Opinion: I'm a smoker, don't tell me what to put in my body

OPINION: Moving tobacco products to pharmacies won't stop people smoking. All it will do is put an even bigger target on pharmacies for criminals to go after them. 

Restricting access will do exactly what restricting access to any drug has ever done. It punishes those who are suffering a medical addiction, encourages a black market, takes money from legitimate businesses and gives that money and power to criminals.

What even is the point of restricting access to tobacco?

There seems to be this narrative that not only should New Zealand be "smoke free" but that it is a goal to be lauded. Why?

People seem to have short memories. Whenever we've tried to rid New Zealand of any substance it hasn't worked. We tried it with alcohol from 1880-1919. None of the measures worked, but do you know what did? Providing people with better housing, clean water, stable jobs and education.

We tried banning cannabis as part of the "war on drugs" throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Not only did people keep growing and obtaining cannabis, it remains our third most-used drug behind alcohol and tobacco.

Regardless of the health consequences the Government should not be telling me what I can put into my own body. Humans love finding things to tweak our consciousness. You can't regulate that desire out of existence.

To be clear, I am not arguing that tobacco is good or that I support a total laissez faire approach. I am arguing that we should legalise, tax and sensibly regulate all drugs. We should educate and allow people to make up their own minds.

Telling people what is right or wrong for them is not only arrogant but presumptuous.

Joshua Giddy is a smoker. He featured on Newshub's Facebook Live segment about tobacco sales.