Health Troughers blinded by plain packaging

It’s the beginning of the year and the troughers are back at it, moaning about wanting more action on Maori smoking.

It seems my good friend and exposed serial trougher Shane Kawenata Bradbrook is back out of his box, complaining about the Government not doing enough.

Shane Kawenata Bradbrook is well known to this blog, after being exposed for spending up large on the taxpayer with little observable results. After a Ministry of Health investigation into his Te Reo Marama rort, his overseas jaunts came to a spectacular end when their $250,000 annual funding was axed.

Now it seems he?s back, this time under a new guise of Te Ao Hurihuri. Let?s see how that works out for him.

One thing Shane Kawenata Bradbrook won?t be keen on Maori hearing or reading is a blog post titled ?The Relentless Failure of Plain Packaging?. ? Read more »

Plain packaging an abject failure in Australia, consumption and illicit tobacco increases

Anti-tobacco advocates here are still pushing for Sam Lotu Iiga to implement a plain packaging regime like Australia. This is despite the fact that there is still an ongoing WTO court case and worse that there is no evidence to suggest it is working.

In fact the evidence, produced by KPMG, suggests the opposite, that plain packaging is contributing to an increase in consumption and illicit trade.

THE BILLION dollar illicit tobacco black market has hit a record high as Australian smokers baulk at the price of legal cigarettes.

Criminals are exploiting the high price of legal smokes to make massive profits by smuggling in cheap tobacco from overseas.

Last year 14.5 per cent of all tobacco consumed was illegal, according to a new report.

The Illicit Tobacco in Australia 2014 report states nearly 2.6 million kilograms of illegal tobacco was consumed last year alone with the tobacco black market rocketing by 30 per cent since 2013.

The report by KPMG, commissioned by the world?s biggest tobacco companies, concludes the black market costs the Federal Government $1.35 billion in lost taxes.

The black market boomed during a period when the government increased tobacco excise by 25 per cent.

Legal cigarettes in Australia are among the most expensive in the Asia Pacific region, costing about seven times more than in countries such as China or South Korea.

John Gledhill, managing director of tobacco giant Philip Morris Limited, said: ?The government?s excessive tobacco regulations are providing incentives for the black market.

?As cigarette smuggling continues to grow in Australia the government must enforce the law and prosecute people caught selling illicit tobacco.?

Read more »

Trougher, desperate for attention, trying to re-write past again


Here we go again.

Poor old trougher Shane Kawenata Bradbrook ? the trougher exposed on Whaleoil for living it up large around the world on the taxpayer, is crying to Maori media after another troughing group gets a slap from the Taxpayers Union.

This time it is taxpayer funded anti-tobacco group ASH getting a serve from the Taxpayers Union who say:

The Taxpayers? Union believes that questions need to asked about why a lobby group, working with the Maori Party on a political campaign around tobacco plain packaging, is largely taxpayer funded. ?This morning?s front page of the New Zealand Herald covers the latest efforts to build political pressure to introduce a plain packaging law.

Taxpayers? Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says, ?While civil servants operate under a duty of political neutrality, the Ministry of Health and others are awarding substantial sums of taxpayer money to health and environmental lobby groups to push particular political agendas.”

?It is wrong for special interest groups such as ASH to be using taxpayer money for political campaigns. ASH’s?factual inaccuracies about the impact of plain packaging on smoking consumption in Australia suggests that they are operating outside any of the usual public sector control requiring balanced and evidenced based public statements.?

According to ASH?s most recent annual return filed with the Charities Register, more than 90% of ASH?s funding comes from the taxpayer.

Mr Williams says, ?We all support funding for front line and addiction services such as Quitline. What we don?t support is funding to political organisations to operate campaigns with taxpayer money.”

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Nanny statism infects Miliband’s Labour

Just like Labour in this country the Labour party in the UK under the leadership Ed Miliband, is focussing on important things that matter to voters.

Like high levels of fat, sugar and salt in food, plus price fixing power when the market is delivering lower prices anyway, and plain packs for cigarettes.

