Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Taxing carcinogens

I'm going to repost Harry Clarke:

The loathesome cads of the Labor Party have done something good! A move to 'plain packaging' of legal carcinogens (cigarettes) is a welcome move as is the apparent intention to add an additional 35% excise on cigarette sales. The dummies who do smoke go for pale coloured rather than (for example) bright red packaging because they believe the former cigarettes contain fewer carcinogens. They don’t! The general intent of the legislation is the reason the ACCC have forced carcinogen producers not to advertise their cigarettes as ‘mild’. The Australian policy has been widely supported by those opposing the blegal sale of carcinogens to consumers around the world but this is the first time – as far as I know – the policy has been implemented.

Catallaxy, as usual, would prefer to see more people die of cancer. The argument: Cancer taxes are regressive – they save more poor people from cancer than rich - and these taxes ‘might’ involve compensations to the carcinogen producers of $3b (not $m!) per year for loss of copyright. What rubbish! These arguments are adolescent piffle. Taxes paid by the wealthy who are happy to continue inhaling carcinogens can be used to subsidise the extended life styles of the poor who quit. I doubt $1 will be paid in compensations to the carcinogen producers. Interesting too that, according to Catallaxy, the IPA has come out to defend big tobacco. How do these people sleep at night? What a monumentally evil bunch these right-wing lunatics are championing.

Update: A useful report in The Age by Michelle Grattan and Peter Martin. The report cites criticisms by an executive of a carcinogen supplier that ‘plain packaging’ has no proven effects of reducing consumption. Arguably that might be true since it has never been tried but why then is he complaining. My guess is that the effects are very substantial particularly for youth.

As Uncle Milton points out in the comments thread the Liberal Party faces the prospect of being wedged on these reforms. Unlike Labor they still receive funding from carcinogen suppliers. Watch how they jump – my guess is they will attack these reforms!

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