There was an interesting discussion on 'You and Yours' (Radio 4) today. I don't normally listen to this, but exhaustion forced me to lie down just after 12.00 this afternoon. The discussion was about the issues pertaining to Government legislation regarding the display (or rather the non-display) of tobacco products in shops. When 1st mooted, I thought that it was simply a matter of putting up cupboards with sliding doors so that the ciggies etc., are not on general view. The Govt. estimated the cost of doing this in the 'average' corner shop as being between 300 and 700 Euros - reasonable you would think, but it's not actually the truth.
The legislation does not permit the shelves containing tobacco products to be seen at any time - even by the person actually buying a tobacco product. This opens a whole new bag of worms when it comes to accessing the packets of cigarettes. These will have to be in some sort of re-fillable chutes - very like the cigarette machines are - but less the transparent front, and consequently the costs are very much higher than Govt. estimates. The experience in Ireland has shown that depending on size, costs are between 3 and 8 times more. This seems like a sledge-hammer and nut job to me, but the point seems to be that if children see row upon row of cigarettes on display, it will instantly turn them into fag-end freaks, unable to resist the urge to try out every cigarette on display.
The finger-wagging nannies are quick to point out that cigarettes are displayed next to sweets - so temptation can't be avoided. Indeed it has been said that wicked shopkeepers put their ciggies next to sweetie displays 'on purpose'.
Someone needs to tell these self-appointed sages that more children are headed for an early grave due to obesity than they are through either lung-cancer or smoking-related heart disease.
With all the above in mind here are my proposals: - ALL food/confectionary that has either a high calorific value, contains too much fat or salt is to be hid away in cupboards in both shops and supermarkets.
Each product can only be accessed by pulling the appropriate drawer at the bottom of the cupboard.
Introduction of ID cards should be brought forward and have the facilty added to ration each individual with their fat, carbohydrate, and cholestrol allowance - non-production of the card will result in the customer being denied sale of an offending product.
Similarly, each ID card for over 21's will have an alcohol allowance in units per day - these will not be accumulative - if you don't use up your units for a particular day they cannot be taken forward to the next.
In Pubs, you will have to produce your ID card each time you order a drink, and the card will be swiped and the relevant number of units removed from it - if you haven't already used them up.
The roll-out of the ID cards is to be only an interim step to having everyone fitted with an RFID tag inserted in their skull shortly after birth, hence no need to carry the ID card around with you.