Friday, 26 March 2010

The depth of lunacy.

Some smokers will know what that is. Especially those who venture into more exotic forms of smoking.

That is a pack of 'Rips', which is a continuous roll of rolling paper with gum along one edge. You pull out the length you want and rip it off. With this, you can make a quick two-puffer or something that needs a tripod to smoke. Any length of smoke you want.

Which kind of wrecks the latest Labour lunacy, spotted by Manwiddicombe, in which longer cigarettes are to be taxed as if each one was two. Or more than two, if they're really long. You could be paying double or triple duty on those Superkings.

From January 1 next year, any cigarette longer than 8cm – excluding the tip – will be treated as another cigarette and have extra duty slapped imposed on it. For each additional 3cm, or part thereof, it will be treated as yet another cigarette.

This means that a 12cm cigarette, for example, will be treated as three cigarettes.

Three centimetres or part thereof. That's the taxable unit of cigarette. If your favourite brand is 8.1 cm (excluding filter) you pay double duty. If it's 11.1 cm, you pay triple duty. For any fraction of 3 cm over your alloted tobacco ration you're going to pay another lot of duty. With VAT on top.

If you smoke long readymades, start practising rolling. You can get filters, even menthol ones, and there are a range of tobaccos available. They don't all taste the same.

Then get a pack of Rips and roll them as long as you like.

Oh, and find yourself one of those 'continent visitors' too. Packet tobacco seems more easily available than readymades, although that might be because I haven't looked for readymades. As the duty goes up and up, the range of tobacco with incomprehensible warnings on the pack will increase along with the price differential.

Soon it won't matter whether the UK stuff comes in grey packets from behind a screen. Nobody will be buying it from there.

If you live on the continent and feel like a visit to the UK, you will soon be able to fund your entire trip with a bag full of baccy.

The changes come as part of this week's Budget's "Enforcement and Compliance" measures. An HMRC spokesman said that the technical change "is designed to stop a tax avoidance method".

Tax avoidance? If you like longer cigarettes, you buy longer ones. If you don't like longer cigarettes, buying the long ones is silly because you'll just end up wasting half of it. Nobody smokes Superkings as a 'tax avoidance method'. They smoke them because they like them.

As for 'enforcement and compliance', Chancellor, you can ram that into a sunless orifice so hard that it will make your eyebrows change places. Then twist it. You are not there to enforce your personal morality on this country. You are there to run the infrastructure and enforce actual, real laws. Ones that make sense.

Compliance? Not from me, matey. You hate me, remember? You have declared war on me. You despise my smoking and drinking and salt and fat and practically everything else about me. You have empowered an army of fake-coughing whiners to insult and berate me whenever they feel like it and have left me no recourse in the face of this blatant discrimination. You have forced me outdoors and then followed me out there to berate me some more. Now you plan to follow me home and push me around inside my own house. Compliance? With the self-declared enemy? Never.

If, one day, I have to set up an indoor tobacco farm, I will do it and you are not dealing with a simple chav here. You won't find it, and any inspector who does find it will be fertilising it. When that day comes, just remember who started this war.

None of these 'enforced compliance' ideas will reduce smoking. None of them will prevent children taking it up. They will make tobacco irresistible to children because it will be the ultimate act of rebellion. How will they hear about it if it is hidden away? Dick Puddlecote has the answer. Every one of these measures will a) increase smoking prevalence, b) encourage children to experiment with smoking and c) reduce the income from duty.

If anyone feels like trying to explain this to an antismoker or a politician, be my guest. I prefer a softer wall to bang my head on.


Curmudgeon said...

It's a good thing you don't drive a car, as then he'd despise you even more. Especially if you smoked while driving it.

Anonymous said...

Spot on UBU
But what pillock brained slow learner still supports Alastair and Co by buying baccy with English on it, Anyone with two cogs in their watch can swoop over
to Spain or Belgium , save a mint
and stuff Brown&Darling in one

On Amber

Mark Wadsworth said...

Those Rips look like fun, but do they do them licorcie flavour? I got into licorice papers about ten years ago and I now hate the white ones, they're like smoking fresh air.*

* Or like smoking Silk Cut Light, or whatever your frame of reference is.

Angry Exile said...

Odd, but these days the thing I miss most about smoking is making a nice roll up with almost no creases. There's something almost therapeutic about rolling smokes, or maybe it's just me. Also probably really annoying for the righteous since all you're doing is rolling the things, and it's hard to be taken seriously if you get your cock in a knot about a bunch of unlit cigarettes.

Leg-iron said...

Curmudgeon, I'm still considering buying a wreck. selling the engine and wheels but keeping it registered, then I'd SORN it and leave it in the garden as a greenhouse/smoking room.

Actually, I have been considering a greenhouse and a scrap people carrier might be a cheaper and quicker way to get one.

Leg-iron said...

Anon - fewer and fewer pay UK duty now. After this budget, it'll be fewer still.

Leg-iron said...

Mark - I haven't seen these in liquorice. Have you combined a liquorice paper with a menthol filter? It's a weird experience.

Leg-iron said...

Angry Exile - you can send their blood pressure through the roof by rolling a few while they watch. It's incredible how nervous some people now get at the mere sight of a cigarette.

I might take up pipe smoking again. I could sit with that dangling unlit from my mouth until one of them explodes.

Anonymous said...

