David Leyonhjelm. Time for new thinking on smoking

At the World Taxpayers’ Association Biennial Conference in Sydney recently, experts discussed global approaches to tobacco control and harm reduction. From this it is timely to ask whether our bureaucrats and government need a change of mindset.

According to both the Commonwealth Department of Health and anti-tobacco activists, Australia has an enviable record at reducing smoking. Based on what they write and has been said in testimony at Senate Estimates, some in response to my questioning, Australia is on the way to achieving what no other country has accomplished – elimination of the scourge of smoking.

It is true that Australia has implemented many policies to curb smoking. A phase out of cigarette advertising on radio and television began in 1973 and there has been a total ban on all tobacco advertising and promotion since 1989. There have also been massive increases in restrictions on tobacco retailers, particularly affecting point of sale, and in areas where smoking is not permitted, indoors and out.

All legal tobacco products are now imported, whereas tobacco growing was once a thriving industry, and efforts to stamp local production rival those aimed at curbing cannabis. Last year the government unveiled a multi-agency Tobacco Taskforce led by the Australian Border Force, with the brief to enforce the toughened laws and to “dismantle illicit tobacco supply chains”.

In addition, the excise on tobacco has been ramped up to the point where Australia now has the most expensive cigarettes in the world, with almost three-quarters of the cost of a pack going to the government. To add some perspective, a 25-pack of Marlboro now costs an eye-watering $34.95. That’s $12,757 per year for a pack-a-day smoker.

However, what the bureaucrats are most proud of is the fact that Australia was the first country in the world to introduce plain packaging. Since December 2012, cigarettes and cigars may only be sold in drab green packs with no brand identification apart from the printed name. Several other countries have since introduced the same policy, having believed Australia’s claims of success.

The health campaigners have a problem though, which they are very reluctant to address: while the rate of smoking in most other developed countries continues to decline, since 2013 it has remained stuck in Australia at between 13 and 14 percent. The policies of which they are so proud are no longer working. Furthermore, there is now a multi-billion dollar black market in imported cigarettes, with illegal tobacco representing 15% of total consumption, the highest level on record.

They can’t even answer which of their policies was effective at initially bringing down the rate of smoking. They will say they all contributed, leaving them with no response now that they appear to have all stopped working.

What’s needed is an honest, objective assessment of each program, to determine what actually made a difference. But if the evaluation of plain packaging is any indication, that’s not likely. The Victorian Cancer Council was commissioned to undertake a tracking study to explicitly test the efficacy of the policy. As it subsequently admitted, the study did not test the policy efficacy but rather smokers’ perceptions of the cigarette packs. Unsurprisingly, smokers hated the new packets. Nonetheless, published results from that survey have been cited as evidence that the policy succeeded.

In fact there is no evidence that plain packaging has had any effect on rates of smoking. If it had made a difference, smoking rates would be falling faster in Australia than other countries. If the Health department was honest, it would be looking to those countries for answers, not purporting to have them all itself.

An obvious difference between Australia and countries like the UK, US or even New Zealand is the availability of less harmful sources of nicotine than tobacco, in particular e-cigarettes or heated tobacco vapes. While Australia has prohibited their sale (but not personal imports) and some states have even criminalised their use, in the UK they are recommended by the National Health Service to help smokers quit.

Our bureaucrats cling firmly to the view that e-cigarettes are just another trick by Big Tobacco, which has not yet been sufficiently punished for claiming half a century ago that smoking did not cause lung cancer. The fact that the tobacco companies have a substantially lower share of the vaping market than the tobacco market leaves them unmoved. Even the fact that Phillip Morris has committed to a “smoke-free” future and this year announced it would stop selling cigarettes altogether in New Zealand carries no weight.

If Australia is to resume its downward slide in tobacco consumption, it will require a change of attitude by the bureaucrats and anti-tobacco activists who determine policy and advise our politicians. Disapproval of smoking and antipathy towards tobacco companies is not a basis for sound public policy.

Perhaps the review of tobacco control legislation, as required by the Legislation Act 2003 which automatically ‘sunsets’ certain legislation unless it is renewed, will lead to such a change. Public consultation took place earlier this year and stakeholder discussions are ongoing. The review offers an opportunity for the government to finally admit that plain packaging is neither efficient nor effective at reducing smoking rates and should be repealed, and that alternatives with real potential to reduce health risks should be objectively considered.

