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back to article UK gov advisor proposes 'licence to smoke'

A government advisor has suggested that the problem of Brits continuing to smoke themselves to death might be tackled by requiring nicotine addicts to obtain a £200 annual licence, the Telegraph reports. Professor Julian le Grand, a "former advisor to Tony Blair" who is a lecturer in social policy at the London School of …

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Stop

Fascists

"There is nothing evil about smoking as long as you are just hurting yourself"

Funnily enough that's exactly what the 7 year long 12 nation study into the effects of 'second hand' smoke undertaken by the WHO embarrassingly revealed, turns out we really are just hurting ourselves, you might object to the smell just like I object to your BO or veggie breath but that's all it is, a very subjective annoyance.

But why rely on science when old wives tales are good enough?

Ban everything, barcode everyone, nothing could ever be safe enough for us children of the State.

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A nutter spouts forth

You mean *THAT* Julian Le Grand, theTitmus professor of social politics at the LSE? The one with the fruitcake ideas on taxation and the health service? The one who is a frothing advocate of so-called "choice and competition" in our public services? That one?

The prof's loopy baccy licence wheeze is a non-starter as any fule kno. What's more, trying to rope in the medical profession will only make doctors hate the barmy boffin more than they already do.

You just know someone has to be a joke if Tony Blair thought the sun shone out of their arse - an endorsement almost guaranteed to wreck a reputation.

Missus Sceptical Bastard (not her real name) once went to a seminar of Le grand's at an NHS conference - she reckoned he was completely east ham*

As so often, I despair.

* East Ham = one stop short of Barking (if you are non-British, this reference may go over your head - sorry)

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Paris Hilton

2p....

Ok, first point, £200 to acquire a license that allows people to smoke? Can anyone say "Stealth Tax"?

Now, second point. If the government (lower case g...) wants people to stop smoking, really stop smoking based on the health of the nation...stop selling cigarettes. Truly, it's the only way.

Right, that's my two pennies worth.

PS,

Where is the Paris Hilton angle?

Can El Reg see to adding another icon, maybe a 2p coin?

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Stop

Err,

I don't even know where to begin with this one. Well done to El Reg for showing restraint in not wasting loads of bandwidth ripping this nonsense apart right now!

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Anonymous Coward

Like ID cards

le Grand declared that "requiring them to fill in forms, and have photographs taken in order to apply for a permit would prove a more effective deterrent"

In the same way that an ID card will act as a deterrent? ...

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Anonymous Coward

Let them do it...

Hells bells the planet needs to lose LOTS of humans to have a realistic hope of us surviving so if someone wishes to smoke/drink/whatever themselves into an early grave then let them do it.

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Anonymous Coward

Wouldn't it be easier....

...if they just made them illegal? I know that doesn't stop current illegal drug use but it makes it a lot smaller problem as it's not accessible to the general public everywhere you go (pubs, cinemas, news agents, supermarkets, etc., etc.). Simplistic view but you get my point?

Or is it simply that the government loves all the tax revenue that they get from smoking that they'll never ban them but just use the 'health risk' angle as a way to justify raising taxes further.

Lets face it, if they were that bad for us (this bit isn't in question) AND they were that worried about the general population dying prematurely (pretty sure that they would tax dying if they found a way. Oh wait they have: inheritance tax!!) they would ban them completely.... wouldn't they?!?

Just me?

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Anonymous Coward

W. T. F.

Revenue generation. 100%. There is NO other purpose.

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so all in all..

..what he basically says is that he has this idea but it wouldn't work coz it has so many potential holes in it..

slow news day methinks ;)

in all seriousness tho this is such a stupid idea, within 5s of it being announced you'd have 20 million ppl waving that poxy human rights bollocks over their heads going "o noes you're restricting me for my own good, give me money or i'll cry!!"

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Anonymous Coward

Title

The first two suggestions should have been dropped immediately after the brain storming session.

However his last 2 suggestions are not so bad, so long as they are not compulsory, and folk are not stigmatised for taking part. Yes: they have mileage.

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Boffin

A 'licence to smoke'..??

Are you kidding me..?? HOW ABOUT YOU FUCK OFF YOU CHUUUUUUUUUUUUUNT..!!

