It is simple – ‘Diminishing Returns’. Look at this graph:
Disregard the impact of ecigs and look only at smoking prevalence. In the group of 18-19 year olds surveyed, smoking plunged by 54% for males and 64% for females between 2010 an 2015. I would not normally use words like ‘plunged’ because they are emotional words, and emotional words have no place in science. The word ‘decreased’ is scientific. But I feel justified in using the word ‘plunged’ because I just feel like indulging in a bit of devilry.
I would just like to make the point that the graph shows that male smoking in that group is down to 8% and female smoking in that group is down to 5%.
In the normal course of events in the world, efforts to reduce any sort of ‘prevalence’ hits a brick wall at some point. Thus, attempts to reduce smoking below the figures quoted above require more and more resources. It is easy to compress a gas to start with, but the more that you try to compress it, the greater the force you need. Eventually, you need AN INFINITE force which might just possibly compress the gas to some small volume.
I get lost a bit. But, essentially, that is the root of Einstein’s theories about Relativity. Even if you could create an INFINITE force, it would still take time for that force to have an effect. Thus, there would be a time lapse between the application of infinite force and the compression of the gas to zero volume.
Blah, blah. But you get the idea.
Why did prohibition of alcohol in the USA fail? Why did States which prohibited tobacco have to rescind those laws? Because prohibition – the reduction to zero – required infinite force. The costs of that infinite force are infinite. Why has the ‘war on drugs’ failed? For the same reason. Theresa May’s ‘war of psycho-active substances’ will fail for the same reason.
So what is the relatively less expensive alternative to FORCE? It can only be HONEST evaluation of risks and telling people the TRUTH.
And what is the worst thing that you can do? It is to use FORCE, since FORCE requires ENFORCERS, who cost a lot of money. Has the smoking ban in pubs been successful? Of course it has! Few smokers now go to pubs, and they do not stay long if they do. Thus, the State is paying for ENFORCERS which are no longer required. But there has been a time lapse. For years, ENFORCERS had to be paid until the need for them diminished.
But it goes on and on. If smoking bans in hospital grounds and on beaches become widespread, then the need to pay ENFORCERS would grow and grow. If such bans are not ENFORCED, then the law falls into disrepute, and can never recover from such disrepute. Recovery is not possible.
So we see that marginal taxes on a substance works for a while because the additional costs are light. But as the marginal taxes are increased, the BURDEN of enforcement rises exponentially.
Why do Governments not know about ‘exponential’? As the Australian Gov is experiencing, its costs in ENFORCING prohibitions of all kinds are rising and rising. But what is comical is that the enjoyment of tobacco ought to be the LEAST of Australia’s worries! If it is true that smokers die 10 years before non-smokers, then old age costs are reduced, so what is the problem? In the meantime, OZ has a MASSIVE AND COSTLY problem with illegal immigrants.
It is hard to know when ‘Common Sense’ will prevail over academic hair-splitting. It seems to be a long way off, but the election of Trump and Brexit suggest that the electorate is no longer prepared to accept ‘dictats’. For example, why should petrol be so expensive? Why is it ACCEPTED that petrol should be so expensive? Why, for years, have our elected representatives permitted petrol to be prohibitively expensive?
And so it come down to this: “What is the use of Parliament if its purpose is to rubber-stamp the edicts of the Elite?”
What my ruminations suggest is that the edicts of the Academics must be put under extreme scrutiny, and that Academics who transgress must be prosecuted, exposed and vilified. Such people should EARN their reputations.