If the government steals brands from the tobacco companies, what’s next?

Leo BajzertIn this guest post Leo Bajzert – who counts British American Tobacco as a client – argues that the Tobacco Plain Packaging Bill amounts to brand theft

Imagine waking up one day and discovering the Government has taken over your brand. Not just that, they’ve effectively outlawed it.  

All those dollars spent building it. All those great ideas supporting it. And that’s not to mention your legally registered trademarks and intellectual properties.

Banning brands might sound far-fetched, even borderline Orwellian. But it’s happening.

The first draft of the Tobacco Plain Packaging Bill was announced in early April. Put simply, it forces tobacco companies to replace any on-pack branding with a common shade of olive green. All brand names and variant descriptions are to be written in a standardised font and size.

To many, that might sound like a good idea. But here’s the thing: it’s a legal product.

Many of the implications of this legislation are already being discussed in the media. But from a marketing perspective, the pertinent question has to be: if the precedent is set, where will it stop?

If breaking the link between brands and consumers is deemed to have been successful with tobacco, the same argument could easily, possibly wrongly, be used elsewhere. Maybe destroying affinity with alcohol brands will reduce consumption. Maybe plain fast-food packaging would be less enticing. (That one’s already been suggested.)

The same logic could be applied to a range of products currently on the wrong side of pressure groups and Canberra lobbyists.

G2 has British American Tobacco as a global client. As Creative Director I’ve heard plenty of solid arguments both for and against plain packaging. But I’m also a libertarian. So I’m opposed in principal to a Government abolishing branding in a legal, if controversial, FMCG category. And I’d feel the same way if it were any other product.

Today tobacco companies face having their ability to compete in the marketplace forcibly removed. In five, ten or even 20 years time, who knows? It’s worth thinking about.

  • Leo Bajzert is Creative Director of G2 whose clients include British American Tobacco

Comments


  1. Athan
    11 May 11
    12:15 pm

  2. Sorry Leo, quick but notable point: Cigarettes are legal because of black market and regulation issues, not because it’s a product that should be on the market, and thus be allowed to market itself accordingly.

    In a sad stage in Australian history it was legal to kill indigenous people in Queensland, so long as you had a license. What that means is that people were killing them anyway, but Government intervention regulated that process to ensure that it happened on their terms. It was legal. But do you think that killing the indigenous should be on equal marketing footing as, say, laundry detergent?

    Arguably similar situation with tobacco today. Legality does not give it grounds for equal market representation.

    Legality in the market allows people who currently smoke to smoke with convenience and under government regulation, and to ensure that an underground ‘black’ market doesn’t exist. Marketing it spurs growth and affinity. While I too consider myself a Libertarian, given the choice to give tobacco free market reign or have it government regulated, I’d chose and vote to the later.

    Australia’s health bill should give you all the reasoning you need.

  3. AdGrunt
    11 May 11
    12:22 pm

  4. Nice one, Badger.

    BAT haven’t exactly helped themself with their Shopkeeper campaign, but your point is valid.

    I can only imagine how this comments thread will pan out when it’s circulated around the prohibitionist areas blogosphere.

  5. AdGrunt
    11 May 11
    12:30 pm

  6. Wow, Athan. We got to the Australian equivalent of Godwin’s Law straight off.

    Legal Smoking Cigs = Legal Killing Aboriginals

    Aside from that silliness, you’re almost making an argument for legalisation of all drugs there, aren’t you?

  7. Hmmm...
    11 May 11
    12:38 pm

  8. Nice try.

    But consider this: tobacco advertising was banned in Australia in 1976.

    34 years later, this ban has yet to lead to a single instance of another product category being banned from advertising in Australia.

    Why?

    Because tobacco is unique. Unlike fast food, tobacco is harmful in even the smallest dose. It is chemically addictive. And as most people know, the aim of any kind of marketing of this product is to target entry-level smokers, rather than existing smokers. Take-up rather than brand-switching.

    And we all know that not too many people take up smoking past the age of 18, don’t we?

    So.

    Tobacco, by its very nature, does not deserve to be allowed to play by the rules that other brands do. It is proper and right that, as a society, we tolerate its existence, rather than seek to promote it (in any form).

    And, as the 34 year old ban on tobacco advertising shows, restrictions on the marketing of tobacco are seen (both by the public, regulatory authorities and successive Governments) as a unique circumstance with little relevance (or potential spin-off) to other product categories.

    This legislation isn’t the ‘thin edge of the wedge’ and it won’t lead to plain packaging for hamburgers or soft drink, and it won’t spell the end of the packaging industry.

    But it just may reduce demand for a product with very few (if any) positive societal benefits. Which is something that British American Tobacco definitely doesn’t want.

    Nor, I’d imagine, a company such as G2, which in part makes its money creating brand activation and promotional work for cigarette companies. Hence this opinion piece.

  9. Miss. R Pillow
    11 May 11
    1:07 pm

  10. A couple of comments to the points made by Athan- killing indigenous people was never a branding issue and is therefore a somewhat irrelevant comparison.

    Furthermore, the idea that tobacco products are legal for the sole reason of restricting the growth of the black market raises more questions than it answers. Primarily, if this is the case, why doesn’t the government simply legalise other substances that are currently traded illegally in large volume.

    The conversation about plain packaging should not solely concern itself with the legality of the product in question. It is an issue of brand freedom, and if a company is allowed to operate as such in a free country, then is it economically feasible for any governing body to tell them how to run their business, especially when said business is operating within the scope of the law.

  11. Athan
    11 May 11
    1:10 pm

  12. @Adgrunt yep. there are pros and cons to drug legalisation. The QLD point is to highlight Leo’s justification to the assumed ‘given-right’ to marketing activity purely because it’s legal.

  13. Groucho
    11 May 11
    1:33 pm

  14. Wow, the little gnomes at the tobacco company PR cos and the little gnomes in the tobacco companies will be busy with their ‘How to respond to attacks”manuals this afternoon.

    They will busily trying, with multiple identities to overwhelm the real humans expressing sensible opinions.

    Remember this liitle ones : Every cigarette does you harm.

    And every thing you do to promote the evil habit does harm to someone.

    .

  15. JHG
    11 May 11
    1:47 pm

  16. Cigarettes and smoking are foul, expensive, polluting, killing. Anything that can be done to limit the number of people buying in to their addiction has got to be good, and no argument for “marketing” should ever change that.
    I’ve never met an adult smoker who didn’t want to give up, but they all got hooked as teenagers and have been addicted ever since.

  17. Lyn
    11 May 11
    2:28 pm

  18. Well said, Hmmm!!

  19. Adam Paull
    11 May 11
    2:42 pm

  20. Leo, your core argument that tobacco is a legal product suggests an obvious solution – no doubt you’re hinting that it should be made illegal, which is a brave decision given your client base. It would certainly solve a lot of problems however, so well done on such a courageous stance.

  21. les wood
    11 May 11
    2:42 pm

  22. HAHAHAHAHAHA

  23. Carole Ann Goldsmith
    11 May 11
    2:42 pm

  24. Cigarette smoking and passive smoking is killing more people in Australia and globally than any other drugs. Hospitals world wide are filled with people with smoking related diseases and still we allow cigarettes to be sold
    Not only should tobacco products have plain packaging, but they should be banned from sale world wide. Cigarettes kill and we in the health field and health journalists, will continue to report on the dangers of cigarette smoking until the products are banned completely I am sick to death of walking down the street and being confronted with people blowing their poisonous cigarette smoke in my face and causing me to have an asthma attack. Ban cigarettes in all public places and ban the sale of cigarettes and the world will be a healthier place for everyone.
    Carole Goldsmith
    International Business and Health Journalist

  25. Ted
    11 May 11
    2:47 pm

  26. On pack brand is a form of advertising. When they banned tobacco advertising in ’76 they missed packs. Long overdue catch-up.

    By the way, tobacco is the only legal product that kills half of its customers. Anything we can do to make cigarettes less enticing for kids who haven’t yet been lured into this deadly addiction is worth a try.

  27. Simon Chapman
    11 May 11
    3:01 pm

  28. In the nineteenth century, legal “products” included slave and opium trading, sending kids down mines, and displaying the deformed for public entertainment. These industries had their own defenders who railed against nannyist nonsense, much in the same way that our “libertarian” Bazjert is dutifully affronted today for his paymasters. Lung cancer was virtually unknown before 1920, rose rapidly to become the leading global cause of cancer deatth, and has been in steady decline since 1984 thanks to tobacco control. Let history be the judge of those who went into bat for the retention of the right to put cancer-causing products in fancy packets. Shameful.

  29. Thomas Dodson
    11 May 11
    3:11 pm

  30. Wow, this certainly backfired, didnt it Leo.

  31. PS
    11 May 11
    3:28 pm

  32. What amazes me is that alcohol advertising continues to be fairly limited in regulation. Isn’t it astounding that the Australian rugby league team ran around with a beer slogan on their backs last week! Why is this OK?? Alcohol is by far more harmful to more people than smoking. And let’s not even broach the subject of obesity where most of the health budget is spent. It’s a weird and twisted little argument set up by struggling ex-smokers. Still love the way you used to suck it down eh? You know you want to…

  33. Darren Horrigan
    11 May 11
    3:34 pm

  34. Big Tobacco lied to the world for 50 years about what it knew of its own products. The multi-billion dollar payouts to various US states proves the depth and darkness of their collective deceit.

    I mention the $ first because it is the only measure business understands. Triple bottom line? Does BAT and its ilk even publish a sustainability report?

    If Big Alcohol, Big Fast Food or Big Other Stuff That Kills If Not Handled With Care was as guilty of such appalling behaviour, then they too should be legislated out of existence.

    Big T is not on the wrong side of pressure groups and Canberra lobbyists. It’s on the wrong side of a moral argument it will never win – it’s products have a direct hand in killing people.

  35. Mark
    11 May 11
    3:46 pm

  36. @Ted, good point.

    Leo, whether you’re happy about it or not, tobacco is the asbestos of consumer products. The industry also uses severe child labour and has failed to keep up with the moral standards we expect most businesses to uphold.

    At the height of Malawi’s tobacco harvest, the lush fields of the country’s key tobacco growing district, Kasungu, are filled with labourers picking the big green-yellow leaves. Many of them are children. Malawi continues to have the highest number of child labourers in Southern Africa, with more than 78 000 children working on tobacco farms, according to Plan. They receive an average of R1,20 for 12 hours of unrelenting work. Some of them are only five years old.

    Goverment intervention regarding branding is the least of your worries.

  37. Hank
    11 May 11
    4:17 pm

  38. Leo,

    I think you’re going to struggle to sucessfully discuss any sort of principled arguement while making your living selling ciggies.

    Please refrain from trying to take the moral high ground on this one – it won’t work, so why do it?

  39. Tony
    11 May 11
    4:26 pm

  40. Leo, You are not alone in having worked in the tobacco category. Did the same thing myself and a huge amount was spent of packaging. BAT have packaging down to a fine art. The focus groups held to finesse the finest detail of a new pack are more than interesting as smokers vermently defend the smallest details and colours of their chosen brand. Packaging is clearly the one differentiator between brands and takes away BAT’s (and their competitors) only open option to attract the consumer. I learnt a lot working in the category but was only too happy to move on as the gasping sounds of a relative dying from emphasyma rang in my ears.

  41. Libertarian?
    11 May 11
    4:31 pm

  42. Always makes me laugh when so called ‘libertarians’ argue in favour of nicotine – one of the most insidous forms of slavery that exist.

    Your mum must be so proud, Leo

  43. Bundy
    11 May 11
    5:04 pm

  44. “In a sad stage in Australian history it was legal to kill indigenous people in Queensland, so long as you had a license.

    Would you please provide a citation/source for that claim, please? A real one, from a legal text or case law, not a junk history site.

    Thanks!

  45. Wilberforce Wanted
    11 May 11
    5:10 pm

  46. If all of you totalitarian neowosers of the Left truly believe that cigarettes are that evil and don’t deserve to be legal, why aren’t you lobbying loud and hard for them to be banned outright?

    They’ve been compared with slavery and murder so far by you people: I put it to you that if you TRULY believed that they were as evil as slavery and murder, you have no moral compass if you haven’t already begun a full-on prohibition campaign.

    Slavery had its Wilberforce; who will take up the cause of giving his or her all that cigarettes may be similarly outlawed?

    P.S. I assume that all of you who are against cigarettes are also lobbying hard against drug injecting rooms and “harm minimisation” programs for similarly dangerous drugs?

  47. Monkey See
    11 May 11
    6:02 pm

  48. Really well made point Leo.

    I mean, when they decided to ban slavery, who knows, are they going to ban people being able to work.

    When they decided to ban capital punishment, who knows, are they going to abolish prisons?

    When they decided to ban torture, who knows, are they going to ban tickling?

    Thank god for big tobacco. Don’t know where we would be without them. How can we feel sexy and confident without our favourite ciggy brand hanging from our mouths?

    G2, how can you not be ashamed to work with such companies? And other brands that works with G2, you are judged by the company you keep.

  49. AdGrunt
    11 May 11
    6:50 pm

  50. So here is the predicted prohibition claque, strawman arguments in hand and conventional wisdom a go-go. All those of you that mentioned slavery, opium and especially killing Aboriginals, may leave the room.

    The point is why, if something is legal and freely available to adults, it can’t be marketed to those adults. Do by all means tell them it’ll kill them and tax their arse off to cover their oxygen-toting demise, but do give them some credit to make a choice. Illegal drugs have stronger branding than ciggies these days.

    Quite simply, prohibition (of which this a form) doesn’t work. Bring serotonin and dopamine rewarders like lardy food, booze, sex and drugs and you’re simply wasting money. Education, regulation and taxation is your best hope. That goes for legal and illegal drugs, too.

  51. Shaun
    11 May 11
    7:46 pm

  52. Re: “from a marketing perspective, the pertinent question has to be: if the precedent is set, where will it stop?”

    That is your problem: you are treating the marketing aspect as absolute, and failing to account for the plenitude of documented evidence that reveals tobacco deserves to receive such regulatory treatment. You’re really implying that people should die just to keep you in business.

    Don’t cite the legal argument and ‘freedom of choice’ as reasons to maintain the status quo, because these fail to account for the role that manufacturers have in illness and death stats, (independent of personal consumer agency). In fact, you have to go beyond your marketing perspective and acknowledge that due to your involvement, you’ve been part of this causal chain.

    Perhaps future research will show that the same brain regions impacted by smoking are also impacted by cigarette sales revenues – this might explain the reasons for your argument, which is like a default setting, despite all the documented evidence about tobacco harm.

  53. Tim
    11 May 11
    7:58 pm

  54. Leo. Like your work.
    The issue is twofold for me.
    1. I’m sick and tired of living in a Nanny State where adults at not allowed to make their own decisions. This is one of those fundamental rights issues where the government is relying on the public letting it go because ‘it’s about cigarettes’.
    2. It smacks of a government wanting to appear to be doing the right thing while not being prepared to go all the way and ban the bloody things (I don’t smoke) because of the $7 million in tax they bring in. I’m not sure what’s worse; the smoking or the hypocrisy.

  55. Tom
    11 May 11
    8:01 pm

  56. Many of the “facts” in the comments are wrong.

    The public health cost of tobacco – i.e. the amount governments have to shell out due to smoking-related illness – is very small next the total public health cost of alcohol. (The illnesses, the car crashes, the domestic violence, etc.)

    Further, the public health cost of obesity is higher than cigarettes, too.

    But smoking gets all the bad press. It’s an easy target, for a lot of reasons.

    The young man makes a very valid point that most of you are glossing over: what’s next? If governments are consistent (which they usually aren’t) then bans on alcohol and fast food advertising are coming down the pike, followed by plain packaging for both categories, too.

    And for what it’s worth, advertising folks who say they won’t work on cigarettes but are happy to work on booze brands are completely hypocritical. The latter is far harder on society than the former…. so no high horses please. We’re all Satan’s little helpers in this industry… http://youtu.be/gDW_Hj2K0wo

  57. Tim
    11 May 11
    8:18 pm

  58. Sorry, that was $7 Billion in taxes. Not $7 million.

  59. Athan
    11 May 11
    10:01 pm

  60. @Bundy My friend, run a new tab on that lenovo of yours and google: Genocide in Australia. You will find plenty a legal doc, research paper, and content of similar ilk for your perusal. You don’t offer a citation to a man who requests one anonymously.

  61. SimuBizon
    11 May 11
    10:35 pm

  62. I have a say?

  63. Formaldehyde
    12 May 11
    12:28 am

  64. Leo, do you smoke? You probably do. What is your brand? Why?

    It is understandable that you defend your clients (maybe), but you are missing the point. Whether it is plain packaging, banned advertising, threatening or horrifying disclaimers, stricter regulation or heavier taxation, the goal is one: REDUCE CONSUMPTION of a product that kills you and others insidiously. Some compounds are simply not good for you, and cigarettes deliver so many of them directly into your bloodstream.

    Anyway, it would be interesting to read more about those “solid arguments” for plain packaging. Will you share?

  65. John
    12 May 11
    1:56 am

  66. A question for Simon Chapman, the Public Health advocate:
    Since you claim that cigarettes are cancer-causing products, could you please indicate – with a link(s) – what the proportional rate of all-cancer mortality is for smokers and nonsmokers. Put another way, for 100 smokers and 100 nonsmokers what is the all-cancer mortality proportion/percentage for each group?

    Further, has the all-cancer mortality proportion (for smokers and/or nonsmokers) over the last half century been roughly the same or has it been declining?
    Is the relative risk of smoking for lung cancer the same now as it was 10, 30, 50 years ago?

  67. John
    12 May 11
    3:16 am

  68. Another question for Simon Chapman. It’s interesting that you make some historical references, but fail to point out a number of far more relevant historical facts.

    For example, tobacco has been used (non-indigenous) for some 400 years in Europe and the Orient, and eventually in European-settled America. It was used long before the tobacco companies came along with their branded packs and advertising. Anti-smoking/tobacco also has a long, sordid, and even murderous (e.g., King Murad beheading those that dared defy his anti-tobacco decree) history. Much of this anti-tobacco history predates even the pretense of a scientific basis or secondhand smoke “danger”.
    http://www.americanheritage.co.....rint.shtml

    As is noted in Dillow (1981), the anti-tobacco “crusade” (concurrent with the anti-alcohol “crusade”) of early-1900s USA degenerated into all manner of baseless, inflammatory claims that produced a bigotry frenzy. The sale of tobacco was even banned temporarily in a number of states and with some form of anti-smoking regulations in most states.

