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The cigarette crime spree

Written By: - Date published: 8:13 am, May 27th, 2017 - 74 comments
Categories: crime, drugs, health, law and "order", police, Tobacco - Tags: , , , ,

The cigarette crime spree is a real problem for National. It’s out of control

Police statistics for the year to February show a 3.9 per cent increase in theft, robbery and unlawful entry with intent or burglary.

The Herald on Sunday has found 128 tobacco-related hits on petrol stations, liquor stores and dairies since the beginning of last year. These were from media reports as police do not keep a record.

The actual number is likely to be higher.

Last Sunday 700 shopkeepers marched in Manukau, calling for more police on the streets and a review of the law to protect them from violent crime.

The news is full of recent accounts. This is what happens when increasing poverty meets addiction. People turn to desperate measures. The police have lost control – Violent robberies continue across New Zealand amid police reassurances for shop owners. Dairy owners are facing violence – Dairy robbery victim… ‘NZ is totally unsafe’. Someone will get killed – Dairy worker fears he will be killed over smokesShop owners fuming as tobacco-related robberies increase: ‘I will kill them’

How did we get to a place where dairies depend on selling a product that straight up kills people for a major part of their income? How do we fix this? No easy answers.

The government’s goal of eliminating cigarettes is the right one. But raising prices is too slow, and has now contributed to escalating crime – Dairy owners blame cigarette price hikes for robberies.

Ban cigarettes, find a way to compensate dairy owners for a transitional period. Or watch the problem keep getting worse, and cigarette related deaths continue.

74 comments on “The cigarette crime spree”

  1. greywarshark 1

    Ban cigarettes, find a way to compensate dairy owners for a transitional period. Or watch the problem keep getting worse, and cigarette related deaths continue.

    What a stupid idea. Banning something that some of the public desire, is a sure way to encourage crime. It appears that you are concerned about the crime that results from people wanting cigarettes that are made so expensive that they can’t afford them. Then your answer is to put cigarettes out of public reach and create another secret drug source, with all the drug user and supplier problems that we know already will accompany that.

    • The Chairman 1.1

      What a stupid idea indeed.

      It’s time to halt further tobacco tax increases and consider reversing past ones.

      • greywarshark 1.1.1

        Are you agreeing with me or being sarcastic Chairman?
        If you are agreeing with me, is there a way of discouraging people in the short term, from smoking without the swingeing price rises, which have an effect but which have lost their use by turning them into a high-priced object of desirability.
        They used to use them as prison tokens of exchange, and the removal of that I think has had a similar bad result of unintended consequences.

        Education is good health message diminishing usage, and limiting advertising, but psychological importance is overlooked.

        • The Chairman 1.1.1.1

          I genuinely agree with you the notion being put forward above is a stupid idea.

          The last two rounds of tobacco tax increases have led to attacks becoming far more prominent, thus halting further increases and considering to reverse past ones is the logical solution.

  2. Keith 2

    Increase poverty, increase inequality, reduce funding to the police for 9 years, then blame retailers for their victimisation.

    Brighter Future here we come.

    • Jono 2.1

      As empathy reduces in the upper classes so the same happens eventually in the lower classes watch this unfold. Soo there will be no empathy which inevitably brings out violent behaviour. Higher gated communities. This is partly what is happening here. We face a very uncertain future.

  3. Ad 3

    I think it’s time for the state to take over cigarette sales, to specific hospital outlets, like a methadone programme. It would make sense to concentrate such a service where the highest users of health services go already: Maori and Pacific people. It’s mostly Maori and Pacific people who smoke now:

    http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/snapshots-of-nz/nz-social-indicators/Home/Health/tobacco-smoking.aspx

    Of course, the hospitals would offer a choice of smoked cigarettes or liquid inhaled nicotine. Sure, those hospitals would need to be highly policed.

    Maybe in time that might lead to licensing of Marijuana resin as well, who knows.

    But above all let the state regulate an addiction problem, just like heroin.

  4. saveNZ 4

    Maybe something to do with the 93,000 people who are neither employed or on a benefit.

    Or the growing Meth problem. Apparently you can get a weeks supply for only $100. What happened to John Key’s war on P? Stopping NZ from being tenants in their own country?

