Imperial Tobacco hits back at health minister’s ‘ultimate sick joke’ comments

Health minister Tanya Plibersek

Imperial Tobacco, the maker of Peter Stuyvesant cigarettes, has responded to the health minister’s angry comments yesterday that the company has flouted the government’s impending rules on the plain packaging of what she called “cancer sticks”.

In an interview on Ten’s Breakfast show yesterday, health minister Tanya Plibersek said that Imperial Tobacco was playing “the ultimate sick joke” by introducing new packaging for its Peter Stuyvesant brand that reads ‘It’s what’s on the inside that counts’.

The new Peter Stuyvesant packaging shows the original branding being ripped away to reveal what the plain packaging of the product will look like.

“Diseased lungs, hearts and arteries are the reality of what is happening on the inside to a smoker,” Plibersek told Breakfast.

However, Imperial Tobacco insists that it has done nothing wrong, since the government’s new rules on the plain packaging of cigarettes do not take effect until 1 December.

The company told Mumbrella that the idea behind the new design – which it says is a limited edition run – was to inform Peter Stuyvesant customers about changes to the packaging of the product that will occur as a result of the new laws.

Imperial Tobacco said in a statement:

“ITA complies with all relevant legislation. We will comply with the plain packaging laws by December 1 and it is important that these upcoming changes be communicated to adult consumers of the Peter Stuyvesant brand.”

“It is also important to inform adult consumers of the Peter Stuyvesant brand that the high quality product inside the pack will remain the same. The limited edition Peter Stuyvesant packaging conveys this information,” a spokesperson said.

Imperial Tobacco did not comment on whether it expected to see a spike in sales as a result of the limited edition run. However, it noted: “There has been a high level of interest in the limited edition Peter Stuyvesant packaging as a result of the media attention to this matter.”

The company added that it did not believe that plain packaging would have an impact on tobacco consumption.

“Tobacco packaging has never been identified as a reason why people choose, or continue, to smoke and so demand for this legal product may remain largely unchanged,” the company said.

“Importantly, in budget papers, the Government does not appear to have reassessed its forecasts for tobacco revenue. Rather, Treasury anticipates that revenue from tobacco will continue to increase over the coming four year period. In short, it does not appear that the Federal Government believes that plain packaging will reduce smoking rates. And neither do we.”


  1. hans
    13 Sep 12
    9:14 am

  2. The executives of all the big tobacco companies are morally banrupt, greedy drug dealers,who sell a product that they know kills or injures people when it is used as intended.Those who make a profit out the pain,misery and death of fellow humans should be charged with murder ,attemped murder and assult resulting in gbh.How do these people live with themselves? And if plain packaging makes no difference to their sales ,then what are they complaining about?

  3. Anthony Burch
    13 Sep 12
    9:18 am

  4. Plibersek wasn’t elected to tell us how to live our lives. She should shut her public mouth and remember she is only an elected, unqualified, government advisory spokesperson, given the health ministry by PM Gillard.

    All the tobacco companies have to do is offer a plastic case for their products [as were on sale a number of years ago] The buyer inserts the pack and covers the government warnings. Perfectly legal

  5. AdGrunt
    13 Sep 12
    9:23 am

  6. Hi Hans. Avoid covering old ground by reading this lot:

  7. Shabbadu
    13 Sep 12
    9:29 am

  8. It’s still a legal product, Hans. Alcohol kills and injures people. Fast food kills and injures people. And this plain packaging legislation has set the legal precedence for the government to attack these industries in the same way in future. They’ve picked “big tobacco” first because of over-zealous wowsers like you. It’s a big, unpopular, easy target and anyone who stands against the removal of a brand’s right to package its own product is mocked for standing up for big tobacco – which is utter crap. Under the guise of ‘doing what’s right for the public health’ they’ve paved the way for future legislation to protect us all from things that might be bad for us. If I was in the fried food caper, I’d be Mcshitting my pants.

  9. Jack
    13 Sep 12
    9:32 am

  10. 1.1 Million fines in the tobacco industry is like loose change on the couch for them, I’m sure they’re laughing about that one. They should make clear transparent packets, so you can see the cigarettes.. simple. Government still gets tax on each sale..

