The results of an interesting survey conducted by the Tobacco Manufacturers Association were published yesterday. For those of us who have followed the prohibitionary antics of Tobacco Control, the results should be of no great surprise as they reveal that startling numbers of smokers do NOT buy their tobacco from legitimate sources (i.e. corner shop/petrol stations/supermarkets etc).
You can read the full press release by clicking the link above, but I would like to share with you the pertinent high-level bullet points.
The first bullet-point alone is enough to prove that old Tobacco Control adage that forcing the price of a pack of cigarettes continually upwards through tax will force people to quit is patently false.
72.5% of smokers buy tobacco from sources where UK taxes won't be paid
That is very nearly three-quarters of all the adult smoking population that refuses to pay any of the UK excise on Tobacco. Is it any surprise ? As I understand it, a packet of 20 cigarettes (you cannot buy packs of 10 anymore) is hovering around the £9-£10 mark these days - the majority of it being tax that organisations like ASH have been insisting the government should enforce.
Of course, Tobacco Control will simply dismiss this survey as it has been produced by the TMA, and by connection the Tobacco Industry. But I would wager that that they understand the Tobacco Industry far better than any prod-nosing Tobacco Controller so am inclined to believe these figures.
I have not smoked for almost 7 years, but even I know where to buy illicit cigarettes that have not had UK excise paid on them. Furthermore, it has actually been harder to find discarded cigarette packets that actually have 'UK EXCISE DUTY PAID' written on them. Far more common has been the sight of foreign sourced cigarette packets. Also, since May of this year, it has been the law that ALL cigarettes must be sold in plain packets. Now be honest, how many of you have actually SEEN anyone holding such plain-packets ? It is still common to find people smoking from NON-plain-packets. When you see discarded cigarette packets, they are very rarely of the 'plain-packet' variety.
The survey also very much calls into question the claims from Tobacco Controllers (such as ASH) that smoking is on the decline. Think about it, if almost three-quarters of smokers are buying their tobacco from sources that have not paid UK taxes, then it stands to reason that the Tobacco Control organisations have no real grasp on what the true numbers of smokers in the UK actually are. There is no possible way they can have a grasp of the true number of smokers in the UK as nobody is going to declare any cigarettes they mave bought/sold has come from an illicit source. The figures they are quoting from are legitimate sales of cigarettes, but the TMA survey shows that almost three-quarters of cigarettes are not bought from those sources.
So the next time ASH et al make a declaration that smoking rates have fallen. Take the news with a pinch of salt as they are obviously crucifying figures that bear no relation to the true numbers. They have no idea of what the rates of smoking are because of their own stupidity. It is ASH et al that have been responsible for the policy of forcing up the tax rates so that UK now has the highest price for a packet of cigarettes in Europe (other than Sweden).
Ironically, the survey has also revealed that as almost three-quarters of smokers buy their tobacco from sources that have to paid UK taxes, then Customs & Excise are also losing money hand-over-fist in declining tobacco revenues - and that is even before you take into account the costs of C&E's army of customs officers who are trying (unsuccessfully) to stop the tide of illicit tobacco.
It is not just happening here either. In Tobacco-Prohibition-Central-Land (i.e. Australia), their system is creaking so much that the dam cannot possibly hold for much longer. I will not go into the detail here as Chris Snowdon has already written a very good coverage of the issues on his Velvet Glove Iron Fist blog. That the Australians are desperately scrambling to cover it up from the general public is a given. Go have a read of it.
Have we reached the tipping point ? Is the Tobacco Control dam about to come crashing down ? Make up your own mind on that. Personally, I think the answer is YES.
Tobacco Control - Face facts. You have FAILED. You are yesterday's people. You have been uncovered for the charlatans you are. Your junk science is laid bare for all to see. The tax-payer funded trough which has kept you all fat (and getting fatter) for 40 years is coming to an end. Good riddance !!