One bad policy begets another

So Nick Xenophon is out and about promoting the idea of minimum pricing for cigarettes.

Independent senator Nick Xenophon is pushing for a minimum floor price on cigarettes to counter a tobacco giant’s “cynical” move to sell discounted packets.

British American Tobacco Australia has launched what it claims is the cheapest legal packet of cigarettes on the market at $13 for a 25-pack.

It is blaming federal government policy for the move, saying it’s simply seeking to remain competitive as sales of cut-price cigarettes soar.

Here is the story – the government banned cigarette branding and undermined the ability of tobacco firms to maintain price premia for branded products. In addition to low-priced cigarettes now becoming more attractive, illegal cigarettes entered the market. After all there is no penalty to counterfeiting the government mandated olive green pack with medical porn on the cover. That combined with discounting to maintain market share is leading to decreased prices and consequently increased consumption.

It is an open question as to whether existing smokers are smoking more, or if new smokers are taking up the habit.

What is very clear, however, is that tobacco consumption is up – contrary to the stated aim of the plain packaging policy.

So what to do next? Mandate a minimum price for cigarettes to undermine the price war. At first you might think that this would simply guarantee the profits of existing tobacco firms. In fact, that is precisely why The Australian National Preventive Health Agency argued against minimum pricing for alcohol (emphasis added):

As Australia’s alcohol distribution and retail systems are fully private, a regulated minimum price increase (as distinct from a tax) would lead to profit increases flowing to the private sector from the monopoly rents created. This significantly reduces the available public benefits which could be used to further reduce or treat alcohol-related harm or be redistributed by government for other purposes. Even with extensive benefits from reductions in alcohol harms which would result from the implementation of a regulated minimum price, the loss of major offsetting benefits makes it very difficult for this policy to result in net benefit to the community. As a result, at a national level, it would be difficult for minimum alcohol price regulation to deliver sufficient benefits to overcome this hurdle.

But that is only part of the problem – consumers would also substitute to illegal and more harmful forms of tobacco and/or other drugs.

By taking away retailer’s ability to discount the government would also be undermining the ability of smaller retailers to compete in the market and earn their livelihood. Not to mention those massive price increases flowing through to all other Australians via the rather large weighting tobacco has in the CPI calculation.

At some point the government needs to tell the anti-smoking lobby “No more”. It is one thing to discourage smoking, it is quite another to keep intervening to correct for the unintended consequences of the last intervention.

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124 Responses to One bad policy begets another

  1. Pickles

    I spy with my little eye a market position for something beginning with Ardath.

  2. Johno

    To paraphrase the great Ludwig Von Mises. Whenever governments intervene in the economy, it produces an outcome that, from the point of view of the government, creates an outcome which was worse than the situation it was trying to fix.

    I first read that 30 years ago and thought he was a bit OTT. After 30 years of closely watching governments I realise how right he is. Most of the problems that government is trying to fix today have been created by past actions of governments.

    If Tony Abbott was actually serious about fixing Australia’s problems, he would not be trying to do more, he would focus solely on undoing what has been done in the past. Repeal. Repeal. Repeal should be his mantra.

  3. Leo G

    Perhaps the solution may be found in the development of a safer e-cigarette.
    Not a solution to nicotine addiction, of course. But the furore has been about the mortality and morbidity associated with the conventional cigarette as a nicotine delivery system. The delivery system is known to be the principle cause of a cancer epidemic which has killed millions. If any other relatively safe drug had a delivery system that killed on that scale, shouldn’t we expect that delivery system to be banned, but not necessarily the drug itself?

  4. stackja

    One bad policy begets another, which begets another, which begets another, ad infinitum….

  5. Infidel Tiger

    There is no point believing in private property and personal freedom in this shitty country. It really is the toilet at a bulimia convention.

  6. Bruce of Newcastle

    Perhaps Mr Xenophon could also legislate minimum prices for marijuana, meth, ice, bath salts, heroine and cocaine. I’m sure it would work since he is so certain it will work for tobacco.

    Thick as a plank.

  7. egg_

    Perhaps the solution may be found in the development of a safer e-cigarette.

    The Left have been poo-pooing Oz e-cigarette trials?

  8. Disillusioned

    Sen Xenephon is your typical government hypocrite. Complain about the social costs of tobacco and alcohol while squeezing every dollar the market will bear without using that money to relieve the social burden. How about charging drug users for the full cost of treatment since they don’t pay tax or excise on their poisons?

  9. Baldrick

    So now BIG government is going to regulate on whether cigarette companies can engage in competition?
    Why stop at cigarettes … why not tell petrol stations like Woolworths or Coles they can’t engage in competition … oh wait a minute.

