Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Smoky Story

Some time ago, there was this episode on "How I Met Your Mother" in which all the characters were trying to quit smoking. Watching that episode (and comparing it with some much older movies/literature) it finally hit me how people's opinion on smoking and smokers have changed. What used to be normal way back is now viewed with some disdain. 

How else do you explain smokers being given a smoking bay where so many of them sit in cramped up spaces to get their fix AND inhale secondary smoke from their fellow smokers, or even while I was in Japan, where it seemed as though everyone smoked, they were forced to smoke in small groups at little ashtrays by the kerb - hardly a sociable activity, or in some areas, they stood in alleyways behind tall buildings in their nice clothes, smoking mournfully in the cold. 

The other day, the papers had a piece on new rules for cigarette manufacturers in terms of packaging size and pricing (among the methods employed to reduce young people from starting to smoke since they could never afford such an expensive hobby to start with) I've attached a screen-shot of the news below.
Click to enlarge


The thing is, while what the government is trying to do to protect the people from the dangers of smoking, little do they know that there are ways employed to manoeuvre around this minimum 20 sticks rule. Well, maybe they do, but they have probably decided to overlook it until someone brings it up. 

I've actually even witnessed this (ahem!) clever act by 2 separate entities. One was a few years ago at the canteen in my workplace where the canteen operator *sold individual sticks all the time to the guys at work, and the second time was just about 2 weeks ago while I was lining up to pay for my food at a nearby Mamak where one of the customers in front of me bought an individual stick from the cashier. So, if the young people the government is trying to protect can't afford 20 sticks in one go, who is to say they can't afford a single stick from a packet opened by some devious business people?

*This might be illegal (it is in the US, but I can't find info about Malaysia)

17 comments:

  1. those who want to smoke, will still do. nothing can stop them. combined with irresponsible business owners, there are always ways. in rawang, they sell cheap liquour in cola bottles to school boys. they do a lot more disgusting things to kids to get them into drugs.

    but that's a good question though - if individual sticks were illegal here.

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    1. Yes, I've noticed that those who want to smoke/or who have already started continue to do despite all the campaigns and price increase (I think they end up going for Kretek - also illegal?)

      I had no idea the business owners did such things with liquor, though. So sad :(

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  2. In Australia we've just introduced plain packaging for all cigarette packets. The idea behind it is to encourage people to quit smoking and deter teenagers from taking up the habit.

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    1. I heard about it over the news a few days ago. Apparently, the govt is interested in following the Australian system of using plain packaging.

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  3. There are discussions here about introducing plain packaging and they are always increasing the price.

    Critics say plain packaging will make cigarettes even easier to counterfeit - there is already a trade in branded counterfeit cigarettes. Increasing the price they say, just encourages the black market in cigarettes from countries with lower prices.

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    1. It's an interesting idea, but I tend to agree with the critics in this respect. The counterfeit cigarette business will be one who gets all the profit.

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  4. I agree with Jaya J, those who want to smoke will do so no matter how much you raised the price. If the government is really serious, they should just ban smoking altogether ... oh wait, the bloody ministers themselves smoke!

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    1. The New Zealand way. I heard there were plans to make NZ a smoke free area.

      Perhaps an outright ban is a bit extreme, but they seriously should make it more fool proof. I hope someone reads this and bans the individual stick sales.

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  5. Yeah the only way to stop it is to get rid of cigarettes altogether, but that wont happed because they'll lose too much $$$.

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    1. And people working there would lose their jobs as well. :(

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  6. They taxed them pretty good a few years ago. I loved hearing smokers complain. My father died from smoking so I have no tolerance for the habit.

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    1. Yup, cigarette taxes keep going up. Sorry to hear about your father.

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  7. That's probably illegal but that never stopped people from doing other illegal activities.

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    1. That's true, people always find a way around it

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  8. i'd agree with you. but i guess we can't just stop ciggy with no reason :(

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    1. Probably not. The economic consequences are just too huge.

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  9. Seems like legislation is changing (slowly but surely) all over the world. Soon it won't be possible to smoke anywhere except in your own home (well that's here in SA).

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