Saturday, December 20, 2008

More anti-smoker venom from Ontario the good

The Ontario Legislature recently approved a “feel good, save-the-kids” anti-smoker law which outlaws the sale of candy-flavoured cigarillos. Apparently, Ontario’s Health Propaganda Minister, Margarett Best, told the Toronto Star, “it's clear that tobacco companies are targeting young people by selling cigarillos in 21 flavours, including peach and cherry, for just $1 each in colourful packaging designed to appeal to kids.”

Perhaps someone should explain the meaning of redundancy (ie: the attribute of being superfluous and unneeded) to Ms. Best.

The fact is, there are already federal and provincial laws on the books which make it illegal to sell tobacco products to minors. And, these laws have been in effect for some time. It’s not surprising that the Legislature missed that minor technicality, since the bill was introduced and passed by the Legislature in near record time (just over a week).

So, the new law is both superfluous and unneeded; spelled r-e-d-u-n-d-a-n-t.

The legislation was co-sponsored by Liberal backbencher Dave Levac and New Democrat France Gelinas. It’s being touted as a prime example of bipartisan co-operation by the McGuinty government. It’s nice to see that the politicians at Queen’s Park have finally found an issue on which they can all agree; kicking smokers.

I know what you’re thinking. Just more sour grapes from a suicidal smoker, secretly crying out to big brother to save him from his own self-destructive tendencies. After all, don’t 80% of smokers really want to quit?

But, no, you’re wrong on both counts. Those who really want to quit, will; just like the tens of millions around the world who have already done so.

And, it’s not really sour grapes either. Let’s think about this legislation and what it’s accomplished. Let’s be objective; to see why it’s just more redundant, self-serving bullshit and bafflegab from the anti-smoker crowd.

First, as already noted, there is legislation on the books prohibiting sales of tobacco products to children. All that was necessary was to enforce existing legislation. And, no, it doesn’t matter if the flavoured cigarillos only cost a buck. If sales to minors are illegal; they’re illegal whether items sell for one dollar or ten dollars.

Second, tobacco products are already hidden from the view of minors and adults alike. So, kids aren’t going to see them, become addicted and die, no matter how colourful and appealing the packaging. And, did I mention that sales of tobacco products to minors are illegal, making the law redundant?

Third, the legislation prohibits sales of flavoured cigarillos to adults, as well as children. In fact, that appears to be the focus of the legislation in the first place, banning flavoured cigarillos to adult smokers. While doing absolutely nothing to further protect children, it deprives adults of their right to buy, and use, a perfectly legal tobacco product.

Fourth, the hypocrisy of the anti-smoker legislation is really quite sickening.

Alcohol has been sold in fruit flavours for years; including strawberry and peach. Why are the politicians not screaming about the candy-flavoured alcoholic beverages, with their eye-catching packaging and colourful displays, being marketed to children? The answer is obvious; because there are already laws on the books which prohibit the sale of alcohol to minors. Additional legislation would be - wait for it – redundant.

And, last, but certainly not least, the legislation may have unintended consequences which could encourage kids to experiment with tobacco in even greater numbers than they do now.

Making flavoured cigarillos illegal will appeal to the often rebelliousness nature of teens. Smoking Joe’s can be had for as little as $5.00 for a pack of 20. Just how long does the anti-smoker crowd think it will be before enterprising teens recognize the opportunity to supplement their allowance? Buy them for $5.00 a pack; sell them for a buck a piece. That’s $15.00 profit on a pack of cigarillos, and a whole new black market, created by anti-smoker fanatics, to cater to kids.

Simply put, Ontario’s legislation is misguided, ill-conceived and may cause more harm than good. But, what can you expect from legislation that was introduced, passed second reading and was approved in eight days. Most politicians take that long to decide what colour socks to wear. And, it’s all so unnecessary; so . . . have you figured out today’s word yet.

The anti-smoker bigots are so intent on punishing smokers and forcing them to quit, that they totally ignore any and all adverse consequences.

Today’s rant has been brought to you by the letter “R”, as in rabid anti-smokers, “R” for regressive taxation and “R” for redundant legislation.

By the way, that’s spelled r-e-d-u-n-d-a-n-t.

Check out the Star article.

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