New Study Finally Cuts The Crap About Plain Packaging

by Dick Puddlecote

New Study Finally Cuts The Crap About Plain Packaging In their ever-more frantic clamour to come up with convincing ‘evidence’ with which to con other countries into adopting plain packaging like Australia stupidly has, the tobacco control industry has just released a new study.

Like others before, it divorces itself entirely from the arguments used globally to promote plain packaging as a policy in the first place. As Cancer Council Victoria proudly explains:

Smokers are less willing to display their packs in public and smoke in outdoor areas since plain packaging was introduced, new research has found.

The Cancer Council Victoria research, published in Addiction journal today, aimed to evaluate whether cigarette pack display (packs visible on tables) and smoking at outdoor venues changed following the introduction of plain packaging and larger graphic health warnings in December 2012.

Quit Victoria Executive Director Fiona Sharkie said plain packaging and the larger graphic health warnings meant smokers did not want to advertise their habit.

You see, yer average Joe thought that it was about the children, probably because that’s all they were told publicly by tobacco control HQ. When calling for a ban on coloured packs, it is always couched as being for the children. Always the children. It’s all you will see in any tweet, press release, call to authority or expensive taxpayer-funded advertising campaign prior to achieving their legislation.

When campaigning, though, they barely whisper that the real plan was always to prevent smokers enjoying their freedom of choice, as I described almost two years ago.

Now, I’ve seen many a ‘meh’ reaction to this initiative, some from those who should know better. They think this is just an attack on the tobacco industry and doesn’t affect smokers at all.

Sadly, they couldn’t be more wrong. ASH explains why here.

Smokers display the branding every time they take out their pack to smoke. In doing so they are making a statement about how they want to be seen by others as they display and endorse the brand they have chosen.

Y’see, ASH don’t want smokers to be able to make any statement, they only want them to be denormalised. That’s why plain packs must be bullied through at any cost.

Can’t have smokers believing they have a sense of identity or worth, now can we?

In fact, one of the reasons Aussie MPs fell in love with plain packaging enough to pass the law down there, was precisely the attractive nature – one might even call it ‘glitzy’ – of how it impinged on smokers’ self-expression.

The study showed how cigarette brands and cigarette package designs gave meaning to personal characteristics, to social identity and to positions in hierarchies of status. (page 6)

Pack design doesn’t just communicate the ‘personality’ of a cigarette brand to the smoker… it also allows smokers to project these characteristics to others when they handle and display the package throughout their daily routines. Just as designer clothing, accessories and cars serve as social cues to style, status, values and character, so too can cigarette packs signify a range of attributes about users. As ‘badge products’, cigarettes can reinforce the characteristics conjured by brand image.(page 7)

Identity? Style? Status? Values? Character? These aren’t attributes any self-respecting anti-smoker wants tobacco consumers to be able to enjoy. They must be stamped out at any cost.

Any fool knows that smokers must only be seen as malodourous, litterers, selfish and thoughtless, unattractive and undesirable, undereducated and a social underclass, addicts, excessive users of public health services, and employer liabilities. And how do fools know this? Because the prime architect of plain packing laws in Australia, Simon Chapman, told them all of the above in 2002.

Make no mistake. This is just the latest attack on all smokers. Further heavy-handed denormalisation tactics aimed not at industry, but at individuals who choose to smoke.

The children, you say? Nah, they’ve served their purpose, that’s yesterday’s news. So it’s nice to see that this latest study has decided to cut the crap and admit what the whole plain packs charade has always been about. It’s just a shame for tobacco control that the study itself is full of more crap, as I highly recommend you discover by reading Snowdon’s take on it this morning.

The goal of plain packaging has only ever been about bullying smokers and those who provide products that smokers willingly buy. It has never been about children, which is why no study yet is remotely interested in monitoring underage take-up of smoking more than a year after plain packaging’s introduction in Australia.

Of course, admitting that to politicians while campaigning wouldn’t impress them much. Hence why tobacco control is still lying the big one here and in Ireland.

It’s not about the children, never has been. But then, when has the anti-smoking crusade ever been about anything it claims in public, eh?KkQ1MC0Nr2E

2 responses to “New Study Finally Cuts The Crap About Plain Packaging

  1. Edward Spalton

    Wouldn’t this be the right time to re-introduce the elegant cigarette case as an aid to smokers’ morale? They can be bought very cheaply in secondhand and antique shops, car boot sales etc.