The more often an idea is repeated, the more acceptable it can seem. Remember how crazy fat taxes and carbon taxes sounded at first, until they became our reality? Simon Chapman, the Action on Smoking and Health director in Australia, has proposed a smart card license for smokers, designed to limit access to tobacco and incentivize cessation. Perhaps, we should look for cupcake and beer licenses in our future.
A public health proposal suggests that tobacco smokers should be required to apply and pay for a “smoker’s license” in order to continue buying cigarettes. In this week’s PLOS Medicine medical journal, two leading tobacco control advocates debate the merits of the smoker’s license. Simon Chapman, a professor at the University of Sydney, proposes that users would have to apply and pay for a mandatory license in the form of a smartcard that would be shown when buying cigarettes. Dr. Chapman wrote that it could discourage young people from picking up the habit.
In a controversial move, the smartcard would allow the government to limit how many cigarettes a smoker could buy….Citing future scientific benefit, Prof. Chapman wrote that the information collected from smartcard applications could be used to formulate better smoking prevention strategies.
“Opponents of the idea would be quick to suggest that Orwellian social engineers would soon be calling for licenses to drink alcohol and to eat junk food or engage in any ‘risky’ activity,” Dr. Chapman told the Daily Mail.