samedi 14 janvier 2012

Belgium: Sacred and expensive Belga!

"Miss Belga", a colonial wonderful memory!

         In colonial times, it was with pride that the Belgian colonial official posted his pack of Belga, adorned with a beautiful blonde through the transparent pocket of his white shirt. He could not discuss with his counterparts without a cigarette in his mouth. Smoking was almost as recreational activity that drinking the Primus, the Tembo or the Stella. If not how to kill free time in this colonial wetness?
         Not only the Belga was popular, but it appears also on billboards throughout the beautiful avenues of Kalina, a haven for European excellence in Leopoldville the beautiful, located light years of the current Gombe (Kinshasa) with its many nest-holes and pools of polluted water, an inexhaustible source of nasty mosquitoes that transmit malaria and dengue.
         It was the smile of Miss Belga on these panels that the Belgian Congo hosted tourists and businessmen. A symbol of national pride: "Cigarettes Vander Elst which does not dry throat"
indicated on the back advertising the package.
         Made in 1923 in Antwerp by the family Vander Elst, the Belgian had reached such a patriotic Germans have banned its production in 1941.
         The projects of the painter René Magritte (1898-1967) who took his wife Georgette as model were rejected by Tabacofina, only to say the care was made to choose "Miss Belga." For a Belgian, smoking in that time was synonymous with "nationalism."

Walloon officials obliged to point for smoke.

         René, head of service to the City of Liège can no longer hide his nervousness when receiving visitors. Her fingers tremble nervously every time he pulls out a paper drawer of his desk.
         His throat dry alters his voice. He is often mistaken in the numbers. His eye is constantly fixed on his watch. He waits noon to smoke a cigarette right outside. He dare not leave out of his schedule for this Friday morning he comes to realize that the past minutes go outside to smoke significantly nibbling his work.
         In fact, in August 2011, management of public service of Wallonia sent a letter to all directors, asking them to impose the score for smokers.

O tempora, O mores!

         In 2011, 18,000 civil servants in Wallonia must now register their exits and returned to the building and the time counts down to smoke on their working time.
         The joy of non-smoking employees is inversely proportional to the discomfort of fellow smokers.
         "I am shocked. Since August, we must point when we smoke. We then have to justify why we left the building a few minutes. We must show that it was to smoke, and our attendance record then contains the words - day disabled: Time not fully respected - and we withdraw from the minutes of our time working. This shocked everyone, even non-smoking colleagues. As a result, some began to smoke in secret. And I'll smoke outside, but I do not point. I fear that if I do find, that is stated in my assessment.
" Complains an official at the daily newspaper Le Soir.
         The unions have taken over the case. They have forced management to review its practices, even if nothing is illegal in this policy.
         "The administration is in a perspective of control and repression more than motivation," said Xavier Lorent of the Conference of Christian Trade Unions (CSC).
         "It does not hold water. Will be tomorrow, worry that someone will take a few minutes for coffee or going to the bathroom? It's a stigma against smoking! I do not think this is the best method to fight against smoking. "
The union cry to discriminate between employees.
         "Those who work outdoors, such as agents or forest roads can smoke as they please. Smoking is a personal freedom, sighs Xavier Laurent. "Nothing says that a person will be less productive because she smokes. "
he said.

Tobacco in Belgium.

         The Walloons smoke more than  Flemishes. The percentage of daily smokers was 29% in Flanders, Brussels and 29% to 32% in Wallonia. In 2008, Belgium had about 5. 860. 000 people who have never smoked, two .840. 000 smokers and 1.630. 000 ex-smokers.           
Also that year, 2008, the percentage of daily smokers was 30%, occasional smokers accounted for 3%, 19% former smokers and people who have never smoked, 48%.
         It should be noted that Belgium is one of European countries as its tobacco tax. 77% of the price of a pack of cigarettes goes to the state in the form of taxation (taxes and excise duties)
The banking group Citigroup estimates that the Belgian cigarette will shrink gradually and should disappear by 2051. But the report did take into account human nature?

Good or bad deal for the Belgian state?

         If the effects of smoking cause serious spending on health care, reports of smoking copious amounts of money into the coffers of government.
         In 2009, tax revenues generated by tobacco products reported as many as 2.353 million euros to the Belgian State, the breakdown between VAT revenue (566 million) and excise duties on tobacco (1,787,000 euros), according to figures provided by the FPS Finance.
 Juicy, these inflows do indeed represent only 2% of total tax revenue of the Belgian state, but they have been multiplied by four to 30 years old, turning the cigarette into a nice windfall for the government.
         The latest study conducted CRIOC this sector in 2010, "the cost of smoking in Belgium would reach 10% of total medical expenses, or 1.442 million euros"
(these figures refer to year 2002). Naively comparing the two figures, one could then believe, a priori, that smoking relates more to the state than it costs him.
           "Looking at the whole, I would say that the direct and indirect costs of smoking are ultimately higher tax revenues of the State in this area,"
says Marc Vandercammen, executive director of Centre for Research and Information Consumers Organizations (CRIOC).

         The  Kingdom of Belgium, independent from the Netherlands since 1830 is a federal parliamentary monarchy, which covers an area of ​​30,528 km2. It was inhabited by 11,071,483 people in 2011.         
Between 2010 and 2011 the country has experienced the longest political crisis of the World (18 months) caused mainly by old rivalries between its two main linguistic tribes: the French-speaking Walloons in the south (60%) and Dutch-speaking Flemish north (40%).

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