back to article UK gov advisor proposes 'licence to smoke'

A government advisor has suggested that the problem of Brits continuing to smoke themselves to death might be tackled by requiring nicotine addicts to obtain a £200 annual licence, the Telegraph reports. Professor Julian le Grand, a "former advisor to Tony Blair" who is a lecturer in social policy at the London School of …


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  1. jubtastic1


    "There is nothing evil about smoking as long as you are just hurting yourself"

    Funnily enough that's exactly what the 7 year long 12 nation study into the effects of 'second hand' smoke undertaken by the WHO embarrassingly revealed, turns out we really are just hurting ourselves, you might object to the smell just like I object to your BO or veggie breath but that's all it is, a very subjective annoyance.

    But why rely on science when old wives tales are good enough?

    Ban everything, barcode everyone, nothing could ever be safe enough for us children of the State.

  2. Sceptical Bastard

    A nutter spouts forth

    You mean *THAT* Julian Le Grand, theTitmus professor of social politics at the LSE? The one with the fruitcake ideas on taxation and the health service? The one who is a frothing advocate of so-called "choice and competition" in our public services? That one?

    The prof's loopy baccy licence wheeze is a non-starter as any fule kno. What's more, trying to rope in the medical profession will only make doctors hate the barmy boffin more than they already do.

    You just know someone has to be a joke if Tony Blair thought the sun shone out of their arse - an endorsement almost guaranteed to wreck a reputation.

    Missus Sceptical Bastard (not her real name) once went to a seminar of Le grand's at an NHS conference - she reckoned he was completely east ham*

    As so often, I despair.

    * East Ham = one stop short of Barking (if you are non-British, this reference may go over your head - sorry)

  3. Kane
    Paris Hilton


    Ok, first point, £200 to acquire a license that allows people to smoke? Can anyone say "Stealth Tax"?

    Now, second point. If the government (lower case g...) wants people to stop smoking, really stop smoking based on the health of the nation...stop selling cigarettes. Truly, it's the only way.

    Right, that's my two pennies worth.


    Where is the Paris Hilton angle?

    Can El Reg see to adding another icon, maybe a 2p coin?

  4. Anonymous Coward


    I don't even know where to begin with this one. Well done to El Reg for showing restraint in not wasting loads of bandwidth ripping this nonsense apart right now!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Like ID cards

    le Grand declared that "requiring them to fill in forms, and have photographs taken in order to apply for a permit would prove a more effective deterrent"

    In the same way that an ID card will act as a deterrent? ...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let them do it...

    Hells bells the planet needs to lose LOTS of humans to have a realistic hope of us surviving so if someone wishes to smoke/drink/whatever themselves into an early grave then let them do it.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wouldn't it be easier....

    ...if they just made them illegal? I know that doesn't stop current illegal drug use but it makes it a lot smaller problem as it's not accessible to the general public everywhere you go (pubs, cinemas, news agents, supermarkets, etc., etc.). Simplistic view but you get my point?

    Or is it simply that the government loves all the tax revenue that they get from smoking that they'll never ban them but just use the 'health risk' angle as a way to justify raising taxes further.

    Lets face it, if they were that bad for us (this bit isn't in question) AND they were that worried about the general population dying prematurely (pretty sure that they would tax dying if they found a way. Oh wait they have: inheritance tax!!) they would ban them completely.... wouldn't they?!?

    Just me?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    W. T. F.

    Revenue generation. 100%. There is NO other purpose.

  9. Andy Tunnah

    so all in all..

    ..what he basically says is that he has this idea but it wouldn't work coz it has so many potential holes in it..

    slow news day methinks ;)

    in all seriousness tho this is such a stupid idea, within 5s of it being announced you'd have 20 million ppl waving that poxy human rights bollocks over their heads going "o noes you're restricting me for my own good, give me money or i'll cry!!"

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The first two suggestions should have been dropped immediately after the brain storming session.

    However his last 2 suggestions are not so bad, so long as they are not compulsory, and folk are not stigmatised for taking part. Yes: they have mileage.

  11. Lickass McClippers

    A 'licence to smoke'..??


    Sorry about that folks, I'm going to pop outside for a ciggie, brb...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What the fuck is wrong with smoking yourself to death

    I kayak dangerous rivers and used to climb dangerous mountains. I also drive on the M25. Why do I not require a £200 permit to do these things? I'm feeling left out.

  13. Colin Millar

    Government advisers eh....

    .....just think if it wasn't for them you would probably have to employ twice as many staff just to make up lots of barmy stuff to fill bootnotes

  14. Adriaan

    great, as long as you spend it on new special smoking pubs for us.

    Give us some pubs where we smoke our lungs black then. Put big signs outside warning that this is a dedicated smoking pub.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One word...


  16. Anonymous Coward

    I don't mind

    As long as it comes with a licence to break government advisers kneecaps too!

  17. Cian Duffy

    £200? Taxation increase...

    So, assuming an "addict" smokes 40 a day, its the same as adding 25p to the price of a pack of cigarettes... wouldn't it be far, far easier to do this rather than enforce licencing; or are cigarettes in the 'basket' for working out inflation figures still?

  18. ben carroll

    And then...

    And then what else will this be considered acceptable for?. Will everyone who wants to drink more than 8 pints a week have to attend alcohol abuse workshops? How about attaching a pedometer to everyone to ensure you walk 2000 steps a day (or whatever is recommended). Yes smoking is stupid, and I certainly agree that nobody else be subject to something harmful, and therefore agree with the ban in public. As many people do, I smoke socially, while having possibly a beer or 2 more than I should, after working 80hours in front of a computer. Yet I have the sense to eat well, keep fit and pay all those taxes. I also have to take daily meds for epilepsy and get regular check-ups to ensure I'm not caving in from the inside, but I still don't see why I should have to endure a process such as this.

