Come 1 December and tobacco products will have to display harsher, gory images of their deadly impact on respiratory organs.
Were this a simple matter of educating persons and then weaning them away from the toxic stuff, perhaps pictures would have done the trick. It is not.
Economists have said for long that tobacco consumption and use of narcotics are deviations from rationality that pictures and information about dangers in their use cannot prevent.
Clearly, there is a case for better and tighter regulation here than is seen in India. It is not a matter of interfering with individual choice: risks from passive smoking are well known. Ban on smoking in public places is at best a partial remedy. The other externality, the cost incurred by the public health system—however small it may be—is another factor. Other more intrusive solutions must be explored2