I'm sure the media will be scrambling for places in the gallery and newspaper editors are preparing to hold their front pages for breaking news from Abu Dhabi but - in the unlikely event that no-one really gives a stuff - a couple of tobacco control harebrains from New Zealand have a cunning plan to grab attention (and, by extension, grants).
Writing in The Lancet, they will tomorrow predict an end to smoking by 2040. No, not just in New Zealand ... but the entire world! Apparently, "the time has come for the world to acknowledge the unacceptability of the damage being done by the tobacco industry and work towards a world essentially free from the sale (legal and illegal) of tobacco products".
Now, if global prevalence was falling I suppose their puerile enthusiasm could be excused, but it requires Comical Ali levels of laugh out loud stupidity to make these daft pronouncements when tobacco use has never been higher in the history of mankind ...
|From the CDC|
Apparently, they will be calling on "the United Nations (UN) to lead a “turbo-charged” effort against the sale and consumption of tobacco", forgetting that this will set the (unelected) UN the impossible task of persuading (elected) governments worldwide that they don't really need the huge levels of tobacco duty receipts - voluntarily surrendered by their electorate - after all.
Before you say that the cuckoo Kiwi prohibitionists haven't really thought this through, though, you must consider their brilliant change in emphasis. You see, they believe that "regulatory efforts have been too focused on reducing demand for tobacco" instead of trying to cut off supply. I take it, then, that their plan involves closing down all legal tobacco factories throughout the world in the next 25 years, as well as asking criminal gangs like the newly plain packs-enriched IRA to play ball ... well, good luck with that.
|Click here for the interactive map, they'll all be gone by 2040|
“The tobacco industry continues to interfere with governments’ efforts to implement effective tobacco control policies. If the world is to become tobacco free, it’s vital that the industry’s appalling conduct receives far closer scrutiny"Presumably, in this context, 'interfering' would mean tobacco manufacturers saying excuse me, but can you not shut our factories down, because people still want to smoke and you're going to create the biggest criminal black market the planet has ever seen. The interfering bastards, eh?
It is quite staggering that this huge, stratospherically-funded (The Gates Foundation is one of the WCTOH sponsors) tobacco control industry seems blissfully unaware that erasing supply when there is huge demand can only lead down one path. Have they honestly never come across the comprehensive disasters of Prohibition and the War on Drugs during their sociology studies?
I don't know what is more darkly comic, that this idea is being unveiled to the world on March 13th rather than April 1st; or the fact that there are politicians who would actually think this to be an achievable plan!
Who knows how much coverage this insanity will create, any sensible news editor worth his salt should laugh it out of his office. The quango-enthralled BBC, on the other hand, are doubtless lining up a splash for breakfast news as I type.