  10. Tel

    At some point the government needs to tell the anti-smoking lobby “No more”.

    The people have to start telling the government “No more” but sadly a lot of people like it this way.

    But the furore has been about the mortality and morbidity associated with the conventional cigarette as a nicotine delivery system.

    For crying in a bucket, do we have to keep pretending it’s really about that?

    The purpose is for one man to be smug and righteous while another man is held under the thumb, simple. That’s the start and the end of it, which is why so many people are enthused about the idea.

  11. .

    All those in favour of a minimum price on tobacco or alcohol, raise your right hand…

  12. tomix

    Iirc, a pack of 10 Craven A cost 11c in 1968. Prices seem to have gone up just a tad.

  13. Pickles

    I loved A’s in the day.

  14. Every dog has its day

    There is a simpler solution. let tobacco companies sell anyway they want and charge whatever they want. But, end taxpayer subsidized medicine. No more Medicare.

    Lets see all those stinking smokers pay for the full cost of destroying the health. It would solve some budget problems as well.

  15. Crossie

    We seem to have learned nothing from illicit drug trade.

    Make something too expensive or hard to get and you encourage a black market in it. A black market is not concerned with quality or safety though shooting galleries have the government seal of approval. Perhaps smoking galleries are in our future.

  16. Crossie

    Lets see all those stinking smokers pay for the full cost of destroying the health. It would solve some budget problems as well.

    As far as I know Medicare covers drug rehab so why not smoking related problems?

  17. Sinclair Davidson

    … end taxpayer subsidized medicine. No more Medicare.

    This is a very good idea – but why restrict it to smoking?

  18. .

    Lets see all those stinking smokers pay for the full cost of destroying the health. It would solve some budget problems as well.

    No it wouldn’t because they already subsidise everyone else.

    Get this through your thick fucking skull.

    A pack a day a smoker is likely to pay an additional $4100 per year every day they smoke until they quit or die.

    This is way over any insurance premium (unless they are insured for about five million or over) and will pay for their own care and ancillary services from terminal diagnosis to death at the cost to Treasury (themselves) in easily less then a decade.

  19. Every dog has its day

    Sinclair, you couldnt restrict it to smoking. it wouldnt work. I mean end ALL medicare. For everyone.

  20. Sinclair Davidson

    Excellent – we are in full agreement.

  21. Every dog has its day

    dot, IF what you say is a fact, then smokers would be pleased to pay no taxes and have no Medicare in place. They would be much much better off financially. But, I suspect the cost-benefit analysis isnt as positive as you paint it

  22. Baldrick

    Excellent – we are in full agreement.

    Yeah … let’s see those bloody kids in the cancer ward pay for their own treatment.
    Great idea. NOT.

  23. Baldrick

    All those bludgers with dementia … let them get out and work for their treatment.
    Good idea. NOT.

  24. .

    Um, so what smokers don’t pay more than half of their retail price in taxes?

    A pack of 25s doesn’t cost $20-$25?

    How on earth is this untrue?

    Smokers get screwed. Yes they would happier not paying excise, no medicare and paying their own bills.

    Abolish medicare? The budget/health outcomes would be better because everyone would no longer in a situation of moral hazard. Less fatties in with heart problems, cancer and diabetes. More preventative care. Less idiots admitting themselves to triage with self inflicted injuries.

  25. Every dog has its day

    Baldrick:” Yeah … let’s see those bloody kids in the cancer ward pay for their own treatment.”

    Ever heard of private health insurance?

  26. .

    Baldrick

    I’m sure most cancer care has little to do with Medicare.

    I’m also sure we treated the mentally ill, publicly or privately, before Gough’s system that has done nothing to improve health outcomes.

  27. Baldrick

    Baldrick:” Yeah … let’s see those bloody kids in the cancer ward pay for their own treatment.”

    Ever heard of private health insurance?

    Don’t tell me – get down to the kids cancer ward and start kicking them outa their beds cause we’re too mean as a society to help sick kids.
    Great idea. NOT.

  28. Baldrick

    I’m sure most cancer care has little to do with Medicare.

    Dot, it’s heavily subsidised by Medicare.

  29. Motelier

    I gave up at 25. Not a heavy smoker but still classed as a smoker.

    It was never a financial incentive that made me give up smoking.

    I was a motor mechanic and had to pull the evaporators of vehicle air conditioning systems from vehicle to clean them, the smokers were by far the hardest to clean.

    So……When Mrs M and I bought our first car together it had air-conditioning. The incentive was there instantly.