    So many one liners that turned out even worse than when they said it, with the National party in charge.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      What happened to John Key’s war on P?

      A war on ‘p’, just like the ‘war on drugs’ wasn’t there to actually decrease us of ‘p’ or drugs in general but to increase profits for those that sold them and to justify an increase in the police budget. The latter did happen in NZ but not by it going to the police but by it going to the intelligence services.

      Stopping NZ from being tenants in their own country?

      That was never the plan. The plan all along was for NZers to become serfs to rich people be they NZers or foreigners and that plan is going according to plan.

  5. left_forward 5

    Its quite a simple solution for dairies really – develop a moral compass – only sell stuff that benefits people – don’t just do it for the money.

    • Foreign waka 5.1

      ??? High horse or what? Firstly, cigarettes are a legal product.
      If you really want to get stuck into the moral compass issue, please get to the alcohol first as this is the most widespread drug creating most of the damage. Perhaps make a tour of those hospital wards on Friday, Saturday night and to make it really stick listen for a while to all those women who had a bashing after their partner “just” had one too many – for the umpteen time. Ohh forgot, cheap stuff can get it everywhere!
      And, don’t bother, I am a non smoker.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1

        Firstly, cigarettes are a legal product.

        Does that really make selling them moral?

        • Foreign waka 5.1.1.1

          There are many “immoral” things so perhaps we should start with those which are really illegal, like meths.
          To propagate freedom and at the same time propose curtailing them is somewhat a misnomer and has been tried many times and all you get is fascism.

          • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.1

            That fails to answer the question.

            Specifically: Does legality imbue morality?

            • Foreign waka 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Of cause not, but you fail to see the quintessential moral to human nature. Political correctness will not supplant it – in fact it is an act of fascism in disguise. I would even go further, being a bloody minded European – as long as its legal its none of anyone’s business.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Of cause not

                That’s certainly a most straight answer…

                …although suspect that it’s a spelling mistake 😈

                but you fail to see the quintessential moral to human nature.

                And then prevarication based on the old human nature BS which assumes that human nature can’t change despite the fact that it obviously has over time.

                Political correctness will not supplant it – in fact it is an act of fascism in disguise.

                WTF is being politicly correct?

                I would even go further, being a bloody minded European – as long as its legal its none of anyone’s business.

                And that is a fundamental misunderstanding of the situation. It’s not a question of it being legal but if it should legal and under what conditions. It does, after all, affect other people.

                • Foreign waka

                  Lets just say that everybody has a right to do what the like to do as long as it is within the law. It called freedom and is in some countries protected by a constitution.
                  -Human nature is not the same as learned habits
                  – Political correctness is actually used to avoid to explicitly ostracize groups (i.e. smokers) but emphasizes the “correct” way of living etc. and in that way achieves the same as all bullies do in such obvious ways
                  – Whether a product ought to be legal or not has to be debated by everybody and in particular those who use is. In case of smokers, they have done nothing wrong – if their health is affected, it is their business. They do after all really pay dearly in many ways, not the least financially as we can see with the ongoing robberies of late.
                  As for smokers themselves – not he criminal kind – these days there are a lot less people who still smoke and many use the habit to deal with some sort of stress. Who am I to lecture them?
                  Live and let live is the credo I use as a bloody minded European.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Human nature is not the same as learned habits

                    Human nature is learned habits.

                    Political correctness is actually used to avoid to explicitly ostracize groups

                    Political Correctness is a load of bollocks used by the RWNJs to demonize the Left:

                    But soon enough, the term was rebranded by the right, who turned its meaning inside out. All of a sudden, instead of being a phrase that leftists used to check dogmatic tendencies within their movement, “political correctness” became a talking point for neoconservatives. They said that PC constituted a leftwing political programme that was seizing control of American universities and cultural institutions – and they were determined to stop it.

                    The right had been waging a campaign against liberal academics for more than a decade. Starting in the mid-1970s, a handful of conservative donors had funded the creation of dozens of new thinktanks and “training institutes” offering programmes in everything from “leadership” to broadcast journalism to direct-mail fundraising. They had endowed fellowships for conservative graduate students, postdoctoral positions and professorships at prestigious universities. Their stated goal was to challenge what they saw as the dominance of liberalism and attack left-leaning tendencies within the academy.

