The Other Side Of Anti-Tobacco Campaign: A Good Distraction From Terrible Realities
A friend once said that when he was in medical school, the common practice was if you cannot remember anything about the causes of some diseases, just write “smoking and drinking.” That reveals the degree of mystification around the use of tobacco products, even among those who are supposed to know better. One problem with mystification is that it is often counter-productive. When young people eventually find out that the claims made against tobacco are both unreasonable and unsubstantiated, nothing will be able to hold them back when they venture into its use.
As a consequence, immature behaviour is more likely to be amplified among teens than tempered by the presence of older people. It also means that the let-it-all-hang-out, therapeutic norms that young people have been schooled in are less likely to be challenged, as they would be in a more public environment. Far more worrying is that, cut adrift from older members of the same community, young people are less likely to develop ties to the areas they live in. In the wake of the 2011 riots, there was the familiar call for more ‘youth centres’ for young people to go to. A far better alternative would be to encourage young people to drink alcohol in pubs, a state of affairs that is unlikely to develop when beer tax has made a pint so unaffordable in recent years.
A non-smoking cleaner who stole almost $15,000 worth of tobacco from a cigarette factory said he planned to give it away to people who couldn't afford smokes.
"You seem to have thought of yourself as a sort of Robin Hood," Judge Bill Hastings told Mafutaga Ulimasao, 52, yesterday in Hutt Valley District Court.
Judge Hastings said he accepted Ulimasao may have had good intentions. "But as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions."
He said he considered anyone who may have been given free cigarettes by Ulimasao a victim.
"Because of your actions they have smoked more tobacco than they would have, and there's a risk they could become a burden to the health system."
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