More evidence of plain packaging failure

From The Saturday Paper:

According to the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics national health survey, adult smoking rates fell from 16.1 per cent in 2011-12 to 14.5 per cent in 2014-15. The National Drug Strategy household survey shows a similar decline.

But the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s annual national wastewater survey, in which household waste is tested for the presence of various drugs, tells a different story. Law-enforcement agencies consider it more reliable because it’s hard to hide what’s in your urine. The commission’s 2017 report issued in July, from testing conducted between October and December last year and February this year, shows tobacco use nationally going up, not down.

At an August senate estimates hearing, acting chief executive of the ACIC, Nicole Rose, said reports based solely on official tobacco sales or answering survey questions were not always accurate.

“You’re talking about the difference between licit and illicit tobacco,” Rose told the committee. “I suspect that is what the difference would be.”

At some point the Australian federal government should concede that the tobacco control policies of the last decade have failed.  Failed, of course, if the objective is to reduce the incidence of smoking. If the objective of tobacco control is to enrich criminals, finance international terrorism, and North Korea’s nuclear program then the policy has been a glorious success.

The former head of the government’s illicit tobacco taskforce and a now-retired former Australian Federal Police officer, Rohan Pike, puts the lost tax revenue figure at more like $4 billion.

Pike – who consults to the Australian Retailers Association, which has tobacco companies as clients – made a submission to the tobacco inquiry, some of which was redacted before publication because of fears it could jeopardise operations. Pike says all government agencies must take the issue more seriously, but that it isn’t only about lost revenue.

“The second issue is to differentiate tobacco control from tobacco crime,” he says.

Craig Kelly agrees: “Although the Health Department might cheer about this [higher prices], all the other people who are cheering are the bikie gangs and other groups involved in the illicit trade.”

Actually no. Let’s not differentiate tobacco “control” from tobacco “crime”. In the bootleggers and baptists model everyone has clear objectives and incentives and acts accordingly, but in reality we well know that control and prohibition efforts lead to criminality. As such tobacco control and tobacco crime have common purpose and should be treated as such.

 

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17 Responses to More evidence of plain packaging failure

  1. pbw

    The difference would also include the vaped nicotine. Who has a clue how much of that there is?

  2. Leo G

    In the bootleggers and baptists model everyone has clear objectives and incentives and acts accordingly, but in reality we well know that control and prohibition efforts lead to criminality. As such tobacco control and tobacco crime have common purpose and should be treated as such.

    That legal doctrine of “common purpose” ascribes criminal liability for all the consequences of a criminal enterprise jointly and severally to all the participants regardless of role in the enterprise. Control and prohibition which may influence criminal behaviour is not necessarily a crime. Tobacco control does not necessarily imply common purpose with tobacco control- at least not under the cited definition.

  3. Leo G

    Correction:
    Tobacco control does not necessarily imply common purpose with tobacco control crime- at least not under the cited definition.

  4. Mark

    ‘ tobacco crime’
    I love it. Can we also have fried egg crime, and weet bix crime. I love a regulated society in the morning.

  5. Some History

    Sinc, it’s disappointing that you haven’t further quoted Craig Kelly from the article to give a better picture of the jackasses running Simp City (i.e., Federal Government).

    The man [Craig Kelly] leading federal parliament’s investigation into illicit tobacco is a rabid anti-smoker.
    “I can’t stand cigarettes,” says Liberal MP Craig Kelly, chairman of the joint committee on law enforcement. “When it comes to fanatical nonsmokers, they could give me a badge.”
    “I have grave concerns that we’re trying to attack this issue through taxation,” Kelly says. “Like many things we do in government, the unintended consequences can be worse than the problems we’re trying to overcome.”
    The Gillard government introduced plain packaging in 2012 and dramatically escalated tobacco excise, implementing yearly rises of 12.5 per cent each September 1 for the next four years. The Turnbull government extended the annual excise hikes in this year’s budget until 2020.
    Despite his concerns, Kelly acknowledges price should still play a role.
    “You have to have some price pressure,” he says. “You have to have the strongest possible law enforcement. You’ve got to make lepers of those that smoke… make their lives horrible.”