Sorry about that folks, I'm going to pop outside for a ciggie, brb...

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Anonymous Coward

What the fuck is wrong with smoking yourself to death

I kayak dangerous rivers and used to climb dangerous mountains. I also drive on the M25. Why do I not require a £200 permit to do these things? I'm feeling left out.

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Go

Government advisers eh....

.....just think if it wasn't for them you would probably have to employ twice as many staff just to make up lots of barmy stuff to fill bootnotes

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Flame

great, as long as you spend it on new special smoking pubs for us.

Give us some pubs where we smoke our lungs black then. Put big signs outside warning that this is a dedicated smoking pub.

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Anonymous Coward

One word...

Idiot

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Boffin

I don't mind

As long as it comes with a licence to break government advisers kneecaps too!

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£200? Taxation increase...

So, assuming an "addict" smokes 40 a day, its the same as adding 25p to the price of a pack of cigarettes... wouldn't it be far, far easier to do this rather than enforce licencing; or are cigarettes in the 'basket' for working out inflation figures still?

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Alert

And then...

And then what else will this be considered acceptable for?. Will everyone who wants to drink more than 8 pints a week have to attend alcohol abuse workshops? How about attaching a pedometer to everyone to ensure you walk 2000 steps a day (or whatever is recommended). Yes smoking is stupid, and I certainly agree that nobody else be subject to something harmful, and therefore agree with the ban in public. As many people do, I smoke socially, while having possibly a beer or 2 more than I should, after working 80hours in front of a computer. Yet I have the sense to eat well, keep fit and pay all those taxes. I also have to take daily meds for epilepsy and get regular check-ups to ensure I'm not caving in from the inside, but I still don't see why I should have to endure a process such as this.

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Flame

well they can...

..f*ck right off with that one. There's no way on God's green Earth I'm going to pay for a fookin' smoking licence. I'll sit outside Downing Street chucking fag ends at Gordon Brown's coppers all day and all night if I have to, but no-one is taking away my right to smoke Lucky Strike/Winston/Chesterfield as often as I want to. Fookin' Labour Stalinist police-state nanny-knows-best interfering busybodies.

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Black Helicopters

yeh, whatever

Any non smokers might, whilst curling on their settee of smugness with a glass of wine might like to consider that alchohol is a greater killer than smoking,

how long before you need a licence to drink ?

After we all stop smoking what are the guvnermont going to focus on next... hic

As for drink not harming anyone second hand, take a leisurely walk through a main street of any uk city at chicking out time.... you don;t see smokers battling with the hugely expensive police presence and bottling innocent passers by

harumph :-)

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Go

inverse economic incentive -shurely?

I am a smoker. I am doing my bit to reduce the appalling strain on the NHS all the people my age who do not smoke will be placing on it by surviving to 123.

Accordingly, I fully anticipate being less of a burden on the national purse.

I claim my Dying At A Proper Age Rebate

(form DoH/Lun/001(c)-7i/reb/9j_smo\2(reb) refers, I think)

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FFFFFFFFFFFF......... sake!

I have never heard such stupidity in my entire 45 years on this planet. Smoking to death is too slow, please someone put me out of my misery, just take me down the garden and shoot me!!!

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Paris Hilton

Yesterday's men

I think this illustrates a fundamental flaw of government; it encourages and attracts the kind of people who don't know when to stop governing.

I choose Paris Hilton as my avatar. She is an expert on smoking. Also, I am reminded of that film where the lady smokes a cigarette with her bottom.

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Smoke away!

Psst, it would work just about as well as prohibition stopped Americans from drinking.

I'm a non smoker, and I'm delighted that smokers contribute so much money to the national coffers - especially now that pubs/clubs are smoke free so smoking doesn't really affect me at all.

There is an absolute deluge of information on the risks, and help for those who start and struggle to stop. The only downside I can think of at all is that it costs the NHS money to treat millions with lung cancer, but that is more than covered by the tax.

If you want to pay the country for the privilege of killing yourself, go right for it.

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Re: What the fuck is wrong with smoking yourself to death

Some people have this silly moral qualm about harming others. They must be so foolish to be moral, no one is moral these days to any degree.

