For a fake charity so used to declaring that 'the debate is over' - even when it's not by any means - feeling compelled to answer a full house of well-constructed arguments, while having very little in their hand except a pair of twos, must be quite daunting. Which is probably why the response is laugh-out-loud inept.
After Snowdon describes, in five heavily-referenced pages, the fact that there is no plausible evidence to justify plain packaging, ASH responds.
Firstly, there is now a large body of evidence to show that plain packaging will be effective.La, la, la, not listening, la, la, la.
And on the idea that counterfeiters will no doubt be very pleased to only have to fake one packet design rather than dozens, they fire back thus.
Secondly, there is no evidence that plain packaging will lead to an increase in tobacco smuggling.Probably because it hasn't been tried before ... which is precisely the reason there isn't any evidence that it will work as intended. Oddly enough, one lack of evidence is enough to require urgent action according to ASH, the other is to be ignored. Hypocrisy doesn't get much more stark than that.
In fact - perhaps because presumably, as these things tend to work, she would have heard about the report over the weekend and been startled into hurriedly spewing something out - Amanda Sandford submits a performance not unlike that of the Black Knight in The Holy Grail. Having been savaged by Snowdon's critique, all Sandford can do is cry 'tis just a flesh wound' before bleeding, pathetically, a load of already debunked nonsense by return, and shouting "come back here, I'll bite your legs off" as Snowdon strolls off unperturbed into the distance.
But surely the the most hilarious part of her response was kept till last. A denouement so jaw-droppingly laughable that it wouldn't look out of place at The Comedy Store.
Thirdly, the “domino theory” i.e. that once a measure has been applied to tobacco it will be applied to other products is patently false. The same argument was used against the ban on tobacco advertising, but 9 years after the tobacco ban in the UK, alcohol advertising is still permitted with no sign of it being prohibited."No sign of it being prohibited"? Has she just returned from Panama after faking her own death in a canoe, or something? Thereby missing articles in obscure organs such as, err, the BBC?
There should be a ban on all alcohol advertising, including sports and music sponsorship, doctors say. The British Medical Association said the crackdown on marketing was needed, along with an end to cut-price deals, to stop rising rates of consumption.Or, as discussed in low-profile venues such as the House of Commons by powerless non-entities like Howard Stoate MP?
The only sure way to tackle the problem is removing the alcohol industry's ability to target young people in that way. Banning alcohol advertising and sponsorship from events that are attended by children and young people, or watched by them on TV, is one way to enable young people to develop a healthier relationship with alcohol.At the same debate, here's another small-time bit player, Stephen Hesford MP.
[...] the death rate from tobacco-related illness was 120,000 a year when the Government decided to take action to ban the advertising of tobacco products. The death rate from alcohol-related diseases is now about 40,000. Would the tipping point be 80,000 or 100,000? Is it only at that point that the Government would want to act? I would like to ask the House and the Minister to reflect, as we might prefer action sooner than that [...]Did he just compare alcohol with tobacco there and suggest that - to use Sandford's terminology - "a measure [that] has been applied to tobacco" should "be applied to other products"? Yes, I think he did.
As did Sarah Wollaston MP in her ten minute rule bill of March last year proposing various bans and restrictions on alcohol advertising.
The industry will claim that these measures will kill off sport and culture, and that advertising is designed only to persuade people to switch brands. The same claim was made before the tobacco advertising ban.But if Sandford really did miss all the above, there's always the chance of watching Panorama tonight where Gerard Hastings will talk about alcohol advertising and what he thinks should be done about it, as if we don't know.
Moreover, it's not just alcohol we're talking here. The bloated ranks of tax-funded public health advocates are falling over themselves to gain publicity (and thereby justify their salaries) by declaring their particular area to be 'the new tobacco'.
Obesity expert wants fatty foods tax in WalesAnd one from earlier this month.
[Dr Haboubi said] "Why don't we put tax on unhealthy food? Like the way we do on cigarettes and alcohol."
Sugar 'is toxic and must be regulated just like cigarettes', claim scientistsIf that's not evidence of a 'domino effect', perhaps Amanda got confused between dominoes and pontefract cakes.
She's not on very solid ground with this claim, either.
Tobacco is a uniquely dangerous consumer product which is why there is a WHO health treaty (the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control) to regulate tobacco use.Yes Amanda, but we do already have a 'Framework for alcohol policy in the WHO region' which is much the same thing (plus, incidentally, also contains talk of banning advertising), and there are indeed moves afoot to install a full Framework Convention for alcohol. Can you guess where they got the idea from, Amanda?
Spurred by the creation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, there have been increasing calls for the adoption of a similar agreement for alcohol, usually termed a “Framework Convention on Alcohol Control” (FCAC).That's a hell of a lot of dominoes, I'd say.
ASH's problem, I fear, is that they're already fully set up with their paltry evidence, and being comprehensively shot down so near to the launch of the consultation leaves them no time to fabricate anything new. As such, we're going to hear much more of this discredited guff in coming weeks unless they can think up even dafter barrel-scraping logic.
Should be fun.
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