                    In case of smokers, they have done nothing wrong – if their health is affected, it is their business.

                    Second-hand smoke was a bigger killer than smoking directly.

                    As for smokers themselves – not he criminal kind – these days there are a lot less people who still smoke and many use the habit to deal with some sort of stress. Who am I to lecture them?

                    Which means that we need to be reducing the stress that they’re in. As that stress is most likely caused by the structure of society then we need to change society to remove those stressors.

                    Live and let live is the credo I use as a bloody minded European.

                    You may not have noticed but I tend to be in favour of the legalisation of recreational drugs.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Human nature is not the same as learned habits

                    Something fascinating happened after these male baboons died.

                    But it does prove that we’re not fated to behave any one certain way. We’re not.

                    And it suggests that culture might be just as important, if not more important, than biology.

                    Human nature isn’t fixed. We’re intelligent and we can choose.

      • left_forward 5.1.2

        ??? Over reaction or what? Firstly alcohol is a legal product…. etc, etc,
        Are you really so unaware of the personal, family and social tagedies caused by tobacco? If you try a little harder, you can’t miss that in our hospitals either.
        I acknowledge what you are saying about alcohol abuse, but the subject of the article is tobacco!
        Cheers DTB – excellent responses.

    • Bill 5.2

      The profit on cigarettes isn’t flash. Where dairy owners get their money is from the secondary purchases that people buying tobacco or cigarettes make – the loaf of bread, the coffee or whatever.

      If they stop selling tobacco or cigarettes, then customers who smoke make those secondary purchases at the petrol station or wherever else they’re getting their tobacco from.

      Are dairy margins enough to take that hit in custom?

  6. Bill 6

    Before the advent of vapourisers, tobacco smoking could have been knocked on the head over the life span of existing smokers through a scheme of registration and dispensation (a bit like methadone).

    Since the advent of vapourisers, all that’s required is for legislation legalising the sale of nicotine in solution to be passed…and get vapourising subsidised beside all the gum and patches and pills – not going to happen because “pharma”.

    Raising prices or slapping huge taxes on a product, in the hope the product will cease being used (whether tobacco or fossil) does not work. Studies have shown it does not and can not work. And here in NZ we have a real world application of market driven tosh that demonstrates that….it does not work.

    Legalise nicotine in solution. Addiction is catered to. Tobacco use plummets.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      Studies have shown it does not and can not work.

      [citation needed]

      Effects of Tobacco Taxation and Pricing on Smoking Behavior in High Risk Populations: A Knowledge Synthesis

      Most studies found that raising cigarette prices through increased taxes is a highly effective measure for reducing smoking among youth, young adults, and persons of low socioeconomic status. However, there is a striking lack of evidence about the impact of increasing cigarette prices on smoking behavior in heavy/long-term smokers, persons with a dual diagnosis and Aboriginals.

      Raising Cigarette Taxes Reduces Smoking, Especially Among Kids (and the cigarette companies know it)

      Based on a comprehensive review of evidence, the Surgeon General has called raising prices on cigarettes “one of the most effec
      tive tobacco control interventions” because increasing price is proven to reduce
      smoking, especially among kids.1 However, the cigarette companies have opposed tobacco tax increases by arguing that raising cigarette prices would not reduce adult or youth smoking. But the companies’ internal documents, disclosed in the tobacco lawsuits, show that they know very well that raising cigarette prices is one of the most effective ways to prevent and reduce smoking, especially among kids.

      Most effective way to reduce smoking? Increase price of cigarettes, study says

      The single most effective way to reduce smoking – along with the millions of deaths it causes – is to dramatically increase the price of cigarettes.

      That is the conclusion of a new study that calls for a tripling of tobacco taxes and a doubling of the price of a pack of cigarettes in much of the world.

      • Bill 6.1.1

        I think what both you and Weka (below) may be over-looking is that there was not a claim made that pricing mechanisms have no effect, but that that they will not and cannot lead to precipitous drops in short time scales (eg – 20 years or so).

        Anyway. Here’s some of the links and sources on all this from a post I did a while back.

        Note in the linked graph, the reasonably similar rate of decrease for adults from before and after the introduction of price hikes.