  19. Tawakalna

    well they can...

    ..f*ck right off with that one. There's no way on God's green Earth I'm going to pay for a fookin' smoking licence. I'll sit outside Downing Street chucking fag ends at Gordon Brown's coppers all day and all night if I have to, but no-one is taking away my right to smoke Lucky Strike/Winston/Chesterfield as often as I want to. Fookin' Labour Stalinist police-state nanny-knows-best interfering busybodies.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    yeh, whatever

    Any non smokers might, whilst curling on their settee of smugness with a glass of wine might like to consider that alchohol is a greater killer than smoking,

    how long before you need a licence to drink ?

    After we all stop smoking what are the guvnermont going to focus on next... hic

    As for drink not harming anyone second hand, take a leisurely walk through a main street of any uk city at chicking out time.... you don;t see smokers battling with the hugely expensive police presence and bottling innocent passers by

    harumph :-)

  21. Dave

    inverse economic incentive -shurely?

    I am a smoker. I am doing my bit to reduce the appalling strain on the NHS all the people my age who do not smoke will be placing on it by surviving to 123.

    Accordingly, I fully anticipate being less of a burden on the national purse.

    I claim my Dying At A Proper Age Rebate

    (form DoH/Lun/001(c)-7i/reb/9j_smo\2(reb) refers, I think)

  22. sarah

    FFFFFFFFFFFF......... sake!

    I have never heard such stupidity in my entire 45 years on this planet. Smoking to death is too slow, please someone put me out of my misery, just take me down the garden and shoot me!!!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Yesterday's men

    I think this illustrates a fundamental flaw of government; it encourages and attracts the kind of people who don't know when to stop governing.

    I choose Paris Hilton as my avatar. She is an expert on smoking. Also, I am reminded of that film where the lady smokes a cigarette with her bottom.

  24. Charlie
    Thumb Up

    Smoke away!

    Psst, it would work just about as well as prohibition stopped Americans from drinking.

    I'm a non smoker, and I'm delighted that smokers contribute so much money to the national coffers - especially now that pubs/clubs are smoke free so smoking doesn't really affect me at all.

    There is an absolute deluge of information on the risks, and help for those who start and struggle to stop. The only downside I can think of at all is that it costs the NHS money to treat millions with lung cancer, but that is more than covered by the tax.

    If you want to pay the country for the privilege of killing yourself, go right for it.

  25. Martin Owens

    Re: What the fuck is wrong with smoking yourself to death

    Some people have this silly moral qualm about harming others. They must be so foolish to be moral, no one is moral these days to any degree.

    But at least those smokers could stop harming people around them _directly_ and causing a fair percentage of the London pollution. So can we have a London smoking charge where you need to pay £8 a day to smoke in London?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Fuck this.

    Le Grand clearly has nothing but contempt for the general public. He claims that he wants the healthy option to be the default in policy and this licence along with his other ideas would allow the public to "opt-in" to the unhealthy option.

    Until this arsehole can show me a child whose first words are "I need a cigarette," we already have an opt-in culture. I opt-in every time I buy a pack of tobacco.

  27. Steve Sutton

    Fuck Off!

    I'll decide whether or not i want to take risks myself, not have you decide to do it for me.

    What next, a licence to cross the road away from a pedestrian crossing?, a licence to eat boiled sweets the same size as my throat, a licence to re-wire my house without turning the mains off first?

    Give me a break!

  28. Philip Marshall

    Am i the only one who supports this?

    //Will everyone who wants to drink more than 8 pints a week have to attend alcohol abuse workshops?//

    They existed years ago in Finland when one bought over a certain amount of drink, they received infomation (whether they liked it or not) on the dangerous of drinking to excess.

    I think it is a good idea on the licensing front, smoking-related diseases kills in the UK, 100 000 people. Now if that be put down by as many as a quarter, that is the size of a small market town.

  29. Michael Sheils

    I've just quit smoking

    But if this even came close to happening I would start again, buy a gun and take out as many government types as I could get my sights on.

  30. Edward Pearson
    Thumb Down

    That final straw.

    I've been threatening to do this for a quite a while now, and I'm afraid this is the last straw. On the day this law passes I will pack up my things, make my arrangements with work, and emigrate to Canada.

    This is yet another pointless attack on our civil liberties, based on nothing but Labours seemingly unquenchable thirst to ban things.

    Cast your mind over the past years, how many seemingly insignificant things have been banned.

    Read Jeremy Clarkson's new book, he makes this point excellenty, and has some rather frightening facts and figures to back it up. However, I cannot be bothered to reproduce them here, you'll have to shell out the £7.99.

    Labour beware: This country has a breaking point.

    Keep outlawing things that are minority persuits (Smoking, Hunting with dogs, Certain psychoactive fungi are the ones I can think of off the top of my head) and eventually you'll only end up with an angry majority.

    People will become accustomed to breaking the law, and as a result we'll have more people being dragged through the courts at the tax payers expense.

    The respect the avarage person has for the law with drop, breaking the law will become a socially acceptable thing, and why respect one law, when you don't respect another.

    We'll end up with gangs on hoodies skulking our streets at night. Oh, wait, thats happened.

    We won't be able to go a month without hearing about somebody under the age of 18 stabbing/being stabbed on their street in the inner cities. Hang on a moment, we're already there.

    We need to get back to basics, if its not hurting anybody else, then why ban it?

