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Sunday, 30 September 2012

Cause and Effect of Tobacco Control

Two separate news articles in Oz say two different things. All by themselves, they're interesting. Put the two together and...

OK, the question I have is:  Could these two articles possibly be related?

The first article on the website is "Tobacco tax revenue falls by $341m":
THE federal government says its anti-smoking measures are likely the reason for a $341 million fall in tobacco excise in the last few months of the last financial year.


"The government's [anti-tobacco] campaign is the right thing to do and it may well be having an effect."

And what might that effect be?  I really couldn't say...

Jump to this article by the Herald Sun, "Tobacco gangs cash in":
Viewed as a high-return, low-risk alternative to hard drugs, bootleggers are using shipping containers and airline crews to smuggle packaged and loose tobacco. Customs documents released under Freedom of Information have labelled it "an issue of growing significance".
So, what does the tobacco industry make of all of this?

Well it seems that they, and the Australian government, think they're doing good. And they would, wouldn't they?  Naturally, the Root of All Evil, Simon Chapman, who inadvertently alerted me to the first article, tweeted thusly in a misguided effort to spin the article into the tobacco control industry's favour:

Simon Chapman - Propagandist

Well, if we're being honest here, of course the government isn't necessarily wedded to tobacco duty.  If duty decreases in one place, the government (eternally short of funds) will increase duty elsewhere.  Like alcohol, for instance.

Anyhow, the first article conveniently glosses over the whole illicit and counterfeit market problem in Australia, which Chapman, bless him, must myopically believe does not exist because Australia shares no borders with any other country, and assumes that the tax revenue is down due to fewer people smoking.

Perhaps the real truth (not the tobacco control industry's or the government's idea of truth) is that more Australians are seeking out the illicit market.  Mayhaps?  Me thinks it are so.

And honestly, why wouldn't they?

Seeing only what the Australian Government wants you to see requires a set of these babies
H/T: J Johnson