Life on another planet

There is an article in the Irish Examiner.

Plain cigarette packets ‘a success’

As this article concerns Cancer Research UK, I can only surmise that it's printed there for the benefit of the Irish government?

I read the article and the main thing that struck me is that they don't cite any source for this statement.  Their only mention of a "study" is the old chestnut that children don't like drab colours?  Could it be that they say it's a success therefore it's a success? 

Maybe they should have read the Examiner's own article from last April – "Oz sales fail to prove plain cigarette packs work"?  [I should point out that the Examiner is not exactly known to be the smoker’s friend]

They say

“Smoking rates have fallen, more people than ever support standard packs and scare stories about flooding the market with cheap, illegal tobacco have failed to materialise. It’s been a resounding success in Australia and we’re confident the same can happen here. [my emphasis]

So where did this come from then – Illegal tobacco 'at record levels' in Australia?

I would like to point them towards Christopher Snowdon's article from the I.E.A. – "Plain packaging – what happened next?" – which not only suggests that smoking rates increased post plain packaging, but smoking amongst the 12 to 17 year group increased also.

Or maybe they should ask the Australian National University?

Ronald Coase famously argued that if you tortured the data long enough they would confess. In this paper we have tortured the data, but there has been no confession. At best, we can determine the plain packaging policy introduced in December 2012 has not reduced household expenditure of tobacco once we control for price effects, or the long-term decline of tobacco expenditure, or even the latent attributes of the data.

To the contrary, we are able to find a suggestion that household expenditure of tobacco has, ceteris paribus, increased. In our forecasting exercise the actual data come close to breaking through the 80 per cent confidence interval. While we do not want to over-emphasise these results, we do conclude that any evidence to suggest that the plain packaging policy has reduced household expenditure on tobacco is simply lacking.

Seeing as every one of their statements is contradicted by facts, how can Cancer Research UK claim that plain packaging has been a success?

a) They are severely deluded?

b) They live on a different planet?

c) They are deliberately lying through their teeth?

Answers on a postcard…….

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Life on another planet — 9 Comments

  1. Had one of CRUK's beggars at the door just recently. After asking them to repeat the name of their "charity" I said "Oh! The people who don't do any research." Sound of jaw dropping then clamping shut.

  2. You forgot…

    d) All of the above.

    I think I have an old post card around here somewhere (probably with the old Apple IIE computer in the corner) but you can't have it.

  3. Oh yes, plain packaging is clearly working really well when just 39% of smokers can identify more than 2 cancers "caused" by smoking (and those OTHER than those found in the respiratory system), even though the packs are smothered in images of cancers, and exhaustive lists of all the "possible cancers" you could catch! 

    This is compared to non-smokers, where a whopping 69% can rattle off a list of cancers. Clearly, this is used against smokers trying to defend their habit. 

    And if the illegal market were such a problem, the Government statistics released during last year indicated nearly $1 billion was lost due to smuggling. So they put the excise up, and despite the fact that smoking has fallen something like 10% in the last 15 years, they make more and more money off the remaining smokers. This CLEARLY demonstrates Governments are in for the money and the "votes" from the rabid anti-smoking, pro-marijuana, binge-drinking whackos of today… So tell me how binge-drinking and frequent trips to the bong are so much 'better' than smoking?

    • We have a massive smuggling trade here too [note I don't call it a "problem" 😉 ] and our lot's response is to hike taxes even further.  I don't know what Australians pay per 20, but we are currently paying €10 [= 14.51 Australian Dollars?].  What's more they are hell bent on bringing in the "plain packs" despite warnings from customs and police [not to mention threat of litigation by the tobacco companies].  Madness!!

      • I post correct what I said previously, 'If the illegal market for tobacco was so small, there wouldn't be $1 lost revenue from smuggling." I imagine what I previously wrote was somewhat vague and confusing. 

        Presently, a typical pack of 20 cigarettes, from a regular brand (Not discounted) will set you back about $19.41 Australian (for the iconic "Winfield" brand). Thats about 13.31 Euro, based on the calculator I'm using for this. I think brands like B&H and Dunhill will set you back an extra dollar or two. This is simply rotten greed right to the core. And how much does a pack of cigarettes cost to produce, and what would they be sold at? Greed in its most pure and simple form

        It turns out that Australia met the "cost to society" with the excise taxes on tobacco when tobacco cost just 1/10 of what it does today. Does that not speak *volumes* about our government? If this doesn't spell an agenda, I don't know what does.

        Do people seriously think these taxes are good for anything, other than covering ALL the taxes you should've been paying? The previous Labor {Strikeout, LOSER} government used excise hikes to cover their massive budget blowouts, rather than raise income taxes, as well as fund a large degree of the Medicare system… How ironic?! (Even though smokers contribute little more than the average person). 

        • Damn!  You pay even more than we do.  Governments make billions out of tobacco taxes so it is of course ideal for them – they scream "public health", shove up the taxes even more and watch the cash roll in.  They scream about the Black Market but they have only themselves to blame.  They would paradoxically make more from taxes if they reduced them, but then of course the Anti crowd would scream that they are pandering to "Big Tobacco".

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