But at least those smokers could stop harming people around them _directly_ and causing a fair percentage of the London pollution. So can we have a London smoking charge where you need to pay £8 a day to smoke in London?

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Fuck this.

Le Grand clearly has nothing but contempt for the general public. He claims that he wants the healthy option to be the default in policy and this licence along with his other ideas would allow the public to "opt-in" to the unhealthy option.

Until this arsehole can show me a child whose first words are "I need a cigarette," we already have an opt-in culture. I opt-in every time I buy a pack of tobacco.

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Stop

Fuck Off!

I'll decide whether or not i want to take risks myself, not have you decide to do it for me.

What next, a licence to cross the road away from a pedestrian crossing?, a licence to eat boiled sweets the same size as my throat, a licence to re-wire my house without turning the mains off first?

Give me a break!

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Coat

Am i the only one who supports this?

//Will everyone who wants to drink more than 8 pints a week have to attend alcohol abuse workshops?//

They existed years ago in Finland when one bought over a certain amount of drink, they received infomation (whether they liked it or not) on the dangerous of drinking to excess.

I think it is a good idea on the licensing front, smoking-related diseases kills in the UK, 100 000 people. Now if that be put down by as many as a quarter, that is the size of a small market town.

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Stop

I've just quit smoking

But if this even came close to happening I would start again, buy a gun and take out as many government types as I could get my sights on.

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That final straw.

I've been threatening to do this for a quite a while now, and I'm afraid this is the last straw. On the day this law passes I will pack up my things, make my arrangements with work, and emigrate to Canada.

This is yet another pointless attack on our civil liberties, based on nothing but Labours seemingly unquenchable thirst to ban things.

Cast your mind over the past years, how many seemingly insignificant things have been banned.

Read Jeremy Clarkson's new book, he makes this point excellenty, and has some rather frightening facts and figures to back it up. However, I cannot be bothered to reproduce them here, you'll have to shell out the £7.99.

Labour beware: This country has a breaking point.

Keep outlawing things that are minority persuits (Smoking, Hunting with dogs, Certain psychoactive fungi are the ones I can think of off the top of my head) and eventually you'll only end up with an angry majority.

People will become accustomed to breaking the law, and as a result we'll have more people being dragged through the courts at the tax payers expense.

The respect the avarage person has for the law with drop, breaking the law will become a socially acceptable thing, and why respect one law, when you don't respect another.

We'll end up with gangs on hoodies skulking our streets at night. Oh, wait, thats happened.

We won't be able to go a month without hearing about somebody under the age of 18 stabbing/being stabbed on their street in the inner cities. Hang on a moment, we're already there.

We need to get back to basics, if its not hurting anybody else, then why ban it?

Let teachers actually punish children, rather then making them watch as their class grows up with no discipline. Then asking why the youth of today is too busy shooting smack and rival gang members to get a job.

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Flame

How about...

How about we all practice the old adage of "live and let live"? You do what you want to do and I'll do what I want to do, and as long as no person is harming anyone other than themselves, all is good. (smoking should still be banned in restaurants and other similar public places) And don't bitch about the rising health costs that everyone has to carry so a few can smoke---might as well ban every slightly dangerous activity then, from skydiving to overeating. (and for the record, I don't smoke)

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Flame

One more thing before I go...

One more thing before I go.

You'd have thought with the inevitable upcoming pension fuck up (and it is inevitable), that the Govenment wouldn't want to promote good health too much. People might actually listen, and economically, that would be a bloody disaster (Even more people on the country's payroll, demanding new hips and slowing the checkout at Tesco's to a crawl).

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I have never smoked in my life

But that idiot just gave me the urge to start.

He'll never suggest Govt should tax stupidity, it'd cost him too much.

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Stop

We live in a world full of total sh*te, and its getting worse.

F***k off. I don't live in China. Smoke yourself to death. Burn all the fossil fuels. I don't want to buy a pack of walkers crisps and be informed via the back of the pack that the manufacture of my tasty snack has put 106g's of Co2 into the atmosphere. Stop talking shit about climate change, if you are really serious, put some cash into perfecting and marketing the fuel-cell car. God i'm sick of all this crap. 20Mph through cities, thats a good one too. Its 2007, we need some innovative ideas to address problems, not an18th Century nanny state.

