Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Shops Can't Display Them, So I Will...

If this goes on much longer, I think I'm going to start smoking, just to annoy the government.

I am absolutely bloody sick of the government poking its nose into the lives of smokers. The latest step into the long-term plan to ban smoking entirely (which they won't admit to, but which is so obviously going to happen) is to prevent shopkeepers putting cigarettes on display.

I nearly crashed the car this morning, listening to Alan "I had a tough upbringing and I used to be a postman, you know" Johnson jabbering on about how banning shops from displaying cigarettes would reduce smoking among children. What ? Banning displays will make it less likely that children buy a product they're already banned from buying ?! How does that work ?

Lots of small shopkeepers are going to struggle to confirm with this Nazi-style restriction, because they haven't got room in their shops or because margins are already so tight they won't be able to afford the refit involved. Johnson said that "on average" it would cost "only" £500 for shops to make the changes necessary to meet the new requirements. Well £500 might be chicken feed to you, mate, but to hard-working newsagents and corner-shop owners already struggling under the weight of a decade of new Labour taxes and matching recession, another £500 spent conforming to pointless, paternalistic, illiberal measures designed to restrict further the rights of an already repressed minority, £500 is a lot of money.

I wonder if it's illegal to post pictures of cigarette packets on a blog ? Probably. God knows pretty much everything else is.

1 comment:

Mrs Smallprint said...

Hi Womble

I find this is a really difficult one. I agree with helping people to stop smoking - but I'm not sure this is the way to go about it. I think better enforcement of the laws we already have against under age smoking would be better.

The ban on smoking has improved life for thousands of people with asthma (like me) who previously had to no choice but to suffer other peoples' smoke or live like a hermit. The debate generally centres around controversial claims about deaths from passive smoking but I would love to be able to show people how it feels to live with damaged lungs and maybe they would understand that there is more to it than a straight 'freedom of choice' issue.

Mrs S.