    Let teachers actually punish children, rather then making them watch as their class grows up with no discipline. Then asking why the youth of today is too busy shooting smack and rival gang members to get a job.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    How about...

    How about we all practice the old adage of "live and let live"? You do what you want to do and I'll do what I want to do, and as long as no person is harming anyone other than themselves, all is good. (smoking should still be banned in restaurants and other similar public places) And don't bitch about the rising health costs that everyone has to carry so a few can smoke---might as well ban every slightly dangerous activity then, from skydiving to overeating. (and for the record, I don't smoke)

  32. Edward Pearson

    One more thing before I go...

    One more thing before I go.

    You'd have thought with the inevitable upcoming pension fuck up (and it is inevitable), that the Govenment wouldn't want to promote good health too much. People might actually listen, and economically, that would be a bloody disaster (Even more people on the country's payroll, demanding new hips and slowing the checkout at Tesco's to a crawl).

  33. Rose

    I have never smoked in my life

    But that idiot just gave me the urge to start.

    He'll never suggest Govt should tax stupidity, it'd cost him too much.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    We live in a world full of total sh*te, and its getting worse.

    F***k off. I don't live in China. Smoke yourself to death. Burn all the fossil fuels. I don't want to buy a pack of walkers crisps and be informed via the back of the pack that the manufacture of my tasty snack has put 106g's of Co2 into the atmosphere. Stop talking shit about climate change, if you are really serious, put some cash into perfecting and marketing the fuel-cell car. God i'm sick of all this crap. 20Mph through cities, thats a good one too. Its 2007, we need some innovative ideas to address problems, not an18th Century nanny state.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    The cigarette smokers may disagree...

    ...but if this is the start of a process of decriminalising all currently prohibited drugs, then I say OK.

    If, as most people accept, prohibition and "just say no" doesn't work, then a licence to consume things that have some perceived "society" or personal health cost may be a way to reconcile the ignorant and heartless "they deserve what they get, those evil dirty filthy junkies, and they should pay" with the "think of the children" (mainly my children) sector - as generally kids can't afford a licence for anything.

    This is of courcse sidestepping the basic issue that victim-free crimes are immoral and un-enforceable, and everyone else should butt out because it's none of your goddamn business ("mass psychology of facism" anyone?)

    Off for a quick toke now...

  36. Iain

    @ Philip Marshall

    Phillip, I'm reliable informed that 100% of all people born consequently die at some point. It doesn't matter how much you exercise or how many sprouts you eat. This means that in about 100 years, over 50,000,000 people in this country will have died. That's the size of the UK.

    We no longer smoke in enclosed public spaces so you have your clean air. Frankly, you're welcome to it.

    Sometimes I think the do-gooders and powers-that-be in this bloody country won't be happy till we're all wrapped in cotton wool, confined to our houses, drinking water and eating fucking soya lest something nasty happen to us.

    As a poster in an unrelated comment once said - "Do gooders get fucked!".

    /Rant - I'm going for a smoke.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Therapy without consent

    Le Grand's ideal society is one where the entire population is subjected to constant Cognative Behavioural Therapy without the therapist (sorry, I mean government) needing to go through the formalities of gaining consent from the patients (sorry, I mean citizens).

    You live in the UK? You won't follow the social rules? That means your sick and need treatment. It doesn't matter if you want treatment, or if anyone outside the government thinks your sick. The very fact that you are unable to rationally chose to behave in a socially beneficial way means you are mentally ill and need 'educating'. And 'educating' means having your picture put up on a board in your local supermarket with 'sub-human' written at the top.

    Le Grand - the economic policy of Thatcher and the social policy of Stalin. That's it, I'm voting SNP at the next General Election. Independence for Scotland!

    p.s. Anyone who actually thinks that an excercise hour and free fruit will make any difference is nuts. Re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. What a twonk!

    p.p.s. Note the number of anonymous coments (like me) - is it the case that people are starting to be afraid of making anti-establisment comments?

  38. Geoff Mackenzie

    @Professor Julian le Grand:

    Blow me. You can apply directly to myself for a license to be a dumb c*nt.

    Hope he reads the Register.

  39. Tanuki

    Smoking might just cure this guy's obvious senility.

    Perhaps LeGrand should be required to take up smoking? It might help stimulate the dormant sense-cells in his wizened brain so he can see just how stupid he's been to come out with his authoritarian nonsense.

    Me? I'm gonna go light up a slim panatella or three.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Bill Hicks

    If they were to charge £200 for a license to smoke, will drinkers have to pay significantly more? I think the late great Bill Hicks had some very apt things to say about drinking and smoking, about 6 minutes into his "One Night Stand" show (see it on YouTube):

    "You gotta understand something, first of all I don't do anything else, now I don't drink, now a lot of your non-smokers are drinking ok? I'm a non-drinker and I smoke, now to me we're trading off vices, that seems fair to me.

    'Yeh, no it's not no it's not! Why should our lives be threatened by your nasty habit, nyeh nyeh nyeh nyeh nyeh...'

    Yeah but you know what, I can't kill anyone in a car because I'm smoking a fucking cigarette, alright? and I've tried, turn off all the lights and rush em they always see the glow, 'man there's a big firefly heading this way, shit it's knocking over shrubs!'"

  41. Dave Murray

    What the F....

    So Julian Le Grand want me to pay £200 a year to have a smoke? How about he pays £200 a year for the right to make stupid pronouncements? How about he pays £200 a year for the right to have a poncey name with french words in it? How about he pays £200 a year to be bald? (or have hair if he isn't)

    Who is going to enforce this smoking license? Are the police going to walk past the rioting 10 year olds, the drunken football hooligans, the homeless heroin addicts, the deranged kiddie fiddlers, the islamic fundamentalists, etc in the street to knock on my door and check there's no one smoking without a license in my house?

