Still, the Finland move has engendered little response. You would have thought that anti-smoking groups would have been falling over themselves to endorse this move. You would have expected another crazy John Banzhaf press release by now. (For the BBC article see here.)
I am interested in seeing the results of trying something like this. I also suspect that though the numbers of smokers will appear to drop, the main result will most likely be a strong black market and a new criminal class. For a great insight on this from someone who has seen how effective prohibition has been in an even less popular substance, watch this from Ethan Nadelmann.
I don’t really need to add much more to that but there are other issues as well.
The fact is that these days no country can really close its borders, and tobacco use tends to drift from legal regions into those that aren’t, as witness the bleeding of snus use from Sweden into surrounding snus banning areas. And part of that snus drift is due to people realizing it is a much safer way of using nicotine. Of note in this article is the following regarding lower risk products:
“One of the discussion points raised by the Finnish government is also to ban any new tobacco products from entering the market in the future,” she says.
“Say one day you have a product that is less harmful – that product would then not be made available to adult consumers in Finland.”
This shows that the move is not health based but morally driven. Not only will they ban tobacco products simply on the basis of being tobacco but they are either ignorant of the fact or willfully denying that those products already exist. If they did care about the health, they would open the market to safer forms of nicotine. As you can see in this video below which accompanied the BBC report, even the journalist frames this as a war between the country and the corporations; even he does not see that the forgotten part of this equation is the user.