Tobacco Industry: UK Plain Packaging

England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland

Snowdon’s “White Paper” and more…

ASA rules against JTI’s anti-plain tobacco packs ad
August 4, 2014
Tony Corbin
An anti-plain tobacco packaging ad Japan Tobacco International has been ruled misleading by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)
The move has been backed by anti-smoking organsiation ASH, which complained, along with Cancer Research UK, against the 2013 advert. However, JTI has rejected the ruling and is taking its case to the ASA’s independent reviewer.
The national press ad included a reproduction of an email from the UK Department of Health to the Australian Department of Health and Ageing. The email featured text from a civil servant enquiring about the evidence on standard packaging in Australia.
It stated: “You will be aware that the UK Government is considering the introduction of plain packaging of tobacco products. As I’m sure you are aware, one of the difficulties regarding this is that nobody has done this and therefore there isn’t any hard evidence to show that it works.”
Text beneath the original email said: “We couldn’t have put it better ourselves”.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said: “Yet again the claims made by JTI have been found to be false and misleading. The evidence from Australia is clear: standard packs make smoking less attractive and have helped drive down smoking rates. Standard packs will help deter children from starting to smoke, which is why tobacco companies are fighting so hard against it. It’s time for the Prime Minister to say that the tobacco industry won’t succeed in its dishonest campaign, and that Parliament will get the chance to vote on standard packs Regulations before the next Election.”
In its adjudication the ASA noted that the date of the email was included in the ad but considered that the presentation of that information was not clear and that in any event readers would consider the highlighted reference to “there isn’t any hard evidence to show that it works” as being a reference to the position at the time the ad appeared and not only to the position two years earlier.
The ASA added: “We considered consumers would interpret the claim to mean that no real evidence existed to support the introduction of plain packaging at the time the ad appeared.”

Bob Blackman MP – just another ASH clone
June 4, 2014
Today we see the smug face of Bob Blackman MP who is, apparently, rejoicing in the fact that Cameron is forwarding with the ridiculous plans for Plain Packing (PP), yet there are a considerable number of sensible Tory MPs who object… and they object on the most sensible of grounds too! let’s go via Bob ‘blackheart’ Blackman first shall we…
Read more.

Property Rights for all include Smokers Rights!
Poo Sticks
22 May 2014
by Dick Puddlecote

I expect there are some UK politicians thinking that once plain packaging is passed (despite overwhelming public rejection) there can’t be much else for tobacco control industry executives to nag them about. They’d be wrong.
Please note that this is from New Zealand and not from The Daily Mash.
Public health researchers say the Government’s next step after introducing plain packaging for tobacco should be to make cigarettes ugly by changing them to a dark green or brown colour which made young people think of “slime, vomit or pooh”.
A tobacco control lobby group told a parliamentary committee that cigarettes themselves were the “new canvas” for anti-smoking initiatives
[Researcher and former public health physician Professor Richard Edwards, representing anti-smoking group Aspire2025, said] “Dissuasive sticks would remove the final illusion – the idea that clean white sticks with purposeful but actually useless filters can somehow purify what is an inherently toxic product. They expose cigarettes for what they are.”
The final illusion? Wasn’t ‘glitzy’ packaging supposed to be that just recently?

With plain packaging, all the sticks were mandated by the Aussie government to be white because brands such as Sobranie Cocktails – which I haven’t seen since the 1970s until the prohibitionists reminded us they still exist – are guaranteed to create craving for tobacco in kids, but now white is a dangerous colour too?

Is this an admission that they already know plain packaging in New Zealand will fail just as it has in Australia?

Or does anyone else get the image of a bunch of highly-paid anti-smoking lobbyists, sitting round a table astonished at the gullibility of politicians having legislated their daft ideas in such short order, and desperately trying to come up with something – anything – to extend the life of their grants and salaries?

