Monday 18 July 2011

Drinking is the new smoking (part 94)

Those who were at Stony Stratford on Saturday will have heard Roger Helmer predicting that the day would come when those who ordered wine in restaurants would be given a bottle emblazoned with a picture of a diseased liver.

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.

“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 lobby

Regulations 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.

You're next.

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.


Anonymous said...

That's the second time I've seen the PHAA mentioned today:
Alcopops tax

Twenty_Rothmans said...

The AMA is just a jumped-up union.

I can pick apart any part of your life and claim it's harmful for your health. Any idiot can. Salt? Fat? Sugar? Water? Fruit juice?

It's just when the idiots wear white coats, the sheep prick up their ears and listen.

And take their Thalidomide, as prescribed by their kindly GP.

Twunts like these don't make headlines unless they squeal like a pig. Who'd give a damn if he said that the mortality rate was now 80%, instead of 100%? Would he get a headline if he said that hip replacements were giving older people more mobility?

Of course not. He has to cry like a spoilt brat or the runt of a litter of puppies. Look at ME! Look at ME!

As I mentioned to some interlocutors on Saturday, my grandfather and his mates would smoke leaves of indeterminate origin rolled in pages of the Bible. They were in a Jap POW camp in Thailand and the nearest mini-mart was some distance away.

They didn't turn their noses up because they couldn't get their favourite brand. They didn't give up even though they knew they'd be beaten if the were caught. They didn't give up because of the very plain packaging.

They wanted a smoke.

They kept the world free for the likes of Hambleton, Hewitt, Arnott and Bloomberg.

The four Bartletts of the Apocalypse.

Angry Exile said...

The Daube connection is very interesting and is probably worth waving in the faces of the supine drinks industry and their customers at every opportunity. As for the swearing in Victoria (if my blog counts then I'm going to need a second mortgage) you may be heartened to know there was a protest on the steps of Parliament House the same day Dick Puddlecote, you, Bucko and everyone else were taking yours to Stony Stratford. Unfortunately the swearing protest wasn't well publicised and I think was done at even shorter notice than DP's trip to Bartlett country, which meant that sadly only 15 turned up to tell the Premier of the state to "get fucked" (direct quote, hopefully saving me a $240 fine ;-) ). Hopefully it'll go better next time but at least there are people here who are willing to push back.

Karl Fasbracke said...

Hmm .. 75% of the front and 90% of the back, that doesn't leave much room for further complaints. Once you end up at 100%/100% the warning label card cannot be played any longer.

After all the whole point of these warning labels is too get anti-smoking organizations some press coverage.

Twenty_Rothmans said...

It was the day of the Carlton/Collingwood match, during which time I'm sure there'd have been no profanities exchanged. I have been to a few, and some of those Magpie harridans would have not qualified for 'The Scheme' because they were too coarse.

But in the same way, they progressively got rid of eskies, limited the number of cans you could take, prohibited them altogether, then served only light beer at matches. Maximum of four at a time.

All this happened within the last 2/3rds of my lifetime, and I'm not that old yet.

Apart from me, nobody did anything (I just stopped going).

So now, that's the fucking norm. That's the baseline. My brother's an SCG member and his sons are on the list. Look at the wreckage, look at this new, stifled, cotton-wool world they have inherited.

They have never ridden bicycles without helmets, and my SiL thinks that's a good thing. If she's lurking I daren't light up if they can see me - but they know full well that Druncle Twenty does it.

In extremis, use 'fitbin', the swearword of choice for Viz aficionados. It's wholly synthetic, of course, but cathartic and fine-free. Enjoy!

Screw you, Bailleu,
these are words that go together too, Ted Bailleu.

Fredrik Eich said...

With good timing, it would seem The Sun agrees that drinking is the new smoking - without stating it.

CANCER rates have soared among middle-aged people - with doctors blaming the rise on obesity and home boozing.

It mentions that lung cancer has halved among males with out mentioning the rise in female lung cancer, despite the fact that smoker prevalence has been falling among both sexes for over four decades now.

Fredrik Eich said...

Anyway, why is "home boozing" more carcinogenic than non-home boozing and how can the risk be blamed on boozing when over all cancer rates were so lower in the first half of the last century when people guzzled booze. Not to mention the fact that people are drinking less now in any case?
I have just remembered, they are making it all up because they don't actually know what is causing this volatility in cancer rates.

James Higham said...

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.

That is precisely right. It's what killed Kelly.

Anonymous said...

Why not allow these jumped up prohibitionists to purchase ad space on the bottles and cans - subject to advertising rules?
No free ride.

Anonymous said...

Why not REQUIRE prohibitionists to purchase and pay for their ad space on the sides of bottles and cig packs. Not "allow", but REQUIRE it - as matter of law.

Anonymous said...

I did wonder if it was the same Mike Daube, inventor of the term "Creative Epidemiology"

In my humble opinion that is required reading for those non-smokers who enjoy a drink.
See what you are up against.