    And that's before I point out that I don't exercise, eat very little fruit, love fast food and I'm 11 stone with a 30-32" waist and perfectly healthy thanks. I don't need some government busy body banning salt in food or forcing food companies to reduce the fat content because little Jimmy ned is a fat bastard. Tell Jimmy to stop being so greedy and eat less rather than ruining things for the rest of us.

    At this rate I give it 5 years before I'm off to some country that doesn't restrict it's citizens' freedoms because nanny knows best. North Korea maybe....

  42. Anonymous Coward

    As a non smoker and asthma sufferer

    My right to dictate to other people stops at the point they stop damaging me. When they only smoke in designated smoking zones and pop out onto the balcony to smoke, they are *not* damaging me.

    It's not therefore my business to force my views on them, even if I think it will make their lives better if they give up smoking.

    The tax on smoking already generates more money than the health care costs. They already do not smoke in my presence, they are adults with equal rights to make equally bad choices. I am not better than them. The choice I make for them may not turn out to be the best outcome.

    If I want them to change their behaviour, I need to *convince* them not *force* them. Being adults they can weigh up my arguments and make their own minds up.

    The world would be a better place if we tolerated each others bad choices whenever possible, because maybe it will turn out they are right and we are wrong.

  43. kain preacher


    That advisory is lucky that there is strict gun laws in the UK, cause I could see lots of people gunning fir him. Now all he needs to do is hire a royal food taster

  44. Daniel Winstone

    Stop PRESS

    People are gullible.

    Not as gullible as people who are in Office though. Even the guy who presented it said it was unworkable.

    Ladies and Gentleman it's just padding in a report that's needed to justify his huge stipend (sic!).

    Seriously, don't take this seriously.

  45. Stephen
    Thumb Down

    Greedy F*ckers

    The government will never stop the sales of cigarettes as they don't want to lose all of that precious tax revenue from the cigarette sales.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Foolishness ...

    silly simpering oxbridge nanny foolishness.

  47. Craig
    Black Helicopters

    Soon we can all be 'licensed to kill'...

    If I have to pay £200 to be allowed to smoke then I better be able to smoke damn well whatever I please!

    Oh and if this ever came to pass, let's not be biased. A £200 permit to drink should also be introduced.

  48. Jon Tocker

    Yeah, wonderful

    Because the 18-years age limit on buying smokes in our country and the necessity to produce ID to prove your age have completely stopped all the 12-17-year-olds from smoking.

    And the prohibition of alcohol in the USA all those years ago stopped people drinking.

    And the illegality of marijuana, methamphetamine, magic mushrooms, angel dust, opium derivatives and such throughout most of the World has stopped people from using drugs.

    We could licence all the dangerous things at 200 quid per year and no one will be able to afford to do any optional life threatening things like smoking, drinking alcohol, sky-diving, driving a vehicle (spending too much on the licence to breathe, licence to drink water, licences to handle various electrical appliances used in the preparation of food and the dangerous utensils used to eat food, licence to eat stuff you might conceivably choke on and all sorts of other licences just to cover the necessities of basic survival in a dangerous world)

    Then we'll become immortal.

    Oops, don't forget a licence to risk your safety by working to afford all the fucking licences.

  49. David Webb
    Thumb Up

    Other taxables

    Fast Food - Major health risk (high salt, makes you fat) - £500/yr

    Alcohol - Liver disease, drink driving, anti-social behaviour (ironicly) - £500/yr

    Being poor - General bad health, drain on social spending etc.. - £15,000/yr

    How else is the government supposed to find the funds so they can retire on pensions at 60 whilst the rest of us have to work till we're 96 because of this current government?

    Would I pay £200/yr to smoke? Hell no, many people would quit (and take advantage of the NHS Stop Smoking, costing gov. a fortune), the tax coffers would shrink and the whole country would be even more screwed than it already is.

    @ the 100,000/yr deaths - thats a good thing, in 50 years that 5 million people who will die just from smoking and as we're going to have an extra 10 million people here, we'll have plenty of room!

  50. James Condron


    See, i like the idea that if we're paying for it, we'd better be able to smoke where ever.

    Time to go smoke up an antenatal ward. Well, that or i'll print this article out and smoke it... which ever requires less effort.

  51. Barnaby Self
    Thumb Up

    @ As a non smoker and asthma sufferer

    Amen, you said it good.

    I smoke, but not in the presence of children or those who dont want me to. I aint gonna pay to go outside and freeze my fucking arse off, they can shove it up theirs for all I care!

  52. Leo Nicholson
    Thumb Down

    "Social" smokers

    Whatever happened to tax as a percentage of wealth, like we *sort of* have with income tax, inheritance tax, council tax. The kind of tax we have on alcohol, petrol, VAT (certain foods, electronics, computers, dvds etc.)?

    As a "social smoker", one of these few people that used to smoke 20 a day EVERY DAY and now relishes a few cigarettes (outside) when I go to the pub with friends after work, I'd go straight back up to smoking the amount whereby £200 per year is negligable relative to the amount of money spent directly on cigarettes.

    Apparently the "average" smoker smokes 14 cigarettes per day. That's 256 20 decks per year. Adding a further pound to each packet of cigarettes (and let's call it a pound because retailers are going to want a cut of the extra profits, even if it's only an extra 20p) is not going to stop people from smoking, but I can't see a £200 license making any difference either. I know pensioners who have £70 per week coming in, and HALF of it goes on cigarettes, but they don't stop, because they are addicts. £200 isn't going to make a difference to their habit, it's just going to cut their standards of living further, enabling them to die younger. Wait a sec - isn't that what the government wanted in the first place?