  11. goodone
    13 Sep 12
    9:40 am

  12. last time I checked this was a free country

  13. Jeff
    13 Sep 12
    9:46 am

  14. And how do you feel about the big wigs at the larger alcohol companies, Hans?

  15. David
    13 Sep 12
    10:07 am

  16. 13-9-12
    Smoking leads to hardening of the arteries, heart attack, tooth decay, cancer, lung emphasima, and eye squinting.

  17. Jack
    13 Sep 12
    10:16 am

  18. @ Hans chill out mate. little over the top there

  19. leon
    13 Sep 12
    10:28 am

  20. Consumers in Western nations have always had the right to choose. Government enforced plain packaging is a Stalinist iron hand approach. I am not a smoker but removing commercial brands and proprietary packaging from any consumer product offends and concerns me. It is the thin edge of the wedge and sets a ugly precedent for a new style of government intervention into our lives. Supermarket Home Brands could soon accompany Government Anti Brands on their shelves – starting with tobacco and moving… Already overweight citizens are another target of Government anti campaigns..

  21. No choice
    13 Sep 12
    10:32 am

  22. If only smokers were more considerate when they smoked maybe non-smokers wouldn’t be so against it. Because I choose to live in a smoke free home – yet my neighbours choose to smoke I have to suffer with their stink and harmful smoke. This is not my choice but…..i have no choice – Goodone – is this the free country you are talking about?

  23. @ goodone
    13 Sep 12
    10:34 am

  24. Last time you checked, the US was a free country. Australia has never been declared one. It has been declared to operate under British and Australian rule, but that’s it. It’s why we pay taxes, have laws, and operate as a functioning democracy.

  25. Jack
    13 Sep 12
    10:36 am

  26. Make drug legal and we wouldn’t have these problems..

  27. Groucho
    13 Sep 12
    10:42 am

  28. Fascinating to see the inability of the apologists for tobacco companies to mount a sensible argument. Comparing tobacco to fast food and alcohol ignores a crucial point which is simply indisputable, except by the most stupid, or those speaking on behalf of the tobacco companies (same people I suppose).

    Every cigarette does harm.

    Fast food and alcohol do harm when consumed excessively but not in moderation.

    See the difference dummies?

    @Adgrunt refering people back to previous posts is OK but for the really really really stupid repitition helps.

  29. Richard McMahon
    13 Sep 12
    10:56 am

  30. Imperial, among others, already lost once the very first intrusion on their (ours by default) packageing occured. Personally I’m against other forms of advertising so that last means should have been respected for the sake of smokers morale. The actions of the anti smoking lobby have caused stress, depression and guilt beside creating social pariahs by those taking a cheap and easy self righteous stance.
    In the western world people have smoked tobacco since first introduced but in pipes
    such as the clay one left behind by builders and carpenters which are still being dug up or discovered in internal crevices in Sydney for one. Tailor-made is a recent innovation and is clearly open to wide, excessive use and abuse. The best quality cigarettes are filterless which would deter woman and youth and which only require a tar removing holder. They were all removed from sale except camel plain eg seniour service, rothmans plain, chesterfield plain, temple bar and luck strike.
    The honest solution is to create dedicated tobacco outlets in every suburb owned by us under the auspices of State Government and halve the price or more with limits. Furthermore simple online registration as addicts as it’s habit forming (repetitive) and so potentially addictive. With such run by ‘Budgets’ Bob Ansett for efficiency service and clean lines. It can only end in low quality tobacco at an extremely high price which Imperial is at pains to assure one will not happen where their product is concerned.

  31. Jack
    13 Sep 12
    11:00 am

  32. @Groucho

    Your argument is floured with your comment ”Fast food and alcohol do harm when consumed excessively but not in moderation” its the same thing with smoking…

  33. Pat. Williams
    13 Sep 12
    11:01 am

  34. This government is intent on receiving accolades for Roxon’s only claim to alleged fame – plain cigarette packaging. If it were really serious, it would stop taking revenue from this source. What a shower of hypocrites. This comes under the same umbrella as supposed reducing carbon emissions, whilst increasing brown coal exports to China.

  35. Gee Dubya
    13 Sep 12
    11:07 am

  36. I think we are all missing the point. The new packaging rules come in to play on the 1st December (last time I looked, it was only September), so in the meantime, the tobacco companies can do as they wish as long as it’s within the boundaries of the current laws. If they changed say their logo on the packet, would we still care?

