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Smoking Habit for Sale

James Hurman, a 30-year-old man from Auckland, N.Z., is selling his smoking habit to the highest bidder. (Apparently, he hasn’t run across StickK, or been offered a 0 percent interest bank account to quit.)

Here’s what Hurman has to say for himself:

I’ve smoked cigarettes for twelve years and I’ve tried all the usual ways to quit smoking. Now that my wife Annabel and I are pregnant with our first child, it’s time to give up once and for all.

I’ve created a listing on the New Zealand online auction site, and on Monday 31 March, 2008, the highest bidder will receive a contract written by my lawyer, Chris Hoquard at Dominion Law, in which I hand over my right to smoke to them, and agree to pay them a forfeit of NZ$1000.00 [about $800 USD] per cigarette that I smoke at any time following the auction’s closure.

As far as I know, this is the first time somebody has sold their smoking habit.

I will donate the proceeds from the auction to the Cancer Society of New Zealand.

Assuming this is not a hoax — after George Fox, who can you trust? — it’s an interesting exercise, although it’s unclear to me how a violation of the contract can be verified other than Hurman’s self-admission. But even if the auction per se were to fail as a commitment device, I would think Hurman’s very public announcement of his quitting smoking might do the trick.

(Hat tip: James Barrington.)