A businessman once said; "I know 90% of my advertising budget is wasted -I just don't know which 90%." Well I have news for the Department of Health and that is that virtually 100% of the anti smoking budget might as well be ditched for all the good it does. As my children grow up I have observed with amazement that they all smoke to some extent and that virtually all their friends smoke as well. While I also noticed at a party a thirty year old army officer gave that virtually all his mates where smokers - this despite sky high prices for fags and a constant barrage of propaganda. Conversely hardly anyone over 50 now smokes (I gave up my 40 a day habit when I was forty nine) .
The lesson is simple. Abandon trying to scare the shit out of the young about ciggies as it does not work with them - they don't believe it will affect them for a start and smoking is simply just too much fun and too social an activity to give up. Us oldies on the other hand are easily scared and are highly receptive to tales that nicotine makes us look older, causes our teeth to fall out and eventually ends up killing us one way or the other.
So the answer is for the Health Gestapo to concentrate its ads on the over 35's while taxing the shit out of the youth. The trouble with this policy is that most of my children and their friends are adept at 'rolling their own' and I strongly suspect that the majority of 'roll up' tobacco smoked in the UK is smuggled duty free into this country via lorry drivers etc. So why not cut duty on tobacco? It does not act as a deterrent to the young but it does act as an incentive to the smuggler. Cheaper fags wouldn't -I suggest cause people to smoke more - but it could cause them to smoke more legitimate ciggies rather than smuggled ones.