Friday 26 October 2012

The idiots have won

Build a spaceship folks. The idiots have won.

Exhibit A

In New Zealand, anti-smoking groups have broadened the definition of 'advertising' to include any form of speech by the tobacco industry on any issue.

A tobacco giant is being accused of illegally advertising cigarettes under the guise of a "public awareness campaign".

The Health Ministry has received 14 complaints against British American Tobacco New Zealand's "agree/disagree" campaign opposing plain packaging.

Here's an example of one of BAT's anti-plain packs ads. It nicely parodies the intolerance and bossiness of public health cranks who think that industry should be literally silenced in any policy debate. What it quite obviously doesn't do—as any sane observer will confirm—is advertise cigarettes.

Apparently, one of the people who complained about this campaign said it was "an attack on the sovereignty of political discourse in New Zealand".

Words fail me.

Exhibit B

The World "Health" Organisation is urging countries to crack down on e-cigarettes because they, er, look a bit like cigarettes.

"ENDS [electronic cigarettes] are products resembling cigarettes and could therefore undermine the denormalization of tobacco use upheld by the WHO FCTC... Parties are therefore invited to consider that a ban of ENDS as already undertaken by some Parties would contribute to changing the social norms regarding the consumption of tobacco products."

E-cigarettes are quite simply the biggest breakthrough in smoking cessation ever. The WHO is a disgrace which has betrayed its mission in developing countries and is more interested in dictating "social norms" than they are in saving lives. The whole rotten organisation should be investigated and shut down.

Exhibit C

Australian anti-smoking fruitcakes—led, inevitably, by that twisted old narcissist Simon Chapman—have complained that cigarette companies are breaching plain packaging rules because....well, I really don't the video and see if you can work it out. It seems to come down to the fact that the tobacco industry is allowed to stamp a few letters on the cigarettes for purposes of identification (how very liberal!) and so they have.

In one instance, Benson & Hedges cigarettes are labelled with "LDN"; in another case Winfield cigarettes are stamped with "AUS".

Yes. So. What?

Under the plain packaging regulations, cigarettes are allowed to be branded with an alphanumeric code but it must not represent or in any way be related to the brand or variant of the cigarette.

Professor Simon Chapman from Sydney University says the potential breach does not surprise him.

"They're probably just testing the waters here to see what they can get away with in the early stages of the new legislation," he said.

Professor Chapman says tobacco companies will do anything to create a sense of "intrigue" about their products.

Ooh, sense the intrigue!

I would like to comment on this, I really would, but the nutters have finally gone beyond the point at which I can even understand their arguments. My nearest guess would be that they think people will be 'lured' into taking up the smoking habit by seeing the letters 'LDN' on a cigarette. That is so stark-staringly, fetch-the-tranquiliser-gun insane that I can only assume that there is another layer of wibble that I've missed. On the other hand, we're dealing with people who think a BAT anti-plain packs campaign is a form of cigarette marketing so all bets are off.

Truly, the lunatics have taken over the asylum.


Ivan D said...

They haven't actually won unless the New Zealand and Australian governments fall for their lunacy? I know that it isn't much comfort based on track record, but perhaps we can at least hope that this despicable nonsense will be opposed by someone somewhere down there. Surely the politicians cannot all be intellectually and ethically challenged? On second thoughts, you are probably right.

Roger Thornhill said...

De-normalisation is what they want, but how dare they think they have ANY right to enforce it or hijack the political system to carry it out.

However, these Authoritarian scumbags are not the real problem, but, in line with the OP, the idiots who infest out political systems.

Steve Kelly said...

Chris, you are right, the situation is just beyond words. I hesitate to say it but I think Orwell himself might not believe things could actually come to this. Australia and New Zealand are anti-smoking's twin mountains of madness. The other English-speaking countries are near as barmy on the subject though. The WHO is criminally crazy but has the blessings of most governments across the globe. How long can stark raving madness on this level continue? I just don't know. You just gasp and wonder.

Jean Granville said...

The WHO is an international governmental organization. As such, it is probably officially ruled by the member states through their delegations (kind of embassies) and really by a bureaucracy made up of member states citizens according to national quotas.
I'm just guessing but that is roughly how these organizations work, if we can call that work. Think of UNESCO, IPCC and so on.
They all seem to follow the same trajectory. They do nothing, then they take initiative and act like independant bureaucracies gone completely mad.
The tragedy with WHO is that it is supposed to help doing some important things, but it seems broken beyond repair.
WHO should be destroyed along with IPCC, UNESCO and many others.

Anonymous said...

We sometimes forget that it may be true that all Australian and Kiwi smokers want to quit. That would be a reasonable explanation for their silence. What is horrible is the contorting of freedom to exclude the enjoyment of tobacco by legislation and taxation.

Tobacco Control must fail, if only because the hardcore will resist at all costs. In order to reduce the hardcore, more and more money will need to be expended to reduce smoking by just a little more. In the end, an infinite amount of expenditure will produce just an infinitesimal reduction. History teaches us that it cannot be done.