April Fools Redux? Two examples of government waste in the space of a couple days

Either ban it or leave it alone…

April 7th, 2011 at 04:43am

It is becoming very tedious seeing government after government after government pretend to be very concerned about cigarettes, and implementing all of these measures to supposedly cut the smoking rate, when all that they are really doing is either punishing the smoker or the cigarette companies with higher fees and taxes, achieving very little, and reaping massive tax windfalls at the same time.

This time, they’re at it again, although they’re trying to punish the retailers as well, and the “logic” behind it is becoming more than a tad strained.

The federal government wants all cigarette packaging to be olive green, because research shows that is the least attractive colour for smokers, the health minister says.

Under proposed legislation aimed at reducing smoking rates in Australia, all logos will be removed from cigarette packaging, and tobacco companies will be required to print their brand name in a specific font.
“We’ve done a lot of research to ensure that we make the cigarette packs as unattractive as possible…,” Ms Roxon said.

“Apparently dark olive is the least attractive colour for any smokers and in particular for young people.”

Does Ms. Roxon really think that I’m stupid enough to believe that people will stop smoking because the packaging is not pretty? Those health warnings are pretty grotesque, more grotesque than some olive green cardboard, and people still smoke, so why does she think that olive green packaging will do what has not been done to date?

Realistically, this is just another swipe at the retailers, especially the smaller ones. The whole “you’re not allowed to display the packages, they have to be hidden” and now added on “when the cupboard is opened so that you can get a packet out for a customer, other customers must only see a heap of olive green and not be able to tell that these are cigarette packets” only serves to make it harder for smaller retailers to sell the cigarettes. People won’t stop buying them, they’ll just move to the larger retailers because they won’t know that the smaller retailers are selling them…and in the case of the corner shop where people duck in for a packet of smokes, a bottle of milk and the newspaper, having this business move to the service station up the road could very easily put them out of business.

But that’s OK, because that will look good on government statistics as they’ll come out in twelve months and tell us how “30% less retailers now stock cigarettes”. They’ll proudly announce their “successes” while ignoring the fact that they just damaged yet another industry and put people out of work.

And then there’s Nicola’s other bizarre statement.

“This is about taking away the last opportunity that tobacco companies have in Australia, to try to market their products by making them look luxurious, or pretending that they might be light and better for your health.”

Oh come on Nicola, nobody actually believes that cigarettes are good for your health, or that light cigarettes are better for you than other cigarettes. People know this, and they choose to smoke, something which I should remind you is a perfectly legal activity.

It really is about time that the government either leave people alone who are doing something which is perfectly legal, or they prove that they are concerned about cigarettes by banning them outright, and offering nicotine patches to smokers to alleviate them of their need to smoke.


Entry Filed under: General News,Samuel's Editorials

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