    Simon, if you are a student of history, could you please explain what drove the ban on the sale of tobacco in a number of states and eventually Prohibition in early-1900s America? And could you explain why anti-tobacco/alcohol sentiment pops up again in Nazi Germany, i.e., why does it pop-up in Nazi Germany at all?
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....1-0040.pdf

  69. Andrew
    12 May 11
    8:14 am

  70. I’m sorry but I’ve never read so many ridiculous comments to a post. As long as cigarettes feature in our favorite television shows (sex and the city, Mad Men etc.) and movies we’re always going to have this problem. Do you people honestly believe plain packaging can combat this? Really? The brad Pitts, Leonardo DiCaprio’s, George Clooneys and the like are the real influencers. Now I’m sorry, but I don’t want the government telling me what I can and can’t watch now. I don’t want to have to sit through films with black boxes placed over cigarettes.
    Now there seems to be enough people on this blog that are strong enough to resist the temptations of the charms of cigarettes.
    I’m a smoker. I enjoy it. I really do. I know, like every other person that has been bombarded with facts that it will kill me. Yet I still do it. Yes it’s addictive but I enjoy it. So what are you going to do now? Ban them? Yes, let’s create yet another illegal drug trade and have the government not misappropriate those tax dollars. It will become every bit as popular as Cocaine and Pot. Which begs the question, why are these trades continuing to flourish and grow? They have plain packaging and never had advertising support. Look people, we’re human. We’re weak and are not infallible. Stop thinking we need to have other people make decisions for us.
    I could go onto talking about a CEO of a certain Fast food company that died of stomach cancer, he boasted about the fact that he had a particular burger every day since he was 20. Full of chemicals, this food can kill you. These are the things I’d like to address. This food targets children and through the use of sugar and salt creates an even more insidious addiction. We’re the most obese nation on the planet.
    There are many things in the world that need attention but I just think everythithg that can be done to tobacco has been done. People know it is bad. People know that every cigarette does you harm. This next proposed step is a joke. It will not do anything. Wake up!
    I’ve been reading a great book about choice architecture. This is the only way forward if you are a libertarian. God help Australia.

  71. Jon
    12 May 11
    8:40 am

  72. Always nice to hear a full-throated defense of marketing tobacco — from the folks who make money marketing tobacco.

    All right, imagine waking up one day and discovering that your product, used exactly as intended, is killing people. Or your client’s product. What would you do?

    I think we have Bajzert’s answer: he’d whine about any limits whatsoever on his “right” to keep marketing it.

  73. Scott Taylor
    12 May 11
    9:23 am

  74. Alcohol abuse & obesity are greater problems for society right now? Probably true.

    But until you look at that on a per-user basis, your comparison isn’t that useful.

    And since when do you ignore an issue simply because it has less impact than other issues? (to the pedants, yes there are odd cases where you have to do this…but this is not one of them)

    And no, I’m not looking into the facts myself because honestly, I don’t think the general public really care about this assault on the rights of tobacco brands as much as those with vested interests seem to wish they would.

    Now where’s my olive green jumpsuit?

  75. Groucho
    12 May 11
    9:42 am

  76. From some of the arguments supporting tobacco here you have to wonder if there is a previously undiscovered effect of smoking: Smoking reduces your brain’s ability to process information.

  77. Anne
    12 May 11
    9:49 am

  78. The ‘legal product’ argument is a flawed tobacco industry position. Methodone is legal but its regulated to ensure its not packaged in glossy colours and displayed prominantly front of shop.

  79. Paul Grogan
    12 May 11
    9:51 am

  80. A few clarifying points. Smoking causes around 20% of all cancer deaths in Australia – well in excess of any other preventable risk factor. Tobacco-caused cancers are among the hardest to treat and account for a higher level of premature death than cancers such as breast and prostate, whose main risk factor is ageing itself.

    Most smokers begin smoking at young ages, become addicted and in adulthood wish they’d never started. But that’s addiction. Plain packaging is not “brand theft”, as there are legal grounds for governments to apply special conditions to the marketing of dangerous consumer products – and 8,000 cancer deaths in Australia each year attributed to smoking, in most cases in people who became addicted to nicotine at a young age, make tobacco a dangerous product like no other. (Would anyone – even a pro-smoking stalwart – want to see their children become long-term smokers?)

    In the interests of transparency, I work for the Cancer Council. So my “clients” are people living with cancer and the thousands who can avoid a premature cancer death through effective public health policies such as plain packaging of tobacco products.

    Paul Grogan

  81. Ted
    12 May 11
    10:48 am

  82. For those who cite alcohol as a bigger problem, yes it is an issue, and is a significant contributor to cancer incidence and mortality. But smoking is by far the biggest killer.

    From the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Cancer in Australia 2008 (does not include other chronic diseases like heart disease):
    In 2005 there were an estimated 11,308 new cases of cancer and 8,155 deaths from cancer that can be attributed to smoking. This represents over 11% of cases and nearly 21% of cancer deaths. There were an estimated 2,997 new cases of cancer and 1,376 deaths from cancer attributed to excessive alcohol consumption. This represents 3.0% of cases and 3.5% of cancer deaths.
    (http://www.aihw.gov.au/publica.....#038;tab=2)

  83. John
    12 May 11
    12:57 pm

  84. Groucho: “Smoking reduces your brain’s ability to process information.”

    Quite the opposite, actually.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20414766
    http://dengulenegl.dk/English/Nicotine.html

    And that’s just nicotine. There are also psychological, behavioral, and perceptual aspects to smoking.

  85. John
    12 May 11
    1:13 pm

  86. Perhaps Paul Grogan or Ted would care to have a shot at the straightforward question –

    Could you please indicate – with a link(s) – what the proportional rate of all-cancer mortality is for smokers and nonsmokers. Put another way, for 100 smokers and 100 nonsmokers what is the all-cancer mortality proportion/percentage for each group?

  87. Shane
    12 May 11
    2:11 pm

  88. Leo I hope your scrubbing brush has stiff bristles. I would feel a little dirty after that, too…

    Let’s go with point-counterpoint shall we?

    Point: This won’t make people quit!
    Counterpoint: It’s not supposed to. It’s supposed to stop people getting hooked in the first place by driving down teen uptake rates.

    Point: It’s a legal product!
    Counterpoint: The only legal product that will have a hand in the deaths of half its users. That makes it an exceptional case.

    Point: Ban it then!
    Counterpoint: Sure, let’s ban a substance that 17% of the population are phsyically addicted to and see how that goes. See how long it lasts, too, before the opposition promise to reintroduce it, guaranteeing themselves 17% of the vote.

    Point: Trademark laws! You’ll have to pay compo!
    Counterpoint: Legally Big Tobacco don’t have a leg to stand on. The Govt is well within its legal rights to restrict their trademark. Big Tobacco have a legal right to trademark whatever they want – what they don’t have is a right to USE that trademark. And when public health is on the cards (and only an idiot would argue this is not the case here) the govt has the right to restrict trademark usage.

    Point: Bloody Nanny State!
    Counterpoint: Yes. Nanny state. Now excuse me while I drive home on streets curiously lacking 16 year old drunk drivers doing donuts, strangely confident I won’t be gunned down while stopped at red lights. Governments HAVE to restirct things, because otherwise the lowest common denominator take control. If you’re an adult and you choose to smoke and don’t want to quit, well then I consider you a freaking moron. If you are championing the rights of the next generation (ie your own children) to smoke, then I consider you criminally stupid and in need of swift castration.

  89. Paul Grogan
    12 May 11
    2:38 pm

  90. John, I am not an epidemiologist, but I doubt that a direct comparison using your criteria would be meaningful, as age adjustment would be required to indicate the real impact of smoking on cancer. (For example, how would you compare a 23-year-old smoker who dies in an accident with two 80-year-old non-smokers who died of prostate cancer?)

    You also have to include the impact of smoking on cardiovascular disease and emphysema – two other common forms of premature death caused by tobacco.

    Why? For many cancers, the longer you live the greater likelihood of a diagnosis. So thousands of people avoid, say, breast or prostate cancer at age 77 because smoking kills them from a heart attack, stroke or emphysema in their 60s. This hardly equates to a reason to smoke; I believe most people would prefer a cancer death in their 70s, 80s or 90s to a non-cancer death from smoking in their 60s. Not smoking, or quitting, may fulfill that choice.

    So a proportion of “all-cancer deaths” would be misleading. It’s the years of life lost that count . That’s why “burden of disease”, based on years of life lost rather than aggregate or proportion of deaths, is the guide for health policy. Check page 5 of this AIHW report, which shows smoking is well in excess of other risk factors for a “premature” cancer death:
    http://www.aihw.gov.au/publica.....6442467988

    For further context, lung cancer remains the deadliest form of cancer in Australia by a significant margin – both in terms of life-years lost and a poor incidence v survival ratio. Around 90% of lung cancer deaths in Australian men are attributed to smoking; 70% in women. (Last year, lung cancer overtook breast cancer as the no.1 cancer killer of Australian women.) Then there are the other 13 cancer types linked to smoking, most of them also associated with poor prognoses.

    I can tell you that of the circa 40,000 people who die of cancer in Australia each year, around 8000 of them died from a cancer caused by their smoking. So even without the conditions above which make this figure meaningless in terms of disease burden, this is an extraordinarily high aggregate number. Then there’s the tragic fact that, unlike two-thirds of overall cancer deaths, the smoking-caused deaths are avoidable. Just ask the people they leave behind.

    I hope this clarifies why tobacco control is such a critical policy issue for Cancer Council.

    As for the cognitive health benefits of nicotine, no credible health professional is going to recommend people smoke to smarten up. The reality is that smoking – once a glamorous pursuit – is increasingly associated with population groups who have had limited educational opportunities. Unfortunately, smoking has therefore become part of a cycle of social disadvantage and poor health outcomes.

    Paul Grogan

  91. Ian Macintosh
    12 May 11
    3:01 pm

  92. cough cough cough wheeze cough…can you spare me 20K to have my lung removed
    Leo mate…no? Shoot, I’ll have to dip into the public purse then. Cough cough wheeze…stoopid opinion. ?’. Have an opinion about something important FFS.

  93. Groucho
    12 May 11
    3:06 pm

  94. Oh come on John, what I mean is if you smoke you are a bloody idiot. Clearly you do. If you smoke you harm yourself, and those around you. You waste resources, those involved in the production and distribution of the stupid product, and those of the health system it helps overburden. We’re all going to die but we don’t have to do it gasping for breath with diseased lungs taking up a bed that that has a more deserving user.

    There is no sensible argument in favour of smoking. Everybody involved in the production, distribution, and marketing of tobacco is harming smokers, creating needless addiction and profiting from it.

    And everybody involved in its defence should examine their conscience, if they can find it.

    Every cigarette does you harm, everybody supporting smoking does harm.

    Perhaps the worst are those who fabricate arguments based on spurious logic to defend it.

  95. John
    12 May 11
    3:25 pm

  96. Shane: “If you’re an adult and you choose to smoke and don’t want to quit, well then I consider you a freaking moron. If you are championing the rights of the next generation (ie your own children) to smoke, then I consider you criminally stupid and in need of swift castration.”

    The mentally disturbed (e.g., bigots) eventually can’t help but show their hand, their twisted mental state. Shane, you should be ashamed that you even entertain such thoughts, let alone voice them with sanctimonious enthusiasm, which are very much in the sickly and dangerous eugenics tradition. You seem to suffer the standard eugenics afflictions – delusions of grandeur, delusion of omniscience/infallibility, megalomania – able to discard groups of people as “unviable/undesirable” without a second thought. You may have been even more “effective” at an earlier time (e.g., Nazi Germany) – that’s not a compliment, by the way. You might also entertain the idea that your disposition – a shallow mentality that believes it has it all “figured out”, motivated by the base emotions of fear and hatred – IS the lowest common denominator.

  97. Pitch Doctor
    12 May 11
    3:34 pm

  98. John you are a convincing argument against freedom of speech if ever there was one.

    Promoters of smoking observe the company you keep and repent!

  99. Simon Chapman
    12 May 11
    3:55 pm

  100. John — sorry for delayed reply – I’m overseas & moving about. Paul Grogan has replied perfectly about your first question to me: Smoking doesn’t just cause cancer — it causes many other diseases, so the important question is age-adjusted mortality differences between smokers & non-smokers for all causes combined, not just cancers. About half of long-term smokers die from a tobacco caused disease, and smokers who die from a smoking caused disease tend to lose about 12 years off normal life expectancy. Look in any US Surgeon-General’s report on smoking and health there are many references supporting that.
    As for your Nazi card, Robert Proctor, the US histrorian who has written two books on the Nazis & health says of your argument “The industry’s reductio ad Hitlerum is superficial, and ahistorical. The Nazis excelled at rocketry—does this mean that the Apollo mission was ballistic fascism? Many Nazis urged fitness and health through exercise: is jogging therefore athletic fascism?” You can read an essay of his here http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/.....624a1a3553
    The late C19 & early C20 prohibitions on smoking were pre- serious epidemiological understanding of smoking & disease and were driven mainly by moralistic stuff about it being wrong to “defile the temple of the body” etc. Our understranding has changed since then.

  101. AdGrunt
    12 May 11
    4:43 pm

  102. Erm,

    I don’t think the article is questioning that smoking can influence an early death. That’s a strawman argument.

    Calling Leo a peddler of evil is a subjective ad hominem.

    These are both fallacies (and on teh way, we’ve created some Godwin’s Law World Record)

    The article questions whether a freely, legally available adult product should be banned from being branded, on the very box that is already hidden from sale view.

    The rest is moot.

  103. Carole Ann Goldsmith
    12 May 11
    4:46 pm

  104. It takes around 30 years for cancer to develop from cigarette smoking and Japanese people, men in particular have been mainly smoking since the 2nd World war. The cancer and stroke rate of Japanese has been steadily increasing after the thirty years following the war. The Japanese health department has been promoting anti smoking and the perils of smoking in recent years, while the Japanese finance department owns around 50 percent of Japan Tobacco company, as far as I know this is still the case. So all the work the Japanese Health dept does in anti smoking goes down the drain when the Finance dept promotes tobacoo products.
    Now billions of yen are spent of health services trying to look after the smoking related cancer and stroke cases.

    I am just not sure why Leo has to make his living promoting tobacco, how can you live with yourself Leo?

    Carole Goldsmith
    International Business and Health Journalist and Trainer

  105. kjhk
    12 May 11
    5:29 pm

  106. “If the government steals brands from the tobacco companies, what’s next?”

    Communsim obviously.

    Plain wrapping is required on prescription medicines, which are not even usually harmful, why not tobacco ?

  107. Groucho
    12 May 11
    6:15 pm

  108. Ad Grunt the article may not be questioning that smoking may (or DOES unless you are incapable of thought) influence early death but the arguments supporting the idiotic proposition do question it. They are therefore not straw men at all, and have a legitimate if not essential role in the discussion.

    No amount of quasi logic can justify smoking or anything that promotes it including pack design.Those that do so are knowingly harming people and contributing to their early death.

    No excuses, however they are dressed up can justify helping this stupid trade.

    Grunt less, think more.

  109. John
    12 May 11
    8:54 pm

  110. Paul, thank you for the reply. That you are not an epidemiologist might be a plus :)

    However, you didn’t answer the question. And it is unfortunate that a straightforward answer cannot be found for a straightforward question without having to recalculate and re-analyze information. Why I asked it is that if the overall-cancer mortality for each group is roughly the same (it is by the way – around a third), then it calls into question the idea of smoking “causing” cancer. Smoking may indeed play an indirect or synergistic role in some cancer. But this is very different to the claim “smoking causes cancer” which has become one of the inflammatory catch-cries of contemporary anti-smoking. The distinction is critical because it affects how cancer is researched. Having convinced themselves that smoking “causes” lung cancer, LC research has languished. The role of HPV in cancer is being identified more and more. Cervical cancer is now wholly attributable to HPV; a large percentage of this cancer was not long ago attributed to smoking. A larger and larger percentage of oral cancer (including throat) is now attributed to HPV. A growing percentage of LC is now attributed to HPV as well. The role of bacterial infection in LC is also under/non-explored.

    The “links” you speak of to other cancers are statistical associations that are all too readily interpreted as “causal” in the current anti-tobacco fervor (there are also other statistically-associated factors and potentially relevant, unexplored factors). This overly-simplistic approach may be compromising/delaying an understanding of the actual causal framework underlying cancer.

    “I believe most people would prefer a cancer death in their 70s, 80s or 90s to a non-cancer death from smoking in their 60s. Not smoking, or quitting, may fulfill that choice.”

    I can certainly accept that people have all sorts of views concerning their mortality. Hopefully they are not morbidly obsessed by it. Also, we are agreed that everyone will encounter their mortality; if they manage to “escape” mortality along one risk factor, mortality awaits them along another. However, I would take exception to your belief that you know what people would prefer do die from and “should” die from. This is a very grey area best left at the individual level and not for cancer societies to declare “desirable” mortal diseases. Further, who decided that longevity is the measure of anyone’s life? Only by accepting this questionable premise does the idea of “years lost” have any meaning. There was a questionable adage that “only the good die young”. This has been supplanted by the as-questionable adage “only the good die old”. Life is more than what one dies of or how long one is alive.

    Regarding cardiovascular disease in particular, at last count there were some 400 other identified risk factors (most of them cross-correlated) with earlier-onset cardiovascular disease. These are not partitioned in official statistics concerning smoking and disease; the raw statistical correlation between smoking and disease is erroneously used.

    As to the cognitive health benefits of nicotine, there was no argument presented. A poster made one of the standard, bigoted, inane comments regarding the cognitive capacity of those who smoke. I simply provided some links indicating otherwise – nothing more than that.

  111. John
    12 May 11
    8:55 pm

  112. Simon, thanks for the reply.

    “As for your Nazi card”

    I didn’t play any “Nazi card” or make any argument “reductio ad Hitlerum”. This is what you’ve conveniently and erroneously read into it (Also, I’m not the tobacco industry). I simply pointed out that, against the global grain, aggressive anti-tobacco (and anti-alcohol) popped-up in only two countries early last century. This is a statement of historical fact. I then asked why this was so – no more, no less. Why was it so important in the USA and Nazi Germany? What framework(s) legitimized it? Is there any connection between them? Etc.

    You’ll have to forgive me, Simon, but your one-sentence appraisal of the forces pushing anti-tobacco/alcohol in late-19C/early-20C USA is worse than terrible :) If you don’t know or are unfamiliar, then simply say so; it’s at least honest and a far more dignified position. Regarding anti-tobacco/alcohol in Nazi Germany, you don’t address the question at all, preferring to regurgitate some Proctor (also an anti-smoker) rhetoric.

    “Our understranding has changed since then.”

    Indeed, you need to believe this having played a major role in global anti-tobacco over the last number of decades. But history may yet prove you wrong. Contemporary anti-tobacco is very much like that of the past. And there are more and more that are beginning to understand the common thread.

  113. Paul Grogan
    12 May 11
    9:18 pm

  114. AdGrunt, we can confine the debate to the premise summed up in the article’s heading. The “What’s next?” argument – i.e what other “legal product” will next be subjected to “brand theft”? – is straw-clutching, silly fear-mongering that ignores the evidence.

    When governments (in developed countries at least) slowly began to grasp the extent of population health harm caused by smoking, tobacco became rightly recognised as a unique consumer item and, incrementally, treated accordingly.

    Strict price controls; broadcast ad bans, print ad bans; hard-hitting health campaigns; bans on planes, in restaurants and bars etc.; graphic warnings on packs; and so on – all of these measures were resisted by the tobacco industry and all have contributed to substantial reductions in smoking prevalence in Australia. And, importantly in the context of Mr Bajzert’s domino theory, these conditions have been imposed only on tobacco. And all have enjoyed bipartisan government support, simply because of the tobacco death and disease toll. Plain packaging should be the next key policy measure in a long line of successful public health interventions that have made Australian smoking prevalence among the world’s lowest today.

    So the idea that plain packaging for tobacco is just the start of a government land grab on trademarks is as absurd as it is predictable – i.e., it’s a tobacco industry staple.