    It was not money, health (although thank god I did give up) but an incentive for other people and the fact that I did not want to be pulling the evaporator out to clean it.

    I bet you will find that the people that smoke are with partners that smoke.

    My bet is that any incentive to give up is wasted on those that have partners that smoke.

  30. .

    Baldrick

    Could you break down the figures between hospital stays, drugs, medical imaging, doctor’s consults etc and say which were subsidised.

    Does it matter though? We all know it really isn’t an insurance scheme and comes from consolidated revenue.

  31. Motelier

    Oh and as a side note to my comment above.

    Mrs M was very short with me for about 4 weeks.

    And I have no idea why.

  32. Boambee John

    “How about charging drug users for the full cost of treatment since they don’t pay tax or excise on their poisons?”

    A more reasonable basis for the Medicare co-payment would be to link it to lifestyle.

    Present at a GP or a hospital with an illness caused by smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, or consumption of illegal drugs, and pay a co-payment, say $20 per GP visit or Emergency Department attendance, and say $50 per day for hospital in-patient stay.

    The link to non-excise/taxed products strengthens the case.

  33. .

    Why John?

    Look at the tax they already pay. It’s outrageous. They’ve more than paid their way.

  34. Motelier

    I am trying to get my head around the idea that smokers pay more tax (excise) than they receive back.

    I am sure that some learned persons in here can provide a link.

    This debate has been going on for months now and no-one has provided a link.

  35. tomix

    You want to destroy the hospital industry, Boambee John?

    Without smokers and drunks, most of them would close down.

  36. wreckage

    A more reasonable basis for the Medicare co-payment would be to link it to lifestyle.

    Dear merciful fuck, no, no, no. Even thinking about the nanny-staters getting their hands on that should give you a panic attack.

  37. Motelier

    You want to destroy the hospital industry, Boambee John?

    Without smokers and drunks, most of them would close down.

    My correction. Without smokers and drunks most hospitals would not be needed.

  38. .

    Motelier a pack a day smoker for 40 years who starts today will kick up about $164,000 to the Federal Government on the taxes they pay on their smokes, if there isn’t any tax hikes beyond inflation indexing.

    In addition to all other taxes they pay.

  39. Motelier

    I watched my father die from lung cancer.

    I am watching Mrs M’s father die from smoking related lung degenerative disease.

    In both cases the revenue raised by taxes on the product would and will have come anywhere near the cost of care.

    You are dreaming if you think otherwise. Both my father and father in law gave up in 1985.

    I shudder to think of the cost for my fathers palliative care, my father inlaws palliative care is still going, and as he is a tough nut ex army Vietnam vet, then I expect him to be in care for a while longer. Oh by the way, he still lives at home but gets care weekly, gardening weekly, has a large oxygen generator at home, and a portable oxygen generator for travelling. All courtesy of Veterans Affairs.

    Pffttttt if you think that the taxes paid by smokers cover their costs you are dreaming.

  40. Boambee John

    “Why John?

    Look at the tax they already pay. It’s outrageous. They’ve more than paid their way.”

    Dot:

    Cancer care is expensive (albeit often short-lived), as are liver transplants.

    What tax do users of illegal substances pay for their vice?

  41. Motelier

    Dot
    I am with you on the taxes they pay.
    But
    In 40 years time please give me a price on their treatment and palliative care.

  42. Motelier

    Dot

    PS
    You can add in interest and inflation.

  43. Boambee John

    “would and will have come anywhere”

    Motelier:

    I think you missed the word “not”.

  44. JC

    Mote

    It’s wrong to look at one of two cases. You have to examine the the smoking population as a group and then compare their illnesses (if they can be directly attributable to smoking) to the cost of non smokers.

    Non-smokers generally tend to linger around before they die. Smokers go early as a rule.

    Do smoking related illnesses impact the health insurance scheme? Of course they do. Do they cost more than the excise and the insurance amount they’ve paid in? No.

  45. Motelier

    As a side note.

    I probably drink too much so I am guilty as charged.

  46. JC

    In 40 years time please give me a price on their treatment and palliative care.

    You can’t look at them in isolation. It’s a comparative gamble.

  47. JC

    Without looking into it much, I would hasten to bet the group that is the most expensive on the medical system by a mile are motorcycle riders! They’re young and if they get seriously injured they’re sucking on the public tit for life and they’re fucked.

    Should we ban motorbikes?

  48. candy

    Pffttttt if you think that the taxes paid by smokers cover their costs you are dreaming.

    True, Motieler. I have relative in same situation – free home came, gardening, housework, free pharmaceuticals and free hospital/doctor care, free home modifications.