        Between 2006/2007 and 2013/2014, the proportion of the population who were current smokers decreased 2.8 percentage points. (source MSD)

        Study on the effect of a carbon price of about $500/tonne (25% reduction and not a skerrick of equity)

        That $500 is about 20x the price set in Australia that delivered a 1.4% reduction in an environment awash with ‘low hanging fruit’ btw.

        Taxes and prices do not and can not result in a behaviour or habit being extinguished – pun intended. 😉

        edit – correction – a $500/tonne cost attached to aviation fuel leads to a 25% increase in the cost of fares, not a 25% reduction in anything.

        • Andre 6.1.1.1

          Bill, you have seriously misrepresented that study you linked about the effect of a carbon price. That study looks at the effect on aviation only, for which there is no viable substitute for liquid fuels.

          It does not examine the effect of a carbon price on the use of coal for electricity generation, nor gas for electricity generation, nor liquid fuels for ground-based transport, nor fossil fuel users for process heat. All of those have viable alternatives to fossil fuels, and those alternatives would become very attractive at a carbon price of $500/tonne.

          • weka 6.1.1.1.1

            thanks for that. I remain unconvinced that carbon taxes *can’t ever work.

            • Andre 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Carbon taxes on their own will only do a little bit and shouldn’t be expected to be a magic bullet. But as part of a broader approach they can make a substantial contribution to reducing emissions.

              • weka

                That is what I would expect, and that is what happened with smoking too. No single tools.

              • Bill

                Do they do “a little bit” or make “a substantial contribution” – which is it?
                It can’t be both.

                You’re suggesting that the efficacy of price mechanisms suddenly increases from “a little” to “substantial” in the presence of other non-price mechanism strategies. Would love to see you explain that wee piece of magic!

                • Andre

                  For just one example, if I were in the market for a replacement for my daily drive car, there’s no question I’d get a used Nissan Leaf and live with the limitations of it’s short range. Because I still also own my Land Rover for the rare occasions I need to carry a lot of passengers or cargo, it could also substitute in for trips where a Leaf wouldn’t have enough range.

                  But if the government were to make the investment into nationwide in-road inductive charging for moving vehicles, then there would be no reason whatsoever to retain a vehicle fuelled by dinosaur juice because electric vehicles would then effectively have unlimited range, just like dinosaur vehicles. Then increasing the price of fossil fuels via carbon taxes would have a much stronger effect in getting people to migrate to electric.

                  • Bill

                    Uh-huh.

                    So putting aside any and all embedded carbon associated with the manufacture of these fleets of electric cars and the logistics of laying in all those charging points, and the logistics of increasing ‘grid’ capacity to deal with the electrical needs of those cars…

                    …if you’re rich enough to be able to afford a spanking new electric vehicle, then that’s just grand, whereas if you aren’t, and have to continue to rely on “a dinosaur vehicle” that is suddenly attracting costs you just can’t cover and so wind up with no means of transport…

                    how’s a carbon tax encouraging poor people to shift to electric vehicles again?

                    Looks to me like it’s a case of hammer the poor (just like tobacco) and ‘I’m all right Jack, fu’.

          • Bill 6.1.1.1.2

            You making out you read and digested that entire report in a little over five minutes?

            Yes, it’s aviation. What are these earth shattering differences between aviation and other fossil sectors that make aviation ‘special’ and not representative?

            Viable substitutes such as… “the promised “green” fuel for powering flights of the future (that) has been quietly shelved in favour of biofuels and more fossil fuel-sipping aviation.” as reported on BBC in 2010, some twenty fucking years after the alternative to fossil had been trialed and found viable?

            Is it that which makes aviation special?

            • Andre 6.1.1.1.2.1

              What makes aviation special and unable to use current alternatives is the energy density of liquid fuels is absolutely critical for aviation, but much less so or not at all for any ground based energy user.

              Aviation fuel has an energy content of around 45 MJ/kg, and an aircraft configured for a maximum range flight has a take-off mass that is around 50% fuel. So a fueled-up loaded aircraft sitting on the runway ready for takeoff has an average energy density of around 20 to 25 MJ/kg. The next highest energy dense fuel I’m aware of is hydrogen, and the best figure I’ve seen for hydrogen including the storage tanks is 11 MJ/kg. So that loaded plane ready for takeoff has a net energy density double that of a full hydrogen tank.

