The majority of Conservative policy making so far has been based around two principles;
And that’s it. Introduce unpopular policy that no-one wants, then dress it up with such keywords as ‘difficult decision’ and ‘inherited deficit’ and ‘prevoius government’ etc. The latest sphere to be invaded by this this particular brand of decision making is tobacco.
Tobacco and smoking has long been the ‘cash cow’ of poor governments. It causes health problems, people don’t like it; tax it to high heaven. Despite the fact that 1/5 of the tax raised by tobacco products is spent on healthcare for smoking related illnesses (making it a prime earner for governments), the constant rhetoric by governments is to talk-up the problems of smoking, so to wring a few extra quid out of it, and gain a few popularity points. Sorry, I don’t mean to be divisive, but anytime an unpopular government goes after the tobacco industry, I get a bit suspicious of their real motives.
The Conservatives are using the public opinion against tobacco to further implement their ’cut and spin’ shenanigans. Their latest policy is to ban visual display of cigarettes, meaning they have to be concealed from view in a newsagents, and a further proposition to implement blank packaging;
Tobacco displays will have to be kept out of sight in shops in England from April 2012 for large stores and April 2015 for all other shops, the government has announced.
Ministers will also start a public consultation over whether the UK should become the first country in Europe to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes and other tobacco products while insisting they are keeping “an open mind” on the issue.
So the Conservative approach to stopping people smoking is not education on the side affects and consequences of smoking, but just to pretend that cigarettes don’t exist. Brilliant. So how has the response to this been? Are people happy about the Tory’s taking a hard stance on smoking? Well no, not really. Considering how fucking futile it is.
Diane Abbott, Labour’s public health shadow minister, said: “We welcome the fact that [David] Cameron and Lansley are building on Labour’s strategy, but there is widespread concern that the advances in smoking policy may be coming to a halt.
“The Tory-led government has imposed a freeze on mass media health campaigns including smoking, cut the smoking policy team at the Department of Health, and dithered over tobacco displays.”
So this policy is just a veil for the Cons to cut policy elsewhere. Policy teams and ad campaigns = Expensive. Telling some poor sap to stick his fags under the till = very cheap. Tell you what, I’m spotting a pattern here.
Further more, others have claimed that just making cigarettes disapper, isn’t going to stop people form smoking or from starting smoking. It’s like not teaching children about sex as a means of birth control i.e fucking retarded.
Association of Convenience Stores chief executive, James Lowman, said: “There simply isn’t the evidence to suggest that the measure will reduce smoking among young people.
Andrew Opie, food director at the British Retail Consortium, said: “There’s no evidence that forcing shops to put cigarettes out of sight will make any difference. It puts new costs on retailers who are being forced to refit their stores”.
So in summary, it’s a unsubstantiated token gesture to distract people from cuts made elsewhere to smoking helathcare policy. Terrific.