Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Curious developments in Hungary

Rumours of this reached me a couple of weeks ago and the story is being confirmed through a secretly made tape as well as denied officially while investigated by the public prosecutor. So, provisionally, we might say it is true.

Like most European countries, Hungary has been trying to control smoking in public and has now moved towards controlling the sale of tobacco products, allegedly, in order to wean young people away from smoking.

Unfortunately, as this story makes clear, there are problems in the system. There are now far fewer outlets and all those who had sold tobacco in the past had to apply for licence. Astonishingly, licences were awarded to people close to the ruling Fidesz party, often, as in the case of the town described in this article Szekszárd, people directly related to those in power.


  1. The whole business of tobacco control is fraught with corruption. For instance the new EU tobacco products directive which will effectively outlaw e-cigs is not a little to do with the lobbying of big pharma trying to defend their nicotine replacement therapy business.

    It could never be any other way of course, when you try and deprive large numbers of people of a product they want, as has been demonstrated throughout history.

    I see Theresa May, against the advise of her advisers (why bother having them) is banning khat. Opening up a great opportunity for Al-Qaeda to get a new funding stream as the trade is forced underground.

    Bring back smoky pubs I say.

  2. I was going to agree with you until that last comment, Ian. But I expect that is why you put it in. After all, it is hardly relevant to anything.