Nigel Farage gives them a good hard spanking.

So utterly devoid of real policy solutions, and so helplessly out of touch with what the British public are concerned about, the Labour Party are now turning their hands to banning what they call ?high levels of fat, sugar, and salt? in food. Apparently, they launched the policy at an event where they served sugary fruit juice, chocolate brioche, and buttery croissants. You couldn?t make it up.

But beyond Labour?s rank hypocrisy and lack of focus on the key issues of the day, we have to acknowledge that before one vote has been cast in the General Election, Mr Miliband is already planning on a major resurgence of the nanny-state ideals that we saw flourish under Mr Blair and Mr Brown.

?Children will need better protection from the pressures of modern living,? the Labour Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, has said. I agree, we shouldn?t shovel sweets and fizzy drinks into the mouths of kids ? but here I was thinking this was a matter for parents, rather than one for government.

Correct me if I?m wrong, and I?m sure I?ll be lectured on this by some interventionist ?do-gooder? ? but it?s not really for government to decide what is available to adults on supermarket shelves. ? Read more »

Aussie senator thanks smokers for their continued generosity

I’ve long said that smokers should be the ones with a Gold Card not bludging pensioners.

Liberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm has quoted South Park while thanking the “truly staggering” generosity of smokers who, according to his figures, pay 17 times more in tax than they cost in health and bushfire fighting.

Read more »

Some are starting to wake up to the threat of plain packaging

I have been telling anyone who would listen, both on this site and in speeches that other businesses will be the next target for plain packing after the health nazis have finished destroying tobacco.

Some just shake their heads and say that it will never happen to their industry, others acknowledge it but think that their blond media trained bimbos sitting outside the CEOs office will be able to bat off the massed forces of state funded troughers presenting their “evidence” to bewildered and easily confused politicians.

They are wrong, and the pain isn’t far off, particularly for the food and beverage industry.

Some are waking up though.

Lawyers for confectioner Mars have warned that plain packaging for tobacco could have a major impact on other products to the?detriment of consumers, according betterRetailing.

Should the government proceed with plans to introduce plain packaging, it could lead to brand names being put into plain type, as well as certain colours and shapes being removed from product packaging.

Mars argued that these types of branding helped consumers to identify quality products, which had a lesser risk of being counterfeited. Mars would certainly be vulnerable to such regulations, with ownership of Dolmio and Uncle Ben’s, as well as its chocolate and petcare products. ?? Read more »

Plain packaging evidence shows sales increased in Australia despite opposite claims from troughers

The health busybodies will tell you that we need to implement plain packaging of cigarettes in order to reduce smoking.

They have no evidence to support this, other than their manufactured surveys.

Real world evidence however suggest the opposite occurs.

I am not a smoker nor do I hold any particular candle to the tobacco industry, but I am opposed to plain packaging on the basis that success here will embolden the busybodies to try similar tactics on other products and ingredients, like alcohol and sugar.

The evidence however is against plain packaging no matter how hard the health troughers say otherwise.

Tobacco companies have denied that plain-packaging laws contributed to a plunge in smoking.

Cigarette sales “actually increased” in the first year after plain packaging was introduced, a spokesman for Philip Morris said.

The National Drug Strategy Household Survey?recorded a decline in the smoking rate?that coincided with the introduction of plain packaging laws. Its report was released this week.

The smoking rate dropped from 15.1 per cent in 2010 to 12.8 per cent in 2013. Plain-packaging laws came into effect in December 2012.

Tobacco researchers say the figures are significant evidence that plain packaging works, and represent one of the great achievements in public health campaigning.

But Philip Morris Limited director of corporate affairs Chris Argent said any suggestion that plain packaging was responsible for the decline in smoking was “simply untrue”. ?? Read more »

Opposition to idiocy of plain packs laws is mounting

The evidence is building that Australia’s plain packaging law for tobacco is failing is now prompting other countries to learn from the Australian debacle and ditch plans for plain packaging.