    Just for the record, no I don’t smoke, nor do I endorse the products, these tobacco companies sell.

  37. Andrew
    13 Sep 12
    11:12 am

  38. Last night on TV I saw a special on how just one drink of alcohol by a pregnant woman can do serious harm to the unborn baby .. so I don’t see the difference dummies …

  39. Lisa
    13 Sep 12
    11:17 am

  40. I find the health minister a hypocrite! I do not smoke and ideally, would love to see people kick the habit. BUT…….. if our health minister is so outraged and concerned, why does the Federal Government spend so much on tobacco for the boat people on Christmas Island. I believe the figure last year was $1.2m of tax payers money was spent (wasted) on providing tobacco to these refugee’s. Make your mind up what side of the tobacco fence you are sitting on Minister – I am sure your backside is full of splinters from sitting on the fence………..

  41. Shabbadu
    13 Sep 12
    11:21 am

  42. @ Groucho. I’m not arguing the product and I’m not a tobacco company apologist. I’m talking about the precedence to put restraints on legal products that are seen to do harm in the name of the public good. The only suggestion I’m making is that people should think about the wider ramifications of the legislation. Junk food and alcohol will, in my opinion, be next. And by the way, calling people dummies when you’re the one who’s failing to understand the debate doesn’t strengthen your argument.

  43. Jason
    13 Sep 12
    11:29 am

  44. Well the fact of the matter is, that although smoking rates have dropped, rates of cardio-vascular disease & other health-related issues remain unchanged.

    To me, it looks like all we have done is shift addiction from cigarettes to food, so nothing has been achieved, has it?

  45. Jack
    13 Sep 12
    11:45 am

  46. Smoking weed is fine right?

  47. John
    13 Sep 12
    11:53 am

  48. As we are a free democratic country it is an individuals right/choice to consume this product. As a Tax Paying citizen I have no choice, other than my elected member, on how my taxes are spent. Do I enjoy the fact that a percentage of my taxes are spent on people whom choose to smoke……..

    So if you want the democratic right to smoke then I should have the democratic right not to subsidize your smoking related medical costs – which out weight the funds redeemed by smoking taxation.

    When you present with crap teeth or lung cancer that is identified as being caused by a life of smoking then you should pay full costs and not hit the public purse for your treatment – You were advised of the risks.

    This simple business. If we cant raise the revenue to pay the medical costs, then we should take action to reduce the incidence of smoking – for which the Gov is trying to do.

  49. Groucho
    13 Sep 12
    11:55 am

  50. @Jack it is regarded as indisputable by people capable of judgement that every cigarette does do you harm.

    Now that you have ‘floured’ my argument do you plan to fry it?

    @Shaddadu I don’t misunderstand the debate, i just think that your precedent premise is dumb and serves only as a distraction from the debate. Putting restraints on legal products is a step on the way to minimising the harm that such products cause.

    You are indeed using the appeal to fear, one of the common logical fallacies often seen in debate.

    Someone recently, I think perhaps AdGrunt, posted a link to a good article on these fallacies. If he/she could repost the link it might help the people construct some worthwhile discussion rather than merely waving their arms about like Chicken Little.

    It may though have too many words.

  51. Shabbadu
    13 Sep 12
    12:12 pm

  52. Hi Groucho
    13 Sep 12
    12:44 pm

  53. Groucho you seem like such a wet blanket…

  54. billyjoebob
    13 Sep 12
    12:50 pm

  55. To my mind, the logic of the tobacco companies doesn’t stack up. If the plain packaging won’t have any effect, why spend all that money fighting against it?

  56. Jack
    13 Sep 12
    12:52 pm

  57. You sound like a girl, winging about smoking haha – man up!

  58. Groucho
    13 Sep 12
    1:20 pm

  59. @ hi Groucho. Awesome post. Take the rest of the day off.

  60. JJ
    13 Sep 12
    1:20 pm

  61. I’m in the tobacco industry and I would sit in the top 1% of the economy when it comes to ”highest income” I can tell you right now, we couldn’t care less about all these opinions when it comes to the size of our industry, move on peasants..

