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Smolka, Klaus Max

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Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung - Germany | 09/03/2014

EU will soon patronise more than smokers

As of 2016, all cigarette packs are to feature shock images aimed at discouraging people from smoking, the European Parliament ruled at the end of February. The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung fears that this will only prompt further paternalism by the state: "It's not right to constantly stigmatise smokers as long as they only harm or endanger themselves. The wife of a smoker or perhaps his friends may be entitled to warn him about the dangers if they feel compelled to do so, but the state isn't. ... But the wider community pays the price via the health insurance companies, you say? That's true, but it's a dangerous argument because it can be used to castigate and stigmatise all kinds of personal habits: drinking beer, eating crisps and peanuts, sunbathing, even skiing. ... Although practising high-risk sports can't be compared with smoking, it's the basic principle that counts. Because if the state gets away with telling one group what to do and what not to do, it won't be long before it starts doing the same with the next group."

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