I'm in favour of just about anything that would cut smoking rates in Canada but I'm not sure Bill Tieleman's proposal to effectively outlaw retail sales of tobacco products is a practical solution.
Tieleman, a B.C. political commentator and former NDP organizer, wrote in The Tyee on Tuesday that tobacco should become a controlled substance, like pharmaceutical drugs, and available only by a doctor's prescription.
Anyone else caught possessing or selling smokes could be subject to criminal charges.
"For those who think this way of taking on tobacco addiction is too extreme, here's my reply: I watched my mom Pat die painfully from lung cancer in 2010, more than 20 years after she had quit smoking," Tieleman wrote.
I sympathize. I watched my mother-in-law, also named Pat, die from lung cancer after a lifetime as an unrepentant smoker. My mother took up smoking as a teenager in war-torn Europe and though she quit in her seventies largely because of cost, it undoubtedly harmed her health.
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