    Its a most tremendous amount of money into keeping those with smoking induced lung diseases alive.

  49. Every dog has its day

    “Should we ban motorbikes?” No JC. Just ban Medicare. Everything else will take care of itself.

  50. Infidel Tiger

    The most expensive group are women. They go to the doctors like men go to the pub.

    Real Men never seek medical treatment until it’s far too late.

  51. JC

    Don’t buy into Fatty Von Roxon’s bullshit. She seems to have a mental affliction her father died of lung cancer and wanted to punish anyone who smokes because of it.

    A debate about olive cig packets is really a discussion on the state of mental disrepair in the Liars Party and their Greenscum coalition.

  52. Motelier

    Non-smokers generally tend to linger around before they die. Smokers go early as a rule.

    Hell JC we all try to live the best we can, however in my experience the non smokers tended to be more productive and then had more money in the bank when they “retired”

    JC you have said you are a man of little vices. We are the same in a lot of ways. Neither of us wants to be a burden on society in our old age. My desire is to not cost the state anything in my life.

    So far I have succeeded.

  53. JC

    Should we ban motorbikes?” No JC. Just ban Medicare. Everything else will take care of itself.

    Fine with me and while we’re at it also remove excise which is really a huge tax on the poor.

  54. Motelier

    Should we ban motorbikes?

    Yes

    If motorbike were presented to the modern day Australian Design Rules for motor vehicles they would fail.

    As would bicycles.

  55. Yobbo

    When you’re a hammer like Xenophon, everything looks like a nail.

    He has never seen anything that he didn’t think would work a bit better with his personal control.

  56. JC

    JC you have said you are a man of little vices. We are the same in a lot of ways. Neither of us wants to be a burden on society in our old age. My desire is to not cost the state anything in my life.

    I have my parents in a high care nursing home and paying the highest rate there is, as I didn’t want to fill in all the papers for assistance. Honestly, it wasn’t for altruistic reasons. I just couldn’t be fucked filling in the masses of paper work.

  57. JC

    When you’re a hammer like Xenophon, everything looks like a nail.

    He has never seen anything that he didn’t think would work a bit better with his personal control.

    Deport the bastard to Greece. I’ve had as much as I can take from him.

  58. .

    If given you a fairly reasonable estimate which is likely to increase as the tax is indexed, yet you don’t believe it and you seem to think cancer on average costs the public purse more than $164,000 in current dollars per patient to treat all up (assuming a 40 year, pack a day smoker).

    Let’s say someone gets diagnosed with lung cancer which has just entered metastasis.

    If they smoked a pack a day for 20 years and live for 8 after diagnosis, they would have to cost the state 10k per annum to treat. Or four years at 20k per year.

    This is highly unlikely.

  59. Motelier

    IT
    I have some stories from my industry about men that go to the doctor too late.

    Sad in some way but happy in another.

  60. JC

    Just as I thought, a mooching prick from the very beginning.

    Xenophon attended Prince Alfred College and studied law at the University of Adelaide, completing his Bachelor of Laws in 1981. While at University he was for a period a member of the Young Liberals, who used vote rigging to secure him the editorship of the student newspaper On Dit, an incident Xenophon says helped turn him off party politics.[4] In 1984, he established and became principal of his own law firm, Xenophon & Co., located in Paradise, South Australia, which deals solely with workers compensation and personal injury claims.[5][6] In this field he became successful, and between 1994 and 1997 he served as president of the South Australian branch of the Australian Plaintiff Lawyers’ Association.[7] After legislation was passed in 1992 by the Bannon Labor government that saw the introduction of poker machines (pokies) into South Australia in 1993, the increased incidence of problem gambling came to Xenophon’s attention in his legal practice.

    So, he goes on a vote rigging spree and when he gets caught he swears of political parties.

    And we’re supposed to believe that shit.

    He says he swears off political parties and becomes…. an ambulance chaser.

  61. .

    ‘What a crock of shit…what a sham!’

  62. JC

    The most expensive group are women. They go to the doctors like men go to the pub.

    Dude, I get called all sorts of names (unfairly) when I suggest we introduce the Roman legal treatment of females…. Perpetual minors!.

  63. .

    Sorry…”this is such a crock of shit…”

  64. Yobbo

    Numbers have already been done on this. Cigarette taxes raise about 30 times what smoking costs the health system each year.

  65. JC

    Yobbo`
    Why don’t you go tell that to your buddy, Harry Clarke. He’s still doing cartwheels over Fatty Roxon’s color choice for cig packs. Thinks it’s a raving success. Like the rest of these goons he’s not hiding the decline, he’s actually hiding the rise…. in consumption.

