It’s a tiny step from there to the decision that it’s the branding of the fizzy drink, bottle of booze, bar of chocolate, or burger that’s the problem – and stripping away the trademark, packaging design and strap line – is not just desirable but necessary.Quite. The mimicking of tobacco control in attacking such products is regularly detailed on these pages, with each step which has successfully been implemented against tobacco now being pursued by those who are energised against alcohol, fatty foods, fizzy pop, sugar, salt, etc etc. And with each little victory, the focus moves onto the 'next logical step' in the tobacco control template.
Of course, anti-smokers have never been ones to sit still for a minute after achieving that one small law they urge is essential at any one time. The lightning swift diversion of UK bansturbatory resources following the Health Act 2006 - onto hiding tobacco displays, banning vending machines and smoking in cars, and also their own moves towards plain packaging - is testament to that.
So, another danger in allowing plain packaging to pass is that the insatiable anti-smoking lobby will move onto something even more absurd.
And we know what it is likely to be, since head Aussie smoke-hater Simon Chapman hinted at it earlier this year.
[...] over the weekend anti‑tobacco campaigner and University of Sydney academic Simon Chapman turned up the heat with a new proposal to make smoking history, through creating a consumer license to smoke.Well, you didn't think they were going to restrict their actions to just targeting businesses, did you?
Under the proposal, a license would give the smoker a right to a limited quota of tobacco supply, say 10 cigarettes a day or 20 cigarettes a day and so on. There is a fee payable to government to give the consumer the right to use tobacco. The more tobacco the license holder pre‑commits to smoke, the higher the license fee involved.
Under the licensing plan consumers would be asked to pass a test, 'not dissimilar to a driving test' Chapman stated, to qualify for a right to receive a license to legally purchase tobacco.
Based on the questionable notion that smokers lack an awareness of at least three decades of heavily publicised research about health problems that smoking causes, the government would see itself fit to decide for the smoker the amount of cigarettes he or she is allowed to smoke.
Unabashed, someone claiming to be Chapman himself pops up in the comments to boast about his inspired idea in great detail.
• Gvt would announce and publicise a date after which purchase license would be needed – say 2 years hence (not talking about now .. obviously down the track)And in case you thought you might be exempt since you don't walk upside down ...
• Current smokers: 1 year out, announcements about “apply now” with advice on processing time: 3m or so applications expected initially.
• All 18+ adults who wished to smoke could purchase a license on-line, after uploading a photo. There would be graduated options (say 1-10/day; 11-20; 20-40;40-60 cigs/day) each costing more as a disincentive to just go for the 40-60 (with thoughts of on-selling your surplus). Social Security & health card holders could get suitable discounts. With each year that goes by, households with computers approach 100%
• At any time, you could cash in the license permanently (no getting another one) – may act as an incentive to quit in future, particularly if the license cost say $100 starting prices (ie cost of about 5 packs of cigs).
• New smokers: those turning 18 and wanting to get first license to smoke would need to pass knowledge test. This could be done from home via computer, with large battery of test questions randomly rotated, to avoid easy selling of answer sheets. This could be regularly updated. Site would have knowledge test readings – at least as onerous as current 100pp driving test manual.
• At retail supply end: all retailers licensed, and equipped with smart card reader linked to national licensing database (which the industry would supply, just as they now supply all shelving). Manufacturers would be audited to ensure that all domestic sales were reconciled with licensed retailers. (ie: no domestic sales to unlicensed retailers); licensed smokers go to shops, ask for (say) “four packs of Winfield”: swipe technology immediately says “supply authorized” or “supply not authorized: only 2 packs able to be purchased today” (in the event that smoker had been smoking more than their pre-commitment number)
• Tourists: Set up license issuing desks at airports & ship terminals? (like now with the ubiquitous mobile phone & rent a car stands). Could be big business opportunity there…... because not even free citizens of other countries can be allowed to dodge Australia's creeping totalitarianism.
Remember that anti-tobacco holds global conferences to share notes on their policies. If there comes a time when plain packaging is nodded through by our crashingly gullible Westminster representatives, all guns will be turned away from business, and onto ever more coercive measures to restrict personal consumption.
And, of course, just as with minimum alcohol pricing, once a level is set it will be regularly tweaked and made ever more restrictive with each passing year. Perhaps, even, as an annual ingredient of the Chancellor's budget speeches, as The Filthy Smoker pointed out a while ago.
And when they realise that it doesn't work, do you think they'll ditch it, or do you think they'll raise the minimum price to 60p, then 75p, then a pound, ad infinitum?Likewise, if adopted, Chapman's plan won't work even if that was the intention. Instead, the cost of the licence will be ramped up to eye-watering levels, or the daily ration of fags limited year on year.
So, in the future when you've downed one of your 14 weekly units - complete with diseased liver decal on the glass - you used your government swipe card to purchase at the Dog and Duck, before blowing one of your four monthly ration coupons on a fish and chip supper on the way home, you can look back on the good old days when the target was merely big business.
The battle lines are drawn over intellectual property rights, but once that one is in the bag, the chances are that your own rights to what you freely choose to consume will be next on the agenda.
H/T The Aussie Informer