LETTER TO THE EDITOR:
AS a small business owner that sells tobacco products, I am questioning the theory behind all the tobacco price increases fuelled by the government, quit campaigners and do-gooders.
Firstly, I am a reformed smoker, so smoking is not high on my priority list.
The government receives billions in taxes each year from the sale of tobacco products and keeps drumming into our heads Australia’s large deficit.
With the decline in tobacco sales, the government will feel the need to chase lost revenue from other avenues, which is always a big worry when the middle wage earners in this country are already being slugged.
I bet the government goes for necessities such as fuel and food.
But besides the tax issue, the main reason for writing is to comment on the drug issue.
I am frequently visited by people with drug dependencies and also those who supply the drugs to them.
It is very disturbing to hear them openly tell me drugs are now cheaper than cigarettes.
Instead of having a few cigarettes between hits, they tell me it’s easier and cheaper to just buy more ice, ecstasy or whatever they are using.
I would rather look into the eyes of a person that has just had a cigarette, than a person with a glazed look or sometimes a crazed look, on edge and sometimes unpredictable, scratching at their sores.
In my opinion, all that these price increases have done is double the income of the drug pushers that don’t pay taxes.
Mostly the ones I see receive unemployment benefits.
Smokers tell me that the availability of chop chop (illegal tobacco) is as easy to obtain as buying milk at your corner store.
I will be first to admit the price increases have dropped the sales of tobacco, even though it is minimal, but I feel all it is doing unfortunately is increasing the drug problem we have already in this area.
I believe it is also contributing to the increase in our crime rate, as they go together, when talking to the police that are involved in doing the crime statistics.
We, in Wellington Shire, are level with places like Footscray and Dandenong in the crime rate figures, and being someone that has had their house ransacked, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
Maybe the do-gooders should have looked at the big picture instead of worrying about someone enjoying a cigarette with a coffee.
If someone smokes and they want to give up, their choice.
I did, as I was a 40 a day smoker.
If they can’t, let the government or QUIT people assist with fully funded programs if they want to use them.
Otherwise, just putting the price up pushes them towards drug use or the illegal tobacco industry, and down the track eventually us being hit with more taxes.
I have no doubt these comments will create a few responses.
As soon as you mention tobacco or drugs, a lot of people seem to always have an opinion.
I look forward to reading them.