Consumer choice

No-one today doubts that smoking cigarettes is bad for your health (and if you want to quit, click here for some options).

But throughout Asia-Pacific, cigarettes are legal products and around half a billion adult Asians still choose to smoke. They are doing so totally legitimately. They deserve a say in whether they should be able to continue to do so, and whether they can choose alternatives that may be a lot less harmful.

It is just plain wrong to marginalise and persecute people who are paying heavily for their legal habit. Availability and taxation of tobacco products should be regulated in a sensible manner, not in a way that penalises people unfairly yet fails to achieve stated aims (excessive taxation promotes illicit consumption, for example).

It is even more ‘wrong’ for adult citizens and voters to be denied access to, or even information about, less harmful alternatives such as e-cigarettes.