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Saturday 1 September 2012

Professor of Prohibition

Clearly relishing that exuberant natural high of a successful hate campaign against Australian smokers, master miserabilist* Mike Daube wrote a little somethin' a little over a week ago. It's called, "Bring on the end of tobacco use – but not a total ban tomorrow".  It's the usual claptrap one would expect, i.e. plain packaging is not the end, but only the beginning of their holy quest of eradicating smokers from existence.

The Professor of Prohibition and Twattery even opines as to what he believes tobacco companies will do next, although one must presume it's his trade mark bland attempt at humour (emphasis added for the "knee-slapping funny" parts, but all of it is quite entertaining):
[Big Tobacco] will continue to spend big on public relations; use loopholes in the advertising ban legislation (such as for “political” advertising); try to develop further in-store promotions; ensure the maximum number of sales outlets; re-name brands for further publicity; reduce prices in the short term, willing to take a loss in Australia to undercut plain packaging’s impact here and globally; claim that plain packaging has “failed” if all smoking has not disappeared by 2 December; beat up such illicit sales as they can find or generate; promote alternatives to conventional cigarettes that may still keep the industry in business and ultimately help to keep people smoking, such as e-cigarettes or snus; try to make the life of governments difficult with time-consuming activities like FOI requests; run sob-stories about retailers who can’t feed their children because cigarette sales are falling; and (as ever) look for creative ways to promote or maintain cigarette sales in what their own documents describe as the “dark market”.
But Mike Daube loves you, smoker.  He doesn't want to ban tobacco use right now.  No, he wants to make it as difficult as possible for as long as possible to humiliate you, to harass you, to make you a third-class citizen, a reject of civilised society, so that you "choose" to quit smoking in accordance with the gospel of Public Health.  Because he's only trying to help, you see (emphasis added):
We have to recognise that some smokers find it hard to quit, and a complete ban on smoking is a measure that could lead to legitimate counter-arguments. Proposals for a total ban on smoking would provide justification for hitherto unsubstantiated claims from tobacco companies and their fellow-travellers that tobacco control advocates are penalising and persecuting smokers, when the reality is that our activities are aimed at helping them, and preventing young people from starting to smoke.
Ah, well thanks for the help I didn't ask for, but it appears to me that you're trying to keep your industry alive for as long as possible, all so you can continue to milk the government cash cow.  Is that what the paragraph really says?  Don't give smokers any justification to claim persecution -- just whittle away at their resolve in a piecemeal fashion over the course of many long years?  Let's not hurt our careers here, fellow anti-smokers. They're on to us.

That's how I interpret it.  I could be wrong...

Wait. No. I'm not wrong. Here are some proposals that you think are worth considering:
There has been much discussion in the tobacco control literature and the community about a range of approaches. These include:
  • Extending restrictions on smoking in any environment so that it essentially becomes a practice only for consenting adults in private.
And where would that be? People like you are won't let us smoke in restaurants, pubs, and are actively seeking to ban smoking in our own homes. Where is this magical private place that smokers will be allowed to indulge their tobacco use? Huh?
  • Reducing the supply of tobacco in the market.
  • Licensing schemes for smokers.
Why not just tattoo us while you're at it? 
  • Restricting cigarette sales to specific outlets, such as pharmacies.
  • A government take-over of the tobacco industry.
Oh? Government takeover? Very nice. Now we see the crux of the matter.  Why should private companies be allowed to profit when the government can take all of that profit for itself?  Doesn't that sound like some dictatorial regime in Africa somewhere?  Sounds like pure communism to me.
  • Banning tobacco sales to anyone born beyond a specific year.
  • Manipulating the cigarette itself.
How so?  To make it taste like shit?  To poison it in some way? To reduce its size? What exactly is your plan?  This is just smacks of fucking evil. Yes, I know you don't see it that way, Mike. To you, it's all necessary to save us all from ourselves.
  • Mandating reduced supply of tobacco into the market.
Why? To drive up prices artificially (like the diamonds market) so that the government-owned tobacco suppliers can charge a greater premium and rake in ever-increasing profits. Clever.
  • Proper implementation of legislation banning sales to minors – and progressively reducing the number of tobacco sales outlets.
You already have proper legislation banning sales to minors -- hell, nearly everywhere does. What more can you do? Cut off the hands of any kids who manage to buy a packet of cigarettes? Hang people for selling tobacco to minors?  Why not just throw them in prison camps waiting for their turn in the gas chamber?
  • Suing tobacco companies for the costs of harm caused by their products.
Like that hasn't been happening already? Earth to Mike Daube... ... hello?
  • Setting a date by which tobacco companies have to demonstrate that their products meet normal consumer standards. After that date cigarettes would simply not be permitted in the market.
Ah. That's a good one.  You and your sheep-minion cronies get to devise "normal standards," rules designed in such a fashion that you know a cigarette could never meet them (which you admit).
  • Progressively reducing the number of sales outlets.
I think it's fairly safe to say that you're a prohibitionist twat from hell, Mike.  Instead of having the courage to support it outright, however, you think it's better to demean, demoralise and denormalise smokers over the course of many years in pursuit of your wank-worthy dream of everyone living forever.  How compassionate.

Meanwhile, there's always the fatties and other big corporations to go after. Job security in the Public Health Sector, after all.

*Yes, I stole miserabilist from Dick Puddlecote. Hope you don't mind, DP.