20/04/09 Tobacco and Primary Medical Services Bill: Evidence Received

This is a very interesting piece, as it contains the evidence received for the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Bill

The Bill was introduced by the Scottish Government on 25 February 2009.

The main purposes of the Bill are to:

  • to introduce statutory controls on the display and sale of tobacco products to reduce the attractiveness and availability of tobacco products to children and young people; and
  • to make provision to amend and clarify the eligibility criteria for providers of primary medical services, including introducing a requirement that all parties to a contract for primary medical services must demonstrate a sufficient involvement in the provision of care and/or the day to day running of services.

There is a long list of individuals and organisations who have submitted evidence, and suffice it to say there is far too much information for me to include or summarise here. I can, however, include the link for you all to view for yourselves. That is here: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/s3/committees/hs/TGPBill/Evidence.htm just paste that into your browser to access it all.

The first purpose of the Bill is intriguing: “to introduce statutory controls on the display and sale of tobacco products to reduce the attractiveness and availability of tobacco products to children and young people.”  Only to officials could removing an age-restricted product from sight reduce appeal to youngsters.  It is akin to pornography magazine having an opaque plastic sheet over them, or parental locks on DVD players and the internet: it increases the appeal. Forbidden fruit offers mystique, people have an intrinsic, mischievious side that instinctively draws us to unreachable things, be they desires, fantasies, fast cars, or tobacco.  Installing copyright protection software on new CD’s did not stop people copying them to their computers and sharing them through P2P networks, nor did the age stickers on films prevent children watching them – and they certainly did not stop children wanting to see them.  When I was a child, I yearned to see an age-restricted film, because the content was almost guaranteed to be exciting.  Hiding tobacco products will have the same outcome: increased desire.  And we all know that when children want something, they have a funny knack of getting it.

Children are not stupid.  They will not think that cigarettes no longer exist because they are not visible in shops.  They will do what they always did: stand outside and offer an adult money to purchase them instead.  Although, we cannot forget that when we talk of health officials and the government, we are not talking about mere average beings like you or I. Oh, no. These are not people with rational thoughts, good ideas, and a foot in the real world.  If we had any doubt on this, it was removed when they said a smoking ban would lead to increased revenue for the hospitality trade.  Instead, these are people who like their agendas; hell, their agendas are probably their version of the pornography mentioned above.  While the average person has sexual fantasies over other people, the officials have them over their agendas. They also love money, and when powerful organisations offer them heaps of it to do what they want, they oblige.  To hell with the country, the money and the agenda is what matters.  Of course, all this is conducted under the predictable and tired excuse of the ‘children’.  Really, if it was for the children then they would acknowledge smoking rates have increased since the ban, and so reverse it.  And if it was not the consequence of an agenda, they would have had no need to omit 25,000 responses from concerned, honest shop owners who know as well as we do that they will lose revenue.  The government knows this, hence their decision to delay this new measure until 2011 when they hope the recession will have eased off.  They should put me or Colin Grainger in charge, or any sensible member of society, because we would ease the recession in a heartbeat.  How? Lifting the smoking ban.

Anyway, if they want to reduce child smoking rates, we all know the real way to do it is to have smoking parents tell their children that they think smoking is cool.  Children will be burning every tobacco plant they ever come across.

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