    Another thought - what about our tourist industry? Though I don't smoke on a daily basis, I would have no interest in more than passing through a country where smoking was completely outlawed, or where it cost me £200 to smoke a few cigarettes on holiday over the course of a week. I'd have no problem taking cigarettes with me (I don't mean smuggling, I mean taking a 20 deck) and I'd have no problem with paying a tenner a pack given the cost of food, alcohol and accommodation would probably be a helluvalot more. However, I wouldn't go to a country if I had to pay the cost of my accommodation, food and drink IN ORDER TO SMOKE.

    The government needs to recognise that there is bugger all they can do to STOP people from doing stupid things. Sure, they can manipulate people by forcing information onto people that they already know, but they can't actually stop people from smoking, because most people who smoke are addicts, some people enjoy smoking and other people are/do both.

  53. Anonymous Coward

    And the maddness begins

    "Oh and if this ever came to pass, let's not be biased. A £200 permit to drink should also be introduced"

    Road accidents are a killer as well, so does that mean a £200 a year permit to drive ?

  54. Steven

    Whacky Baccy

    Is Tobacco the new Ganja?

  55. Sean Nevin

    You people live in a scary country...

    ...if your government seriously considers this.

    "I'll sit outside Downing Street chucking fag ends at Gordon Brown's coppers all day and all night if I have to..." Hilarious! "Fookin'" hilarious! It's obvious that this is a money grab, so to those who say that my smoking costs them tax money when I wind up with some terrible ailment I say that I've already paid for my medical treatment by means that over two-thirds of the cost of a pack of smokes is.... Tax!

    Oh and to Edward Pearson: I will welcome you to Canada once you get here, I know a couple people who've come over already! Be warned however, our government has taxed cigarettes to over 10 dollars a pack. That's why I try to order your State Express brand online...

  56. Anonymous Coward

    Next suggestion...

    Julian Le Grand's next suggestion is to fit a zip to the nostrils of every newborn child so they don't smell cigarette smoke by default.

    Humans (well, UK citizens only, naturally) will require a special "I'm allowed to breathe through my nose, aren't I fab?" licence.

    On the plus side, at least "BO and veggie" breath won't be a problem for those who choose not to pay "through the nose" tax.

  57. Anonymous Coward


    This chap is obviously trying to stigmatize smokers, but doesn't have the good manners to be honest about his methods.

    However, given the fact that many pro-smoking contributors here said they wanted to kill him (even in jest) merely for making a moronic but well-intentioned set of suggestions, I think they're probably too far gone to be susceptible to something as mild as social stigma. After all, killing themselves, spending inordinate sums of money on a rank-smelling addiction, and at least possibly harming others haven't so far convinced smokers that maybe their habit is a bit off, so Monsieur Le Grand is flogging a dead horse. Anyone willing to give so much money to Gordon Brown just to die a prolonged wheezing death would probably cough up the £200 anyway, just so they can continue to keep sparking up, and keeping the tobacco barons rich.

    By the way, how are you all enjoying the cold weather?

  58. Mr Larrington

    I think Denis Leary said it best

    I love to smoke. I smoke seven thousand packs a day, ok. And I am never fucking quitting! I don't care how many laws they make. What's the law now? You can only smoke in your apartment, under a blanket, with all the lights out? Is that the rule now, huh?! The cops are outside, "We know you have the cigarettes. Come out of the house with the cigarettes above your head." "You'll never get me copper! I'm never coming out, you hear? I got a cigarette machine right here in my bedroom. Yeah!"

    Me -> Coat -> Smoking area

  59. Anonymous Coward


    ...another tax on the working classes, and criminalisation of the underclass?

    the only people who would be people who could afford too, and most of them probably dont smoke too much any more! You see a lot more smoking in Croydon than Richmond! Therefore only the Chavs will be smoking and they will get a kick out of not payiong for hteir smoking license, and if they do the chancellor will be robbing "peter to pay paul" as the chavs will just pay for it out of their tax credits!?? - also isnt it odd, that despite the alledge lack of ability to speak and spell in thous country that all those bedefits forms get filled in ok!?

    .... maybe we shoudl have a fat tax too, thus enabling you to shop at morrisons or asda and eat all those 4 meals for a fiver full of Fat, Sugars and Flavourings?

    ......i bet this guy thought of the congestion charge?

    .........The poor get priced of the raods, enabling thosue who can pay a freer and easier journey - actaull tahts sounds a brillient idea, he couldnt possibly think of it! - imagine the joy of the M25,M1,M4,M5,M6 is you had to pay £25 a journey to use them!

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Listen up people

    I'm in the process of buying the rights to administer the new smoking licences. I've already joined the labour party so I'm half way there, I just need to grease a few palms and the contract will be in the bag. I anticipate a strong positive cash flow, should you wish to give me a backhander, er invest, please apply through the usual channels.

    As well as that, I'm going to be lobbying for the right of entry to your home, access to the PNC, DVLA and registrar of births deaths etc. If you die of a smoking related disease your estate will be liable for 1 or 2 MegaGBP. You'd better get used to the snotty letters to people who aren't licensed: I know where you live and if my operatives find so much as a dog end on your premises it'll be a GBP80 spot fine, chummy.

    Not only that, I'm going to enjoy, to the full, the enormous powers at my disposal and the pictures of me on the back of the bus better not have any aberrant protrusions on them, or I'll know the reason why.

