Thursday, April 23, 2015

Punishing smokers (of which I am not one)

Yesterday's DomPost editorial (note the hard copy edition had a slightly different title which I allude to in my response).

Editorial: Time to renew the war on smoking 

The war against tobacco needs to be renewed. It is now clear that New Zealand will not reach its target of being smokefree by 2025 without tougher measures. But will the government do what is needed?


My response published in Letters & Points today unedited:

 The idea that New Zealand will one day be smoke-free (Time for courage in war on smoking, DomPost, April 22) is absurd. For the best part of last century the government fought a spectacularly unsuccessful war on cannabis.
As you note, it is the poorest people who are the heaviest smokers.  Maori mothers feature disproportionately. In the near future you are likely to deliver us another pious sermon about societal responsibility for child poverty, yet today you demand the government continue to ramp up already astronomical tobacco taxes.

It is impossible not to know that smoking foreshortens lives but some still choose to indulge. To continue to financially punish these people isn't courageous - its cruel.


Anonymous said...

Given that smokers are net tax payers (so I believe) despite their early demise it will be interesting to see how the tax shortfall from declining cigarette sales is made up. I can just see English telling us that because we are so healthy having given up an evil habit we will have to pay more tax.


Jamie said...

If them fascist goons want a war they will get one.

Anonymous said...

I agree with what you say.

Surely tackling poverty means using every means available to you ... and if reducing taxes on tobacco products will be of help then why not do it?

Ideology should NOT come into it.