  62. JDs mate
    13 Sep 12
    1:45 pm

  63. @JJ I’m head of the Department of Anal Reaming in Hell. We look forward to your arrival; you’re rooming with Alan Jones

  64. goodone
    13 Sep 12
    1:48 pm

  65. @ @Goodone….yes well…..touche

  66. TOKE
    13 Sep 12
    1:50 pm

  67. As a smoker, I can tell you two things:

    1. It will not stop existing smokers buying cigarettes. They are addicted. It will just increase their time at the counter trying working out which is their brand.

    2. The only real effect will be on the number of kids starting in the first place. And if that happens, the government has done well.

  68. JJ
    13 Sep 12
    1:52 pm

  69. @JD

    Someones on 40k a year…

  70. AdGrunt
    13 Sep 12
    1:58 pm

  71. Ah, I see the trolls have arrived.

    Groucho – there are various sites, but the simplest is

    As noted in the discussion around Maccas at the Olympics, there are some over-simplifications on the site, but it’s an OK start. If enough people visit it, Jesse may join us again.

    Again – trolls, read this to avoid wasting everyone’s time with tedious hysteria.

  72. mediaman
    13 Sep 12
    2:02 pm

  73. love the second last paragraph, then why the upstink about taking the trademarks away?

  74. Purplegrrl
    13 Sep 12
    2:03 pm

  75. I agree 1000% with hans these companies are morally corrupt. My father died this
    in may from the effects of smoking. This product once addicted
    is so hard to give up. Would be happy if they banned it and if you think I am extreme I don’t care until you loose someone you love dearly from smoking then you cannot judge me.

  76. Kylie
    13 Sep 12
    2:06 pm

  77. @Jack – best to bake it into a cookie – much safer

  78. GC
    13 Sep 12
    2:07 pm

  79. It must be pretty frustrating working in an industry where you’re only remaining marketing channel is astro-turfing any available blog comment thread in the vain hope that someone will…i dont even know.

  80. mediaman
    13 Sep 12
    2:08 pm

  81. why not just ask Alan Jones, and Ray Hadley what we should do, apparently they have all the answers….to everything.

    Yes Im serious, these guys just arent radio announcers, they are TALKBACK radio announcers, big difference!!!

  82. GC
    13 Sep 12
    2:10 pm

  83. See also proving the public health “scream test”.

  84. Richard McMahon
    13 Sep 12
    2:15 pm

  85. Well, JJ You evidently sit on top of a gilded heap as the tobacco companies have proven to be somewhat stupid. You and yours benefit from sales, (do you have permission to speak for them also) ‘you can’t take it with you’ unless you’re a Pharoh. smoke? respect is evidently not commesurate income in your case.

    To John, you’re quite mistaken (re the proportional cost of psychological treatiment ) Use your common sense. Imagine just how crafty those concerned become in increasing their pot of gold.

  86. AB
    13 Sep 12
    2:15 pm

  87. And when Obesity takes over as our number 1 health problem will our ‘leaders’ impose the plain packaging laws on McDonalds and the like?

  88. ads
    13 Sep 12
    2:20 pm

  89. @billyjoebob – IMHO, whilst the tabacco industry has much to answer for, if they are fighting for anything legitimate here, it is the principles of intellectual property and retaining their last rights to advertise a product; a product that the government doesn’t ‘morally’ condone but will happily retain as a revenue stream.

    While tabacco may not be deemed as worthy of having the right to advertise (a discussion I won’t have..), it does beg the question on when it’s acceptable for government to intervene with privately owned corporate assets such as branding, packaging, and other marketing means for which a business utilises to sell it’s product (deadly or not..)?

  90. Matt
    13 Sep 12
    2:39 pm

  91. It’s not about smokers’ rights to have second rate senses & their right to slowly kill themselves.

    It’s not about psychopathic businesses’ rights to proudly display their logos & distinguish one killer from another. Nobody’s right to legally sell/select/buy tobacco is changing.

    No it’s about the next generation’s view of smoking. If we take the glamour & desire from smoking, the youngsters about to be exposed to this poisonous pastime might just skip it and enjoy a better life as a result. There now… isn’t that better? have a ciggy & think about it…

  92. Fred Nerk
    13 Sep 12
    2:52 pm

  93. Yeah. I’m with all you pro-democracy people. This is a free country and we will NOT be told what we are and aren’t allowed to by these Stalinists.

