Feeds

UK gov advisor proposes 'licence to smoke'

Obligatory £200 addict permit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

A government advisor has suggested that the problem of Brits continuing to smoke themselves to death might be tackled by requiring nicotine addicts to obtain a £200 annual licence, the Telegraph reports.

Professor Julian le Grand, a "former advisor to Tony Blair" who is a lecturer in social policy at the London School of Economics and "advises ministers through his chairmanship of Health England", made his proposal this week as a Department of Health report said that while "smoking prevalence is falling among both males and females", far too many of us are popping our clogs as a result of coronary disease and other smoking-related ailments.

Accordingly, and since simply raising the price of gaspers has not in the past convinced hardened smokers to quit, le Grand declared that "requiring them to fill in forms, and have photographs taken in order to apply for a permit would prove a more effective deterrent".

The master plan is to issue an initial yearly fag permit, and once up and running, the scheme could be "extended so smokers had to get a doctor's signature that their health was not at 'massive risk' by smoking in order to get a licence".

The good prof did, however, concede there could be a few obstacles to success. First up, he admitted "there could be a problem with an emerging black market where those with permits sold them to those without, and that it could create the impression that as long as one is licensed smoking is not harmful".

Regarding the obligation of doctors to collaborate with the Nanny State™, le Grand noted this "could prove problematic because of the liability risk if the smoker was signed off and then developed cancer or heart disease as a result of the habit".

He added: "A doctor's signature adds to the difficulty of getting a permit and makes people think about the health issues but if requiring a doctor's signature made it virtually impossible to get a permit, that would get in the way.

"We'd need to find some sort of cut off point below which doctor's would sign them off and above which they would not."

The Telegraph notes that le Grand's grand plan has already been "lambasted", although the paper makes no comment on his other proposals: banning food manufacturers from adding salt to products; an exercise hour for all employees during the working day; and free fruit in offices - a three-pronged attack designed to combat a nation of fat, fruit-dodging couch potatoes.

In le Grand's defence, we should add that he told the Telegraph: "There is nothing evil about smoking as long as you are just hurting yourself. We have to try to help people stop smoking without encroaching on people's liberties." ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.