Thursday 6 September 2012

Not Learning The Lessons Of Prohibition

Still catching up with articles I've missed while messing around in a yellow inflatable ring with a cocktail, or careering down a water slide like a 12 year old, I've just read this by Snowdon at the ASI on the newly-revealed tobacco prohibition agenda.
It is doubtful that even a smoking rate of 0.01% would satisfy them. For the moral entrepreneur, the only tolerable rate of consumption is zero and surely nobody imagined that the stated goal of a “tobacco-free world” could be achieved by persuasion alone. The lurch towards prohibition should therefore not be surprising. And yet their squeamishness about using the P word, and the scramble to find a more friendly-sounding term, would not be necessary if these advocates believed that prohibition was a noble goal. They know they are naughty boys and girls, these crusaders, and they hope the public will be fooled if they coin new terms for their discredited ideology of suppression.
Do go read the whole piece if you haven't already but it's interesting that, in the same week, the Harm Reduction Journal produced a critique of Olympics anti-doping policies containing a quote which is extremely timely under the circumstances.
50 years of ‘war on drugs’ have had little effect on this prevalence but have had many negative consequences. As Room and Reuters note:

“The system’s emphasis on criminalisation of drug use has contributed to the spread of HIV, increased imprisonment for minor offences, encouraged nation states to adopt punitive policies (including executions, extra-judicial killings, imprisonment as a form of treatment, and widespread violations of UN-recognised human rights of drug users), and impaired the collection of data on the extent of use and harm of illicit drugs, all of which have caused harm to drug users and their families”.
Why, oh why, do advocates for tobacco prohibition think they have the silver bullet for avoiding the same overwhelmingly destructive outcomes when tobacco use is so massively larger than that of drugs?

These people are either extremely dangerous, or mind-bogglingly stupid. Or, more realistically, both.


Patnurse said...

According to Chapman you are "Big Dick" Puddlecote and Chris Snowden is just an errand boy and me and Jay are just "pro-smoking" trolls. And he posts this crap on a site that is behind him all the way and thinks we are abusive for calling him a bully :!!) I am busy today but I will go back when I get some time. Meanwhile, you might want to pop in just to see how he denigrates the ordinary angry consumer - again!

Patnurse said...

It is a moderated site so unless you agree that Crapman is saviour of the world you might get moderated out.

Humph said...

They are both.

I conducted my own straw poll at the weekend. One 13 year old girl (daughter who, like the rest of the family, hates smoking - 'it stinks', 'you're going to die', 'blah, blah, blah'), one packet of fags & me. She was playing with the packet, taking one out and pretending to break it, & of course getting severely reprimanded. So I decided to ask her some questions:-

"Darling girl, what do think about this packet of cigarettes?".

"What do you mean?".

"Well, when you look at it, what do you think about the way it's designed?".

" 'Smoking kills' ".

"No, not that bit, nor the dodgy fake pictures on the back. What about the design of the red & white bits (Chesterfield reds at the moment as they're cheap as chips, well, relatively), the colouring & the fonts they've used?".

Blank look, as in 'Dad, what on earth are you talking about?'.

"Ok, does it make you feel good, bad, happy, sad? Do you like it, hate it ... or neither, nothing?".

"Nothing. It means nothing at all to me".

I then tried to start explaining about how 'they' had done some 'research' on children who had said they felt like they were in a fairy wonderland or whatever it was which, needless to say, she could not even begin to comprehend. And anyway, by the that point I'd got the distinct impression that she just wanted to go back to txtng hr m8s or killing something on her iPod so I just left it there rather than launching into a full-on rant.

Anyway, point being that I would say that Humphette is a pretty normal, intelligent, well-behaved child (despite my best endeavours), and if I were a betting man I'd be prepared to stake rather more than one of those pound sterlings that each and every one of her friends and peers would say exactly the same thing. Whether it's Chesterfield, Marlboro or Benny Hedgehogs, it makes no difference. They are not designed for children otherwise they would have glitter and pink stuff all over (in her case) or cars and footballers (in my son's case).

There is nothing, absolutely nothing that is in any way alluring or appealing about any cigarette packaging anywhere. In fact, in the time that she has taken to reach those 13 years, she has been bombarded by school, mother, friends, gubmint, news, et al to the extent that she (and frankly all kids everywhere) probably believes that just touching or looking at a packet of fags will give you a fatal disease. To argue that the 'wonderland' packaging the manufacturers use is enough to make them overcome this morbid fear, let alone enough to make them want to smoke, can only really just be laughed at.

So my conclusion. These people are firstly and foremostly liars. Petty-minded, spiteful, liberty-hating, money-grabbing, puritanical liars. Because of this, they are also, as you say, dangerous. And for the resasons you mention, as well as many, may more, they are stupider than Mr Stupid of Stupidsville. And they smell.

Thinking of going into the cigarette production business. Find someone to knock up some nice olive-coloured packets, make some fags half-filled with crap to put in them, call them Marlboro & sell at full price in their millions to the multiples, make a very quick and very big buck, spend the rest of my days smoking Havanan big boys on the beach somewhere.

These people are as much use as peddles on a wheelchair.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Last I looked the comments were closed.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

I enjoyed reading that anecdotal commentary. Educational and with a few chuckles thrown in. Ta very much. :)

I make you spot on, by the way.

John M said...

The thing I don't understand is that non of these nutcases smoke at all, so why do they even care?

Oh... of course... because they can get lucrative jobs from the Government if they make enough noise.

God forbid Deborah Arnott had to get a *productive* job that contributed towards our balance of payments.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Bwahahaha! Chance would be a fine thing. It's always quite funny hearing about how others cost the country money coming from someone whose entire existence relies on draining the country's purse.

junican41 said...

They want to get control of THE SIZE of the packets. A few years down the line, you can bet a pound to a penny that 5mm will be knocked off the permitted size, to be followed by another 5mm a couple of years later, etc.