David Leyonhjelm is a former senator for the Liberal Democrats

This entry was posted in Guest Post, Plain Packaging, Take Nanny down. Bookmark the permalink.

79 Responses to David Leyonhjelm. Time for new thinking on smoking

  1. Tim Neilson

    A taxi driver told me that he has taken passengers on round trips from inner Melbourne housing commission blocks to the outer suburbs so they can buy chop chop or contraband cartons of smokes.

    The only thing I find strange about that is why they’d go to the outer suburbs when illegal tobacco is so widely prevalent in inner Melbourne anyway.

    But it’s self-evident that a round trip by taxi costing over $100 would be economically worth it to buy even one carton.

    The answer to the rising scourge of illegal tobacco is obvious – keep raising the excise level to ensure that the price differential between legal and illegal is ever-increasing.
    You KNOW it makes sense!

  2. @David Leyonhjelm

    If you wish to understand why vaping is so opposed by authorities in Australia, I’d suggest you look closely at the activities (lobbying and subsidies) of big pharma that produces nicotine replacement products like patches etc.

  3. Duncan

    Always enjoy reading David but this it outright wrong – “total ban on all tobacco advertising and promotion since 1989.” It was phased in between 1986 and 2006. The ban didn’t even apply to newspapers until 1990. I can remember watching Silence of the Lambs at a cinema in 1991 and there were still smoke ads preceding it.

  4. Deplorable

    I am waiting for someone to document the link between outrageous anti-tobacco legislation and the rise and rise of illicit drug use.

  5. Rokdoktor

    Is it possible that 13-14% is that proportion of a population that is naturally predisposed to addictive behaviour that no amount of government measures (education, taxes, restrictions, etc.) can eliminate? I would like to see the extent to which this smoker’s group overlap with other addictive behaviour groups (excessive alcohol, illicit drugs, problem gambling, etc.). It may be that if there is an addictive behaviour legally or illegally available, there will always be a proportion of the population who will grab it with both hands regardless of the consequences to themselves or others. We may have reached the irreducible minimum, outside of excessively punitive measures.

  6. Tim Neilson

    Frank Walker from National Tiles
    #3097075, posted on July 4, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    Thanks Frank.

    So it’s about $17.98 excise for a packet of 20, and the approx. $26 sale price also includes about $2.36 GST – $20.34, plus income tax on the vendor’s profit margin. Less than $5.70 available to the vendor.

    Selling illegally for $13 must be the most profitable business in Australia.

    BTW when the succession of 12.5% excise increases were first announced under the regime of the unlamented Mick Trumble, I enquired at my tobacconist about buying by the kilo in advance of the first slug. I was told that tobacconists’ wholesale purchases were monitored in the leadup to an excise increase to see whether they were trying to help people beat the price rise. Not sure what the punishment was if they were found guilty.

  7. J.H.

    Vaping and nicotine chewing gum are great substitutes to stop people smoking…. Anti Smoking should not be anti nicotine. The health concerns are about the impact of constant smoke within the lungs and the subsequent damage it does…… not nicotine addiction.

    Nicotine is not illegal. So it is State sanctioned abuse to force people to continue to smoke, instead of adopting other forms of nicotine delivery systems in order to get their nicotine, while pretending to be concerned about the health effects of tobacco smoking…. Because that is the fact of the matter when other forms of nicotine delivery are banned.

    I think it would be great if people vaped instead of smoked…. lungs would be healthier, cancer rates would be down and the problem of Smoking tobacco would be solved. But it seems that bureaucracy doesn’t want to let go of it’s funding gravy train or tobacco taxes.

    And who cares if “Big Pharma” makes money on nicotine products. The problem has always been the smoke inhaled into delicate lungs.

  8. Tim Neilson

    We may have reached the irreducible minimum, outside of excessively punitive measures.

    So, given the mentality of the regulators and activists involved, we haven’t yet reached the irreducible minimum at all.

  9. Not Uh oh

    Deplorable
    #3097082, posted on July 4, 2019 at 3:14 pm
    I am waiting for someone to document the link between outrageous anti-tobacco legislation and the rise and rise of illicit drug use.

    Or even the rise and rise of obesity rates. (I for one have stacked on the weight since quitting)

  10. C.L.

    We’ve moved on from plain packaging.
    Tens of millions of “counterfeit” (LOL) tailor-mades are now being imported into the country by so-called “criminals”. This number will grow and grow. The state cannot win. So the important thing is that these networks of enterprising tobacco businessmen perfect a model of distribution, which – of course – they will. That is the future. Nobody cares about the packets any more.