              Whereas automobiles, buses, local trucks are all viable using batteries that have energy density at best 0.9 MJ/kg. Plus there’s technologies available for on-the-move recharging or quick-swap battery changes. Not to mention they can also mostly swap to electric powered rail.

              A fixed thermal power station or cement plant or whatever just doesn’t care what the energy density coming in is, whether it’s biomass, refuse, coal, gas electricity. All that matters is getting the energy needed at the lowest price.

              • Bill

                You didn’t look at the links, did you?

                Go look at the links. Hydrogen is a viable fuel for aircraft. It was done way back in ’88 with large aircraft. Would it mean halving flight distances? if so, so what!

                • Andre

                  Until the price of fossil fuels goes up dramatically, there’s no good business reason to spend the money developing alternatives.

                  In the late noughties, pre-GFC, the price of oil went up to over $100/barrel. You may have remembered? As the price of oil tracked up, I saw a corresponding increase in engineering efforts towards reducing fuel use, whether that was lightweighting aircraft and vehicles, trialling Flettner rotors and kites on ships etc. It was really noticeable how quickly those efforts scaled back when the oil price dropped.

                  The quickest and surest and most politically acceptable way to make sure the price of fossil fuels goes up and stays up is to tax their harmful emissions. Then fossil fuel users will have a serious bottom line interest in going to something else.

                  • Bill

                    So you’re back to a price mechanism as a central plank of policy in spite of acknowledging, just up yonder…

                    Carbon taxes on their own will only do a little bit and shouldn’t be expected to be a magic bullet. 🙄

        • weka 6.1.1.2

          I think your time frames are too short. Go back to 1970 and compare over time (in NZ) with introduction of various policies and changes of govt. When I was around this in the early 90s, the plan was to make changes over a long period of time. When they started in the 80s the idea of banning smoking in public places was hugely resisted so the health authorities recognised that they needed a long term strategy. The law was changed at least twice because of that i.e. they couldn’t do it quickly. Education over a long period of time was part of that. So were price hikes, but that is also about revenue generation for Health.

          I agree with you that taxation alone can’t change things fast. I don’t think anything can in terms of reducing rates (bearing in mind the MoH wants cessation not just swapping form) because nicotine is highly addictive, and we create conditions where people need to self-medicate. But that’s a different thing than cigarettes in dairies. And if the govt wanted to, it could go down the registration/dispensing route (well, not this govt obviously) either as is, or alongside vaping. It wouldn’t surprise me if we saw some movement on this over a 2 or 3 term Labour govt.

          • Bill 6.1.1.2.1

            I think your time frames are too short.

            Not mine. They are the governments’.

            And of course there are measures that can “change things that fast” (20 years). Just not pricing mechanisms. At best they can play a peripheral role, and at worst delay the adoption of efficacious measures until even those measures would not work due to impossibly tight time constrainst. (eg – in relation to fossil)

            • weka 6.1.1.2.1.1

              You chose to look at that timeframe. I’m suggesting to get a better understanding of how smoking rates have decreased you need to look wider than that.

              I’ve not seen any realistic measures that could drop smoking rates fast. You’d have to Tory-proof them for a start.

              The price of cigarettes has been a factor for many people giving up. I just can’t see how that is peripheral.

              • Bill

                If you can’t see how it’s peripheral, then I can only suspect that you haven’t looked at the multiple links I’ve provided that focus on pricing mechanisms and their effects.

                • weka

                  true, I’m just going off the NZ experience. I have looked at your links in the past. Today I’m not looking again because like I said, the timeframes you are using are too short. But we are probably arguing about different things. I think that price does have a useful effect when done alongside other measures, but that it’s unethical. You say that the effect is meaningless in the sense that it can’t be relied upon to exert enough influence fast enough especially as a single tool.

                  • Bill

                    Smoke Free by 2025 is the government’s time frame. And within that time frame they reckoned they’d succeed by using a pricing mechanism as a central plank of policy.

                    The trajectory shown on the graphs isn’t even close to achieving that. And meanwhile, all we hear from ASH and their ilk, are cries to raise the price higher, faster.

