While I was describing how UKBA dispose of seized tobacco, that is by pumping secondhand smoke - which isn't dangerous anymore when mixed with water, cellophane and cardboard, apparently - around Slough, the Gibraltar legislature were discussing the self same thing.
The Gib Chronicle explains in full, the day after my article was published.
New legislation approved unanimously by Parliament yesterday will allow the Gibraltar Government to resell stocks of cigarettes seized from smugglers.Indeed it can. And, of course, the wholesalers will be obliged to add duty to their government-purchased tobacco before resale (if it hasn't been added at auction). As such, the end consumer will have paid 100% of the cost of their tabs to the state.
Until yesterday, confiscated cigarettes were destroyed and a significant source of potential revenue for the public purse went, quite literally, up in smoke.
The amendment to the Tobacco Act 1997, passed yesterday, came after Chief Minister Peter Caruana learnt that there was “a significant stock” of tobacco products about to be destroyed.
Mr Caruana said there was no reason to destroy “perfectly valuable” tobacco and that reselling these stocks could generate substantial revenue for the public purse.
“Tobacco itself is not per se an illegal commodity,” Mr Caruana said, “I believe this is a huge destruction of value.”.
Only people with a wholesale tobacco licence will be able to buy at the auctions, and only tobacco in good condition will be sold.
The proceeds of the auctions will go into the main government account and will represent “...a significant source of revenue that can be ploughed back into law enforcement or anything else,” the Chief Minister said.
That, my friends, is what I call a right royal earner.
Fortunately, governments are immune to the natural human stimuli they ascribe - without exception - to the rest of us, so won't be remotely tempted to pinch more tobacco at the borders. Oh no. Even though doing so can now help them to further increase their budgets.
I mean, whoever heard of a conniving politician, eh?