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Thu, 19 Jan 2017
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Smoking

Retired Yard detective warns fake cigarettes in Scotland being used to fund organized crime worldwide

© heraldscotland.com
Fake cigarettes sold over counters in Scotland are being used to fuel organised crime across the globe, a former top detective has warned.

Illicit cigarettes currently make up around 13 per cent of the market in the UK, HMRC figures show - a six-year high.

And retired Scotland Yard DCI Will O'Reilly said there were "a number of consequences" to the illicit trade, which often operates secretly within otherwise legitimate businesses. As well as corner shops and sellers based in pubs, Facebook is being widely utilised to flog illegal tobacco shipped in from Poland and beyond.

Mr O'Reilly said the black market trade cost taxpayers billions in lost revenue, adding: "That shortfall has got to be made up somehow. And that costs every one of us."

HMRC estimates the illicit tobacco trade costs the taxpayer £2.4 billion every year. But lost cash isn't the only drawback, according to Mr O'Reilly.

Comment: This is such a joke. The ONLY reason there is an illegal trade in tobacco products worldwide is because Tobacco Control has managed to convince government around the world that they can make huge money by taxing the hell out of tobacco products, and justifying it in the name of good public health. People will not pay these exorbitant taxes, so the black market in cigarettes has boomed around the world. Want to stop it dead? Take off the exorbitant tobacco taxes and the problem will disappear overnight.


Smoking

A comprehensive review of the many health benefits of smoking Tobacco

Smoking is surely detrimental to one's health, right? People are often bombarded with warnings about the negative effects of smoking and are persuaded to quit by health authorities. It has even got to the point now where people are being deprived of access to healthcare services if they smoke, and this is on the grounds that 'smoking will delay the onset of healing and may aggravate one's pre-existing condition'.

According to the World Health Organisation:
"the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing around 6 million people a year. More than 5 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while more than 600 000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke."
But like any other claim promulgated by the established health authorities, it is wise to question whether there is actually any truth to it. Bear in mind, it is these same authorities which recommend a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet (and we have seen how detrimental that has been to the general population's health). It is also those same people who would recommend treating chronic illness with synthetic pharmaceutical drugs, or the complete removal of entire organs (again, clearly not a successful approach). Anyone who pays attention can see that the authorities clearly don't care about people's health because they are more concerned with profit margins. So in this context rational inquiry demands that we look into whether tobacco is really 'all that bad'.

Smoking

Saudi Arabia tightens noose on smokers with 100 percent VAT on tobacco

© AFP
Saudi Arabia has one of the world’s highest rates of smokers
Saudi Arabia's decision to impose 100 percent value added tax (VAT) on tobacco and its products will bring down the number of smokers in the country, said Dr. Mohammed Yamani, chairman of the board of directors of Naqa, an NGO that helps smokers kick the habit.

"The move is a positive and important step toward combating the unhealthy habit," he told Okaz/Saudi Gazette.

Saudi Arabia has one of the world's highest rates of smokers as 14 percent of its teenagers and seven percent of its women smoke.


Comment: Dictatorial Saudi Arabia with it's abhorrent record of human rights abuses would clearly benefit from imposing a prohibitive tax on tobacco considering it's known cognitive effects:

'Let's all light up! What you don't know about tobacco
Nicotine also has been shown to have multiple benefits for cognitive performance, like rapid information processing, immediate and long-term memory and problem solving.

Comment: See also:


Smoking

China to impose nationwide smoking ban (again)

© Shanghaiist
Smokers in China should find a new habit in 2017 as the country is set to implement a stricter nationwide cigarette smoking ban by the year's end.

The country's National Health and Family Planning Commission and a senior government official introduced the regulation to control smoking in public areas at the Global Conference on Health Promotion in Shanghai on Tuesday, Shanghaiist reported. In a statement, the commission's publicity head Mao Qun'an announced that "smoking harms health has become a global consensus."

The legislation drafted will make it illegal to smoke in all indoor public venues, public transport, and even workplaces. Outdoor spaces, like hospitals, primary schools, kindergartens, tourist sites, and stadiums will also be off limits to smoking.

A fine of up to 500 yuan ($72) will be imposed for every person who violates the new rule, while businesses which fail to comply will risk having their operating license revoked plus a fine of up to 30,000 yuan ($4,320).

According to the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control, China is home to around 316 million smokers in the country.

Comment: The massive tobacco industry in China has probably been too lucrative for this draconian legislation to take hold. With the potential for huge profit and job loss, try as they may, it's likely to fail again.

See also:


Smoking

Smoking banned at all bus stops, waiting kiosks in Taipei City, Taiwan

© Taiwan News
The Department of Health of Taipei City announced Monday that starting from Jan 1, 2017, smoking at the 932 bus stops and 1,150 waiting kiosks in the city will be banned, and fines will begin to be imposed starting Mar 1, 2017.

A fine from NT$2,000 to NT$10,000 will be imposed on violators according to the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act, the department said.

Health department official Lin Meng-hui said the department had teamed up with the city's transportation and environmental protection departments to conduct a survey and 95 percent of those surveyed support the idea of banning smoking at bus stops and waiting areas.

Lin said the ban will take effect from Jan 1, 2017 and a promulgation period will last until Feb 28, adding that starting Mar 1 fines will be imposed.

Smoking

Australian Border Force warns illegal tobacco trade national security risk, may be fueling terrorism

© ABC News
Australians may not equate illegal tobacco smuggling with drug trafficking or terrorism fundraising, but senior border security officials are warning it may be fuelling both and posing a national security risk.

In an exclusive interview with the ABC's 7.30 program and Fairfax Media, Australian Federal Police assistant commissioner Wayne Buchhorn — who has been seconded to Australian Border Force (ABF) — said he had "significant" concerns that some of the proceeds of the booming illicit tobacco smuggling trade into Australia were flowing to extremist groups overseas.