                    I agree that if the policy was geared to end smoking ‘in the never-never’, then price signals running in tandem with lots of other stuff would be kind of okay and the whole package would eventually be effective (on the proviso that the price signal doesn’t just hammer the poor).

                    • weka

                      I think pricing is unethical and it shouldn’t be done. We could be controlling smoking in far more equitable ways.

                      I was meaning back in the day, which is what I was talking about re timeframes (looking historically at what has worked), there was a multiple approach strategy and it had effect. I haven’t looked recently but the health system is a real mess including a lot of what goes on at the MoH. It wouldn’t at all surprise me if we are now in a situation where a neoliberal approach was being taken. Myself, I’d go with your idea about the registering/supply and give free access to stop smoking programs and support as well as the other stuff like education.

                      Taking cigarettes out of the way of kids seems an imperative (it’s preventing the uptake that is important). Not that that can be controlled in private spaces like a home, but not selling in dairies and such does seem smart in that sense. But I guess that would offend the free-marketeers.

                      There’s a whole thing around Māori rates being higher including uptake, and the other prongs for reduction affected Māori less so there was effort at making them more culturally appropriate. I haven’t looked at that for a long time either.

                      Then there is poverty and stress 🙁

        • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.3

          Note in the linked graph, the reasonably similar rate of decrease for adults from before and after the introduction of price hikes.

          I note that the graph doesn’t go back very far. It would be much better if it went back to the 1970s or before but I suspect that the necessary info isn’t available for that far back. Still, it should be able to go back to the 1990s or even the 1980s when massive tax increases were used to decrease smoking. This would give a better indication of what’s happening. It could be that we’ve now reached a level of diminishing returns for price increases having the same effect.

          Study on the effect of a carbon price of about $500/tonne (25% reduction and not a skerrick of equity)

          That’s comparing apples and oranges. Because of the way we’ve structured society each of us need to use carbon based fuels and so increasing their price doesn’t have the same effect as increasing something that’s purely voluntary.

          Taxes and prices do not and can not result in a behaviour or habit being extinguished – pun intended.

          And it’s still a load of bollocks. Indications are that it has had an effect:

          Tobacco consumption in New Zealand peaked in the mid-1970s when 60% of the population were smokers. By 2011 that number had fallen to 20% of the population, thanks to stringent tobacco control laws which are amongst the world’s strictest.

          That part goes on about increasing stressors, such as increasing poverty, possibly having an effect on the number of people taking up smoking.

    • weka 6.2

      I think price and education and funding stop smoking programmes have been successful in lessening uptake and increasing cessation in NZ over the past 30+ years. So taxation does have an effect. Obviously it’s also punitive against class, and so I’m happy for it not to be used on that basis.

      Will smoke-free laws apply to vaping?

      • Bill 6.2.1

        Will what smoke free laws apply to vaping?

        At the moment I can vape in places where smoking is unlawful. It’s down to proprietors – their premises, their rules.

        • weka 6.2.1.1

          That’s what I mean. I would oppose making vaping more available on that basis. If it the smoke-free laws were applied, I’d support it.

          • Bill 6.2.1.1.1

            On what basis?

            There is no secondary inhalation and no toxic particulates exhaled. Sitting passively in a temple burning incense would be far more risky to health. But whatever.

            • weka 6.2.1.1.1.1

              People with MCS will tell you that vaporised volatile oils will affect them similarly to cigarette smoke. That is secondary inhalation. Toxicity yet to be determined beyond that. But yeah, whatever, who cares.

              • Bill

                What’s MCS?

                And why would a substance as innocuous as condensing vegetable glycerin have an effect ‘similar to cigarette smoke’?

                • weka

                  Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. Some people with asthma will be affected too (those who react to smell). And the people who can’t walk down the laundry aisle at the supermarket.

                  If you want to limit vaping liquid to just vegetable glycerin, great. Take out all the flavouring and other bits, there is probably no issue with that side of it.

                  The glycol particulate thing, I think we will see over time once enough people having been using for long enough that better studies can be done. I’m seeing it being argued both ways presently.

                  • Bill

                    all the flavouring and other bits can be and often is just vegetable glycerin soluble volatiles (eg – coffee steeped in glycerin = coffee flavouring) and/or nicotine. Just saying.

