Finding results

More than 400 paan shop owners pledged their support towards achieving a drug-free society at a meeting with authorities this week.

They promised not to engage in the illegal trade of tobacco products and other controlled substances.

The black market for tobacco products is very much alive today. Like other establishments, some paan shops have cashed in as well.

To those involved in this illegal trade, the profit of the business seems to be worth the risks: hefty fines or even time behind bars.

While many of the paan shops pledged their cooperation, based on some of the suggestions and questions asked during the meeting, there is an indication that still, more than half a decade later, not all are convinced that the tobacco rules make sense.

One asked why local sales are disallowed when consumption is not.

The question reminds us of an important point that needs to be addressed.

It reminds us of the need to find out if restricting the supply of tobacco has caused demand to drop or lessen in the past few years. We are all aware of the basic law of economics which is if there is no demand, there would be no supply.

There is a need for studies to be carried out to see if the current black market is only serving those who were already smokers before the ban was enacted and if it has caused smokers and chewers to drop the habit.

We need to know if the ban has discouraged the youth from picking up the smoking habit or from chewing tobacco products.

Because if it has not, we need to reprioritise where our resources are placed. The police, already over stretched in many areas, have been targeting the supply lines for the past few years.

But if demand has remained stable or has grown, then resources need to be shifted to the root of the problem: bringing down demand through stronger awareness campaigns and other kinds of innovative means that touch base with those who use tobacco products and those likely to begin using it.

1 reply
  1. irfan
    irfan says:

    Why local sales are disallowed when consumption is not? And that question indeed found the most suitable answer during the meeting. When we have all the rights to harm ourselves, we have no rights to harm others and; selling tobacco products or other drugs do harm someone else somewhere. But we only are executing our rights to harm ourselves through consumption of such drugs. Doesn’t that explain everything in great details?

    But every theory on consumption is usually based on certain presumptive rules. The ‘Demand-Supply’ economics probably gets a bit tricky only when we try to theoretically plot it against our ‘user friendly’ presumptions. Should ‘addiction’ be considered a supply to a well sustained demand! If one can find it to be affirmative, he is probably sitting on the wrong side of the ‘Demand-Supply’ economics. Or should that be all right to assume so?

    I just want to assume that one doesn’t get addicted to mathematics while studying economics in isolation. There are human behaviours to consider and even addiction can be considered as one such behavioural trait. But addition is no goods or commodity that can be manufactured as such. And still, for that to be a reality, one needs to go out of his rights to prescribe ‘addiction’ in the form of tobacco or any other drugs as some products fit for consumption at his own risks.

    When so many things get discussed upon; we still don’t discuss in details the causes behind smoking as an addiction. If there is chemistry involved, it probably needs to be researched in full details before we say that we have all the rights to harm ourselves. We are still lucky that a human brain doesn’t consider all form of addictions equally as a cumulative sum.

    So when we make tobacco products and drugs not easily available for sales, it probably gives an addicted person the chance for a behavioural change to replace the addiction in the mind. Otherwise, it’s still doubtful that banning the local sales will successfully reduce consumptions for treating addictions. If that doesn’t happen, demands are only going up.

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