    When the legislation is passed – and I am confident it will be, particularly after the NSW Liberal/National Government just announced its in-principle support – glossy cigarette packs will soon become a historical curiosity, otherwise forgotten. Like those Winfield ads that used to make Paul Hogan look so cool to me when I was a 13-year-old part-time smoker on the way home from school.

    Paul Grogan

  115. Ex-agency
    12 May 11
    9:40 pm

  116. As for the legal perspective (trade mark etc) Mark Davison – one of Australia’s leading IP academics and an author of a prescribed IP text pretty much destroys the argument –
    http://vimeo.com/12108576

    Watch and be enlightened.

  117. Sven
    12 May 11
    10:07 pm

  118. Don’t waste your breath, folks

    I’m afraid that this “guest post” is nothing more than a troll designed to provide a platform to publish pro-smoking arguments in the comments section that otherwise never see the light of day in mainstream media reporting. Big tobacco can’t advertise, is given no airplay by journalists and now it is turning to social media because it’s then only forum in which its specious points can be made.

    There’s no doubt that ‘john’ is a big tobacco PR employee or consultant and it’s likely that one or more other pro-posters are too

    Next time be careful not to be sucked in (pun intended) – and that goes for you too, Tim !!

  119. JW.
    12 May 11
    10:44 pm

  120. If the Government is serious it should stop pussy footing around and ban cigarettes … but they’re not going to are they? Cigarette taxes are a lush fat cash cow that isn’t going anywhere.

    What Leo’s argument is about is the freedom to conduct business by selling a LEGAL product. Freedom is not a micro-managing, nannying Government.

    So enough bullshit, make a decision — cigarettes a legal product or not. Otherwise shut up, reap your taxes, and stop pretending to care.

  121. Andrew
    13 May 11
    1:04 am

  122. So what about the tv shows and films that feature smoking? Are we happy to watch these with smoking edited out? It’s not the packaging people. Do we want this kind of censorship? That will be next I’d imagine.
    If the government was serious they would just ban it all together. But then as a replacement tax for lost revenue they would have to introduce fast food taxes and higher alcohol taxes. Do we then want extra large health warnings on our food and alcohol? Don’t ignore the real issue here and the question that has been raised is what next? The revenue will have to come from somewhere. It’s funny how much we trust that the government is doing the right thing. I just can’t help but question the moral concerns versus capitalist intent. Am I alone in ‘all’ the questions I have raised? Can we please have some healthy debate? I kind of feel this has just become a pro tobacco and anti tobacco argument. There is a bigger more serious question being raised here. Obesisity causes type 2 diabetes. It reduces your ability to have an erection. It increases your risk of heart disease and reduces life expectancy. All these things sound serious no? At what point does it become okay to dictate choices. I’m asking.

  123. John
    13 May 11
    3:55 am

  124. “There’s no doubt that ‘john’ is a big tobacco PR employee or consultant and it’s likely that one or more other pro-posters are too.”
    Oh, no! It’s all become too much for Sven. So he pulls out the big tobacco “conspiracy” theory. It seems as though we may need a big tobacco version of Godwin’s Law.
    Hey Sven,
    Opinions seem to roll out of you with great ease and little/no thought. I – like others, I would think – don’t particularly care to be called what I’m not, and particularly in such a dismissive fashion. If the questions posed are too much for your limited cognitive capacity, then fair enough. If you don’t understand the questions, then fair enough. If you don’t want to address the questions, then fair enough. If you don’t like the questions, then fair enough. But making asinine claims isn’t. In this regard you’re an intentional liar. Sven…. over here…. have a good think about that….. you’re a liar. What you’re claiming about me in such a cavalier, arrogant fashion is not true, i.e., you are lying. Are you able to comprehend this fairly simple point? Or is that too much for you as well? Sven, you might think a little more carefully before making crass, baseless comments.

  125. Paul Grogan
    13 May 11
    8:16 am

  126. John, to try to deny that smoking causes cancer is, frankly, an insult to the intelligence – in view of decades of epidemiological evidence. Fact: smoking is the cause of 20.1% of all cancer death in Australia. No preventable cause comes close in terms of mortality; no credible scientist would disagree. Trying to add doubt to that evidence with semantic nonsense about “association” rather than “cause” is so reminiscent of Big Tobacco spin, it’s no wonder people on this blog assume that’s who you’re working for.

    Your argument about HPV is also arrant nonsense. Almost all cervical cancers are linked to HPV infection, but most women with HPV do not develop cervical cancer – it usually requires a trigger. Smoking is one of those triggers; 19% of cervical cancers are attributed to smoking. Fact. That evidence has not changed.

    As for the idea that maybe people do not want to live long, healthy lives – again, straight from the tobacco industry spin manual. Just ask one of the circa 1,800 Australian men likely to die this year of lung cancer in their 40s, 50s and 60s, and their families, and see if they agree. (And I doubt that the 89% whose cancer was the result of smoking will find any comfort in the specious “cause” v “association” argument.)

    Paul Grogan

  127. Glen Frost
    13 May 11
    9:25 am

  128. Leo; you start your post with the word “imagine” – imagine waking up one day and discovering your brother-in-law (or father, or brother) has died of lung cancer.

    Imagine the worst headache you’ve ever had and times it by 1000; that’s what my brother-in-law had when he died of smoking induced lung cancer 2 years ago. Imagine pain so bad, your doctor has a formal “death plan” for you that involves larger and larger doses of opiates. Imagine dying before you see your grandchildren.

    Imagine – it’s a powerful word, used by inspiring people to inspire others to work towards the greater good; ending wars, racism, poverty etc. When I imagine things, I’d like to imagine positive change that benefits my fellow Australians, and others around the world. I don’t see tobacco and tobacco packaging as being part of this world. I see tobacco and packaging as being part of the problem.

    Imagine a tobacco free economy.

  129. AdGrunt
    13 May 11
    9:27 am

  130. Paul. No-one is questioning the link of smoking to fatal disease.

    The point (again) is why there is a sharade of prohibition and censorship on adults who are supposed to be free to make a choice.

    Bad choices kill people every day. But at least they made that choice themself.

  131. Pitch Doctor
    13 May 11
    9:32 am

  132. Sven, you are right about the pro posters here being mostly tobacco company plants, either direct or indirect. It shows the lengths the industry is prepared to go to and the depths to which it will stoop. These forums do help though; they help whittle down the number of people who are prepared to take their 30 pieces to mount these moronic arguments. You can see already from the pro posts that thay are close to the bottom of the barrel from an intellect point of view. Mostly they will be smokers too so they won’t last long. Meanwhile we must continue to remind them what a horrible death they are helping people to. Including themselves.

  133. Hmmm...
    13 May 11
    9:54 am

  134. Why no response from Leo yet?

  135. Paul Grogan
    13 May 11
    10:50 am

  136. AdGrunt. Re your post # 65, note that in post #55 John is indeed questioning the link between smoking and cancer mortality, with anti-science nonsense about “indirect” and “synergistic” effects.

    Plain packaging is not a charade of prohibition – it’s a restriction on the advertising of a dangerous consumer product.

    The “free choice” argument is flawed by the fact that most smokers begin their long-term addiction at a young age, wish they hadn’t, then suffer serious health consequences as a result. And the fact that no one is stopping adults “choosing” to smoke.

    Advertising restrictions provide a more informed choice – informed in the sense that products that kill half of their users and are highly addictive should not be promoted in ways that glamourise their appeal. The pack is the last great bastion of that monumental deception – and doesn’t the tobacco industry know it.

    Paul Grogan

  137. Adam Paull
    13 May 11
    11:56 am

  138. I can’t think of too many ‘legal’ products that have been banned from advertising for 30 years. Since packets are designed by ad agencies then surely the packs should be considered advertising too, no?

    This anti-plain packaging campaign is stupid for many reasons, not least for the fact that tobacco companies will be able to sell bright, shiny plastic boxes for smokers to put their fags into. Problem solved – and Leo gets to design a whole new range of packaging.

  139. Hank
    13 May 11
    11:59 am

  140. I think John is definitely a tobacco employee as posting at 3.55am, suggests he doesn’t sleep well at night.

  141. Simon Chapman
    13 May 11
    12:03 pm

  142. For the last three generations of Australian health warnings, people have predicted that smokers will simply buy pack covers & cover the packs. Junk market tables are full of them, at knock down prices because about 0.00001% of smokers ever actually do it.

  143. AdGrunt
    13 May 11
    12:13 pm

  144. Yes, but Paul…

    What Leo is suggesting could happen with regards to Fast Food (ad) prohibition, is exactly what you’ve proposed should happen, isn’t it?

    http://www.mja.com.au/public/i.....297_fm.pdf
    http://junkbusters.com.au/

    My view on Fast Food advertising is well documented elsewhere on Mumbrella. It revolves around the current abdicated responsibility of the parent in all of this. The control of children’s eating choices (via education, example and instruction) lies with the parents – like with any child issue. Unless you’re suggesting Australian parents are utter mindless cretins. Which may have some merit.

    So, it’s as if prohibition is the only tool you have in your mind. This is quite the Australian political affliction, no doubt from its historical past.

    If your worldview only comprehends prohibition, then you can only imagine prohibition. “Every problem is a nail, if all you have is a hammer”

    Even though prohibition is rarely, if ever, successful unless you’re a criminal. On the other hand, education, taxation, “detox” and other support, demonstrably do for those who wish to stop.

    But how could you let the great unwashed make a decision like that? Such clueless proles clearly don’t have the capacity or intellect unlike you, do they? They must be saved from themselves. Hide these foul demons from their view.

    It isn’t even actually prohibition is it – it’s faffing around at the edges taking colours off, avoiding the urge to ban tobacco as it simply won’t work, or at best will shift people over to other legal or illegal substitutes. At least suggest that the government fund decent quit programs as it’s presently cheaper short-term to keep smoking than uses patches / gum to give up.

    Marijuana, cocaine, ecstacy aren’t advertised and aren’t exactly declining in use, are they. They kill less people than paracetamol too, but those same drugs are actually outlawed quite heavily. All a bit crazy isn’t it.

    Which leads me to wonder if this argument for prohibition is driven by Big Pharma, looking to wean people off the “dirty” tobacco drugs and onto “clean” prescription drugs?

    To be clear – I do not, have never had any direct or indirect affiliation with “Big Tobacco” – what a cheap shot that was from the claque. I do however, donate generously to the Cancer Council and support their excellent work and research. Just not this bit, which I view as ineffectual avoidance of the issue.

  145. Paul Grogan
    13 May 11
    12:15 pm

  146. Adam (post 69), you are right. The packs are a form of advertising. Tobacco industry documents have shown how effectiveness their look and feel can be in recruiting smokers.

    But there is good news re the use of cigarette cases. There was a brief run on these when graphic warnings were added to tobacco packs about five years ago, but research shows the slick cases actually translated to more people quitting. It turned out when smokers faced the reality that they were going to the trouble of concealing their packs or loading their smokes into a separate case expressly to avoid looking at a diseased organ, it occurred to many they would be better off avoiding the diseased organ instead – so they became determined to quit!

    So it’s likely that any new commercial opportunity in flash cigarette cases will be short-lived.

    Paul Grogan

  147. Paul Grogan
    13 May 11
    1:01 pm

  148. AdGrunt. Your latest post (#72) is way off. Cancer Council has never supported “prohibition” of tobacco. Prohibition is unfeasible. It would summarily criminalise the daily behaviour of almost one in five Australian adults addicted to a substance that has been legally available for their entire lives.

    It is patently absurd to interpret advertising restrictions on legal products as “prohibition”.

    The prohibition argument has at times been disingenuously trotted out by forces opposed to reduced tobacco consumption, on the logical assumption it will never occur but the hope that it’s a distraction which slows the momentum of policy measures that are feasible and do work. Plain packaging will be the latest in a line of feasible, effective measures to cut smoking-caused death. You wasted several paragraphs criticising my employer’s non-existent prohibition agenda.

    Paul Grogan

  149. AdGrunt
    13 May 11
    2:14 pm

  150. Paul, you’re right.

    Hence why I said “It isn’t even actually prohibition is it.” Though it is prohibiting branding and packaging.

    Meanwhile, you have skipped around the main points. Let me precis them for you:

    * The responsibility of the adult to make their own choices. Are they addicted to nicotine or packaging? Are they too stupid to know either way?
    [Beware, there is a eugenics trap waiting for you here]

    * The responsibility of the parent to educate, control and influence their children. Are Australian parents too stupid. Should we manage them and their children more?
    [Beware, there is a class and eugenics trap here]

    * The responsibility of the State to allow the above two around lawful pursuits (often called Human Rights – there, I said it.) Living is a dying game – should we ban motorbikes, cheese, rock fishing, etc. based on excessive risk?
    [Beware, Australians are undergoing a generational Nanny State emancipation and framing this as removing their choice and rights will kill your cause amongst youth and risk more senior Australians thinking of you as "meddling"]

    * The assertion that a legal, freely available adult product may have its own packaging. Albeit then hidden in an unmarked case in a shop and never spoken of in public… because that won’t make it intriguing or rebellious to kids.
    [This is simple child psychology - tell them something is just "bad" or hide it and it takes on its own special allure.]

    * Why, with the communication balance shifted firmly in the anti-smoking direction as you outline, everyone hasn’t given up already. It’s as if there may be another force at play…
    [Hard as it may seem to believe, some people in spite of everything, still want to be able to have a cig in peace - personal choice and enjoyment.]

    ***THE MAIN EVENT***
    Why you claim that Leo’s main point, the “Domino Theory” mooted is invalid “these conditions have been imposed only on tobacco”
    Yet you yourself are on record as setting up those same Dominos for Fast Food as outlined in the links above.

    That, right there, is precisely the point of Leo B’s article, isn’t it? And you’ve just been caught red-handed proving his point?
    [That was just silly on your part, but perhaps you're blinded to the predictable nature of your agenda...]

    [In all seriousness, I'd consider helping you shape a more meaningful strategy for the Cancer Council towards both tobacco and Fast Food. But it'll take some balls on your part to turn against the tide of communcations mumbo that you've aligned yourself with. Hence why I've put the blistering pitfalls you face by my points in square brackets above]

  151. Darren
    13 May 11
    2:38 pm

  152. Leo, I think what you meant to say was:

    Imagine waking up one day and discovering the Government has taken over your client’s brand. Not just that, they’ve effectively outlawed it. How will I make my money now, after-all I’m the only one who will stand up for these terrorists?

    I hear Al-Qaeda is also looking for a new Head-Of and Ad.Agency…seems you guys would be qualified. Maybe a pitch in the offing?

  153. Paul Grogan
    13 May 11
    4:11 pm

  154. AdGrunt, as we close in on post #80, one suspects very few people are still reading this thread. So I will summarise.

    There is compelling evidence that plain packaging will reduce tobacco consumption, thereby also reducing Australia’s cancer burden. And reducing the impact of cancer in Australia is my employer’s mission – using the most effective measures available, provided they are feasible, reasonable and socially acceptable. And no government in Australia is going to adopt a policy proposal unless it’s socially acceptable – least of all to appease a non-profit public health lobby over big business. Governments have supported tobacco control, because it’s good public policy. (Other significant tobacco control interventions in Australia have proven to be both effective and socially acceptable. Plain packaging is next.)

    In other words, my brief is to help reduce cancer in Australia. So I will promote plain packaging as the next crucial step towards de-normalising the deadly, addictive habit of smoking. From my professional point of view, the abstract arguments ["human rights", "living is dying", "eugenics" etc.] are better left to philosophy undergraduates.

    As for the “main event”, not one of the seven restrictions imposed on tobacco that I highlighted in post #57 has been applied to any other consumer product in Australia. And some of these go back 35 years for tobacco. So much for the domino theory. Tobacco has always been treated differently, as it should be.

    Paul Grogan

  155. John Brice
    13 May 11
    5:20 pm

  156. The interesting thing is that everyone states that smoking is bad bad bad…. So what does that tell you? It tells you that you already know. Anyone in this day and age that argues otherwise is quite simply, an idiot.

    So… given that we know that smoking kills, what is the point of the whole Plain Packaging Bill? What is it going to achieve? Nothing, zilch, zero. If I was a smoker (and I was a long time ago.. and I gave up… It was tough but I did it… So please, no arguments that people only smoke because they can’t give up.), I would go and get myself a pretty, shiny, sparkly cigarette case and put all my cigarettes from the olive green pack into the beautiful case. So.. does the Plain Packaging Bill make it less glamorous? Hmm.. let me think… I’ll go with No. No because I think the shiny stirling silver case that now houses my cigarettes actually is much more glamourous than the packet, olive green or with existing designs.

    This article was written to comment on the removal of libertarian rights.. and let’s face the fact, the proposed Bill is in fact a removal of rights. The next target will be alcohol and junk food. There is already talk of removing advertising of junk food from children’s television time slots.

    Be against smoking all you want (and believe me I am) but you can’t take away the rights of a legal company from having a Brand presence and this is exactly what the draconian government is wanting to do. Tobacco companies can’t advertise and you can’t even see the packets when you walk into a shop because they are kept in cupboards… so come on people… wake up and realise that this is just another way for the government to make you believe that they are onto a sure way to reduce smoking.

    Oh… and as for the cost of smoker’s on the healthcare system… Surely the millions of dollars that the government earns from the tax on tobacco must at least offset part of the smoking-related healthcare costs… no?

  157. Holy Fuck
    13 May 11
    6:46 pm

  158. John, you fucking scare me. I’m dying from smoking*. But what’s sadder is the fact you continue to defend it with all that might and muscle and obvious intelligence. You are better than that matey. I request you change. Adgrunt, you’re smart too. Why not simply turn your brilliance around and help change the world? It won’t kill you you know. Simon, brother, keep pushing it up the proverbial. Groucho, you sound like an ex-smoker and a little bit irascible at that (let me guess, your Mum had emphysema?). Paul G, thanks for bothering to fight back and rail against the tide (I’ll give you free marketing for your efforts matey; just ask). But er, don’t waste your breath, as I have obviously done, as Sven is right, this is a trojan horse. I ask this of you all: have we not a greater good at play here? Couldn’t Australia for once be a world leader and actually lead the way? (We’d transform our world image over night and we could make up the bucks that hypocritically flow in – thanks to that Poster too). And, if you are a tobacco Co rep, I actually have the marketing solution for you. It’ll fucking cost you though. And, lastly, if you could indulge me, would those of you who can’t fucking spell, please learn? Tahnks (sic)

    HOLY fucking FUCK

    *(yep, it’s a great drug, and yep, the other illegal ones are sold in plain packaging and they’re pretty great too – but I mention this cos it’s not a reason for promoting them ad nauseum… and yep again, alcohol is the next big killer problem – Here’s a marketing tip and URL for all you cunts… drinkingisnotasport.com.au)…

  159. Holy Fuck
    13 May 11
    6:47 pm

  160. correction:

    ad nauseam

    (fat fingers sorry)

  161. Andrew
    14 May 11
    9:03 am

  162. Paul,
    ‘Evidence to suggest’… We work in marketing mate. I can see the research groups now. Flawed. As a smoker, packs don’t have a thing to do with it. I carry a silver case when i go out at night and have done for the last 6 months.
    Did the research groups touch on the impact of shows like ‘Sex and the city’ in these research groups? Other shows? Movies? I want you to do me a favour, see how many films Leonardo DiCaprio has done where he’s smoking a cigarette. Then go onto Brad Pitt, so on and so fourth. Cigarettes are written into to scripts to paint more of a picture of the character. To show their flaws or highlight their weakness,
    Now, please, nobody else has tackled it. So maybe you might. Are you happy to watch all of these shows and movies with these parts edited out or having a black box placed over it? I don’t think this form of censorship is right and it ruins the freakin’ film.
    I certainly don’t believe the government has any right to get involved in this. This issue has been raised before and has been on the government radar but possibly isn’t socially acceptable. As long as this exists there is not a god damn thing plain packaging will or can do. Think about it. Is it the pack that people see in movies or films that people find seductive or the stick, the way these actors hold it and exhale that is seductive. I’m always fascinated by the nuances of how different characters hold them in their hands and even how they discard them. How it sells their character. Sophisticated like Don Draper or stressed and manly like DiCaprio in Blood Diamond. What do you think Paul? Do you think plain packaging will really stop people?
    I agree with an earlier poster. The Government just wants to look like they’re doing something. According to a friend of mine, 75% of the cost of cigarettes is tax. Does anyone really think the government wants to do something that threatens that revenue? Without a replacement? I for one don’t think the government is that stupid. Dont be fooled Paul. I know it’s probably draining having 80 posts but it seems to be important to society so stick with it.

