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Why aren't cigarettes taxed based on strength?

  • 07-02-2022 1:19am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 2,711 ✭✭✭ standardg60


    So a lot of non-smokers may not be aware of this but cigarettes vary widely in the content of both nicotine and tar, from 13mg nicotine/1.3mg tar down to 1mg/0.1. Of course this is from memory as this is no longer displayed on the packaging, so anyone new to smoking has no idea of the different brands and their strengths.

    If the campaign against smoking is all about health surely this should be clearly advertised? Some cigarettes have a quarter of the nicotine content of the least available alternatives of gum, patches, vaping et al, which merely prolong the addiction



Comments

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    It’s not the nicotine that kills you. Some cigarettes are lighter I imagine because they have more holes in the filter, this can be easily manipulated post sale.



  • Registered Users Posts: 75,061 ✭✭✭✭ Atlantic Dawn


    It was removed from packaging througout the EU so that the smoker couldn't make any 'informed' decision as to what would be worst or best for them, this was because in reality no amount of it is safe.





  • Addiction isn't based on strength of nicotine in cigs. The physical withdrawal from nicotine is over relatively quickly.. it's the mental addiction that's the truly hard part.. the associations with other habits, and the crutch due to the association with other emotional experiences such as being sad or pleasurable moments like the end of the meal or after sex. Those associations are what generally pull people back to smoking again, not the chemical aspect of nicotine itself.

    And as a smoker, I wouldn't consider the campaign against smoking to be about health. If it was about health, they would have banned the sale of them outright within a few years. Nope. This is about pushing a group to the outside and taxing them for extended periods because they're a great source of income for both the government and for shops.

    Compare the prices of cigs/tobacco in Ireland vs France. It's insane that this would be, not just tolerated, but actively encouraged. That's not about health, when looking at an addictive substance (that many of us gained when it was actively encouraged by the State)... that's about squeezing as much revenue out of people before they're forced to make good on their promises to ban it entirely, which I'm actually doubtful that they will.



  • Registered Users Posts: 23,875 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    Have they promised to ban it entirely?

    And, as a follow-up, when was smoking "actively encouraged by the state"?

    (NB: These are both genuine questions. I'm looking for information, not trying to make a point.)





  • Ahh just checked. You're right. A tobacco free Ireland by 2025.. but not banning tobacco entirely.

    Yup. Just keep milking the addicted instead.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 23,875 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    It's a good theory, but I don't think it holds up.

    Superficially, you might think that if you jack up the excise on a packet of cigarettes you get more revenue, but in fact there comes a point where this ceases to be true. Putting up the price results in people smoking less, or in fewer people smoking, or both, plus it also increases the incentive for people to source their cigarettes abroad, either legally or illegally. And the combination of these factors can outweigh the effect of the price rise, mean that a tax increase results in a net fall in revenue.

    That point was passed in Ireland some time between 2010 and 2015. Since then total tobacco revenues have been falling.

    The other thing to bear in mind is that the state may pursue both objectives - you can hope that your tax rise will both reduce the amount of smoking and increase revenue; from a public policy point of of view these are both desirable goals, so there's nothing wrong in pursuing both. It's only when you pass the tipping point that I just referred to that you have to choose which goal you will prefer.





  • Numbers of smokers took a hit, but the yearly numbers have fluctuated over time, so there's still quite a few people either starting to smoke or returning to smoking. Yes, the overall numbers have dropped, but at the rate they're declining (with new people being added), it would be decades before it was eliminated in Ireland. And TBH you wouldn't think the numbers have dropped much when you look at the smoking areas of pubs in the evenings.

    I'll stick to the opinion about smokers being milked. The prices on tobacco have consistently risen each year, and likely will continue to do so. If they were serious about this being about health, it wouldn't be drawn out like this, but eliminated immediately, thus removing the risk entirely.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,261 ✭✭✭ Gant21


    They should concentrate their efforts on taxing drugs.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,177 ✭✭✭ Fandymo


    Nicotine on it's own is as harmless as caffeine. Should coffee be taxed based on strength?



