Is it time for radical new ideas about health? Is it time for government to take a more active role ensuring the health of its citizens? Professor Julian Le Grand, chair of Health England, told an audience about his new ideas to take a dramatic attack in dealing with health problems in England. His nation currently leads European Union nations with a 24.2% obesity rate. He came out for a vigorous program ensuing people exercised and a strategy to reduce smoking which still remains among the leading killers of people. Under his proposal, companies would be required to offer an “exercise hour” during working hours that enables people to engage in physical exercise programs. He also proposes requiring individuals who wish to smoke to purchase a “smoking license” each year -perhaps even requiring a doctor’s signature -that would be produced when purchasing cigarettes. Le Grand argues for a form of “libertarian paternalism” in which government takes a proactive role to ensure people’s health. It also requires individuals to “opt in” each year to their decision to continue smoking with all money obtained from the licenses going to the National Health Service.
The Le Grand suggestions represent an interesting new approach to smoking and exercise. He goes as far as insisting no one under the age of 18 could obtain a “smoking license,” The idea of forcing the business world to allow time for exercise makes sense, and giving people the choice of opting in or out of the exercise still maintains their right of individual choice. Something has to be done in modern society to improve the health of people.