... plain cigarette packaging that the Government wants to introduce.
This is what I think.
I quit smoking back in 1997, and I was never a really hard-core smoker anyway, but I do understand how hard it is to give the damn things up.
They have a stranglehold on your mind and body, and many people find it impossible to quit permanently.
I loathe smoking now. The smell is revolting, disgusting, and the merest whiff makes me feel sick and suffocated at the same time.
BUT -- although I wish no-one in the world smoked, I'm not going to tell people they can't. I don't want to live in a world where some 'Expert' decides what we can and can't do, for our own good.
Because, really, in the end we have to take responsibility for our own actions.
Everyone knows the dangers and risks of smoking. If they still do so, it's not out of ignorance.
I'm all for banning smoking in public places, because that affects everyone around the smoker. It is no longer just 'your right' that we're talking about here, it's the right of everyone around you not to have to breathe in that smoke.
But trying to force people into quitting isn't going to work.
You can put picture of corpses on the packets and people will keep smoking. You can charge $100 a packet, and people will keep smoking.
Someone will come up with cigarette cases, or a black market will open up, or folks will start growing their own, illegally.
Seriously -- you CAN NOT stop people from smoking if they're determined to.
And why the hell should we, anyway?
Who has the right to tell smokers that they can't smoke?
I have a strict no smoking rule in my house, and that's fine. When I visit my friends, who smoke, I don't insist they don't smoke while I'm there.
(In fact, out of respect for me, they always ask if I'd like to sit outside with them while they have a durrie.)
Should we continue educating people on the dangers of smoking? ABSOLUTELY.
Should we step up the campaign in schools? ABSOLUTELY. Because research shows that if you haven't started by the time you're 18-20, the chances are good that you never will.
Should we be subsidising smokers with health complications directly due to smoking? Hmmm. I don't know about this. I lean towards no.
Should our government be interfering in our lives to this extent? NO. It's not like they don't have better things to do.
And while I'm no fan of Big Tobacco, who after all are profiteering from an addiction, I also believe that no government has the right to interfere in the lives of ordinary people to this degree.
I hate that we're becoming such a Nanny Country.
There's an excellent video here, from an episode of The Gruen Transfer late last year.
I hope you'll take a couple of minutes to watch it, because a lot of angles on this issue are discussed and it's very interesting viewing.
Also -- I'd LOVE to hear what you think! Do you agree with plain packaging? Think it's a terrible idea? Tell us about it, in the comments.