Saturday 12 October 2013

Tobacco Control Proven Wrong Again

This time last year, the tobacco control industry moved swiftly to head off warnings by tobacco companies that levels of illicit and counterfeit tobacco were set to rise.

Cancer Research UK led the way:
Rates of tobacco smuggling into the UK have fallen despite earlier claims from the tobacco industry that tax rises would prompt an increase in the illicit trade, official figures show
An estimated nine per cent of cigarettes consumed in the UK in 2010/11 were illicit, compared with 11 per cent in the previous year, according to HM Revenue & Customs. 
Robin Hewings, Cancer Research UK's tobacco policy manager, commented: "The tobacco industry claims that cigarette smuggling is 'booming', 'set to grow' and that the UK is becoming the European 'hotspot'
"Today's figures show the opposite. This is yet another instance of the tobacco industry making claims that turn out not to be true."
Which of course prompted truth-challenged crusty Mr Chapman to chime in with his usual blundering idiocy.
ASH's Debs Arnott went even further by claiming that basic economics don't apply to tobacco.
She added: "Once again it is clear that there is no reason to believe tobacco industry propaganda about the relationship between illicit trade, tobacco taxes, plain packaging or other tobacco control measures."
As I commented at the time, this was simply the kind of bunco booth scam we have come to expect from anti-smoking fantasists.
I think you can see the problem there, can't you? Yes, the figures are almost two years out of date. 
Since then, we have had two budgets. In 2011, duty was raised by 50p per pack and earlier this year [2012], by a further 37p per pack.
I took a bit of stick from some tobacco controllers (particularly a beardy one from Scotland) who insisted that they would much prefer to see official figures rather than trust claims by the tobacco industry. But - after years of listening to anti-smoking lies and drivel advocacy - it's pretty clear that the tobacco industry is far more honest than their detractors, hence my confidence in the comments at Liberal Vision in May.
I can’t wait till the govt release figures for illicit for 2012/13, I'm noting all these denialists down so we can have some fun in the future as to how the crooks are using 2 year old figures to try to bamboozle MPs.
And today is the day I've been waiting for. From The Times.
Revenue & Customs said the market share of illicit cigarettes rose from 7 per cent to 9 per cent in 2012-13, costing the taxpayer £1.1 billion compared with £900 million the previous year. 
The illegal hand-rolling tobacco market increased by 1 percentage point to 36 per cent, leading to £900 million in lost revenue. 
Recent tobacco industry data has shown an increase in tobacco smuggling.
Indeed it has, and it has been 100% spot on, as shown by this graph from the, err, official HMRC estimates.

Hmm, so when tobacco companies warned illicit trade was "set to grow", they were right and CRUK were wrong.

When they said that hikes in taxes would lead to increases in smuggling, they were correct and Debs Arnott was wrong.

And when Chapman sarcastically asked how tax increases can lead to falls in illegal tobacco use, he was comprehensively conned by his own side's mendacity. It is quite clear that those budget increases in 2011 and 2012 have led to consumers doing exactly what any economist will tell you that they would do. They have sought to avoid the tax. So he was hilariously wrong too.

Will they admit it? Of course not. The best Arnott can do is weakly quibble on the margins.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, the anti-smoking campaign charity, said the latest figures showed that smuggling was “not rising rapidly as the tobacco industry and its front groups routinely claim”.
It's rising though Debs, innit? As tobacco companies correctly predicted, and your side arrogantly and fraudulently dismissed.

At the start of this year, the Independent's Nick Goodway posed an interesting question.
HMRC data shows that tobacco duty raised £9.1bn in 2010, £9.6bn in 2011 and an estimated £9.7bn in 2012. Could 2013 be the first time total tobacco duty raised actually falls?
On the evidence above, the smart money must surely be on the answer being yes.


castello said...

Can't we all just get along :) Great write up! It really sucks that BT is more trustworthy than most others these days.

ChrisPrice4 said...

You could be right here, Dick, and 2013 might be the first year that tobacco tax revenues and levies begin to fall in some countries. Looks as if this will hit first in the UK, as you say - if not this year then certainly next year. Expect the agonised cries of tobacco control to really crank up then - because if tax revenue is falling then other cigarette sales markers are also falling, such as pharma receipts. And when pharma hurts, TC screams in pain.

The agony will really start when the MSA payments in the USA start to drop due to the e-cigarette takeover. This probably won't be till around 2018 because the MSA levies have automatic increases and inflation proofing built in, otherwise they would already be falling, with the 6% fall in cigarette sales so far; but a point will be reached where the levy drops, and when that starts to bite then expect all the pharma whores to scream like stuck pigs: billions of dollars (not millions) are at stake there. They'll be able to see the day their obscene salaries disappear approaching steadily - and that will put the fear of god into them.

The days of these legions of corrupt liars and parasites are numbered, and the more they scream the more we know it's working.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

If you're correct, it's a delicious prospect. :)

Sue Swbk said...

Really scary Stasi stuff : "Meanwhile, new research has found that smoking is more dangerous than previously thought. Research by the Australian National University says three out of every four smokers will die from a smoking-related illness.

Meanwhile, the Irish Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association (CSNA) have responded to Mr Reilly's plan to introduce plain packing for all cigarettes.

"When Minister Reilly considers that Irish smokers should be subjected to the same plain packaging for their cigarettes as their Australian counterparts, it is important to state that Australia has a very different regime of border protection," CSNA CEO Vincent Jennings said.

Little Black Sambo said...

How can they know how much illicit tobacco is being sold? If it's illicit, surely there is no record.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

I think they go round recording the year on year change in huge smiles from smokers who are saving a fortune. ;)

Junican said...

It is about time that EVERYONE, including FOREST, decided that Arnott is 'persona non grata'. She is just a robotic mover of goalposts - aka an advertising expert. "This washing liquid washes five shades whiter" blather.
If I was Simon Clark, I would rip her to bits on any radio program, on the grounds that she knows nothing about the statistics or anything like that. Grab the initiative and spout the contrary stats. Make her produce real evidence for everything she says.

JonathanBagley said...

I'm afraid Simon likes her so that won't happen.

Ivan D said...

Really! I thought that he had better taste. Arnott is quite clever at misleading without technically lying. For example "studies from around the world have shown the positive health impact of smoking bans" is technically true. The fact that they are all produced by activists , are all seriously flawed and many are examples of deliberate scientific fraud does not make what she is saying a lie. Following it up with "the evidence is incontrovertible" does but it is hard to succinctly explain why. Arnott is a very smooth and slippery operator but ultimately she is deeply dishonest and not someone who I would want to be associated with.

JonathanBagley said...

I agree Ivan, a very unpleasant individual, but she gets away with it because nobody gives her a hard time. Anyone can score against a mediocre defence, as will hopefully be proved tonight.

truckerlyn said...

All this bullshit is not really surprising. Look at the bull about the heart attack rates in Scotland, what was it - within 12 months of their smoking ban?

Just like this load of tosh, any sane and rational person will see right through this for what it is - blatant propaganda and bare faced lies.