Apparently the government is concerned for the general health of people in New Zealand. Apparently, an expression of this concern is the roll out of policy initiatives that will result in New Zealand being smoke free by 2025.
As a fairly heavy smoker of some years, I have no problem with the stated goal. In fact I welcome it. But here’s the thing – the government obviously doesn’t give a shit about the general health and well being of people in New Zealand.
Last July I wrote a post outlining a strategy that would go a long way towards the government achieving a smoke free New Zealand. I stand by what was said then given the information I had to hand.
Currently available Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRTs) such as gum, patches or inhalers are bloody expensive (really, not much cheaper than smoking) and just don’t address the many incidental pleasures and habits involved in smoking. In fact, they seem to only adequately address the desire of pharmaceutical companies to spin vast profits from selling overpriced sources of nicotine to nicotine addicts.
The long and the short of current government policies is to reward pharmaceutical manufacturers by pushing a captive market their way while financially punishing and socially vilifying the addicts who comprise that potential market.
A couple of weeks ago I sourced two electronic delivery units and enough nicotine to last well over a year at my currently high nicotine consumption rates. Taking everything into account (units, nicotine, carrier solution, postage etc) costs work out at somewhere between $2 and $3 per week over the next year as opposed to the weekly $50 or $60 (and rising) of smoking or buying existent NRTs every week.
So here’s a system where all the attendant pleasures and habits formally associated with smoking remain; a system where the health concerns have been eliminated. And because the user is able to determine the dosage of nicotine, the amount of nicotine can be incrementally reduced to zero at a pace that suits the user.
And what has this government done? You guessed it. A system that has no known (and very likely will have no known) negative health effects that puts former smokers firmly in control of their nicotine use has been fucking well banned from retail sale.
The excuse is that nicotine is a medicine. (Except when it’s sold as tobacco of course.) Which is nice for the government’s ongoing take of tobacco tax and nice for pharmaceuticals looking to gouge the very people the government claims to be concerned about.