    So Kelly is a rabid antismoker (i.e., prohibitionist) that thinks it’s the government’s job to turn smokers into “lepers”, their lives made horrible by an ever-growing raft of government punitive measures. If that’s not appalling enough, Kelly is a Liberal…… you know, small government, individual autonomy. Then there’s “glass houses….. rocks”. Kelly is fat. What would he think of making life horrible for fat people? Here’s a picture of tubby Kelly, the finger-wagger:
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/people-will-die-due-to-renewables-turnbull-government-mp-craig-kelly-20170712-gxa78z.html

    When it comes to tax on tobacco in Australia, it is no small matter. It’s not some price pressure. We’re well into the realm of insanity. In Australia, politicians of all persuasions have voted unanimously to hike an otherwise $5-6 pack of cigarettes to $25+. By 2020, with further tax hikes each year between now and then, that $5-6 pack will be artificially inflated to $45+, most of the retail price going straight to government. The extent of the extortion…. the robbery… is staggering; it’s the stuff of madness.

    Tax on tobacco is not rocket science. Inflate the price too high and it becomes de facto prohibition for those of low income. It’s an open invitation to an “alternative supply”, referred to by the government robbers as “illicit”. They were warned time and again years ago of this simplicity, advice that they have long disregarded, hiking tax on tobacco into “twilight zone” levels. And yet here are these top-shelf tossers now contemplating what they are to do about a flourishing “illicit” market.

    It is government of the last few years advised by prohibitionist tossers from a variety of “charitable” organizations (e.g., cancer councils) that are singularly, solely to blame for an illicit market in tobacco. Every time there is a seizure of illicit tobacco, the spotlight should go straight onto government and the Public Health unintelligentsia; they created this entirely foreseeable problem. Who’s the biggest criminal getting the largest cut by far from tobacco? It’s the government.

    It’s fully to be expected when prohibitionists are given a red-carpet ride by government. Prohibitionists are not the brightest of people. They are not good at history, or economics, or science, or human nature, least of all their own considerable foibles. Let them loose on a society with government approval and they will make, at the very least, the same disastrous mistakes as their prohibitionist forbears. The only important thing for prohibitionists is prohibition. Nothing else matters. Although they typically wreak havoc, prohibitionists never consider that any prohibitionist conduct ever has any detrimental consequences. When detrimental consequences are undeniable, prohibitionists simply view them as acceptable “collateral damage” or having some other “mystical” source. Look at the article in question. The morons from the cancer council are now claiming (after long denying that an illicit market even existed) that a flourishing illicit market has nothing to do with baseless, punitive taxes that in Australia are eye-wateringly into the stratosphere:

    In its submission to the tobacco inquiry, Cancer Council Australia says increasing excise is “the single most effective method available for reducing tobacco consumption, increasing attempts to quit and reducing smoking prevalence, thereby reducing death and disease caused by smoking”.
    “Cancer Council Australia is not aware of any evidence suggesting that increases in excise in Australia have led to an increase in the size of Australia’s illicit tobacco market.”

    This is standard distancing crap from the creators of problems. Yet it’s such agenda-driven bunkum that’s driving public policy and laws in Australia. The collusion between the rabid fanaticism of prohibitionism and greedy government has produced a dangerous stupidity, something entirely predictable.

  6. Some History

    Just a little more on fatso Kelly from the referenced article above. Kelly rightly notes that high energy prices can become prohibitive for those of low income and with potentially disastrous consequences. Yet Kelly, his politician buddies, and the turd-dwellers (i.e., Public Health) are oblivious to the fact that the same can be said for baseless, incredibly high taxes on tobacco. Remember that it’s the same moralizing nitwits that claim that tobacco-use is an “addiction”. Why are they exploiting an addiction through massive tobacco tax? It’s unconscionable. A smoker pensioner that started smoking many decades ago when smoking was commonplace may forego food and/or heating for even just a fraction of what they would have typically smoked. Why is no-one concerned about this? Maybe the government/Public Health jackasses are not oblivious. Maybe it’s intentional. It’s punishment that those pathetic smoking lepers “deserve”.

    Australia has much to answer for. At a time when “inclusion” is an over-worked buzz word, a government minister is shamelessly and enthusiastically speaking of “leperizing” a significant percentage of the population and to make their lives horrible through a plethora of government punishments [for using a legal product]. Yet this abominable stance doesn’t even attract any scrutiny in the article. Fatso Kelly is not peculiar. This has been the prohibitionist stance from the mid-1970s.

  7. Oh come on

    You’ve got to make lepers of those that smoke… make their lives horrible.”

    No, you’ve got to make lepers of those that seek political office and make their lives horrible. The vast majority of them are amoral scum who would gladly sodomise their elderly relatives if doing so would guarantee their re-election.

  8. Bruce of Newcastle

    The irony in this is the same people who are against tobacco are also pushing for legalization of marijuana and other narcotics.