    Funny that, the same people questioning the hide-the-decline in gerbil warming are going the opposite way in cig consumption.

  66. Motelier

    Numbers have already been done on this. Cigarette taxes raise about 30 times what smoking costs the health system each year.

    Really?

    Links

    I am an ex-smoker as is my FIL and my Father before he died.

    Unless you can prove a way of carrying forward the taxes paid by smokers to their palliative care you are blowing in the wind.

  67. Motelier

    I call bullshit on this smokers pay more than enough taxes to support themselves in the future.

    If so then taxes on tobacco would be lower.

    If so then taxes on alcohol would be lower.

    I am an ex smoker. I gave up in 1987. If I get a smoking related disease now, do I not get any care because I have not paid taxes. FMD

  68. Crossie

    I’m sure most cancer care has little to do with Medicare.

    Medicare does cover cancer care otherwise the chemo, blood tests and numerous scans would have bankrupted me.

  69. JC

    Mote

    You need to think of it as an insurance pool.

  70. wreckage

    Palliative care for non-smokers is also expensive, and dying of not-lung-cancer a massively drawn out affair.

  71. MemoryVault

    Motelier (and others),

    The Treasury’s own cost/tax figures on smoking are freely available on the net.
    Both the figures, and links to the government source, have been quoted here on the CAT already.
    And elsewhere. Not once, but several times.

    If memory serves, the latest figures available were for 2012. The alleged cost of smoking to the health care system was a bit over $300 million, and the tobacco excise was worth around $8 BILLION.

    The defence rests.

  72. john constantine

    question, given that smoking relieves stress and depression, in small amounts, and smokers can be skinnier than ex-smokers,

    what is worse, a porky stressed depresso, or japan, where they smoke like tey can if they want to, and have a bigger life expectency than the aussie nanny state.

    what is the cost to the japanese health system of durries?.

  73. MemoryVault

    what is the cost to the japanese health system of durries?.

    Interesting to note that, while the Japanese have one of the highest rates of smoking in the world (men AND women), they have the LOWEST rate of lung cancer of any westernised society in the world.

  74. JC

    John C

    We once discussed the Japanese conundrum. From what i recall the Japs apparently start smoking at a later age which impacts longevity.

    Lets not get carried away with this. Smoking is a risky thing to be doing. At least those puffing away at a pack plus per day or so.

  75. Motelier

    JC an insurance pool is probably correct.

    MV
    Thank you for that correction. However you failed to read the full story.

    My father, my FIL and myself all gave up in the middle to late eighties. The taxes that they payed would not have gone anywhere near the cost of their care.

    This will be true for most smokers. Most smoker give up many years before they fall to smoking related diseases. However the stats that you are quoting are for income raised that year for expenses for that year.

    The income should be projected to some years in the future against the future cost of care for those smokers.. Unless the income from smokers taxes are projected into the future then we all have no argument. Not one of us can predict the price of palliative care in the future.

  76. Infidel Tiger

    I call bullshit on this smokers pay more than enough taxes to support themselves in the future.

    If so then taxes on tobacco would be lower.

    If so then taxes on alcohol would be lower.

    I can only conclude that you are currently in a mental institution with good internet access or from outer space.

  77. Nicholas E

    If so then taxes on alcohol would be lower.

    lol, thanks for reminding me to dust off the home brew kit.

  78. JC

    This will be true for most smokers. Most smoker give up many years before they fall to smoking related diseases. However the stats that you are quoting are for income raised that year for expenses for that year.

    The income should be projected to some years in the future against the future cost of care for those smokers.. Unless the income from smokers taxes are projected into the future then we all have no argument. Not one of us can predict the price of palliative care in the future.

    You don’t really need it to be that complicated. Go back for several decades and find out if excise has been covering up the cost of smokers health issues. If it it has then there’s no point in doing the exercise you’re doing to do. We know the excise has been way over what’s needed to support smokers.

  79. Motelier

    My argument is that against the thought that the current excise is enough to pay for their health care.

    It is wrong. If a smoker gets killed in a car accident then the taxes they pay go to someone else in that fiscal period.

    If a smoker gets seriously injured in a car accident and the health care is compromised because of smoking it is put to the accident not the smoking.

    The stats for smoking are there to benefit the stat at the time (small re election periods) not over a life time.

  80. Motelier

    But nice to be called as being from another planet.

    Nanu Nanu

  81. Motelier

    IT

    Smokers pay taxes now. At the point of sale.

    They receive medical care sometime in the future.

