State-funded self-lobbying really doesn't get any more shameless than this. As if to rub the taxpayer's nose in it, PHE has even published its response on the same government website that is hosting the consultation. See if you can spot the difference between the government 'seeking views' on plain packaging and the 'independent' agency offering its strong support.
|Public Health England press release|
|Department of Health consultation|
The response itself is the usual bilge. After dishonestly claiming that plain packaging led to a 3.4 per cent decline in tobacco sales in its first year in Australia (a massive lie, as regular readers know), Public Health England bizarrely claims that the same decline would create savings of £500 million in the UK. This suggests that smoking costs £14.7 billion a year—a figure that I have never heard mentioned by the even the least scrupulous anti-smoking campaigner.
PHE then has the brass neck to suggest that this imaginary reduction in tobacco sales would have economic benefits because...
Retailers earn relatively little profit from tobacco sales. On average, only 7 to 9% of the cost of tobacco is retained by the retailer, compared to 20 to 30% for food and drink products.
...the benefits would be most felt in areas of greater social deprivation; not only reducing the devastating harm caused by smoking and boosting health improvement, but also increasing families’ disposable income
Public Health England neglects to mention the fact that 80 per cent of the price of a pack of cigarettes goes to the government in duty and VAT. Some of this money is then used to set up pointless and vastly expensive propaganda outfits like Public Health England who cry crocodile tears over the cost of tobacco on a government website while calling for the government to be given more power.
Presumably PHE decided not to mention the 80 per cent tax take because its faux concern about money being sucked out of "areas of social deprivation" would be taken less seriously if people were reminded that it is their paymasters in government who are doing the looting. Wise move, really.
Arguably the best reason to stop smoking is that it prevents the state getting its paws on more of your hard earned money. Alternatively, you can continue smoking whilst buying your cigarettes abroad or on the black market which is, of course, what people will do if this ridiculous policy is introduced.
(PS. The press release also includes a quote from our old friend John McClurey, the 'independent newsagent', who must be quite exhausted from giving supportive quotes to the tobacco control industry every time they come up with a new ruse. See here, here, here and here for starts. Nannying Tyrants has his greatest hits.)