Thursday 24 January 2013

More great "evidence" that plain packaging works

Oh Lordy, has any barrel ever been scraped like this? The following headline comes from the Times of India which, for reasons that will soon be apparent, was one of the only news outlets to bother with tobacco control's latest piece of brilliantly inventive "science".

Plain packaging of tobacco cuts smoking

Cool. What's the evidence for that?

Experts believe that plain packaging of tobacco products would cut smoking, a new study has found.

And why is that?

Because Australia, the first country to implement plain packaging, only did so in December of last year there is no quantifiable evidence as of yet. 

Quite so.

Therefore, scientists have used the next best option, the expertise of internationally-renowned tobacco control specialists from around the world.

Ha ha! The next best option is asking the opinion of campaigners for plain packaging?! How very droll.

For the study, 33 tobacco control experts from the UK (14), Australasia (12) and North America (7) were recruited. Professionals in these regions were targeted because these countries are currently considering (or have recently implemented) plain packaging for tobacco products. They were then interviewed about how plain packaging – packaging without brand imagery or promotional text and using standardised formatting – might impact the rates of smoking in adults and children.

Please tell me you're not going to do what I think you're going to do.

The experts estimated that plain packaging would reduce the number of adult smokers by one percentage point (on average) two years after the introduction of plain packaging.

Oh God. I can't bear to watch.

More impressively, they believe that generic packaging would reduce the percentage of children trying smoking by three percentage points (on average) two years after plain packaging is introduced.

Hey, that is impressive. If the people who advocate the policy think it will work, what more proof could we ask for?

Professor Theresa Marteau, Director of the University of Cambridge’s Behaviour and Health Research Unit, who led the study, said...

Stop calling it a study! It's a small survey of your mates' partisan opinions.

“Currently, approximately 10 million adults in Britain smoke. A one percentage point decline – from 21% of the population to 20% – would equate to 500,000 people who will not suffer the health effects of smoking.”

There you have it. Plain packaging will make half a million people stop smoking. The science is settled.

I'm starting to feel embarrassed on these people's behalf.


Blogger said...

But now it has been published, that figure will turn up all over the place... :(

nisakiman said...

Well Chris, the obvious thing to do is for you to do a similar study. I'm certain you will have no trouble recruiting and asking the opinion of 33 anti tobacco control experts from around the world. Indeed, target the same countries and get the expertise of internationally-renowned anti tobacco control specialists from UK, US and Aus. Job done. You can then issue a press release with the results of the 'study'.

What, they will accuse the study of being biased? But, but...

In fact, seriously, would it not be possible to do just that (an anti-plain-packs study) and publish it in the IEA (for example) juxtaposed with the 'study' you are posting about here? It would be a fine satire. If the MSM picked up on it, it could be hilarious! Might even cause people to ask a few pertinent questions, you never know!

Carl V Phillips said...

Hey, I like the idea of doing that study. I'll take the lead if you want to help, Chris.

Jackson said...

I'm a white middle aged Australian male lifelong smoker on a limited income, the dole, probably permanently. But I can still live quite well in Australia. I can ride my push bike, play golf, drink and smoke any day of the year.

I quit drinking and smoking cold turkey for six weeks (took them both up again yesterday, but I now know that I can do it) and was able to save a thousand dollars to buy golf clubs. If I can do it again for a year I can afford to buy and own an R1 motorcycle.

I'm a male chauvinist pig and I hate nannies. I worked in nursing for 25 years and I've had my fill of them. It wasn't so bad in the beginning but is now totally PC.

I don't like catholics either but until Tony Abbott is elected we are being run by a bunch of hippy dykes, Gillard, Roxon, Plibersek, Wong and their pathetic manjina minions.

OK, so that's me. Now...

Plain ugly offensive fear mongering conversation provoking packaging will work. Scientific studies cannot be done and attempt is not required.

There will be unintended consequences and it is likely to be disasterous for some people. But it will do this:

It will reduce the take up by young non smokers.

It will create a different population and profile of smokers. The population of smokers will become less and they will be a different population, treated differently than they otherwise would have been. The nannies will gain leverage.

I know that guys like Chris and Briggs are really smart. But I cringe when Chris is drawn into irrelevant arguments with the bansturbators.

The argument should remain that government should be less intrusive. That we already have laws covering assault and threat. That people should be able to consume and provide any substance or activity in the market place.

JohnB said...

I have 2...2...2. Do I hear 3? 3...3....3.. yes, 3 in the back. Anyone for 4….4? We have a 4 from the swivel-eyed expert in the front. Do I hear 5...5.....5. Are we all done? BANG! 4 it is. There’ll be a 4% decline in smoking following the implementation of plain packaging.
OK, now let’s take a vote to see if we’ll vote on that.

Meanwhile, back in the other Cuckoo Land:
Greenlick Files Bill to Make Cigarettes a Prescription-Only Drug

Unknown said...

Just when you thought there was no barrel left to scrape...

Ivan D said...

What is truly disturbing is that The University Of Cambridge has put its name to this rancid piece of subjective political garbage. It seems that academic standards are plummeting at an even more alarming rate than even our worst fears.

Furor Teutonicus said...

Hold on. Unless I missed it, no one has commented on the fact that even the faschist arseholes are ONLY CLAIMING 1 and 3% reduction!

What is THAT for a shower of crap?

Even IF it worked, which it obviously will NOT, what the HEL is it worth gouing to all the troble for, for percentages which make the E.U Parliament look like a democcracy?

Stuart H. said...

Fans of Chris Buckley, the US satirist, will see the irony in this.
In one book (not, I think, 'Thank You For Smoking') a spin merchant explains the secret of getting bunkum accepted as 'fact' in the US is to get it planted in the national paper of a faraway country first (Times of India is actually mentioned), then the 'serious' US press will pick it up and run it without independent verification. Frankly, I wouldn't have thought these wowsers had the wit to read Buckley.