Annual £10 Smoking license. Are they having a laugh?

I couldn’t believe it when I first saw the news stating that a Government health adviser has called for an annual £10 smoking license. I thought April 1st had come round early.

Click here to read the news article.

It makes me laugh how they assume that the majority of the general public are so stupid they wont question things like “Forcing smokers to apply for a £10 permit to buy cigarettes could help people to quit”.
So they’re trying to say that the £10 is nothing to do with milking smokers for a bit more money, but rather it’s for our health, our own good. I’m so glad that the government feel it is their duty to look out for me. I mean after all, they know what’s good for me better than I do, right? How thoughtful of them to think up this brilliant idea of charging me £10 more for the privilege of smoking. If I stop smoking in the future then I will be sure to thank them for their help and consideration of my health.

I wonder then, when this new smoking license actually becomes reality, will the cigarettes themselves be cheaper? I mean we already pay more tax on tobacco than almost any other country in the world.
No, of course not. I know the answer to my own question already. The £10 license fee will be on top of the current heavily taxed cost of tobacco. It wouldn’t work otherwise would it? Remember, it’s for our own good. It could help us to quit.
What about those who don’t particularly want to quit? They will still be subject to the fee.

The reality of it is that it has nothing to do with helping people quit. If someone wants to quit then they would do it. There are already enough patches, gums, pills & potions on the market to help people quit. Making it harder for people to afford to smoke isn’t really the best way to help someone quit in my opinion.
Their policy is that if we want to continue to smoke then we will have to pay whatever ridiculous charges they can dream up. Then in the face of it all they can fall back on the old ‘Well it’s for your own good’.

Allow me the indulgence of a quick rough calculation regarding how much money there is in tobacco. I must stress that this is very rough, but it makes the point adequately.

I will work with the UK alone.

UK population = approx 60 million (probably more)
Minus half that figure who are children (rough)
= 30 million population
Minus half that are non smokers (despite the claims, smokers are not in the minority, but for the purpose of this calculation we will assume half)
=15 million smoking population

1 packet of cigarettes is approximately £5 per packet.
If we assume that each smoker only smokes one packet a day.. (many people smoke more)
= £5 x 15 million
= £75 million a day.

Read it again… Seventy five million pounds a day. Most of which is tax.

And they have the cheek to treat us like dirt, like lepers or something unclean, refuse medical treatment to smokers etc.

Wanting to stop smoking and being forced to stop smoking are two completely different things.
What do they think is going to happen? Have they considered that people might just be getting a little fed up with all this constant bombardment of their rights? They obviously think that everyone is just going to accept what they do and keep on accepting it no matter how ridiculous it gets.
Surely I’m not the only one who can see how this might go. Have they considered the possibility that the tobacco trade will simply go underground?

That leads me nicely on to the next thing that I wanted to mention that is related to this subject.

WHO (World Health Organisation) wants treaty on illegal tobacco trade by 2010.

Click here to read the article.

Well isn’t that a bit of a problem? In one breath they want to force smokers to pay £10 for a license to smoke and in the next breath they state that they want to clamp down on illegal tobacco trade. Anyone see a problem with this?

The way I see it, if they are already realising that many people buy tobacco ‘illegally’ (and by illegally I assume they mean those people who buy from abroad and don’t pay the UK duty, which, as it always is in reality, the main problem, the money), how do they possibly think that by introducing a £10 fee to smoke is going to help this? Surely it is going to increase the problem.
Smokers who already pay an extortionate amount of tax on their cigarettes have been victimised over and over. Most recently the blanket ban on smoking in public places that serve food. That includes, pubs, restaurants, most workplaces now don’t allow it. This is still not enough for the anti groups. They now complain about all the people smoking outside the pubs and such and the subsequent cigarette butts scattered about outside. What do they expect? Do they really think that everyone is suddenly going to stop smoking just because they don’t like it? They had their little victory, but as is often the case that isn’t good enough. They will now push and push until they do remove other people’s rights completely. Well it’s time they shut up, people are fed up with being victimised and made to feel like lepers. Already one person’s rights have been removed to satisfy another’s, they should be happy with that and let it be.

