Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tid Bits

Treasury says smokers save the Government money

In its report, the Treasury says smokers often die earlier than non-smokers and save the state in superannuation costs.
Treasury says smokers pay $1.3 billion a year in excise which may already exceed the direct health costs they impose.
The report then goes on to consider broader economic questions. It says smokers' shorter life expectancy reduces superannuation and aged care costs, meaning they are already "paying their way in narrowly fiscal terms"

The Treasury’s most recent guidelines  (2009) for contracts with non-governmental organisations also make it clear: “Government agencies should also be careful to ensure that contracts do not breach public service standards of political neutrality”.
However, the Health Ministry is still funding the “advocacy” and “awareness raising” that these organisations engage in. The Ministry still funds ASH and other organisations like the Public Health Association – it is just more careful about what it puts in the contracts.
The current ASH contract  allows it to “liaise with government and private health agencies, the media and any other appropriate organisations to raise public awareness of tobacco related issues and developments”. It says it will “prepare and distribute media briefings, commentary and releases on key tobacco issues. This will include maintaining relationships with key media.”
A quick look at the ASH website  makes it clear it is a lobby group, but a lobby group that gets 89% of its funding from the taxpayer

For governments, tobacco-tax policy remains a hornet’s nest, and there are no easy answers. On one hand, health groups favour still-higher taxes and stronger enforcement. On the other hand, legal producers and distributors favour reduced taxes with stronger enforcement.
This raises the following question: could lower tobacco taxes drive out the illegal product by inducing smokers to switch from illegal to legal cigarettes, and at the same time increase tax revenues?
Assuming individual smokers’ basic preference for legal products, tobacco-tax reductions would likely only create a modest drop in consumption of the illegal product,lead to a decline in tax revenues and result in a small increase in total consumption. The market share of the illegal product would fall more substantially were the price of the illegal product to rise as a result of stronger legal or enforcement pressures on suppliers.

French smokers unite against curbs

PARIS — French smokers have formed a lobby to "defend their rights" against what they perceive as unfair curbs imposed by the state, the group's leaders said Sunday.
The Union for the Rights of Adult Smokers (UDFA) says it represents a potential 12.5 million voters and intends to fight against the spread of no-smoking zones or rising cigarette prices.
"We want to defend our freedom," chairwoman Nathalie Masseron told AFP.
"We are being barred from cafe terraces, some want to ban us from parks with children, some hotels are non-smoking, soon a smoker won't be able to rent a flat and there's even talk of banning smoking while you drive," she said.