READER REPORT:

Smoking ban a 'petty issue'

JACOB HATTERSLEY
Last updated 15:00 30/07/2013

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My stand on smoking bans

How will smoking bans work? 'I have the right to breathe' Smoking bans are 'discrimination' Smokers, make the right choice Smoking bans 'ridiculousness in the extreme' How I kicked the smoking habit Smoking bans won't stop addicts Smoking ban a 'petty issue' Give up smoking, 'while you can' Smoking 'adversely affects all'

We've asked our readers to share their views on smoking bans in New Zealand.

Just when it seemed as though there was enough bureaucracy in this world.

It can be said that everyone in New Zealand was anticipating a partial ban on smoking tobacco, particularly when considering the tax on cigarettes has been exceedingly increasing over the past three years. There was even talk of increasing the cost of a packet of cigarettes from around $18 per packet to the extremely ludicrous figure of $100 per packet.

Otago University health economics lecturer Des O'Dea said: "We all remember the days of prohibition in the United States and what that did to foster organised crime."

Des O'Dea could not have explained this problem any better. The New Zealand Government and people should be focusing on much greater problems at hand, instead of pondering the legalities of smoking, which is harming the individual, not the whole country.

If one makes the choice to buy and consume a packet of cigarettes (providing they are 18+), this is no different from buying a beer.

It is somewhat comical that government ministers have the audacity to share their opinions on smoking, when, last I read, four ministers had received stomach stapling, and other overweight ministers were supporting the idea that this surgical procedure should be funded by the taxpayer.

If the government really feel it is a good idea to ban smoking (which has been a given right for generations) and give way to ordeals such as black market dealings and social aggression in attempting to enforce the rule, then why stop here?

People spend a lot of money on alcohol, only alcohol can harm more than just the consumer  through drink driving, domestic violence, and gambling, let's ban this too.

Some people are overweight, it leads to taxpayer money being spent on health care in later years, not to mention the sheer space they take up on sidewalks, buses and planes. Should fast food also be banned?

The answer to all of these is no.

It is essential that the government stops wasting time with these petty issues and focus on bigger problems, the fact that one in three children in this country are bullied, the fact that one is more likely to be attacked in their own home than out on the street, the fact that 10 per cent of New Zealanders are taking anti-depressants.

We are better than this.


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