Tuesday 4 November 2014

Of course it's prohibition, you fool

You know all those anti-smoking campaigners who insist that they don't want tobacco to be made illegal, they just want smoking to be banned in planes/restaurants/bars/parks/beaches? The people who say that they don't care if people smoke, they just don't want to breathe it/see it/pay for NHS costs? People like those lovely folk at ASH who "do not attack smokers or condemn smoking".

They must all be secretly delighted absolutely outraged today because it turns out—hold onto your hats!—that the anti-smoking campaign is actually a prohibitionist crusade. Who could have guessed?

From the Tobakko Kontrol blog:

In 2012 we reported that Tasmania was leading the way towards an endgame for smoking, by developing mechanisms for implementing the Tobacco Free Generation proposal (TFG). 

 I love all their little euphemisms for prohibition. "Endgame". "Tobacco Free Generation".

Those who are familiar with the Tobacco Free Generation proposal by Professor Jon Berrick and his colleagues, will be aware that the tobacco-free generation proposal advocates legislation precluding the sale and supply of tobacco to individuals born after the year 2000.

This is the boiling frog version of prohibition in which people who are old enough to vote get to ban people who are not old enough to vote from ever buying cigarettes legally. There's a short window of opportunity for this gimmick. They really need to do it before 2018, otherwise even stupid people are going to notice that they are relieving adults of their right to choose.

Some nutter in Tasmania's Upper House is having a stab at making the dream real with a private member's bill (how very democratic).

If passed, the law would come into effect in 2018 and over time the sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products would be gradually phased out. 

That's the plan. Here comes the spin...

It is important to emphasise that smokers would not be criminalised or penalised. It is the commercial sales of cigarettes that would be phased out over the next forty years, and only the sellers would be subject to penalties. 
Do they really think they can get away with this pathetic subterfuge? Why can't they, at this late hour, finally man up and admit that they want smoking banned, they always wanted smoking banned and their 'endgame' is about banning smoking?

The tobacco industry have tried to paint this proposal as “prohibition” and argue that black markets will emerge, and compared it to alcohol prohibition in the USA in the 1930s.

Heaven forbid that anyone should infer that "legislation precluding the sale and supply of tobacco to individuals" amounts to prohibition!

Firstly, the fact that "only sellers would be subject to penalties" does not make the "endgame" different or more liberal than prohibition. Only sellers were subject to penalties under Prohibition (which, by the way, was mainly in the 1920s, not the 1930s). It was never illegal to drink, nor was it illegal to possess alcohol. The only difference between Tasmania's "endgame" and Prohibition is that it does not ban the manufacture of tobacco, meaning that it will be retailers rather than the hated Big Tobacco that will be in the firing line.

Secondly, Bhutan recently experimented with a more comprehensive endgame strategy and it didn't work out too well.

Thirdly, it would be a miracle if "black markets" did not "emerge". Not only are black markets inevitable whenever the laws prohibits the sale of products for which there is demand, but the ludicrous endgame strategy means that the only criteria you'll need to become a black marketeer will be a year-of-birth that begins '19'. No need to make contact with the underworld. Just pop to the shops, stock up, and hit the street. Only a gurning fanatic could fail to predict that in the year 2025, for example, there will be a booming trade in 26 year olds selling cigarettes to 24 year olds. And if you find yourself in the inter-generational illicit trade, why not start selling to 15 year olds as well?

Finally, it is no business of the government if a 23 year old wants to buy a pack of cigarettes in ten years time. Not in Tasmania. Not anywhere. No, not even a little bit. Call off your dogs you prohibitionist scum.


Chris Oakley said...

"endgame strategy"


"helping people to make healthy choices"

These are not words used by liberal minded progressive people. They are extremely sinister words used by people who any decent society would have rejected as crazed fanatics a very long time ago.

This particularly insane idea will hopefully fail to make it onto the statute books but anything is possible in Oz. The Anglo-Saxon nations are beginning to make the EU look sensible.

nisakiman said...

These are not words used by liberal minded progressive people.

They are words that could have been lifted directly from the pages of '1984'.

One wonders at the intellectual capacity of people who propose such obviously flawed legislation. CS articulates excellently the utter idiocy of such a law, but the worrying thing is that he's not pointing out anything that isn't obvious to (I would have thought) all and sundry. That anyone could be so blinded by ideology not to notice how risibly unworkable any such legislation would be just defies comprehension. How on earth do these people get into positions of authority? Is it a prerequisite that you have to be brain-dead and / or mad?


Anonymous said...

Yeah, in their excitement to try and end something they seem to forget other people can read and many naturally detect or deduce the misdirection with words.

They have been doing this for so long it is now their native language and whenever a normal person reads their spewing you have to engage your "bullshit" translator.

The favourite for me as a vaper these days is the cries of "We don't want to ban them. . ." quite often linked to ". . but they need proportionate legislation." Look at what they say and compare to what suggestions they've made for legislation, run it through the translator and it comes back with "We are going to create legislation making it impossible for anyone to have these on the market.".

Then they seem confused when you start talking about de-facto bans and prohibition.

Sadly too many of the public have not had the time or inclination to properly read what these people say and just take it on face value and do not connect to the underlying hypocrisy.

Christopher Snowdon said...

In Tasmania currently, there is a huge problem with crystal meth, this is something that is well known, and there is very little done about it, few places for people to go to get help, and no funding for those who want to help people with real drug problems. But, they spend taxpayer money, (we pay politicians after all), to sit around on their backsides dreaming up new ways to ban and prohibit products that really pose little threat to the vast majority of people. The hypocrisy is stunning, (well it would be if we hadn't seen it all before and all too often).

Who is going to police this policy of prohibition, and exactly how are they going to police it? Are we going to have police wasting their time chasing people selling tobacco? What is this going to cost the taxpayer?

Stupid laws made by stupid people, again.

Christopher Snowdon said...

Thank you Christopher.

Christopher Snowdon said...

"endgame strategy"


"helping people to make healthy choices"

are all possible, valid, translations of the German word "Endlösung".

Christopher Snowdon said...

Endloesung = Endgame.