  61. This post has been deleted by its author

  62. Chris Donald

    Nanny state rules ok.

    Yep, an avid supporter of the nanny state.

    In combination with insurance companies I reckon we are headed for a seriously cotton wool wrapped existence.

    This man is bonkers. Totally blatty-and I don't smoke.

    Too many restrictions, too many rules and too many totally idiotic do gooders in the world.

    Besides with 6 billion people on the planet do we really have to make sure populations go up and stay going up?

    Sorry but it's up to me if I wish to take risks with my health-not up to some idiot without his own life.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Government marketing

    If you float a really obnoxious idea you can distract people from the other bad things you are doing. You can also drop the idea later and claim to be "listening to public opinion."

    My opinion - this news is provided for propaganda purposes only.

  64. M7S

    People, I think you're missing the real trick here

    There's often jokey speculation along the lines of "if they could tax breathing, they would".

    Once this licence to "breath dirty air" is introduced and generally accepted by a placid population, then they'll introduce another one for the right to breath clean air, compulsory for the rest of us and with the same premium on top as other healthy options such are organic foods, so expect to pay more for being allowed to (try to) live longer. Enforcement would no doubt be privatised, with a 28 day appeal process (but right to breath suspended pending review, that should cut down on repeat "offenders").

    Better not give them any ideas.

    Oh blast,


  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tax on the stupid

    "He'll never suggest Govt should tax stupidity, it'd cost him too much."

    He doesn't need to; they already have such a tax. It's called the National Lottery.

  66. dreadful scathe
    Black Helicopters

    £200 a year

    that could be expensive for the smoker, assuming of course the license is granted by all the people who will have to breath in the foul poison, being the affected parties and all. It wouldn't be the government that collected this or that'd be a stealth tax with no concern for others health at all - and they wouldn't do THAT...would they :)

  67. James

    As an ex-smoker...

    I feel that it's my duty to provide the following link to all those smokers out there:

  68. Colin Millar

    Maybe we could introduce a pay-per-fag system

    What I want to know is where do I apply for my speeding permit?

    @ Edward Pearson

    Tesco are selling hip replacements now? Is that main stores only or can I get them at the petrol station?

  69. Anonymous Coward


    Think about it! For £200 a year smokers get an addict licence. THIS would obviously mean that we would be entitled to FREE ciggies under NHS because we are addicts, card carrying addicts too! WOW! Imagine, flash an addict's licence and get free ciggies.

    I love this nanny state!

  70. Slaine

    from "The Declaration of Human Rights"

    My 2p worth

    Article 18: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

    Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

    Article 22: Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

    Now then, I'm off for a dignified smoke. When I get back I expect cannibis to be legalised too.

  71. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    This is an announcement from Genetic Control

    It is my sad duty to inform you that the newest Government-sponsored research has shown evidence that life is the primary cause of death. Consequently, all unlicenced forms of life are hereby banned henceforth.

    The cost of annual renewable life licence is GBP 500.- and any individual unable to present his/her licence on demand from a Life Enforcement Officer shall be terminated immediately and without recourse.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shock Horror...

    ....Government in scam to make money under the guise of concern for the the general public- It's for our own good, don't you know!

    What a fucking perfect scam with cigarettes. Get millions of people hooked, cream off billions in tax every year from sales, ban it, introduce on the spot fines for smoking, dropping butts, and any other conceivable action involving a cigarette and then introduce an incredibly reasonably priced `license` to smoke, for which you have already paid a royally high price. I no longer smoke cigarettes by choice, for my own health, but this is a farcical situation.

    Thinking about it they probably need the additional revenue from some kind of `license` or penalties for smokers to make up for the smokers they have lost as a result of their disingenuous campaiging over the last few years.

    Also, smokers pay an ENORMOUS amount of tax, far more than non-smokers, in general. Why on earth should they be penalised for using the health service which they do more to fund than non-smokers?

    Can I get a cannabis permit yet? Like GW? Please? ...

  73. Chads

    It'll never fly

    The only way they could enforce it is as a licence to buy tobacco.

    So. 20 quid ferry across to the continent once a year to stock up (legally) and UKgov lose all that lovely tax revenue

  74. Nick Oram


    Im not giving my 2 pence worth with out the appropriate icon to go with it!!

    but I bet you can guess what I was gonna say!

  75. Royston Day

    We're already paying, ta!

    Hmmm, a 20-a day smoker already pays the Government about £1,750 a year in tax. On top of NI contributions, I think that probably covers the health bill already.

    All alcohol and tobacco tax money should go straight to the NHS anyway. I wonder where it actually ends up..?

    What about a tax on stupid policy proposals? Anybody who comes up with such a moronic suggestion has to pay a five-figure sum for wasting the government's time. I dread to think how much tax payer's money has been spent on this idiocy.

  76. Anonymous Coward

    actually brillient!

    get smokers to annually register to a national smokers id system - preferably in complemnetary colour to thier Passpord, Biometric Id and Oyster cards

    if you dont renew they can hunt you down like the TV License cheats and fine you again!

    If you do fillout a annual registration then only allow registered users to buy cigerrettes...

    then get smokers to fillout an application form for EACH PACKET!

    then make them nominate the smoke free zones they will smoke them in and preferembaly witnin a specified time period and duration.

    make it a offence to supply cigerettes to a non registered user!?

    maybe you could then get pentaly points on your smokers ID which in turn would act as cost multipler on your future cigerrette purchases, or the following years renewal fee?

    government workers should be banned from smoking they spend foar too much time outside those job centres and hospitals when they should be doing real work - ever noticed how civil servants who smoke still only do 9-5 and not 9-6?

    also, only non smoking civil servnats or those not related to smokers shoudl administer the scheme to avoid and abuse of the system!?

