Article Text

other Versions

Download PDFPDF
Daniel Halliday, ‘The Ethics of a Smoking License’
  1. David Shein
  1. Correspondence to Dr David Shein, Department of Philosophy, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York 12571, USA; shein{at}

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Daniel Halliday1 argues that the most efficient way to reduce cigarette smoking is to implement a smoking licence. Such a system would, he maintains, be more effective than sales taxes because a licence would have a greater cost, which would be more of a disincentive, and a larger up-front cost, which would be a greater disincentive than distributed cost over time. Additionally, insofar as most people start smoking as adolescents, and insofar as adolescents would not be likely to afford a licence, this would have the additional effect of stopping smokers before they begin.

These are economic arguments for an economic policy: they purport to trace the most efficient means to the given end of reducing smoking. Is there also a moral argument? While Halliday says there is, no normative or ethical principle is articulated anywhere in the paper. His argument is grounded in a basic commitment to paternalism generally, and paternalism with regard to adolescents in particular (p3). No defence of paternalism is offered, however; the majority of the paper consists of a series of defences of a licence system against economic and moral objections. In this note, …

View Full Text


  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

Linked Articles

  • Mini-Symposium: Regulating smoking
    Yvette van der Eijk
  • Mini-Symposium: Regulating smoking
    Daniel Halliday
  • The concise argument
    Dominic Wilkinson

Other content recommended for you