A good use of government money, you decide….

Posted on September 20, 2011 in Ronnie's News

I’ve just had my mail delivered which included a Government leaflet on the banning of cigarette vending machines. Well to be more precise the banning of the use of cigarette vending machines by the general public and the promise of fines and even imprisonment if you don’t comply or allow advertising on the machines, which I believe includes the postage stamp display of the packets sold through the machines. It’s still ok to sell through a vending machine but only if bar or shop staff serve the customers.

In the current times of economic austerity I cannot think of many worse examples of overzealous and unnecessary spunking of public money. Not just the cost of the legislation and the media campaign to promote it but the actual cost of policing it, taking people to court and possibly even imprisoning them.

Now let me point out, I am a non smoker. I have dabbled with nicotine in the past but I prefer not to smoke. Many people I know, like and even love do smoke though. Ronnie’s Bar also has a superb courtyard area that allows people who smoke the opportunity to do so in close proximity to a licensed premise without them feeling victimised or like social pariahs.

Every adult who smokes knows the health risks associated with their habit. And because of the vast duty levied on cigarettes they more than cover the costs to the National Health Service for any associated treatments they may require as a consequence of their lifestyle choice. In fact I would go as far to say that the NHS would suffer if they lost this entire valuable source of revenue. Either that or there would be a further punitive increase on other taxes to compensate for the loss of tobacco duty.
Banning cigarette vending machines from pubs and bars makes no sense at all. I don’t know any smoker who took up the habit because they saw a cigarette vending machine, even one with minimal advertising on it. And it’s hardly protecting minors when you ban machines from premises that you have to be over 18 to be in! I’m sure most smokers will be happy to see the back of vending machines in pubs and bars as they usually paid a premium price for less than 20 cigarettes, but that’s not really the point of this. This is yet another example of taking with one hand and throwing it away with the other.

All politicians of every persuasion are masters of taking hard earned money off you. Whether it’s directly or indirectly depends on the colour of their party. And they are all masters of wasting that money. Instead of investing in ways of stimulating the economy they spend money on futile gesture politics. Nice work! Next week expect the banning of knitting needles in public places because they may take someone’s eye out!

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