  11. Boambee John

    Re plain packaging, do Mary Jane, ice, meth, coke or heroin come in attractive, distinctive, packaging? No? Perhaps the package is not the attraction!

  12. dover_beach

    Someone remind me of the rationale for maintaining smoking in this country but rendering all the tobaccos farms, etc. illegal in Australia?

  13. Percy Popinjay

    BTW when the succession of 12.5% excise increases were first announced under the regime of the unlamented Fathead Rudd.

    Fixed.

    Bluddee hell – 78% of the cost of a pack of 20 smokes is tax. This is not going to create the incentive for a thriving black market, no siree.

    Reminds me of the logic of various geniuses advocating that Mary Jane should be legalised, regulated and taxed, as if that will magically cause the black market to disappear in a puff of smoke, so to speak.

    Imbeciles.

  14. Percy Popinjay

    the rationale for maintaining smoking in this country but rendering all the tobaccos farms, etc. illegal in Australia

    Wowserism, as practiced by straighteners and punishers. The presence of an easily identifiable class of undesirables that can be endlessly hectored and bullied by their self declared moral superiors (e.g. Perfesser Simon Crapman).

    Once there are no more smokers, who’s next?

    Yep, you guessed it, drinkers.

  15. Dr Faustus

    The $8 billion annual tax take says the Government is probably quite happy with the stalled rate of decline in smoking.

    Yes health costs, yes lost productivity – but that’s all lost in the mysteries of the black box of the National economic model. Whereas the tobacco excise revenue line in the budget papers gives real, here-and-now offsets to political pet projects.

    Expect emphasis on preventing leakage from the tax system rather than sensible policy.

    The lessons learned around the world on prohibition have yet to be discovered by our betters.

  16. Tim Neilson

    BTW when the succession of 12.5% excise increases were first announced under the regime of the unlamented Fathead Rudd.

    Fixed.

    Thanks Percy, I’d forgotten that Trumble was only extending a pre-existing policy masterstroke by his ideological soulmate.

    Once there are no more smokers, who’s next?

    Yep, you guessed it, drinkers.

    Then junk food eaters, sugar consumers, red meat eaters… people who don’t do the prescribed number of pushups and squat jumps every morning as certified by their neighbourhood health commissar….

  17. Tim Neilson

    Reminds me of the logic of various geniuses advocating that Mary Jane should be legalised, regulated and taxed, as if that will magically cause the black market to disappear in a puff of smoke, so to speak.

    I read that it’s estimated that about 80% of wacko sold in California is still illicit well after it was “legalised, regulated and taxed”.

    But what does reality matter compared with the insights of those “various geniuses”?

  18. nb

    ‘some states have even criminalised their use’
    I hope the penalty is death.

  19. Adelagado

    Dr Faustus
    #3097168, posted on July 4, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    The $8 billion annual tax take says the Government is probably quite happy with the stalled rate of decline in smoking.

    Yes health costs, yes lost productivity –

    The ‘lost productivity’ figures are total BS. The only real cost is the annual public health bill and that is about $600 million. So smokers contribute about 7 billion to the Tax Office. They never talk about this, but one day this will have to come from someone else.

  20. Kurt

    As far as I’m concerned illicit tobacco importers are modern day Robin Hoods. In this instance, denying a greedy and mendacious bureaucracy its loot is a public good.

  21. Some History

    What’s disturbing about this article is that the ex-Senator Lanehelm views himself as something of a “libertarian”. Yet he speaks very much as a prohibitionist. You know, with friends like these….

    Expressions like “the scourge of tobacco smoking” have been heard for centuries. It’s the prohibitionist meme. Any discussion that begins with “we must rid society of tobacco smoking” is prohibitionist. And nowhere in all the billions of dollars worth of “thinking” has the spotlight been put on the prohibitionist mentality and its destructive tendencies.

    Prohibitionism concerning tobacco and alcohol isn’t new. It has a long, sordid history. So, what have we learned from this history. You guessed it… absolutely nothing. Well, let’s do a quick review. Prohibitionists have themselves messed up thinking. They are narcissistic, megalomaniacal, pathological liars, tyrannical, and have a superiority if not a “good” complex. Let this mentality loose to “fix up” society and the result will be havoc.

