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Plain packaging – take a look

One of the ludicrous complaints about the so called “plain packaging” rules on cigarettes it that they make it harder to select a sought-after brand in a shop.  That can only be true if the shop-assistant is illiterate.  The brand and brand variety is indicated clearly on the front as well as top and base of the cigarette packet.  There is also a scanning code on one side that determines ID.

The description “plain packaging” is misleading because most of the packet is taken up with health warnings.  These are accurate statements of fact such as “Smoking Harms Unborn Babies” along with a picture of an underweight and obviously ill new born.  The factually-accurate statement that smoking reduces brain size in newly-born infants is also provided.

Meanwhile a marketing expert (who doubles as a Senior IPA member) reports with glee at Catallaxy that Cuba has attacked the “plain packaging” legislation.  The markets in legal carcinogen provision might yet be restored to their former glory. Pictures of a robust cowboy riding through Malboro Country* would presumably provide better and more informative labelling and help immunize the community against the pernicious influence of the nanny state.

* Of course one must be careful here. Three of the Marlboro Cowboy’s died from lung cancer – one of them testified against Philip Morris and Malboro cigarettes became widely known as the “Cowboy Killers”.  Probably better to pick a cowboy who wasn’t killed by lung cancer.

9 comments to Plain packaging – take a look

  • Catallaxy and facts or the real world are vastly different things

  • slain

    The point I think was missed on Catallaxy, the issue is that legislation does not differentiate between cigars and cigarettes. So a quality hand made Cuban cigar which is really a gourmet not dissimilar to a nice wine has been lumped in with all other tobacco products. Tax on these products is outrageous and the restrictions are way over the top.

    Kids are highly unlikely to take up smoking stogies are they?

  • Jim Rose

    When I was at school all too long ago, cigarettes were nicknamed cancer sticks by teenage smokers.

    The notion that people are unaware of the risks is misinformed.

    Indeed, Viscusi found that smokers greatly over-estimate the their risk of dying from cancer from smoking. I see no need to correct this misinformation.

  • hc

    Viscusi found they overestimate certain health risks. But they also overestimate their probabilities of quitting. There are a myriad of misperceptions about smoking – individual risks poorly recognised by individual though community risks estimated accurately. In growth markets – China, India – they vastly under-appreciate health risks.

  • Jim Rose

    Attitudes to risk are complicated in developing countries. Driving in the philippines is best done by not looking out of the taxi. Seat belts are never used.

  • John Mashey

    re: HC’s comment
    I recently attended a seminar at UCSF’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education about smoking in young adults (meaning 20s, not the tobacco company definition which means ~11-19 or something like it.) They did a bunch of focus groups with young smokers:

    1) Most said they knew they should quit, expected to quit expected it wouldn’t be that hard.
    2) When would stop?
    a) Age 30 (magic number) OR
    b) If they got married and started having children.

  • rog

    This is another one of Sinclair’s rather pathetic attempts to light grass fires. As the author of his ref’d article has noted the govt has stated that there is no intention by govt to impose plain packaging on wine or any other alcohol.

    And the application by Cuba to the WTO is merely a request to consult with Australia on its laws.

  • Is there no nicotine delivery system that is as satisfying as cigarettes, but without the health problems? If there was, we could ban tobacco altogether.

  • Jim Rose

    why do quit smoking courses offer money back guarantees?

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