  163. nickatnights
    14 May 11
    9:24 am

  164. If the government steals brands from tobacco companies what’s next?

    Hopefully less people smoke.

  165. AdGrunt
    14 May 11
    9:36 am

  166. Paul, as we sail past 80 comments, one gets the feeling you’re not getting it. You’re also getting a wee bit dismissive and pompous, so let’s rein that in, eh.

    Your brief may is to reduce cancer in Australia. I share that desire, but your reasons for choosing to take this course of action seem to be to be seen to do something, rather than something effective.

    I’ve read the packaging research done in Victoria and like most single-variable research, it found that that variable being researched showed variance.

    This sounds an amazing revelation if you’re looking for anything in nothing. It isn’t really, though. It’s just anything, not something. That requires multi-variable and is a lot trickier.

    To put this in layman’s terms:

    It’s like asking a teenager, when presented with a pretty girl and an ugly girl, which one he’d like to shag more.

    Guess what, he’ll say the pretty one is preferable every time.

    This doesn’t mean he doesn’t want a shag. Nor does it mean he won’t shag the ugly one a lot, or even marry her. Love is a drug, after all.

    All you’ve done is show an inherent, default preference for pretty girls, not an aversion from sex overall. This is not a revelation and it’s really crap research.

    If on the other hand you give said teenager an exceptionally well crafted porn film and a pot of vaseline and tell him both girls have the Clap, *then* he likely won’t shag either and maybe go off girls all together and become a monk. This is like supporting publicly funded anti-addiction campaigns. Is that using simple enough analogy for you?

    See what I did there? I changed a preference into an aversion. I altered the dangerous behaviour, rather than forcing an alternative to the default behaviour.

    I demonstrated a difference, whereas you made none.

    Get it now? Good.

    Now spend my hard-earned donation effectively on plans that will work, not wasting time and effort on ludicrous faffing.

  167. Groucho
    14 May 11
    4:23 pm

  168. John Brice

    plain packaging will help reduce the number of kids who take up smoking by making the product less attractive. Possibly your kids, or your nieces and nephews. So even if they watch you die painfully, slowly , and pathetically they might not do so themselves.

    Is that not a good enough reason?

    Andrew,

    Psychology 101 will tell you that anyone who uses ‘I ‘as much as you is playing with themselves.

    Ad Grunt,

    You don’t seem to know what you’re talking about. Your analogy sucks worse than the ugly girl. She’s probably a smoker too.

    Every cigarette does you harm.

    Every person who advances the cause of tobacco does harm.

  169. John
    14 May 11
    7:01 pm

  170. 1.
    “No preventable cause comes close in terms of mortality; no credible scientist would disagree.”

    Paul, sorry, but you’re peddling the standard medical establishment spin. Consider iatrogenesis which refers to any detrimental outcome produced by medical conduct (e.g., adverse drug reactions, medical errors, poor care of the bed-ridden resulting in infected bed sores). In America, from the very few studies that have been done, iatrogenic deaths are estimated at 750,000-1,000,000 per annum. It dwarfs the so-called tobacco “death toll” (400,000) and is approaching half of the total annual death toll in America (2,500,000). The medical establishment is by far the leading cause of preventable death and disability and associated costs. The translation for Australia is that iatrogenic deaths are estimated at 55,000-74,000 per annum compared with the tobacco “death-toll” of 16,000.

    Further, the iatrogenic toll is far more plausible, causally, than the tobacco “toll”. The tobacco “toll” is based on lifetime use (that can involve 3,000,000 to 4,000,000 puffs on cigarettes) that also brings into play a veritable plethora of other factors over a lifetime. It is also argued from the population level that has very poor extrapolation to the individual level. Conversely, the iatrogenic toll is argued from the individual level and then estimated for the population level. For iatrogenesis, causation is typically demonstrable at the individual level. For example, with adverse drug reactions (these are properly prescribed, government-approved drugs), it may take just one or a few pills to produce cardiac arrest in some patients that can be fatal or leave permanent injury. The patient is stable and within an hour of taking a pill goes into atypical catastrophic failure. The temporality of many of these associations is not over a lifetime, but involves hours or days. Of the two – the iatrogenic or tobacco tolls – it is the former that should attract very serious scrutiny. But, as will be seen, it has been the other way around, or upside-down.

  171. John
    14 May 11
    7:02 pm

  172. 2.
    Concerning smoking, there have been thousands upon thousands of antismoking “studies” conducted/funded. Many do not break new ground but simply reinforce the agenda. World Conferences on Smoking and Health have been occurring since the 1960s. In the last few decades there are National Conferences on Smoking and Health. There are now even Conferences for Nonsmokers. Then there are Smoking Cessation Conferences run by the Pharma cartel peddling its useless/dangerous wares. Additionally there are numerous antismoking lectures and colloquia and speeches and committees and campaigns. Specific institutes for the study of tobacco have been created as sub-centres of university Public Health Departments. There has been a frenzy of antismoking activity over the last three decades. A formidable, lucrative industry has been created that did not exist 30 years ago. And the bulk of it is all under medical direction. The medical establishment has wreaked social havoc, again, to tackle the tobacco “death toll”, and peddled essentially on the basis of the far smaller tobacco “toll” in nonsmokers (SHS).

    So we could then ask that if this has been the reaction to the tobacco “death toll”, then there must be an even greater industry addressing/correcting institution-wide iatrogenesis? In fact, there’s not. Compared with the many thousands of antismoking studies, there are but a handful (less than 50) concerning institution-wide iatrogenesis, damning as they are. There are no conferences on iatrogenesis whatsoever. There are no specifically-created institutes addressing the issue. In fact, it attracts almost zero attention within the medical establishment itself. The medical administration doesn’t like talking about it or the public knowing about it. This is the same medical establishment that now wants to “fix-up” the world – again. Scrutinizing the medical establishment would reveal how unstable its framework is. It would mean a [reasonable] loss of profits and trust. While it tenaciously maintains the spotlight on its favorite social targets, it avoids scrutiny like the plague. The medical establishment was out of control 30 years ago. It has since entered a sinister phase. And smokers are one of the first to notice the ugly side of the medical establishment in its world-fixing (eugenics) aspirations.

  173. John
    14 May 11
    7:04 pm

  174. Some iatrogenesis links:

    “We estimated that in 1994 overall 2216000 (1721000-2711000) hospitalized patients had serious ADRs [adverse drug reactions] and 106000 (76000-137000) had fatal ADRs, making these reactions between the fourth and sixth leading cause of death”.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu.....t=Abstract

    Including more sources of iatrogenesis:
    Doctors Are the Third Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.
    Cause 250,000 Deaths Every Year
    From Starfield, B. (2000) Is US Health Really The Best In The World? Journal of the American Medical Association, 284 (4), 483-485.
    http://www.naturodoc.com/libra....._death.htm

    Including even more sources of iatrogenesis:
    Null et al. (2003)
    DOCTORS ARE THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH IN THE USA.
    Cause 780,000-1,000,000 Deaths Every Year
    http://www.webdc.com/pdfs/deathbymedicine.pdf

  175. John
    14 May 11
    7:06 pm

  176. Also of importance is that most are not aware that the Hippocratic Oath has all but been done away with in the contemporary medical establishment. It is not a requirement of medical graduation. A key tenet of the Hippocratic Oath is “first do no harm”. When the Hippocratic Oath is dispensed with, it opens the medical establishment to deranged ideology (eugenics) and greed: With the “first do no harm” precept done away with and open to deranged ideology, the medical establishment can then rationalize doing harm for the greater “good”, and where it defines all the factors. The same assault on the Hippocratic Oath occurred in the German medical establishment in the decade preceding the Nazi regime. Medically-pushed antismoking also began to appear in German society around this time.

    The contemporary medical establishment has become a dangerous self-serving entity. While it incites arguments that particular social groups are “costly” to the system, they never ask what cost they pose to the system. Taxpayer-funding of the health system has become a black hole, sucking more and more funding into it. This is constantly blamed on everyone except the medical establishment. The medical industrial complex is wealthy, second only to the military industrial complex. Where is taxpayer funding going? Are medical services/products overpriced? Are there useless, costly products? Are there useless, costly procedures? Is there useless, costly equipment? Is there useless, costly screening and testing? Is there a useless, costly bureaucracy? etc, etc.

    The argument can well be made that it is when the medical establishment is not properly looking after its affairs is also when it becomes additionally dangerous by venturing into havoc-producing social-engineering crusades. And we haven’t even begun to consider that all of the detrimental consequences of social engineering – denormalization, stigmatization, alienation, extortion, economic hardship, bigotry, etc – are also iatrogenic.

    So, the comments I’ve posted are not pro-smoking or “pro” particularly anything. Rather, they are a concern with the danger signs within the medical establishment. Although it can do good, when the medical establishment is allowed to veer from its medical treatment charter and venture into aggressive social-engineering, it also becomes a dangerous entity, as has been evidenced in only recent history.

  177. John
    14 May 11
    7:07 pm

  178. “As for the idea that maybe people do not want to live long, healthy lives”

    Paul, you’re running out of straw. It is very possible to lead a long, unhealthy life. Adhering to epidemiologic prescriptions means you adhere to a statisticalization of factors that don’t guarantee any particular outcome – far from it. The only guarantee is that we will all encounter mortality and the older we get, the more deterioration/incapacitation is highly likely to occur, and the more time will be spent on the medical production-line. Paul, you should at least be able to accept that, representing a cancer society, you are viewing life and its multi-dimensionality in highly blinkered terms.

  179. John
    14 May 11
    7:08 pm

  180. “Plain packaging is not a charade of prohibition – it’s a restriction on the advertising of a dangerous consumer product. The “free choice” argument is flawed by the fact that most smokers begin their long-term addiction at a young age, wish they hadn’t, then suffer serious health consequences as a result. And the fact that no one is stopping adults “choosing” to smoke.”

    Paul, I refer you to the Godber/WHO Blueprint ( http://www.rampant-antismoking.com ). The agenda since the 1970s has been to ban smoking indoors and out. This agenda was set years before even the first study on secondhand smoke. The goal is not to ban the sale of tobacco, but to essentially ban the use of tobacco in all the places that people typically use tobacco. They managed to get indoor bans on the basis of questionable secondhand smoke “danger”. But outdoor bans require a few more shenanigans.

    Paul, are you denying that this is the agenda? Outdoor bans (e.g., parks, beaches) have already been instituted in some American states (e.g., California, New York). Such bans do not even have the pretense of a “scientific basis”. It is a bigotry bandwagon in motion. The goal is to further denormalize smoking/smokers , i.e., eugenics. And the cancer societies and heart foundations are the biggest, aggressive pushers of such bans. Is it not true that the cancer societies and heart foundations in Australia are attempting to do the same by attempting to cajole individual councils into passing such outdoor bans? Paul, does your society accept pharmaceutical funding for your efforts?

  181. Andrew
    14 May 11
    8:58 pm

  182. Brice. Nobody has touched the points I make on film and TV because ‘you’ not I, know it’s true. Pathetic that you turn it into something personal. Laughing.

  183. Paul Grogan
    14 May 11
    9:56 pm

  184. AdGrunt, my posts focus on the evidence and the intent of the plain packaging bill; and I am clear about who employs me and why. Your anonymous persona responds with increasingly personal shots, e.g., your last post calling me “pompous” and “dismissive” – before closing with “Get it now? Good”! Followed by yet another assertion about your generosity to the charity that employs me.

    I appreciate your donation to Cancer Council Australia, and am more than happy to continue this discussion offline if you like? Part of our brief is to explain our policy priorities to donors – especially if we have information about their donor profile. So feel free to email me on paul.grogan@cancer.org.au. Even better if you do it via an email address that indicates who you are in the real world. Thanks again..

    Paul Grogan

  185. Paul Grogan
    14 May 11
    10:36 pm

  186. Andrew (post #81), leaked tobacco industry documents showing the importance of the pack as a marketing tool mirror our own research. The industry’s desperate resistance says it all. One of the most ludicrous aspects of this debate is tobacco industry insistence that plain packaging won’t reduce consumption, while at the same time funding a front group of retailers who suggest the initiative will ruin their business (check the funders at bottom): http://www.australianretailers.....August.pdf

    You make a good point re smoking and movies. The tobacco industry’s relationship with Hollywood is nicely depicted in the film Thank You For Smoking. Further information here:
    http://www.cancer.org.au/polic.....movies.htm

    Paul Grogan

  187. Peter Simmons
    15 May 11
    9:32 am

  188. Make the most of BAT largesse on earth because there are no billboards in hell.

  189. Holy Fuck
    15 May 11
    7:31 pm

  190. and not one of you bit on the bait, let alone sniffed it… shame John and John and John and AdGrunt: me thinks you protesteth too much, way too much; you have obviously NEVER met or come close to meeting a person affected by The Big C, in particular LC. If you have, write about it from a human point of you – I dare you!

  191. AdGrunt
    15 May 11
    7:51 pm

  192. So, um, why not ban tobacco entirely and provide universal nicotine addiction treatment off it’s accumulated government revenue? Help them to be better people?

    Paul, sorry if my irony was lost. My intent is not character assassination, so much as a trill to refocus you on the points you make.

    You have chosen to identify yourself as a lucid supporter of this legislation. You’ve also circled consistently on the post hoc, not on the flaws in the research, conclusions and efficacy of the plan. This awkwardly highlights a pointless choice reduction effort, whilst overlooking the lack of incentive and support to actually give the smoker a way out. It’s fence-sitting.

    I’m afraid I play anonymously to precisely highlight the issue, not the person. If you have a bone to pick, then please do so about the flaws and issues I’ve put to you. I see no reason not to make that debate public on here, for the benefit of all.

  193. Surprised...
    16 May 11
    9:42 am

  194. I am just surprised Leo was willing to put his name and face into a public domain as someone that helps to support the tobacco industry – and therefore supporting addicts who are killing themselves. Maybe if they spent 8 months watching a family member die of lung cancer – the true face of smoking – then they might reconsider their position.

  195. Thomas Dodson
    16 May 11
    9:49 am

  196. please guys, can we stop feeding the trolls?

    John and Adgrunt, your both idiots. Worse, your both obvious tobacco shills. Your not even very good at it! A little bit of subtlety would go a long way here.

    When two people argue on the internet there is no winner.

    just two losers.

  197. Carole Ann Goldsmith
    16 May 11
    10:16 am

  198. We have laws in Vic that prohibit shop keepers from exhibiting tobacco products. They must be out of view of the public and this law may be in other states too.
    The flaw in this law is that a shop that just sells tobacco is still allowed to display tobacco products. We need to bring in a law that bans tobacconists from displaying any tobacco products and they need to be all hidden away.
    Until a couple of years ago, children of all ages could buy cigarettes from machines in Japan, where all the the cigarette packets were on display. At least now, they have to prove they are 18 to purchase cigarettes from these machines.

    Plain packets and hidden tobacco products is a good move in Australia , but the sooner tobacco products are banned for sale world wide, this will assist in cutting down the smoking related illnesses and deaths. As a new initiative, lets ban smoking in the street and outside our airports so I do not have to breath the deadly poisonous materials everytime I walk down the street and outside the airports.

    Carole Goldsmith
    International Health / Environmental / Business Journalist

  199. anon
    16 May 11
    1:54 pm

  200. I find it very interesting that not only has Leo not replied, even over the weekend, but that G2 does not display British American Tobacco as one of the clients they work with.
    Do they think it will turn potential clients and employees off?

  201. Stephen
    16 May 11
    2:49 pm

  202. I think AdGrunt just jumped the Mumbrella comments shark on this one.

  203. AdGrunt
    16 May 11
    3:40 pm

  204. I don’t think Stephen has actually added to the discussion. Nor Master Dodson et al. But it’s nice they felt compelled to tell us how they feel about the participants in the discussion, instead of adding anything to the discussion itself. Weak, gentlemen.

    The awkward part here comes when the health lobby’s best idea is to ban packaging “because it is proven to work” yet can’t even squeak even a loose causal relationship.
    My view is that this is pissing in the wind.

    In the same breath they claim (likely rightly) that banning tobacco won’t work.
    My view is that this is also pissing in the wind.

    Yet I’m the tobacco shill?

  205. Youth
    16 May 11
    10:34 pm

  206. I think Leo has nice hair…

  207. Smokey
    17 May 11
    12:58 pm

  208. I cant belive this moron has the ignorance / arrogance to write anything defending tobacco brands. Wake up mate – smoking kills and the government is doing something about it. Australia is being celebrated in the Uk, US and many other nations for their stance on smoking. I have seen many colleagues give up smoking since prices went up and since the awareness photo’s on the packets were applied.

    Wake up! This is the next step before tobacco becomes illegal, a good thing for our health.

  209. dch
    17 May 11
    1:21 pm

  210. Leo,

    Do you use your clients product?

    Have you tried it?

  211. Athan
    17 May 11
    1:36 pm

  212. “You’d have to question why they’re screaming so loud if they think it won’t work”

    – Big Tobacco, The Gov., & plain packaging http://j.mp/mqFhS0

    Clients much? The timing of all this seems a little fishy now.

  213. Carole Ann Goldsmith
    17 May 11
    4:29 pm

  214. Leo tells us that G2 has British American Tobacco (BAT) as one of its global clients. No where does BAT feature on GT’s website. Why has Leo told us that BAT is one of their clients when they may be a little scared of putting this on their website. Or are they worried that the more ethical companies which are their clients will pull their advertising.
    Come on Leo, give us your answers, as you are remarkedly quiet and not responding at all.

    Carole Goldsmith
    International Health / Science and Business Journalist, PR consultant and Lecturer

  215. AdGrunt
    17 May 11
    5:12 pm

  216. Carole,

    Whilst you are making such delighful ad hominem arguments…

    I wonder why your signature has gone from “International Business and Health Journalist” last week, via various grammatically interesting versions to now be “International Health / Science and Business Journalist, PR consultant and Lecturer”

    Just pointing it out…

  217. Groucho
    17 May 11
    6:02 pm

  218. AdGrunt her signature doesn’t affect her argument.

    Yours has a spelling mistake anyway, the Gr should read ……………………….