    Consider the current anti-tobacco “crusade”. It’s progressively gotten nastier and nastier. Smokers have been denormalized/stigmatized/ostracized/leperized. While the buzzwords of the time are “inclusivity” and “diversity”, this means everyone except smokers. Those who smoke are shoved further and further to the margins. And it’s been accomplished through the usual way of mangling definitions, e.g., addiction. While the political class mangles definitions to give everyone a safe space, it mangles definitions to make life progressively unsafe and unstable for smokers, increasing punishment for their non-conformity. Through more and more baseless smoking bans – now outdoors – those who smoke have to place themselves in vulnerable situations to smoke. Consider smoking bans for entire hospital grounds. Patients, staff, and visitors have to walk considerable distances in all weathers onto side streets, that may be poorly lit at night, if they want to smoke. In saner times such a proposal, let alone implementation, would have been considered sadistic, particularly when the medical establishment prides itself as non-judgemental. Yet these days it’s referred to as “health promotion”. We could go on and consider the obscene treatment of smoker involuntary mental patients who upon being admitted to a facility are forced to quit on the spot, adding to their trauma. Or the treatment of elderly/disabled smokers in nursing homes/subsidized housing who must abide by baseless smoking bans or face homelessness.

    And then we come to robbery by the State. “Definitions” by the state are always rubbery; they can change moment by moment. Having defined smoking as an “addiction”, it then proceeded to impose ever-increasing baseless, extortionate taxes on tobacco. And it hits smokers of lower income the hardest. It makes their lives harder, more miserable. The State conduct is unconscionable. We then have to endure politicians claiming that the robbery is not robbery at all. Rather, they claim, it’s to “help” smokers quit. But we know from their budget forecasts that politicians expect higher and higher revenue from tobacco taxes, i.e., robbery.

    Typically never considered is the effect of inflammatory propaganda on nonsmokers. Decades of State-funded propaganda has turned tobacco smoke into a “magic mist” that can defy the laws of physics/chemistry and more dangerous than military grade bio-weapons. There’s an ever growing group of nonsmokers that have become disciples of the antismoking cult, their thinking on tobacco thoroughly addled. This reflects a mass-scale assault on mental/social health by the State.

    So, how do the current prohibitonist fare? They’re pretty much like their forebears. It’s all been seen before. They’ve created the same detrimental consequences as their forebears and MORE. Let prohibitionists run proceedings and their conduct will eventually become sadistic. They revel in nastier outcomes for “non-conformers”. The only importance is their eradication agenda and that they must be obeyed – or else.

    The current prohibitionists have created a groupthink. They hold regular 5-star gatherings where any critique of their conduct is actively prevented, e.g., barring the public and media from proceedings. Tobacco prohibitionism has long become dangerous and predictably so. Its harebrained ideas always have the presence of malice towards smokers. Smokers who will not quit – “non-conformers” – must be punished by greater and greater amounts. Shame on countries that have allowed these dangerously stupid people to dictate proceedings.

    Unfortunately, Lanehelm has slipped into the groupthink.

  22. Some History

    As far as I’m concerned illicit tobacco importers are modern day Robin Hoods. In this instance, denying a greedy and mendacious bureaucracy its loot is a public good.

    Smokers are simply trying to avoid being robbed (by ever increasing amounts) by government that is supposed to represent them.

  23. Tel

    It’s kind of difficult to have “new thinking” unless someone did some thinking to begin with.

    The only fumes that these guys run on is the whiff of power and opportunity to take over other people’s lives.

  24. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    What’s disturbing about this article is that the ex-Senator Lanehelm views himself as something of a “libertarian”. Yet he speaks very much as a prohibitionist. You know, with friends like these….

    Please. None of this sick shit, this is a family blog!

  25. Tim Neilson

    The only real cost is the annual public health bill and that is about $600 million.

    You may be right, but even that may be overstated.

    A friend of mine – a medical doctor and medical researcher who’s a lifelong nonsmoker – told me that smoking probably actually saves the health budget money, mainly because people who get lung cancer die quickly rather than needing decades of care in old age facilities.

  26. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    Yeah Tim, DL has made that argument before too.

    If you want a laugh, check out old Lanehome telling doctors they think they are god, duyring the Sydney lockout debate.

    Hilarious stuff.

