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Two months ago New Zealand, in its zeal to stamp out smoking, banned tobacco displays in shops.

Now Tobacco Control is disappointed that the display ban didn’t result in a drop in product sales.

As Jay at Nannying Tyrants says, it would be more meaningful to revisit sales volume in several months and a few years’ time.

Jay explores the notion of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Yet he, like I, have known of colleagues who have scoured an entire office block in search of a biscuit. Therefore, why wouldn’t a smoker react in the same way?

Tobacco Control aren’t very good students of human nature, nor do they particularly care to address this deficit.

Jay quoted New Zealand’s Labour health spokeswoman Maryan Street who said that laws change people’s attitudes (emphases mine):

As for the nanny-state accusations, I have always believed that the law changes people’s behaviour, and that attitudes come next. You can’t compel people to feel differently about things or to have different attitudes, but you can compel them to change their behaviour and that usually results further down the line in a change of attitude. The restrictions on smoking are a prime example of that.

That’s simultaneously bemusing, weird and scary.

Bemusing because attitudes normally change laws. The prohibition of slavery in the West is the most obvious example.  (It still occurs in Muslim-dominated countries in Africa.)

Weird because she is convinced of this.

Scary because one can envisage the Left lobbying for all sorts of laws being passed to change public attitudes. This is no doubt why left-wing governments pass a plethora of legislation and the Right, thinking that’s the thing to do, carries on with the pile-up.

If we consider the seatbelt law, CRB [UK’s Criminal Records Bureau] checks for volunteering, cycling helmets, smoking bans, transfat bans, soft drink taxes and so on — which most people happily accept without thinking — we can see that we have allowed government to run our lives over the past 40-odd years. That’s a heck of a long time. And, as Jay pointed out in his post, any resistance is regarded as secular heresy.

However, we the people need to do something if we wish to turn the tide.

Let’s take a step back and, yes, let’s resist for a change. Push back against further encroachment from the state.

Just say no to what you can when you can.

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