The following article first appeared in the Mercury Newspaper, Yorkshire.
Reproduced with kind permission.
Amazingly, after a deficit blasting budget, smokers, drinkers & motorists have been left alone! Ignored, totally. Oh yes, June 22nd will long be remembered by millions of tax payers who derive pleasure from one or all three of the above.
However, and unsurprisingly really, one silly woman has thrown her ‘dummy outta da pram’. Yes, Sheila Duffy of ASH (Scotland) has blasted the Chancellor for his error in not making fags £8 per pack of twenty. She stated, “This is an own goal for the Chancellor. Smoking costs society and at a time of austerity, an increase in duty would help pay for the much needed services to tackle tobacco which continues to kill half of all its long term users."
An ‘own goal’? Is she beset with World Cup fever I ask? ‘Smoking costs society...’ err, no it doesn’t Sheila! In actual fact smokers are very beneficial to society as they happily contribute £11-£13bn per annum to Treasury coffers, yet only cost the NHS approximately £2.7-£3bn per annum in treatments! (Now that’s an ‘own goal’ you silly woman!)
‘...an increase in duty would help pay for the much needed services to tackle tobacco’ – excuse me Sheila but what has £253m, spent last year by Government, achieved so far? Tobacco sales, profits & shares are all up since the implementation of the ban! Smoking cessation programmes are costing this country a fortune yet NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) has a 98.4% FAILURE rate [as stated by Dept of Health].
‘...which continues to kill half of all its long term users’. Ms Duffy has, in a single breath, created a new ‘statistic’ – without a shred of evidence to back it up. Nothing unusual for ASH there then! Yet again they have a misleading statement in black & white, and I’ll bet it is repeated thousands of times until even the dumbest of people begin to believe it! You see folks this is the way that ASH work. Make a statement (even an outlandish statement as above) and keep repeating it until it appears to be a fact. It will never be a fact but that doesn’t stop ASH working on peoples minds using the fear factor.
Now let us suppose that the Chancellor heard her pleas and raised fags to £8 per pack of twenty – what do you think would happen? Please allow me to enlighten you.
People would still smoke. People who enjoy smoking and have no desire to give up will continue to smoke. The costs, to them, is inconsequential – they enjoy it too much to give up. I know as I am one of those – and very happy with it! Smuggling will rocket, as it has in S Ireland. The S. Irish government are now in a right old state as they have concluded they are £400m per annum short in the old treasury coffers. Reason=severe loss of tobacco tax income! S Ireland has now been dubbed the “tobacco smuggling capital of the world”.
Sheila Duffy is a single minded but not very bright individual who can only see one road for her cause. It has not occurred to the silly woman that her dreams will lead Scotland into the same dire mess that S. Ireland is in. It has not occurred to her that people will buy their chosen enjoyment from ‘under the counter’. It has not occurred to her that Scottish Treasury coffers will be severely lacking in tobacco tax funds. Oh no, this brainless individual wants to tax smokers even more so that they can fund her anti smoking organisation!
She added, “There is no doubt that we are about to face major public service cuts in Scotland over the next few years, but I would hope the decisions that are to be made are taken carefully."
Yes Sheila, they do! What she means here is simply that cuts to any department can go ahead but not to her beloved smoking cessation programmes – which, of course, ensures that she retains her £70,000+ yearly income; not to mention expenses for junketing around the country.
With the failure rate of NRT and the inordinate amount of money ASH are spending to stop people ‘s enjoyment, wouldn’t it make more sense to cut all funding to these Hitler style quangos which in turn will give licensees the chance to earn a decent living, stop mass unemployment, stop homelessness & bankruptcies.
Sheila Duffy doesn’t want choice as far as smokers go but freedom of choice would make an awful lot of people very happy? Just remember, what is implemented in Scotland usually follows on in England – be warned!
Fight for your rights.
F2C Press Office