    You and I have absolutely no idea of the costs of that health care, except that inflation, new technology and lifespan will only increase the cost of that health care.

  82. JC

    My argument is that against the thought that the current excise is enough to pay for their health care.

    Okay.

    It is wrong. If a smoker gets killed in a car accident then the taxes they pay go to someone else in that fiscal period.

    Well in a pool sense that money gets to be pooled for the other smokers as the person died in a car accident.. I don’t quite see the the problem there.

    If a smoker gets seriously injured in a car accident and the health care is compromised because of smoking it is put to the accident not the smoking.

    You then shouldn’t be thinking about the injured person as a smoker. He’s part of the general pool and the risk of a car accident doesn’t diminish or increase because of his smoking. He falls into another pool.

    The stats for smoking are there to benefit the stat at the time (small re election periods) not over a life time.

    Basically the younger smokers and the excess in the excise of a hardcore smokers are helping to meet the cost.

  83. Infidel Tiger

    Motelier, we pay exorbitant taxes for no other reason than our betters hate our guts.

    Taxation isn’t just theft, it’s a numerical value of how much the bureaucracy hates you. And in Australia that is a lot.

  84. Motelier

    In essence perhaps what should happen is what should happen with all taxes and excises.

    Taxes and excises raised from a point of sale should only go the care of those caught as a consequence of that tax or excise.

    EG. Fuel taxes should be used for roads, and road trauma victims and their compensation.

  85. Motelier

    Taxation isn’t just theft, it’s a numerical value of how much the bureaucracy hates you. And in Australia that is a lot.

    And this is my point of view. I have been on this kick ever since I wander in here and felt at home.

  86. MemoryVault

    The income should be projected to some years in the future against the future cost of care for those smokers..

    What? You mean that despite the fact that rates of smoking have been dropping for the last 30 years, and today less than 25% of the population smokes (and dropping), sometime in the future care for smokers will somehow rocket to thirty times what it is today, and finally be more than what is currently being paid in excise? $8 billion? And pigs might fly.

    Let me let you into a dirty little secret about “smoking related deaths” and their attendant costs, Motlelier. My father hadn’t had a smoke for twenty years when he died of stomach cancer. His death was recorded as “smoking related”. No mention was made of the fact that he used to cook everything with a tablespoon of salt – a product of his WWII navy training.

    My uncle Larry died of lung cancer. He too hadn’t smoked for twenty years, but his death, and presumably, associated health care costs, were recorded as “smoking related”. His older brother, Eddie, also died of lung cancer, and again he hadn’t smoked in twenty years, but yet again it was recorded as “smoking related”. The fact that both these men were plasterers and tilers all their adult lives, and were constantly exposed to lime dust, cement dust, and God knows what other kinds of dust, never cracked a mention.

    You gave up smoking in 1987, Motelier? Bully for you. Understand however, that you once did smoke, and if that is recorded anywhere in your medical records then, short of a bullet or getting hit by a bus, your death, when it comes, will be recorded as “smoking related”.

    And even with those perverse statistics, they can still only come up with “smoking related illness and death” costing one thirtieth of the money raised in excise. That’s “climate science” maths, Motelier.

    Give me a break.

  87. Sinclair Davidson

    The ability of statists to produce bullshit numbers is legendary. http://offsettingbehaviour.blogspot.com.au/2011/10/mutant-smoking-statistics.html

  88. Motelier

    Now where was I about ………..

    Oh hang on …I got really keybashed for that

  89. Sinclair Davidson

    Picking up on MVs comment, if a smoker got struck by a car while jaywalking it would be a smoking related death. Having said that, however, lets not fool ourselves smoking is bad for your health.

  90. Motelier

    Sinc I am with you on that

    From the first table. The cost to society of tobacco related disease is 16047 million dollars. In 2004/2005. From the sum total for tobacco in table one.

    So my question is about table 2. ?????? this has me confused. Table 1 lists costs of my sum above and yet table 2 lists costs of 3542 million dollars as income.

    I am in small business yes but that looks like a big loss to me.

  91. MemoryVault

    Having said that, however, lets not fool ourselves smoking is bad for your health.

    Too true, Sinclair.
    Nobody is arguing that smoking is the next best thing to a rigorous pilates workout for your health.
    On the other hand, there is no doubting that the statistics are cooked in order to paint the health risks of smoking in the worst possible light, to justify the exorbitant taxes charged.

    And to allow the do-gooders to feel superior about themselves.

  92. Sinclair Davidson

    Motellier – you’re looking at the alcohol costs not tobacco. Most tobacco costs result from early death. But that is a private cost not a public cost.

