In this paper, we discuss a range of regulations that buttress consumers’ long-term behavioral intentions and reduce the likelihood that momentary impulses will undermine those intentions. All of these regulations, which we call Early Decision regulations, encourage consumers to make forward-looking decisions that they cannot easily reverse later. ...
Self-regulation refers to a broad category of schemes that allow the consumer to create her own regulatory constraints. With self-regulation, the consumer is only constrained if she wants to be. ...
In the simplest case of self-regulation, buying cigarettes would require a cigarette photo ID card. To obtain a cigarette card, a consumer would fill out a (confidential) application form, obtain an appropriate photograph, and submit her application to the regulator with a modest annual fee (e.g., $20). After an intentional delay of one month, two copies of the card would be delivered, and the cards would expire a year after receipt. The consumer would reapply every twelve months to maintain a current card.
Such a system would have the following benefits. First, a card system makes it possible for a smoker to commit to temporarily stop smoking by simply cutting up her current cards. Second, for a smoker who is trying to quit, the expiration date of her current cards creates a salient quit date. Third, a card system creates a default of not smoking, since not applying for the cigarette card is the path of least resistance. Fourth, the card system discourages impulse initiation or resumption of smoking, since application delays make it impossible for a person without a card to immediately obtain one.
--John Beshears, James Choi, David Laibson, and Brigitte Madrian, "Early Decisions: A Regulatory Framework"
Smokers could be forced to pay £10 for a permit to buy tobacco if a government health advisory body gets its way.
No one would be able to buy cigarettes without the permit, under the idea proposed by Health England.
Its chairman, Professor Julian Le Grand, told BBC Radio 5 Live the scheme would make a big difference to the number of people giving up smoking.
He said it was the inconvenience of getting a permit - as much as the cost - that would deter people from persisting with the smoking habit. ...
"You've got to get a form, a complex form - the government's good at complex forms; you have got to get a photograph.
"It's a little bit of a problem to actually do it, so you have got to make a conscious decision every year to opt in to being a smoker."
--BBC on the first serious Early Decision movement