September 22, 2021

The Editor Speaks: Cayman Islands to consider banning cigarette smoking?

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Colin WilsonwebI can understand ministers becoming frustrated when measures are put into place to curb unhealthy habits and they have little or no effect.

I can understand how ministers want to take “drastic steps” to force people to curb their unhealthy habits.

BUT! You cannot and must not take away a person’s own right to make up his or her own mind, especially when the unhealthy act is not unlawful.

I am speaking about cigarette smoking.

Cayman Islands Minister for Health, Osbourne Bodden, has been reported as saying it may be time for Cayman Islands to consider the whole country to become a smoke free environment.

Wow!

I am not a smoker. I smoked for a short time for six months when I first started work as a teenager because it was the “thing” to do.

When fifty years ago in England there became a new ‘mood’ to stop smoking because of health problems I was one of the first to quit.

The dangers of second hand smoke came to the fore much later.

God is to the majority of believers, the ultimate authority. I think Minister Bodden will even agree with me on that. He gave us the right to make up our own minds. He showed us right from wrong.

You can show us, Minister, the terrible things we are doing to our body by smoking cigarettes/pipes/cigars. You can show us what our lungs look like from tobacco smoke inhalation. You can show us all the statistics of throat and lung cancer from smoking. You can put curbs on smoking by taxing tobacco to the high heavens.

You cannot and MUST not take away our right to do so.

If I want to take an axe and chop of my right arm that is my right. It is not your right to stop me. Owning an axe is not illegal.

And how on earth are you going to implement a ban on smoking here in the Cayman Islands when it is a major tourist destination.

Already the headline blazed across Cayman’s leading media house that Cayman is considering to take “bold steps” and there may come a time when smoking will be “completely banned”, has been taken up in the international press. A real dumb comment to have been made publicly if it has been correctly reported. The rest of the Caribbean islands must be rubbing their hands with glee.

And just supposing this smoking ban was implemented. How could it possibly be enforced? With the loss in tourism revenue, the loss in the tobacco tax revenue and the loss to our shopkeepers/bar owners and the like, the country would also have to fork out money on additional policing of such a policy.

It amazes me that when you have a product readily available for sale here in the Cayman Islands that has been banned in most civilized countries, is a killer with no antidote, and has already killed hundreds of animals in a most painful and agonizing way, can kill humans as it has already done to thousands and made even more very ill, you have made no comment on considering a ban on it.

I am talking of the pesticide Paraquat. The highly toxic weed killer that is still used here.

Please publicly announce to everyone that Paraquat is much more a danger to our health than smoking a cigarette – it takes hundreds of cigarettes to kill us over many years – but one swig from a bottle of this toxic product is all you need for an agonizing death. Then I will applaud you. And policing it will be very easy, too and the loss of revenue to our Islands’ budget will be minimal and will have no effect on tourism. And ALL of us will be a lot safer too.

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