A REPORT that puts the social cost of cigarette smoking to Australia at $31 billion has prompted health groups to say it is a mandate to raise the already hefty taxes on cigarettes even further.
They are wrong, in fact it is a mandate to ban cigarettes altogether.
The report, by the Cancer Council of Western Australia, assessed the economic impact of both the tobacco industry itself, as well as public health measures aimed at reducing tobacco use, in what it says is the first independent analysis of economic arguments put forward by the tobacco industry in support of cigarettes.
One of the few remaining arguments against imposing much higher taxes on cigarettes, or banning them outright, was that those measures would impose a drastic cost on the economy. This report knocks that last argument on the head.
Industry studies suggest tobacco retailers provide 500,000 jobs in Australia, but the report said that was overstated. It found the industry was a minor and declining employer.
Not only that, but profits were largely remitted to parent companies overseas.
The report put the economic contribution of the industry at about $1 billion a year — against an estimated cost of $31 billion.
That makes the issue a no-brainer really.
Evidence on the negative impact of smoking on smokers health — and of passive smoking on innocent bystanders — is already so well documented as to be incontrovertible.
Another argument against banning cigarettesmall.biz/buy/camel is that die-hard smokers would merely conspire to drive tobacco underground, in much the same way that the use of banned drugs has been driven underground.
This argument also fails.
The fact is that if cigarettes were banned the vast majority of people now using them would be forced to stop, saving countless lives. As for those who continued to seek out this dangerous drug, unfortunately there is no way to help those who will not be helped.
No dry argument
THE bad news that the city’s waterways have been given a poor bill of health is something that should concern each and every person who lives here.
The Gold Coast is a water city — both for tourists and for the tens of thousands of lucky canal-front home-owners — but falling water qualities in the Broadwater and our rivers affects the quality of life of all of us.
Protecting our waterways should be the aim of all Gold Coasters.
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