The Lions versus the Sheep

Author: Søren Højbjerg
Article Published: 2009/03/02

The world is material. That is a brutal fact. No amount of welfare or social engineering can change that fact. Yet Public Health and its bastard child, Tobacco Control, persist in trying to change the material world with words and phrases. We call such words and phrases propaganda. Sometimes you can have fun with the enemy's propaganda.

The impossibility of taxing cigarettes to extinction.

One of the many Tobacco Control catchphrases is that 'increasing the price of cigarettes by 10 % causes cigarette sales to drop by 4 %'. The spectre of theft through taxation is waved over the smoker. The smoker is supposed to be cowed into submission. The ignorant masses swallow such verbal tripe without reflection. The final result of this babble is called 'politics'.

Never mind 'politics'. Let us do a material analysis of the “10 %” claim.

Economy is about material action. When you pay 3 $ for a pack of smokes, you are conducting trade. You exchange the possesion of 3 $ for the possesion of a pack of smokes. The price that you are willing to pay for a pack of cigarettes is an expression of the material desire to posses the cigarettes. The higher a price you are willing to pay, the greater is your desire. It cannot really be otherwise, if you think carefully about it.

Suppose we have a marketplace with 1.000.000 (one million) smokers. For the sake of simplicity we will assume that each smoker smokes exactly one pack of 20 cigarettes each day. Assume that the price, including taxes, is 3 $. In that marketplace there will be a daily sale of cigarettes of 3.000.000 $ *. Those 3.000.000 $ are the national economic 'vote' in favor of cigarettes. That is the 'strength' of the demand for cigarettes.

Now the Tobacco Control loudmouths come by. They scream for higher taxes. The political opportunists in parliament decide to increase the tax of cigarettes, so the the price rises by 10 %. That is a tax hike of 30 cents. Public Health applauds, and cheers at the prospect of reducing cigarette consumption by 4 %. Let us do the math.

According to the propaganda claims, the number of smokers is reduced by 4 %. This yields a net result of 960.000 smokers. These are the smokers that continue smoking despite the tax increase. They purchase a pack of cigarettes per day, at a cost of 3.30 $. So the daily marketplace sales of cigarettes is therefore 3.168.000 $ under the new conditions. The national economic vote in favor of cigarettes is increased by 168.000 $. The 'strength' of the demand for cigarettes goes up!

What happened?

The taxes removed from the marketplace those buyers (smokers) who obtain the smallest benefit from smoking. The least dedicated smokers gave up. But the remaining smokers are more dedicated. In fact their dedication is so much greater, that they increased their strength in terms of demand, even though their numbers were reduced. This may sound strange to you, but that is in fact what happens, even according to Tobacco Control propaganda claims.

Clearly the idea of taxing cigarettes to extinction has been demonstrated to be impossible. All that will happen is that the demand increases! Given that there is a contraband marketplace and that smoking rates are around 25 % in Tobacco Control infiltrated marketplaces, it is fairly obvious that the smokers have already won. The most dedicated smokers are still smoking. They are the 'elite' smokers. That's you and me. We are the elite. Much fighting remains, but smokers will prevail.

The ineffectiveness of smoking cessation 'medicines'.

The pharmaceutical industry is intertwined with Public Health. From a purely material point of view, Public Health is the propaganda arm of the pharmaceutical industry. 'Smoking cessation medicines' are one of the products that the pharmaceutical industry sells thanks to the propanda activities of Public Health. Such 'medicines' are regularly marketed with the use of 'studies' that glorify their 'effectiveness'. Let us examine one such 'study' (which is nothing but a piece of business propaganda – a commercial).

It is this one (stored link), which was published in the February 2009 issue of the socalled “American Journal of Preventive Medicine” **. Do not bother reading the 'study'. It is merely pseudoscientific poetry. We are only interested in the numbers from figure 1.

Out of two groups of smokers, 819 and 830 respectively, 75 and 78 were not smoking after 6 months use of nicotine chewing gum. That yields a failure rate of 91 % and 91 % respectively (the distinction is on 2 mg and 4 mg chewers). That is after 6 months of use. Never mind what happens after a year or two. We can figure that out ourselves.

Now these smokers were self selected among the population of smokers today. They were the ones allegedly most motivated to quit smoking. Yet 91 % of them failed. Why? Because today the people that smoke are the ones who derive the highest benefits from smoking. So they are very unlikely to give up smoking. How could it be otherwise?

The highly advertised 'smoking cessation medicines' are almost completely ineffective. Contrary to the marketing claims of the 'researchers', the 'medicines' do not really work. The commercial merit of a product is not whether it 'works' but whether it sells. The pharmaceutical industry manufactures products that it sells by using Public Health and legislation to create 'favorable' marketplace conditions.

Yet under such conditions it fails miserably to achieve its alleged goals. Smoking cessation 'medicines' will not make a dent in smoking rates. They are almost completely ineffective.

The perspective.

When the anti smoking preachers started their crusade more than 50 years ago, they mainly indoctrinated those who derived the smallest benefits from smoking into quitting. Those were the days of easy victories.

Today, only those who derive strong benefits from smoking continue to smoke. They will not quit. They will continue. Smokers continue to smoke in large numbers, despite the most draconian measures. The anti smoking crusaders have coerced all the sheep to quit smoking. Now they face the lions.

The anti smoking crusaders try to intimidate smokers by pointing out that non-smokers outnumber smokers by 3 to 1. This numerical trickery fools the masses. But it does not fool the material world.

The ratio is 3 sheep to 1 lion. Who do you think is going to win?

The smokers of today are the lions. All they have to do is realise it. To win, all they have to do is stretch out one paw, unfold their claws and take a swipe at the sheep.

It's really very simple. Stop whining. Start winning.

* 1 million smokers purchasing a pack of cigarettes at 3 $ yields a sales figure of 3.000.000 $

** This is actually a misnomer. The publication should rightly be titled “The American Journal of Promoting Medicine”! The 'study' in question is clearly a piece of business propaganda. It is payed for by a pharmaceutical company.

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