On the one hand, tobacco excise is a regressive tax. On the other hand . . .
About a quarter of Indonesian boys aged 13 to 15 are already hooked on cigarettes that sell for about $1 a pack or as little as a few cents apiece, according to WHO. A video on YouTube last month prompted outrage when a 4-year-old Indonesian boy was shown blowing smoke rings and flicking a cigarette. His parents say he’s been smoking up to a pack a day since he was 2.
According to a 2008 study on tobacco revenue in Indonesia, smokers spend more than 10 percent of their household income on cigarettes; that’s three times more than they spend on education-related expenses such as school fees and books.
As of today cigarettes in New Zealand will set you back about $17 a packet. That’s a lot of cash for kids to steal out of Dad’s coin jar. I imagine the ban on smoking in bars prevents a lot of older teens from acquiring the habit. That’s a lot of people who won’t spend their lives addicted to an expensive and deadly drug: Oh nanny state! Is there no limit to your evil?
Meanwhile, The Press has a story about the government’s ‘War on P’ turning into a game of whackamole:
Young people are getting hooked on a new form of heroin as dealers find drugs to fill the gap left by record seizures of P.
Christchurch police, health professionals and drug counsellors have noticed a rise in the past year in the number of young people using the new form of the drug, known among users as “spotting”, a name derived from the way it is taken.
Detective Sergeant Dorothy McPhail, of the Christchurch organised-crime unit, said the drug was a “new form of homebake heroin in liquid form sold in dots on sheets of tinfoil”.
The drug is then smoked off the foil.
“It seems to be a younger group that is using it. That seems to be the trend. It is something new that we have come across,” she said.
The Canterbury District Health Board’s community alcohol and drug service clinical head, David Stoner, said more young people were becoming addicted to opiates.
It’s an unhappy fact of life that a lot of young people want to abuse drugs. The status quo is that they abuse drugs that are legal for historic reasons (alcohol, tobacco) or that are easy and profitable for criminal organisations to manufacture (methamphetamine, heroin). If only there was some blindingly obvious solution to this problem.