Iceland Debates Making Cigarettes Prescription-Only
Country will consider banning normal sales
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2011 8:35 AM CDT
In this file photo taken Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, a person smokes a Marlboro cigarette, in Hialeah, Fla.   (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, file)

(Newser) – In Iceland, you may soon need to head to the pharmacy to get your cigarettes. The country is considering a counter-intuitive measure that would make cigarettes a prescription-only product. The bill would ban the sale of cigarettes anywhere except pharmacies, and would initially require pharmacies to sell cigarettes only to those 20 or older as doctors helped addicts to quit. Eventually, those for whom treatment and educational programs don't work would be given a prescription, and only those people would be allowed to purchase cigarettes.

The proposed bill is part of a 10-year plan looking to ban smoking in all public spaces—even outdoors—as well as in cars with children, the Guardian reports. The proposal would also increase cigarette prices by 10% per year, but ultimately the prescription-only cigarettes would be cheaper than ever: "Under our plan, smokers who are given prescriptions will be diagnosed as addicts, and we don't think the government should tax addicts," says one expert. But, while one political adviser calls the proposal "very serious," she adds that she doubts it will become law.

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Showing 3 of 17 comments
Jul 6, 2011 7:09 AM CDT
Just wondering if it were to be a prescription product in the US, then I assume it would no longer be taxable. That would certainly blow a big hole in NYC's revenues.
Jul 6, 2011 12:33 AM CDT
We've been smoking for 10,000 plus years.. I'm more worried about the garbage they're pumping into our food/water/air. We seem to have little choice concerning those.. laws like this give us even fewer choices.. I struggle to find a light in which fewer choices means a better educated and healthier people.
Jul 5, 2011 9:57 AM CDT
I am not a smoker, but I still think this is a bad idea. Prohibition of alcohol and drugs has been a massive failure, and it won't be any different in this case. And it would be even easier to get cigarettes in Iceland than other illegal drugs, seeing as tobacco is legal worldwide. What a horrible plan - I don't understand why people think this way.