Some time ago, I compared tobacco control with a juggernaut. It is huge and ‘unsinkable’ and it roams the high seas targeting smoker establishments and blasting them with its enormous guns until they are rubble. We bloggers are tiny motorboats trying to find a weak spot in the juggernaut, almost completely without success.
But we do not give up. We prod and prod and prod. Forest is doing its best to defend places against the big guns of the juggernaut, but to what avail? At best, it could be considered to be a destroyer, which is no match for the juggernaut. It merely scratches the paintwork occasionally. It is hampered by the need to be ‘politically correct’, meaning the need to conform to current dogma, such as that smoking causes lung cancer.
We little boats do not have to so conform. We can prod around in the statistics, like Doll’s Hospital Study and his Doctors Study; we can look at the pre-WW2 nazi anti-smoking tricks; we can show how the WHO was more interested in anti-tobacco rhetoric in Moscow than in thousands of deaths here and now from Ebola; we can point to the thousands of pubs which have closed since the smoking ban and to how those closures followed the imposition of smoking bans. The little things keep piling up and will not go away, despite TC’s efforts to suppress them. The Bofetta and the Enstrom and Kabat study results (showing that SHS is harmless over a normal person’s lifetime) are kept alive by us bloggers and not by the MSM.
Now another fact has come to light. Why has it taken so long? It seems that 50% of nightclubs have closed since 2005:
What I would like to see is a chart which shows the fate of such clubs in Ireland, Scotland and England and Wales in the months after the ban. It would not surprise me one bit is the same pattern emerged – a period of ‘phoney’ war in the immediate following months, and then a drastic affect subsequently. I remember clearly the summer of 2007. At first, it was quite a novelty for dozens of people to be outside chatting, laughing and smoking during those summer evenings immediately after the ban. But come winter, and everything started to change quite rapidly. Those crowds rapidly disappeared, and they did not return the following summer. They were gone for ever.
The Telegraph reported on the club closures:
The smoking ban gets a mention, but only ‘en passant’. Many of us would consider the ban to be of much greater significance, just as it was in pubs. The way that I see it is this. You could consider a smoker’s attitude to going to a club. 1) He wants to drink, 2) he wants to smoke, 3) he wants to have a jolly time. It is a three legged stool. Remove the smoking leg and the smoker falls on his arse. Not good. Not fun. Not pleasurable. Ergo, do not bother going to clubs. Non-smokers do not understand that. They do not realise that, for a smoker, the ability to have a cig is just as important as to have a drink or a jolly time.
Has the juggernaut been holed yet? No. It has not even been dented, even though thousands of jobs are disappearing nightly and hundreds of millions of tax income being lost.
Chis Snowden has produced a graph of tobacco duty income which takes account of inflation:
Chris calls it an example of the ‘Laffer Curve’ in action. I take a different view. The ‘Laffer Curve’ is a theoretical, economic entity which suggests that increasing taxes on a product will succeed in bringing in more revenue until a point is reached where masses of people stop buying the product. It does not really matter why they stop buying that product – it could be because they give up using it, or because they find a tax-free source.
I think that there is more to it. I think that human nature comes into play. I think that resentment at being forced to pay these taxes by threats of criminal prosecution, at being ripped off unfairly when compared with non-smokers, at being persecuted at every turn, play a huge part in the decision to seek other sources of the goods in question, and that, once they move, people will stay moved. Apart from the odd occasion (and I mean very rarely), I have not bought cigs in this country for several years. To be honest, I think that if ever the time comes when I can no longer venture abroad, or do whatever it takes, I would rather give up altogether and drink myself to death. At least that might be enjoyable.
But there is more:
There is a petition to end fake charity’s funding by the government. It is unlikely to make any difference, but it is a move in the right direction. It focuses attention. The focus spreads and is not forgotten. One of the weird things about government today is that there are two conflicting attitudes. A) How hard is it to raise taxes?, and, B) How hard is it to cut costs?
I suggest that it is far, far easier to raise taxes than to cut costs. It seems that there are over 20,000 charities in the UK which depend almost entirely upon government for their funds. “20,000!!! If these charities demand more funds, it is easier to comply by raising tax by 0.001 penny in the pound than to risk opprobrium in the MSM by refusing the funds. That is what happened with this ‘Kids Company’ charity.
But we have seen that this attitude to the splurging of taxpayers funds is fundamental to the thinking of top politicians, as is the deprivation of liberties, such as smoking in your own car with your own child present.
Has the juggernaut been holed yet? No, it has not. But there may be a dent. Non-smokers are criticising the proposed sugar taxes; they are criticising alcohol taxes. Gradually, people are looking at the academics who propose these things and saying, “These people are wankers! I do not believe them!” So, little by little, a head of steam is building up. In MSM comments, those who demand prohibition of alcohol and tobacco are becoming more and more obviously unhinged.
So where will it end?
I do not see a gradual rolling back of the persecution of smokers. I see a collapse. It will happen somewhere, and it will be a simple thing. Somewhere, a country will review its ‘tobacco control’ laws and allow bar owners etc to make their own decisions, with suitable provisos like ventilation. Tobacco control is weak because of the factors which seem to give it strength, such as monopoly control via the UN, the WHO, the EU and Health Departments. The weakness lies in the word ‘monopoly’. Monopoly equals force. Force produces monopoly.
Se we bide our time. As individuals, we cannot really do anything, but the time will come when we can say, “Told you so!” We prod and prod and prod. But also, as individuals, we disobey. Not to such an extent as to bring ourselves in violent conflict with ‘the law’. No, we operate around the fringes of uncertainty, just as the ‘flower power’ kids did in the 1960s. Some States in the USA are legalising cannabis. Great! But let the users beware. They must keep open their unofficial sources of supply because you can bet a pound to a penny that, once an ‘official’ supply chain has been established, any other supply source will be blocked and then the supply will be heavily taxed.
It really is an US and THEM situation, isn’t it? Government is about SOCIETY and not about economics as such. That does not mean the tyranny of the majority. On the contrary, it means tolerance of minorities.
In the same way, in the UN, WHO and EU, the UK ought to be able to stop persecution by those organisations. It is called ‘veto’. But it goes further. Worldwide persecution by a monopoly is utterly, utterly anathema. It is beyond belief that the precursor for such a monopoly scourge has been created in the form of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.