Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Aussie tobacco-growing industry disappears

The Australian tobacco-growing industry has ended with an industry-government buyout of all producers. All cigarette products consumed in Australia will now be imported. The advantage for the anti-smoking lobby is that the price of illegally-grown tobacco ('chop-chop') will increase so taxes levied on legally-sold cigarettes will have a bigger impact in reducing smoking and its health costs.

Of course the illegal tobacco-growing industry in Australia might expand when the possibility of illegally diverting supplies from legal tobacco growers ends. Also, some illegal tobacco might be imported. There might also be the substitution of herbs (marijuana?) and other products for legal tobacco which will lead to yet another round of discussions on health effects.

Indeed, on substitutions I was interested to read in W.J. Peasley's enthralling The Last of the Nomads that the desert-based nomadic aboriginals in WA collected their own native tobacco from the bush which they chewed and stored behind their ear for repeated consumption.

Update: I checked on commenter FXH's query and it does seem, apart from the ACCC exemption, to be illegal to grow tobacco - not just to sell it.


Francis Xavier Holden said...

I was of the impression that it wasn't illegal to grow tobacco only to sell it. A bit like home made beer.

I seem to remember it wasn't that difficult to grow tobacco either, easy to dry and the dried leaf was ok to smoke, especially if chopped up with a bunch of ground cloves.

Sam Ward said...

Marijuana is even easier to grow, but needs a bit more work if it's actually going to be any good for smoking.

I wonder what ancient crop will be banned next? Barley, because of it's use in beer and whiskey?

I'm sure Harry will tell us. What is the most evil plant in Australia now?

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