Tyranny of the majority

Any policy to ban smoking, on the basis of this, would count as “tyranny of the majority” in my opinion.

This reminds me of my favourite rule of thumb for policy:

Any regulation should be based on the idea of avoiding coercion either from the private or the public sector

On the flip side, any regulation that increases coercion (as banning tobacco seems to) is likely to be bad policy.

  • I absolutely agree with you! The majority has makes it all right in their heads by rationalizing that everyone else does it/thinks it/believes it.

  • moz

    I think you’re ignoring the pollution problem – it’s become clear that smokers as a whole cannot or will not restrain themselves from seriously impinging on others. Between second hand smoke and cigarette butts I think there’s a public interest argument for a ban. That way hopefully we’ll get away from the wall of smoke around office building and the poisonous crap washing into our waterways.

    To me, that majority is evidence of the success of the anti-smoking lobby. Finally it looks as though a majority might support change. Of course, it’s a soft vote – asking whether people support doing something far off in the distant future is asking about aspirations, not expectations. If legislation was passed today I’d expect ten years of lobbying for a reversal to start right now.

  • @moz

    “I think you’re ignoring the pollution problem”

    Is the social cost of pollution infinite? No …

    Then we should tax it on the basis of its social impact, which is what we already do. Just because there is a cost doesn’t mean we should ban it.

    If society decides it wants to ban everything with a cost then I’m afraid nothing will be legal.

  • Ah, policy by polling. Who needs reason when you can have populism at a tenth of the price?

  • The end to tobacco sales means an end to legal sales. What would the black market in tobacco look like? Would we get a hugely costly “War Against Tobacco”?

  • Mike

    Matt Nolan :
    @moz
    Then we should tax it on the basis of its social impact, which is what we already do. Just because there is a cost doesn’t mean we should ban it.

    Is the tax relative to the impact it has on our health system? I think not.

  • I totally agree. I was just in Europe and it just amazed me how much more smoker-friendly it is there. Here in the US I feel like I’m being persecuted.

  • “Any regulation should be based on the idea of avoiding coercion either from the private or the public sector”

    great post
    totally agree with you because we share same feeling and same thinking dude

  • I say ban them. Since Appleton, WI went smoke free it is wonderful. People can smoke electronic cigarettes from http://www.e-cigsshop.com instead. Sorry for the plug but I ordered when they used to sell electronic cigarettes. The site appears to be down cause I see none for sale anymore.

  • We went smokeless in English pubs last year. I must say it is a pleasure to go home at the end of an evening (or even a quick half hour) and not have your clothes smell like an old ashtray.
    Smokers repent ! All you have to lose is your fags !