Smoking Licence

I have a big problem with kids smoking. As a teacher it pains me to see kids smoking. We try to teach about it in health but the message just doesn’t get through. Last month I started a unit of health about substance abuse and had a very frank discussion with the class. I appreciated their honesty but was horrified to find out that almost the whole class had already tried smoking. They are only 10 years old! This isn’t right.

Smoking is a complete waste. I don’t understand it all. It ruins your health, costs money, and annoys people who don’t like being exposed to smoke. It doesn’t seem to have any benefit at all and yet people continue to do it.

I came up with a crazy idea that could stop this insanity. I know it is crazy, but bear with me here.

Let’s issue smoking licences. Anyone who wants to smoke and is over 18 can apply to get a licence. Tobacco retailers would only be allowed to sell cigarettes to people who have a smoking licence. This would weed out all the current smokers who want to continue to have the right to smoke. We would only let people apply for the licence for four years. After that there would be no more licences issued. This would effectively phase out smoking. I know it is a crazy idea but I think it would work.

Smokers could continue to smoke until they die. After a generation, we would have no more smokers. Kids wouldn’t be smoking anymore. Police and teachers could do something about kids smoking because it would now be illegal for them to smoke. I know this probably isn’t realistic at all. But I also know that smoking is a big problem that no one seems to be able to come up with a viable solution for. This is just one of my crazy ideas.

4 responses to “Smoking Licence”

  1. As a confirmed capnolagniac since childhood, I probably should not comment on this post at all, but I’ll try. I will look past my personal inclinations, to the bigger picture.

    No child should smoke. On that, every human being should agree.

    And if there were a definite way to prevent everyone under 18 from smoking, the tobacco companies would soon go bankrupt, because very people take up the habit after that point.

    Your idea is a good one in principle, but the consequence might be a huge black market for cigarettes.

    As it is now, people drive down to my state from New York and buy huge numbers of cigarette cartons here, where the tax is low, for resale in New York, where the tax is much higher.

    Would licenses be checked beyond the cigarette purchase point, such as if someone were seen by a law enforcement officer puffing on a smoke?

    While that is absolutely reasonable in regards to children, who also may not drink, drive, vote, etc.,it makes me uncomfortable in regards to adults, who are supposed to have more freedoms.

    My thoughts have been: Suppose that tobacco companies were simply barred from including any nicotine in their products — again, say, after that grace period you mentioned?

    They could make and sell all the cigarettes they wanted — but who would buy them?

    No licenses would be necessary and for that matter, you might even eliminate the age restriction rules that require every sales clerk to be a watchdog and a scrutinizer of IDs lest he lose his job.

    After all, nicotine-free cigarettes would be rather boring except to a few pathetic capnos like me, and kids — not just kids, everyone — would soon lose interest. The market for smokeable maple leaves is rather thin, I hear.

  2. I told you my idea was crazy. I like your idea about eliminating nicotine from smoking. Unfortunately, I don’t think either of these ideas are feasible. There is too much money in cigarettes. Farmers grow it, companies manufacture the paper and packages, retailers make money selling them, and the government collects taxes from them. There are too many people who profit from the industry and who would probably be very reluctant in bringing forth any changes that might harm their profit margins. I do think that a change is needed however.

  3. I don’t know. A lot of those kids in your class may have just raised their hands for show. Others will just take a puff or two and never touch the weed again, once their curiosity is satisfied. My mom was that way.

    Smoking, at least in the US, is a fading phenomena, being made more and more difficult to practice by anyone who wants to ride in a plane, eat out, or work in a non-solitary job.

    I can remember walking past the teacher’s lounge in my middle school years and seeing two or three teachers in there every time with a cigarette going.

    Today, every public school I know of bans smoking both inside and outside of the building. Imagine trying to be a smoking teacher under those conditions.

  4. You know, I have found that my students have been completely honest with me on all sorts of different things. It is nice to know that they feel comfortable talking to me. Sometimes though what they say can be shocking.