Incidentally, the ‘research’ consisted of interviews with a whopping 14 adultsocial smokers aged 18 to 24, and was led by Janet Hoek. Janet is a botanist, zoologist and Beowulf expert from the Marketing (?) department of New Zealand’s Otago University who has – for many years – called for processed food to be treated like it were tobacco.

She likes these kind of tiny sample sizes to reach a pre-determined conclusion, as she proved when presenting a published study of 13 adult social smokers which ‘proved’ that there was strong support for “extending the smoke-free areas outside bars”.

Of course, this was brilliant and sound science, whereas …
The “science” of e-cigarettes:gushing anecdotes from 11 self-selected vapers. This was actually published…
— Simon Chapman (@SimonChapman6) March 8, 2013

Got all that?

So coloured sticks are evil and plain white good when campaigning for plain packaging. But once that’s in the bag, plain white is seductive and therefore evil and must be changed to pea, ash, tan or sand colour … which are good. Meanwhile, sample sizes of 13 and 14 are excellent evidence-based research, whereas 11 is just a joke.

Insane doesn’t adequately describe these people any more, does it?

The case against plain packaging for cigarettes
November 14, 2013
By Patricia Nurse
Any politician who thinks they can win in 2015 by attacking adult tobacco consumers, should think again. Labour’s blanket smoking ban, for example, didn’t do much for former Labour MP Gillian Merron who was soon booted out because of it.
As a lifelong Lincolnian, and a former Labour supporter until 2007, I find it disturbing that any politician just swallows propaganda without having the intellect to look behind it, nor the manners to want to represent all potential constituents including those who smoke.
To make the case for the defecation of tobacco packaging, which includes images of excrement and urine in a toilet bowl, the anti-smoker industry uses paid-for propaganda which when scrutinised is found to be false.
Of course if they never use the product, ignorant politicians who are being misled wouldn’t care that adult consumers will have their rights to brand recognition, price comparison and product information stolen via plain or standardised packaging.
In addition, such an infantile idea if pushed into law will encourage the already thriving black market to grow and those managing it won’t ask kids how old they are, like regulated, accountable and responsible shopkeepers do at present.
Young people are being shoved into the hands of ruthless criminals to an unregulated contaminated and inferior product because of this backward piece of immature thinking. It has shown that it does not reduce smoking rates but does drive the product underground where fake brands are produced and sold easily to minors with all good protection to date removed in one fell swoop.
And scroll down to Day 15 at this link and you will see an Australian grass roots consumer who says smoking rates have not dropped but consumers are even denied the right to know how much tar and nicotine are in their product of choice.
Once the nannies and puritans get their way on stealing one consumer group’s rights, they can move on to others such as those who like the occasional glass of wine, tot of whisky, or can of beer as public health moves to attack alcohol, chocolate and who knows what else in this age of healthist paranoia on smoking, drinking and obesity.
Don’t tell me that smokers cost the NHS more. They don’t cost nearly as much as those who don’t smoke. Half of us don’t die young either. People like myself who have smoked for a lifetime, longer in fact than politicians like Lucy Rigby, who recently showed her support for such an illiberal and dangerous measure, have been breathing. We have paid far more in tax over several decades than we will ever get back in healthcare at the end of our lives. And to deny us that is downright churlish, nasty and mean.
There is nothing worse than immature politicians who would sleep walk into criminalisation of consumers and that is where plain packaging will take us – another step towards it. If I hear another claiming that the current government has broken a promise to make plain packaging law, I think I’ll spontaneously combust.
There never was such a promise, only a commitment to consultation before deciding on legislation. A staggering 500,000 grass roots consumers said no. 200,000 quangocrats and healthist astroturfers wanted it and quite rightly, the coalition listened to both sides of the argument and found the anti-smokers’ lacking – hence the very sensible delay to see what happens in Australia before condemning our kids to criminals and a loss of billions of pounds to the Treasury unnecessarily.
Politicians should remember that smokers not only enjoy smoking, they vote too and they will not vote for anyone who sets out to attack them more than they are being attacked already. They just want to be left alone.