The thing about this particular article that really annoys me (and again we see the same thing in so many cases) is the part where they say “The illicit tobacco trade is estimated to make up approximately 10 percent of global tobacco sales and costs governments between 40 and 50 billion dollars (27-34 billion euros) every year.”
That is absolute rubbish. It does not cost the government anything. Once again, the reality is that they lose the opportunity to make that amount of money. They cannot lose something they don’t already have. That is the amount of money they would make if everyone accepted their constant barrage of new rules & laws without question. When a good portion of the population don’t accept it and choose an alternative, they merely deny the government the chance to make that extra money. Basically an estimated revenue is affected by ‘illegal’ activities such as this ‘illicit trade of tobacco’. As usual they conveniently make laws to protect their rip-off tactics. So we have to pay them whatever they ask, for whatever reason they can dream up or we are deemed criminals.


National Lottery Website

Euro millions £95m

Lotto website.

I couldn’t get out of the house in time to buy a ticket for Euromillions which has a jackpot tonight (8th Feb 2008) of 95 million GBP, so I decided to buy my tickets online from the National Lottery website (which is the reason I decided to register with the site in the first place as I might not always be able to get out to buy a ticket).

When I tried to log in to the website I was presented with a message that said there seems to be a problem with the requested operation.

I persevered and eventually managed to get to the login page and entered my details. I was then presented with another error page.

I tried several times and actually managed to log in at one point. I was then told that my funds were below the required minimum and I would need to add funds. I clicked the button to add funds and enetered the amount and submitted it. Then I get yet another error message.

I tried again, this time I was told that my session has timed out and I needed to log in again.

Yes you guessed it, I couldn’t. 15 minutes I sat trying to log in to my account and still didn’t get anywhere.

“Service will be resumed shortly” they say on the website. When? After the draw most likely. Lot of good that will be.

I think this is disgusting that a company with as much money as they have cannot have a website capable of dealing with the amount of traffic that most people would expect from such a site.

Isn’t it obvious that by the nature of the website that a lot of people will be trying to access it on nights where the jackpot is very high? Isn’t that what the site is for?

So it looks as though many people will not even have the slim chance of wining this large amount of money because of the poorly set up website that should be able to cope easily with this amount of traffic.

If a company running a national lottery (or European lottery) cannot cope with the fact that most people in the country/countries will likely be trying to accessing the site at any given time then maybe they should upgrade their servers and or software or whatever the problem is, or failing that maybe they should consider a different business.

It is completely out of order and a major let down for everyone who relies on the site for the purchase of their tickets.
These people have no chance now of winning this large Jackpot.

I would imagine that many people will now put much less faith in the national lottery website.

And rightly so.
It is certainly true of me. I have little time for them now. A potentially life altering amount of money has been denied by their poorly organised system.

Are these people just content to keep grabbing the money as it rolls in? Well it would seem so wouldn’t it?
Why are they not prepared for this, they knew it was a rollover, they know it can only roll over 3 times and they know that when it’s a rollover that more people buy more tickets. So why has this come as such a surprise to them?

I am not a fan of the ‘sue them’ brigade or this age of litigation we currently live in, but in cases like this I think the company should be sued. They need to realise that they have commitments that they should uphold when they went into business.

Poorly organised and shoddy and wholly unfair for a very large amount of people.

I hope several people do sue them, I bet they wouldn’t make the same lame mistake again in a hurry.

For my part, if I don’t manage to get a ticket for this draw because of their poor management and lame excuses, I will never use the website again. I will consider not playing and will do what I can to discourage others.

Yeah right. The only thing that is likely to happen from those things I mentioned is that I wont use the website again, but even that is not likely to last long.
They know this, smug gits. They know that there is nothing people can do and if we decide to not play then we just make it easier for those who do play and it’s our own throats we cut.

It’s a common attitude these days, same as it is with employers and most other businesses around this country particularly.

Eventually, with 30 minutes left before the draw I get into the system and add my funds.

They accepted my fund transfer of 10GBP into their account from my bank. I went to the relevant game and chose my draws. I submit the draws and the system stops again. I’m then signed out and when I try to sign in again the system is back to it’s former crap self.

Quick enough to take my money though eh? Sorted the site out specially for that.

I intend to try and transfer the funds back to my bank now. I am fully expecting them to say it can’t be done. No doubt the funds can only be transferred into the Lotto account.
They will likely say that I should use the funds to play other games.
The thing is, I don’t want to play other games, I wanted to play that game.

Now if some kind person could pick my rattle up and throw it back in the pram I would be most grateful. 🙂