This must count as one of the most bizarre and moronic headlines of all times … and I took a screenshot from the Irish Times just to document it:
The newspaper just shortened what a Labour parliamentarian actually said. Here is the text bit:
During a discussion of pre-budget submissions with a range of health interest groups, Labour TD Kevin Humphreys said the rise in the price of cigarettes in shops was forcing people to either buy smuggled or counterfeit products or go without essential items.
Okay, so you smoke … and obviously you don’t want to spend too much money on it, don’t we all? So you buy cheap cigarettes (in Germany the proletarian choice used to be “Boston” from Aldi, as far as I can remember), succumb to the temptation of a dodgy guy in a doorway selling smuggled stuff. Counterfeit cigarettes would be smuggled too, I guess, so that is redundant.
But then you decide – “shall I have breakfast or a ciggie?”
Notice the word DECIDE? It is the individual’s decision to skimp on food or personal hygiene to buy whatever he or she craves – legal or illegal drugs, doesn’t matter. Cigarettes are legal. And they have a hefty tax burden. All true. But it is a conscious decision to smoke.
So, if you can’t afford your Weetabix because the Marlboros have gone up in price … simply stop smoking.
To make this an issue in a discussion on taxes is simply an argument too far.