"We are seeing crime gangs here in Australia, oftentimes Middle Eastern organised crime gangs, and the connections back into the Middle East ... [are] a significant concern for us in the current environment," he said. "The funding of extremist activities, we are seeing some elements of that."

A notorious Middle Eastern crime syndicate operating in Arncliffe, Sydney, which is involved in both drug and tobacco smuggling, has shrugged off the repeated arrest and prosecution of its members to continue importing contraband.

Police intelligence has linked the syndicate to fundraising for a Lebanese charity aligned with extremist group Hezbollah.

Comment: My, what lengths the anti-smoking fascists will go to see tobacco use extinguished!

By the way, smoking natural tobacco might actually be beneficial for some people:


Smoking

Anti-smoking nanny state: Nebraskan city proposes smoking ban in private apartments

© AP Photo/Nati Harnik
In this Sept. 14, 2016, photo, restoration work is performed at a Bellevue, Neb., apartment complex which was hit twice by fire.
Some leaders in a blue-collar Nebraska suburb that's home to Offutt Air Force Base are borrowing an idea from a vastly more liberal state: Ban apartment renters from smoking cigarettes and e-cigarettes inside.

The proposal, which would be one of the few such restrictions outside of California and is similar to federal rules for public housing across the U.S., isn't meant to protect the health of the city's 50,000 residents, but instead to prevent fires.

Councilman Don Preister proposed the ban, which wouldn't affect duplexes and single-family homes, in August after cigarette smoking at a single Bellevue apartment complex led to two fires a month earlier. The second fire destroyed the building, displacing dozens of people, and injured four, including a firefighter.

Comment: Smoking bans are fascism, plain and simple, though their proponents would have the population think that bans are initiated for health and safety reason. To the thinking person smoking bans should stimulate their curiosity as to why they are consistently proposed.


Smoking

Dunhill brand tobacco shrinks pack to 23 cigarettes in face of 12.5% tax hike

© pousadaluadecristal.com.br
A tobacco giant has made the decision to reduce the amount of cigarettes per pack rather than hiking the price, as another tax rise looms. British American Tobacco brand, Dunhill, will be reduced to 23 per pack from next month but the wholesale price will remain the same as the pre-tax Dunhill 25 pack.

A British American Tobacco Australian spokesperson told The Herald Sun that the introduction is in response to feedback directly from their consumers. 'Dunhill smokers told us that instead of paying a higher price after the next tax hike in September, they'd prefer to have slightly fewer sticks and have the price stay the same. 'The product remains the same with all Dunhill 25s variants transitioning to this pack size by the end of the year.'

A 12.5 per cent federal tobacco excise increase plus indexation will start from September 1 which will see smoker's coughing up at least $1.30 to $3.35 more tax per pack, depending on its size. At the moment smoker's pay a total of 53.7 cents per cigarette ranging from $10.57 for a pack of 20 to $26.85 for a pack of 50.

Smoking

Australian tobacco executive beaten, stabbed in attempted kidnapping

© Sydney Morning Herald
The attempted kidnapping, bashing and stabbing of an international tobacco company manager outside his family home in Sydney suggests crime syndicates are hitting back at efforts to combat the booming illicit tobacco trade.

A criminal syndicate is suspected of ordering the botched kidnapping in June of a former decorated NSW policeman turned manager of British American Tobacco. Despite high-profile raids by police, illegal tobacco continues to pour into the Australian market and is easy to find in city shops.

The BAT manager was stabbed and bashed by at least three men, after he refused their order that he get into a car. The kidnappers arrived at the man's Sydney home at around 10pm on Saturday June 4. A source said the manager was forced to "fight for his life" to ward off the kidnappers, who have not been identified. He was rushed to hospital after the attack.

The attack appears to be an unprecedented escalation in the struggle between policing agencies and the syndicates driving the illicit tobacco trade. Evidence suggests the attack was linked to BAT's support of police inquiries.

Propaganda

Propaganda: 'Terror' financing and the black market tobacco trade

© Belga H. Kiaser
The nanny state regulations that help fill the coffers of our enemies

In Pennsylvania last month, state representatives Russ Diamond and Rick Saccone challenged a $1-per-pack cigarette tax increase (which was later passed into law), arguing that the price hike would regressively target poorer smokers and encourage black market sales. More critically, the two lawmakers pointed out that increased sales of smuggled tobacco would put more money in the pockets of violent extremists who wish to do Americans harm.

That argument raised eyebrows in the press, but the point made by Diamond and Saccone is a critically important one. A major 2015 report from the State Department identified tobacco smuggling as a major threat to national security, noting that selling illegal cigarettes is a relatively "low-risk, high reward" activity for criminal networks and terror groups, who often join forces to exploit the illicit trade. The Pennsylvania representatives had especially good reason to be concerned about their state's exposure to smuggling, since it sits on one of the most lucrative smuggling routes in the country.

Cheap cigarettes from Virginia regularly pass through Pennsylvania and Delaware on their way to being illegally sold in New York and New Jersey, where high taxes applied by liberal state governments have pushed smokers into the arms of smugglers. Last year, a court in Brooklyn sentenced Basel Ramadan to 12 years in prison for his role as the ringleader of a major trafficking ring that supplied Arab markets in New York and New Jersey. More recently, Pennsylvania state troopers caught a man with 66,600 smuggled Virginia cigarettes in his trunk at around the same time Reps. Diamond and Saccone were addressing the legislature.

Comment: Following the Nazi model: Adolph Hitler: Vegetarian, teetotaler, anti-smoking campaigner

See also: Let's All Light Up!