Monday, June 7, 2010

Fighting contraband, punishing smokers

According to an article in the Truro Daily News, convenience store owners in the Maritimes are “on a mission”. They want consumers to stop purchasing contraband cigarettes that are crippling their industry and fueling organized crime.

Their new website claims contraband affects the health of young people, the safety of the community, the livelihood of local small business owners and government revenue meant to provide funding for healthcare and education. Uh-huh.

They want smokers to stop buying contraband so the government can provide funding for anti-smoker fanatics to dehumanize and discriminate against . . . smokers. That's about as logical as pissing into a hurricane force wind. You know, the kind of wind needed to clear secondhand smoke from those smoky barrooms.

The major complaint is that convenience stores rely heavily on (legal) tobacco sales to generate a substantial portion of their income. And, it's not just the tobacco sales that are lost when the consumer makes his purchases from the trunk of a car. If the smoker isn't coming into the store to buy his fags, then they're not spending on other corner store staples such as lottery tickets, soda, candy bars, potato chips, etc.

Atlantic Convenience Stores Association president Mike Hammoud. Claims that: “Last year, 285 convenience stores in Atlantic Canada, or 11 per cent, closed their doors.”

And, the loss of tobacco sales was, apparently, “a key component” in the failure of those businesses. Can you imagine?

Frankly, I don't think Mr. Hammoud has much to be concerned about. Any day now, he can expect a relative flood of non-smokers to invade the convenience stores in Atlantic Canada and make up for the lost smoker trade. Everyone knows there is no adverse economic impact due to . . . er, . . . no, that was bars and casinos.

To support their demands that politicians take immediate action to stop the contraband trade, they're ready to play the “save the children” card. Like similar associations in Ontario and Quebec, they commissioned a “study” to make their point. Everybody has a study to support their position these days. It's scientific, you know.

At any rate, they collected cigarette butts from around “schools” and found that 11 per cent of butts found near Cobequid Educational Centre in April were illegal while 15.3 per cent of butts found near the Chignecto-Central Adult High School were also contraband. Huh?

Do you think maybe students in an “adult” high school might be adults. And, if the students are adults, how would that put children at risk? Whoops. The Chignecto-Central Adult High School was once the Princess Margaret Rose Elementary School. Yep. That explains it. Should have known there would be a connection to the kids somewhere.

Can't wait until 40% of the butts are contraband like they were in the "study" conducted in Ontario a year or so back. They'll really be tearing their hair out.

Hammoud wants fines, of $100 to $200, for those caught buying contraband. I save two to three times that much every month on fags for the wife and I.

And, according to the new website dedicated to the fight against contraband, they want the police to rely more “on the public and concerned citizens who may be able to provide useful information for ongoing or new investigations.” Wow. A snitch line! What a novel idea.

I can picture the scene in my mind with almost no effort. A smoker lights up at the local beach under the ever-watchful eye of the local busybody. “Henry,” she screams. “That man is carrying his smokes in a plastic bag. Call the riot squad.” The town busybody is always married to a Henry. Or a Mortimer. If she's married.

The website also notes that: “The majority [of those buying contraband] did not worry at all about being fined, arrested or caught dealing with a dangerous network financed and orchestrated by organized crime”.

And, in that regard, they're probably right. Personally, I'm more concerned about dealing with the dangerous networks in Ottawa and Queen's Park who seem hell bent on turning users of a legal product into felons. And extorting money from smokers to support the criminal activities of the Holy Church of the Anti-Smoker.

Did they really expect dealers in contraband to ignore the billion dollar market which they created? Did they really expect smokers to roll over and play dead?

Can't the impatient oafs just wait until the smoking kills us?


Iro said...

''Adult High School was once the Princess Margaret Rose Elementary School.''

Oh Old Rambler, are you forgetting how long cigarette butts take to biodegrade according to the antis? What is it 5, 10, 100, 1000 years, never? Of course these are the butts from when this was an elementary school ! LOL

Michael J. McFadden said...

“The majority [of those buying contraband] did not worry at all about being fined, arrested or caught dealing with a dangerous network financed and orchestrated by organized crime”.

"a dangerous network financed and orchestrated by organized crime"

Are they talking about the government?

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

Smoking Hot said...

Good article. Doesn't most of the cigarettes come from the duty free shops on the USA/CAN borders? That's were l got mine from when in Can last year. My sister doesn't smoke but still bought them for me.

One assumes that this is commonplace. That being the case, it's the government border shops that fuel this 'illegal' business in cigarettes. Quite ironic :)

Added you to my blog list