Smoking, democracy, plain packaging and the Soviets
It’s too soon to say whether plain packaging works, and even if it does, it is undemocratic
23 July 2013
by Richard P Grant
Back in the mid-80s I had the educational pleasure of visiting Berlin, East and West, on a school trip. The train we travelled on stopped at the border with East Germany, and we heard a sinister clanking as the border guards secured the carriage doors with lengths of metal chain.
When we travelled into East Berlin the dull and grey streets stood in stark contrast to the almost excessive exuberance of the British Sector. The State-run Apotheken in particular were drab and depressing, a stark reminder of the choice and service we were used to. A few of us carried packets of cigarettes, to trade for Soviet memorabilia or in case we needed to bribe the East German soldiers.
I didn’t have any cigarettes on me: to this day I have smoked fewer than ten cigars, and no cigarettes at all. I hate cigarette smoke. I hate what it does to walls and the atmosphere and my lungs. I hate the effect it has on unborn children. I used to avoid going into pubs because I would start sneezing and come out reeking of tobacco. I hate the stench of death clinging to patients on drips outside hospitals.
Despite this, I am more than a little uneasy at the creeping demonisation of smokers by society. While I readily acknowledge that smoking is deeply unpleasant to non-smokers, and that it is a sure way of digging oneself an early grave, I am far from convinced that proponents of the nanny health agenda are doing a good thing.
I also applaud the government’s decision to delay the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes.
A paper recently published in British Medical Journal Open claims that the Australian experiment reduces smoking appeal, and supports the plain packaging policy. But take a look at that paper: a handful of people had more “thoughts about quitting”. It is a tiny sample (compared with the total number of smokers), and those p values look incredibly shaky to me. It’s true the study found that thoughts about quitting did predict quitting attempts, but quitting attempts are notoriously unsuccessful. There is no credible evidence that plain packaging achieves the primary endpoint of reducing smoking.
The Australian experiment is of course far too young to draw any conclusions. What’s more, it is too early to assess the impact of unintended, unforeseen consequences. (If ever a nanny state should have experience with unforeseen consequences it would be Australia, where, when cycling without a helmet was made illegal, the cyclist death rate went UP.) We do not know what would happen to the cigarette black market, to duty-free imports, to … anything else that I can’t think of because the consequences are unforeseen.
But it’s not just about health benefits and economic and other consequences. It would be brilliant if everybody just gave up, and nobody ever felt the desire to pick up their first cigarette. The genie, unfortunately, is out of the packet. We have had free access to cigarettes – and consumer choice in that access – for such a long time that it looks to me like a right. And a democracy should protect the rights of its minorities, even the rights of people to choose how to die.
What about my rights not to be abused by tobacco smoke? Well, I think we’ve actually done a fairly good job there. I cheered the smoking ban, and going to the pub no longer fills me with dread.
The thing is, the prospect of plain packaging of cigarettes reminds me strongly of visiting East Berlin. Plain packaging is deeply opposed by many people – not just tobacco companies, retailers and special interest groups. Even if plain packaging were a successful intervention and decreased the number of cigarettes smoked, it is a Soviet era-style restriction that does not sit well in a liberal democracy.
An assault on personal freedoms in the name of health is still an assault on democracy. Isn’t it?

There is no evidence that plain packaging will have any impact on youth smoking rates or the number of adults who smoke. There are, however, several very good reasons why this pointless idea should be rejected. Read on:
Nothing plain about plain packaging – Legislation should be based on evidence – Tackle illicit trade not legitimate businesses – Please, no more nanny state diktats – and more!

