More About the Demise of Tobacco Control

There are a couple of points that I should have made clear last night. First, I was talking about the UK, and not the rest of the world. Secondly, I am not expecting any change any time soon.

There are two areas involved, supply and demand. You can see that TC has been attacking on both fronts together. Attacking the supply side (tobacco companies) has driven manufacturing out of the UK with the consequent loss of UK jobs. Those jobs have not disappeared – they are now in Bulgaria, Poland, wherever. Packaging jobs have also disappeared. Packet design jobs have disappeared. They too are overseas. There may be some compensation from increases in work in the importation area, but hardly likely to replace all the lost activity. In any case, loss of the easy-to-control-and collect duty collection system when the products came from tobacco manufacturing factories will inevitably require more unproductive work (and therefore costs) from tax/duty collectors. Also, despite the claim that PP is intended to frighten children, that too is supply-side orientated.

The smoking ban was enacted, supposedly, to protect workers from SHS, but there is little doubt that the prohibitionists knew perfectly well that SHS does not harm workers. It never has done. In all my years of attending pubs and clubs, I have yet to see a barman coughing or spluttering or wiping his eyes due to SHS. Never, never, never, not once. That was an excuse to justify ‘denormalisation’, but it has not worked. Smoking is still ‘normal’ to smokers. All that has happened is that smokers have abandoned pubs. Any denormalisation which has occurred has been the denormalisation of non-smokers. Non-smokers used to be normal people who just happened not to enjoy tobacco. Now, they are abnormal in that they fear wisps of smoke. Not all, of course, but a significantly large number. And if they start to fear wisps to smoke, they will also start to fear all sorts of other trivial things. They will become ill in their minds. In fact, many already are. They no longer judge the fitness of food by its appearance and smell – they judge it by ‘best before’ dates.

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Tobacco Control is not immune to the law of ‘diminishing returns’. In fact, it must be even more likely to suffer such consequences than most other endeavours. The reason is that it is destructive. If you succeed in destroying something, you can only succeed once. For example, You can demolish a building. It is easy – just blow it up. On the other hand, given that a building exists, you can improve it and extend it and beautify it ad inf. That is constructive.

So where is Tobacco Control at in the UK? It has managed to diminish the reputation of Parliament by enacting PP, which, as we have shown, is an easy ‘supply side’ triviality. There are moves to ‘levy’ some sort of charge on tobacco companies. An MP has used a ‘ten minute’ opportunity to demand such a levy. In fact, I think that Miliband has already proposed such a levy.

What is that levy other than a copy of ‘The Master Settlement’ in the USA? A different method, but the same thing. But there is another point which is a bit ‘conspiracy theory’. Suppose that the threat of a levy is intended to deter tobacco companies from going to court over PP? That is quite possible, and not at all far-fetched. In effect, the threat is that if tobacco companies sue for billions of pounds re PP, they can expect a levy of billions of pounds. It will not work, of course, because the two things are entirely separate entities with their own imperatives and consequences.

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Diminishing returns.

Smoking is banned in indoor places. It is not banned outdoors, and no amount of pleading from Zealots is likely to produce a law which does so. Even the numbskulls in Parliament will surely see that it is up to the owners of places to decide. But then, so should the owners of indoor places decide.

But, whatever TC tries, from now on, is going to produce diminishing returns at greater and greater expense. Ban smoking in cars with children present? OK. Who cares? What difference will it make? Oh, and why has Cameron not enacted that legislation at the same time as PP? It can only be because tobacco companies are an easy, big target. Individual parents are a different thing.

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There is a lot to be said for ‘bring it on’. The sooner that ‘diminishing returns’ becomes ‘zero returns’, the sooner TC will disappear for lack of support and money. But the consequences will remain. There must be lots of citizens, like me, who no longer respect the law. Laws must be obeyed, but there is no respect. If there are ways to work-around them, or ignore them. then one is obliged to do so on the grounds that citizens must disobey bad laws. You cannot disobey directly, otherwise you finish up in jail, and so you must disobey indirectly.

It is a matter of fact that, because of my disobedience, I have been able to help my daughters financially. Two of them have updated their cars with my help, and the other has renovated her house substantially. Those three ‘constructive’ events can be attributed directly to the ‘destruction’ which has emanated from Tobacco Control. TC would say that that is very good and just what it wants. Erm… You can say that it you wish, but the reality is that non-payment of duty, VAT, etc is what created the serendipity. The Government has paid, not me.

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But there is more. The vilification of me as a smoker has made me into something similar to an ‘outlaw’. My conscience is in suspension. Whatever I can claim, regardless of whether I really need it or not, I claim. Do I abuse the system? No. I use the system, in just the same way as wealthy tax-dodgers use the system.

Finally, for tonight, I do not think that non-smokers realise how much they are paying for the persecution of smokers. If they knew, would they approve, or would they complain and stop waving their hands and coughing?

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2 Responses to “More About the Demise of Tobacco Control”

  1. garyk30 Says:

    The end will come when politicians and regular people notice that most of TC’s scary claims are either stupid or have no scare value.

    For instance: “1/2th die because of their smoking’.

    That is the same as saying that half of smokers’ deaths are NOT caused by smoking.

    “Remarkable, they have just said that only 1/2th of smokers’ deaths from lung cancer are caused by smoking!”

    Or this:

    http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-info/healthyliving/smoking-and-cancer/
    “The fact is that half of all long term smokers eventually die from cancer, or other smoking-related illnesses.”

    American CDC says that 1.3 million of the total of 2.4 million deaths(per year) in the USA are from the diseases caused by smoking.That is 54%.

    Half of everybody’s deaths are from the smoking ’caused’ diseases.

    • junican Says:

      “The fact is that half of all long term smokers eventually die from cancer, or other smoking-related illnesses.”

      Note the usual conflation of cancer with all the other diseases. If you read the Doctors Study (which I know you have) you will find that Doll actually claimed that two thirds of smokers die prematurely due to smoking, but he settled for ‘a half’ for propaganda purposes.

      I don’t know what exactly was Doll’s definition of ‘premature’. Does he mean ‘before the mid-point for non-smokers only’ of ‘before a (theoretical) mid-point which includes both smokers and non-smokers”? He cannot mean ‘for smokers only’ since, by definition, half of smokers must die before the mid-point and half after that.

      What TC never say,of course, is that the probability, these days, is that the vast majority of smokers who die ‘prematurely’ will already have retired, thus saving non-smoking tax-payers vast amounts of money in pensions!

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