Behind the veil in the Tobacco wars

A Macleans editorial points out that governments’ attitude (at several levels) is hypocritical. That’s what happens when you go light on facts, and heavy on political correctness. The wonder is the politicos think, we presume, that we haven’t noticed. Insulted, we are, as Yoda would say.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty revealed this particular version of political science recently when he was explaining his government’s looming ban on “power walls” — retail displays of cigarettes behind the counters of corner stores. “Science has demonstrated that these power walls are effective at enticing kids [to smoke],” he told reporters this week, “so we want to get beyond that.”

The only science involved here is political science.

Stores that sell cigarettes must not only hide their product from view, but place it in a “single-package dispensing gravity-fed device” with an opening one foot high by two feet wide that can only be seen by the store clerk. In the name of science we are to believe that, like the sight of a lady’s ankle in a previous era, the mere glimpse of a pack of cigarettes will bring on a paroxysm of uncontrollable urges. This isn’t science, it’s political symbolism.

Yes, indeed. The equivalent of a burqua is mandated for the tobacco siren, whose come hither look is too enticing for young Canadians. Meanwhile her twin sisters- alcohol and gambling- are allowed to prance around in the equivalent of skimpy skirts, with navel, thong and whatever else on full display.

Besides regulating tobacco sales, Ontario also has a hand in a few other addictive habits, like gambling and booze. The hugely profitable government-owned Liquor Control Board of Ontario is one of the largest individual purchasers of alcoholic beverages in the world, with a provincial monopoly in hard liquor and dominance in the wine business. LCBO customers are treated to lavish boutique-style stores, Air Miles and even a free glossy magazine. One thing you won’t see in an LCBO: a single-package dispensing gravity-fed device. [link to source]

Nova Scotia is no different. Do they hide VLT’s behind regulated cabinets so their enticing blinking lights are hidden to susceptible eyes? Are our Liquor stores obliged to have tinted windows so dark that no peeping teen can see the temptations within. Why not?

We are not for restricting displays of these products. We are pointing out that governments must think past expedient and popular fascism.


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