Sir Humphrey is now in drag
The civil service’s actions on the plain cigarette packs consultation have been nothing short of a disgrace
25 February 2013
By David Atherton
Drip, drip, drip. Day after day an insidious poison is fed into the nation’s veins, spreading anger and cynicism about everything in the public sector”, so wrote Polly Toynbee of the Taxpayers Alliance (TPA), in 2009. “Nothing works, billions are wasted, public servants of every kind are pointless jobsworths feathering their nests and twiddling their thumbs” – this was her characterisation of the TPA’s outlook; though you may agree, the statement stands up well, even out of context.
Lord Digby-Jones, from his time as a Trade Minister, said of the Civil Service: “Frankly the job could be done with half as many; it could be more productive, more efficient, it could deliver a lot more value for money for the taxpayer… I was amazed, quite frankly, at how many people deserved the sack and yet that was the one threat that they never ever worked under, because it doesn’t exist.”
Even Tony Blair claimed he bore “scars on his back” from battling the Civil Service on the issue of public sector reform after only two years in office. David Cameron can better that; after only a year in office, the Prime Minister revealed his frustration with Whitehall in a speech to the Conservative Party Spring Conference, announcing the Government’s intention to take on “bureaucrats in government departments” who he described as “enemies of enterprise”.
Another infamous run-in with the civil service involved Steve Hilton, Cameron’s former director of strategy, who resigned in disgust after a row involving top mandarin Bob Kerslake. Hilton’s desire to reduce civil service numbers, by means of outsourcing sections of its policy work to think tanks and the private sector, brought him into contact with Sir Bob, the Head of the Civil Service. Nicknamed by Hilton as “Bungalow Bob”, I presume because he had nothing upstairs, Kerslake was further described as “a second-rate human resources department.”
Last but not least, I am sure we all have our own examples of the government-employed using what little power they have on us.
But now, Sir Humphrey Appleby of the hit TV series ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ has put on a dress and a pair of sling-back shoes and morphed into Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer and head paper pusher at the Department of Health (DH).
Supposedly neutral on policy, Davies and Andrew Black (Programme Manager of Tobacco Control) have in fact failed to display a shred of impartiality on the impending plain cigarette packs “consultation.” For those of you who have just resurfaced from your coma, the consultation is effectively another way of putting the banning of branded cigarette packets with the addition of some medical pornography so extreme that sitting in church on Sunday morning reading Asian Babes would seem more appropriate.
In what has been a dirty campaign (mainly on the part of Dame Sally Davies’s department and allies, who have never really recovered from being whitewashed in the public response – 500,000 versus 235,000), the latest reveals more evidence of closed, clandestine meetings in smoke-filled free rooms.
You see, it turns out the DH commissioned two anti-smoking zealots, Professors Gerald Hastings and Linda Bauld, from the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies to review the “proof.”? They may as well have just commissioned Lord Rennard to write a paper on keeping your hands on the table at Lib Dem HQ.
What’s more, the DH paid out ?468,462.06 of taxpayer’s money to Smoke Free South West alone on advertising to encourage the public to lobby for plain packs.
Most worrying though was that the DH and the DH-funded Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) were allegedly inflating the 235,000 positive responses. Deborah Arnott of ASH was in correspondence with Tabitha Brufal, Deputy Director, Tobacco and Health Improvement Policy, Department of Health. Here’s what she had to say:
“I understand that you have been copied into an email from a junior member of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies (UKCTCS) which was circulated to the UKCTCS list encouraging sign up to the various websites supporting plain packs stating that “You can only vote once on each petition, but I would seriously doubt that there will be cross checking between charity petitions so it may be worth signing all of them to get your money’s worth.”
Fiddling the figures were they?
Then you have the contention that Andrew Black of the DH was in contact with fellow Australian and anti-smoking Professor Simon Chapman. And the fact that the DH extended the plain packaging consultation by four weeks at the request of the Australian government. The reason being, according to a Freedom of Information request from the 5th July, it wanted its submission to be signed off by its Minister of Health, The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, but she was on a “short absence”.
On the 23rd January this year Dame Sally Davies was giving evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. Asked about the effectiveness of the Australian Plain Packs campaign, which started fifty four days previously, she said that the “early signs” from Australia are that plain packaging is “successful in reducing cigarette smoking”. Asked for the provenance of her claim, she replied: “I had dinner with the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Health of Australia on Monday evening.”
“Is that scientific evidence?” asked a member of the committee. “No, I didn’t claim it as evidence. I am very careful to wait until it has been properly evaluated, peer reviewed and published. I said there was early evidence. She said, that the purchasing [of cigarettes] looked as if it was responding [to plain packaging]. I am only reporting to you what I have understood as early evidence.”
Seeing a vague pattern here? Biased evidence, collusion with other governments, the leaking of confidential information, and the possible misuse of public money/fraudulent skewering of public consultations. This is a disgrace.
Yes, Prime Minister has always been viewed as more of a documentary rather than satire; the inner workings of a government department which I have a deep knowledge of could easily be the blueprint for much of what passes for government elsewhere.
Seventy three MPs have written an open letter to Health Secretary asking for plain packaging to be abandoned. The Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco (Forest) has a page where you too can voice your objection with your MP. I hope you get a minute to write.