  27. Tel

    … smoking probably actually saves the health budget money, mainly because people who get lung cancer die quickly rather than needing decades of care in old age facilities.

    That’s totally correct. The older you get the more you cost the system, and this is a case where statics work because costs are an aggregate over many cases. The best thing you can do to save your government money is avoid doctors and die as soon as you retire … and that’s exactly what smokers tend to do!

    https://www.sott.net/article/282019-The-oldest-people-on-Earth-are-all-smokers

    Not counting the statistical outlivers!

  28. Some History

    Watch them while they’re still available.

    Two short videos from the early-1980s that includes simple-minded Crapman, the bully. [Crapman is the typical hyped activist. If he was 30 now, he would be a rabid climate change activist].

    The videos are all about horrible tobacco advertising and the ebil tobacco empire making loads of money from sick smokers. Well, these SJWs have really turned it around. It’s now the government that makes the great load of money from tobacco egged on by the same SJWs.

    Also noteworthy is that since the 1980s a “Nurse Ratched” mentality has been allowed to flourish in the medical establishment to an institutionalized level. This is particularly clear in anti-tobacco. It could well be asked what moral code the medically-aligned operate by? There’s no Hippocratic Oath. Is there any oath? Is there any coherent code?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVM7BbIa_4s

  29. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    SH

    I love watching the old NSWRL grand finals and F1 GP races.

    You get to see capitalism at its finest and freedom of expression. Not some union lawyer’s utopia of Year Zero chic.

  30. Some History

    Another backslapping session with the “scholars”, Crapman and Mike Drab. Pathetic, narcissistic, white-collar bullies.
    Watch only a few minutes.

  31. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    These people are completely useless without make-work jobs.

    Good lord.

  32. Lawrence Ayres

    As I toured through Britain recently I could not help but notice that many more people smoked and that a fair percentage of those used vaping appliances. You could tell by the vast cloud of smoke they generated. There did seem to be a determined effort by many to give the smokes away. Smoking was not permitted indoors but cafes and restaurants always had outside tables for smokers. They were not seen as scum as they are here.

  33. candy

    Long term smokers end up living connected to an oxygen machine 24 hours per day, cannot move without it. A heavy machine with a cord attached to tubes into the nostrils. They can live for years in that state wasting way depending on a tube can cannot walk or do anything.
    Smoking is one of the stupidest things you can do to yourself. Any measure by the government to get people to quit is probably morally and financially correct.

  34. max

    Alcohol provides the classic example. Alcohol has been, by far, the most abused substance in the US throughout its history. But the enactment of Prohibition in 1920 not only made abuse worse (for a number of reasons), but created a crime wave, and essentially created the Cosa Nostra. Making a product illegal turns both users and suppliers into criminals, and only makes bluenoses and busybodies happy.

    Because illegality makes any product vastly more expensive than it would be in a free market, some users resort to crime to finance their habits. Because of the risks and artificially reduced supply, the profits to the suppliers are necessarily huge—not the simple businessman’s returns to be had from legal products.
    Just as Prohibition of the ’20s turned the Mafia from a small underground group of thugs into big business, the War on Drugs has done precisely the same thing for drug dealers. And is, by far, the major cause of corruption in law enforcement. It’s completely insane and totally counterproductive.
    The government learned absolutely nothing from the failure of alcohol prohibition. What they’re doing with drugs makes an occasional, trivial problem into a national catastrophe.

    https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/09/doug-casey/the-war-on-some-drugs-3/

  35. Some History

    Or maybe this guy?

    90-year-old World War II vet and his wife being evicted from their home
    because he smokes in building breezeway rather than out on the street
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2401317/90-year-old-World-War-II-vet-wife-evicted-home-smoking.html

  36. Some History

    Or maybe these folks?

    Senior smokers told to quit or move out of Santa Cruz complex
    http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_11704822

  37. Some History

    Or maybe this woman?

    88-year-old woman told to butt out – or be evicted (Calgary)
    http://www.vancouversun.com/health/year+woman+told+butt+evicted/3696774/story.html

  38. C.L.

    … some users resort to crime to finance their habits.

    I speculated here recently that the enormous popularity of meth/ice may have some relationship to the insanely prohibitive price of both alcohol and tobacco in this country. Were these two things more reasonably priced, most of the addicts now in thrall to ice would still be shooting pool, downing VBs and smoking Winnie Reds at the pub. Less speculatively – which is to say, for dead certain – smash ‘n grab robbers are increasingly motivated by a desire to acquire tobacco products. Every so often, the AFP rallies the press to boast about discovering a million “counterfeit” cigarettes, as though this was important. You’d think they just liberated a hundred near-death Celestials in a shipping container.

