Tag Archives: cigarettes

Cigarettes….time for a ban?

In general I’m not in favour of banning things, I’m more inclined to regulate them, and to tax so as to recoup for the society the marginal social harm that anything does. However, in the case of the ciggies perhaps it’s time to consider moving a little more along the path started by the smoking ban, and to ban the cancer sticks entirely. People are NOT addicted to cigarettes or cigars or pipe or chewing tobacco. They ARE addicted to nicotine. But nicotine can be delivered by spray, gum, patch, injection etc. nicotine is more toxic than rattlesnake venom, and acts on the mind in a way that make it super addictive.  
The overall cost of smoking in Ireland is not easy to estimate but some suggestions are that over 7000 excess deaths per annum can beat tributes to smoking. Smoking is associated with economic deprivation, something that will increase, and as such so too will excess deaths in more deprived areas. Employee costs, from fag breaks, increased absenteeism due to smoking related morbidity etc were estimated at c €400m in 2003. More recently the department of health suggests a cost overall for the HSE of €2.3b per annum. But no monetary cost can be placed on the misery of small cell carcinoma, the agony of emphysema, the dragging lethargy of congestive heart failure, the hole in lives left behind because a loved one smoked themselves to death.  
As there are plenty ways that do not seem prima facial to be as unhealthy a way to deliver nicotine than by lighting dried plants and drawing the tarry toxin laden smoke into the body, maybe Ireland could take a leap and ban the practice? Take all the nicotine you want, by other means. Iceland is mulling such a move, but of course Ireland is not Iceland…