  93. Chris

    The fact that both these men were plasterers and tilers all their adult lives, and were constantly exposed to lime dust, cement dust, and God knows what other kinds of dust, never cracked a mention.

    btw in case you didn’t know, cancer is actually a collection of diseases. There are many different types of lung cancers for example. Some types of lung cancers are triggered by smoking (very rare in non smokers), and vice-versa. So in many cases the medical folks will know what the likely cause is (or at least isn’t in the case of the types of lung cancers which only rarely occur in smokers).

  94. Nicholas E

    Motelier, we pay exorbitant taxes for no other reason than our betters hate our guts.

    Preach!

  95. JC

    Picking up on MVs comment, if a smoker got struck by a car while jaywalking it would be a smoking related death.

    Huh? Surely you mean “wouldn’t”

  96. Chris

    Most tobacco costs result from early death. But that is a private cost not a public cost.

    Not entirely given there may well be increased welfare support for dependents left behind.

  97. Yobbo

    http://johnhumphreys.com.au/2011/05/30/the-new-minority-that-people-love-to-hate/

    Smoking net health costs: $318 million per year in 2004/2005.

    Smoking excise revenue: $5.2 billion.

    16 times more revenue raised than costs incurred. And since 2004/2005 the rate of tobacco excise has increased.

  98. Yobbo

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-06-01/humphreyssmoking/2739638

    So the next best thing might be to set the tax rate to cover the marginal health costs of smokers. The logic seems fool-proof… until you realise that smokers already pay over 16 times their marginal health costs in tobacco tax. The government’s National Drug Strategy report estimated net health costs of $318.4 million per year in 2004/05 (this may be an overestimate as it does not count the savings from dead smokers not getting the pension). In the same year the tobacco excise was $5,237 million.

    Since then, tobacco excise rates have increased by 50 per cent, from $0.22 per cigarette up to $0.33 per cigarette.

  99. Motelier

    Sinclair…I am now confused….from table one I added the second column to a sum total of 16047 million dollars.
    Even subtracting the private costs of tobacco in the home would bring the total to 6203.9 million.

    But now table two has an expenditure number that does not relate to anything in table one.

    I must either be dumb, or very tired.

    I am all for people to make their own choices and yes MV I have to live with my choices and I accept that.

  100. MemoryVault

    From the first table. The cost to society of tobacco related disease is 16047 million dollars. In 2004/2005. From the sum total for tobacco in table one.

    Now you really are sounding like a climate scientist, Motelier.
    For start, this entire discussion is about the cost to the the health care system, not some alleged mythical, conjured from thin air, “total society cost”. The table you refer to clearly shows in 2004/2005 the relevant “health” cost was around $318 million. Which is highly significant, since it is the same as the latest available figure for 2012 of $318 million. In the meantime, federal tobacco excise has almost trebled, from $3 billion to $8.4 billion.

    And smokers aren’t paying their own way? Ha!

    The bulk of the alleged $16 billion “cost to society” is made up of “(loss) of production in the workplace” ($5.8 billion), and “(loss) of production in the home” ($9.8 billion). You want to enlighten us on how these figures are arrived at, Motelier?

    Short of being plucked out of some bureaucrats arse, I mean.

  101. Motelier

    MV I have been corrected…. forgive me for my sins.

    However I do not smoke now, and I am sure you do not smoke now. For the simple reason that I can see far better things to spend my hard earned on.

    However from the article at the header.

    What is very clear, however, is that tobacco consumption is up – contrary to the stated aim of the plain packaging policy.

    And please. Do not compare me to a climate scientist. I was taking the cost to society as Sinclair posted it.

    As Sinclair said. Smoking is bad.
    But I can not stop anyone from smoking.

  102. Motelier

    any how I need my sleep and I have to cook a few breakfasts in the morning.

    Night all

  103. Sinclair Davidson

    Smoking is bad for those individuals who die earlier than they otherwise would have. Mostly a private cost.

  104. Gab

    Sorry to bother you, Sinclair, but could we please have a new open Forum? The current one is loading very slowly.

  105. .

    Nicholas E
    #1342454, posted on June 10, 2014 at 11:29 pm
    If so then taxes on alcohol would be lower.

    lol, thanks for reminding me to dust off the home brew kit.

    Aren’t you the loser who called someone a race traitor elsewhere on this blog?

    Fuck off you clown.