  39. Some History

    Sorry, Candy, but you’re a brainwashed git.

  40. Some History

    Every so often, the AFP rallies the press to boast about discovering a million “counterfeit” cigarettes, as though this was important.

    Whenever there’s a bust it should be highlighted that greedy government advised by nut-case activists have created the totally predictable/avoidable situation.

  41. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    I speculated here recently that the enormous popularity of meth/ice may have some relationship to the insanely prohibitive price of both alcohol and tobacco in this country

    Absolutely. Tobacco is now taxed so heavily the excise alone means that 1 kg of tobacco is “worth” 1090 AUD.

    Silver is currently priced at 684.17 AUD per kg in the wholesale markets.

    Let me emphasise:

    —————————————————————————————————————————-

    TOBACCO EXCISE TAXES ARE SO FRIGGIN’ HIGH THAT TOBACCO IS PRICED MORE THAN SILVER AND JUST UNDER GOLD IN TERMS OF PRICE PER WEIGHT.

  42. Some History

    Sinc, if you’re about, read a comment somewhere that tobacco taxes + GST on taxes (i.e., tax on tax) in Australia are the 4th highest revenue stream for the government. Is this correct?

  43. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    candy
    #3097347, posted on July 4, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    Long term smokers end up living connected to an oxygen machine 24 hours per day

    What, all of them?

    This is less believable than stories of bunyips and vaccination conspiracies.

  44. DtjW

    One measure to stimulate the economy a little.
    Relax the excessive excise tax and increase the buying power of 14% of the population.

  45. Bruce

    Time for “tied taxes”?

    It would be a fair bet that the loot “liberated” by our stalwart betters, from the import, production and sale of booze and smokes would FAR exceed the annual national “health” bill for dealing with the negative impacts of these substances AND pretty much every other ailment that presents itself. Then there is the “spillage” from “consolidated revenue”, inevitable in the arcane processes so beloved of our self-declared “moral betters”.

    I have NEVER smoked; consume alcohol in increasingly diminishing quantities, from a fairly low start-line, but I drive a car, the fuel for which is “priced” according to equally “interesting” policies.

  46. Adelagado

    Re the public health costs. I spent quite while researching this about 5 years ago. From memory the tax/excise take was about 6 billion. The national health cost was about 600 million. The figures came from a large research document on the website of the VICTORIAN ANTI-CANCER COUNCIL, an organisation that obviously had no motive to downplay the health cost. (The paper might still be on their website)

    The reason for the low health figure is threefold and relatively simple. If smokers get sick they die relatively quickly and cheaply. And most smokers were privately health insured. (Not surprising when you think about it. Most heavy smokers took it up when private health was worth having.)

    BTW, The overall ‘cost burden to the community’ of smoking usually includes ‘lost productivity’. The is a total bullshit figure. It includes the work that smokers may have produced if they had lived. In other words, dead people are a burden on society. By this measure stillborn babies are the biggest burden on society. Mothers of stillborn babies should be ashamed of themselves.

  47. dover_beach

    We used to have tobacco plantations in this country. We could have a productive cottage industry involving tobacco growers, blenders, etc. if only we were a clown show.

  48. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    The overall ‘cost burden to the community’ of smoking usually includes ‘lost productivity’. The is a total bullshit figure.

    The POSITIVE impact on high IQ work that smoking has, and stress relief for other work, intellectually demanding, or not, or very physical, is in fact quite high.

    Two legends smoking.

    Without them, nuke power may not have happened.

    Needless to say, compare this man to the anti-smoking nutters of the utterly evil and preposterously named “Third Reich”.

  49. dover_beach

    BTW, The overall ‘cost burden to the community’ of smoking usually includes ‘lost productivity’. The is a total bullshit figure. It includes the work that smokers may have produced if they had lived.

    No, you should be asking why leftists are using this idea here but refuse to use it with respect to abortion which removes 70,000-100,000 annually from our population. Why no concern for ‘lost productivity’ here, Prof. Chapman?

  50. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    Those unemployed farm workers don’t matter because Nicola Roxon’s dad was a smoker, or something.

    Bringing back the dead through mass unemployment.

