Hence why this news hasn't gone down very well amongst the prohibitionist community in America (emphases mine).
(Reuters) - As U.S. health regulators consider what rules to impose on electronic cigarettes, in their tally of costs and benefits they have placed a value on the lost pleasure consumers may suffer if they used the products less or not at all.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says in a little-noticed document released alongside its proposals for regulations in April that the projected benefits of the new rules, which also apply to cigars, hookahs and other vapor products, should be cut by 70 percent to account for the deprivation consumers would suffer.
That means if the agency puts a value of $100,000 on the longer and improved life that might be achieved by deterring someone from smoking, then it would cut that benefit assessment to $30,000 because of the pleasure they lost.
In a paper published online this year in the journal Health Economics, [the FDA] argued that guilty pleasures like junk food and alcohol are so enjoyable the benefits of reducing their use through regulation should be discounted by up to 99 percent.This is Kryptonite to the ban and denormalise brigade, since it destroys their long-constructed pretence that no-one actually enjoys what may be unhealthy for them. The historical way public health lobbyists have done this is to continually insist that everything you enjoy is addicting you, therefore there is no true enjoyment.
But here is the FDA actively recognising that there is a pleasure derived from smoking, vaping, drinking and fast food, and they've even put a percentage value on it.
Of course, it's only in prohibitionist circles where this is seen as something unusual. Economics tells us that even if professional prohibitionists gather up every conceivable fantasy 'cost' of any consumer product (many of which are not public costs at all) it still is often nowhere near the value we can put on the public's enjoyment as Timmy notes here with alcohol the example.
The value to the person purchasing the alcohol of purchasing the alcohol must be higher than the amount they spend on purchasing the alcohol. If it weren't, then they wouldn't purchase the alcohol now, would they?Nice to see, then, that the FDA are sticking to what happens in the real world - as opposed to the cloud cuckoo public health cabal one - and recognising that denying that consumer surplus exists is just a lame lobbying tactic.
Now yes, this might be diminished by the costs they also bear in cirrhosis, drunken fights and waking up to one of the Two Fat Slags on vomit stained pillows. And it would be right to take those costs into account as well. But as our first order estimate of the consumer benefit of alcohol our lower bound simply cannot be any lower than the amount that people are willing to spend on purchasing alcohol.
The BBC tells me that this number is £38 billion a year.
The UK alcohol market also enjoyed the biggest rise in value, with sales estimated at £38bn – up 15% since 1999.That’s a fairly large number to put against that £2.7 billion a year cost to the NHS (however strangely calculated that was).
The lame lobbiers, of course, are not at all happy.
Public health advocates are concerned about what will happen if agencies charged with protecting consumers also give considerable weight to the enjoyment people get from all kinds of things that have been a focus of regulation - from eating food containing trans fats to riding motorcycles without a helmet.Well, what might happen - horror of horrors - is that governments may begin considering that the public choose to live the way they do for good reason, and that the public's loss of quiet enjoyment of life and the products we buy bloody well ought to be the prime consideration when weighing up restrictions and bans. Not the demands of a tiny minority of shrieking public health tax leeches.
Perhaps if British politicians were also to instruct their government agencies to take account of our curtailed enjoyment when they are sizing up potential legislation - instead of ignoring the public and binge-legislating regardless - they might not be so vehemently despised.