    And to prove it I am going to start driving on whetever side of the road I feel like. I am also going to drive the wrong way on the motorway.

    Now THAT is freedom. Bunch of right-wing nutbags masquerding as upholders of our rights who don’t recognise common-sense law.

  94. Four peas
    13 Sep 12
    2:56 pm

  95. Since this is a marketing website perhaps we should discuss the marketing not the morals.

    1) People are talking about it … seems to be working on that level.

    2) The “it’s what’s inside that counts” line is not original. Intel have used this and variations on this for years. It’s also very odd since it immediatly makes you think it’s what’s inside your lungs that counts which makes me want to smoke less not more.

  96. John78
    13 Sep 12
    3:04 pm

  97. People may feel genuinely concerned about their freedom (to astroturf). However my mind was made up absolutely when I watched a family member die slowly and painfully from lung cancer. How can we not want to prevent this happening to us?

    We accept other restrictions on our liberties for the sake of the greater (and individual) good? Gun laws, road laws, drug laws. Why is tobacco suddenly the line in the sand for everyone?

    I don’t think you necessarily have to solve the issue of whether smoking is any worse or better than any other product. We KNOW it is bad. We KNOW it causes untold pain and suffering.

    This is one of those areas where I just don’t have any sympathy for the other side of the argument.

  98. Yowie
    13 Sep 12
    3:09 pm

  99. Whenever I have a couple of cigarettes left in a box I drop them with matches near my local high school. Suck my butt, Tanya.

  100. Harry
    13 Sep 12
    3:28 pm

  101. Good on the Federal government to screw these drug pushers into the ground. And shame on the Liberal Party for still accepting donations from them. There is no issue of freedom here. Tobacco isn’t being banned, just heavily discouraged as a dangerous, anti-social habit. Just ask all those Stalinists doctors on the North Shore who vote for the Liberal Party what they think!!!

  102. BT
    13 Sep 12
    4:09 pm

  103. Brand strategists are split in their views on tobacco brand Peter Stuyvesant’s controversial limited-edition cigarette packaging.

    The Imperial Tobacco label has launched new packaging, ahead of the Plain Packaging Act, which will see all cigarettes in the same bland packaging from December 1.

    New packaging on Peter Stuyvesant cigarettes shows the plain packaging ripped off to reveal the current packaging, with the tagline “it’s what’s on the inside that counts”.

    Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek yesterday branded the move “a sick joke”.

    Daye Moffitt, brand strategy director at Moon Communications Group, said of the new packaging: “It’s a desperate, and somewhat unintelligent, attempt to create differentiation through an irreverent tone of voice and proposition.

    “The problem is not in the method, but in the message – as it’s likely to only deter new smokers to start smoking in the first place by encouraging them to think about the importance of what’s ‘inside’. My hypothesis is that this reactive and irresponsible tactic will backfire.”

    But Dan Ratner, managing director of Sydney agency Uberbrand, said Imperial Tobacco are correct in their sentiment that it’s what’s inside that counts, despite it being “gross”.

    He told B&T: “It’s interesting. What Imperial Tobacco are saying is that it’s not going to hurt them – they say ‘you can take our packaging away but it’s what’s on the inside that counts’. The sentiment is right, not that anyone should use a comment like that about cigarettes, it’s quite gross. But these guys will always find a way to tell their story.

    “It doesn’t matter what you do – if there is a desire from consumers, they are going to find a way. You can’t stop adults from doing what they want.”

    Imperial Tobacco Australia defended itself against criticism of its limited edition packaging. In a statement, the firm said: “Essentially, this is a mechanism to provide factual information about upcoming legislative changes to adult consumers of the Peter Stuyvesant brand of cigarettes. It is also important to inform our adult consumers that the product itself will remain unchanged.

    “Imperial Tobacco Australia complies with all relevant laws. The Peter Stuyvesant packaging will change again to comply with the federal government’s tobacco plain packaging requirements, effective 1 December 2012.”

