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LANCES UP! CHARGE... my bong...

I reserve the right to be wrong

In 2003, the Lancet published an article requesting that the Labour government ban tobacco. My bro is going to hate me for this, but legislating to abolish a human behaviour rarely works. Legislating alcohol away in the 1920s didn't help public order, or the death rate, a great deal in the United States.

I think we need to come to terms with the fact that all our debates on this or that harmful lifestyle choice are ultimately about the cost to us (the taxpayers*) of treating people who indulge in narcotics, alcohol, bungee jumping, cliff diving, binge-eating, owning and operating motorbikes and bicycles, and all the other lifestyle choices that heighten the likelihood of a visit to A&E, a cardiologist, or a hepatologist.

Banning tobacco is not going to rid the world of it, or its harmful effects. Not unless you go full 1984/V For Vendetta on us, Guvnor. It didn't work for alcohol. The drug wars raging in various parts of the world are a bloodbath that is destroying hundreds of thousands of lives, and leading to the incarceration of people whose crime – doing the drugs in question – is victimless.

Now I grant you, people steal and even kill to pay for illegal drugs, but the kicker right there is that they steal and kill for over-the-counter and prescription drugs too.

The bad side effects of drug use would get worse if drugs were completely legalised, but the crime associated with them, in particular the whole production and logistics thing, would soon evaporate as market forces hounded the cartels, tweakers and mafias into sorting out their ways.

And here's an idea for free; all those involved in drug production up to legalisation day should be offered some kind of inducement to testify against anyone in their organisations who committed torture or murder, or ordered others to do the same.

* I am currently an impoverished job-seeker and pay only Council Tax... in exchange for... something.

On the next Ecomony Blogtime; Mr Matthew explains the comparative advantage of blogging as opposed to shouting from rooftops.


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