Anti-smoking authoritarianism

Ban smoking entirely, or issue licenses to smokers? In some quarters of the public-health world, those appear to be the end points of the spectrum of debate as they pursue the “endgame” of a “tobacco-free society.” [Jacob Sullum]


  • So after they license smoking in the name of health what’s next? Sugar, Fat, Carbs, Calories?

  • People should be free to do whatever they want or need to, at any time, rway to raise funds from their pockets to so long as only their own body is affected. The problem with cigarette smoking is that the dirty practice is often indulged in places where others are being affected without their consent. That’s an act of assault.

    In this State smoking is banned in all parks and on all beaches. This has saved the city = you and me – hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Until the cigarette addicts figure out a way to transfer the burden of clean-up to those who are its cause the smokers are acting like spoiled crybabies to cry about their “rights” to smoke.

  • Federal excise taxes on a pack of cigarettes is over a dollar a pack. In New York State, where I live, the state tax is over $4. Health care costs for cigarette smokers is paid for by a master settlement which, I assure you, is included in the price of a cigarette.

    I do not know what the governments are doing with the monies raised through the sales of cigarettes. I assume it all goes into a general fund and when it is earmarked for some special purpose, it provides a convenient excuse for not funding that purpose from the general fund. Given the high taxes a cigarette smoker pays, they have, indeed, paid for the privilege.

    And, no, I don’t smoke cigarettes.


  • Nathan,

    “This has saved the city = you and me – hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.”

    Further explanation or proof of these savings.

  • What I find interesting is that some of the same people who are so militant against people who smoke cigarettes are totally in favor of the legalization of marijuana. I have to wonder how much of the anti-smoking hype is driven by the anti-big business mindset?

  • The hazard of Second Hand Smoke is grotesquely overstated.

  • “saved the city = you and me – hundreds of thousands of dollars annually”

    I too would like to know how my smoking of a cigarette on a beach costs the city any money at all so that it may be saved if I don’t smoke the cigarette. Likewise the public health implications of smoking on a beach are not readily apparent.

  • Nathan: Littering laws apply to smokers tossing their butts on the ground the same as a non smoker (or former smoker) throwing their gum wrapper on the ground.

  • I smoke, and I don’t throw my trash on the ground. I don’t understand why people throw lit cigarettes out car windows or throw the boxes on the ground. It annoys me, too.

    Cigarettes are probably the most highest taxed thing you can buy, besides a house (which through annual property taxes and forced insurance purchases, will claw from you more money eventually than the original price of the house.

  • […] Basham on proposal to license smokers [Philadelphia Inquirer/Cato, earlier] New study confirms that rather than externalizing costs to the public treasury, smokers tend to […]