  104. Groucho
    13 Sep 12
    4:11 pm

  105. Sorry everyone, i am a pathetic loser and need help.. I do suck my own thumb.

    My mother also changes my own undies and washes my clothes. small willy…

  106. Peggie
    13 Sep 12
    4:32 pm

  107. To all you douchebags that support this legislation…

    1. You work in an industry that was built on tobacco advertising (so don’t bite the hand that feeds)
    2. If the Government was serious about stopping smoking they would ban it.
    3. … oh wait, they won’t because they make billions of dollars taxing it.
    4. Government = Hypocrites, people supporting this = Hypocrites

  108. Standard issue idiot
    13 Sep 12
    4:32 pm

  109. I am not comfortable with taking responsibility for my own decisions so this is my token rant about the cigarette companies being morally bankrupt. Here is a shitty anecdote supporting my position. I like using the term morally bankrupt so I’m going to use it again. Morally bankrupt.

  110. bob
    13 Sep 12
    4:56 pm

  111. at the end of the day we have for many years been bombarded with the messages of problems smoking may have on your life and its potential early demise and suffering, so if you haven’t got the message by now you’re a putts!

    however if this plain packaging should actually stop young people taking up the habit, then this is a good thing, only time will tell.

  112. Groucho
    13 Sep 12
    5:08 pm

  113. Come on mumbrella, you must know from the IP address
    that the sniveling cunt who posted at 4:11 is not the real Groucho. It is either one of those murderers from the tobacco lobby or Alan Jones. Either way make an effort to screen imposters will you! And snivelling cunts too.

  114. Groucho
    13 Sep 12
    5:18 pm

  115. To the imposter Groucho who posted at 4:11 my mother doesn’t change my undies or wash my clothes as she died from smoking some time ago. I hope [edited by Mumbrella]

  116. Paul the freelance writer
    13 Sep 12
    5:28 pm

  117. Political stunts aside (on both sides, if you like) the simple truth is that government-enforced plain packaging contravenes the right of a business to advertise its goods.

    No other country has legislated plain packaging, but no other country has a Gillard government.

  118. Cheap Shot
    13 Sep 12
    6:31 pm

  119. Hey @”Groucho” @4:11.. nice try but I’ve slept* with the Real Groucho and NONE of what you purport is remotely true

    The Real Groucho must have hit a raw nerve

    Shame you don’t have balls

    * at the Opera one night

  120. IP Daley
    13 Sep 12
    6:36 pm

  121. The phrase ‘intellectual property’ is an oxymoron in this context.

    whereas Tobacco Trolls like the Pretend “Groucho” are just morons

  122. Damnit Janet
    13 Sep 12
    6:41 pm

  123. Shit – I’ve slept with Groucho too

    (The Real one that is – not the spineless copycat cum troll-baby)

  124. Ann
    13 Sep 12
    7:07 pm

  125. Pliberseck is famous for telling elderly people that sea water would enter their homes unless the carbon tax was passed…..

  126. Clean Air
    14 Sep 12
    7:06 am

  127. “Imperial” Tobacco. Says it all…

  128. Daniel
    14 Sep 12
    9:22 am

  129. If you smoke too much, it may kill you. If you eat too much junk food, it may kill you. If you drink too much alcohol it may kill you. If you drink and drive, it may kill you. If you eat too many pizzas, it may kill you.

  130. JJ
    14 Sep 12
    9:26 am

  131. verdict is in.

    We win and the lower part of society (you) lose.

    Money talks losers.

  132. Groucho
    14 Sep 12
    10:04 am

  133. To fail to post my 5:08 and 5:18 posts deprives me of the right to correct the attempt at identity fraud which I’m sure your integrity wouldn’t allow. Feel free to edit or omit a word or two if that helps but don’t allow an obvious fraud to undermine the efforts of everybody who posts.

  134. Steve
    16 Sep 12
    4:36 am

  135. Which brand is in the health ministers sights next… McDonalds? KFC? Diageo? No reason they should proudly display their brands on packaging either. Why stop there, CSR could be in the cross hairs too… Diabetes is a major issue in Australia last time I checked. Go get ’em anti-brand campaigners.

