Wednesday 23 March 2011

Urgh, California

With Britain vying for pole position in the tobacco control freak race with its zany plain packaging/display ban proposals, reigning champion California is having to raise its game. Can it rise to the challenge? Of course it can...

Smoking on open patios and balconies will be prohibited for the 18,500 apartment and condominium residents in Laguna Woods if the City Council on Wednesday gives final approval to an amendment to the city's smoking ordinance.

Yes, that's an outdoor smoking ban on your own private property. And even that doesn't go far enough for the illiberal goof-balls of this clown state.

The council also considered prohibiting smoking inside homes unless all windows and doors of the units are closed, but tabled that provision for further study.

"We are not yet ready to regulate smoking within houses," said Mayor Pro Tem Cynthia Conners.

Don't mistake that for 'we don't want to' or 'we would never'. They're just not ready yet. The baby steps of prohibition have got them this far, so why start taking bigger strides now? There's plenty of time for smoking bans in the home, don't you worry.

Meanwhile, up the coast in Santa Cruz...

The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday to require retailers to obtain a license to sell tobacco, joining dozens of other communities statewide.

The excuse urgent justification for this policy is to reduce youth access to cigarettes.

The county says a recent survey demonstrated county retailers' poor compliance with laws prohibiting sales to those under 18. "It shocked everybody," said Bob Kennedy, the county's environmental health director.

It would be interesting to learn where this shocking study came from and who funded it but, I guess we should all be thankful that this licensing system is going to stop retailers selling cigarettes to kids, um, somehow. How exactly will that work again?

The new license applies to all of the county's 104 retailers who sell cigarettes, and will cost $318 annually.

So you can't sell cigarettes to kids unless you can scrape together $318 a year? That should stop 'em.

That $318 is the whole point, of course. It won't stop shop-keepers selling tobacco to under-18s but it will penalise tobacconists in the hope that some of them will say 'screw it' and stop selling cigarettes. Places that don't sell many cigarettes will do that, for sure, and prohibition takes one step closer.

The whole point of the exercise is to make selling cigarettes less profitable and make buying cigarettes more inconvenient. That's why it's been on the anti-smokers' agenda for some time. It's got sweet nuthin' to go with youth access which, as ever, needs to be addressed with enforcement. Speaking of which...

The county hopes to run at least one compliance check on businesses per year, with first-time violators facing a 60-day suspension of tobacco sales.

Those who are cited four times over five years can lose their tobacco licenses.

If stopping kids buying tobacco was really these people's concern, they'd be doing all this already. They don't need to charge store-owners several hundred dollars a year for a junk license before they start enforcing the law. Or is the State of California seriously claiming that it doesn't already get enough money from cigarette taxes and the Master Settlement Agreement to afford doing a measly one check a year?

And finally, back down the coast in Los Angeles, Bernard Parks is doing his stuff. Parks is a supremely stupid man with totalitarian tendencies who believes that "secondhand smoke is the number one cause of preventable health disease in America". He also believes that "inhaling secondhand smoke is more harmful than actually smoking". If this is the kind of bumpkin that gets elected (and re-elected) in California these days, then it's no wonder the State has become a bankrupt citadel of intolerance.

Parks' previously efforts to turn LA into a bully state include an outdoor smoking ban in the city's streets and he has now turned his beady eyes—as they all do sooner or later—to food. As the video from Reason shows below, he's going to ban restaurants he doesn't like. The fact that LA residents obviously do like them doesn't enter into it.

With San Francisco banning Happy Meals and New York putting a tax on soda (thanks to Michael Bloomberg, another smoking ban obsessive who took the 'next logical step'), this is only the start of the war on food. For the time being, Bernie Parks is only going after the fast food joints. As they might say in nearby Lacuna Woods: "We are not yet ready to regulate eating within houses."


Junican said...

I wonder sometimes why industry is so timid. Would it not be interesting if the tobacco companies and alcohol companies and the fast food companies got their heads together. I cannot believe that they have not thought about it. There are lot of interesting possibilities. For example, the food industry could fund a tobacco study, the tobacco industry could fund an alcohol study and the alcohol industry could fund a food study. That cold be very amusing.

Would it not be great if all these companies abandoned California? - No more tobacco available in California, no more alcohol, no more fast food joints. Full page adverts in newspapers saying that California is no longer a place where they can do business do to excessive and despotic regulation. No more tax income from fags, booze, fast food joints. Everybody going out of state for supplies, black markets, co-operatives,etc.

Something has to give sooner or later.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with the above post, though I suspect that all the industries mentioned are in someway in bed with the antis/government otherwise they wouldn't just sit down and take this crap. Phillip Morris does work with the FDA.

In the UK the chanellor annouced a 50p increase on the cheaper cigarettes and 33p on more expensive ones, he the gall to add he's done this because of illegal tobacco & and to improve health. Shit for brains, more illegal smokeswill be coming on the market.

If only smokers, drinkers & motorists would stand together for just 2 weeks and didn't buy tobacco, alcohol or petrol it would bring the country to its knees. Sadly the idea of fighting back is anathema to the majority of people, they'd have to ask for government approval before they even contemplated making such a daring move.

But there has to come a time when the TC have gone as far as they can, and seeing as they've been moving at high speed and are now into homes it can't be far off then the only option is making tobacco illegal. Will politicans be so keen to do that especially as most countries are going to be economially bankrupt for years to come. I say call it on now, put TC out of business. Non-smokers would have to make up the losses, it won't affect smokers, they can't smoke anywhere now and they'd be better off, as with everything tobacco will still be available only much cheaper.

It can't go on like this something has got to give and soon. Either ban it or they fcuk off.

Christopher Snowdon said...

The problem is that neither the drinks industry nor the food industry want to align themselves with the tobacco industry. When the time comes, the food industry won't want to align itself with the drinks industry. As each one is denormalised, the other wishes to stay respectable. It was just the same before Prohibition when the beer industry portrayed itself as better (healthier) than the liquor industry. By the time they realised they were both in danger it was too late.

Anonymous said...

That's precisely what I am on about, Snowdon - 'divide et impera'. It has been seen so many times and is blatantly in operation now.

One of the horror situations about the current healthist drive is that it is all being driven by the WHO. As we know, the WHO is a self-perpetuating, unelected, unaccountable organisation with no termination date. Thus, it is unlimited by time and can simply wait - for decades if necessary - before achieving its objectives. Every organisation which sees itself as possibly having some possible health/injury potential should be aware of this fledgling, unelected world government, and organise/join a self-defence group. It only takes the amalgamation of WHO and the Climate Gang and we are all fucked.

jredheadgirl said...

Ugh....I live in California. It's become a real living hell. If it weren't for my band being here, I'd have been gone a loooooong time ago.