Monday 30 January 2012

Plain talking

The British anti-tobacco industry is preparing to launch it's latest attempt to justify its existence. A public consultation on plain packaging is expected in March and the Department of Health's various sockpuppets (ASH, Fresh, Smokefree SouthWest etc.) will spend an enormous amount of taxpayers' money getting its employees and supporters to click on websites and send postcards.

The pseudo-journal Tobacco Control has helpfully published a "study" to help campaigners overcome objections from the public. Being Tobacco Control, the methodology is the tried-and-tested 'messing about on the internet' approach, in this instance the inappropriately named Becky Freeman has been reading comments on news stories.

Results Of 117 relevant news items, 41 included 1818 reader comments. 1187 (65.3%) comments contained no reference to plain packaging, and mainly addressed a tobacco tax rise announced at the same time. The comments about plain packaging were more than 2.5 times more likely to oppose than support the policy. The dominant argumentative frame, comprising 27% of oppositional comments, was that plain packaging would be ineffective in reducing smoking. Online reader poll results showed equal support for and opposition to plain packaging.

Conclusions The results of this study can be used by tobacco control advocates to anticipate opposition and assist in reframing and counteracting arguments opposed to plain packaging.

So most people oppose it and most people think it won't work. The reaction of tobacco control is therefore to 'reframe' the issue so things like popularity and efficacy don't get in the way. All in a day's work for ASH et al.

And if they succeed, will the professional zealots leave it there? Of course not. Having passed a plain packaging law in Australia, the crusaders have already skipped onto their next objectives.

LICENCES to puff, foul-tasting cigarettes, and financial incentives to stop smoking are next in a bid to help the nation quit a $5 billion addiction to tobacco revenue before the end of the next decade.

You read that right: they want the government to make cigarettes "foul-tasting". And you'll need a license to smoke them. These are the people who once claimed that all they wanted was no-smoking sections in restaurants, remember.

Simon Clark has recently launched a website to allow the sane majority to voice their opposition to all this nonsense. I have written a short blogpost touching on some of the main issues around plain packaging. Do have a read and be sure to sign up on the right-hand side of the page.


js4strings said...

Do the anti-smoking establishment ever consider that some people enjoy smoking? Just wondering?

Anonymous said...

@js4 - Course not, they're like little children who can't understand why adults like foods which they hate...

How are they going to test the new, foul-tasting cigs, though? They wouldn't dream of smoking one themselves; they think that cigs taste foul anyway and if they try them on smokers, the smart smoker will just lie, and say that the new cigs taste better :)

Good to see that Stephen Williams is taking a hammering on plain packaging, not only by pro-choicers on his own website, but also on LV by 'fellow' liberals.


jredheadgirl said...

They'll probably tried to ruin the flavor ( of your/our favorite beer or wine next....

Anonymous said...

Ah! Foul tasting cigarettes! Another wonderful opportunity for the black market then!

Anonymous said...

Check out

to see how these kind of initiatives will be accompanied by the promulgation of 'smoke-free cities'!

Anonymous said...

City Health 2012.

Another tame NGO I assume.

Anonymous said...

No Junican -far from it; this is a City of London initiative - first there was big nanny government, now there is the imminent rise of big nanny cities telling their citizens what to do for their own good!

nisakiman said...

Foul tasting cigarettes? Who the hell do they think they are? This is getting way, way beyond a joke. It has descended into the realms of pure dystopian fantasy.

Anonymous said...

"No Junican -far from it; this is a City of London initiative - first there was big nanny government, now there is the imminent rise of big nanny cities telling their citizens what to do for their own good!"

Yup, and all under Boris Johnson - pseudo liberal!


Anonymous said...

Wasn't this stuff tried before in 2008 and 2009?

Antis never give up.

Gary K.