  219. Smokescreen
    17 May 11
    6:53 pm

  220. How many people die in Australia each year? … approx… [ it's officially 7.56 per 1000] 23000000/1000=23000×7.56=173880
    Of those only 15000 are related to smoking. Smoking accounts for less than 10% of all deaths but smokers pay unjust TAXES.
    I heard Swan say ‘its all about saving lives’ but you are all going to die whether you smoke or not, so drop dead, end of debate.

  221. AdGrunt
    17 May 11
    7:02 pm

  222. Groucho, you’re correct. Bravo.

    It was an ironic counter-point to her ad hominem attack on the writer.

    Now off to Bingo for you, Mr Grumpy-Pants.

  223. Bill Posters
    17 May 11
    8:09 pm

  224. From this to threatening to dump cheap ciggies in Oz. Classy campaign, BAT.

  225. Rob
    18 May 11
    1:55 am

  226. Holy crap John – how much free time do you have? I’ve now got RSI from scrolling past your comments…

    When you first start smoking you actually have to force yourself to get into it as it’s pretty harsh on the old pipes. So in that way it’s kind of different from fast food, booze & recreational drugs. It’s way more tied up in the image.

    “This Big Mac tastes like gravel – but I’ll persevere because my god – don’t I look hot hammering it down”….

    I have to say that a product that not only wrecks your health and/or eventually kills you – but makes you smell like ass first – shouldn’t need these hurdles, but jeez we’re a dumb bunch aren’t we?

  227. Smokey
    18 May 11
    8:17 am

  228. A very good point Carol.

    If I were a client of G2’s I would certainly review my business dealings with them. Many agencies (not all) do not consider the impact they can have on society. It is all well and good making buckets of cash doing bad, however the good will drop you if they find out.

    So many agencies (not all) celebrate their wonderful portfolio of clients on their websites, yet do not reveal the clients who could affect future business for them.

    No wonder agency execs are second to investment bankers regarding the little they do for our society…

    G2 I would prepare to potentially lose some accounts!

    – don’t you love the inter web! Slowly it is helping to clean up business, governments etc

  229. Groucho
    18 May 11
    8:44 am

  230. AdGunt, bingo’s off; players all died prematurely from smoking related diseases.

  231. Coward aka anonymous
    18 May 11
    10:04 am

  232. This argument has gone off the rails. Wpp (G2 & Ogilvy Sydney and world wide) Leo Burnett Globally and in Melbourne and BWM in Sydney to name but a few all have tobacco in their pockets and do work for trade. Trade! Not direct to consumer. Leo has put his name to G2
    The plethora of comments here suggest that people don’t know what they’re getting into. There are graphic health warnings on every pack and people have seen campaign after campaign featuring the line every cigarette is doing you damage.
    Stop with the Moral high ground and Nanny state bullshit.
    If the Goernment wanted to make a statement they would channel the 70% tax into the health system. Or they would set a date for a full ban but as long as they get their money whisk is in the billions they’re happy.
    Plain packaging with, let me get this straight, bigger health warnings is going to do the job? Absolute crap. My girlfriend loves watch Carey Bradshaw smoking a cigarette, not pulling it out of a name brand pack. Wake the hell up!

  233. Freedom
    18 May 11
    4:56 pm

  234. As long as there is widespread accessibility then there is always a chance a young person or non-smokers can be influenced to smoke, particularly in social situations. Plain packaging will not deter people from smoking. The existing graphical health warnings aren’t working so what’s the point with plain packaging?

    The only way to prevent deaths is to make smoking illegal – but let’s face it, that’s never going to happen.

    The government will soon walk all over fast food / alcohol companies once / if this bill is passed.

  235. PM
    18 May 11
    10:46 pm

  236. Recruitment Ad: Look out for this in the next few months!

    The Al Quaida group hiring

    With the opening up of the lucrative tobacco business in Australia due to the proposed legislation on plain packaging, the AlQuaida group is looking to hire experienced marketing and sales professionals with over 5years experiences in any consumer product sector. The high margins and turnover of this daily consumed product by at least one-in-six adults makes the category extremely profitable and hence the opportunity for the selected individuals is endless.

    The profits from this operation will be directed to special ‘social programs’ around the globe to protect the people from the evil influences of the western world. While we would thank the government for presenting this opportunity on a silver platter, we would request that all blog participants to send their in their updated CV for top salaries in the industry.

    Candidates are required to have minimal knowledge of printing, importation proceedures,

  237. jean cave
    19 May 11
    8:00 am

  238. This guest post and comments has been re-blogged at
    http://www.tobacco.org/news/319764.html

  239. Hmmm...
    19 May 11
    9:41 am

  240. I’m pretty sure this John character isn’t contributing to this discussion in his ‘free time’.

  241. AdGrunt
    19 May 11
    10:05 am

  242. PM, are Al Qaeda getting into tabloid news reporting?

  243. JW.
    19 May 11
    10:05 am

  244. Wow. I’d love to see a similar discussion on alcohol, fast food or firearms. Oh, wait, if this bill passes we will. So much for our country being a signatory to international IP and trademark agreements.

    Also, It is not fair that anyone that states their opposition to this bill be branded a ‘big tobacco’ flunky. This is about the rights of businesses and the protections that are offered their brands by the laws of this country and the international agreements we have agreed to uphold, look at the original article. Image the Government having the right of veto on your next ad campaign: “Your burger looks too juicy and fresh, your brand colours are too enticing, and you have to tone down on your language: it is not that ‘new’ nor has it really ‘improved’.”

    What I’m hearing in the last hundred posts is ‘X died of lung cancer because big tobacco pursuaded them to smoke’ rather than ‘X made a life style choice that didn’t agree with their constitution’. How about a personal responsability campaign from the government?

    However, right now this is a legal, not a moral, issue.

  245. Wild Oscar
    19 May 11
    12:27 pm

  246. Good on you Leo. Bunch of do-gooders all of them.
    We have become so used to the government regulating the minutiae of our lives that we’ve forgotten how to take any form of personal responsibility.
    Everywhere you go there are people ready to sue for their own stupidity. Governments are constantly legislating for stuff that in the past we could do ourselves.
    Quite pathetic really.
    Personally I’m not a fan of big tobacco but I’m more cynical about big interferring government even more.

  247. Burt Caymoo
    19 May 11
    12:49 pm

  248. JW, the concept of “lifestyle choice” needs to be balanced by evidence that the majority of smokers start at young ages, often as minors, when it could be argued they lack the maturity to make decisions about things that are likely to translate to a long-term substance addiction and a shortened life.

    Re legal issues, despite the tobacco industry’s muscle-flexing and deep pockets, the Australian government can restrict how any legal product is marketed if it is in the public interest. There are exemption clauses in constitutional, trade practices and international trade relations laws to enable this.

    As for morality, the tobacco industry gives free cigarettes away to teenagers in places like Indonesia in huge numbers. (One could write a whole thesis on tobacco industry morality, but this example will do for now.)

  249. Groucho
    19 May 11
    12:52 pm

  250. JW many of the smokers suffering slow and obscene deaths now make their lifestyle choice before the fact that every cigarette does you harm was widely known. It wasn’t widely known because the tobacco companies made sure it didn’t get wide publicity. Their tactic is different now; they use people like you to mount these really dumb freedom arguments, so smokers think that it won’t harm them, only other people. Congratulations on doing your part in the harm, they need people like you.

  251. AdGrunt
    19 May 11
    1:06 pm

  252. Nowhere has the effectiveness of this perverse course of action been supported.

    For me, much of this boils down to the Politician’s Fallacy:

    We must be seen to do something about smoking.
    This is doing something about smoking.
    We must do this about smoking.

    As with Fast Food, I’m entirely unclear how these children are funding and purchasing cigarettes. I suspect they nick them from their amazing parents – so they are who we should be looking at, as ever.

    If they are, then the packaging, hidden behind the counter, sold by an adult under strict legal duty is the least of your prohibition issues.

  253. JW.
    19 May 11
    1:34 pm

  254. @Groucho:

    RE: ‘People like me’ : by this I assume you mean objective, big picture thinking, balanced, believers in the intelligence of people to make informed decisions on their own after being presented with a balanced argument, and not prone to making personal attacks based on others having a difference of opinion?

    If that’s what you mean, then yes, I am one of those people. Thanks for noticing.

    @Burt:

    Your argument screams: ‘EDUCATION PROGRAM’. Due to effective education progams in the 80s, I never took up smoking despite my peers doing so.

    Further more, plain packaging will not deter a young adult from aspiring to have a certain image. Education programs are proven and they are effective, plain packaging is not. I feel the only way to ‘kill’ the image would be to have cigarettes that activate a flashing sign above someone’s head with a massive red arrow pointing out that they’re a smoker.

    Regarding the legal angle, the signal the Govenrment’s approach send is: ‘We’ll stick to the rules when it suits us.’ Also its approach is pseudo-concern, see the many arguments about real legistlation to make tobacco a controlled substance or banned outright.

    Regarding Indonesia: same tactics as all manufacturers of FMCGs use. And all can do harm when consumed. If you have a peanut allergy you’re not going to eat a Picnic bar because its free or the advertising shows people having fun. The human condition is such that we’re all ‘allergic’ to cigarettes, some of us choose to proceed anyway. See argument 1 about education.

  255. The Accountant
    19 May 11
    1:43 pm

  256. This is written by someone who proudly proclaims on their own site that they are the ‘only grandson of an international arms dealer.’

    That says it all.

  257. snarky_campaign_brief_reader
    19 May 11
    1:51 pm

  258. careful who you get into bed with Leo, your employers were complicit

    http://www.vctc.org.au/tc-res/.....ations.pdf

  259. Groucho
    19 May 11
    2:18 pm

  260. No JW you dumb fuck, people like you who help big tobacco kill kids. You might use big words but you are as dumb as a bag of hammers. I noticed because you are a lump on a Paris pavement.

  261. sven
    19 May 11
    2:18 pm

  262. wow, i go away for a couple of days and the trolls have grown fatter, fed by the indignant masses

    The more “John” writes, the more obvious that he’s a paid shill with the time and resources to spend defending big tobacco.

    I’d like to say nice try, whichever morally bankrupt PR firm you’re from, but unfortunately your tactics were obvious and your execution, clumsy.

  263. Burt Caymoo
    19 May 11
    2:44 pm

  264. JW. “Education program” as the key to reduced smoking prevalence is straight out of the tobacco industry spin manual:

    “BATA [British American Tobacco Australia] would like the Government to put its plans for plain packaging on hold and consult with the industry. The Australian Health Minister should focus on strategies to reduce smoking rates which are based on evidence like education programmes that are proven to work and which we fully support.” – straight from a current BATA media release.

    The industry has always insisted “education programs” are the answer – preferably ones developed by the industry (“consult with us”, yeah right), which make non-smoking kids look like dorks and are cleverly designed to encourage, rather than discourage, smoking.

    Independent public health experts – public health physicians, behavioural scientists, statisticians etc. – have been calling for the introduction of plain packaging for years. On the basis that the evidence is compelling – just as it was when they made the same calls for broadcast ad bans, price controls, graphic warnings etc. All of those initiatives were subsequently shown to reduce consumption, which is why only 1 in 5 Australian men smoke now, rather than 2 in 3 around 45 years ago. And all of them were opposed on the basis of the same arguments still raging on this blog, a week or so after the tobacco industry spin merchant put up his nonsensical thesis on brand theft.

    Leave policies for reduced tobacco consumption to the public health professionals – not the tobacco industry. I think the industry has a conflict of interest.

    I’d be interested to know what specific “education program” saved you from an early tobacco-caused death. The evidence is clear that price controls and measures to de-glamourise smoking in adults (kids mimic adults – not “healthy” dork peers in tobacco industry “education programs”) have had the best effect on reduced youth smoking. Hence the enthusiasm for plain packaging among public health experts – the drab wrapping, with the more emphatic graphic warning, has already been shown in focus groups to be a turn-off for kids; adults too. And the tobacco industry’s desperate opposition – based on its own market research into the advertising value of the pack – says it all.

  265. JW.
    19 May 11
    3:36 pm

  266. @ Burt

    Totally agree with you about who should perform and develop the education.

    Education programs as a kid: in-school health education, Life Education Centre with Harold the Giraffe, and most importantly: parents.

    I’d put reduced rates of smoking uptake on a better educated public as a whole. But what are the end-goals of the Govt — they’re never going to reduce uptake to zero.

    Take away the brands and the only way the companies will compete will be on price — this opens a whole other can of worms. Who controls and regulates the 15% of counterfeit tobacco in Aus?

    But we’re getting away from the thrust of the article: Does the Govt have the right to steal your brand?

  267. JW.
    19 May 11
    3:56 pm

  268. @ Groucho

    Thanks for youre input, you’ve added a lot of value to this conversation with you last post.

    Since you enjoy looking at Parisian side walk scenes, you might enjoy this image: http://farm5.static.flickr.com.....464ed7.jpg

  269. Burt Caymoo
    19 May 11
    4:29 pm

  270. JW, I’m not disputing what might have worked for you as an individual, but it’s anecdotal. The evidence on Harold the Giraffe on a population health basis is very weak.

    You’re right about parents. There is evidence that smoking is more prevalent among children of smokers, even if smoking parents try to “educate” their children not to smoke. Adult modelling can be far more persuasive than sensible advice from parents (or from Harold the Giraffe, for that matter).

    So does it follow that children of smokers are therefore more deserving of developing heavy substance addiction at a young age and a shorter, health-compromised life as a result? Because they didn’t have the good sense to be born to non-smokers or to move out in their early teens when their parents’ smoking behaviour began to rub off?

    Because that’s what’s happening now, with around 80% of smokers from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. (They aren’t going to see much of Harold the Giraffe, even if his effectiveness was likely to go beyond your very unusual personal experience.) It’s now a self-perpetuating cycle of poor health and disadvantage – a far cry from when smoking was associated with the wealthy and sophisticated.

    As for the “thrust of the article”, as stated there are exemption clauses in constitutional, trade practices and international trade relations laws to enable plain packaging. So it’s clearly feasible, as well as highly likely to work. That just leaves a “moral” right” – although in post #122 you specifically said “morality” is not the issue.

    As you appear to have changed your mind, I suggest that in a demography the arbiter of morality as the community, as represented by its elected parliament. Hence the introduction of the bill – which has already been supported by the Liberal governments in NSW and Victoria, by the way.

  271. JW.
    19 May 11
    5:14 pm

  272. @ Burt

    You asked what worked for me, so there you have it. I thought Harold was great, BTW.

    Those are some very intersting points on the children of smokers.

    I haven’t changes my stance on morality, as I stated, I perceive this matter as a legal issue.

    It’s like when you’re on a jury trial: you are presented with the facts and the charges that the facts are to be assessed against. Whether the human is pond scum and probably deserves to go to prison is beside the point, they still deserve a fair trial and an unbiased process.

    However, I don’t disagree that morals are the basis for the Govt’s approach and agree that the Govt is ‘generally’ a representation of the nation’s moral compass. Do we broach the subject of the Govt’s current approval ratings? And thereby validity of public representation? Or are we digressing too far?

    Regardless, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this debate with you. Thanks for your insights, I feel we’ve used enough band width on this matter.

    Defence spending anyone?

  273. Holy Fuck
    19 May 11
    6:01 pm

  274. Holy fuck JW

  275. Carole Ann Goldsmith
    19 May 11
    6:05 pm

  276. Prices for tobacco poison packs should rise to $50 a pack and then put on the plain packaging and then for an added measure, ban the tobacco poison packs and we will all be healthier.

    According to World Health Organisation http://www.wpro.who.int/media_.....020528.htm
    “Every eight seconds, someone dies from tobacco use.
    The tobacco market is controlled by just a few corporations – namely American, British and Japanese multinational conglomerates.
    Evidence shows that around 50% of those who start smoking in adolescent years go on to smoke for 15 to 20 years.
    Smoking is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death. It is a prime factor in heart disease, stroke and chronic lung disease. It can cause cancer of the lungs, larynx, oesophagus, mouth, and bladder, and contributes to cancer of the cervix, pancreas, and kidneys.
    More than 4,000 toxic or carcinogenic chemicals have been found in tobacco smoke.
    One British survey found that nearly 99% of women did not know of the link between smoking and cervical cancer.
    A survey a few years ago found that nearly 80% of American advertising executives from top agencies believed cigarette advertising does make smoking more appealing or socially acceptable to children.
    The tobacco industry has changed the way it advertises in the last 30 years. Now, only 10% of advertising expenditure goes to print and outdoor advertisements, while more than half goes to promotional allowances and items, such as t-shirts for young people or lighters and key rings.
    After the entry of foreign multinational tobacco firms into Japan, the Republic of Korea and Thailand, youth and female smoking rose significantly.
    Read the rest of these facts on the above stated WHO site.
    Funny, we still have not heard a word from Leo…. have you left the country?

  277. Burt Caymoo
    19 May 11
    6:17 pm

  278. You are welcome, JW.

    Re the government’s polling: 1) the plain packaging legislation has nothing to do with Gillard and co.’s current poor approvals rating. In broad policy it’s a niche issue, but not for people who work in public health; and 2) in any case, under our parliamentary system a government doesn’t need a plebiscite (let alone a telephone poll of 1200 people) for permission to make statutory laws. (For good reason – it would be chaos.) That’s what the parliament’s for – and if people resent those laws enough, they can punish the government that made them at the forthcoming election. But I would be shocked if there was a single vote against Labor in 2013 specifically because of plain packaging, at least from anyone but a tobacco industry executive.

    You know this, I assume, but you get my point re morality, governance and opinion polling.

    Having said all that, I’d be surprised if any more than 15% of people questioned in a standard Newspoll sample opposed plain packaging anyway – despite the tobacco industry’s (increasingly laughable) attempts to manufacture outrage.

    It seems I’ve come to this debate quite late. I too might retire, so best wishes to you.

  279. Alex
    19 May 11
    6:26 pm

  280. It is interesting to note that lung cancer was virtually unknown before the 1920s, yet people have been smoking tobacco for thousands of years without incident.

    I know the standard response to this will be that people never used to live long enough to get cancer from smoking (you should also note that smoking tobacco alone, is unlikely to give you cancer, or a heart attack, coronary vascular disease, eye problems, gum rot, etc but it is a factor, factors which can be mitigated – something a good smoker knows how to manage). It is more likely that many smokers have concurrent unhealthy approaches to diet, exercise and other factors which contribute to these ailments.

    If you smoke, like I do, you best bet you should be doing a lot of work to counter the effects, or just not smoke. Unless you want to end up dead and young (part of me doesn’t mind this either – if i don’t smoke, I feel like murdering half of the morons I encounter daily, it’s a great stress relief and psychological easy-win for me).

    Furthermore, no one who’s a smoker should expect the state medical system to bail them out when they haven’t taken care of themselves. I won’t – it’s not right that everyone else should foot your bills.

    But the final say is that it’s my body, my mind, and my choice. I deplore the concept of government interjecting as much as it already does in individual affairs, just because it can, and because it can make a buck, but mainly because we all let it. I never signed up for this shit.

  281. Alex
    19 May 11
    6:30 pm

  282. To Carol Ann Goldsmith and all of the other naysayers – don’t smoke if you don’t like it, but you have no right to tell me what I can do. I didn’t ask for your opinion or your help. The state has no say.

