I was following some links this evening (before I went to the (almost deserted) pub) for my Wednesday night couple of pints. I came across a rather weird happening. Needless to say, the happening was in Australia.
We all know that the whole of Australia is proud of leading the world in tobacco control. Their leaders never stop telling us. In fact, they have gone further than any other ‘free’ country anywhere by banning the movement of tobacco seeds, plants, leaves, etc, using a 1901 law. The reason for that law is lost in the depths of time, but it has been resurrected for persecution purposes. However, I know that Australians ignore it, and I know of no prosecutions which have resulted from it. Such prosecutions that I have seen have been based upon current law, regarding the avoidance of duty tax by growing stuff, curing it and then supplying it to people who use it to ‘manufacture’ tobacco products in large quantities. That is, growing plants is not the offence – the offence is promoting the avoidance of duty on a significantly large scale. Readers might recall that I mentioned that some people in OZ have applied for licences to grow their own and been refused because it is too much trouble for the authorities to check that they are carrying out the required procedures. It is obviously a catch 22 – you cannot grow your own unless you have a licence, but you cannot get a licence. In those circumstance, one must ‘pass through’ the horns of the dilemma. The easy way would be to plant one plant and advise the authorities that you have done so and invite ‘considered opinions’ about the law. If you get no response, write to the top man and your MP. You must push it to the limit and demand an answer to the question of whether or not the ancient law is still extant. OR, just ignore the ancient law and proceed as many Australians do, on the basis that no one will interfere with what you are doing because it is simply not worth the cost of monitoring and prosecuting.
Which is all ‘by the way’ and is only indicative of the ‘lassiez faire’ attitude of Australians.
I keep reading about how Australia has one of the highest smoking rates in the world – around 50%. And yet I also keep reading that the prevalence is low, in the region of 23%, or so. I don’t get it. Which is true?
If it is true that OZ smoking is much higher that the authorities are letting on, we can see that the OZ Gov must be quite reliant upon tobacco taxes. Therefore, it would wish that smoking should be reduced at a rate which does not disturb the ‘tax take’ too much. If everyone stopped smoking tomorrow, it would be a disaster financially. Remember that the cost of collecting this tax is very low since tobacco product manufacturers levy it. Thus, if large numbers of people were to suddenly move over to ecigs, it would be disastrous for government. Taxes not reliant upon tobacco would have to increase significantly.
In this context, the following is significant:
Court defeat fuels move to ban e-cigs
The Cancer Council wants WA’s [Western Australia] tobacco laws changed to specifically ban electronic cigarettes after a test case that sought to charge a business for selling them was thrown out of court.
Joondalup Magistrate’s Court ruled last week there was not enough evidence that two types of electronic cigarettes looked like cigarettes or cigars, acquitting the operators of Heavenly Vapours of breaching the Tobacco Products Control Act.
So-called e-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that do not burn tobacco but turn nicotine or fruit flavours into vapour that is inhaled and exhaled.
It is illegal to sell e-cigarettes that contain nicotine under Australian law.
The WA Health Department prosecuted the Duncraig-based operators who sold e-cigarettes and nicotine-free “e-juice” through a website in late 2011.
WA tobacco laws prohibit the sale of any food, toy or other product that is not a tobacco product but is designed to resemble a tobacco product.
But the court ruled the electronic cigarettes did not necessarily resemble a cigarette or cigar and could also look like a fountain pen. Unlike normal cigarettes, they also required the user to press a button.
Cancer Council WA director of education and research Terry Slevin said it was a legal loophole that needed to be fixed because electronic cigarettes were a growing concern.
I continue to be amazed at the infantile understanding in Australia of science. The mere fact that ‘WA Health Department’ prosecuted someone who owned a shop selling ecigs on the grounds that ecigs ‘might’ look like fags is indicative of the level of ‘public intelligence’ there. When I say ‘public intelligence’. I do not mean ‘the intelligence of the public’. I mean ‘the intelligence of the public sector’. Or, you could put it another way. You could say that the ‘public sector’ deliberately employs emotion rather than reason.
It is good that the court dismissed the allegations, but the Zealots will be back using some obscure complexity in the law, as has been the case here. The idea of equating ecigs with actual tobacco is really silly, which is the foundation for the court judgement. But note below the weirdness of TC thinking.
Data from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US recently showed the number of middle and high school students who used e-cigarettes more than doubled from 2011 to 2012.
Mr Slevin said the Tobacco Products Control Act was due for a review and could help ban e-cigarettes as well as address issues such as the need to reduce the number of licensed tobacco retailers. This incident of a failed attempt to prosecute points to the fact that the current provisions are not adequate,” he said.