A recent article issued by The Medical Journal of Australia has debated whether smokers should be issued with a ‘smart-card license’ to purchase tobacco products.
This idea has come as a pre-emptive tactic to hinder the sale of cigarettes to minors as well as offering a digitalised tracking system for smokers’ spending habits.
If the legislation were to be approved the smart-card monitoring system would offer a valuable insight into smoker’s purchasing behaviours while analysing current anti-smoking initiatives.
President of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Dr Steve Hambleton believes the prevention of tobacco inhalation by youths is of high priority.
“If we were only able to stop the next generation of people smoking – even if it’s all we accomplish – then we’ve still done a very good thing,” he said.
“Smoking is the only legal drug that kills half the people who use it on average.”
However smokers have raised some concern over the proposal in fear of being labelled a ‘registered addict’ and are therefore not willing to pay or disclose personal information to the licensing authority.
“There have been concerns with the older generation and retailers concerning cost, but given the circumstances, if the new generation is not recruited into addiction then it is well worth it” Dr Hambleton said.
A survey of 17-year-old secondary school students conducted by the AMA in 2010 suggested most respondents found it “very easy” to purchase tobacco products themselves.