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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day – It’s such a monumentally stupid idea…

Ban tobacco in the UK, and you will simply divert uncountable millions in untaxed moneys into the pockets of criminals, while cigarette smoking will barely decline at all – in fact, I’d take a small wager that the smuggled product will be cheaper after the ban than the legal product was before. It’s such a monumentally stupid idea, I can’t imagine for a minute that the government won’t eagerly embrace it.


15 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – It’s such a monumentally stupid idea…

  • Steven R

    Prohibition has been such a rousing success when it’s come to narcotics, guns, alcohol in the US, and human trafficking, so I fail to see why it wouldn’t work with tobacco.

  • Kirk

    After all, didn’t Prohibition work out so wonderfully well, here in the US…?

    Didja ever notice that the people that come up with these things all seem to derive what amounts to sexual pleasure from imposing their busy-body do-gooding on the rest of us? There’s a positive sexual vibe coming off of them, whenever they talk about these plans they’ve made.

    The laughable bit is that their economic calculations aren’t even remotely rational or fully encompassing the issue. You put tobacco out there? You can count on drastically shortened pension pay-outs, and a whole host of other fiscally positive net gains from shortened lifespans. The do-gooders want the tingle up the spine they get from “doing good”, but the problem is, they’ve failed to work out the second- and third-order effects. I got into a discussion one time with a guy who was an insurance actuarial, and it was his contention that in terms of monetary expenses, the campaigns to “stop smoking” had done a lot of fiscal damage to things, because when you factored longer lifespans into pension plans, health care costs, and all the rest? You’re running up much larger bills than you’re paying out for the tobacco-related health care costs. Which nobody really ever accounted for… Most of the pension plans were set up back when the average lifespan was 62-ish, and like Social Security, they were basically pyramid schemes that the majority of the people paying in were never going to benefit from.

    There’s also the social costs that you accrue from not allowing people to self-medicate with nicotine. I dare say that a world full of people who’ve been forced to quit smoking would be a perceptibly more unpleasant place, with a lot of road rage, psychotic breaks, and a good deal more workplace violence.

    I once took part in an impromptu and entirely informal experiment regarding tobacco use and its abolition. There was an exercise we were on here in the US, and all the smokers had gotten used to getting their regular resupply of tobacco products at the small PX at the training area. We got up there, and… No small PX; there’d been a fire, and it was closed. The smokers all ran out after about five days, and we spent the next three weeks in a state of tobacco famine.

    I think I’d rather spend my time around a bunch of vampires jonesing for blood than smokers forced to do without, is all I’ve got to say. The vampires would probably be safer to deal with…

  • Fred Z


    That pleasure they feel akin to sexual pleasure is why they’re called bansturbators.

    Much like Maskurbators.

  • Fraser Orr

    Here is the US, there is a fairly significant business of smuggling cigarettes from low tax areas, like the south, to high tax areas like New York. So I don’t think we have to guess. If they ban cigs altogether what you will get is very low quality product, possibly toxic, smuggled anyway.

    The whole thing is so stupid. In one respect the campaign against smoking has been one of the few things that public health authorities have succeeded at. That and turning the British social norms against drunk driving in Britain — something the Americans have utterly failed to do. But they just can’t stop… they’ve got to stop the 250 people in Britain who still light up. But of course, if there is no more smoking, there is no need for anti smoking campaigns, so what are those busibodies going to do then? (Actually, that is a dangerous question — these people always find something to stick their noses into.)

  • Y. Knott

    “they’ve failed to work out the second- and third-order effects…”

    On the contrary Kirk, they’ve worked them out perfectly, PERFECTLY! There will be no second-or-third order effects – they just KNOW there won’t, because it’s their idea and they’re so much smarter than the rest of us. Enablers of communism all believe the same thing. So what’s IOTTMCO (“intuitively obvious to the most casual observer”) to the proles out there on the street, doesn’t even minutely flutter their synapses because snowflakes are immune to unintended consequences – just ask them.

    Indeed the only sad thing is, unlike enablers of communism, the tobacco-banners’ brains won’t end-up splattered against a convenient wall once the Bolsheviks have no further use for them; no, they’ll just advance, to mis-apply a Churchill quote, “from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm”. These guys are leadership-grade, they’re future Prime Ministers – ain’t it sad?

  • Lord T

    Smokers tend to be law abiding. But with all things nudge many are nudged by their financial situation into buying black market. Most don’t actually see this as tax evasion but super savers. Soon though they will all be forced to go the black market route. Then they will find their first introduction to weed and other drugs.

    Personally I don’t find the statement from non smokers, and I don’t smoke, that I can smell it therefore it should be banned compelling in a free society. Most smokers take care not to upset others with their smoking habit. In the meantime the same people complaining about that smell and how smoking is killing them are driving cars that also smell and have more carcinogenic properties than cigarettes and they are very much the higher polluter of the two causing smog in most big cities.

    I live with cars because the benefits outweigh the issues although I can’t avoid the pollution but with cigarettes I can and do.

