Tobacco Plain Packaging is Only First Step
Isn't it always? And it turns out the Tasmanians aren't kidding...
Move to ban cigarette salesTasmania's Health Minister is under pressure to decide whether she will act on an Upper House motion which could result in an eventual ban on tobacco sales.
My, my. Don't things move quickly these days?
The Independent Member for Windermere, Ivan Dean, wants to make it illegal for people born after the year 2000 to buy tobacco once they turn 18.
Hardly seems worth it, really. After all, we know that people only start smoking because of those, ahem, "glitzy" packs. With those out of the way, smoking's finished, right?
Mr Dean says something has to be done.
Behold, the klaxon of every curtain-twitching, authoritarian busybody in history.
"It would be easier for retailers to enforce because when they ask for ID, all they would need to see if the person was born after the year 2000."
Sorry, what?! You mean it would be easier than knowing what year 18 year olds were born in, something that bar staff, newsagents, policemen and many other workers have no trouble at all remembering each and every day of their lives? By God, I've heard some lame justifications for prohibition in my time, but this one takes the jammy dodger.
While the vote was unanimous...
...the Independent Member for Murchison, Ruth Forrest, foresees problems.
Good for Ruth Forrest. It's heartening to know that amongst this crowd of illiberal cretins, at least one Tasmanian politician understands that prohibition creates what we can coyly be described as "problems".
Or so you might think until she opens her mouth. Here's what she sees as one of the main problem:
"These children born post-2000 will still be exposed to passive smoking because the reality is there will still be people who'll continue to smoke and even now the restrictions push people away from doors and buildings like that," she said.
[slams face on keyboard]
This Toytown politician thinks the problem with incrementally outlawing a very widely use consumer product is that older people might still smoke in doorways. In other words, the problem is that this insane proposal does not go far enough.
Seriously, is this a joke? These people cannot really exist, can they?
Health Minister Michelle O'Byrne believes a smoking ban is worthy of serious consideration.
But Tasmania has had a smoking ban since 2006. There are no exemptions to it. What can this lady possibly mean? Does she suffer from amnesia? Has she taken a blow to the head?
Oh, I see. 'Smoking ban' now means a ban on the sale of all tobacco products to people born before a certain year. How quickly the goalposts shift.
The Cancer Council's Simon Barnsley welcomes the move and is urging the Tasmanian Government to act.
"We believe it'd be exciting for the Government to explore radical new ideas that might set the pace for the rest of the country," he said.
This is what it really comes down to, isn't it? As with Ireland's smoking ban and Australia's plain packaging law, the real motivation is for undistinguished politicians and lobbyists to make a name for themselves by being "exciting" and bullying a minority in the knowledge that their only financed opposition is a demonised industry.
Nowhere in this article is there any suggestion that grown adults—now or in the future—might have the right to buy and smoke tobacco if they want to. It's a sort of "think of the children even when they are no longer children" argument, which is fitting since Australian politicians clearly see the whole population as children and themselves as—what other word can there be?—nannies.
I have increasingly come to believe that the worst thing about Australia is that it is not far enough away.