Smoking Smart Cards - Answer To The UK Smoking Problem?

April 29, 2022 2 min read

Is a smart card the answer to the global smoking problem? Roger Magnusson, professor at the University of Sydney Law School, and David Currow of the Cancer Institute NSW think so.

Wrote in the Medical Journal of Australia, these two experts state that if these cards were given the green light retailers would be required by law to check the licence before being able to provide the customer with cigarettes.

What Would These Cards Achieve?

Ok so what would these cards achieve? I mean what difference is there between the system we have in place now where by a retailer is required to ask for ID from anyone who looks under the age of 25 and these cards? Well firstly it leaves no room for error – EVERY sale would require this licence. In an age where younger women are increasingly self conscious about body image and their appearance, its surprising how a little bit of make-up and high heels can add years to their age.

In addition to the above with the marvels of modern technology it’s also surprisingly easy to get hold of a fake ID. I am sure we all know of “a friend” in the past that has bought one of these fake ID’s online and has used it to buy cigarettes, alcohol or gain access to a nightclub at a young age. The new proposed licence would only be obtainable from official sources and measures would be put in place to make forgery of these cards very difficult.

The smart cards would allow a meticulous evaluation of smoking cessation schemes and programs. They could also be used by the government to gain valuable statistics on smoking habits and behaviour changes in relation to industry incentives.

Are There Any Disadvantages To The Card?

It has been suggested that this could attach a sigma to smoking with people that smoke feeling like “registered addicts”.

There is also the cost involved in designing and implementing such a system. Some state that the money could be better spent especially with the newly proposed cards not being 100% fool proof. What is to stop a legitimate card holder from simply purchasing cigarettes for other minors?


These cards in principle sound like a good idea, they allow for the tightening of the reins in controlling the distribution of cigarettes to only those who are legal. As seen above they do come with a few disadvantages but the overall advantages of putting in place such a system would outweigh these. Surely anything that makes it harder for young people to smoke and provides valuable data on smoker behaviours can only be a good thing.

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