Monday 16 January 2012

Korea: I Know, Let's Have A New Drug War!

News from Korea.
A group of people filed a petition with the Constitutional Court, Wednesday, asking the court to review the constitutionality of the law on the state’s tobacco industry.

In the petition, nine citizens claimed the law infringes on the people’s rights to health, saying the government acknowledges the harmfulness of smoking but allows tobacco companies to manufacture cigarettes and sell them.

If the court finds the law unconstitutional as they claim, the decision may bring huge repercussions as it will mean the state should ban production and circulation of tobacco products.
Yes, I know what you're thinking, but's it's not that Korea, we're talking about the {cough} 'free' one here.
“The right to health, guaranteed by the Constitution, means the government not only has the duty not to harm people’s health but also is responsible for making and implementing policy for people’s health,” the group said in the petition.

“The government should scrap the law and instead establish a law banning the production and trade of cigarettes. It also needs to categorize tobacco as drug,” they said.
Hideous human pecksniffs they may be, but at least they are sincere, especially if they thought of this all by themselves.
Participating members include Park Jae-gahb, a former director of the National Medical Center, who is an ardent anti-smoking campaigner; [...] Former Government Legislation Minister Lee Seog-yeon filed the petition on their behalf.
Not such a (lemon?) grass roots campaign after all, then.

So, South Korea joins Finland in the race to become the first country to ban smoking entirely; refuse hefty tax receipts; and create an entirely new - and extraordinarily lucrative - market for organised criminal activity. Bravo!

Meanwhile, in that dictatorial place over the border ...
Signs are that North Korea’s new leader Kim Jong-un is a smoker.

Kenji Hujimoto, a former Japanese chef for the late Kim Jong-il, was reported to have said that Jong-un began to smoke cigarettes and drink liquor when he was around 15. He said Jong-un sometimes asked him to share cigarettes he had.

Hujimoto called Jong-un “one who loves to smoke,” adding that he likes to smoke Yves Saint Laurent, among others.

Both his father and grandfather are known for their love for cigarettes.
Luckily for South Korea, and their nine patriotic anti-tobacco champions, I'm sure North Korea would have no designs on undermining their neighbours by copping a deaf 'un to cross border tobacco smuggling operations, should tobacco become illegal by order of a Seoul court.

Nope, nothing could be further from their minds.


John Pickworth said...

I doubt Korean smokers have need to worry. Just think of the legal precedent if the appellants were successful...

You'd have anti-motoring groups calling for the ban on cars to start with. Quickly followed by bans on the internet, mobile phone masts, vaccination programs, coal fired power stations, nuclear power, windmills (in case a blade flies off and hits someone), fish (bone choke danger), nuts, salt.... You know what? Within 6 months they'd be scrambling over the razor wire trying to get into the North.

Anonymous said...

"A group of people filed a petition ..." "... In the petition, nine citizens claimed ..."

Right. Out of the blue, a handful of helpful-idiots appeared and the government will now bow over and rule in their favour, not that it was not in the favour of their ruling elite who through myriad layers of fake-charities, propaganda and payola managed to dig up the helpful-idiots to petition government for this "right". And for North Korea, I read that the current dictator's father was keen on banning smokers from attending any college a few years back, so maybe his son will lighten up those restrictions. Sadly, South Koreans will now enjoy the "right" to have all decisions about their "health" decided from higher up by the state. Where are all these abortion rights and sex-change rights advocates when it comes to freedom of choice regarding tobacco, but nowhere to be seen.

Mark Wadsworth said...

"South Korea joins Finland in the race to become the first country to ban smoking entirely"

Well, you're the expert and all, but isn't Bhutan currently ahead of the pack?

Dick Puddlecote said...

I meant 'civilised' country, MW ;)

Anonymous said...

If they're first to ban tobacco entirely, that'd make 'em a cuntry, not a country, in my way of thinking. Or, because it's Korea, then a kuntry, same difference.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this development is not all bad. At least, it will bring the matter to a head. As JP has said above, a precedent will be set.
In that sense, perhaps this petition is a good thing in the same way that Bartlett's demand for a ban on smoking in the streets of Stony Stratford was a good thing.

Perhaps the petition will give the Constitutional Court the opportunity to state categorically that it is NOT the duty of the State to force people to be healthy; to say that the State's duty is protect the people against immediate danger and not some perceived danger in the distant future.

Anonymous said...

Oh bloody marvellous Korea
you cant smoke but you can have a skinned alive chihuaha for your lunch.
Lasy orders for these fag hating freaks,its time for some meaningfull face to face dialogue.
The "Voices of Freedom" crackling out of the crystal sets are doing a grand job of giving an handfull
the "feel good factor",it must be time to get some heavies on the job.
Appeasement has run it's course,
time to stretch the legs is due.

The ends justfy the means

selsey.steve said...

The North Korean Government is internationally recognised as being the largest producer of counterfeit cigarettes in the world; just ask Marlboro!