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Happy

The cigarette smokers may disagree...

...but if this is the start of a process of decriminalising all currently prohibited drugs, then I say OK.

If, as most people accept, prohibition and "just say no" doesn't work, then a licence to consume things that have some perceived "society" or personal health cost may be a way to reconcile the ignorant and heartless "they deserve what they get, those evil dirty filthy junkies, and they should pay" with the "think of the children" (mainly my children) sector - as generally kids can't afford a licence for anything.

This is of courcse sidestepping the basic issue that victim-free crimes are immoral and un-enforceable, and everyone else should butt out because it's none of your goddamn business ("mass psychology of facism" anyone?)

Off for a quick toke now...

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@ Philip Marshall

Phillip, I'm reliable informed that 100% of all people born consequently die at some point. It doesn't matter how much you exercise or how many sprouts you eat. This means that in about 100 years, over 50,000,000 people in this country will have died. That's the size of the UK.

We no longer smoke in enclosed public spaces so you have your clean air. Frankly, you're welcome to it.

Sometimes I think the do-gooders and powers-that-be in this bloody country won't be happy till we're all wrapped in cotton wool, confined to our houses, drinking water and eating fucking soya lest something nasty happen to us.

As a poster in an unrelated comment once said - "Do gooders get fucked!".

/Rant - I'm going for a smoke.

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Alert

Therapy without consent

Le Grand's ideal society is one where the entire population is subjected to constant Cognative Behavioural Therapy without the therapist (sorry, I mean government) needing to go through the formalities of gaining consent from the patients (sorry, I mean citizens).

You live in the UK? You won't follow the social rules? That means your sick and need treatment. It doesn't matter if you want treatment, or if anyone outside the government thinks your sick. The very fact that you are unable to rationally chose to behave in a socially beneficial way means you are mentally ill and need 'educating'. And 'educating' means having your picture put up on a board in your local supermarket with 'sub-human' written at the top.

Le Grand - the economic policy of Thatcher and the social policy of Stalin. That's it, I'm voting SNP at the next General Election. Independence for Scotland!

p.s. Anyone who actually thinks that an excercise hour and free fruit will make any difference is nuts. Re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. What a twonk!

p.p.s. Note the number of anonymous coments (like me) - is it the case that people are starting to be afraid of making anti-establisment comments?

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@Professor Julian le Grand:

Blow me. You can apply directly to myself for a license to be a dumb c*nt.

Hope he reads the Register.

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Smoking might just cure this guy's obvious senility.

Perhaps LeGrand should be required to take up smoking? It might help stimulate the dormant sense-cells in his wizened brain so he can see just how stupid he's been to come out with his authoritarian nonsense.

Me? I'm gonna go light up a slim panatella or three.

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Bill Hicks

If they were to charge £200 for a license to smoke, will drinkers have to pay significantly more? I think the late great Bill Hicks had some very apt things to say about drinking and smoking, about 6 minutes into his "One Night Stand" show (see it on YouTube):

"You gotta understand something, first of all I don't do anything else, now I don't drink, now a lot of your non-smokers are drinking ok? I'm a non-drinker and I smoke, now to me we're trading off vices, that seems fair to me.

'Yeh, no it's not no it's not! Why should our lives be threatened by your nasty habit, nyeh nyeh nyeh nyeh nyeh...'

Yeah but you know what, I can't kill anyone in a car because I'm smoking a fucking cigarette, alright? and I've tried, turn off all the lights and rush em they always see the glow, 'man there's a big firefly heading this way, shit it's knocking over shrubs!'"

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What the F....

So Julian Le Grand want me to pay £200 a year to have a smoke? How about he pays £200 a year for the right to make stupid pronouncements? How about he pays £200 a year for the right to have a poncey name with french words in it? How about he pays £200 a year to be bald? (or have hair if he isn't)

Who is going to enforce this smoking license? Are the police going to walk past the rioting 10 year olds, the drunken football hooligans, the homeless heroin addicts, the deranged kiddie fiddlers, the islamic fundamentalists, etc in the street to knock on my door and check there's no one smoking without a license in my house?