    And as a footnote, if/when the system does ban tobacco, move to plain paper packaging or any other limiting/controlling moves, I will be there to do my utmost to raise the underground, and invent and promote new and novel ways of imbibing for those of us in this world who enjoy their freedoms. The end result? Well you won’t see it, but that’s kinda what you want anyways. Why don’t you just pull the wool over now, shut your face and let those who can make their own choices live freely.

  283. Smokey
    19 May 11
    9:25 pm

  284. Lets picture an innocent child. healthy, pure, non blemished with the poison’s of the world.

    Do we want this innocent child to smoke? I would hope the vast majority of this warped world we live in would say no.

    So, reducing the image and weight of cigarettes in our society, should in theory, help to reduce the chances of pure, innocent children, growing up to be smokers right?

    The big health warnings came first and now the brands are being taken away.

    Surely this will help to reduce the take up of smoking. I cant see it going the other way.

    JW, do you have children? Nephews nieces? Younger brothers or sisters? Do you want them smoking?

    JW: You are heartless, and have no morals or values(.)

  285. pm
    19 May 11
    9:44 pm

  286. What about Gambling? Pokies? Racing?
    These are all activities that arguably are addictive with serious consequences!

    Should they be allowed to advertise and ‘attract’ people who are incapable of understanding the implications of their actions?

    Do we keep them all above the board or make em illegal?
    Or should we let the underworld run them without any hassle..

    Ya why not, guys?

  287. Betty Boo
    20 May 11
    12:06 am

  288. Lots of verbose PR people on here. I wish they would get to the point like us ad people. Blah blah blah and we all fall asleep. I think that you’re all wrong.

  289. Sven
    21 May 11
    9:21 am

  290. Alex, JW and John haven’t posted for a little while now. They must be busy filling in time sheets to shoot off with an ‘activity statement’ to BAT:
    “placed article on leading marketing blog mumbrella”
    “baited opponents with standard messaging as well as new material”
    “revelled in ability to publish unfiltered arguments”
    “close to beating comments record. Will ensure article and pro smoking points remain on home page”

  291. Jon Dee
    21 May 11
    10:25 am

  292. What you fail to mention in your piece is that cigarettes kill people. LOTS of people. And as a taxpayer I have to subsidize the health costs for sick smokers – people made ill from products produced by the company you’re spruiking for.

    It’s time to bring on plain packaging as soon as possible. It will help to reduce the addiction rates for young people and will reduce deaths from smoking.

    As a Libertarian I think people should be free to live healthy lives. Cigarette companies make money by selling products that kill many of their customers. No right thinking person should stoop so low as to defend companies who bring about so much pain, misery and death.

  293. AdGrunt
    21 May 11
    12:09 pm

  294. Jon,

    Plain packaging has an impact on addiction? I think you’re misreading the research. It sadly doesn’t say that. It actually says that people offered a choice like prettier things than ugly things.

    Not much of a revelation.

    It didn’t say people wouldn’t like an ugly thing if there were no pretty things at all. You can see this phenomenon at work in some rural communities.

    Anyway, what is the participant mortality level you’re proposing to trigger something being put in plain packaging as “lots” is a bit vague.

    I mean, lots of type 2 diabetes going around – maybe plain package Mars bars?

    The point (again) is why, if something is legal and freely available to adults, it can’t be marketed to those adults. Do by all means tell them it’ll kill them and tax their arse off to cover their oxygen-toting demise, but do give them some intellectual credit to make a choice. Or are they too weak-minded, unlike you?

  295. Groucho
    21 May 11
    2:16 pm

  296. AdGunt here is the difference: EVERY cigarette does you harm. Not every Mars bar does. That is inarguable, even by you and the tobacco industry.

  297. AdGrunt
    21 May 11
    4:11 pm

  298. Stop avoiding the point.

  299. Mark S
    22 May 11
    7:32 pm

  300. I have a better suggestion than plain paper packaging OR banning cigarettes.

    It entails people putting other people’s well being ahead of their greed and ambition. That way nobody (including you Badger) would agree to work for tobacco. That way the industry would simply die out.

    Might sound a little outlandish but hey who’d work on the brand ‘slavery’.

    Do yourself a favour Badger, you’re young, find something better to do with your career, changing jobs will be an investment in your future peace of mind because be sure that as you mature you’ll grow to regret what you’re currently engaged in.

    And remember this one fact: tobacco is the only legal product that kills half of its customers.

  301. Craig
    23 May 11
    11:58 am

  302. Leo,

    Thanks for providing a reason to never work with your company, G2. Good luck keeping the BAT account, it might end up the only one you have.

    I’m sure you’re working hard on the reintroduction of cigarette tins, which will be marketed through complex corporate arrangements untraceable back to big tobacco, allowing smokers to carry around pretty decorative images rather than true ones.

  303. Nomad
    23 May 11
    1:27 pm

  304. Adgrunt: I mean, lots of type 2 diabetes going around – maybe plain package Mars bars?

    >> But tobacco is the only legal product that is likely to kill you IF you consume the product in the way the manufacturer intended.

    That’s the crucial difference here.

    The reality is that the government, in representing the will of the people, is perfectly within its rights to restrict the sales & marketing of any product as it sees fit. Government runs this country, not corporations. Corporations have no inalienable rights to *anything* – government regulates the market.

    I do find the sight of tobacco companies trying to get on their moral high ground about this sickening – for decades these companies have hidden evidence linking their product to serious disease, engaged in underhand tactics to get young people to smoke and peddled their filth to the poor in Asia/Africa to get more people to smoke there to offset the decline of smoking in the West.

    I think most people in society will be quite happy to dance on the graves of the tobacco companies and won’t feel even a hint of sympathy for an industry bleating about a measure that’s being introduced to help the general population.

    I honestly don’t know how people who work for these companies and their agencies can sleep at night.

  305. Carole Ann Goldsmith
    23 May 11
    1:39 pm

  306. Following on from Nomad – I work across the Asia Pacific as a journalist – so spend a lot of time in several Asian companies. I am always appalled at how cheap cigarettes are in Asia, even in Japan, where wages are quite high, they are only a couple of $ a packet and available from automats everywhere. I was just in Vietnam and I noiced the poison sticks (cigarettes) are less than $1 and the other annoying thing is that in restaurants, they allow smoking. Ban the poison sticks world wide and everyone will be much healthier. At least we do not have to put up with passive smoking in restaurants here in OZ, and the sooner they ban smoking outside the restaurants and in the street, in the home around children – everywhere the happier we will all be.

  307. MarkS
    23 May 11
    1:51 pm

  308. …blood sucking vampires who profit from the weakness and misery of others they don’t need to sleep.

    Hopefully plain packaging will provide the silver bullet – or is it the stake through the heart, I’m confused.

  309. AdGrunt
    23 May 11
    2:00 pm

  310. More delightfully emotional arguments based on the subject being tobacco instead of the point at hand – personal choice.

    No-one questions that smoking is harmful, though you seem to be overstating the inferred death rate.

    No-one questions that the government can, in theory, control anything. Though let’s face it, prohobition doesn’t exactly have a glittering history of success.

    The points here are:
    Whether it will be effective – this seems to be very much in doubt.

    Whether maybe people actually, in spite of the immense danger, still want to do it. Should it be banned to climb Everest, ride motorbikes, go rock-fishing, cross the road, etc.

    Moreover whether, as Paul Grogan of Cancer Council has condoned, this will be used by policy groups with other agendas in the future, as a means to be seen to do something, instead of doing something effective.

  311. sven
    23 May 11
    2:07 pm

  312. after recording a FAIL with Leo Bajzert of the agency who created the olive cola bottle ads, BAT’s PR and advertising wizards thought it a good idea to put up Rowan Dean as their latest covert spokesmuppet:

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/.....7#comments

    when are these guys going to learn that their tactics are transparent and all they’re doing is inflaming their opposition and galvanising public support for the new legislation

    this is Communications Strategy 101 guys. Understand your target audience. At this rate you’re hot on the heels of Gerry Harvey in the 2011 PR stuff up stakes.

  313. Burt Caymoo
    23 May 11
    2:29 pm

  314. AdGrunt, why do you keep going on about “prohibition”, when plain packaging is an advertising restriction, not the prohibition of a product? Agents of the tobacco industry often provocatively say “if govt was serious, they’d ban the stuff”, knowing full well prohibiting tobacco would be impossible, given the number of people addicted to it. No govt is going to summarily make 3 million Australians outlaws for taking a substance, highly addictive and easily available, that’s been legal all their lives.

    Advertising restrictions, on the other hand, are feasible and do work. The evidence is clear, for those who prefer evidence to ontological onanism. Plain packaging will cut consumption – the desperate, confused and increasingly backfiring tobacco industry response says it all.

  315. Nomad
    23 May 11
    2:34 pm

  316. “AdGrunt, why do you keep going on about “prohibition”, when plain packaging is an advertising restriction, not the prohibition of a product?”.

    ^^ yeah, that.

  317. paul
    23 May 11
    3:01 pm

  318. The proposed packaging change is going to happen, no matter what BAT and all the others might try to do to stop it.
    All of the arguments mean nothing any more: it’s happening, mate.
    People want it to happen for lots of reasons, not the least of which is to shove it up the Big Bachi Boys, who have for so long demonstrated themselevs to have been ruthlessly destructive (evil, anyone) around the whole smoking debate.
    No, the time for debating is over: Australia will show the way on this (as we did in lots of other social legislation, like seat belts & 40 hour week and women’s votes).
    And I suspect that we may well see the model established re tobacco being applied elsewhere: liquor, for example.

  319. AdGrunt
    23 May 11
    3:10 pm

  320. Burt, my good man.

    You couldn’t chip in with this evidence of advertising restrictions working, could you? It’s just I couldn’t find any. Anywhere.

    Weasel-words deflecting the debate again:
    “The government proposes prohibiting existing tobacco packaging.”
    Can you point out where that statement is incorrect?

    My actual point was, and always has been, that this is pointless fence-sitting. The politician’s fallacy being noted above.

    My belief (yet again) is why, if something is legal and freely available to adults, it can’t be marketed to those adults. Do by all means tell them it’ll kill them and tax their arse off to cover their oxygen-toting demise, but do give them some intellectual credit to make a choice. Or are our fellow citizens too weak-minded, unlike you?

    If it’s that evil, and our fellow citizens are too weak-minded to take the clear information on board, then let’s go full Nanny State – ban tobacco.
    Completely. Every single last bit.
    Offer those who are addicted a program of detox – this would be revolutionary on a global scale. Every smoker gets weaned off nicotine and it’s banned. Forever.
    That doesn’t really sit with my belief of individual choice, but it’s better than pissing in the wind. It also likely wouldn’t work, but hey.

    Hope that clarifies.

  321. Eek
    23 May 11
    3:18 pm

  322. Dear God. Rational argument anyone? Anyone? How about a reasoned, well-informed debate? My brain is crying.

  323. Eek
    23 May 11
    3:25 pm

  324. Arguments for plain packaging: Cigarettes are stinky. They’re poison sticks. They kill people. They kill kids and make orphans of other kids. I hate breathing your filthy second hand smoke. Big Tobacco are evil. Smoking is like killing Aborigines in Queensland with a license and having slaves.

    Arguments against plain packaging: Cigarettes are legal.

    Make them illegal or shut the fuck up.

  325. jean cave
    23 May 11
    3:58 pm

  326. Within the small sphere of influence, in which I inhabit . . . no-one smokes.
    It is something we have put behind us now it is the 21st Century.
    The civilised world doesn’t smoke anymore, and that’s what worries me about the evil tobacco purveyors. Now they have to tout their addiction to really poor people and even more sadly to women.

  327. Adam Paull
    23 May 11
    4:03 pm

  328. AdGrunt – I’m afraid the ‘personal choice’ high-horse isn’t that high when it comes to tobacco consumption. A person’s right to breathe fresh air will trump smoker’s rights every time.

    Perhaps it’s time for the government to throw the down the gauntlet – make the manufacturing, importing, sale and consumption of cigarettes illegal from Jan 1, 2020. That will give everyone nearly 9 years to quit, and will give companies like British American Tobacco time to pack up and get the hell out of here.

    “But that will just push smoking underground!”

    Exactly – and given most of their customers end up underground (by about 6 feet) that’s the best place for it.

  329. AdGrunt
    23 May 11
    4:59 pm

  330. Yes, Jean. It’s only savages and common people that smoke, isn’t it. Weak-willed and easily influenced those poor people and women, aren’t they. We should probably take their children off them, in fact?

    Adam, agree on banning cigarettes, but I fear true complete tobacco prohibition wouldn’t work by itself. I’m also not entirely sure the smoke “pollution” is directly the point here, with legislation rather tight on it already.

  331. Pitch Doctor
    23 May 11
    5:32 pm

  332. I worked on an American tobacco company account in the early ’80s. A specific strategy was to seek out and penetrate third world markets, and markets with low literacy to satisfy the explicit objective of maintaining volume in the face of better education resulting in falling smoking rates in developed countries. The only thing standing in the way of the rate falling to close to zero are people like you. No matter how politely you dress your argument up you represent a disgusting industry with flawed logic and no regard for humanity.

  333. Burt Caymoo
    23 May 11
    5:58 pm

  334. AdGrunt, at a quick search, a number of the studies showing the effectiveness of tobacco ad bans are referenced here:

    http://www.tobaccoinaustralia......dvertising

    For a big-picture snapshot, see page 27 of this document:
    http://www.cancer.org.au/File/.....obacco.pdf

    Note the sudden drop in tobacco consumption in 1975-76, right after the broadcast ad bans kicked in.

  335. AdGrunt
    23 May 11
    7:29 pm

  336. Ah, Burt, sorry. I meant packaging, not advertising – they are really rather different. And packaging is the point. They’re both pretty scant on that.

    I’m honestly pleased at the straight-line decline in smoking, but note that it started and barely deviated in that decline from the point when public education came into force in the *late* ’70s. Increased regulation, of which this is the most absurd, has not altered that trend.

    Present people with a choice and most will choose not to smoke. But they made that choice. Some will choose to smoke. They made that choice, too.

    ps – that graph is really hard to read, stopping curiously at ’95 for a 2007 report. It’s as if they noticed no decreased trend from the late 70s, despite increased regulation.

  337. jean cave
    23 May 11
    7:42 pm

  338. Mr Adgrunt. To rephrase my 163 comment, perhaps I should have said something else instead of civilised. What I meant was perhaps was “Aware”.

  339. Mark S
    23 May 11
    8:21 pm

  340. Adgrunt you tenacious bastard! You seem to accept smoking as being undesirable at best and lethal at worst. So isn’t it ok for us to do whatever we can to discourage smoking even though we haven’t banned it? It’s not a perfect world and you are no doubt aware of many many other examples of hypocrisy and irony that result from the practical difficulties of getting everything perfectly aligned…societal needs, government agendas, legislation…it’s not always pretty but the bottom line here is to reduce harm and on that basis we should applaud all efforts despite their uneven-ness and imperfections.

    Am I right that you were pointing out that the packaging controls are unproven as a means of discouraging reduction? But as the numbers show, the cessation of advertising had a major impact right? Was that a proven deterrent when it was introduced? Do you wait until it’s proven before introducing an initiative that certainly can’t harm anybody? Isn’t that what the tobacco companies persuaded us to do for a few decades before we finally banned the ads, and how many lives did that cost? Isn’t this the same situation?

    Honestly, I fail to understand why you are so dogmatic about this…you’ve taken a rational position but that doesn’t make it reasonable.

  341. Coward aka anonymous
    23 May 11
    8:22 pm

  342. Governments govern the economy. They’re the ones that profiteer from tobacco consumption (70% of all sales). How much does the government make from Tobacco a year? Anybody? They’re just introducing more nonsense that won’t make a difference so they look like they’re doing something. Wake up and smell the second hand smoke people.

  343. tom hardy
    24 May 11
    9:18 am

  344. What a useless stupid proposition by our government , plain packaging to stop people smoking . A waste of an enormous volume of money and effort for no gain in any direction. Smokers will smoke regardless of these useless projects the government keeps coming up with , so as to give the public the image that they are actually doing something . The government couldnt care less ,its only concern is to keep revenue rolling in as per the smokers tax budget that they rely on every month. If the government was sincere in stopping people smoking , they would ban it totally. Where do we go from here? what rules and regulations will our governments come up with in the future for the public , regarding fast foods ,alcohol ,sweets,etc. Our country is already tied up with so much legislation in every aspect of life it is a wonder an ordinary citizen can function .

  345. AdGrunt
    24 May 11
    10:38 am

  346. Mark,
    “the bottom line here is to reduce harm”
    A noble cause, but this has no evidence it will do that. Even if one does find that, where is that bar set? Do we stop rock fishermen, climbers, canyoners, motorcyclists, skydivers, cyclists, crossing the road, DIYers. These are also activities with large risks that are known and understood when undertaking them.

    “Do you wait until it’s proven before introducing an initiative that certainly can’t harm anybody?”
    Yes, you do have at least some semblance of evidence, otherwise you’re slap bang in the politician’s fallacy. I’m sure you can see how that statement has perenially ended badly.

    The harm is to the wanton removal of personal choice in the name of unproven and improbable public benefit. The Cancer Council are already lining “Fast Food” for this absurd high-handed treatment.

    “Isn’t that what the tobacco companies persuaded us to do for a few decades before we finally banned the ads”
    No, read above. Education and proactive support were far stronger.

    “Isn’t this the same situation?”
    No, read above.

  347. AdGrunt
    24 May 11
    10:46 am

  348. Heh – dogmatic? I think with aching lack of support and evidence for the proposal, I’m far from dogmatic and well into both reasonable and rational territory.

    This is best demonstrated by my lucid, rational destruction of the *un*reasonable proposal in the face of unsupported, emotional responses – the definintion of dogmatic to me.

    I’m surprised no-one has exclaimed “will no-one think of the children” which is usually a warning of a bullshit argument in the vicinity.

  349. Baz Lawman
    24 May 11
    10:53 am

  350. AdGrunt, the only entity having its choice restricted is the tobacco industry. And it’s getting little public sympathy – as you’d expect, after decades of willful public deceit. Perhaps you are so affronted by this latest advertising restriction because you work in advertising?

    As for those who rail against the authoritarian, regimented society allegedly trampling on our freedoms, exactly what choices are being taken away by our apparently malevolent, Orwellian governments? The freedom to blow smoke in others’ faces? Have an arsenal of machine guns for recreation? Keep a pet lion in the back yard? Drive to work in a decommissioned Panzer tank?

  351. tom hardy
    24 May 11
    2:29 pm

  352. Like it or not cigarette companies have current licences on intellectual property in place which protects their product packaging designs which are enforcable by international law. Australia exists as part of this treaty and has legally no rights to throw it out whatsoever. Why should all Australians be forced to pay billions of dollars in compensation to cig. companies just because our government comes out with ridiculous stupid unworkable ideas that will do nothing anyway. Are patenting laws generally under threat as we will have no credibility with all the other countries that are party to this treaty. What about all the near useless products our government allows on the market to cure smokers that only work to a small degree for a while. What about the huge advertising programme the government pays for that is clearly not working. What about many of the comments written by smartarse non smokers riding their high horse who dont even understand the real problem of smoking but offer their advice readily . None of the aforesaid are of any use or benefit whatsoever .None of the advertising policies to reduce the amount of smokers in Australia have ever worked ,the govt. just say they have so that people think they know what they are doing. Stop adressing the symptons and deal with the real problem of addiction properly.