    This further supports the view that the Green-Left is a religion. Tobacco is a haram evil but pot is a religious sacrament. Meanwhile millions of people are persecuted and hurt by their crazy policies.

  9. Lady Nilk, Iron Bogan

    But the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s annual national wastewater survey, in which household waste is tested for the presence of various drugs, tells a different story.

    Excuse me? We have Big Government testing waste our water?

    Who knew I was going to wake up in Kafkastan today? It’s bad enough living in Despot Dan’s socialist utopia.

  10. Some History

    The denormalization/leperization of smokers has been going on with government approval/funding for decades.

    From Simon Crapman’s paper on denormalization. The constant repetitions drummed into the minds of the public over the last few decades.

    “However, internationally, the term is also used to encompass efforts challenging notions that smoking ought to be regarded as routine or normal, particularly in public settings.13 Hammond et al state that “social denormalisation” strategies seek “to change the broad social norms around using tobacco—to push tobacco use out of the charmed circle of normal, desirable practice to being an abnormal practice.”

    Smokers as malodourous
    Smokers as litterers
    Smokers as unattractive and undesirable housemates
    Smokers as undereducated and a social underclass
    Smokers as excessive users of public health services
    Smokers as employer liabilities
    http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/17/1/25

    Add that smokers are “diseased” (i.e., irresponsible “addicts” that recklessly endanger the lives of innocent nonsmokers), are disease-carriers (smoking-“related” disease), and are disease-spreaders through secondary smoke and “thirdhand” smoke.

    Crapman praised by ex-New South Wales Premier Bob Carr – “Carr praised Chapman’s bravery in raising public awareness of the dangers of smoking, and for his work in ‘denormalising’ smoking itself.”
    http://www.usyd.edu.au/news/84.html?newscategoryid=1&newsstoryid=1910

  11. Testing of sewerage plants for substance abuse in towns has been a thing for a while.

    Meth use in the country has been starkly benchmarked by these tests, but this is the first i have heard of nicotene being measured.

    The internet of things can link your crapper to the national crime computer and book you off you pee readings, just like vicroads can book truckies off their truck onboard computer.

    It doesn’t look so paranoid now to piss outside on the lemon tree, so the State can’t get your urine to test.

  12. Tel

    The denormalization/leperization of smokers has been going on with government approval/funding for decades.

    A high proportion of Muslim immigrants are smokers, so I think what’s going on must be racism.

  13. Some History

    The prohibitionists are fear and hate-mongers. They’ve been running a hate campaign against smokers. The pompous crap merchants of Public Health delight in promoting hate as in the following, wondering how they can further exploit the situation for greater punishment “help” to smokers to quit.

    Fags over family? Smoker’s choice sparks hate from loved ones
    February 27, 2013
    “Proving loved ones can often come a poor second to cigarettes, almost one in five of smokers confessed they could buy more for their family if they were to quit smoking, according to figures we’ve released to mark the launch of the thirtieth annual No Smoking Day campaign.”
    “We’re using this insight for our No Smoking Day campaign this year by encouraging smokers to ‘swap fags for swag’ and think about the financial incentives of quitting.”
    “Our Associate Medical Director, Dr Mike Knapton, said: “These figures reveal the emotional burden smokers endure by feeling guilty about the impact their addiction has on family life and their finances.”

    http://web.archive.org/web/

    Such situations have not been created by smokers but by baseless, extortionate taxes advocated by Public Health wankers and enacted by useful-idiot politicians. Again, you’ll never see the abusers admit detrimental consequences of their conduct and they are never called to account in the media.

  14. How many smokers have been driven to suicide by the brutal tax policies of the australian millionaire socialist political elite?.

  15. Tel
    #2506881, posted on September 25, 2017 at 7:41 am

    A high proportion of Muslim immigrants are smokers, so I think what’s going on must be racism.

    I quit smoking and took up vaping 16 months ago. Prior to that I could get a pack of foreign fags for 10 bucks from any ME store/trinket shop in Broadmeadows.
    Almost all refugees are smokers and we import 20,000 of them per year, and as you say, most of the immigrants from the ME are smokers, so we must be importing tens of thousands of smokers every year with most of them not paying any of the punitive tax/excise by purchasing black market fags.

  16. old bloke

    If the objective of tobacco control is to enrich criminals, finance international terrorism, and North Korea’s nuclear program then the policy has been a glorious success.

    Really, are there North Korean cigarettes on the black market?

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