And that's before I point out that I don't exercise, eat very little fruit, love fast food and I'm 11 stone with a 30-32" waist and perfectly healthy thanks. I don't need some government busy body banning salt in food or forcing food companies to reduce the fat content because little Jimmy ned is a fat bastard. Tell Jimmy to stop being so greedy and eat less rather than ruining things for the rest of us.

At this rate I give it 5 years before I'm off to some country that doesn't restrict it's citizens' freedoms because nanny knows best. North Korea maybe....

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Flame

As a non smoker and asthma sufferer

My right to dictate to other people stops at the point they stop damaging me. When they only smoke in designated smoking zones and pop out onto the balcony to smoke, they are *not* damaging me.

It's not therefore my business to force my views on them, even if I think it will make their lives better if they give up smoking.

The tax on smoking already generates more money than the health care costs. They already do not smoke in my presence, they are adults with equal rights to make equally bad choices. I am not better than them. The choice I make for them may not turn out to be the best outcome.

If I want them to change their behaviour, I need to *convince* them not *force* them. Being adults they can weigh up my arguments and make their own minds up.

The world would be a better place if we tolerated each others bad choices whenever possible, because maybe it will turn out they are right and we are wrong.

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Hmmm

That advisory is lucky that there is strict gun laws in the UK, cause I could see lots of people gunning fir him. Now all he needs to do is hire a royal food taster

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Happy

Stop PRESS

People are gullible.

Not as gullible as people who are in Office though. Even the guy who presented it said it was unworkable.

Ladies and Gentleman it's just padding in a report that's needed to justify his huge stipend (sic!).

Seriously, don't take this seriously.

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Greedy F*ckers

The government will never stop the sales of cigarettes as they don't want to lose all of that precious tax revenue from the cigarette sales.

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Anonymous Coward

Foolishness ...

silly simpering oxbridge nanny foolishness.

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Black Helicopters

Soon we can all be 'licensed to kill'...

If I have to pay £200 to be allowed to smoke then I better be able to smoke damn well whatever I please!

Oh and if this ever came to pass, let's not be biased. A £200 permit to drink should also be introduced.

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Yeah, wonderful

Because the 18-years age limit on buying smokes in our country and the necessity to produce ID to prove your age have completely stopped all the 12-17-year-olds from smoking.

And the prohibition of alcohol in the USA all those years ago stopped people drinking.

And the illegality of marijuana, methamphetamine, magic mushrooms, angel dust, opium derivatives and such throughout most of the World has stopped people from using drugs.

We could licence all the dangerous things at 200 quid per year and no one will be able to afford to do any optional life threatening things like smoking, drinking alcohol, sky-diving, driving a vehicle (spending too much on the licence to breathe, licence to drink water, licences to handle various electrical appliances used in the preparation of food and the dangerous utensils used to eat food, licence to eat stuff you might conceivably choke on and all sorts of other licences just to cover the necessities of basic survival in a dangerous world)

Then we'll become immortal.

Oops, don't forget a licence to risk your safety by working to afford all the fucking licences.

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Other taxables

Fast Food - Major health risk (high salt, makes you fat) - £500/yr

Alcohol - Liver disease, drink driving, anti-social behaviour (ironicly) - £500/yr

Being poor - General bad health, drain on social spending etc.. - £15,000/yr

How else is the government supposed to find the funds so they can retire on pensions at 60 whilst the rest of us have to work till we're 96 because of this current government?

Would I pay £200/yr to smoke? Hell no, many people would quit (and take advantage of the NHS Stop Smoking, costing gov. a fortune), the tax coffers would shrink and the whole country would be even more screwed than it already is.

@ the 100,000/yr deaths - thats a good thing, in 50 years that 5 million people who will die just from smoking and as we're going to have an extra 10 million people here, we'll have plenty of room!

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@Craig

See, i like the idea that if we're paying for it, we'd better be able to smoke where ever.

Time to go smoke up an antenatal ward. Well, that or i'll print this article out and smoke it... which ever requires less effort.

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