The NZ Government hopes to have abolished cigarettes by 2025.
Makes me wonder when they’re going to step in and stop, or at least regulate the sale of high sugar, high fat food products – because you do realise that more people die in NZ of fat related disease than they do of tobacco related disease..?
Thing is though, making anybody understand or even hear that being a lard-arse is more detrimental to your health than being a smoker is like pushing a fat chick uphill. It’s down to publicity. NZ media seem to have agreed: Cigarettes are the Devils Work. The media appear similarly sold on the belief that fatness is an illness, rather than a life choice…
Remember back in the Dark Ages when people believed the world was flat, and that homosexuality was a disease? Whatever you remember, whatever you believe, the fact is, it’s not Politically Correct to call a fat person fat, but it is widely accepted to ridicule smokers for their poor life choices.
When tobacco does eventually disappear from shop displays, the hardened smoker will likely still be able to purchase all the smoke-ables he or she desires, and at an undoubtedly discounted price to what the Government is currently charging, at your local Black Market store.
This however, presents a quandary.
On the one hand I am pleased for those hardened, ever so resilient smokers of our great nation – they can still secure their fix and will no longer be financially sodomised for the honour.
On the flipside, our Government will no longer be reaping the rewards of its financial sodomy.
If in 2012 cigarette taxes lined the Government’s pocket to the extent of $1 billion, and tobacco related illness drained the health sector by approximately $1.1 billion, it’s fair to say that as smokers, we pretty well covered ourselves, yeah?
Assume that by 2025 cigarettes have vanished from behind shop counters. All this means is that the main benefactor of tobacco sales will no longer be the NZ Government. Of course the Government will still be expected to cover the cost of tobacco related illness and will be doing so for a great many decades to come, but will now find themselves milking a dried-up cash-cow.
The logical way to cover this shortfall is for our Government to pull its head in, stop blindly discriminating against smokers, wake the hell up and start taxing those who have never paid anything extra for their healthcare – the same ones who are the realistic drain on the nation.
Article by Tim Walker
Edited by P C Bolsit
Photography Ura Faddi