Could smoking be banned?

Could smoking be banned?

A recent survey by YouGov found that 57% of respondents supported a ban on smoking in the UK. 19% wanted this to happen over a 10 year period, with 38% wanting smoking banned before that time.

Perhaps surprisingly cigarette manufacturer William Morris has said that it would support a cigarette ban within 10 years, and plans to withdraw its own products, including Marlboro, from shelves within that timespan.

Benson & Hedges has even, it has been reported, claimed to be wanting to evolve into a “healthcare and wellness” company.

The Government seems to have no plans to ban smoking although there is talk of raising the age limit for purchases to 21 and banning the sale of flavored vapes.

The Office for National Statistics say that 14.1% of the UK population smokes (2019 research), a drop from 19.8% in 2011. Men (15.9%) are more likely to smoke than women (12.5%). 25-34 year olds have the highest prevalence at 19%, while the over 65’s are the least likely (7.8%).

A different source states that smoking among the under 35’s increased during lockdown.

Smoking is most common amongst routine and manual occupations (23.4%) and least common among managerial and professional workers (9.3%).

YouGov reported 75,000 deaths a year due to smoking (a  reduction from 10 years ago) and over half a million hospital admissions (an increase over the same period). Prescribed items to stop smoking fell from one quarter of a million to 70,000 over the same period.

Worldwide there are over one billion smokers, about one third of the population.

The history of smoking

The smoking of substances dates from around 5,000BC in a variety of locations from the far east to sub saharan Africa. Cannabis and plants other than tobacco were most commonly used.

Tobacco was smoked in the Americas, and brought to Europe for the first time in the sixteenth century. The oldest record of smoking in the UK was from Bristol in 1556.

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) say that smoking peaked in the UK at 82%of the population in 1948. That doesn’t surprise me – my father told me that it increased among men as a result of the military being given a free cigarette ration during the war.

In 1948, 65% smoked manufactured cigarettes, the remainder smoking pipes or cigars.

Detailed figures have been kept in the UK since 1974, during which time smoking has been in a steady decline.

Could smoking be banned in the UK? It’s in decline anyway, and I don’t see the point in turning otherwise honest people into criminals.

Our policies on smoking and other ads

Since we redesigned mylinks2shop and started posting regularly in March 2020, we have not included smoking ads, or gambling sites for that matter, although we have included ads for vaping sites, and, if you’re interested, alcoholic beverages.

We’re not opposed to smoking or gambling, but it doesn’t fit in with what we want the website to be. We’ve had opportunities to include ads for a variety of things from insurance and foreign travel to dating sites, but not included them because they didn’t quite seem to fit into our narrative.

It’s a matter of judgement, and we hope that the companies we feature offer value and service and always are legal.

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While on the subject, we should acknowledge that if you buy through clicking on a link on the website, we receive a commission, usually quite small. It covers the cost of running the site most of the time, and generates a small surplus, although that is very small considering the time it takes to manage the site and research and write the posts.

We don’t shy away from posts about products (although it’s months since we posted one), but if we do, we avoid a hard sell, and don’t post about products on our weekly post on a Thursday morning. Posts about products are on a different day, usually a Sunday.

We include a few small ads within the content, but  we don’t like adverts to dominate over the content, as many newspaper articles do. One of the few things we know about our readers is that they’re more likely to view our posts on a laptop or PC than on a phone, so lay the site out accordingly. The sidebar along the right side of the page isn’t viewed until the bottom of the page if viewed on a phone.

Another thing that we don’t do is use “behavioural retargeting” technology that spies on your browsing history and auto generates ads from a library that attempts to close a sale from products and ads that you’ve viewed to clinch the commission. Many websites do this but … we don’t!

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