Here’s a quick one on substance abuse.
Drugs, specifically nicotine & alcohol. Yeh, you thought I meant illegal substances, didn’t you? Well I’m more interested in the legal substances. The same substances the do-gooders in society want to make illegal, so that we who enjoy said substances can be made to feel as though we’re pariahs and slayers of the general good. Well, I’m a slayer, and proud of it. I really love being a slayer too. I drink AND I smoke. I do both because (a) I can, and (b) because I enjoy both activities. A beer a day and maybe 3 to 4 smokes a day and you know…..I enjoy every single one.
Substance abuse is a personal choice, be it legal or illegal substances in my view. We’re all responsible for the actions we take & decisions we make. I’m an advocate for legalising ALL illegal substances on the grounds that those who choose, of their own free will, to indulge should contribute to society, to the collective public purse in the same manner as those of us who currently indulge in what we call legal substances. There are taxes & excises on tobacco and alcohol, pretty hefty levies they are as well. We’re big contributors to the public purse, we drinkers & smokers, yet all the petty fun-killers and health scare freaks want to deny themselves all the fiscal benefits they derive from those taxes & excises. Talk about cutting off a nose to spite the face! I mean to say, think about the hypocrisy of the claims that smoking and alcoholism place such a burden on the public health system. Hello?!! I pay additional taxes on the legal substances I enjoy, for the supposed ‘privilege’ of a simple enjoyment which I inflict on no-one but me. If I get crook from my beer a day or my four smokes, I’m entitled to the medical care I’ve already paid for, thank you very much.
So, why am I on my soapbox? Because I see this divisive issue as a non-event. There are British and American Tobacco representatives popping up on Twitter now touting their side of the argument, and somewhat ineffectually I’d have to say. There are advertising & marketing bods in the media touting their angle, which I have to say I find disingenuous at best. Will plain cigarette packaging stop me smoking? Not a bit of it, in fact, I’d really like to see Government try to plain-package beer, scotch, vodka, gin, mixers of all types, indeed, all forms of alcoholic beverage. I’d like to see government try to pull that off. Any government of any stripe. There would be blood in the streets, nothing is surer, yet government believes it has weight of numbers on its side in the ‘let’s-save-everybody’ ranks, to pull off this most tyrannical of all anti-libertarian stunts.
Plain packaging will not stop smokers from smoking, any more than prohibition in the United States during the 1920’s failed to stop people drinking alcohol. I make my own beer, and grow my own tobacco, not because it’s any cheaper, or a better product, but because I can. It’s that simple. Government cannot dictate to free-thinking, free-willed citizens about what they will or won’t imbibe, inhale, ingest, watch, listen to, say or write. In a free and democratic society, it simply cannot happen. In the case of tobacco and those of us who enjoy exercising our free and democratic rights, how the packaging looks won’t make a dot of difference.