Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said it was time to try a new approach.There some were holding very high hopes for Mr Lansley ... and then he goes and shows himself up as a monumental dickhead.
"The evidence is clear that packaging helps to recruit smokers, so it makes sense to consider having less attractive packaging. It's wrong that children are being attracted to smoke by glitzy designs on packets.
"We would prefer it if people did not smoke and adults will still be able to buy cigarettes, but children should be protected from the start.
"The levels of poor health and deaths from smoking are still far too high, and the cost to the NHS and the economy is vast. That money could be used to educate our children and treat cancer," Mr Lansley said.
"We will shortly set out a radical new approach to public health in a White Paper."
Of course, I couldn't wait to rub it in.
I made a call to the Tory afficionado who is continually telling me how the new government are "making the right noises" on removing unnecessary state interference. Having revealed the 'good' news, I was initially worried when he failed to answer for about 5 to 10 seconds. He did though, eventually, to ask where I read such rubbish. "Err, on the front page of the BBC website, mate", replied I, with a suppressed snigger which desperately struggled to sneak out.
A few e-mail exchanges and a couple more phone calls later, and the comedy was rolling along nicely. All the Tories who had assured me that their party were going to put things right; that they weren't the same as the last lot as I'd stubbornly claimed; that all this nonsense was now over, never to darken our doors again unless Labour managed to get back into power; all of them squarely kicked in their ideological nuts by this quite absurd nonsense from Lansley.
Lastly, kids in tow, I just had to actually visit the most true blue of them all. The one who I always envisage close to placing a picture of Cameron on his wall, complete with halo.
He gave me a very nicely-chilled bottle of Nastro Azzuri once we sat down, so I asked him for some brown paper to wrap it in.
"Why?", he asked, laughing.
"For the children, of course. They'll be gagging to start drinking if the pretty colours aren't hidden", I replied, desperately trying to hold my straight face.
"Hahahahahaha, don't be so ridiculous! Where did you get that stupid idea from?", he roared, whilst his belly rippled with hilarity at the sheer stupidity of such a notion.
"Where? From your party's Health Secretary, of course", before showing him the BBC article on his PC.
The sight of him reading it through his fingers was priceless, and an image which will live with me for a long time. Betrayal can be a bitch, but is extremely useful for illustrating how very treacherous this coalition is.
So Lansley has not only informed us today that a tobacco display ban will go ahead as planned (despite the Tories and the Lib Dumbs being against the idea in opposition), but also decided that government is now able to steal any company's logo and brand awareness whenever they so choose.
And this, from a Tory!
Now, I've mentioned before that most MPs are so dense that they could bend light, but this is quite the most intensely stupid idea I've ever heard.
There is precisely nil evidence that any kid will be tempted to start smoking because of packaging, but centuries of proof that making anything taboo is a huge incentive to the young.
There is precisely nil evidence that any kid will be tempted to start smoking because of packaging, but only a simpleton would deny that more bland packaging is a gift to cigarette counterfeiters.
There is precisely nil evidence that any kid will be tempted to start smoking because of packaging, but plenty of scope for big businesses to be very worried about their long-established brand marketing.
By Lansley's reasoning, we could soon see McDonald's being forced by a Tory-led government (in fact, any government by precedent) to ditch their bright red/yellow imagery and hide the golden arches from kids to counter obesity; Coca-cola will be forced to package in brown and lose the wavy line trademark in favour of a bland arial font; Burger King won't be allowed the jolly king; 7up's green bottles will have to go, as will KFC's Colonel.
Think that's a bit of a reach? Not really, since health nutters are already talking about it.
This is without mentioning anything from Carlsberg's nightclubs to Famous Grouse's, err, grouse. Because they're already in the righteous cross hair, of course.
Lansley has now opened the gate on billions of pounds being wiped off the balance sheets of British companies, and others who provide jobs here, at the stroke of a legislative pen.
One can only hope he was suffering the mother of all weekend hangovers when he uttered that astoundingly naïve and ill-informed garbage, as it's far preferable to the potential reality of someone so dull-witted wielding a position of such national influence.
Still, if he truly intended to scare away future corporate party donors, while simultaneously setting in train a precedent with the capacity to unilaterally disable the nation's economy, the boy done good.
If this is an example of what will be in the coalition's upcoming white paper, I can see we're going to have some fun here in the spring.
UPDATE: The Appalling Strangeness today posted a good piece about this subject - Nudge Off!