Tobacco went up again on the 1st of January meaning the working classes, the poor and beneficiaries who use nicotine as an addictive crutch to self medicate the grim precariousness of their economic existence were all made far more stressed out and bitter cold turkeys, sinking more of the little disposable income they do have into their personal fix and coping mechanism.
I don’t smoke cigarettes, it’s never been my bag and I despise any industry who sells addictive death with impunity, but I can taste counter productive social policy when I smell it and the current fanatical crusade against smokers is looking increasingly flawed.
Consistently hitting up users for more money means working class users are punished while Tobacco starts becoming a status symbol for wealth by the hip rich kids who can afford it.
By banning tobacco in prison (not for the prisoners health mind you, but because double bunked prisoners could successfully sue the Government for second hand smoke) and by increasing the price so dramatically, this anti-tobacco crusade has created the perfect storm for a black market, the friction point of which is exploding every week in Dairy’s across the country that are being violently attacked and targeted for tobacco.
By increasing the cost to the individual, we build up the pressure of addiction that fuels an unregulated black market while the industry walks away laughing all the way to the bank.
There are better ways to gain our goal of smoke free than this punitive and counter productive zealotry.
Rather than punish the user, go after the bloody industry. Consistently raising the price so the end user is forced to get more and more desperate to feed their addiction is not a solution. Create a vice tax that goes on the profit margin of the tobacco company. Put the pressure on the corporation to pay more of their profits rather than endlessly punish the end user.
On top of that, it is time for the mass subsidisation of vape so that smokers have a far less lethal and cheaper itch. The lack of second hand smoke damage means it could also be used in prisons and other places where health concerns prevent smoking.
Reducing cost as dramatically as vape does and allowing it inside prisons would empty the demand for a black market overnight.
We could do far more to end tobacco by punishing the corporations and supporting the smokers rather than endlessly punishing the smoker and allowing the corporations off the hook for their toxic poison.
Unfortunately it seems the zealots who run the anti-tobacco movement are only focused on going after the addict and not the dealer.