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Sunday, 3 June 2012

Yeah, Don't Go To Australia

The hate campaign against smokers and retailers continues apace in Australia.  Yes, I know, it's another Australia post.  Didn't you see the title?  If you're a smoker, Australia hates you.  If you're a retailer of tobacco products, Australia hates you. If you're a goose-stepping, hateful, controlling health fascist, Australia needs you.

Here's an article from the Sydney Morning Herald where a duty-free merchant in New South Wales has been fined $400,000 AUD.  What did they do?  They wantonly displayed tobacco products in their duty-free shop.
The NSW Department of Health took the owner of Downtown Duty Free to court after an inspector found more than 250 cartons of cigarettes on display in its ''airside'' outlet [...]
Wait.  The Department of Health is taking people to court?  Crikey.  Nasty little fuckers, eh?  Just the very sight of a carton of cigarettes is dangerous to your health, they believe. So there was this whole argument that the shop shouldn't be subject to the health fascists' laws and instead should be subject to the Commonwealth Tobacco Act, but that failed to impress the judge.  He decided that because the shop was "open to air-side workers" it constituted a public place.  End of.

But no, it is not the end of it.  Here's another article on the same day by the Sydney Morning Herald that reports that duty-free merchants are going to stop selling tobacco products, because the law makes it untenable.  Perhaps you're thinking the law had something to do with health, but you would be wrong:
The [2010 Henry tax] review argued duty-free cigarettes undermined the taxation of tobacco products and cutting the allowance was an easy way for the government to boost revenue. 
Money grab. It has nothing to do with health. So, in its quest to eradicate smokers the world over, Australia also wants to ensure it gets all of smokers' money through insanely high taxes and by lowering the duty-free allotment to two packets of cigarettes. Treasurer Wayne Swan said, ""In a very difficult budget it wasn't fair to continue to subsidise big tax breaks for cartons of cigarettes."  But it's perfectly acceptable to spend waste millions and millions on tobacco control. Priorities...

Speaking of things that are perfectly acceptable.  Here's an artist competition site in Australia called Art Toppling Tobacco that's been around for a few years I believe, and has a mission to "damage tobacco" and pays homage to those "lured and conned" by cigarette ads.  Normally, I wouldn't care and I haven't even looked at any of the artworks made, so I'm not here to judge the quality or value of this site. I don't even take issue with the site's premise. Do what you like. Art harms no one. But some words on the homepage on how the project began caught my eye (emphasis added):
Then I spied the boy on the low wall of the garden indulging in you guessed it - a fag, so off I went in school marm mode to berate this boy.

"You aren't at school today ?" I said in preparation for the attack. I put on my pleasant, approachable voice here.
It has a happy ending in that I don't think the boy was berated.  No idea how old said boy is. Was he 8-years-old or something?  But look at the righteous superiority the anti-smoker crowd displays.  Here's a young person sitting on a wall, smoking a cigarette, minding his own business, not harming anyone in public, and this woman decides it's acceptable to walk up to him and berate or attack him?  No, lady, that's not acceptable.  It's none of your business.  I'm glad you didn't attack him in the end, but that you even considered doing so is dreadful. 

And this is what we deal with on an almost-daily basis. We have been forced to stand outside in plain view of the public, so that any deranged smokerphobic passer-by can attack us either verbally or physically.  We were all safer indoors, out of view.  Tobacco control caused this hate against law-abiding citizens.  We are all of us, smokers and non-smokers alike, worse off for these policies of hate.