  • Registered Users Posts: 21,559 ✭✭✭✭ Esel


    Nicotine on it's own is as harmless as caffeine.

    Nicotine is a lethal poison, if a sufficient amount is ingested - not by smoking tobacco obviously.

    Not your ornery onager



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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,177 ✭✭✭ Fandymo


    Water is a lethal poison if enough is ingested. Point?



  • Registered Users Posts: 21,559 ✭✭✭✭ Esel


    That nicotine is not "as harmless as caffeine", which you stated. Don't take it personally.

    Not your ornery onager



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,177 ✭✭✭ Fandymo


    Caffeine/Water is a lethal poison, if a sufficient amount is ingested - not by drinking a cup of coffee obviously.

    Still have no idea what your point is.



  • Registered Users Posts: 21,559 ✭✭✭✭ Esel


    Comprehension problems so.

    Not your ornery onager



  • Registered Users Posts: 23,875 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    I don't think you could just wave a magic wand and eliminate tobacco smoking in Ireland — no other country has managed this, so what makes you think we could? But public policy has been directed at reducing tobacco consumption, with considerable effect - the percentage of the population that smokes has fallen significantly - it's now below 10% - and tobacco consumption is also dramatically down. Of course, this isn't just the result of tax increases; public information campaigns and smoking restrictions have also played their part. But if your theory that the government's policy were revenue-driven were correct, then why would they be undertaking other measures to reduce tobacco consumption, which directly hits revenue?

    So, no. They like the tobacco revenue and it's very useful to them, but their overall policy here is definitely not revenue-driven, and there is clear evidence that they systematically prioritise reducing tobacco consumption over increasing tobacco revenue. Which is why revenue from excise on tobacco is falling.



  • Registered Users Posts: 21,559 ✭✭✭✭ Esel




  • Registered Users Posts: 23,875 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    It didn't work. Bhutan was favourably positioned in that it had low tobacco consumption rates to begin with, and tobacco use was generally socially frowned upon by the fairly conservative Buddhist tradition which is culturally dominant in Bhutan. The government attempted a total ban on the tobacco trade (starting in 2004, not 2010) because it was concerned growing cultural influence from neighbouring India and China (through the opening up of Bhutanese media, and through the internet) would weaken social disapprobation of tobacco use and usage would rise, especially among the young.

    Which happened anyway — tobacco consumption rose in the years following the ban, with demand being met by supplies from India. By 2014 about 25% of the population were at least occasional tobacco users, an all-time high, and the government was supplementing the tobacco ban with health warnings and public campaigns. Research showed these were more effective in reducing tobacco use than the ban on trade was.

    When the pandemic came, Bhutan's borders were closed. The black-market price of tobacco products rocketed, and the profits to be made resulted in the rapid growth of the smuggling business. Tobacco smugglers crossing the border were identified as a vector of transmission of Covid into Bhutan. So in August 2020 the ban on tobacco sales was lifted, and you can now buy tobacco from government-owned outlets in Bhutan.



  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    Or, for an alternative approach - increase the legal age to buy tobacco every year.

    From 2025, or thereabouts, a now 14 year old in New Zealand will never be (legally) able to buy tobacco (For the pedants ... in New Zealand!).

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/09/new-zealand-to-ban-smoking-for-next-generation-in-bid-to-outlaw-habit-by-2025



  • Hosted Moderators Posts: 22,696 ✭✭✭✭ beertons


    Sales of cigarettes actually went up during the lockdown. With less people taking flights to stock up, they had to buy them in the shops here.



  • Registered Users Posts: 23,875 ✭✭✭✭ Peregrinus


    Also, people locked down or working from home could smoke at times when they wouldn't be able to if they had been in the workplace, or in other places where smoking is forbidden. So my suspicion is that people were not just buying more cigarettes locally, but smoking more overall.



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