Our socialist-commie-big-government friends in Iceland are considering a radical new plan to curb smoking in their temperate island utopia: banning the sale of cigarettes in retail stores and making them available by prescription only, in pharmacies.
The proposed law, brought up for debate in the Icelandic parliament by former health minister Siv Fridleifsdottir, would also ban smoking in all public places and smoking in a car when a child is present, and eliminate branding and logos on cigarette packs, confining all sweet, sweet tobacco sticks to a bland brown packaging plastered with health caveats, legal warnings, and other associated buzzkills.
Speaking about his bill, Fridleifsdottir said that the aim was to protect children and prevent them from starting to smoke. He also pointed out that should his bill pass, the price of a pack of cigarettes would actually fall dramatically, so that the 'medicine' would be affordable for 'patients':
"Under our plan, smokers who are given prescriptions will be diagnosed as addicts, and we don't think the government should tax addicts."
According to Icelandic political experts and insiders, the law has little chance of passing as is. Though some of its provisions (especially the public-places ban) are expected to be enacted at some point, the prescription-only section has little real support in the parliament.
Even if by some miracle the bill gets signed into law, Iceland still won't be the strictest country in the world when it comes to smoking restrictions: cigarettes are completely banned in the Kingdom of Bhutan, and Finland hopes to have completely phased them out by 2040. Meanwhile, back here in the States, my guess is that come 2040, we'll still be puffing away.