Friday, 19 February 2016

Stop With The Bullying, George

ASH often say that they "do not attack smokers or condemn smoking", but - with a budget coming up - it's that time of year where ASH always attack smokers.

They'll be pulling every string they can think of to sway the Chancellor into massively increasing duty on tobacco, which - as J S Mill observed - is a form of prohibition.
“Every increase of cost is a prohibition, to those whose means do not come up to the augmented price"
Tobacco duty rises over and above inflation are nothing less than bullying - a particularly vile brand of bullying which especially targets the poor - and are fully backed by groups like ASH. Indeed, if the Chancellor doesn't attack smokers financially in his budget, ASH will be furious about it. So yes, ASH certainly do attack smokers, and will be overjoyed if/when George Osborne caves in to their pleading.

So I'm happy to back Forest's campaign to axe the tobacco duty escalator. Simon Clark explains it here.
Axe The Escalator is a long-term campaign designed to combat these demands. We do however need your immediate support. 
The next Budget is on March 16 and it's important consumers make their voices heard sooner rather than later in case the Chancellor is tempted to. 
Please visit the Axe The Escalator website (accessible by clicking the link under the sidebar image on the right of this blog - DP) or go direct to the 'Tell Your MP' page. 
Enter your postcode and a letter will appear addressed to your MP. If you agree with it follow the instructions and we'll send it to your MP on your behalf. It should take no more than a minute or two.
Do make your views known on this, if only to point out that the escalator is a nasty club to hit smokers with and perhaps not the best approach, as suggested this week in an interesting National Post article.
They’re desperate. This is why they’re falling back on ever more heavy-handed interventions. Instead of looking for creative ways to help people quit smoking or find methods to minimize smoking’s harm, the public health establishment is seeking to make smoking highly impractical and difficult, if not impossible. 
While there’s an undeniable logic to this method, believing it can succeed hardly seems in keeping with what we know about human nature. It’s already very expensive, socially ostracizing and logistically difficult to smoke. But some people keep doing it anyway. That’s an indication that all the “sticks” in the world won’t be enough to motivate these smokers to quit (though they will steer smokers to cheaper contraband products); so why not try some “carrots”? 
I support the public health establishment’s campaign to cut down on smoking deaths. I just disagree with the method they’ve chosen to cling to, even when that method has exhausted its usefulness. No one who still smokes cigarettes in 2016 is going to be moved by punitive measures. The race to ban more and tax more tobacco products isn’t just ineffective, it’s getting in the way of voluntary entrepreneurial products that could be doing massive good.
Quite. So I encourage you to click the link and see what response you get from your MP about ceasing bullying and trying encouragement instead. Or, you know, perhaps just leaving smokers alone to make their own choices in life, an alien concept for our politicians to grasp, it would seem.

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