  77. Greg Scullard

    Here's an idea....

    Stop using our tax money to pay these pointless "advisers" and put the money into the NHS so that nurses, etc... get decent wages, equipment, etc... to work with.

    Hundreds of millions a year spent on pointless surveys, research, etc... and nothing ever good comes out of them GRRRRRRRRRR.

  78. Farran Deschamps

    Puff cards

    I think the whole smoking issue is quite interesting. I I think of myself as quite liberal, but the smoking debate does make me question that. I think everyone should have a say and do what they want e.g. take drugs. The thing is that smoking, like other drugs, never really has anyone actually talking about what is really going on.

    People who smoke and do drugs, and a lot of people who drink too, are doing it because they are addicted and/or want to escape. They aren't doing it to "loosen up" or "see things in a different perspective". Their brain has been altered to be dependant on it. There isn't one person who, after their first cigarette, said "This really is jolly good stuff". No, they coughed and thought it tasted much like licking a well used ashtray. But they persist, to be cool or defiant, and then land up in the rather stupid position of being addicted to slowly harming themself in a rather expensive manner.

    It is also disgusting. One of the first things that is noticed by a smoker who has just quit is that it really God-damn stinks. It is just too offensive to be considered someone's "right" to do so. If I walked around with a boom-box on my shoulder playing loud music I eventually would have it inserted into my person by someone else who didn't share in my love for Justin Timerlake. Other than the fact it is illegal to do so because it is disruptive and annoying to other people. It is the same thing.

    Also, as with many things, it divides people. Only smokers hang around with other smokers. My best mate got quite heavily into becoming a smoker, toker and general enthusiast of recreational drugs. If we ever hang out it will never be my place as he wouldn't be able to survive without a cigarette. So I would have to go to his place. And all his friends that will be there are tokers; every single one of them. So I am immediately distanced from them because they think I don't want to get involved in their group ritual. So they limit themselves to just other druggies. This is also done for most things, e.g. drinking.

    So I'm liberal, am I? Well, yes, I still think so! I think you should be able to do pretty much anything as long it isn't hurting or annoying other e.g. I can listen JT in shower and sing my heart out but as soon as I do that while walking down the High Street, someone might get a little POed. So making people have a licence to smoke is just stupid as smoking is it's own vice: expensive and a health destroyer. And especially considering that you can pretty much only smoke in your own house, it seems absolutely ridiculous that you need approved identification to have puff while watching Coronation Street.

    Well, at the very least that is a lot of jibberish. But that's me; I'm a rambling kinda guy.

  79. Chris Cheale



    I will welcome you to Canada once you get here, I know a couple people who've come over already! Be warned however, our government has taxed cigarettes to over 10 dollars a pack.


    Presumably that's CAD, which makes them a little over £5 a pack, slightly cheaper than most brands in the UK then?

  80. Anonymous Coward

    Loud Music and Smoking

    Just like smoking the young can be protected from music that is too loud by restricting headhphone volume electronically to below 80dB? perhaps. Any louder and you can't sell or import them. Hearing Damage is a growing problem after mp3 players were invented by Apple and the market is growing all the time.

    Concerts and other venues like cinemas or clubs should also restrict the dB level and peak outputs to below 80dB to avoid long term damage.

    I have nothing against people listening to music in their own home but in public places and even private clubs we should ban damaging music and the sale or use of equipment than can cause hearing damage to the next generation. I'm sure many smokers who enjoy peace and quiet , will help this campaign to suceed and protect people deafening others and polluting the environment.

    While they may be happy deafening themselves , they should not be allowed to do the same to me or my children, or those around them.

  81. Kane

    @ One of the many Anonymous Cowards who posted here (Bill Hicks)

    "So how much do you smoke a day?"

    "About 2 packs"

    "2 packs? You fucking pussy, I'm already on my 2nd lighter"

    Alas the Late, Great Bill Hicks is no longer with us.

  82. Dave Pearce


    "Congratulation sir, you are super fantastic winner of Zimbabwe lottery for lifetime supplying of 419 brand cigarette-ings. In order to send your prize we need you sort code and bank account numbaaah..."

    What I'm really waiting for is the license to buy licenses to do stuff... :-p

  83. TeeCee Gold badge

    @Philip Marshall

    Yeah, a small market town full of tense, pissed off people who would desperately like to nail smug bastards like you to a wall.

    You're better off with the status quo.

  84. Ogdru

    FYI fascists...

    Hitler was the first major European politician to implement smoking bans...He hated the stuff.

    If you agree with smoking bans and anti-smoker campaigns you agree with Hitler.

    Now, basically, you're that crazy guy at the pub who's defending Hitler saying, "I agree with some of the things he did. Not everything he did was bad. What about all the good things Hitler did?"

    Do you REALLY want to be that guy?

  85. The Other Steve

    RE : The cigarette smokers may disagree...

    "...but if this is the start of a process of decriminalising all currently prohibited drugs, then I say OK."

    With you there, that was pretty much my first thought as well. If one dangerous addictive drug can be licensed, then it's only fair that others should be to. I'd be perfectly willing to spring 200 quid a year if meant I could buy skunk from the corner shop at knock down prices (which is the way I buy ciggies now).

    On the other hand, why the license. Why not just legalise and tax other drugs, which would provide a massive increase in tax revenue straight away ?

    "If, as most people accept, prohibition and "just say no" doesn't work."

