Friday 30 August 2019

Warnings on individual cigarettes - another scrape of the barrel

It looks like the tobacco control industry has settled on health warnings on individual cigarettes as their next make-work scheme. The idea goes back many years; it was discussed by the lunatic fringe of the anti-smoking movement in Canada in the 1980s. I mentioned it in my book Velvet Glove, Iron Fist in 2009 and again in 2012:

With plain packaging in place, the extremists have exhausted all of the options I listed in the final chapter of Velvet Glove, Iron Fist. What fresh lunacy will follow? Warnings on individual cigarettes? 

As I noted last year, this dozy idea made an appearance in the Scottish government's tobacco control plan:

This preposterous idea was first floated by a particularly deranged Canadian anti-smoking fanatic in the 1980s but was never taken seriously. The idea of changing the colour of cigarettes was mooted in New Zealand a few years ago but, again, was considered a joke. Only now, after every other idea has been tried, is it becoming policy in Scotland. The desperation is palpable.

Spotting a slew of research grants and the chance to extend their careers by a few more years, the dregs of the 'public health' research community have leapt into action, producing risible studies that are virtual carbon copies of the focus group-based garbage used to promote plain packaging. The latest was published this week. I don't advise wasting your time reading it but it's here if you want a reminder of what a Mickey Mouse field 'public health' academia is.

It was funded by Cancer Research UK so here's your regular reminder not to give them any money. There isn't much else to say about it, but I gave a comment to the Daily Mail when they asked for one:

'There isn't a single person in Britain who is unaware of the risks of smoking. People are bombarded with anti-smoking messages from the day they are born. 

'Cigarette packs are sold with graphic warnings covering two-thirds of the surface area. People smoke despite the risks, not because individual cigarettes haven't informed them about the risks.

'After years of being harassed by health zealots, smokers might relish the idea of setting fire to a health warning, but this is not a serious policy. 

'It is a desperate attempt by anti-smoking campaigners to keep themselves in business now that the campaign for plain packaging has ended.'

The lead author is serial trougher and chancer Crawford Moodie. If you want a laugh, check out his recent 'study' in which he throws leading questions at focus groups about adding audio warnings to cigarette packs:

This focus group study provides an understanding of smokers' immediate responses to cigarette packs which played a short health message when opened. Smokers generally viewed them as annoying or embarrassing, and some suggested the use of alternative storage.

.. Cigarette packs with audio messaging may have a role to play, now or in the future, as a novel way of communicating health and cessation information.

These people should be sectioned.

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