Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cigarettes, Whisky & Wild Wild Women

I don't think the jury is actually out on this any more: Cigarettes are harmful. Be that as it may, until they are made illegal we should get off smokers' backs. The next small lurch towards making them illegal comes with the suggestion that vending machines might be scrapped. For God's sake! Either do it or don't do it. We have been dithering now for 40 years. If they are SO bad, ban them. It could be the tax revenues. Ciggies bring in a LOT more than the NHS spends on treating the harm that they do [my thanks to GC for this research]. Or perhaps it is just the JPs, GPs, VIPs and MPs that like a smoke. Probably.
If we ever do get round to banning smoking we can be sure that the guns will then turn on other targets. Alcohol? Motorbikes? Toy guns? Darts? Sucky sweets? ad infinitum...
Lad's mags are yet another pointless target. As if "Rebecca Loos Naked" in big letters wasn't a clue, the lesbimafia want everything from Nuts to Practical Mechanics stuck on the top shelf with a big sticker on saying... Well what, exactly? "You'll go blind" perhaps.
At 5'8" the top shelf is already out of my reach. Tall teenagers are OK though.


GC said...

Let's ban everything even remotely dangerous. Then we can live sad, sad little lives. Or, we could have a little fun but be fairly sensible.

During very cursory research I found that apparently we spend £4.35bn of NHS money, in England only, on cancer. When adding the further 10m people of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (and equivalent spending) then let’s say, as an estimate, cancer spending is £5.22bn. That is cancer spending – all of it - research, diagnosis and treatment in the NHS.

Apparently the UK government charges 81.2% tax on a packet of 20 cigarettes. Only the Danish and Irish (Republic) charge more as a percentage and we can’t cite them as rational countries. Assuming that an average packet is £5.20, that’s £4.22 of free money they are collecting per packet. If around 2.35 billion packets are sold (as during last year) that is £9.9bn burning a hole through the government’s pocket – pun totally intended.

So here’s an idea; why don’t they get their dirty corrupt paws off my money and instead of using it to prop-up the skeletal NHS (£5.22bn spent on cancer) – then blaming smokers for its current state (£9.9bn collected) - donate the £4.68bn difference to sustained and focused cancer research. Use the supposed problem to find the cure.

Then I’ll believe that the government and the anti-smokers are genuine in their concern, and that this issue isn’t really about civil liberties – which it is. It is simply part of the demonisation of hardworking and interesting people – who choose to smoke, drink or drive a car. This would help everyone, not just smokers, in the long-term. And it means we can smoke as many cigs as we like without feeling guilty (incidentally I don’t anyway).

Although admittedly, it probably won’t cure the blindness caused by adult entertainment on the top-shelf. When you find a solution to that one, let me know, I’m tired of wearing glasses.

JAT55 said...

Bravo GC!
I agree with every word of your comment. Thanks also for the research on taxation. I will amend the original post.
You really must set up your own blog.