Plain cigarette packaging

Duplicity and hypocrisy, nothing changes in Labour

Labour is moaning about the TPPA again today, except this time Annette King goes full retard and shows that Labour are hypocrites and duplicitous to boot.

Labour deputy leader Annette King said the fact the Government has put the brakes on legislation around plain packaging for cigarettes, while it waits to see whether Australia is successfully sued by a tobacco company, has put doubt in people’s minds.

“It must also be in the Government’s mind at this point because why wouldn’t we pass (the legislation) if we can’t be sued.”

“The suspicion comes from the fact we haven’t passed that legislation.”

It is sensible to put the brakes on legislation that is as flawed as it is dopey. There is zero evidence to support plain packaging as a smoking cessation device…and plenty to suggest otherwise. Plain packaging after all is used by supermarkets to increase sales…by providing cheaper products. ?? Read more »

Told ya, now they are coming for your food

I have always said that health campaigners will move on from tobacco and start coming after whatever they want to control next.

Be it fast food, or sugar or fat they want to apply the same tactics of control to those products like they have for tobacco.

Less than two years ago I gave a speech to the Food and Grocery Council and told them that if they didn’t back the fight against plain packing in tobacco then they were going to be next.

Many of them scoffed at me…I’ll bet they wish they’d listened now.

Aaron Shultz, an Australian health campaigner, is calling for plain packaging featuring health warnings for junk food. He has posted a picture on Facebook of what he believes the packaging could look like – dropping the branding in favour of a picture reminding people of the price they could pay for a junk food habit.

Shultz is a health campaigner, who runs an organisation called Game Changer. It has a broader aim: to halt the promotion of alcohol, junk food and gambling through sport. He argues that by associating sport with these unhealthy brands, it normalises junk food, and contributes to the growing obesity problem in Australia. ?? Read more »

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 »

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 »

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.

Read more »

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 »

Looks like the Aussie are going to repeal the plain packaging law

Oh dear, it looks like the Libs are going to have a crack at repealing the plain packaging laws that has landed Australian in a WTO court case.

On top of that they are also going to roll back other nanny state laws.

COALITION backbenchers want to repeal the tobacco plain packaging laws, warning that the policy reflects Labor?s ?addiction to nanny state policies? such as the alcopops tax and FuelWatch.

As public-health advocates yesterday debated industry figures showing a 0.3 per cent rise in tobacco sales under plain packaging, revealed in?The Australian, Liberal MP Alex Hawke likened the initia?tive to other ?nanny state? policies that Labor pursued, ?even when it appeared they wouldn?t work?.

?I think our policy should be evidence-based and where governments get the best bang for their buck; that is on individual responsibility, rather than big government,? Mr Hawke said. He said the tobacco policy had failed and it should ?absolutely? be revisited.

Queensland Nationals MP George? Christensen said this week that plain packaging signalled an ?inch-by-inch encroachment into our personal lives?. Read more »

The Australian Editorial on Plain Packaging

The Australian editorial is harsh over plain packaging and outlines similar tactics taken by our own politicians in attacking tobacco, alcohol and sugar.

LIKE most Australians on the cusp of 50, we?d like to see young smokers, in particular, do their health and their wallets a favour and kick the habit. Better still, savvy teenagers would be smart not to take it up. Cigarettes are a $20 a packet ticket to serious illness. And those who puff away their working days off site undermine their careers.

But influencing public behaviour, especially that of young people, is complex. Ask any parent or teacher how far they get with hectoring. That point clearly escaped former health minister Nicola Roxon, who introduced plain (a euphemism for hideous) cigarette packaging in late 2012.

However disappointing, it is no surprise 59 million additional cigarettes were sold in Australia last year, the first full year of ugly packaging, according to industry figures. While sales of expensive brands fell, presumably because they have lost their cachet, sales of cheap brands soared. Perhaps nannies are hazy about markets. ? Read more »

Plain Packaging works…at increasing sales


Australia is held up as the model for plain packaging for tobacco products.

Despite advice at the time that such measure wouldn’t work they plowed on ahead and are now facing legal action as a result.

Plain packaging has been touted as a tool to reduce consumption of tobacco products, it is also a tool that has been picked up by other lobby groups to attack alcohol and sugar products.

How are they going in reducing consumption in Australia via plain packaging?

Not so well it turns out…in fact since plain packaging has come in sales of tobacco products have increased…for the first time in years.

The Australian reports:

LABOR?S nanny state push to kill off the country?s addiction to cigarettes with plain packaging has backfired, with new sales figures showing tobacco consumption growing during the first full year of the new laws.

Eighteen months after the previous government?s laws came into force, new data, obtained by?The Australian, shows that tobacco sales volumes increased by 59?million ?sticks?, or individual cigarettes or their roll-your-own equivalents last year.

The 0.3 per cent increase, though modest, goes against a 15.6?per slide in tobacco sales over the previous four years ? and undermines claims by then health minister Nicola Roxon that Australia would introduce the ?world?s toughest anti-smoking laws?. ? Read more »