June 08, 2015

Will Ontario see a total ban on cigarettes? This former McGuinty aide hopes so

Richard AndersonRebel Blogger

Earlier this week the Sun chain ran an editorial from Jim Warren, a former McGuinty communications director, calling for taking the nanny state to the next level.

Smoking is responsible for more deaths than obesity, physical inactivity or high blood pressure. There is no other legal product in our society that, used as it is intended to be used, does more harm to more people than smoking. So why is it legal?

Banning cigarette smoking would make it more difficult for new smokers to try smoking and to become addicted. For the 20% of Canadians who already smoke occasionally or frequently, a ban would compel many to quit.

It would be the ultimate deterrent.

Further along in his column Warren breezily dismisses the possible emergence of a huge black market in contraband cigarettes. Apparently he doesn't think this is a big a deal because a black market already exists. 

A product of high tobacco taxes, the estimated $1.5 billion illegal smokes market would inevitably explode in the wake of a total ban. Bizarrely this doesn't trouble Warren, who seems to believe that government exacerbating a problem it created in the first place is entirely sensible. 

It's been known for decades that smoking is bad for your health. We don't need a former McGuinty flack to tell us that. What's remarkable is the instinct so many modern Liberals have for banning what they don't like.

During the McGuinty years the Ontario provincial government famously banned pit bulls and fought against the right of consumers to buy raw milk. It's not surprising that given enough time Liberal logic would also demand that cigarettes be banned as well. 

The legislate first, think second approach to government has caused untold pain and suffering throughout history. Alcohol prohibition in the United States nearly a century ago became one of the great public policy fiascos of all time.

Decades worth of efforts to stamp out marijuana usage have done little to prevent the banned weed from being cheap and easily available. What makes Jim Warren think that tobacco, which has been widely used in Western societies for half a millennia, will be any easier to ban? 

As with other efforts to solve society's ills through Big Government there are always unintended consequences. The thirty year campaign by federal and provincial governments to drive down smoking through sky-high tobacco taxes has turned some native reserves into conduits for cross border smuggling. Those reserves have in turn become havens for organized crime and money laundering. Aboriginals, a group many Canadian progressives weep crocodile tears over, would be disproportionately impacted by a total ban on cigarettes. 

Smoking is a major social problem which has seen significant improvement over time. Today nearly 20% of Canadians smoke, that's down dramatically from the nearly 50% of Canadians who did back in 1965. While governments have been quick to take credit for this fall, the percentage of Canadians who smoked was already declining before tobacco tax started to rise sharply in the 1980s.

In other words millions of ordinary Canadians had come to the conclusion that smoking was unhealthy and choose to quit. They didn't need nanny statists like Jim Warren telling them what to do.

Great social problems are rarely overcome through legislation or taxation. They are successfully fought by persuading people on the best course of action. That's the essence of what makes a free society work and why paternalistic governments are doomed to fail. 


Follow The Megaphone on Twitter.

JOIN TheRebel.media for more news and commentary you won’t find anywhere else.

You must be logged in to comment. Click here to log in.
commented 2015-06-10 13:49:18 -0400
Seems easy for the “do gooders” to bully us in all aspects of our lives.The reason given for all these bannings and rules and restrictions is that it is for our own good. What a pile of crap that is. It is about control and having everyone line up like good little boys and girls.
Ban cars, ban campfires,ban ban ban ban. The freedom to makes choices including unhealthy ones, has been taken away from us . I’d rather have people blow cigarette smoke around me than listen to the nannies spewing their ideology in my face day and night.
commented 2015-06-09 17:30:23 -0400
and of course there are no liberals that smoke… that would be hypocritical..
commented 2015-06-09 17:28:14 -0400
mcguinty? why isnt mcguinty at least in a court trying to explain all of the malfeasance…hello OPP racketeering squad …where did you go and never came back on vacation?
commented 2015-06-09 09:16:39 -0400
I hope they publicly start talking about doing this and even put some kind of process in place for doing it. It will be a wake up call for all Canadians on what will happen if we continue this path of letting governments control your privileges. Come Wynne do it, do it now, and then do sugar treats, …can AB or ON be so stupid…maybe?
commented 2015-06-09 08:46:56 -0400
The hypocrisy is just stunning. Ban cigarettes everywhere but not the product. In my opinion, it is a stimulous package for the indians. It enables them to own distribution and production of the product, without any rules or regulations. Liberals talk out of both sides of their mouth as long as it benefits them or their relatives. The latest in Ontario is to ban a pest control for farmers without any scientific facts. The farmers have been trying to get the liberals to hold off on this as they are conducting tests to find out scientifically if this pest control is killing the bees. Liberals have decided now is the time to ban it. This will mean less food grown in Ontario and again, the liberals are on the wrong side.
commented 2015-06-08 21:52:48 -0400
There is no limit to this government’s intellectual defficientcy? Of course you should ban cigarettes – because that worked so well with alcohol and pot. I can hear the cigarette machines on Caledonia and Akwesasne running at top speed from here.

How can Warren see to drive with such a bad case of Head-up-Tucas?
commented 2015-06-08 21:39:45 -0400
How does this numbskull plan on stopping the aboriginal smugglers. The OPP are afraid of them and the courts won’t convict them. I suppose the plan is like prostitution, we’ll charge the person who is buying (caught smoking) but not the person supplying the product.
commented 2015-06-08 19:33:09 -0400
Smoking cigs bad, smoking dope good. Liberal ditch pigs strike again.
commented 2015-06-08 19:01:07 -0400
A total ban on tobacco makes more logical sense than a selective ban on menthols. That’s completely idiotic. Menthols have been around almost as long as cigarettes themselves. It’s like banning Rothmans but allowing the sale of Marlboros to continue. I don’t advocate banning tobacco, mind you. We all know we shouldn’t smoke, but a ban would just create a huge underground economy run by organized crime. So I just say this, “Don’t smoke. And, Government, stay out of it!”
commented 2015-06-08 18:40:11 -0400
Just another McGuilty simpleton. They always look at one side of the argument and think all people think the same. Over and over the McGuilty/Wynne crowd have killed Ontario’s economy with their hair brained ideas. Other countries have tried some of these PC policies (paying exorbitant subsidies for green energy, high taxes on cigarettes without clamping down on native cigarettes) and they haven’t worked. Prohibition did not work and gave rise to the Mob.
commented 2015-06-08 15:24:02 -0400
Remember the last ban called Prohibition, that saw the Mafia go from a street gang to an international crime syndicate. But, at least it got rid of booze. (sarc) It’s really funny that it is NOT against the law to use drugs, but it will be to smoke cigarettes?
commented 2015-06-08 13:54:26 -0400
The Lieberals exhibit their dictatorial streak once again……………………..