Having read that even Big Tobacco is now apparently willing to fall on its sword for the sake of our children’s future, or whatever (Tobacco firm Philip Morris calls for ban on cigarettes within decade, 25 July), I wish to put forward that the simplest way to approach this, instead of endlessly trying to warn people off the cigs with public health campaigns, would be to ban the sale of tobacco to anyone born after 2005.
This would prevent the uptake of smoking by a new cohort of young people, while tobacco products could remain available for another decade in which existing smokers would have ample opportunity to curb their addictions. A flat cohort ban like this would also make ID checks quicker (no maths involved), and harder to falsify, as the age discrepancy of new smokers would become more obvious over time.
Having passively smoked for the first five years of my life, seen plenty of anti-smoking advertising campaigns and watched my father’s various attempts to quit and my schoolfriends’ eventual adoption of the habit, I have no idea why this dirt-simple public health measure hasn’t already been implemented to break the rolling cycle of stupid, health-destroying addiction across the generations. Perhaps now is finally the time.
Harrogate, North Yorkshire
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