    What a clown show indeed.

  51. Wallace

    How do you bring in heaps of illegal containers through customs.

  52. C.L.

    Over the last ten years or so, I had to fill in dozens of hospital admission forms for my parents.
    When I came to the ‘Ever a smoker?’ question I always ticked NO.
    (Spoiler: both of my parents used to smoke, until about the 1970s).
    The question had nothing to do with these admissions and was of no clinical use whatsoever.
    It was/is just snooping – whose ultimate purpose was/is to rig tobacco mortality figures.
    They could just as readily ask – if clinically motivated – ‘Did you ever eat KFC?’ Or ‘Did you spend you younger days drinking a lot of booze?’ Or ‘Did you spend a lot of time outdoors without sunscreen?’
    But they don’t ask those questions.

  53. John Bayley

    78% of the cost of a pack of 20 smokes is tax.

    Well when you add all the various taxes levied by the local/state/federal governments, they are probably not all that much lower in aggregate.
    In other words, of anything you may earn/spend, the .gov.au will take at least half.
    And if you listen to some politicians, it’s only their generosity that lets you keep the rest; a ‘concession’ and a ‘cost to the budget’, to borrow their exact terminology.

    Reminds me of the logic of various geniuses advocating that Mary Jane should be legalised, regulated and taxed, as if that will magically cause the black market to disappear in a puff of smoke, so to speak.

    I doubt any sensible person would think that the black market would ‘disappear’ as a result of legalisation.
    What is clear though, going by the experiences of USA and certain European countries, legalisation, or at least decriminalisation, very much does have a positive impact on both the profitability of organised crime running the drug-related rackets, as well as on the health, recovery and incarceration rates of the addicts.

    In any case, prohibition does not work. As most people here can clearly see with regards to tobacco and as has been amply documented by the USA last century with alcohol.
    Some people have plenty of problems even with ‘legal’ drugs, while others are able to use the illicit ones on an occasional basis, without falling into addiction.

    So why keep flogging that dead ‘prohibition works’ horse?

  54. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    Of course, if your parents died, they’d be “deaths from smoking”.

    Just macarbe and ghoul-like. Even like Count Dracula. The anti-smoking nutters are building a fake army of dead people to bolster their stupid arguments.

  55. John Bayley

    Of course, if your parents died, they’d be “deaths from smoking”.

    Absolutely.

    Just like that ‘second-hand smoke is even worse than smoking yourself’ BS that keeps getting regurgitated endlessly.

    And I say this as a life-long non-smoker.

  56. John Bayley

    ‘Did you spend your younger days drinking a lot of booze?’

    Don’t give them any more ideas please.
    The additional tax on things like butter and sugar has already been implemented in some countries.
    It’s quite amazing actually that our nanny-staters, who are always very proud that ‘Australia was the first’ to implement yet more stupid ineffective regulations (plain packaging, compulsory bike helmets, alcopop tax, to name just a few), have not yet managed to get those legislated here.

  57. Fred

    Smoking is like the road toll.

    All the low hanging fruit has been picked.

    Any further measures are just government doing something to look like they are doing something.

  58. Rex Mango

    Currently in NSW it’s illegal to smoke at a bus stop while twenty-year-old diesel powered government run buses drive past belching out carcinogenic long chain hydrocarbons like benzene. Passive smoking is a myth. Any study to prove passive smoking would need to involve subjects that worked in smoke filled environments, like a pub and also lived in the country away from air pollution. Any non-smoking city dweller who contracts lung cancer may well have got it from urban air pollutants.

    The economic argument against smoking is also wrong. Smokers work harder than non-smokers, are more sociable and many people alive today are only here due social smoking interactions. After a productive working life, smokers then depart the planet twenty years premature, removing a burden on taxpayers. To see the productivity benefits of smoking, just watch any WW2 documentary footage. The troops were smoking like trains. Want to invade Normandy, hand out free cigarettes.

  59. Adelagado

    The reason for the low health figure is threefold and relatively simple. If smokers get sick they die relatively quickly and cheaply. And most smokers were privately health insured. (Not surprising when you think about it. Most heavy smokers took it up when private health was worth having.)

    This raises an interesting question. Has the reduction in smoking contributed to the huge increase in the cost of private health?

    Points to consider…

    1, Smokers swelled the numbers of the privately insured. They obviously had good reason to think they might need it one day.