  136. nick
    16 Sep 12
    11:15 am

  137. JJ money doesn’t talk. Gold does :) money is just paper backed by nothing :)

  138. Richard Moss
    17 Sep 12
    4:31 pm

  139. A quick glance through any historical time-line or journal will reveal that mankind has been involved in a number of consistent activities. Two of the most important activities have always been, making love and killing each other, and these have been brought nicely together, in another activity known as sport, which is a way to love and murder our fellows, without the responsibilities and real outcomes associated with either.

    Since making money, or some other form of profiting, is also high on mankind’s list of consistent activities, it is not surprising that gaming has also associated itself with sport. The world eventually became bored with the conventional ways of loving , hating, sporting and gaming, and therefore strove to invent new bigger and better ways to do it.

    One of the greatest examples of mankind’s inventive ability to achieve this end, is Politics. In this princely sport, it is possible to love, hate, crucify, give, take away, promise and deny, to confuse yes with no, and above all, to have your cake and eat it too.

    It is hardly surprising then, that smoking cigarettes, an activity which provides human pleasure, which has created industries and jobs, and was once considered such a basic human right, that it was enshrined in the Geneva Conventions, is today vilified and bullied and cast out, like the lepers of old, as unclean and hazardous to health, whilst also being taxed to hilt .

    We all need a common enemy, a whipping boy and an underling to make us feel important; throughout history it has been seen in many shapes and forms, many religions and races, so why not smoking.

    The only reason no politician has stepped forward to make it illegal, is the fact that the horrible spectre of Prohibition still looms in our recent past.

    I am a confirmed non smoker. I consider the government’s actions against cigarette advertising as the epitome of hypocrisy and as politics at it lowest level.

  140. Chico
    17 Sep 12
    5:33 pm

  141. I am a confirmed non-smoker, and I consider you a dill. Any action to curb tobacco is better than sanctimonious inaction.

  142. Richard Moss
    20 Sep 12
    4:01 pm

  143. @ Chico

    Action to curb the abuse of tobacco or alcohol, recreational drugs, fatty foods or indeed anything that could be deemed harmful is a sensible thing and a basic human right. When you qualify action with the word “Any” you open a dangerous door.

    Many advocate legalising drug use, including the “Bulgarian Woodbine” or “Spliff “.
    So be it Chico, but my opinion does not negate yours, and your considering me a dill, is a bloody cheek given that this page supports your opinion as readily as it supports mine.

  144. Encyclic!
    27 Sep 12
    1:28 pm

  145. Govt Social Marketing campaign.

    New government health advisory warning: “It’s what’s on the inside that counts” accompanied by a picture of a diseased lung/heart, cancerous [take your pick of vital organs].

  146. Hmm
    3 Oct 12
    1:35 pm

  147. If people want to smoke, let them…just don’t tax the shite out of them.

    Obesity, diabetes, colon cancer, stress and other very diet / lifestyle based diseases are just as bad.

    Alcohol is legal
    Smoking is legal
    Eating fast food is legal

    Being self righteous is just annoying

    End of story…

  148. Dannyboi
    5 Oct 12
    11:14 pm

  149. Styvo’s get PR
    Pilbersek gets PR


  150. JB
    9 Oct 12
    10:30 pm

  151. I perused many of AdGrunt’s comments when viewing the related article:, as AdGrunt suggested.

    That exercise served to remind me that AdGrunt has pretensions of being quite the intellectual, something he seeks to demonstrate by criticising people’s reasoning and generally responding with condescension and often rudeness. Each of AdGrunt’s many replies to the Cancer Council’s Paul Grogan (who, in contrast, was considered, factual, respectful and logical) being a case in point. AdGrunt even goes so far as to deny the natural meaning of his own words when the fallacies of his own arguments are exposed (e.g. denying that he ascribed a policy of prohibition to the Cancer Council so that he could then attack it – a “straw man” I believe AdGrunt calls that).

    As for AdGrunt’s passionate opposition to a measure which, if he is right, will be so ineffective as to have no ill-effect on Big Tobacco’s revenues, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” comes to mind.

    If one were to profile AdGrunt, one might conclude that he is, at most, a low-level operative in, or on the fringe of, the ad industry who feels under-appreciated in his real identity but for whom Mumbrella provides a forum in which he can indulge his predilection for churlish discourse and intellectual pretensions in his online persona.

