Where would we be without government exhortations to look after ourselves? Answer: much better off. Treating citizens like subjects and grown adults like fools -- all with the citizens' own money -- is conducive neither to safety, nor to liberty, nor to a robust good health.
As Herbert Spencer said, "The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools." Given the electoral base of NZ's ruling party(s), that is perhaps the intention.
More and more it seems that the way to a subject's heart is through hysteria, and anti-smoking hyperbole is merely the most prominent of Nanny's hysterics. ARI's Don Watkins puts the case for Nanny's prosecution as a corrupter of morals, especially of independence:
The government's war on smoking--a coercive campaign that includes massive taxes on cigarettes, advertising bans, and endless multi-billion dollar lawsuits against tobacco companies. This war is infecting [individuals] with a political disease far worse than any health risk caused by smoking; it is destroying our freedom to make our own judgments and choices...Great points all. Read the whole piece here: Anti-Smoking Paternalism: A Cancer on American Liberty.
Implicit in the war on smoking, however, is the view that the government must dictate the individual's decisions with regard to smoking, because he is incapable of making them rationally. To the extent the anti-smoking movement succeeds in wielding the power of government coercion to impose on Americans its blanket opposition to smoking, it is entrenching paternalism: the view that individuals are incompetent to run their own lives, and thus require a nanny-state to control every aspect of those lives...
But contrary to paternalism, we are not congenitally irrational misfits. We are thinking beings for whom it is both possible and necessary to rationally judge which courses of action will serve our interests...
By employing government coercion to deprive us of the freedom to judge for ourselves what we inhale or consume, the anti-smoking movement has become an enemy, not an ally, in the quest for health and happiness.