The Netherlands is often viewed as a country with liberal policies on drugs, with cannabis being decriminalized and available for purchase in coffee shops. However, the country has a very different stance when it comes to tobacco. Despite being one of the countries with the highest smoking rates in Europe, the Netherlands has implemented strict regulations on the sale and use of tobacco. This inconsistency in policies towards different drugs has led to criticism from some quarters, who argue that it is hypocritical for the country to allow the use of cannabis while restricting access to tobacco.
The Dutch government cites public health as the main reason for its strict rules on tobacco. The country has introduced a number of measures to reduce smoking rates, including increasing the age limit for buying cigarettes, introducing graphic health warnings on packs, and banning smoking in public places. Despite these measures, the smoking rate in the Netherlands remains high, with over 20% of the population still smoking regularly.
While many people support the government’s efforts to reduce smoking rates, others argue that it is hypocritical to restrict access to tobacco while allowing the use of cannabis. Cannabis is known to have a number of health risks, including the risk of addiction, impaired judgment and memory, and long-term effects on mental health. Despite these risks, the Netherlands has taken a more lenient approach towards cannabis, allowing people to purchase and use it in designated coffee shops.
Critics of the Dutch approach argue that this inconsistency in policies is not only hypocritical, but also sends mixed messages to the public. By allowing the use of one drug while restricting access to another, the government may be encouraging people to switch from tobacco to cannabis, without fully understanding the potential health risks associated with the latter.
Cigar Tobacco is The Lesser Evil
Although cigars do come with their respective health issues, the mind-altering effects of cannabis can make it a more significant problem compared to tobacco. Cannabis can impair cognitive and psychomotor functions, leading to increased risk of accidents, impaired judgment, and decreased productivity.
Cannabis use can also lead to short-term effects such as anxiety, paranoia, and altered perception, which can negatively impact an individual’s mental health. Long-term use of cannabis has been linked to the development of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and psychotic disorders.
Furthermore, the addictive potential of cannabis should not be overlooked. Regular use of cannabis can lead to the development of cannabis use disorder, which is characterized by the inability to control or reduce use despite negative consequences.
On the other hand, while tobacco use is also associated with negative health effects, it does not produce the same level of impairment and mental health risks as cannabis.
Cannabis is a more Significant Public Health Risk
Cannabis use can pose significant risks to public health in several ways.
First, cannabis use can lead to the development of health problems, such as respiratory problems, increased heart rate, and mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and psychotic disorders. Long-term use of cannabis has also been associated with a decline in IQ, memory problems, and a decreased ability to perform complex tasks.
Second, cannabis use can have negative impacts on social and interpersonal relationships. Regular use of cannabis has been associated with lower achievement in education and work, as well as problems with family and friends.
Third, cannabis use can contribute to public health and safety problems. Driving under the influence of cannabis increases the risk of car accidents and can lead to fatal consequences. Cannabis use can also increase the risk of accidents at work, particularly in industries that require the use of heavy machinery or coordination.
Cigars Are Culturally and Historically Significant
Cigar tobacco has a long history and is steeped in culture, unlike cannabis, which has a more recent history of use and cultural significance.
Cigar tobacco, particularly in the Caribbean region, has a rich cultural history that is steeped in the history and traditions of the Taíno people.
The Taíno were indigenous people who lived in the Caribbean before the arrival of European settlers. They were known for their advanced agricultural techniques, including the cultivation of tobacco, which they used in religious ceremonies and as a trade item. The Taíno would roll tobacco leaves into cigars, which they would smoke using ceramic pipes.
When Spanish conquistadors arrived in the Caribbean, they encountered the Taíno and their use of tobacco. The Spanish adopted the Taíno practice of smoking tobacco and brought it back to Europe, where it became popular and spread throughout the world.
Today, cigar tobacco remains steeped in the cultural heritage of the Taíno and their use of tobacco. In many countries, the art of cigar making is a cultural tradition passed down from generation to generation, and cigars are still associated with important events and celebrations.
The inconsistent approach towards cannabis and tobacco by the Netherlands is a source of confusion and controversy. On one hand, the authorities enforce strict regulations against premium cigars, while on the other hand, they have a more relaxed stance on cannabis. This disparity in policy raises questions about the logic behind the rules and regulations.
Cannabis, compared to premium cigars, is a more prevalent problem and has a greater impact on public health. Despite this, the officials in the Netherlands have not taken a uniform approach to address both issues. This lack of consistency is short-sighted, especially when one considers the cultural significance of cigars. The art, culture, and history associated with cigars are an important aspect of many communities, and a ban on cigars ignores this heritage.
Tobacco cigarettes, on the other hand, pose a significant health risk to both smokers and non-smokers. The harmful effects of smoking tobacco are well documented, and it makes sense to impose restrictions on its use. However, the same cannot be said for premium cigars. Studies have shown that the health impact of cigars, when consumed as part of a lifestyle, is minimal.
Considering the policy of other countries in Europe, it would be wise for the Netherlands to implement a similar exception for premium cigars. This would recognize the cultural and historical significance of cigars while still protecting public health. In conclusion, the Netherlands’ approach towards premium cigars appears to be misinformed and inconsistent, especially in light of their policy on cannabis.