                    • weka

                      I just had a quick look and liquid being advertised didn’t have ingredient lists, so lots of product being used no-one will know what is in it. And manufacturers can put in what they like until that gets regulated (I couldn’t tell if the FDA had moved on that yet or not).

                      But if you can smell the vapour then there is something there that is volatile. You might be fine with inhaling coffee flavouring, others react to it.

                      Some people react badly to incense burning too. Or perfume.

                      So I’m not sure what you mean by the use of the word ‘just’, because it implies that these are benign substances. For some people they don’t cause problems, for others they do. Just like acute smoke exposure.

                    • Bill

                      For ‘just’, read ‘only’ – as in numerical terms.

                      It was simply meant in response to your comment “all the flavourings and other bits” which might have suggested a huge array of different soluble chemicals were in a vapourising liquid.

                    • weka

                      ok, got it. The ‘etc’ was because I couldn’t find an actual ingredients list so am guessing what the range of flavourings are.

                    • In Vino

                      ‘Just’ is one of the most annoying words in the English language. It can mean ‘fair, according to justice.’ It can mean ‘precisely, exactly’. Or it can mean ‘only/simply’. This can cause confusion. I just hope we can achieve a just outcome from this debate, which is just about impossible to follow. It’s just not fair.

  7. millsy 7

    Or we could just get more police out on the beat. Have a map of all the dairies in each area and have cops check in on each store when they are out on patrol. Also have them trawl social media for any cheap smokes that people are selling.

  8. Sanctuary 8

    Dairy owners live on the smelly of an oily rag when it comes to margins. Cigarettes, like it or not, are a legal product that for a lot of small dairy owners make the margin that makes the job worth doing. Further, as “Mom and Pop” small businesses on struggle street from an ethnically based working class they are the natural constituents, the warp and woof, of any half decent Labour party.

    Therefore lecturing them from a position of middle class privilege about the moral peril of selling tobacco is to me a classic example of liberal capture of the left.

    Banning cigarettes will simply ruin peoples livelihoods and anyway, banning things never stopped anyone doing anything. More middle class morality imposed on everyone else.

    So far, “the left” has thrashed about hand wringing about these awful crimes while showing a nice liberal reluctance to impose more severe sentences and offering no real solutions other than talking down to the victims. As a consequence, ACT – the party of the elite which there has no qualms advocating the use of massive state violence to repress the criminal consequences of neoliberalism – has made all the running.

    Scale up and you’ve got UKIP capture of the British working class explained right thar.

    The answer isn’t that difficult. Stop lecturing people about how they make a legal income. Sympathise with the plight of the hard working little guy with aspirations of sending his kids to university, not indulge in victim blaming for daring to sell cancer sticks. And subsidise or fully fund the installation of secure vending machines in shops.

    • millsy 8.1

      Banning tobacco will probably create more violence, not less, as organised criminals move in to sell the product on the black market.

      If you ban tobacco, there is going to be another reason to rob dairies.

      As I said before, cops need to be more proactive in policing,

      • Craig H 8.1.1

        Agreed, banning tobacco will be about as effective as banning alcohol and marijuana i.e. completely ineffective and counterproductive.

      • The Chairman 8.1.2

        @ millsy & Craig H

        Yes and yes.

        Although, when it comes to more proactive policing, it may help with the problem, but it doesn’t address the cause (namely being the high cost of tobacco coupled with its addictive nature).

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      Sympathise with the plight of the hard working little guy with aspirations of sending his kids to university

      That’s what free education is for.

      And subsidise or fully fund the installation of secure vending machines in shops.

      How about we just make the dairies themselves state vendor machines and then simply hire a person to look after them?

  9. David Mac 9

    Fix the problem with legislation targeted at the Tobacco companies, not the retailers.

    Want to sell your products in NZ? It works like this….

    Tobacco companies to fund ATM type stand-alone vending machines at current tobacco outlets. EFTPOS swipe facility or feed cash in for the product to drop into a tray. Shopkeepers etc have no access to the machine, although their profit margin is to continue.

    Roving employees of the Tobacco company replenish the machines, clear cash takings and provide maintenance as necessary.

    Monthly statement and payment to the machine location provider from the Tobacco companies.

