Monday, 27 September 2010

Philippines: 'role model' physicians barred from smoking

Press reports say that the Philippine Medical Association has banned its doctors from smoking in order to set a good example to the public.

The reasoning that doctors must be a good example to society doesn't really hold up, as doctors are valued for their competence and listening skills, rather than for the exemplary behavioural models they provide to the rest of society. One could make this demand of anyone, as it has already been made of footballers and film stars. This is, rather, an example of the herd mentality: if you don't behave like us, watch your step. The general public is expected to inform on doctors who smoke.

A critical observer points out the open-ended nature of the threat. No sanction is specified for deviant doctors: 'we'll cross that bridge when we come to it'. This looks like: 'we'll get rid of you if we can afford to'. Who knows: they have not said. It's not a recipe for even-handed justice/sanction setting, and not a good example to set to the rest of society either.

1 comment:

Eddie Douthwaite said...

Questions raised about this ban in a Philippines Newspaper, see link below. Comments allowed on this newspaper.