Tuesday 1 September 2015

We Can Solve The Problem We Caused - Honest!

Here is some staggering chutzpah from the Irish brand of tobacco control failure. Via the Irish Heart Foundation.
A new levy should be introduced to force tobacco companies enjoying profit margins of up to 60% on cigarette sales in Ireland to pay the cost of helping smokers to quit, a pre-Budget submission by the Irish Heart Foundation and Irish Cancer Society has urged. 
Research carried out for the Irish Cancer Society and Irish Heart Foundation by leading UK business economist Dr Rob Branston of the University of Bath shows that tobacco multinationals are making combined annual profits of between €110 million and €150 million from Irish sales. This is gained from profit margins of 60% for Japan Tobacco International, which controls over half the Irish market, 41% for Imperial Tobacco and 24% for British American Tobacco – way higher than the normal profit margins for consumer staple industries of between 12-20%.
This "leading UK business economist" seems to be blind to the fact that "normal profit margins for consumer staple industries" are dictated by many different aspects of the market. Most of these are driven by competition in the form of advertising, innovation, new entrants to the market and price wars. Now, I could explain, but I reckon I don't need to. How many of those market mechanisms have been forcibly removed from the tobacco industry?

This is Ireland where duty is so eye-wateringly high that price competition is almost irrelevant. When the producer margin is a tiny percentage of the selling price, buyers wouldn't notice anything but pennies if a price-gouging trade war kicked off. Advertising is banned, packs are hidden behind shutters so there is no chance of the market providing competition for incumbents, and innovation has been destroyed because the Irish government hates tobacco. There is simply no chance of anyone breaking into this market and driving profit margins down, and the Irish government is responsible for it.

So to then compare this profit margin that politicians have facilitated to companies making products like bread, tea and Heinz baked beans is quite ludicrous. A "leading UK business conomist" would surely know this or else he is deliberately comparing apples with toilet brushes, otherwise known as a form of lying.
Kathleen O’Meara of the Irish Cancer Society added: “Permitting such high levels of profit also creates an incentive for powerful tobacco multinationals to fight measures such as plain packaging legislation that hit them in the pocket by reducing smoking rates and discouraging young people from starting to smoke.”
"Permitting" high levels of profit Kath? Your life has been dedicated to ring-fencing tobacco profits for decades with the policies you have demanded!
Ms O’Meara continued: “The smoking rate among Irish adults has fallen below the 20% mark for the first time since records began – that’s around 250,000 fewer smokers now than in 2009. But to maintain the trend we have to do more to help smokers quit and we are proposing that nicotine replacement therapy be made available free of charge to everyone enrolled in smoking cessation programmes.”
The weasel words of a repulsive anti-smoking lunatic. Revelling in the dramatic declines that e-cigs have provided since 2009 and claiming credit for it, while continuing to feed her beloved pharma industry with publicity for their shite ineffective products.

Those with memories which stretch back to January will remember exactly how serious the Irish tobacco control industry and their vacuous government are about helping smokers to quit.
Senators Averil Power and John Crown want to see a ban on the sale of [e-cigs] to under-18s, an end to advertising and the consumption of e-cigarettes in public places and places of work. 
It will also include the prohibition of sponsorship by manufacturers and importers of electronic-cigarettes and the use of them in vehicles where persons under 18 years of age are present.  
The bill also provides for standardised packaging of e-cigarettes and the fitting of child safety caps on liquid nicotine bottles.
Can't be having something that actually works taking all those entrenched income streams away, now can we?

So "leading UK business economist" Rob Cranston of Bath University has a cunning plan.
1) Introduce a levy on tobacco industry profits, with revenue used to support smokers to quit.
Theft from legal businesses to fund useless quitting products while the government bans useful ones.
2) Introduce an annual tobacco tax escalator (inflation + 5%), which would require a tax increase of approximately 50 cent in Budget 2016.
Thereby driving even more smokers to the illicit market - Rob the "leading UK business economist" will be aware of this, of course - while doing the damnedest to deter Irish people from alternatives.
3) Increase tax levels on roll‐you‐own tobacco until they are equivalent to those on cigarettes.
The IRA will be ecstatic!
4) Make NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) available free of charge to all those enrolled in smoking cessation programmes.
Making the Irish Cancer Society ecstatic about sponsorship opportunities in the future!
5) Publish the delayed Revenue Commissioner’s smuggling strategy
Which has all been caused by the tobacco control industry's economically illiterate obsession with stamping out free choice. Why a "leading UK business economist" can't see this is perplexing, do you think he may be a charlatan?

So the gist of this is that there are big problems caused by anti-smoking extremists, but they have a plan to tackle them ... by doing exactly the same myopic crap. Still, it'll keep the cash rolling in for them for a few more years, eh?

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