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In The Dictatress and the Navigator (a live-action feature film I am writing, I want to direct myself, and I would like to play some characters within it) (I want to play both the Dictatress and the Navigator), one of the two protagonists is a dictatress. She makes a nicotine prohibition, or more accurately, a recreative tobacco prohibition (medical tobacco is fully legal) (medical tobacco means nicotine pills). What I mean is the anti-villainous Dictatress prohibits both smoking and chewing tobacco, and she hires many police officers for arresting people who sell recreative tobacco (nicotine addicts are immediately put in rehab). But, there are no tobacco cartels in the city-state she runs. Strangely, the Dictatress is against torture, and she only uses the death penalty for the vilest people (in other words, politicians who are both opposed to her and cruel even by her standards, cannibalistic murderers, and torturers).

The country of reference in my story is a Dominican Republic pastiche (if Dominican Republic were a city-state).

So, I wonder how could a nicotine/tobacco prohibition be efficient? Also, would banning nicotine be comparable to banning cholesterol?

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    $\begingroup$ I think you're focusing too much on the character in your question, which is irrelevant regarding if people will find a way around the restrictions or not, and a good risk people will close it for being story-based ^^'. [...] $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Mar 25 at 19:25
  • $\begingroup$ [...] Meanwhile, I think we need to know what kind of culture and nation we're talking about, like a country of reference, how tobacco is currently perceived or the main political focus of the years before the prohibition (hiring more policemen for instance). That'd give the resources we have access to ensure the law is respected, and the levers we have to make it as efficient as possible. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Mar 25 at 19:26
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    $\begingroup$ How are there no cartels in a criminal underworld with chemical dependencies outlawed? I suppose I am most confused by the word “efficient” in the title, but the question seems to want this all to work (effective). Efficient means it uses resources (money) well. This law will definitely raise tax revenue, so “efficient” it is. But it won’t be effective without magic. $\endgroup$
    – Vogon Poet
    Mar 26 at 0:19
  • $\begingroup$ what budget does Dictatress has? what percentage of the population is smoker? Saudi Arabia has this tobacco fatwa and they are strict, but do you want another Saudi Arabia? $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Mar 26 at 1:47
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    $\begingroup$ Shouldn't it be Dictatrix? $\endgroup$ Mar 26 at 13:37

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Strict import restrictions

While it's true that demand will always create a black market, your goal is to create a more effective prohibition. Fortunately, you're on an island nation, and that makes smuggling considerably harder, especially if you have a very effective and militarized Coast Guard. Make it illegal to import tobacco in any form except government shipments of nicotine pills.

Strict growing restrictions

Ban the growth of tobacco on the island. Tobacco is labor intensive, soil intensive, and fertilizer intensive. It is rarely profitable outside of large industrialized. Small farmers in areas where tobacco farming is legal, like Indonesia, frequently struggle to turn a profit.

Ban tobacco advertising

Part of the reason smoking is so popular is very effective marketing. There's no reason to allow that to happen in your country. Ban all advertising related to tobacco.

Promote alternatives advertisment

Make using nicotine pills (as an alternative to other forms of tobacco) seem cool. Depict it as futuristic, confident, discreet. Show clips of laughing, clean-cut professionals celebrating and partying on a beach, with pill bottles of nicotine. Make smoking be perceived as rude and uncleanly. (That shouldn't be hard. People who don't smoke usually find the smell of cigarette smoke repulsive)

Import tobacco-specific pests

Mole Crickets are a notoriously destructive tobacco pest. They're also a delicacy in the Philippines, and a great source of protein. Establish mole cricket farms that you can use to create plenty of extra nutritious food for your country. High in iron, riboflavin, protein, vitamin B, and other nutrients, and able to feed on things that common livestock turns their nose up at. Naturally, as a side effect of farming them, they will likely become endemic to the island as a minor agricultural pest which is especially destructive to tobacco.

As a bonus, Mole crickets are terrible for lawns, and lawns are a degenerate capitalist invention that your pastiche of the Dominican Republic will soundly decry.

