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PLOS BLOGS Speaking of Medicine and Health

Should smokers require a license? Vote in the PLOS Medicine Poll

Tobacco continues to kill millions of people around the world each year and its use is increasing in some countries.

What’s agreeable is that bold, radical moves are necessary to achieve the tobacco control “endgame” – that is, the end of the global smoking pandemic.

What may not be agreeable are the means to get there.

Image Credit: Elvert Barnes

In this week’s PLOS Medicine, two leading tobacco control advocates debate the merits of the smoker’s license.

In one corner is Simon Chapman, who first proposed the smoker’s license. He sets out a case for introducing a smart card license for smokers designed to limit access to cigarettes and encourage cessation. Key elements include smokers setting daily limits, financial incentives for permanent license surrender, and a test of health risk knowledge for commencing smokers.

Arguing against the smoker’s license is Jeff Collin, who says that it would shift focus away from the real vector of the epidemic—the tobacco industry—and by focusing on individuals would censure victims, increase stigmatization of smokers, and marginalize the poor.

VOTE in our poll here –

[poll id=”3″]

  1. Are we really so self-obsessed that we fail to see how supercilious this entire concept is?

    The first question we need to answer, before even considering this is: if somebody is doing something that seems to us obviously unhealthy for them, but has not asked our intercession, should we force our beliefs upon them?

    Answering that question would address much more than the smoking “pandemic”.

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