Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cigarette Tab Houses

A brief report on the sale of cigarettes from domestic houses since the clamp-down on shops popped up on BBC Breakfast this morning. "Highly addictive and half the price of legal tobacco" yeah because it's only all right when it's a highly priced highly addictive substance and the proles can't get their hands on it.

A delightful report for it's use of two standardised arguments and a delightful leap of logic.

First off the 'Piracy' argument. "We are losing £30bn of tax revenue" calculated by estimating the amount of illegal tobacco sold and adding on the tax.  This uses the assumption that if the illegal tobacco wasn't available everyone would turn to the higher priced legal alternative. Doubly amusing when combined with the next argument.

'Won't someone please think of the children?' Selling tobacco this cheap allows children to be able to afford it. Now follow this logical argument -

1) They're selling tobacco cheap.
2) Therefore children can afford it.

3) They're selling it illegally
4) Therefore they have no inclination not to sell it to children

5) Therefore they're selling it to children.

Did you spot the leap there? Now add that to the previous argument to form the following sentence:

'We're losing £30bn in tax revenue from people illegally selling tobacco to those who wouldn't normally be able to afford it'



Orphi said...

Heh. It's all nonesense really. It seems these people will print anything to make a story.

I still have these delusional ideas that one day, sometime in my own lifetime, the government will just make tobacco illegal, and then everything will be much simpler.

Speaking of stupid stories, the other day I stood in a queue next to a magazine which blurted “I tracked down Dad and run off with my stepmum”. I mean, seriously, WTF?

FlipC said...

Well this was broadcast rather than print, but the same standards seen to apply.

Make tobacco illegal and lose all that tax revenue! Might as well ban alcohol too.

As for making things simpler, only in the sense that anyone seen smoking can be arrested. We'd still be channelling fat wads of cash to the drug law enforcers, spending money on both catching and detaining users and pushers; and all without the income stream from the legalised product.

Stupid story-wise it made you read the headline and that's just a short step from buying the magazine.

Orphi said...

Oh, I don't know about that. I've read lots of headlines, and yet I have never once, in my entire three-decade life, actually bought the magazine, or even bothered to look inside. :-P

FlipC said...

Ah but at the very least you know the magazine exists :-P

Seriously though it's just advertising. If only 1% of those who don't normally buy it do so because of the lurid headlines that's an extra 1% you wouldn't normally get.

I do find it interesting that the till-side magazines feature these type of publications more than others highlighting that they exist prominently in the impulse market.

Orphi said...

Oddly, the titles of these types of publications tend to accurately reflect my reaction on reading them.

“Um, hello??”

“…OK then…”

BTW, did you see the advert on TV that asserts, without a shred of proof, that “it's well-known that gossip increases intelligence”? More likely gossip increases one's own deluded impression of one's own intelligence. :-P