Pro-smoking hyperbole? Reductio ad absurdum? Not at all. Regular readers will know that such images have been considered in Thailand and that the plan is for 'graphic warnings' to go worldwide.
In Australia (where else?), the hapless drinks industry has decided to play ball with the neo-prohibitionists under the pathetic illusion that they are dealing with reasonable people. Consequently, they have agreed to place written health warnings on their cans and bottles.
Well, guess what? The wowsers still aren't happy...
The industry’s move to put messages on the labels of all alcohol products is theoretically the right move and one that we’ve been advocating for.
Indeed you have, indeed you have. You must be delighted.
Oh.“The labels introduced voluntarily by the industry do not go far enough,” Dr Hambleton [president of the Australian Medical Association] said.
The Alcohol Policy Coalition recommends health messages that are outcome-related, that takes up 25 percent of the package surface and includes prominent text and graphic warnings.
Well, colour me flabbergasted. A bunch of temperance cranks demands the drinks industry put health bigger, graphic warnings on booze and when they foolishly oblige—and before the change has even been implemented—the cranks start crying that it's not enough. We've been here before, have we not?
And then, as Penn and Teller would say, there's this asshole...
Public Health Association of Australia spokesperson Professor Mike Daube said the push was little more than public relations rather than a meaningful public health promotion.
Does that name ring any bells? It should. Mike Daube was the president of ASH (UK) in the late 1970s when he put that organisation firmly on the path to prohibition. If drinkers have any doubt that they're on the same trajectory as smokers they might take note that they're not just faced with the same rhetoric, but with the same personnel.
But, hey, all these guys want is a graphic warning that covers 25% of the pack, just like cigarettes. After that they'll calm down and move onto something else, just like these anti-smoking campaigners did...
Larger packet warnings fail to satisfy anti-smoking lobbyRegulations requiring tobacco manufacturers to carry larger pictorial and written warnings on cigarette packets have failed to satisfy tobacco control groups.
Tobacco control groups failing to be satisfied?! Say it ain't so!
They say the graphic warning pictures of cancers and other diseases which can be caused by smoking do not go far enough to deter smokers.
This is completely out of character for these folks. Usually, they're so easy to please. Something must have really rattled them this time, so what gives?
Churit Tengtrisorn, director of the Public Health Ministry's Office of Tobacco Control Committee, has announced regulations requiring tobacco companies to increase the size of anti-smoking pictures to cover 60% of the pack, up from the current 55%.
And how right he is. With so many people thinking cigarettes are good for them, expanding the warning from 55% and 60% should make literally millions of people give up smoking. Thank God this man has brought this discrepancy to light. But perhaps we could do even more?
Bungon Ritthiphakdee, director of Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, said Uruguay had succeeded in introducing warning pictures which made up 80% of the space on cigarette packs.
Well, there you go. Still, that's Southeast Asia. Nothing so silly could happen in Australia, the land the of fearless individualism, could it now?
In its release of draft plain packaging bill, Australian government also announced it would increase size of picture warnings to 75% of front and 90% of back of tobacco packs from 2012. Australia will then have overall world's largest pack health warnings, with average of 82.5% of front and back.
Drinkers, don't make me spell it out to you, this is getting embarrassing for both of us. Let me just say it again in two words.
Oh, and they're banning swearing in Victoria. As Clive James once said, the problem with Australia isn't that we sent a load of prisoners there, but that we sent a load of prison wardens there. Poor buggers.