I have been following the tobacco packaging debate in the UK with some interest.
Working on the principle that what one country does, another will follow, the outcome is bound to affect us here.
The idea is that all tobacco should be sold in dirty green packs with Photoshopped grizzly images all over them, with the idea that this will stop children buying them.
As the concept of “plain” packaging has never been tried before, no one can say what effect it will have. The Tobacco Control Industry are shouting loudly about their “proof” which is based on “extensive research”. The “research” in this instance consists of showing people photographs of the proposed packs and asking their opinion.
One fact that the Tobacco Control Industry should get into their thick heads is that “opinion” in not “proof”. When confronted with a questionnaire people will generally give the answer that is expected of them and even then it is still only an opinion. You can show me two dresses and I will tell you which one I think is the more attractive, but that doesn’t mean I am going to wear it. Asking seven and eight year olds will give a little insight into children’s’ preferences for particular colours but to claim that this is an indicator of what they may or may not buy ten years into the future is laughable.
The UK government is in favour of this move, but in the interests of “openness” and “democracy” has been seeking submissions, and the closing date is tomorrow.
On the plain packs side, they claim they are saving the children of the future and that they have 75,000 signatures.
The Hands off our Packs side claim the full support of the police, retailers and consumers and that they have 235,000 signatures.
It will be very interesting to see what kind of spin the UK government will put on that?