Sunday, December 31, 2006

The most pointless piece of legislation...ever ?

My nomination for the most pointless piece of legislation...ever, is the news today that the minimum age at which to buy cigarettes in Britain is to be raised from 16 to 18. Full story

Like it will make a difference.

According to government statistics 450 British children start smoking every day, thats 164000 new childhood smokers every year, and those children have no problem whatsoever in purchasing, borrowing, scrounging or stealing cigarettes from parents, friends or shopkeepers.

The only control on the supply of cigarettes to children is on the few occasions during the year when the local Trading Standards Agency have nothing else to do with their time and can borrow a child from a nearby school to make test purchases at random shops - in other words there is virtually no control at all and you may as well make the minimum age 5 years or 80 years old if you can't police it effectively.

I've never been a smoker and so can't and won't comment on what it means to a smoker to take a long drag on a cigarette, its obviously something that is immensley enjoyable or they wouldn't do it or waste so much money on the habit/addiction, I have friends who have smoked and a few who still smoke, and they all enjoy it / have enjoyed it, to the point where the health warnings are known but irrelevant.

The puzzle is of course why children should take up smoking in the first place, I know from my childrens schoolwork that they have the anti-smoking message hammered into them in science lessons, but still they start in alarming numbers - maybe some of them are already addicted, have been addicted to nicotine since they were in the womb and have been brought up in smoking houses, its easy to see why those children should simply continue the habit as soon as their thumbs are strong enough to flick the trigger on a bic lighter.

But others join them, others like my eldest daughter who has been known to drag on a cigarette whilst out with her friends, despite my threats of disinheriting her and casting her out homeless into the street if I catch her - my threats of disinheritance are getting to be meaningless recently, there won't be much left to inherit soon.

I don't know why they do it, I can't understand the need, I don't pretend to have an answer, but I know that the answer is not more meaningless legislation.

1 comment:

mal said...

the minimum age for buying tobacco here has always been 18. It did not stop me or my friends from smoking when we were 14 though. At least the law is the start of taking a stand, we hope