Sunday, May 2, 2010

ZenTiger When is it time to stop drinking?

OK, so I don't smoke but I'm against the latest set of tobacco price rises. That's a little bit liberal. But I'd quite happily agree to make it illegal for those under 18 to smoke. I thought it was, but it isn't.

But what about drinking? The idea of closing down for business at 2am or 4am would hit the vampire community where it hurts, but as voting is always held during daylight hours, I doubt National would suffer a back lash from the blood sucking lobby. Vampires, that is, not the pro-tax groups, they would undoubtedly love to suck the blood out of us via a tap on the wallet.

I've taken to putting garlic around my bank accounts to see if it works on tax collectors in the same way, but I think a stake is probably called for when the infestation is out of control.

Other than vampires, the other group out late at night are the zombies. Staggering from street lamp, to lamp post, unaware of their surroundings, their guts spewing vile bile and their groans of "I need brains", surely the best thing we could do is restrict access to zombie juice.

Close the bottle stores up early, and have the bars switch to selling berocca, cranberry juice, java and mineral water on the rocks from 3am or 4am. Surely, if you aren't completely drunk by then, drinking for another 4 hours straight isn't going to get you there?

Obviously, someone's been spiking your drinks with water and you are still too much of a zombie, even when sober, to figure it out. "I can hold my drink" you boast to your mates, who having had you on Raro for the last 6 hours, are wondering if you'll be even stupider if they actually get you drunk.

The cry of outrage that curbing the drinking times during the Rugby world cup is a little bit hilarious. I thought people came to watch the rugby, not be so hung over after drinking their way through the preliminary rounds, they miss the final.

Besides, anyone who plans ahead can stock up on booze and head back to the hotel room or lounge and set themselves up to commiserate or celebrate, depending upon the jersey.

There are risks to allowing drinking at all hours - we could be caught in National Misery. Should it be legal to weep in public if we lose? And is it a sign of good character to rub in a crushing victory in front of the losing team's fans? Especially if you have a French or South African accent? Far better to take it indoors after 4am. Besides, you have to consider the vampires - they face serious health issues if all their food comes from zombies.

On the other hand, is it really up to the government to pre-emptively decide we can't nurse our drinks quietly unto the wee hours of the night? Maybe just increase the fines for drunk and disorderly behaviour? Issue them in Euro or Pounds.

UPDATE: Added the final paragraph. Meant to be make this a debate, not a pronouncement.

6 comment(s):

Seán said...

Hi Zen - can you explain why you are against a tobacco tax price rise?

ZenTiger said...


Here's some detail on this thread (a very short thread, you'll find it)

Also, if I didn't make it clear enough, here's my initial thought process:

1. Smoking is legal.

2. It was already taxed enough for smokers to pay their way.

3. If they die younger, less pension costs - another financial bonus to the government.

4. It is addictive and hard to stop

5. There are a whole swag of measures to prevent or discourage smoking( see link) and they are generally working.

6. The new tax is effectively a fine for doing something legal. It's excessive and financially crippling to life time smokers.

7. It will encourage a black market and a new wave of problems.

8. The focus should be on reducing the numbers of new smokers - we've hit the limit on punishing existing ones, short of banning it outright. There are many options not yet explored for preventing new smokers, without beating current smokers over the head to the point of ridiculousness.

The government, at this point should butt out.

Seán said...

Obviously the increase isn't a silver bullet to this problem, but I see it as a step in the right direction. I read somewhere that current taxes do cover the health costs but what about the less direct costs (like that hospital bed being used up and someone else having to wait). If the tax becomes too high at some point a black market will emerge but until that threshold is crossed, it's not a concern. Point 3 may be an observation but it is not acceptable. Any punitive measure must be for a greater good in society, in this case it ticks the box for improving lifestyles. Of course it won't stop all smoking, and there are many other levers that the govt also uses, but if it helps discourage this bad behaviour then it makes sense to proceed.

ZenTiger said...

When you classify smoking as a problem, I think of all the other problems society has.

Let's tax sugar to the same level as smoking. It would be a step in the right direction.

May as well add the same rate of tax to alcohol, or perhaps more because it does greater harm. It would be a step in the right direction.

And perhaps water, because it is a scarce resource. My local council wants to increase the fines for too much water use (like watering the garden to grow your own vegetables and support plant life) to a $2,000 penalty. They want to put in water meters so they can more easily fine people. I guess that is a step in the right direction.

BTW, what is that level for tobacco, does anyone know? Is it 300%? 400%?

KG said...

"Any punitive measure must be for a greater good in society..."

Didn't Adolf and Stalin and Pol Pot say the same?

Seán said...

Zen - maybe you can consider the pros and cons of all those other issues but I don't see them as having much impact on this one.

I'd actually be quite interested to know what percentage of smokers agree with the price rise. I would guess most smokers actually want to quit. Many may be hopeful this added restriction is their tipping point.

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