  353. AdGrunt
    24 May 11
    2:39 pm

  354. Baz,
    You had me at Panzer tank.
    Aside from that, you need to work on your syllogisms. A lot

  355. Gandiva Naismith
    24 May 11
    3:07 pm

  356. @Leo Bajzert

    We could always make the Tobacco rather than the packaging illegal.

    Regulation via governments doesn’t disturb my libertarian views.

    How about a customers right to life?

  357. Gandiva Naismith
    24 May 11
    3:11 pm

  358. @Tom Hardy

    Well why don’t we all just give in now?

  359. Baz Lawman
    24 May 11
    3:29 pm

  360. AdGrunt, they were meant to be absurd examples. My point is that many who rail against controls imposed on them by societies like ours do so because they would like the freedom to do things that are socially unacceptable. (Come to think of it, while the lion and the Panzer were absurd notions, machine gun ownership is closer to a real-life example.)

    Tom, are you a professor of international law like, say, this guy:
    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/56666.html

    Or are you just making this stuff up because of a personal opinion? Australia will not be paying “billions” in taxpayer dollars to compensate the tobacco industry. Like so many other claims on this blog, that one is straight from a tobacco industry media release – and has about as much veracity as other tobacco industry claims (e.g. smoking doesn’t cause lung cancer).

    And if all the health policy recommendations from “smartarse nonsmokers” doesn’t work, did the reduction in smoking from about 70% of Australian men in the 1960s to 18% today happen by magic? Allez oop!

  361. Adam Paull
    24 May 11
    4:27 pm

  362. The current line from the tobacco industry that the government will be forced to pay billions in compensation is utter crap – if it were true, then surely the industry would just shut up, let it happen, and watch the truckloads money roll in.

    More bullshit from an increasingly desperate industry.

  363. AdGrunt
    24 May 11
    4:33 pm

  364. Baz,
    Your note about reduction in smoking has been covered in post 168.

    Your syllogisms are about something being socially acceptable? That isn’t the point here though, is it. It’s about pointless legislation and the non-effect it has had on decreasing the non-smoking trend.

    It sounds like a lot of health policy people have realised their existence is based on fairly flimsy results…

  365. Baz Lawman
    24 May 11
    6:26 pm

  366. AdGrunt, with respect I’m not sure what the point is – if a snapshot of your previous posts is a guide. Your posts variously feature an enduring obsession about “prohibition” (is that the point?), dogma, emotional responses, personal choice, political fence-sitting, pornography, good-looking chicks v ugly chicks… sorry, I can’t go on. (Talk about silly syllogisms.)

    Forgive me if I’ve lost sight of what the point actually is. But I guess that’s to be expected at the 182nd post.

    I came in late, but it appears the actual point of the article that initiated this flurry of circular arguments was that governments had no legal right to restrict the use of cigarette packaging as an advertising tool – as per an article written by an advertising agent for the tobacco industry.

    If that is the actual point, then the only relevant facts are: a) whether government is legally entitled to impose this restriction (govt says it can, independent lawyers and academics say it can; tobacco industry and their lawyers say it can’t, supported by some on this list who don’t appear to have had any legal training); and b) whether plain packaging is socially acceptable – and that’s a matter for the parliament to decide, under our system of government.

    If I’m wrong, what is the point?

  367. AdGrunt
    24 May 11
    6:52 pm

  368. Sorry those analogies (not syllogisms, silly) were lost on you, Baz.

    Here it is, all dead simple and that:

    Why are we entertaining a policy that has nothing to indicate it will work?

    Fast Food is already being lined up by the Cancer Council under the same flawed belief.

    (And not a squeak from either about education / detox to inform, rather than prohibition, which doesn’t)

    We can take it form there if that’s over-simple.

  369. Baz Lawman
    24 May 11
    8:12 pm

  370. Thanks AdGrunt. So, after 184 posts and an estimated 25,000 words, it all boils down to the principle that longitudinal (retrospective) evidence is the only indicator on which to base policy? As I’m sure you well know, this translates into the theory that nothing should ever be done for the first time.

    So it’s Year Zero, then. I might as well go to bed.

  371. AdGrunt
    25 May 11
    7:01 am

  372. Yes. Major cornerstone health policy to “see if it actually works” at the expense of effective solutions is the Politicians Fallacy in a nutshell.

    The longitudinal aspect is less concerning than the lack of causality in a multi-variate study.

  373. tom hardy
    25 May 11
    8:18 am

  374. So tobacco , rather than being put in a pretty blue or pink box will now be put in a plain colour box and this will deter people from smoking?.Everyone knows the product inside is unchanged. Most people because of the high price of tobacco now , simply buy on price and are not brand loyal anymore .

  375. Hmmm...
    25 May 11
    11:03 am

  376. Tom Hardy,

    Did it never occur to you that packaging is an important element in the marketing mix? Because it is, and every brand custodian from luxury jewellery (think Tiffany) to FMCG food products, will tell you this.

    Given that tobacco can’t be advertised using paid media channels, the packaging becomes an even more important part of the mix.

    If you don’t understand that, you don’t understand marketing. Curious, given you’re on a marketing blog.

    Secondly, it seems like it didn’t occur to you that perhaps this legislation won’t affect those already addicted as much as it will potentially deter children and teens (the ages at which most take up the habit) from starting in the first place?

    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume that because you posted at 8.18am, you’re usually a late-riser and were still half asleep.

  377. jean cave
    25 May 11
    6:09 pm

  378. Are brands that important?
    Tobacco by BAT
    as smoked by Kyle Sandilands.

    Message enough.?

  379. tom hardy
    26 May 11
    2:19 am

  380. HMMM.. seems to me youre bending the facts a bit. this is a blog for all people to give their opinions on . They dont have to be marketing experts like yourself. How did Tiffany jewellery get into the mix , first Ive ever heard of it being addictive or having any similarities to tobacco . In shops tobacco products are covered mostly ,so I dont see this having any great relevence for marketing purposes. If you understood anything about tobacco and children becoming addicted to it ,you would know that a large number of them are introduced to it by their acquaintances at wherever it may be convenient to do so. I think the importance of packaging in something addictive like cigarettes is a non event .It is only the nicotine fix people learn to crave ,they would not care what it came in as long as they can get more. One thing about brands that I do respect is the fact that they at least put their name on them, unlike yourself.

  381. Get off our backs
    26 May 11
    12:05 pm

  382. The government treats the general population. Where are our rights? Why aren’t we allowed to make our own decision?

    I’ve heard they are trying to ban beauty pageants and red pens in schools because they’re too aggressive – I mean come on!

    Let us live our lives with less intervention, it’s seriously choking our spirit and cultural identity.

    It should be the governments job to educate more than to litigate.

  383. Ted
    26 May 11
    4:33 pm

  384. If I was AdGrunt’s client, I would be demanding to know why he is spending so much time on this blog, railing against those he will never convince of an argument that has been lost. Fact is, with Coalition members crossing the floor, this bill will pass.

    On the positive side, putting his energies in this forum means AdGrunt has less time coming to come up with new strategies to peddle his client’s highly addictive and ultimately lethal product to our unsuspecting/impressionable kids.

    For those who question the effectiveness of plain packaging, Cancer Council just compiled a review of the evidence: http://bit.ly/jmWu36

  385. AdGrunt
    26 May 11
    5:53 pm

  386. But you aren’t one of my client’s, Ted. Nor is a tobacco company in any form. An incorrect deduction, I’m afraid. But then the link you copy has a lot of those in, too.

    Rather a lot of post hoc assertions. No mention of education, nor nicotine withdrawal treatment, nor causality as opposed to preference.

    My favourite quote “Consumption is not an appropriate indicator of the effectiveness of health warnings” – WHAT?!

    I especially like the graph on page 20, which even after CC resampled the data and applied an arbitrary trend line, shows that further regulation has had no statistically significant impact on smoking. In fact of late there is an awkward upward trend of late.

  387. Patrick
    27 May 11
    2:40 pm

  388. I haven’t read all these comments, so apologies if someone has made the exact point previously. Cigarettes are a legal product. If the government wants people to stop smoking, they should ban smoking. Otherwise, the interference of the government in the trade between an individual and a tobacco company should be decreased, not increased. There should be less taxes on cigarettes and the advertising ban should be lifted. Publicans should be able to dictate where people can smoke in their businesses.

  389. Tony Singleton
    29 May 11
    1:57 am

  390. Wow – thought i’d never get to the end of the comments!

    Perhaps the strongest evidence that this will actually reduce sales of tobacco is the energy and dollars that the tobacco companies are putting into trying to stop it – I can’t really buy that they have dreamed up multiple campaigns and are clearly monitoring and trying to influence the debate on a point of principle and in an effort to protect the interests of those other industries that could be next.

    John and Adgrunt – sorry if I’m incorrect in assuming you’re paid advisors – perhaps give us your real names if you are not.

    The reality is that no one knows for sure what the effects will be – but we all have to go to sleep at night. If this saves just one life (and there are enough indications that this is more than a reasonable possibility), then wouldn’t we all get a little better sleep?

    P.S. Perhaps we should give Leo a break – as long as this is his genuine point of view (and only he can know that) – then it’s a pretty brave thing to put out there

  391. AdGrunt
    31 May 11
    2:18 pm

  392. Hey Tony,

    You are incorrect. This should be something of a hint http://tinyurl.com/3cfawpd

    If railing against something, that even the protagonists can provide no support for, gets me accused of being a tobacco shill, then so be it.

    However, your comment disappointingly falls into the Non Sequitur fallacy, since as you note, no-one knows, or indeed has been able to demostrate causally, a link. Not a trap a former Strategy Head should be falling into.

    Arnold (and more widely Havas) has Macca’s and Hershey amongst many food companies in its portfolio internationally, and Cancer Council have already noted the tobacco fallacies working well. See the sub-head here http://www.cancer.org.au/File/.....obacco.pdf

    That should send a chill down your spine – as if it saves just one life…

  393. Tony Singleton
    31 May 11
    6:19 pm

  394. Hey AdGrunt

    Like I said -sorry if the assumption that you’re paid to be here isn’t correct; purely based on the fact that you’d posted so many times with such a strong backing of the point of view that the tobacco industry puts forward and you haven’t put your real name out there. No offence meant.

    Non-sequitur seems a strange point to make – saying nobody knows but there are ‘enough indications that this is more than a reasonable possibility’ seems pretty logical to me. And fairly obviously if you haven’t tested something, no one can know the results for sure, but that’s hardly an argument for not trying something in the first place.

    And sending a link to a report that says ‘tobacco smoking kills more than 15,500 Australians every year’ isn’t obviously helping to change my point of view.

    Anyway, good luck with what you do.

    Cheers

    T

  395. AdGrunt
    31 May 11
    7:21 pm

  396. Sorry fella – so many links. Try this one. http://www.mja.com.au/public/i.....297_fm.pdf

    Then scan post 186. Don’t forget, the Cancer Council has informed us that “Consumption is not an appropriate indicator of the effectiveness of health warning” so I’m aching to find out what is.

    I realise for an Agency “just doing something to try it” may sound exciting and innovative, but in the arena of health policy it is the Politicians Fallacy.

  397. Baz Lawman
    31 May 11
    11:43 pm

  398. AdGrunt, do you therefore claim that all the other policy initiatives in tobacco control in Australia, which were also done without retrospective data, failed because they too were “politicians fallacy”?

    How, then, do you explain the massive drop in tobacco consumption since such measures were introduced? Let me guess – tobacco industry education campaigns?

    Do you really believe that tobacco consumption will not continue to decline when plain packaging is mandated from next financial year? Nor that eventually Australian smoking rates will reach single figures?

    Thou hast been protesting too much. The announcement today of bipartisan political support for plain packaging has in any case created what the tobacco industry feared most – a precedent.

  399. AdGrunt
    1 Jun 11
    9:45 am

  400. Baz,
    Read posts 192 and 193.
    I believe consumption will continue to decline.
    But that decline has not increased as the pretty chart shows, in spite of increasing prohibition. This latest trill will also do nothing to increase that decline.

    Perhaps there’s some other factor at play? What could that be?

    Bipartisan support isn’t exactly the seal of sanity, though it is an occasional abherration of democracy. The ban on gay marriage has bipartisan support (notice the banning of choice trend here?), but a rather large number of people would question that it makes it right.

  401. Baz Lawman
    1 Jun 11
    12:57 pm

  402. AdGrunt, I checked those posts and all they showed was your ignorance of the evidence. Withdrawal treatments have had relatively low impact on reduced smoking prevalence. They work for some people, but the majority quit cold turkey because they are motivated by other triggers.

    While the specific determinants of reduced tobacco consumption are difficult to separate, the data is clear that price control is a very effective policy lever. Hard-hitting social marketing campaigns – all the more effective if they don’t have to compete with slick industry advertising (now restricted to the pack, but not for much longer in Australia) – has also been effective. So, if that’s what you mean by “education”, then fair enough. But all of the steps taken by government in Australia to “de-normalise” smoking have contributed to the decline. That’s why the majority of Australians surveyed in recent polls supported the plain packaging proposal, along with members from both sides of politics.

    Re “education”, one suspects you mean the sorts of education programs favoured by the tobacco industry to theoretically threaten its own sustainability – for those silly enough to believe it.

    The idea that withdrawal treatment and “education” are the reasons for such a substantial decrease in tobacco consumption is wrong – which is why people who do not want to see consumption drop would prefer to talk about such things.

    Trying to link plain packaging with gay marriage is a long bow, even by your standards. You are a clever individual, with an amusing vocabulary and pop psychology cant, but clutching at straws now.

    Will you be shopping your arguments around to the next nation that moves to introduce plain packaging? It’s only a matter of time.

  403. One
    1 Jun 11
    4:46 pm

  404. yes yes, stop cigarrette branding, so as long I can keep my cocaine on the weekends please!!.

  405. AdGrunt
    1 Jun 11
    5:20 pm

  406. Baz,

    You’ve awkwardly avoided the (causal) effectiveness point again.

    That trend line didn’t waver one bit, did it.

    Mind you, the Cancer Council tell us that “consumption is not an appropriate indicator of the effectiveness of health warning” though if you could tell me what is, then please do.

    Polls don’t mean it’s effective, just populist. Bipartisan political support doesn’t mean it’s effective either (and my syllogism to gay marriage was demolishing that fallacy – a very short bow if you understand syllogisms)

    So Baz – back to the Politician’s Fallacy, again.

    And do stop embarrassing yourself by insinuating I work for “Big Tobacco”

  407. Groucho
    1 Jun 11
    5:24 pm

  408. AdGunt, if you worked for them you would at least have an excuse. Without one you are just plain disgusting.

  409. Baz Lawman
    1 Jun 11
    5:34 pm

  410. AdGrunt, I have not insinuated that you work for Big Tobacco – you have inadvertently done so yourself, by running such a textbook tobacco industry case against plain packaging, combined with the pop psychology cant of an advertising agent. (I’m not blushing – but apologies if you have been offended. Not my intention.)

    The polls reflect how tobacco in Australia has been “de-normalised” – a key to reduced consumption. When two-thirds of Australian men smoked, lighting up in a car, a plane, an office (remember the ashtrays on desks?) was acceptable. This is no longer the case – and we’re all better off, in terms of exposure to the proven health harms of second-hand tobacco smoke.

    It’s culture change, with improved population health as the outcome.

    I don’t profess to understand syllogisms, and I’ve lost the thread to the “politician’s fallacy”. I prefer the evidence.

  411. AdGrunt
    1 Jun 11
    6:02 pm

  412. Baz,

    You’re still awkwardly avoiding sharing this (causal) evidence you prefer.

    Would you mind?

    Wikipedia is good for explanations of syllogisms and the politician’s fallacy.

  413. Baz Lawman
    1 Jun 11
    9:40 pm

  414. No awkwardness here, AdGrunt. What do you mean by “causal evidence”?

  415. AdGrunt
    2 Jun 11
    8:13 am

  416. Baz Lawman
    2 Jun 11
    9:17 am

  417. Context, please AdGrunt. You’ve run so many tortuous and cerebral arguments against plain packaging (the “pretty girl/ugly girl” construct is my favourite) that it’s hard to know which line you’re taking now.

    Your position appears to be that tobacco consumption in Australia has declined substantially over the past 35 years by some kind of magic – rather than government initiatives that your logic would describe as “politicians’ fallacy”.

    Anyway, here’s some evidence:
    http://www.cancervic.org.au/pl.....s-evidence

    Given that you don’t accept the published evidence on what has already worked to reduce smoking prevalence, these analyses are unlikely to satisfy your demands for a form of clinical data that is never available in behavioural science. Odd, given that you appear to work in advertising – and the legitimacy of your industry is based on some of the science in this evidence review. (Which is why the tobacco industry and its spruikers are so desperately opposed to plain packaging, of course. If you do work, rather than just grunt, in advertising, you might understand why some on this blog suspect that you too expect plain packaging will be effective, because of the sound marketing science applied here.)

  418. AdGrunt
    2 Jun 11
    1:01 pm

  419. Baz,

    This causality thing is still troubling you, isn’t it. Did you click the link? It’s almost as if you know it doesn’t exist.

    Causality needs no context except for the robust demonstration of cause and effect. It’s really that simple.

    Could you point me to the causal evidence in that piece. The word doesn’t even appear. Also see post 193. That graph does indeed suggest that pretty much every initiative since presenting the population with supported evidence, has been window dressing.

    Do feel free to interpret the unwavering decline, despite increased legislation, in another way. To me it says – give consumers an informed choice and they may stop. Do anything more and it won’t improve on that.

    The only extraordinary thing I noted from that piece was the Cancer Vic quote on page 19:

    “Consumption is not an appropriate indicator of the effectiveness of health warnings”
    – which is the most remarkable thing I’ve read in a long, long, time.

    So in summary:
    – where is this causality (evidence of it making any difference) for this effort?
    – what should be an indicator of effectiveness, if not cigarette consumption?

  420. steve
    2 Jun 11
    3:41 pm

  421. AdGrunt, using your handy (and *very* clever) link as inspiration, I googled for causal “evidence” (apologies to David Hume) and found pages full. Here you go:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC2851278/
    http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/.....1/i62.full

    and on. and on.

    Is this the “causal thing” you were talking about?

  422. AdGrunt
    2 Jun 11
    5:14 pm

  423. Almost, Steve.

    But their focus is price. The issue here is packaging.

    And the causality is pretty loose. Even worse, as I’m sure you read, the effect of price was noted as short term at best. Even worse still, none mentioned packaging as a recommendation.

    Oops.

  424. Baz Lawman
    2 Jun 11
    5:15 pm

  425. AdGrunt, as I’ve said, the type of clinical evidence you seek doesn’t exist in behavioural science. You can’t see it wriggling under a microscope. If you work in advertising, you will know this.

    If an ad campaign coincided with a significant increase in sales, but someone with a vested interest dismissed this as a “post hoc assertion”, would you as the advertising agent acquiesce? Or would you put the sales spike on your CV and try to get additional results using the same methods?

    Plain packaging will be introduced, smoking prevalence will continue to drop, behavioural scientists and statisticians will publish peer-reviewed articles showing cause and effect, opponents who do not work in public health will still insist there’s no proof (do you know how much evidence the tobacco industry has bald-faced denied on this basis?) and round and round it will go.

