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Booze and butts a human right, drug commissioner says
Photo: DPA

Booze and butts a human right, drug commissioner says

Published: 09 Sep 2010 10:25 GMT+02:00
Updated: 09 Sep 2010 10:25 GMT+02:00

Germany’s drug policy commissioner Mechthild Dyckmans defended welfare allowances for alcohol and cigarettes on Thursday, saying that little indulgences were a human right.

“Clearly there is room for luxury items in benefits for the long-term unemployed,” Dyckmans told Dresden daily Sächsische Zeitung.

The pro-business Free Democrat said that those who believe Hartz IV welfare recipients shouldn’t be able to drink and smoke is “simply being populist.”

But temperateness remains an important factor, she said.

“From a health perspective every person – including Hartz IV recipients – should not smoke and only drink moderately,” she told the paper.

Dyckmans also rejected the recent suggestions to increase taxes on cigarettes.

“Regarding the tobacco tax we first need to create a level playing field,” she said. “Many smokers have moved to fine-cut rolling tobacco and roll their own cigarettes now, because it’s cheaper due to the lower taxes.”

Instead of raising the tax on a pack of smokes, the government should instead insure that cigarette smuggling is reduced to insure that they are paid at all, she told the paper.

The goal of hiking taxes should not be filling government coffers, but rather creating an incentive for healthier living, she said.

DAPD/ka

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:30 September 9, 2010 by William Thirteen
how about they just decide on the amount and let the individuals spend it as they will....
12:34 September 9, 2010 by auslanderus
so the Goverment says it's ok to drink beer and will pay for it....How will that side when that person kills someone while driving drunk? Will the Goverment say sorry? What about getting cancer from smokeing, will they also say sorry?
13:29 September 9, 2010 by freechoice
yeah what about our rights to fresh air and not be assaulted by drunkards?
15:18 September 9, 2010 by MichaelMolenaar
Why not have welfare for wine, chocolate, fancy cars, golf trips, new computers, or a new television?

After all, they've EARNED it.

RIGHT GUYS? RIGHT?
18:57 September 9, 2010 by William Thirteen
i love how unfortunates become everyone's scapegoat...
19:57 September 9, 2010 by Bishopbayern
unfortunates? lazy articles more like. If they want luxury then they can work for it!
23:57 September 9, 2010 by wxman
If you're living on the dole, you aren't "entitled" to anything.
02:49 September 10, 2010 by sorochin
Finally a government official with a brain. Frau Dyckmans for Bundeskanzler!
08:20 September 10, 2010 by Keith_F
You have got to be kidding me. "little indulgences were a human right", only if you can afford them. Beer and Cigarettes are a luxury item, and if you can't afford it....you should not have it. There really needs to be a line drawn somewhere. Frau Dyckmans sounds like she is searching for the Hartz IV vote. Wake up Germany!
07:34 September 24, 2010 by JohnPaul44
This makes good economic sense to me. A Dutch study a few years ago showed that, since most medical costs come in the later years of life, if smokers actually did die 7 years soon than non-smokers, the resulting saving in old-age medical costs would exceed any alleged costs to society due to smoking. Economics is economics, folks! Now let's make sure they get plenty to eat, become obese, and die of that, which kills far more people than smoking.
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