From the age of 16 until my late 30s I did my bit to raise the Government’s coffers by smoking at least a pack of cigs a day (at one point nearly two packs). It was only the choice between breathing and smoking that made me reconsider my position (and by hell it was a tough decision!). In all that time did Geoffrey Howe, Nigel Lawson, Kenneth Clarke, The Prince of Greyness, , Badger Lamont or Gordon Brown once thank me for paying more tax while reducing the amount of time I would draw a pension?
Russian counterpart Alexei Kudrin has announced increases in duty on alcohol and cigarettes, However the Telegraph reports that he has acknowledged the sterling, nay, STAKHANOVITE efforts of Russian smokers and barflies!
He is reported to have said that that by smoking a pack, “you are giving more to help solve social problems such as boosting demographics, developing other social services and upholding birth rates. People should understand: Those who drink, those who smoke are doing more to help the state,” he told the Interfax news agency.
Alcohol and cigarette consumption are already extremely high in Russia, where 65 per cent of men smoke and the average Russian consumes 18 litres of alcoholic beverages per year, mainly vodka, according to official statistics.
Duties on cigarettes are among the lowest in Europe, with most brands priced at around 40 roubles (85p) per pack and unfiltered cigarettes selling for much less.
Once again there you have it. Perhaps I should have been awarded at least an MBE for my past services to the Exchequer! Add to that the heroic amounts of alcohol I used to drink, especially while part of the Immigration Service and perhaps it should be upgraded to at least a CBE!
Strange even after the best part of 10 years of not smoking I still think that they float down from heaven on the wings of Cherubim… Until I smell one of the bloody things any way!