I am twenty years old. I can vote, rent a house and buy enough tequila to drown a very small elephant. The British government seems to think that despite all this, I am incapable of thinking for myself. Cigarette stands are now covered up so that I am saved from seeing the corrupting influences of tobacco products. You see, if I see a packet of Rizzlas, I might be overtaken by an unquenchable desire to smoke forty cigarettes – at the same time. They’re even thinking of banning brand names and colour on the packaging of tobacco products, in case the bright colours and unique packaging make children think that smoking is cool. Are children so incapable of independent thought that they will carry the belief that green packaging makes something so incredibly cool all throughout their childhood and right up to the age of eighteen.
If pictures and brand names can make children be filled with an insatiable desire to smoke then how is it that the bright, colourful and eye catching packets of sweets and junk food products offer no temptation at all? It’s not like getting addicted to junk food is dangerous at all, or getting addicted to alcohol, whose consumption is advertised as a glamorous necessity in our society. No, medical conditions linked to obesity or drinking too much are never serious.
No matter how you try to restrict them, people will smoke – for social reasons, for environmental reasons, take your pick. It’s a dangerous habit that some would argue is disgusting. However, the decision to take up smoking is a personal choice. It is not the job of anyone else to decide what exactly is good for you. If I decide to smoke, pretty colours and pictures are not going to make any difference. The government doesn’t have to nag and push me into making a decision for me. I am an adult with free and independent thought. And I don’t need the government to nag at me when my father does such an excellent job already.