    2. Having joined, they had good reason to maintain the membership, instead of dropping out.

    3. If they joined, but admitted they were smokers, they paid extra and were probably excluded from some conditions.

    4. If they got seriously sick, they died fast and cheaply. They were in fact the perfect customer.

    5.The health insurers probably know the answer to my original question but aren’t saying due to the backlash.

  60. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    Currently in NSW it’s illegal to smoke at a bus stop while twenty-year-old diesel powered government run buses drive past belching out carcinogenic long chain hydrocarbons like benzene.

    LOL

    🤡🌎

  61. Tim Neilson

    Any further measures are just government doing something to look like they are doing something.

    Never!

    Why, just recently the hunchback of Spring Street and his team were hard at work on a law to make it a criminal offence to strangle your domestic partner.

    About time, I say. For far too long there’s been absolutely no means available under the criminal law to sanction domestic stranglers.

    And yet people say that our politicians are just trying to look like they’re doing something.

  62. John Bayley

    For far too long there’s been absolutely no means available under the criminal law to sanction domestic stranglers.

    Not only that, but she can now also apply for a domestic violence leave after the partner’s unsuccessful attempt at murder.

    Who said the CFMMEU party does not look after the ‘ordinary ‘strayans?

  63. Fred

    Why, just recently the hunchback of Spring Street and his team were hard at work on a law to make it a criminal offence to strangle your domestic partner.

    They introduced the law in Queensland and guess what? It’s racist!

    Aborigines are 3.5% of the population but make up 21% of strangling cases.

  64. Luke

    We have a government that has for decades acknowledged that smoking will kill you, but rather than ban it, it has taken steps to ‘reduce’ rates of smoking. There is no equivalent product, and certainly not an addictive product, for which the government has taken this slow drip approach. Perhaps, the governments motivation needs to be questioned given that it makes 3 times as much from a packet as anyone actually profitting from the product. Infact the one most profitting from smokers and thier addiction are the government.

    Smells like a class action waiting to happen.

  65. Tim Neilson

    They introduced the law in Queensland and guess what? It’s racist!

    Aborigines are 3.5% of the population but make up 21% of strangling cases.

    Identity politics.
    Is there anything it can’t make worse?

  66. Bruce

    “Smells like a class action waiting to happen.”

    Then, there is the matter of the “cost of justice” in this fair penal colony.

  67. Deplorable

    Some History has it right. Demonising is the modus operandi of the nannies. What’s next? Sugar and alcohol.

  68. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    . Perhaps, the governments motivation needs to be questioned given that it makes 3 times as much from a packet as anyone actually profitting from the product. Infact the one most profitting from smokers and thier addiction are the government.

    Yes. Yes. Yes!

    Most people are unaware that the excise tax values tobacco more highly per unit of mass/weight than silver.

  69. Some History

    Some History has it right. Demonising is the modus operandi of the nannies. What’s next? Sugar and alcohol.

    They’re already well on the way with alcohol, cranking out “research”. According to the “research” there is no safe level of alcohol (following the tobacco template). The only safe level of alcohol is ZERO.

    E.G.,
    https://velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.com/2018/08/the-return-of-no-safe-level-of-drinking.html
    https://velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.com/2019/06/critiques-of-lancets-no-safe-level-study.html

  70. dover_beach

    Imagine what a boon to some regions leaf tourism would be? Or the multiplier it would provide to other agri-tourism. Say no more.

  71. Some History

    Imagine what a boon to some regions leaf tourism would be? Or the multiplier it would provide to other agri-tourism. Say no more.

    The know-it-alls killed off tobacco growing and product manufacturing in Australia years ago. Myrtleford in Vic was a long-thriving tobacco-growing town.

    https://www.theage.com.au/national/last-gasp-near-for-tobacco-growers-20061005-ge39qx.html

    https://cv.vic.gov.au/stories/immigrants-and-emigrants/savoy-ladies-group/tobacco-kilns-dominate-the-town/

  72. iain russell

    You druggies always amaze me.

  73. Ragu

    Smells like a class action waiting to happen.

    Companies used to label the amount of nicotine and tar on the pack. Now the government has removed that feature leaving consumers with less information about the product. There is your class action.

  74. Some History

    iain russell
    #3098164, posted on July 6, 2019 at 3:23 am
    You druggies always amaze me.

    You’re on the wrong blog, sport.
    You’re after the Idiots ‘Я’ Us blog.

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