Last Call For Plain Packs Objections
4 July 2012
Many of you have shared your responses to the government’s consultation on the quite daft plans for plain packaging. They’ve all been great to read, especially the more, err, forthright ones. The process ends on Tuesday July 10th, so if you had planned to get your opinion registered on the idea and haven’t yet done so, now would be the time to get a wiggle on.
Read More

Smokers of the World Unite!
April 11, 2012
By Benjamin Lazarus
“If I know better than you know what I am up to, it is only because I spend more time with myself than you do.”
― Daniel C. Dennett, Freedom Evolves
I was appalled. Not only had the young lady behind the counter in Sainsbury’s sniggered at my request for a pack of Vogue Menthol’s, but what was truly shocking was the prison gate she had to open in order for one to witness what cigarettes this store had to sell.
Upon asking I was informed this was the new governmental legislation that was implemented at the beginning of April.
This is part of the moral crusade against smokers, which logically will lead to a war on drinkers and fast-food eaters as well – Essentially anything that the state does not wish an individual to do!
Writing in On Liberty, John Stuart Mill claimed:
“Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental or spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.”
From this logic, a smoker, just like a consumer of alcohol or fast food has the absolute authority to be the gate-keeper of their body, without governmental interference. However, the puritanical crusade against smokers violates this fundamental principle.
The next potential move from the government is to end any form of advertising on cigarette packets, meaning all packets would be a plain, grotesque white.
Smokers today are unable to light a cigarette without being reminded of unpleasant images from the potential consequences of their actions, yet we do not treat our drinkers or sweet eaters in such a manner – proving that this is a moral crusade. After all, cigarette taxation generates more governmental revenue than is used to treat smoking related diseases, so health is clearly not the issue.
The economist, Steven Levitt argued ‘incentives are the cornerstone of modern life’, and thus in order to explain the reasons why people smoke, we must examine one’s incentives.
So what are children’s incentives to smoke?
As the tobacco industry is banned from advertising – they clearly cannot be encouraged from any form of tobacco marketing.
Rather children will always smoke as they desire to be seen as marginally rebellious, radical, and naughty -smoking is simply a method to do so. This is their incentive.
Their brand-loyalty to Marlboro or Mayfair will occur because they prefer the packaging to another brand’s. But they will still smoke in the first place. Hence, plain packaging will not work, as results have shown in Canada, where smoking actually increased following the ban.
In the recent budget the government implemented a ‘sin tax’ increase of 39 pence on cigarettes.
‘Sin taxes’, according to Mill are “a measure differing only in degree from their entire prohibition”, and that to use artificial inflation upon such undesirable goods is only suited “to a society in which the labouring classes are avowedly treated as children or savages”.
To put it simply – the government should start treating individuals as autonomous adults, rather than interfering in their lives, since smokers are not ”savages”.
This moral crusade naturally has a logical next step. So we must ask ourselves – why end at cigarettes?
What is to stop them moving onto alcohol, fast food, and sweets?
You may think one is being capricious here – yet it is alcohol and obesity that are far greater drains on our NHS than smoking.
So why would such moral crusaders stop at cigarettes if their true intention is the population’s health, and the tax bill for the NHS?
When one looks at it like this it is really quite simple. This is a campaign of frenzied moralism that essentially wishes to enforce militant prohibition. Indeed, this point is proven when one simply asks the question – would these anti-smoking campaigners relax their attitude at all if individuals grew their own tobacco, and rolled their own hand-made cigarettes?
I think the question answers itself.
The government so far seem to be acting as if inspired by Sir Humphrey in Yes, Prime Minister, when he notes:
“Something must be done. This is something, therefore we must do it”.
Thus, all who care about freedom must stop this orgy of bigotry and moralism against smokers continuing.
As the greatest President there never was, Henry Jackson said:
“If you believe in the cause of freedom, then proclaim it, live it and protect it”.
So as this spectre of anti-smoking haunts our great nation, I encourage all who believe in the cause of freedom to stop this militant prohibition against those of us who enjoy our vices, and we must never been made to apologize to anyone for doing so.