I am a 'respectable' elderly lady who enjoys hand rolled cigarettes and I get quite a bit of pleasure in rolling my cigarettes after a meal in a restaurant ( I do make rather a mess on the table !!) I roll 2 or 3 (for the journey home) and delight in placing an unlit cigarette in my mouth (lighter at the ready) There are horrified looks of 'is she...isn't she' and the waiters usually look terrified. I leave the table and light my cigarette at the door as I walk out.
I also enjoy using my portable ashtray. I fill it up completely with cigarette ends and whenever I visit the ladies room in a restaurant I throw them everywhere.
If the bastards hadn't thrown me outside to smoke I would behave better.

Leg-iron said...

Anon - I'm convinced. I'll get one of those ashtrays.

A friend of mine was asked to leave a pub for having an unlit cigarette in his mouth. He had rolled it while chatting to someone and had it in his mouth while he finished the conversation - he had no intention of lighting it before he was outside.

The barmaid asked him to leave on the grounds 'he might light it'.

None of us have been back to that pub.

As for disposing of the contents of the ashtray in imaginative ways, well if they are going to treat us as filth, they cannot complain if we act like it.

We've already been repeatedly punished for it. Might as well make it worthwhile.

P.T. Barnum said...

Just back from another trip to Little Baghdad, aka Whitechapel. Ain't no one fake-coughing there since the streets are routinely filled with clusters of gossiping, chain smoking young men who belong to a high ranking suit in Victimhood Poker. Rather nice, actually, like the olden days...only outside.

Never occurred to me I could use the contents of my portable ashtray so creatively. I admire that and shall aspire to emulation.

Hmm, if you smoked outside a restaurant and then came back in and put the extinguished butt on your plate...

Mrs Rigby said...

"Hmm, if you smoked outside a restaurant and then came back in and put the extinguished butt on your plate..."

Yessssssssss! I like it! But no, I haven't.

Angry Exile said...

As I said the other day at Dick Poddlecote's, I'm beginning to feel almost guilty for giving up smoking and it's the bloody Righteous that are making me feel that way.

Mark Wadsworth said...

"Have you combined a liquorice paper with a menthol filter?" I don't like filters.

However, I'm glad I came back - the idea about what to do with the contents of a portable astray is pure unbridled genius.

carbchick said...

I rolled a few on the Tube once.

It was fun.

Snakey said...

It appears that in Spain the PTB are jumping on the anti smoking bandwagon as well and hiking up the prices. A pack of 10 x 50g of Drum was 24 euros last November. My mum came over to see me in December and brought some baccy with her for me - the price had jumped to 43 euros. It is currently 45 euros. She's bought some now (as she's coming over to see me in August) in case the prices jump again. Even though it is still half the price that baccy is here, Spain have seen that they can double the prices without anyone complaining. No doubt these rises will continue so that we in the UK will stop going abroad for our cheap tobacco.

Lost said...

"As for disposing of the contents of the ashtray in imaginative ways, well if they are going to treat us as filth, they cannot complain if we act like it".

Aircraft toilets, regular intervals though the flight sends the cabin crew nuts, they just can't understand why the smoke detector isn't working.

Older ban, but much fun.


Dave H said...

Better still, really stick two fingers up at them by putting the greenhouse to its' intended use:

(never tried it, as a non-smoker. My greenhouse provides lovely cherry tomatoes instead. Am seriously considering brewing my own beer again though. Or maybe I'll fractionally distill Tesco own-brand mouthwash (I have the right kit for this). Each to their own)

Anonymous said...

Dave H - tobacco grows perfectly well in England out of doors. A greenhouse is useful because tobacco needs a long growing season and you need to give the plants some protection at the beginning, before planting them out after the frosts.

I've grown the stuff for the last two years, usually sowing in Feb/March and planting out at the end of May. I've delayed it this year because autumn doesn't seem to arrive until at least mid-November which should give enough time to get them to flowering, which is when they're harvested.

If you can grow ornamental tobacco plants (nicotiana sps.) you can grow the smoking variety. It was a fairly common crop on allotments years ago.


Chief_Sceptic said...

Some very inventive people in here ! - I'm particularly tickled by the "smoke outside, but strew the remnants inside" idea ...

Now - 'to set out my stall' - I'm a lifetime non-smoker (call me an anti-smoker if it makes you feel better !) - who none the less enjoys the occasional cigar ...

I'd personally rather that people didn't use cigarette tobacco, but who the fuck am I to IMPOSE my views on anyone else ? ...

So, in future, I'm going to carry some cigars and a lighter with me at all times - cigar in mouth and lighter in hand, inside the pub - come back in and stuff the remnant on a plate or in a glass or crumble it all over the toilet floor ...

Oohhh, I can't wait ! ...

Anonymous said...


I'd really like to know what the difference is between cigar tobacco and cigarette tobacco?

(Second posting, so apologies if this appears twice.)

Leg-iron said...

Cigars and cigarettes are very different. To a smoker, rollups and cigarettes are very different and we all have our preferred brands.

Tobacco isn't one uniform plant. It's one species but with variations. Most tobacco producers use blends from different sources.

Rather like whisky blends - Stewarts' Cream of the Barley is very different to Famous Grouse, and Grant's is different again.

Cigars - don't quote me on this, I'm not sure - are to cigarettes as malt whiskies are to blends. It's all in the selection of the leaves.

The production is also very different. Cigars are big chunks of leaves rolled in more leaves. Cigarettes are shredded tobacco that's much more processed.

It's too late to go into detail but as a general-purpose smoker who sometimes likes a cigar, I can certainly tell the difference.

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