I don’t often agree with the editors of the National Post, but I couldn’t do more so than with their tirade yesterday attacking the Ontario government’s plan to sue a dozen tobacco companies for $50-billion to compensate them for health services dating back to 1955.
No one makes more money from tobacco sales than governments do — not tobacco farmers or small tobacco retailers or even tobacco companies. Last year in Canada, federal and provincial governments took in over $7-billion from tobacco taxes. The combined net income of tobacco growers and tobacco companies, on the other hand, was just over $1-billion.
Yet the federal government, through the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, is also one of the largest investors in the tobacco industry, holding nearly $400-million in cigarette company stocks.
So it strikes us as the height of hypocrisy when governments let the tobacco industry keep chugging along, and then sue tobacco companies to recover the cost of health care provided to smokers. We are not in favour of a tobacco ban; individuals should be free to decide for themselves whether they want to take up smoking. But if governments find tobacco use so perilous and repugnant, the obvious course of action that presents itself is to make it illegal.
Indeed. Maybe it’s time for those of us who choose to smoke to begin standing up a little more for our rights and stop being endlessly bullied and browbeaten by the anti-smoking fanatics who see it as an almost religious crusade of some kind to rob us of one of the few small pleasures in life while at the same time insulating cynical grifters and health-conscious busybodies in the government at both the federal and provincial level from any criticism of their efforts to constantly shame and humiliate us, as simultaneously they quite happily extort a hefty profit on a dependable basis from our relatively harmless addiction.
Not to be overly rude or anything, but fuck off already… butt out of our lives and leave us alone. We’ve patiently tolerated your silly bans, public space prohibitions, workplace regulations, perimeter restrictions, annoying advertisements, scary chastisements on the products we buy, etc., not to mention being regressively taxed up the wazoo, but enough is enough.
p.s. Oh, and just a short note to radical non-smokers… I hate to break this to you, but despite all of your best efforts, you’re not going to live forever; so stop pretending you can defeat mortality and insisting that we all need to subscribe to that same absurd premise, okay?