New Zealand should be looking at ditching our ill conceived proposed law as well.

Ireland’s government recently took steps toward becoming the first EU country to require plain packaging for tobacco products, and the UK would like to follow its lead.?In light of recent reports coming out of Australia, the only country to enact the measure, showing the law is not achieving its intended effects, it is paramount these governments reconsider.

Free market and taxpayer groups are concerned about the consequences of such extreme laws, not just in terms of health and safety of consumers, but their impact on national treasuries. As reported in the Sun newspaper the UK Government faces a potential compensation bill of between ?9-11 billion if it proceeds with the removal of internationally protected trademarks and intellectual property.

Already Indonesia is threatening to introduce plain packaging for beers, wines and spirits. And if other countries followed their lead this could have a significant effect on the Britain?s ?38 billion alcohol industry which directly employs around 650,000 people.

But the Ireland and the UK still have a chance to stop this bad policy.

The stated purpose of plain packaging is that once you take away tobacco companies? branding, people will be less inclined to buy their products.? The results thus far appear to be the opposite.? More than a year after Australia enacted the policy, studies by?London Economics?and renowned professors at the?Universities of Zurich and Saarland?(Switzerland and Germany) concluded it?s not deterring adults nor adolescents from smoking.

In fact, according to the tobacco industry?s sales volume data,?cigarette sales increased?by 59 million sticks in Australia during the first year of plain packaging, offsetting a four year downward trend. The Australasian Association of Convenience Stores even reports that its members? sales grew by 5.4 percent.

Why are more cigarettes being sold when the goal of plain packaging was to reduce smoking? As any elementary course in marketing will teach you, a product becomes commoditized when it is stripped of its branding. The industry is forced to compete on price and consumers buy cheaper cigarettes, less expensive loose tobacco or even turn to the black market.

This is exactly what?The Australian, a leading newspaper Down Under, recently reported is happening: nearly half of the country?s cigarettes are now purchased from the lowest price segments, up from just a third before plain packaging was introduced.

As the leading taxpayer rights group in the United States, the number that is even more offensive is the AUD $1.1 billion that KPMG reports Australia?s Treasury lost last year due to the growth of the black market for tobacco products.

While these tax dollars should have been in the government?s coffers, they were not because a record number of Australians purchased one of the cheapest type of cigarettes: those manufactured in branded packs and smuggled into the country.? The market for these ?illicit whites,? as they?re called, saw a shocking 151 percent rise during the year.

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They are coming for your booze now with plain packaging

Christopher Snowden tweets:

This is the news that Indonesia is moving to implement plain packaging for alcohol, using the same arguments to support their laws as those used against tobacco products.

This weekend it was reported that Indonesia is stepping up plans to introduce plain packaging for alcoholic products. Should the country press ahead with its plans, the prediction by IP associations that plain packaging will creep into other industry segments may be realised sooner than expected.

The?Jakarta Post?and?Food Navigator Asia?both report that the Indonesian government is considering regulation that would require beverages with an alcohol content in excess of 20% to either carry graphic health warnings or to use plain packaging. ? Read more »

New evidence from Australia shows no measurable effect of plain packaging


Evidence is building that the plain packaging experiment in Australia is a failure and anyone pushing plain packaging as a solution for halting the prevalence of smoking is actually playing a shell game and promoting a sham.

Ashok Kaul and Michael Wolf of the?University of Zurich Department of Economics have conducted an independent study of the effects of plain packaging.

We carried out a trend analysis to study the (possible) effect of plain packaging on smoking prevalence in Australia. More specifically, we fitted a linear time trend that explains well the fact that observed prevalence has declined steadily from mid 2004 on at an annual rate of about 0.54 percentage points.

It is of particular interest to see how observed prevalence behaves relative to the fitted trend line from December 2012 on (that is, from the point when plain packaging was implemented).

It was seen that observed prevalence lies sometimes above and sometimes below the fitted trend line. ? Read more »