  • jgh

    And as somebody else has pointed out: In 30 years “You don’t look 44, I think you’re 43, show me some ID!”

  • llamas

    While it’s amusing to describe the motivations of the banners as ‘sexual’, I don’t think it’s that at all. Their motivation is far-more-powerful and -primeval than that. It’s the sheer, unadulterated joy that a certain type of para-sociopath feels from telling other people what to do. In a certain subset of sociopathy, forcing others to do what you say brings a level of pleasure that can be got no other way, which may be (incidentally) why it sometimes (but not always) associates with the sexual urge.

    And 368x more-so if the particular activity to be banned is still available to be freely-indulged in only by those doing the banning.

    – Locking down millions of people inside their homes, while we drive hundreds of miles unmolested to check on our families.
    – Locking down millions of people inside their homes, while we step out whenever we please for an adulterous afternoon assignation – truly, that was the perfect two-fer 😁.
    – Banning all social activities for millions while we enjoy $1000-a-plate dinners with our friends.
    – Working to force millions onto public transport, or bicycles, or trapping them in closed neighborhoods, or into unaffordable EV’s for which there is no power, while being driven to and from work each day in a convoy of armoured SUV’s.
    – Trying to eliminate air travel for the masses, while circling the globe as we please on private jets.
    – Punishing peaceful protestors with years in jail, while seeking (and receiving) easy bail and no consequences for a violent, armed assault.

    And so on.

    Yer basic hair-shirt do-gooder is happy to do without (whatever-it-is they want to ban), so long as everybody else is made to do without also. But it takes a special kind of sociopathy to work hard to deny things to others, while retaining the choice to continue to do these things for one’s self and others whom one chooses. It’s much-more degenerate than a simple sexual urge – it’s a display of the urge to totalitarian power over others, in everything. We will make all animals equal(ly) miserable, and deny them anything we see fit to deny them – but we will deny ourselves nothing.



  • NickM

    Hell hath no fury compared to me if denied a fag…

    Yes, that is a dangerous question. I really have no idea what would be next but you can rest assurred it would be something that less than a generation ago would be utterly unthinkable. OK, I’ll take a punt. Actual, genuine lesbians, resisting the sexual advances of himshes will be considered as discrimination and whilst this might not be exactly a criminal act (or rather non-act) it will scupper folks in so many ways (the idea of a non-act as an act – “silence is violence” and all that)… More generally I can imagine making any statement relating sex to biological reality to become a “hate crime”. Although maybe not exactly a crime as such… Just something that will you get de-banked, de-platformed and treated as a non-person in general. You want an internet account? No, you you used your last one to spread “hate-speech” against the LGB2STWTFBBQ+++ community. Your actual crime? Saying you once watched a Harry Potter movie and considered it mildly amusing. You think I’m making that up? There is quite a bit of online discussion about whether Harry Potter Fandon is OK because JKR said the unsayable.

  • Kirk,
    Hell hath no fury compared to me if denied a fag…

    Kirk is American. Fag means a cigarette in UK 😀

  • Paul Marks

    Supposedly Prime Minister Sunak did this to show he is “not like the libertarian supporters of Liz Truss”.

    Like most members of the Conservative Party I voted for Liz Truss (or Mary Elizabeth O’Leary) to be leader of the Conservative Party, and I do not regard the word “libertarian” as some sort of swear word.

    As for the specific policy – I see, so the government which can stop floods of drugs, including heroin and crack cocaine, into the cities and towns of this land, claims it will be able to stop tobacco.

    And, in the future, a person who is 35 will not be able to, legally, buy tobacco, but their brother who is 36 years of age will be able to buy tobacco – because it will all be on what age you were born.

    So everyone will have to carry around I.D. with their age of birth recorded on it – a nice “international community” move (that has been on the agenda for a long time – and it is nothing really to do with tobacco).

    A clever scheme (in the English sense of the word “clever”) much like all the clever government spending schemes we witnessed from a certain Chancellor during Covid.

  • Paul Marks

    I recently made the mistake of watching the BBC – and a leftist there was saying how then Chancellor Sunak “hated” spending all that money during Covid.

    I wish I could believe that, I really do.

    By the way – we are now told that all the money saved by cancelling some of the, utterly insane, HS2 project will be spent on other things.

    In short the deficit will not be reduced, and nor will taxes.

    I do not trust myself to write further – I am getting upset.

  • Kirk


    Despite being American by birth and life experience, I’m fairly conversant with the idiosyncratic details of British usages… Way, way too many years being forced to watch British programming on Public Broadcasting, thanks to my mother’s taste in television.

    Sad thing is, these days? I find it superior to a lot of utter dreck we get here…

  • Paul Marks

    Kirk – you must be watching old British television programmes, the modern ones are dreck.

  • WindyPants

    Many years ago, I explained to an American how “whenever I get pissed, I want to smoke a fag!”

    His wide-eyed response prompted me to run the phrase through translation.