Interesting Times

When Theresa May became Prime Minister it was thought that the downward spiral of anti-lifestyle policies wouldn’t accelerate. Fast forward three years and we now have this:

Smoking must be stamped out in the UK within 11 years, according to timeline set out in ambitious new Government plan

Daily Mail headline July 8th 2019

The release of this plan was delayed, for various reasons, but is now published as Mrs May’s lasting “legacy”.

Under leaked plans seen by the Daily Mail, tobacco firms would be forced to pay the cost of helping people stop smoking instead of over-stretched local health services.

Daily Mail

This will be the infamous ‘tobacco industry levy’ that die hard troughers ASH have been begging for and now, seemingly, have been given. It’s not cast in stone yet, but given ASH’s fondness for the “polluter pays” ideas from the US it’s only a matter of time.

The phrasing of this (and other tweets from Martin’s colleagues) is interesting. The word ‘ultimatum’ (noun) is “a threat in which a person or group of people are warned that if they do not do a particular thing, something unpleasant will happen to them.”

What, pray tell, will happen to the tobacco companies if they, either collectively or individually, refuse to pay. Or, most likely, pass on this levy on to the consumer (which will happen regardless). It is not wholly in the industry sphere that this aim lies. Emerging technologies, pragmatic and proportionate regulation, standards, and consumer led initiatives are where this will happen.

As an aside to the Green Paper, the Government has also issued a consultation on the impact of tobacco laws introduced between 2010 and 2016. It is odd that the time period is from when the coalition Government came to power until pre-Brexit. Why not review the alleged success of pre 2010 tobacco policies?

Here’s a hint as to why they won’t:

(H/T Christopher Snowdon)

Y’see, practically every policy before 2010 had little, or no, effect.

The policy of pointing at things and banning them has been tested to destruction. The only people who benefit from it are professional prohibitionists who get government grants to lobby against freedom. They have done enough damage. Depart and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go and take your Green Paper with you!