Sitting Back and Observing

There’s a lot to be said for relaxing at home with a glass of wine or a bottle of beer or a nice tot of malt and a cig and watching the goings on around the one-sided World War being waged by TC Zealots on innocent people who just want a little pleasure in life from the enjoyment of tobacco. Since the War is indeed one-sided, those innocent people have little alternative but to go underground. Once those people lose their innocence and go underground, all sorts of possibilities open up.

I think of ‘going underground’ as something similar to the French Resistance in WW2. On the face of it, they were ordinary citizens going about their daily business lawfully, but they took the opportunity, when they could, to attack the invader – and then went back to their ordinary, law-abiding lives.

When they attacked the invader, they were not law-abiding people, which is what I mean by ‘going underground’ – the laws do not apply. Pay tax on baccy? Not ‘underground’. There are no such taxes ‘underground’. In fact there is no VAT either and no income tax ‘underground’.

Talking about the comment mentioned in yesterday’s post, about swingeing fines etc, do you really think that the ‘Mr Bigs’ of smuggled stuff are on the line? Don’t be daft! Those on the line will be small actors with nothing to lose. For such desperate people, prison might be a pleasant place to live for a couple of years – a nice bed, TV and three square meals a day. What’s not to like?

But I see ‘the underground’ in much more simple terms. It is not big organised criminal gangs. It is just small groups taking little risks. Sure, a big organised criminal gang might import a huge consignment of cheap cigs, but even they need a distribution system.

They are not the people that I am talking about.

I had a friend at the pub (before the smoking ban reduced the place to an eatery, which I no longer visit) who goes on holiday to Tenerife at least once a year. Cigs there are very cheap. He brings back as many cigs as he can, despite Tenerife being outside the EU. He has never been stopped. How much more easy is it for people who visit places like Chech Republic and Bulgaria, which are within the EU? You cannot help but wonder how ‘sophisticated’ such simple methods could be. By ‘sophisticated’, I do not mean ‘complex’. I mean, for example, joining the England Football Supporters Club and travelling to matches abroad as a cover for your ‘underground’ activities.

Perhaps what I have been outlining is a bit far-fetched, but we simply do not know how many non-smokers are ‘doing deals’.

What I am trying to say is that there are umpteen ways in which TC can be thwarted, and that, as TC spreads further and further, so much weaker does it become. What is important is that there are no ‘ethics’ involved. TC does not do ‘ethics’. Thus, smokers do not do ‘ethics’ either. What you might do might be in a grey area of legality, but ‘ethics’ are not a factor at all.

The Zealots might have managed to stack the ‘law’ against you. So you go ‘underground’ where such laws do not apply. Frankly, I am surprised that the UK sales of cigs did not collapse years ago. It seems that many, many people do not see the writing on the wall until it is much to late. For a person who smokes 10 cigs per day, one trip for a few days, which can be quite cheap, across the channel can net massive savings.

Calculating the possibilities and observing what is happening can be fun and uplifting. In the USA, the FDA has promulgated regulations which demand so much from ecig manufacturers and liquid manufacturers that 90+% of such small businesses would be driven out out business. I have a vague recollection of a time when manufacturers of this or that, submitted samples to the authority which the authority tested. Because the demand for tests came from Government, Government paid the costs. I’m not saying that the manufacturers had no duty. They had a duty re safety, and they did all the work necessary to ensure that their products were safe. But Gov did not demand that the manufacturer paid for the Gov’s own checks. So we get a situation where the manufacturer not only pays for his own checks, but also pays for the FDA’s checks. AKA, forced duplication.

I am enjoying the fuss over in the USA. Sit back and observe, with a beer and a cig, how the two Bills proposed in the Senate, which are intended to remove the stigma of ‘tobacco’ from ecigs, progress. We are observing and enjoying the spectacle. We smokers have no favourite. We observe and enjoy the fun. Having said that, I sincerely hope that the ecig side win for the simple reason that what we decide to inhale, or not to inhale, is our individual business. That also applies to anyone who wants to avoid ecig vapour. They can do so if they wish.

“Pubs were not decimated by non-smokers not going there after the ban.”

A curious sentence, do you not think? It involves at least three, or possibly four, if you include the word ‘after’, negatives. Read it again. It means:

“Pubs were decimated by smokers not going there after the ban. Non-smokers were irrelevant.”

A rambling post tonight. What I have been trying to describe is a gradual process in two respects. 1) TC will destroy itself via its increasing costs, lack of accountability, failure in its expectations, and, 2) By losing the propaganda battle over Tobacco Harm Reduction, especially ecigs. And the reason is very simple. If it is OK for smokers to be supplied with nicotine, either via patches, gums or inhalers, to help them stop actually inhaling the dangerous components of tobacco smoke, then it is OK for them them to inhale ecig vapour.

To put it another way, there is no law which prohibits inhaling tobacco smoke, but the FDA want to prohibit inhaling ecig vapour without any evidence at all that the vapour is dangerous. Roughly, it is like permitting masses of petrol and diesel fumes in a City, but forbidding them in a desert.

I am acting as a devil’s advocate, of course, but is that not one of the wonderful things about ‘Sitting Back and Observing’?

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5 Responses to “Sitting Back and Observing”

  1. Timbotoo Says:

    Tenerife is part of Spain.

  2. Timothy Goodacre Says:

    Sit back Junican and enjoy the wonderful aroma of tobacco !

  3. Smoking Lamp Says:

    While Tenerife (part of the Canary Islands) is part of Spain, it is not subject to certain EU taxes (it is exempt from VAT and excise rules).

    This is one of many ‘special member state territories’ within the EU where there is a derogation (partial suppression) of EU law. In this case the Canary Islands are outside the EU VAT Area.

  4. junican Says:

    I have personal experience. The Canaries are, shall we say, ‘Spanish Protectorates’, which protects those islands from African depredation. They are not within the EU ambit. Perhaps the reason is that administration of EU gambits would be just too difficult, given the distances involved.

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