Could you imagine having to apply and pay for a licence to buy tobacco? It might sound extreme, but this is the proposal of a public health expert in Australia, who suggests that it could provide a practical "disincentive" for smokers.
Prof Simon Chapman from the University of Sydney is interested in the next generation of truly effective anti-smoking measures. Laying out his case for a smokers' licence in the latest issue of the journal Plos Medicine, he said it could be of interest to "high-income nations that are actively pursuing tobacco control goals". So could a government-issued licence be the best solution to reduce smoking? And how could such a scheme work?
Prof Chapman used the analogy of prescription drugs, prescriptions essentially being "temporary licences" to buy certain medicines. The licence that Prof Chapman proposes would be a swipe card, like a Visa or Mastercard; smokers would be required to apply for a card and tobacco products would not be sold to anyone without one. "Selling cigarettes to anyone without a licence would be severely punished,” he explained “and an establishment which did this would lose its licence to sell, as happens now with pharmacists who sell drugs to anyone without a prescription."
Tied into his scheme would be a limit to the amount of tobacco any one person could buy - perhaps to 50 cigarettes per day or less, and of course the periodic inconvenience of renewing their licence. Along with the cost of a licence, Prof Chapman says that all of this could provide some real smoking disincentives. He also suggests building in a financial reward to entice smokers to quit. "As a quit incentive, all licence fees paid during a smoker's licensed smoking history would be fully refundable, with interest," he explains. "And licence surrender would be permanent and reapplication not permitted."
Read the text and the instructions to the questions very carefully. Answer all the questions in English
1. Write a summary of the text in English, including the most important points, using your own words whenever possible (maximum 50 words).
2. Find words or phrases in the text that correspond in meaning to the following
a) exaggerated extremeb) wealthy high-incomec) trouble, bother inconvenienced) attract, persuade entice
3. Complete the second sentence of each pair so that it has the same meaning as the first one
a) Could a government-issued licence be the best solution to reduce smoking?
- The text asks if/whether a government-issued licence could/ would/ might be the best solution to reduce smoking.b) Selling cigarettes to anyone without a licence would be severely punished
- If an establishment sells cigarettes to anyone without a licence it will be severely punished.c) Tobacco products could not be sold to anyone without a licence.
- Shops would not be able to sell tobacco products to anyone without a licence.d) He also suggests building in a financial reward to entice smokers to quit.
- “Perhaps we can/ could build in a financial reward to entice smokers to quit,” he suggests.
4. Answer the following questions in your own words.
a) Why does Prof Chapman compare a licence for smoking with a licence for prescription drugs? Because these drugs can‟t be sold without a prescription and it would be illegal to sell cigarettes without the licence.
b) Why would having to have a licence to smoke dissuade people from doing so? Because the licence would have to be renewed periodically, which is inconvenient, and, of course, would cost money. Also, it might limit the number of cigarettes a person could buy a day.
5. Do you think that it is right for the state to control whether people smoke, drink or take drugs? What arguments are there for and against such control?
(Approximately 120 words)
A lot of people think that the state doesn't have the right to control whether people smoke, drink or take drugs because these are individual decisions, and everyone is free to do what they like with their own lives.Many people who smoke, for example, are furious because of the anti-smoking laws which have been passed. What they don't realize is that when they smoke, the people around them breathe the smoke from their cigarettes, so they are affected, too. It's the same with drink or drugs: if you drink and then drive, you can cause an accident which can affect other people besides yourself. Really, to take an extreme example, it's the same as the Americans with their firearms. They consider that the government has no right to interfere in their personal liberties, but experience shows that an individual' possession of firearms can give rise to terrible calamities for other people.