LOG CABIN CHRONICLES
Re-posted from the Low down to Hull and back News

It's about the money, stupid

ART MANTELL
Editorial Writer, The Low down to Hull and back News

I am so sorry for all the smokers in this country. They are the supreme patsies of the western world. Imagine paying eight dollars for twenty cigarettes. It's insane.

Tobacco companies are using robotically-guided machinery to crank out millions per hour. Not per day or per week but per hour. And they see no problem in cranking up their cost to the consumer by fourteen per cent last year and ten or so the year before.

Who notices? When the government got through boosting prices via taxes to $8 a carton, who spotted the tobacco companies' tiny little price boosts?

The tobacco companies sure do. For every three dollars they take in they get to keep one for themselves. No wonder giant tobacco companies cheerfully face billion dollar fines from juries seeking to right earlier wrongs attributed to the demon tobacco.

What's a billion when you can get it back in a year or so just by upping your price. Who's to complain?

Untill recently nobody. Oh, there was the smuggling crisis of a few years ago when people revolted at a huge price hike and smugglers aided by the tobacco giants, flooded the country with contraband fags. They were Canadian -- shipped south, then smuggled north.

The tobacco companies were surprised their cigarettes were being smuggled. Or so they said as their lawyers prepared for court.

The governments retreated, cut prices to kill smuggling, went about sealing off the smuggling option by collecting taxes at the factory gates, then blasted taxes skywards.

Thank God for our Native population. They saw smuggling operations throttled so went legitimate -- into direct manufacture.

Today, Indian companies have taken over about ten per cent of the entire Canadian market with their own brands such as Supreme and Bailey's. Since we don't smoke we can't tell you where to buy the native brands but we suggest you do, if only to stick a finger in the eye of the governments and big tobacco companies. And save about $1.20 a pack while you're at it.

But that still has cigs at $7 or so. Nicotine addiction has been said to be stronger than cocaine and heroin. You have to have a will of iron and then some to kick the nicotine habit.

I managed to kick a two-pack a day habit but I can never have a smoke the rest of my life. One puff and I'm hooked all over again.

My wife quit for ten years, then lit up to show she was its master.\

Today, she pays $8 or any price the government and Big Tobacco set and has for the past 12 years.

Nicotine entraps the young and ravages the old -- physically and financially. And our governments rejoice in their golden revenue streams. No wonder attendance at food kitchens and homeless shelters are up. If you must smoke ,something has to be sacrificed if the money supply is tight.

So tobacco companies get richer. The governments get richer. Who's the poorer?

Look around you. See the smoker lurking nearby. She's the loser. So is her family. Every time she clocks an hour's work at minimum wage, she gets enough to buy one pack of cigarettes.

She doesn't know it but she's a slave to big tobacco and big government. She'd do better dealing with the Mafia. They'd take a much smaller cut.

Art Mantell, writes for The Low down to Hull and back News.


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