Cigarette Display Ban, Article in The Nottingham Post (2012), by Sean Gabb

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Sean Gabb on the Cigarette Display Ban
The Nottingham Post, 7th April 2012

THIS new law will make buying cigarettes harder and less pleasurable.

Every smoker will be made inescapably aware, every time he or she buys a packetof cigarettes, that smoking is a disapproved activity.

It may push many smokers to give up. It will cause some tobacconists to close.

But this is the stated intention of the law, and I could fill up this article by arguing that it is an attack on adult free choice – that we have an absolute right to do things that are harmful to ourselves; that the claims about "passive smoking" are a statistical fraud; that the various claims about harm to children are also fraudulent.

Why bother? These arguments have had no success so far, and will have none now.

In a few decades, smoking has been demonised and restricted to the point where it may soon be effectively forbidden by law.

Libertarian arguments have failed. So has the numerical weight of smokers.

The only worthwhile question is why?

One reason is the cushy jobs provided by the anti-smoking movement – doctors who cure no one, but preach further restrictions on free choice; epidemiologists churning out bogus correlations; activists in charities funded by the taxpayers, or employed in central and local bureaucracies.

These people are a solid interest group, and have no desire for the truth to come between them and their next salary.

The other reason is that smokers, in the main, are "sheeple." Every time they are faced with robbery through taxation, or naked persecution, they simply roll over. Unlike some groups in society they never question the lies thrown at them. They never challenge the existence of the interest group that is working for their suppression.

Of course, smoking is less basic to identity than religion or sexual preference. But the persecution of smokers is a good example of how no freedom lasts when those who use it will not defend it. Tough luck smokers – you brought this on yourselves.