The vast amounts of tax the Government imposes on those of us considerate enough to avoid the NHS having to treating us for Alzheimers and other diseases associated with longevity, means that 1 in 5 packets of fags bought in the UK are now smuggled. Here in Clerkenwell I have a dilemma.
My retailer of choice knows me well and when I enter and point below the counter I am usually offered a packet of finest Polish or Vietnamese Marlboro Light at £6.50 a pop. But occassionally the under the counter stocks run out and after a shake of the head I am offered legit fags at £9.69.
At that point I am too embarrassed to say “no I only buy cheap smuggled fags” and I cough up the full amount. I do so knowing that with its economies of scale the Sainsbury’s local sells the same packet at £9.44.
On the basis that 7 times out of ten the true free marketeers do have Polish or Vietnamese in stock, it is my outlet of choice. And a Government that allows its liberal - as in oppressive and illiberal - morality to overide economc common sense with regards to tax policy, loses out again and the criminals prosper.