    The sad answer is that, in fact, most people **don't** think that way. The hysterical middle classes (e.g the people who actually a)give a shit about drugs, etc and b) swing vote ) have been brainwashed by years of tabloid/ITV stories about retards like Leah Betts who killed themselves through their own stupidity, into repeating the mantra "Drugs are bad, m'kay" without applying any kind of critical thought process.

    So much so that they can't even join up the dots thus :

    Caffeine == drug; Booze == drug;

    if(drug == bad) then Gin,Latte == also bad.

    It's this same audience who have been now been convinced that Smoking == killing children & reducing biodiversity & funding terrorism (probably) who are the target market for stupid announcements like this.

    Nothing will ever come of it, but Daily Wail/Express/etc reading Parents (note the capital P) will warm to the party because they are being seen to "Think About The Children"(tm) and because they see a policy that targets those "other people" who cost "them" a fortune in taxes to pay for "their" health service. And similar.

    And of course smokers are fucked, because we *know* smoking is bad for you, it's written on the packet and everything, and we've been told that it's bad for other people as well, so it seems churlish to complain.

    All in all a genius piece of political manipulation, which leaves with the interesting position that if it's actually implemented, our rulers are Stalinist, but if it's just fluff, they're more like, erm, hang on, it's Stalin again.

    Funny how many times that name's come up.

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I want a license

    for what he's smoking!

  87. Anonymous Coward

    £200 a year for a licence!?!

    As a smoker why should I pay £200 for a licence when I pay £200 a month in just National Insurance! and what does that get me?

    1. A State Pension which I won't use because I have a private pension and probably won't be around to collect it because i'm dead from smoking.

    2. A Health Service which I don't use because I have private healthcare and don't want to get any nasty superbugs to shortly my life

    3. Jobseekers allowance I won't use because I would rather be a dustman

    Sounds like us smokers have a great deal!

    Why can't the government try to save money instead of trying to get more! There's over a million people not contributing to society and reaping the benefits! How much is that costing me?

  88. Luther Blissett

    2 predictions

    This is the type of thing you get from hangers-on when a government colludes in war crimes with impunity, but I predict:

    1. 19 years in the political wilderness coming up for New Labour. Unfortunately their hangers-on will do what they did 1997 and cross the floor, but it will take a little while for them to learn the new mantras.

    2. Many more lives ending in misery - the reason being the proven benefit to health from smoking of a reduced risk from geriatric mental degenerative conditions, e.g. dementia.

    In the meantime, isn't it time we started reforming academia? Yesterday it was an Oxford numpty spouting about evil. Today an LSE numpty advocating social policy. There is nothing wrong in having places where daft ideas can be aired, but it is another thing to air them outside of the ivory towers. These people do not seem to understand their business.

  89. Colin Millar

    @ The other Steve and Ogdru

    He knew a few things that Stalin did - what about all the good things that he did - why does Hitler get all the credit?

  90. Law
    Black Helicopters

    omg - ffs

    This is on the same idiocy level as the fire service charging for helping fat people out of their houses... I'm not a smoker, and I'm not really THAT fat that help would be needed moving me, but surely the whole point of our existing taxes is equal access to state facilities (NHS/Fire/Police) and to have some form of control over our own lives... so if somebody wants to smoke themselves to death then fine, as long as I dont get forced to do it with you (thanks god for smoke-free pub-grub).

    ... I am planning my escape to canada within the next few years... I suggest others do the same!

  91. Rob

    It's sinister insanity like this...

    that makes me really, really relieved that my wife has finally agreed to move to Texas. Lower taxes; permitted, nay applauded, when you shoot some little scrote who breaks into your house; and you can enjoy a smoke after a meal without having to leave the restaurant. Yee Haw!

    I'll get my coat alright, believe me, I'll get my damn coat!

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Fascists (Jubtastic1)

    I think you'll find that the WHO investigation was actually incomplete. In later years there was incontrivertable proof that second hand smoke caused various ills. Penn and Teller actually noted later after their "Second Hand Smoke" episode of "Bullshit" aired that a new study had been released that contradicted the original WHO study, thus making their episodes point null. :>

  93. Adam Carden

    Sorry to tell you...

    -> 'licence to re-wire my house without turning the mains off first?'

    Sorry to tell you but since around 1995, you cannot legally do any electrical work on your home with out being licensed, mains on or off.

  94. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    RE: Sorry to tell you...

    You can do a lot of electrical DIY work, it's all about the Part P regulations and the inspection. It's not like Gas work. The 1995 change was about the rules and following them, so you could do it all by yourself if you wanted and had a copy of the IEE Wiring Regulations.

    The change in 2005 was to make it so that small jobs could be done on DIY like moving a socket, relplacing or repairing the exisiting setup, but anything else had to done by someone with Part P certification, or by a "competent" DIY person followed by an inspection if required by a Part P at the end.

  95. Peter Clarkson

    Don't throw the baby out...

    I might be in a minority of one here, but I think there might be a little kernel of a good idea in all of this...

    I had this same idea when I was half-heartedly giving up smoking. Picking up a ten-pack for £2.80 at the cornershop on my way to the pub was easy, but if I had to send off for a licence I probably would have stuck to my original decision to give up. Taking up smoking again after giving up is an impulse decision.

    The thing would be for the tobacco companies to issue the licences themselves, so it wouldn't cost the government a thing. I would also find it unlikely that the tobacco companies would charge smokers a great deal, if anything, for a smoking licence.

    Of course there are many ways you can round a licence - get a smoking friend to buy you cigarettes etcetera but what it does do is stop you buying cigarettes just on an impulse, which helps those who want to break the addiction.

    Now charging every smoker £200 and getting a doctor to sign it off is another thing entirely!

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