    • The Chairman 9.1

      Roving employees of tobacco companies replenishing the machines will then become the target, thus it really isn’t a fix. Moreover, smokers (purchasing smokes at these vending machines) may also become targets. With the frail and elderly most at risk.

      Storage facilities may also be targeted more.

      • David Mac 9.1.1

        Firstly, it moves the threat from the family operating the dairy to the wealthy tobacco companies. British tobacco et al will need to take measures to protect their employees. The visits will be random, the agent can monitor the machines via an ipad.

        As I understand it these crimes are being carried out by simple minded opportunistic young thieves that are often high. Are you suggesting they’ll stake-out a dairy for a number of days and nights? Can’t see it.

        Yes, tobacco warehousing would be fair game, just as it is now. Again, the responsibility for that security rests with the Tobacco companies. Move the threat from families trying to scratch out a living to the purveyors of tobacco.

        There aren’t that many elderly and frail people smoking, they’re dead.

        • The Chairman 9.1.1.1

          “Firstly, it moves the threat“

          Exactly! It merely shifts the problem failing to address the cause.

          Tobacco company employees have families too. And it may be their homes that become targeted.

          As the tax continues to increase and tobacco increases in value, it will attract more criminal attention. Stake-outs aren’t a far leap to anticipate.

          At the end of the day, the more costs you put on the supplier the more it will drive up the cost of the product – and that will result in more crime.

          It was tax increases that largely got us here, thus it’s time we all said enough is enough.

  10. weka 10

    Banning cigarettes outright would cause a lot of harm to addicts, so I can’t support Natwatch on that one.

    I also think that if people are robbing for money (which is how I understand it), then they’ll just switch to robbing something else for money. In which case banning cigarettes seems counterproductive and the dairy robbery issue shouldn’t be conflated with the health promotion issue.

  11. NewsFlash 11

    Banning cigarettes is NOT a solution because it does not deal with the underlying problem that leads to the petty crime of theft, here’s a hint of what the real issue is, unemployment, low wages, massive inequality, resolve these issues and the petty crime sprees will take care of themselves.

    National thinks it is economic to have a “low class of unemployed” that don’t receive or are ineligible for a benefit, but the cost of imprisonment per inmate is around $100k per year, then add the court costs, police time, and costs become exorbitant, if they simply paid a benefit that allowed individuals to live properly these costs to the tax payer would be much less and we would have a much healthier society.

    The mere fact that the police don’t record these incidents (so statistically crime rates are manipulated to look rosier than they really are) is a sham, and a way for National boast how effective their Law & Order strategy is, but if you look at effect of these crime sprees on individuals, most who have been affected would disagree.

    Under Clark, with low unemployment, crime rates were much lower and the Govt revenue was much higher, simple maths, but the Nats and their punitive attitude towards the bludgers of society cut their own balls off economically, just to look good, they’re just dumb, dumb and dumber.

  12. Michael 12

    “Ban cigarettes, find a way to compensate dairy owners for a transitional period.” No chance, with so many Nat MPs owned by Big Tobacco.

  13. BM 13

    All that need to happen is for dairy owners to keep a pump action behind the counter, once a few of these dairy robbing arseholes get cut in half and you’ll see a fairly rapid drop off in these sort of incidents.

    • weka 13.1

      That’s a sure way to get someone killed, and not necessarily the criminals.

      • Baza0 13.1.1

        True, that’s why the Police should offer the shopkeepers free training in the correct use of a shotgun. Mr Kumar getting stabbed to death should have led to a safety focus. Instead the evil killer kid is free already, and his mate in murder was never punished.

  14. Liberal Realist 14

    Banning cigarettes is a foolish idea that would create an overnight black market, provide a new revenue stream for gangs and so on.

    I’ve always thought the best possible way to encourage users to quit is to get rid of the addictive substance in the product. The government could legislate to enforce the gradual reduction of nicotine in cigarettes, say over 10 or 15 years. Once cigarettes reach zero nicotine the should still be sold (with the same or more stringent regulation) so not to remove freedom of choice.

    Vaping should also be promoted (and regulated) as a safer alternative, and as a subsidised cessation product.

    Personally, I tried all the cessation options that are subsidised. None of them worked for me. I gave vaping a try and never looked back.

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