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March 9, 2011 / David Woodford

Should Cigarettes be Legal

With the new ban on displaying tobacco in shops I thought about whether tobacco and cigarettes should be legal. There are two standards when it comes to these sort of products, most drugs are illegal whilst tobacco and alcohol aren’t. This inconsistency is noticed and acted upon without being acknowledged. There is some sort of unspoken rule that alcohol and tobacco can’t be banned but that we need to do everything we can to deter people from using them.

The problem we have with banning tobacco is that people have “always” been able to smoke and so they feel it has become their “right”. However we don’t apply the same rules to illegal drugs because most people (in particular most people in the media, government or who take an active interest in politics) don’t take drugs and so don’t worry about the negative effects of a ban. We feel that we should be free to drink alcohol and smoke because a lot of people already do but we don’t worry about our freedom to take drugs because it isn’t a freedom we have.

However, the freedom argument should be applied to most drugs but not tobacco. Most drugs only affect the people who take them or those they know (we have to remember that many of the negative effects on society of drugs are due to the fact that they are illegal and not due to the drugs themselves) however drugs that are smoked, such as tobacco, do affect other people because of the smoke.

Since I feel people should be free to drink I feel people should also be free to take other drugs which don’t directly affect other people. However, tobacco is one of those drugs that does directly affect other people by forcing them to breath in poisonous smoke and as such people should at least be prevented from smoking in public places whether those places are indoors or out. The Government should recognise that they really believe that smoking should be banned since they are doing everything they can to stop it and make the move to actually ban it. However they should also recognise that other drugs don’t need to be illegal.

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