    Rather like this debate. I’ve sent links to the evidence. And I’ve asked you to explain what magic has been at work to so significantly reduce tobacco consumption in Australia – if not the initiatives introduced over the past 30 years on advice from the same scientists who made the case for plain packaging.

    I can’t decipher the Cancer Vic statement, at least without context, but I don’t work there. Maybe you should ask them.

    You’d probably be a fun individual to share a drink, a yarn and a friendly polemic with, but this is getting us nowhere.

  426. Mon
    2 Jun 11
    6:08 pm

  427. Sometimes we just need to be saved from ourselves. That’s really all there is to it. Next up let’s hope Women’s Day and all the other soul sucking, mentality paralyzing, brain washing mags can be shipped with white covers and entombed in concrete.

  428. AdGrunt
    2 Jun 11
    8:09 pm

  429. Hey Baz,

    Causality is very much alive and well in behavioural science. I won’t Google it for you this time, but do have a look. There’s also a dearth of cause and effect published research for marketing.

    The effects of marketing campaigns can be, and almost always are, tracked – it’s called ROI. It’s very clever stuff at the pointy end.

    The tobacco industry has an appalling track record, but that doesn’t mean fluff is a good idea. The ROI here seems more around justification of doing something and keeping policy-making itself, than making a difference to the root problem – hence the fallacy.

    That CancerVic thing is truly baffling. As baffling as that straight line unwavering trend. Almost as baffling as some of the tobacco companies’ arguments, as well.

    Chin, chin.

  430. jean cave
    2 Jun 11
    8:35 pm

  431. Decades ago Tesco Supermarket in the UK tried marketing a range of non-luxury plain-packaged ‘Basics’ with just the word Flour, Tea etc. Miserable fail. Proving, I suppose we only shop lowest com-denom if we have to. However if it was all there was . . who know?

  432. steve
    3 Jun 11
    11:47 am

  433. AdGrunt,

    I think the idea with a “short term” impact vis a vis price is to stop impressionable youngsters taking up the habit in the first place, as I think everyone knows.

    I don’t see the weakness of the causality in those studies, so if you’d like to point it out I’d be grateful.

    As a suggestion: how about we try plain packaging and if it doesn’t work it can be reversed. After all, we’re talking about low-life tobacco companies here, so who really cares? you? why? for god’s sake, no arguments about the thin edge of the wedge and intellectual property please…

    Steve.

  434. AdGrunt
    3 Jun 11
    12:05 pm

  435. Steve.
    Don’t waste my time. Read the 200 posts above and give yourself a clue.

  436. Anna Mossity
    3 Jun 11
    4:24 pm

  437. AdGrunt. I wonder if anyone in your line of work could match an ROI like this:

    According to independent research commissioned by the Australian government in 2003, the 30% decline in smoking between 1975 and 1995 had prevented over 400,000 premature deaths and saved costs of over $8.4 billion. That’s more than 50 times greater than the amount spent on anti-smoking campaigns over that period, and does not put an inestimable dollar value on lives saved (imagine the measurable ROI if you could?). You can read all about it here:
    http://www.health.gov.au/inter.....oi_eea.pdf

    This was commissioned and published by the Howard government. Not exactly the ultimate nanny staters.

    One of the reasons the outlays are relatively low is that many of the initiatives, such as ad bans, tobacco tax increases, smoke-free environments etc., were cost-neutral.

    Plain packaging won’t cost anything either, but it looks set to contribute to the public health community’s long-term ROI, especially if the word from a few former tobacco execs and advertisers is anything to go on. It’s been reported that the tobacco industry invests a hell of a lot in the look and feel of the packet as a marketing tool. Hello? Why do it, if the pack doesn’t affect sales? Don’t these marketing professionals with multi-million dollar budgets understand ROI?

    As a marketing professional yourself, you could advise the industry to not only stop investing so heavily in product packaging outside Australia, but to also stop funding front groups, lobbyists, websites and viral campaigns, and threatening to dig deep to make the mother of all legal challenges, to stop plain packaging. Given that your reading of the evidence is that plain packaging won’t cut sales – therefore glossy packaging doesn’t boost sales either. Clearly then there is no ROI in anything the industry is doing to oppose plain packaging – or in spending millions on enhancing the packaging.

    How did these companies become so hugely profitable using this insane ROI logic?

  438. AdGrunt
    3 Jun 11
    6:44 pm

  439. Um, Anne (nice pun!)

    Nice doco, albeit almost ten years old…

    Did you read pages 20-22 of that doco? I’m reckoning you didn’t.

    Nowhere is plain packaging mentioned.

    However, as I’m sure you’ve been avidly reading this list, you know my strong view on health education and taxation. Thank you for validating that.

    The rest of what you’ve written is utter tripe. Join Steve in getting some semblance of a clue in your argument.

  440. Anna Mossity
    3 Jun 11
    8:49 pm

  441. Oh, AdGrunt. Of course plain packaging isn’t mentioned in an economic analysis of disease prevention in Australia 1975-95! I mean, really.

    I’m not arguing. I’m stating facts and asking questions. And I’ll do it again. Fact: The tobacco industry invests substantially in the look and feel of the pack as a marketing tool. Question: Why do so, if the packaging is not likely to affect consumption?

    Do you deny the evidence of the fact? And can you answer the question?

  442. Cut Silk Snake
    4 Jun 11
    8:34 am

  443. AdGrunt. Do you smoke?

  444. AdGrunt
    4 Jun 11
    2:51 pm

  445. Anna,
    Why wouldn’t plain packaging be mentioned? Or banning? They find price and education strongest – as I do.

    Your question is a hypothesis based on a false assumption. The answer to which is – to create a point of difference amongst brands. This isn’t a difference from a brand of crisps to eat, instead of smoking. It’s to create a difference from another tobacco brand.

    Have a look at the ugly girl analogy and re-read the most effective influences on smoking consumption, contained in that document you linked to.

  446. Anna Mossity
    5 Jun 11
    12:50 am

  447. Dear AdGrunt, you and I both know you can do better. A retrospective study of ROI in disease prevention in Australia between 1975 and 1995 is hardly going to analyse the impact of something that, in June 2011, remains subject to nothing more than a draft bill.

    Are you in the UK by chance? That could explain a few things.

    I don’t know what the ugly girl analogy is. (I’m not very good-looking, but I trust it has nothing to do with me.)

    If you really, really believe that the substantial investment tobacco companies make in packaging is only to facilitate brand differentiation for established smokers, you cannot possibly work in advertising.

  448. AdGrunt
    6 Jun 11
    10:53 am

  449. So what is your point? Why the sudden back-pedal from the link you posted?

    Because a company spends money on packaging, it must make a difference to consumption? Therefore we should ban packaging?

    Have a look through this list and see if you can work out which fallacy you’ve fallen foul of:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy

    It’s a material fallacy, so start again if you get down to the verbal ones.

    [Ugly girl is up there at post 83. So long ago...]

    And please don’t embarrass yourself with silliness like your final sentence. We’re not in school debating club now.

  450. marcus
    6 Jun 11
    12:31 pm

  451. Set a precedent for what? banning advertising on other products that kill you? how tragic. You wouldnt put on a hypercolour t-shirt and stone wash jeans, whilst driving around in a Leyland p76 and listening to Jason Donovan on the stereo, so why the hell would anybody want to look outdated and light up? I wouldnt date the worlds sexiest chick if she smoked, and Id be too embarrassed to do it in public if I wanted one. Piss these things off, they belong in a museum corner with black and white TV’s and pyramid selling schemes.

  452. Anonymous
    6 Jun 11
    1:01 pm

  453. Oh AdGrunt, you really are struggling. School debating was highly sophisticated compared with this. You are fun, though, which is why I persist. (Embarrassment is an objective emotion; my dignity is intact in the universe it occupies.)

    I’m not back-pedalling from anything. And, unlike you, I’m happy to answer questions. The link I posted was a direct response to your previous reference to ROI, to show that disease prevention also delivers for its investors. To which you questioned why there was no analysis of plain packaging in a retrospective study (1975-95). Again, we both know you’re capable of much better.

    Thanks for directing me way back to post 83. I’m glad I came in late; such a poor analogy. The hypothetical teenager wants a shag because of a strong biological mechanism. There is no such compulsion driving the desire to smoke – until, of course, the user becomes addicted. And anyone who’s ever smoked knows it takes several goes to get past the body’s reflex rejection of combusted chemicals; marketing and social determinism are keys to getting beyond this biological aversion. Find me a male who can compare his first cigarette with his first shag. I mean, really. (“Love is a drug” sounds clever, but it’s a nonsense argument.)

    My point? Yes, let’s get to the point. Maybe this will clarify. And to simplify things at your end, you can respond with yes/no answers (if you’re willing).

    Do you believe the tobacco industry is interested in recruiting new smokers? Yes or no? Do you believe the tobacco industry uses the look and feel of the pack as a tool to attract new customers, particularly in countries where broadcast and print advertising are banned? Yes or no?

    Tally ho.

  454. Anna Mossity
    6 Jun 11
    1:04 pm

  455. Oh, AdGrunt. School debating was highly sophisticated compared with this. You are fun, though, which is why I persist. (Embarrassment is an objective emotion; my dignity is intact in the universe it occupies.)

    I’m not back-pedalling from anything. And, unlike you, I’m happy to answer questions. The link I posted was a direct response to your previous reference to ROI, to show that disease prevention also delivers for its investors. To which you questioned why there was no analysis of plain packaging in a retrospective study (1975-95). Again, we both know you’re capable of better.

    Thanks for directing me way back to post 83. I’m glad I came in late; such a poor analogy. The hypothetical teenager wants a shag because of a strong biological mechanism. There is no such compulsion driving the desire to smoke – until, of course, the user becomes addicted. And anyone who’s ever smoked knows it takes several goes to get past the body’s reflex rejection of combusted chemicals; marketing is a key to getting beyond this biological aversion. Find me a male who can compare his first cigarette with his first shag. I mean, really. (“Love is a drug” sounds clever, but it’s a nonsense argument.)

    My point? Yes, let’s get to the point. Maybe this will clarify. And to discourage you from evading questions, you can respond with yes/no answers (if you’re willing).

    Do you believe the tobacco industry is interested in recruiting new smokers? Yes or no? Do you believe the tobacco industry uses the look and feel of the pack as a tool to attract new customers, particularly in countries where broadcast and print advertising are banned? Yes or no?

    Tally ho.

  456. AdGrunt
    6 Jun 11
    5:04 pm

  457. Give yourself a clue about your own citations. The piece looks to 2010 – it’s a policy document.

    It extrapolates smoking reduction tactics based on long-term studies of consumptiuon influencers.

    And they entirely support tax and education as strong, causal influencers.

    Your first question diverts from any sanity with a loaded question. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loaded_question

    As a business trading in a legally available product, they do have an interest in actually having consumers. If it is a legally available product, then why shouldn’t they?

    Your second question is a strawman and equally loaded. You didn’t read that fallacy list, did you. And between the two you’ve created a delightful post hoc fallacy. This is the realm of lobbyists, not policy-makers.

    The question is: What (causal) proof is there that plain packaging will diminish smoking consumption.

    The answer: There is none. In fact there is quite a lot suggesting that taxation and education are the strongest influencers of smoking consumption.

    There are suggestions of plain packaging influencing preference, against more “strongly” branded packs.

    But that isn’t relevant, as a world of all-plain packs, there is no prettier version to prefer. Hence the ugly girl analogy – sorry if it passed you by.

    To quote the current Tobacco policy on youth uptake:
    Research on the predictors of smoking uptake [cited] would suggest that the most promising approach in Australia would be to:
    • help children to develop negative attitudes to smoking;
    • teach children how to cope socially while resisting peer offers to smoke;
    • get parents to quit while their children are young; and
    • prevent children from failing academically and becoming alienated from school.

  458. Anna Mossity
    6 Jun 11
    5:57 pm

  459. Er, is that a yes-yes, AdGrunt? Thanks.

    Oh, and I think the argument about causal evidence for something for which there is no longitudinal data sits neatly in the “nothing should ever be done for the first time” basket – where vested interests tried to put all the other tobacco control mechanisms which went on to become triggers for substantial reductions in smoking prevalence (including excise increases).

    The ugly girl analogy is simply silly, no matter how you try to explain it. It’s non-analogous nonsense. No one misses smoking if they’ve never done it. No one needs to commercially market sex to make it attractive. Plain packaging is primarily about discouraging new smokers, who have yet to develop brand preference. A virginal teenage boy probably still has a good idea whom he’d like to shag, if only in his own mind. And so on.

    The evidence is clear that price control is the most effective policy lever, but that hardly means ad bans, social marketing, smoke-free places etc. etc. don’t also have a significant effect. And they have. Plain packaging is next.

  460. AdGrunt
    6 Jun 11
    7:06 pm

  461. No. It’s a “you’re basing your assertions on well known fallacies” answer.

    No support for your varying statements – though have incidentally supported most of mine – thanks. You’re in “the politician’s fallacy” amongst many, many, fallacies. I can only assume you haven’t actually got any grasp of logic at all. Or have a hidden agenda.

    “Let’s try it and see” isn’t exactly where public health policy wants to be, is it? I guess it justifies someone’s job.

    Oh yeah, the girl analogy was with the research technique showing switching, not quitting behaviour, not with actual smoking per se. So it seemingly did pass you by.

    Next!

  462. Anna Mossity
    6 Jun 11
    10:56 pm

  463. No hidden agenda, AdGrunt. I support plain packaging, because world-leading experts in tobacco control do. The same people who pushed for the reforms that have brought lung cancer rates in Australian men back to levels not seen since the years before mass-produced and (mass-marketed) cigarettes were introduced. And I would like to see the population harms of tobacco use reduced. Simple.

    Even if plain packaging makes no difference to consumption (I’m confident it will), it won’t do any harm. The only group to be put out will be the tobacco industry. And, surprise surprise, tobacco companies have very few friends outside their own narrow world, after years of well-documented duplicity, the net result of which has been people dying en masse.

    Thou dost protest too much, AdGrunt. At a quick glance, you have contributed many more words than any other blogger here. What agenda do you have, to be so industrious and persistent? Can you explain it as concisely as I have explained my agenda?

    Chin chin.

  464. AdGrunt
    7 Jun 11
    5:26 pm

  465. On the 232nd post my agenda eludes you?

    I’m amazed that “suck it and see” policy-making is actually being mooted as credible.

    You should watch Yes, Minister – that makes a whole comedy series out of what you’re actually saying.

    Your refrain still smacks of a political agenda being poorly hidden, but I guess if you’ve got no idea, then any idea seems like a good one.

    Good luck with that.

  466. Anna Mossity
    7 Jun 11
    8:36 pm

  467. AdGrunt, you seem deeply disturbed by the (low) risk that plain packaging will not be effective, when either way the only losers will be companies that for decades have traded in death, falsified documents, shredded evidence, lied under oath and right now are handing our truckloads of free cigarettes to kids in developing countries.

    Me thinks the hidden agenda is thine.

    I’ve been clear about my position. But, as expected, there was no straight answer from you. It could be that only you and I are reading this now, so instead of answering a question with a question, why don’t you just tell me?

  468. AdGrunt
    8 Jun 11
    5:00 pm

  469. Anna / Burt.
    Read from the top and stop bringing these cringing fallacies up. It marks you out as a cretin.

  470. Michael P
    8 Jun 11
    5:42 pm

  471. Two things that pretty much destroy Leo’s argument:
    1. There are plenty of precedents for the regulation of legal but dangerous products. Porn and firearms are the two most obvious. The form the regulation takes varies depending on the nature of the product itself, but the principle is the same: society decides over time that risks and threats need to be managed more effectively. On a related point, there is no ‘brand’ theft as the legal challenge will no doubt prove to be the case.
    2. We are well beyond ‘pressure groups’. We are talking orthodox opinion, which is why the government knows that its action will be widely supported.
    Leo and his tobacco mates probably really know they are on a hiding to nothing but figure any obstacle they can create will delay the inevitable. As social norms change further the period of tobacco smoking being socially acceptable will increasingly be understood as a social aberration (due in large part to health data being slow to firm up) and continuing users regarded as deviants, much like other drug users.

  472. leave blank
    8 Jun 11
    6:06 pm

  473. Dear Anna, I’d say “world leading experts in tobacco control” support plain packaging because it’s their job to do so, wouldn’t you. I mean, they’re not casually supporting it as a hobby, are they? Follow the money….

    Chinny chin chin.

  474. Tailend
    8 Jun 11
    10:26 pm

  475. Ha ha ha. Reading so many post, made by marketing people, spouting facts created by other marketers! Talk about skewed.
    Smoking bad, no doubt. Plain packaging? dubious. Place the packs in heat sealed hang sell pack (similar to electronics) and you’ll have a massive drop-off due to pure hatred of opening them.
    By the way, how many here have worked on an account for an electronics company? Most make chips for military devices you know. What about healthcare? What abiut finance? Tobacco is bad, but transparent. Look hard enough and the links to death start to add up.
    On another side note, I thought g2 lost the bat account?

  476. Anna Mossity
    9 Jun 11
    9:01 am

  477. AdGrunt/John

    It was only a matter of time before you resorted to name calling. I don’t need to read 230-odd posts to remain confident of my position, particularly if there are more time-wasters like the non-analogous “ugly girl” analogy.

    After a touch of bonhomie in previous exchanges, the reflex nastiness in your language probably confirms what many on this blog suspected about who you work for and why you are so persistent in arguing while evading direct questions.

    But chin chin. There are still plenty of marketing opportunities out there for you. You’ll just have to master Cantonese, Hindi, Tagalog etc. (if you haven’t already) for translating slogans like “When only the best will do” for your new and plentiful victims.

    Bye bye.

  478. AdGrunt
    9 Jun 11
    10:40 am

  479. Anna my sweet.

    Describing you as a cretin isn’t name calling. It’s a supportable, verifiable statement of fact, based on your inability to grasp your own logical fallacies.

    So. Take a tissue, dry your eyes, swallow down the harden-up pill and read this:
    http://onegoodmove.org/fallacy/toc.htm

    It may hurt your pride a little, as the scale of your logical confusion dawns on you, but push through that and be a better lobbyist and campaigner.

    Fight the good fight, but don’t then play the wounded victim when your arguments don’t bear scrutiny – that’s just embarrassing.

  480. Anna Mossity
    9 Jun 11
    12:16 pm

  481. AdGrunt, AdGrunt, AdGrunt, Sticks and stones, really.

    What arguments? I’ve posted evidence (not kitsch websites), stated facts and asked questions – which are invariably evaded.

    I’m signing off because the amusement value you provided in earlier exchanges has degenerated into this boring tosh.

    You will probably seek the last word – so please try to make it interesting.

  482. Bob Zjeurunkle
    9 Jun 11
    2:05 pm

  483. Just got a link to this “debate”. Anyone else get the sense that AdGrunt and Anna Mossity are the same person? Maybe a bored public servant with too much time (and a computer) on their hands?

    These so-called debates should require people to use proper names, so we can see whose bidding they’re doing.

  484. AdGrunt
    9 Jun 11
    4:20 pm

  485. We’re not the same.

    But I’m sure “Anna” is very flattered.

  486. Hmmm...
    9 Jun 11
    5:46 pm

  487. Don’t you people have jobs?

    Jesus…