and numerous other rules imposed by well-meaning regulatory agencies and their apparatchiks. All of these 'enhancements' drive up the price, but not far enough to make the world smoke-free. Evidently we have yet to reach a price point wherein folks reconsider their leisure expenditures in favor of making the rent payment.
Why not raise the age limit to 95?
Enforce the smoking areas
Far too many organizations configure finite places to light up, then ignore them. Smokers wander to and fro with no respect for yellow lines and signage. A well-manicured campus of greenery is aesthetically ruined by smoking flotsam.
This has to stop. Someone from site security needs to take a meeting with someone else from administration. Their discussion must center on corralling smokers into secluded real estate where normal people rarely venture. The butts and bad conversation can congregate into manageable reservations. Everyone benefits.
As acceptable areas shrink, participation will shrink. Eventually, ostensibly, the smoking area will be reduced to a 12" X 12" 2-dimensional allotment of asphalt into which all participants must cram. They will get the message when they burn holes in each others' Brooks Brothers.
Citations must be issued.
Empower on-site security to award parking tickets to violators. When a smoke break ends in financial penalty, smoking will become less attractive to anyone with a bank account.
Monetary penalties reduce undesirable activity. Threat of a speeding ticket or a smoking ticket have similar impacts in the long run. It's painful for those afflicted with disregard for rules and regulations, but the world will come just a little closer to being smoke-free.
Abolish tobacco subsidies
In 2012 the federal government propped up tobacco industries to the tune of $188,776,9271. Unique programs such as Tobacco Loss Assistance, Tobacco Payment Programs, and Tobacco Transition Payments funneled funds from non-smokers to those who would prime the pipeline of smoking supplies. Is it fair? It certainly cannot be detrimental to Big Tobacco. Adding financial support to any enterprise will invariably increase the activity in that enterprise.
Topping the list of 2012 subsidy recipients was The Barnes Farming Corporation in Spring Hope North Carolina. Manta.com asserts that the company is privately held and employes between 599 and 1000 people. According to farmpak.com they also raise sweet potatoes. Their own Facebook page proudly proclaims a 5000 acre sweet potato base, and 27 Likes. We found an entry on ncfarmfresh.com, written in the first person, explaining that Barnes Farming also grows certified organic persimmons, soybeans and wheat along with regular soybeans, wheat, and peanuts.
Perhaps candy cigarettes and caffeine-free coffee also need government support in order to survive and thrive.
Tax Smokers' Insurance
Obama Care mandates that 'Cadillac' health insurance plans be taxed at a 40% rate above an arbitrary threshold. Evidently is has become possible to have insurance that is too good. Kaiserhealthnews.org, a non-profit health news outlet, confirms that this tax efforts to raise revenue for government-sponsored health care and to discourage really good insurance plans. Washington knows best.
These really good plans are not an exclusive purview of rich people: some citizens have complex or severe health issues that require expensive care. Health problems do not discriminate.
Given that the federal government wields such authority, let us consider taxing smoking out of existence by similar machinations. Anyone using tobacco products should pay a significant insurance premium above non-users. We don't need a reason. Irrelevant, it is, that smokers might actually use less health care resources over their lifetime3. The mere fact that we can proves that we should.
Extreme government intervention and oversight can make the world smoke-free. We have shown several methodologies to achieve this. Not everyone will agree with our proposals, but in the long run we will all benefit. Personal freedom can tolerate a mild intrusion in order to improve the general welfare.