Friday 5 December 2014

Nice work if you can get it

Melanie Wakefield has been given $3 million by the Australian government to judge whether plain packaging has been a success. British readers may have seen Wakefield on the television this year in the BBC's promo for plain packs, in which she engaged in what I called at the time "blatant campaigning".

No one has done more activist-research on the subject than her. She is the author of countless pro-plain pack studies going back to 2008 (eg. here, here, here and here). She is the author of such editorials as 'Welcome to cardboard country' and she is on the record saying that "there is no place for powerful branding imagery on packs".

It's hard to imagine a less suitable person to be judge and jury. Even if Wakefield wasn't personally committed to the policy - and she clearly is - she would be biased towards finding a positive effect because all her previous work has concluded that there should be a positive effect. Her appointment makes a mockery of the concept of independent review (see also Linda Bauld and the smoking ban). How can the government justify spending three millions bucks on this farce?

On a different note, new evidence emerges from Down Under than stupidity is contagious. Not only has Simon Chapman been able to charge good money for a book that can be legally downloaded for free, but the tweet below (sent by a science journalist!), suggests that he may have been the smartest guy in the room...

It's not a phone. It's a credit card machine.

Have a good weekend.


Christopher Snowdon said...

I am curious to see how can they can twist the data to show plain packaging is a success: More people smoking, more tobacco smuggling... Is it a success because they say it is?
Also, if these auto proclaimed experts say it is a phone, then it is a phone!
How dare you arguing? Have a good weekend too Christopher.

Christopher Snowdon said...


Christopher Snowdon said...

The Simon Crapman series of Public Health literature – a four
book set.

Christmas Special only.

12 sets for only $1.39 $1.25 $1.15 $1.02 $0.88

(Can be delivered by the pallet. Makes an excellent BBQ starter….. cheaper than briquettes!)


Christopher Snowdon said...

Keep an eye out for Professor Crapman’s upcoming publication.

Christopher Snowdon said...

If you want to be rigorously scientific about it then you can't measure how effective plain packaging has been because of many other influencing variables, like price increases & the growing number of people using vape devices, even if dual users...then there's the reported increase of illegal cigarettes which aren't counted in these studies.

Christopher Snowdon said...

Crapman's music DVD due for release early in 2015.

Christopher Snowdon said...

Shouldn't there be a government warning on that DVD box? Such as "Listening to this can severely damage your mental health!"?