Tobacco ban, would mean cheaper fags!! This is my theory. Based on this Vice-ometer: How Much You Pay on Tax for your vices!
On the one hand the Government condemns smoking but is happy to back the sale of tobacco whilst collecting a lot of revenue into the bargain. I don’t support banning tobacco, but it would be interesting to see what would happen if they did, and conversely, the benefits of legalising currently illegal drugs.
So what would happen if they did ban booze and fags? For starters people would still drink and smoke. Just look at the situation with currently illegal drugs like cannabis, people still manage to get hold of it reasonably easily. With 2.3million people admitting to smoking a bit of pot for the year 2011/12, illegality does not appear to be a barrier. But it is also a lot cheaper than it’s legal cousins.
A glass of wine in a pub is about £3 on average outside London. Say you go out, and over the course of the day you smoke 20 cigarettes and drink 4 glasses of wine. This will cost you around £20 for a night out. Most of that is tax. Both excise duty and VAT. A quick online search for street weed prices in the UK indicates that for the less money you would get 3 or 4 nights good quality smoking. No tax. Put another way – weeks worth of cigarettes for a 20/day smoker = £50 average. Weeks worth of weed = probably about £28 depending on how much you smoked. Week’s worth of wine = £35.
Now before anyone thinks I am just a complete stoner, who spends all day long smoking bongs and writing blogs considering the relative costs of weed, wine and tobacco. I’m not and I don’t. My point here is that weed may be illegal but it is freely available, and the very fact of it’s illegality makes it’s cheaper than most legal drugs. If the Government did ban tobacco and booze we would be enjoying much cheaper black market produce!
This could possibly be replicated across other drugs I am sure, but I can’t be bothered to do the web search for prices. Plus I am somewhat concerned that if the UK Government are actually tracking internet activity, as many of my local conspiracy theorists believe, I could end up pinned down in a cell having a cavity search by the end of the day.
So why don’t they legalise and tax some of the other drugs? They are always warning of the risks of bad quality/cut street drugs. This could be eliminated overnight. The main reasons they cite don’t hold up:
Health – tobacco, caffeine and alcohol are freely available. Not good for health. Very addictive.
Crime – We never see crime/gang violence over tobacco or alcohol. Or caffeine.
Addiction – Yes, some of these things are addictive. Um…tobacco? One of the most adddictive substances there is. Buy it in any newsagent. Same with alcohol. Freely available in any supermarket. Causes addiction in certain people. Cannabis, incidentally, is not as addictive as tobacco or alcohol or indeed caffeine, which people give to their children in fizzy drinks like coca cola. Just take a look at the Government’s own stastics, this tells a little story about the effects of alcohol, a perfectly legal drug. 1,220,300 hospital admissions in 2011/12 related to alcohol use. Which, incidentally is going up. I can’t find any figures on admissions due to weed but I am open to other people posting some links to these.
Considering the vast amount of potential revenue being lost, the cost of wasting police time arresting teenagers for carrying a bit of weed, I am at a loss as to how the current drug legislation benefits anyone.