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Yes, with adequate level of enforcement

Unlike the use of many other controlled substances, smoking (or chewing) tobacco leaves lingering odor and tooth enamel residue.

If you are willing to crack down on people with addiction (as opposed to just producers and dealers), the issue can be largely kept under control. If everyone is subjected to a quick weekly test that can send anyone to jail just as quick, there won't be many tobacco users left.

Injectable nicotine, if that appears on black market, would be an issue though.

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    $\begingroup$ We already live in a world where users are punished. We've discovered that their addictions (or in some cases, even non-addictive desires) are stronger than fear of punishment. And nicotine is far more addictive even than heroin. This is a fool's errand dreamt up by someone who grew up drowning in too much just-say-no propaganda. $\endgroup$
    – John O
    Mar 25 at 20:59
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    $\begingroup$ @John O "their addictions ... are stronger than fear of punishment" - with adequate level of enforcement, the answer is "who cares". As long as all addicts are rounded up in labor camps (or worse), the rest of the society is "clean". $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Mar 25 at 22:41
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    $\begingroup$ There is no "adquate level of enforcement" that still resembles a functional society. As you make society hellish enough that you've removed the addicts, other people are drugging up just to numb themselves to the nightmare you've created. This is another one of the myths that drug warrior propaganda pushes... "that if only we really wanted to, we could make it all stop". You can't. When people have 5 minutes during a day not under surveillance, when they have the bodily autonomy that you can't sample their blood constantly, they'll do this. $\endgroup$
    – John O
    Mar 26 at 15:01
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A prohibition will always create a black market. If there are no tobacco cartels when the prohibition goes into effect, existing organized crime (there's always organized crime -- because, contrary to adage, crime does pay) will begin to fill the demand.

There were no cartels supplying illegal alcohol in 1918. There were occasional small time smugglers bypassing taxes (just as there are occasional attempts to smuggle cigarettes from low-tax to high-tax locations -- but by the case, not the tonne), but big organized crime didn't get involved until suddenly nobody could legally buy whiskey, wine, or even beer. Ten years later, these gangs ran whole governments.

Ban non-medicinal tobacco and pretty shortly there will be a thriving business in helping people get past their nicotine fits -- while turning a huge profit (because the price of a cigarette will go up, but the sellers are paying no taxes).

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    $\begingroup$ This is quite probable. However please note that the question is asking about "how to make it as efficient as possible", not "if it will work", so you're not really answering it. Do you have tools to offer to make this prohibition more efficent, albeit not perfect? $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Mar 25 at 19:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Tortliena Nothing can be efficient without first being effective. The latter is a requirement for the former. $\endgroup$
    – John O
    Mar 25 at 20:57
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnO I'm sorry to say that, but telling that something can either work or not is a black and white, contrived view which not what I or the asker asked for. Even if benefits are marginal, you should have left a "but if you really have to, take -or don't take- example from this", even if it's to make a 0% effective solution to a 1% one. As it is, this answer should have been left as a comment :). $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Mar 25 at 21:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Tortliena Efficiency is the condition of achieving a goal more quickly and/or with fewer resources, also implying that the goal can be achieved to an even greater degree (though, they may choose not to do that). If we can assume from your proposed legislation that your goal is for fewer people to use nicotine, and for them to do so less often, then this prohibition is a complete failure from the outset. Nothing can achieve that goal, and since nothing can achieve it, it can't be made more efficient. This isn't a good premise for an interesting story, and you should do some introspection. $\endgroup$
    – John O
    Mar 25 at 21:14
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnO You confuse setting a threshold to reach (the goal) and measuring how far you're from reaching it (efficiency). DanielB gave many ideas to prevent tobacco usage. Do you mean that NONE reduce the consumption, even by 0,1%? Do you mean that new consumers are willing to get into smoking, even if they've never smelled it in their entire life? Know that's what you're currently telling. $\endgroup$
    – Tortliena
    Mar 25 at 22:35

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