  106. Diogenes

    I say put a taxon running shoes and sports equipment. My staff room has keen football players and netballers. So far in a sample of 5 there has been 3 ankle replacements, 4 knees, 1 shoulder . Then there the arthritis they are all now suffering as a result injuries sustained in the past, and the sick days due to sprains, breaks etc etc

  107. johanna

    Yeah Diogenes, many forms of sport and other exercise create plenty of business for the medical profession, especially orthopods. And those operations and subsequent physio etc ain’t cheap.

    Interestingly, former professional sportspeople don’t seem to live longer than your average punter, either.

  108. This whole discussion is about the power of the Neo Wowsers to to subvert democratic values into a dictatorship.
    Don’t believe me?
    Light up a cigar in, say, a hospital or an airport lounge and refuse to put it out or leave the building. Resist the Securitybloke and see how quickly you end up behind bars.

  109. johanna

    Indeed, Winston. Lighting up in certain places is now effectively a crime. And there are people who comment on this site who support it, because “second hand smoke”, which is junk science. Or because they don’t like the smell – presumably the garlic breathers should also be clapped in irons.

    It’s disgraceful.

  110. .

    I am really concerned about the lesser known issue of fourth hand smoke.

    Let’s raise awareness, peoples.

  111. johanna

    Well, dot, it’s only a matter of time.

    We now have junk science about “third hand smoke”, i.e. claims that the residue from tobacco smoke on clothes, walls etc is a serious health hazard.

    I’m guessing that Fourth Hand Smoke would be akin to homeopathy.

  112. Infidel Tiger

    Interestingly, former professional sportspeople don’t seem to live longer than your average punter, either.

    I’d wager a carton of smokes they die younger on average.

  113. Aristogeiton

    .
    #1342684, posted on June 11, 2014 at 8:22 am
    Nicholas E
    #1342454, posted on June 10, 2014 at 11:29 pm
    If so then taxes on alcohol would be lower.

    lol, thanks for reminding me to dust off the home brew kit.

    Aren’t you the loser who called someone a race traitor elsewhere on this blog?

    Fuck off you clown.

    That’s a fuck you and fuck off from me too, Dickless. Dickless is a self-proclaimed white-supremacist who merely suffers the existence of ‘interracial marriage’. He should be driven from the forum with clubs.

  114. Mr Rusty

    intervening to correct for the unintended consequences of the last intervention.

    Don’t know if you realised it when you wrote it Sinc but that is the best summary of progressive / leftist / nanny state politics evah!

  115. Aristogeiton

    There was one contributor who said that they smoked because of lazy cilia. I had a look into it and it is nicotine which has the effect on the cilia. E-Cigarettes should have the same effect.

  116. Aristogeiton

    johanna
    #1342901, posted on June 11, 2014 at 11:16 am
    [...]
    I’m guessing that Fourth Hand Smoke would be akin to homeopathy.

    The precise effect of cigarette smoke on water molecules is not well known. It could be the case that smokers are poisoning our water supply; the run-off from washing their clothes is killing us all!

  117. Token

    Yeah Diogenes, many forms of sport and other exercise create plenty of business for the medical profession, especially orthopods. And those operations and subsequent physio etc ain’t cheap.

    Ever seen the people who populate Outpatients on a Saturday? As the morning turns to noon & then into afternoon the numbers swell with the wounded from sporting fields. It drops late afternoon before the weekend party crowd start coming in.

  118. motherhubbard'sdog

    If the government wants to make smoking more expensive without giving a windfall rent payment to the manufacturers, a tax increase is the answer rather than a minimum price.

    I thought Nick Xenophon had more brains than that.

  119. .

    Aristogeiton
    #1343001, posted on June 11, 2014 at 12:50 pm
    johanna
    #1342901, posted on June 11, 2014 at 11:16 am
    [...]
    I’m guessing that Fourth Hand Smoke would be akin to homeopathy.

    The precise effect of cigarette smoke on water molecules is not well known. It could be the case that smokers are poisoning our water supply; the run-off from washing their clothes is killing us all!

    Goop sez: yelling at water is bad.

    Surely smoking is just as bad, right?

  120. Yohan

    There are few politicians in Australia who are as opportunistic as Nick Xenophon.
    Anytime an issue comes up where some idiot would say ‘the government ought to do something’ you can be assured Nick is there wanting the government to pass some law or another.

    The only single issue he is good on is regulation for small business, and this is self interest or self realisation borne of him being a small business owner.

    On everything else he is a interventionist/populist like Clive Palmer. Many years ago in SA state politics he managed to milk the front page of our daily newspaper for 2 weeks over the sale of ETSA.

  121. johanna

    There are few politicians in Australia who are as opportunistic as Nick Xenophon.

    Not so. There are hundreds of them. But Nick is in the spotlight, which he seeks relentlessly.

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