Selling Addiction – Reality

The state of Australia allows the sale of cigarettes. These are addictive. The reinforcement of cigarettes is mainly chemical, although social reinforcement must be recognised as significant. Cigarettes are sold from certain businesses, with taxation and bureaucratic controls. They must have plain packages, with graphic warnings of health costs. In addition to these controls, there are other efforts. These are advertising of the costs involved, such as abandonment of friends & family by early death.

Cigarettes are purchasable by anyone over the age of 18, this age is the arbitrary point of maturity. At this age the state assumes that the individual is able to make decisions and handle responsibility. There are costs involved with cigarette use which are not entirely covered by the individual. So the increased price of cigarettes contributes towards medical costs directly connected to cigarette use. This is an exchange between individual choice and state support.

This system lacks qualification of decision making maturity, and could be improved by encouraging or ensuring education, perhaps by a civic class in schools. It allows the individual to choose to behave in a way which costs the community, perhaps by early death or medical cost, and an individual bears greater responsibility for this choice in the form of tax. However as the choice is only possible due to state allowance, it is unrealistic to put the complete responsibility upon the individual. The Australian way presents freedom of choice, sharing of burden of choice and can be developed by improved education.

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