Drunken louts are acceptable, smokers are scorned

30/4/10

Yesterday’s front-page headlines ”Cigarettes up, and plain packaging compulsory to help stub out smoking” and ”Drunken troops in ‘schoolies’ binge” illustrate our inconsistent approach to these two social and health issues. Cigarettes, which rarely cause assaults, car accidents, family breakdowns or offensive behaviour, will soon cost more and may be marketed in plain packaging. On the same page is yet another story of ridiculous behaviour fuelled by alcohol abuse. Notably missing are any suggestions as to how to curb such behaviour. Perhaps we should increase the price of alcohol (you can buy a bottle of wine for $4, a cask for $10), or market it in plain wrapping, accompanied by health warnings and graphic pictures of car accidents, drunken brawls, drunks lying in their own vomit and excrement, and abandoned families. Imagine the reaction of the alcohol industry if a bottle of Moet had to be sold in such a way. I like neither smoking nor alcohol abuse but I would be interested to know the revenue from tobacco and alcohol and the social cost to society of both these legal products. I am not defending smoking, I am just appalled at the double standard. Jenny Wang Glebe.

See: More Letters: http://www.smh.com.au/national/letters/a-bid-to-save-lives–and-fill-government-coffers-20100429-twbo.html