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Motives:

For one thing, smoking kills. This is a fact. Smoking causes cancer, heart disease and fetal injury. From a humanitarian viewpoint, smoking hurts people and should be discouraged wherever possible..

In this country (the UK) the Health Service is paid for by the whole population rather than through individual health insurance. Everyone pays for the treatment of self-inflicted, smoke-related illness.

The current solutions don't work

Several approaches have already been tried. As with petrol (which is more the case in the UK, where fuel taxes are far higher than for our merkin cousins) tax has been pushed up and up, and yet people are not put off by the high prices. Nor do the health warnings make any difference. A stronger, more radical approach is needed,

The plan

This may seem a bit harsh to begin with, but bear with me. I propose that one in every <insert large number here> cigarettes should contain a quantity of a fast acting,deadly poison such as arsenic. Each packet should bear a large red label,
"WARNING! This pack has a 1 in n chance of killing you outright. You have been warned.".

Benefits

  1. People might think more carefully about the dangers of smoking if the danger was tangible and immediate. Thoughts of "Oh well, if I get cancer it won't be until I'm old. I'll deal with it then" would be replaced with "holy shit, this could actually kill me right now!" Incredibly, this threat could well save many more lives than it takes.
  2. There would be fewer ill smokers lingering in hospital wards, reducing the burden on the rest of the population. Overcrowding would be less of a problem too.

Drawbacks

  1. The country would miss out on LARGE quantities of tax revenue.
  2. A few dead people who choose to take the risk.

The ratio: What's the magic number?

This <large number> of which I speak needs defining. 1 in 100 is probably too high a ratio to be accepted by the press and the people. Equally 1 in a billion is psychologically too low a risk to be an effective deterrant. I would suggest the same ratio as any regional or national lottery. For example, the UK's National Lottery gives you a 1 in 14000000 chance of winning per entry. I would suggest that smoking a fag should give the same chance of instant death.

Generally, this would be a cheap and effective method of reducing the number of smokers. Provided with enough advance warning, people would know the risks and decide for themselves.

TallRoo; while I want smoking to simply stop, putting odds on dying on a cigarette packet won't dissuade most people. People still enter the lottery regardless of the odds. I think the recently touted plan to put images of rotting mouths and lungs on ciggy packets might put some people off.

One way to stop people smoking would be to pass a law stating that all ciggys should be a minimum of 18 inches in length and 2 inches in diameter, with half the content of tobacco present in current ciggys. Try smuggling a 20 pack of those babies!

Instutute a Smoker Licensing Program, if you are caught smoking without a licence (random checks) or buying tobbaco without one (a retailer licence for non-smokers who want to sell it would be needed so they could buy it) you get fined or otherwise punished. The good bit is that you then deny healthcare to smokers suffering from respiratory problems (barbaric country without universal healthcare would need some other deterant, but the thought of having to PAY for treatment when they get lung cancer ought to scare people who weren't expecting it) Even if it doesn't cut down on smoking, it would cut down on healthcare costs.

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