Friday, April 22, 2005

Monkey See, Monkey Do

The chronic meddling agency here in London, so equitably named the Middlesex Health Unit, continues to take over the role of parenting. Seems the folks working for the unit want to be on par with the police as they are sending out spys in hopes of trapping unsuspecting clerks selling cigarettes to minors.

They're baby-faced, 17 and the Middlesex-London Health Unit's best defence against cigarette sales to minors. A pair of teenage "test shoppers" -- who must look their age to be hired -- are sent out annually by the health unit to see how many local shops are breaking a provincial law by selling tobacco to customers younger than 19.

In 2004, the would-be smokers brought back numbers that have irked Middlesex-London's chronic disease prevention department.

The number of local stores that sold cigarettes to the tobacco-testing teens rose by about 50 per cent over 2003.

"We're very concerned," said Mary Lou Albanese, the health unit manager, who ran the compliance checks. "We have to figure out . . . how we can work with the vendors.

"Is it an education problem or what is the issue?"
The issue is people like you who help to enforce arbitrary and unjust laws imposed upon us by medding and crooked bureaucrats. Next the sale of junk food will be restricted to those over the age of 19. You got ID for those frito-lays? From an article on the 'epidemic' of childhood obesity:
Childhood obesity has become such a threat to public health that it could reverse the last half-century's gains in reducing cardiovascular disease and death, the heart association said.
The not so free press, in a weak attempt at a balanced viewpoint, does print a slightly dissenting opinion. But don't forget dear reader, Bryans is a business person, meaning an evil capitalist looking to make money by sacrificing the health of the nation:
Ontario Convenience Store Association's director, local health officials should focus on working with store keepers, not secretly testing them.

"They're trying to make retailers look like they can't comply," said Dave Bryans, who represents about 6,000 convenience stores and gas bars.

Giving minors a different-coloured driver's licence would immediately help the clerks, many of whom are new Canadians, Bryans said.
I don't understand this comment actually. The non-compliant merchants didn't ask the spys for id in the first place. Further, I would hope that people employed to handle money could do basic math and so figure out the age of a person from their date of birth which is easily obtained from a quick glance at a driver's licence. As usual, the Free Press presents the worst and weakest arguments against the doings of government nanny agencies like the Middlesex Health Unit.

Alas, not even chimps have the right to smoke these days.

He started smoking after picking up a pack of cigarettes that were thrown into his enclosure.

"Charley's picked up the habit from watching people. He learns from mimicry," zookeeper Daryl Barnes told CBS News.

The chimp is now apparently addicted [. . .]

"He's getting older," said Mr Barnes. "And as he gets older, if he smokes, it'll damage his lungs."
Hat tip to Nealenews for the smoking chimp story.


basil said...

Gotta monkey on my back!

Mike said...

This is inspiring! Has science yet found a way to administer tobacco to big cats, piranha, or packs of dogs?

Until these breakthroughs occur, I say we use what science we do have to help the community and the hospitality industry. Let's examine the skill of prospective tobacco control officers by having them try to take away smokes from twitchy big apes.

We should take care, however, that only the finest, most dedicated, most selfless applicants with true callings to be tobacco enforcers get that far in the interview process.