THE old reliables had mixed fortunes in last Tuesday’s budget. Booze was left alone, while cigarettes went up 40c a packet. Isn’t it gas how these two highly dangerous drugs are known as "the old reliables", as if they were a beloved caberet duo on a never-ending tour across the country?
One of the old reliables will probably kill, or seriously harm, half of the people who ingest it regularly. The other provides relaxation of a very agreeable hue when used properly, but is often abused, leading to a whole range of of societal problems. Maybe because the old reliables offer comfort, albeit fleetingly, their outstanding feature is the power of their purveyors. We have long been aware of the power of the alcohol industry, in all its guises. But what has come to the fore in recent months is the power of those who manufacture cigarettes.