    I make these observations simply because the behaviour of AdGrunt and others like him so lowers the tone and the level of online discourse as to imbue a sense of oppression and even foreboding in those who suffer it or empathise with its targets, such as Paul Grogan who responded with civility and restraint in the face of AdGrunt’s boorish, self-serving behaviour, as was ably highlighted by Mr Grogan.

    It also raises the issue of Mumbrella’s approach to moderation and policy of allowing anonymity on its pages. The light touch of the former (which would seem only to expunge the defamatory) gives unlimited rope to allow the likes of AdGrunt and other regular posters to reveal their true colours (e.g. see Groucho’s gratuitous use of the ‘c’ word, above, which might be okay when the sensibilities of the audience are known, e.g. amongst your close mates in private, but can be an affront, or at the least distasteful, to many). Generally they refer to anyone who disagrees with them as “stupid” (as happened in the Monty Hall debate discussed below).

    From memory, the policy on anonymity has something to do with encouraging unvarnished views and free-flowing debate and is, like the moderation policy, laissez-faire.

    In light of the base manner in which many people on these pages put their views, and the unpleasantness to which this gives rise, I am not sure that the trade-off is worth it: How often does Mumbrella actually gain a comment so insightful as to warrant the hundreds of pages of oppression and unpleasantness that otherwise pervade the comments section?

    And why should an online forum be any different to a newspaper that withholds names only upon request?

    Less capable people are even less thoughtful, considered and respectful when acting anonymously. Those with a modicum of decency let alone self-respect find themselves unable to intentionally adopt lower standards no matter the status of their online identity. There will always be exceptions but mostly the more thoughtful will most often leave debate gracefully rather than continue rudely.

    As most people seem to drift towards the lowest common denominator, the quality of the discourse in the comments section of this site is most often exemplified by the debasing comments and reasoning of the likes of AdGrunt.

    Having encountered vitriol on other online forums (and being so widespread, it really is oppressive, not least when moderators delete polite posts), I was interested to see if, as I suspected, the more vitriolic comments and boorish behaviour were more likely to emanate from those who could be shown, objectively, to be “wrong” and so potentially, less thoughtful.

    I did this by putting up a question of pure logic in the form of the Monty Hall Dilemma (MHD) on which, frequented as it was by (devout) petrol heads, attracted low-brow discourse which would readily degenerate to abuse if one posited an opposing view, however politely.

    The upshot was that all of the people that understood the MHD were polite and patient whereas many of those who did not understand the answer to the MHD eventually resorted to abuse – much like happens on this forum and, for example, in the climate change debate where people passionately espouse what they so want to believe to be true.

    This seems to be because those who do not understand an issue are operating at an emotional rather than a logical level.

    As “Dubya” on vwwatercooled I explained the Monty Hall Dilemma to see how people on each side of the ensuing debate would respond:

    The oppression did not arise simply because of the many posters, but because the moderators often took the side of the abusers and eventually closed each thread.

    I ran the experiment, variously as Dubya or Darth, several times in slightly different guises and each time the abuse became stronger from those who did not understand Monty Hall:

    In the first thread, one poster, “Rocket36″ at first noted the civility of the discussion before promptly sending a series of increasingly abusive comments likening to primary school pupils those whom he thought did not understand Monty Hall (even though it was he who was mistaken about Monty Hall).

    The consistency with which those who understood Monty Hall were polite and those who did not were rude and abusive seems to suggest that:

    (a) the unvarnished comments that anonymity encourages are made by the less thoughtful and not really worth the pixels by which they’re displayed; and

    (b) a more fruitful, pleasant, informative, open and enlightening discourse is to be had by requiring people to display their real names, just as Mr Grogan did.

    It would also save a lot of time moderating the vitriol and bile and mean the likes of AdGrunt might not be heard from again unless they adopted a tone and degree of civility to which they would be prepared to put their real names.

    We might also find out if what little weight most people probably give AdGrunt’s comments is unduly low or at the level his comments, by their construction, appear to deserve.

    As for” Peggie” and her “douchebags” comment, firstly, tobacco no longer feeds the ad industry in this country and Don Draper, whom I thought might be a hero of sorts of hers, already bit that hand a long, long time ago.

  152. AdGrunt
    10 Oct 12
    12:44 pm

  153. And your point is, JB?