Why do people smoke?

Snowdon’s “White Paper”
By Michael J. McFadden
Deborah Arnott (of ASH) says, “The Adam Smith Institute, by publishing this report, is acting as the mouthpiece for the tobacco industry, as it has done on many previous occasions.”
Why is it that whenever Antismokers are confronted with reasonable arguments, their first reaction is always to either (A) Wave The Children in the air, or (B) Claim any opposition must somehow be connected to Big Tobacco? The answer is simple: both are highly effective propaganda tools to use if you don’t actually have real justifications on your side of the argument.
(A) “Waving The Children” inspires a hormonally hard-wired protective response in listenersreaders: we are biologically geared to protect our young, and, no matter WHAT the topic might be, the side that can claim to be “on the side of the children” can borrow strength from the propaganda tool.
(B) Pointing to “Big Tobacco” inspires doubts about the opponent’s honesty because corporations are known to lie in their self-interest, with BT having a particularly public record of having been caught at it. It also inspires doubts about the opponent’s motivations — i.e. are they somehow being paid by BT to say what they say (which is what Arnott directly suggests with her use of the term “mouthpiece) for the Adam Smith Institute.
Mr. Snowdon’s Report is valid and well-argued. It’s no surprise that the fanatics who are against anything even sniffing of resembling a vague support of some aspect of something to do with smoking would choose to attack it with Ad Hominems rather than with substance.

The report is beautifully argued and written. Well worth saving for future use and citation. (38 pages)

Property Rights for all include Smokers Rights!
Hands Off Our Packs
In the news today: Chris Snowdon (Velvet Glove Iron Fist) has written a cracking report, published by the Adam Smith Institute, on why plain packaging is a complete waste of time and money.
You may have heard Chris on the Today programme this morning, followed by Five Live Breakfast. The report has been widely featured in the press as well, much to the annoyance of ASH who are accusing the ASI (a world famous libertarian think tank founded in 1977) of being “a mouthpiece for the tobaco industry”. Is that the best they can do?
By coincidence we are delighted to announce that Chris Snowdon is one of the guest speakers at the party that will OFFICIALLY launch Forest’s Hands Off Our Packs! campaign.
Also speaking: Mark Littlewood, the outspoken and often provocative director-general of the Institute of Economic Affairs. (He’s a smoker too!)
That’s the good news. The even better news is – you are ALL invited!
Date: Monday 27th February 2012
Time: 6.30-8.30pm
Venue: St Stephens Club, 34 Queen Anne’s Gate, London SW1H 9AB
The bottom line is, if you are opposed to the plain packaging of tobacco (whatever next – alcohol and fatty foods?), don’t miss what should be a very entertaining evening.
RSVP Nicky on 01223 370156 or email
And don’t forget to SIGN UP!
Visit the Hands Off Our Packs website today:

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