Thursday 26 April 2012

Kids Barely Notice Tobacco Packs Says New Study ... By Cancer Research UK!

Cancer Research UK have today thrown their highly-paid hat into the plain packaging ring with a report which has seemingly only been picked up by the Mirror and the Independent. From the latter we learn.
Eight focus groups of 15-years-olds assembled by the charity showed clear differences between boys and girls when asked to pick their favourite pack. Girls chose Silk Cut and Vogue Superslims which they related to perfume, make-up and chocolate. Boys preferred Marlbro Bright Leaf, Lambert and Butler and B&H slide packs which suggested maturity, popularity and confidence.
From this, The Indy has concluded - probably encouraged by alarmist wording in the press release they would have been sent - that ...
Tobacco companies are designing cigarette packs to resemble bottles of perfume or with lids that flip open like a lighter to lure young people into smoking.

Research published yesterday reveals the lengths to which the industry has gone to make its packs attractive to new generations of smokers as opportunities for promoting its products have been progressively reduced.
In which case, they must have done an apallingly inept job as Cancer Research UK's study shows quite convincingly.

On page 30, a description began of how the 15 year olds in the focus groups viewed tobacco packaging. Or didn't, to be more accurate.

Generally, there was little awareness of different styles of tobacco packaging apart from the key brand, which for the participants in this study, was Mayfair. Most participants could describe Mayfair’s blue pack design and this was viewed as a standard tobacco pack. It was seen as a popular, every-day pack, commonly smoked by family members and peers. It was also a pack to be seen with for ‘fitting-in’ purposes. Participants did not view this pack as particularly attractive or as a good design, but it was sometimes described as cool and good quality because of its popularity.
Quite different from the hyperbole being pumped out to newspapers by CRUK, isn't it? The narrative continued.
Aside from Mayfair, there was little prior awareness of the packs used in the focus groups. A small number of participants had seen the innovative B&H slide and Marlboro Bright Leaf packs before. On occasion, some participants could recall seeing the Lambert & Butler, Pall Mall and Silk Cut packs and the Golden Virginia pouch. However, it appeared that participants were seeing most of the packs used in the focus groups for the first time. This was despite a general perception that tobacco packs were everywhere and seen countless times a day in shops, vending machines, public smoking areas and on the ground.
So much for the theory that 'glitzy' and innovative cigarette packs are fairly jumping off the shelves and into kids' faces. Most young people seem completely unaware of their existence.

Again and again, the same view is expressed about the meaningless nature of tobacco packs to kids.
To some extent the pack appeared peripheral compared with the cigarette in youth smoking, particularly at the initiation/experimentation stage. The general perception was that young people would either ‘jump in’, i.e. pool their money among a group of friends to buy a pack, or buy single cigarettes from someone in school known to have a pack. [...] Some said they never really saw the pack being used it was just the cigarette that was passed around.
It was the same with packs containing fewer cigarettes, which the righteous continually point to as designed for the youth market. If so, they're not designed very well.
The two 14 packs sparked much curiosity and discussion among participants. There was little prior awareness of this pack size. That the packs contained 14 cigarettes was neither viewed positively or negatively suggesting that different size offerings have little meaning for young people.
And when the researchers unveiled the point of the exercise, the holy grail plain brown pack (which they branded as Kerrods).
Placing the ‘Kerrods’ plain pack alongside branded packs for the tobacco packaging activities gave insights into plain pack perceptions and the messages a plain pack communicates relative to branded packs. The groups gave no indication they suspected the plain pack was anything but a genuine pack, although this may be explained by the low brand and pack awareness of all but the most popular brands.
Yes. So very unaware were the groups of any tobacco packaging at all, they even believed a normal pack spray-painted brown was a genuine brand.

Which is kinda what sane people have been saying all along, that kids are not hypnotised, or coerced, into starting to smoke by tobacco packaging in any way shape or form. This new research simply proves that conclusively. Thank you, CRUK.

Now can we just stop this pointless charade, Lansley? It's just wasting everyone's time and making your department look like a bunch of cretinous clowns.


DaveAtherton20 said...

Hi Dick, I hope you don't mind be copying and pasting your article but his nibs Professor Chapman subscribes to my blog.

Ex Blue said...

It is patently obvious to me ,a Conservative and my Tory friends,
Lansley IS NOT a Conservative ,more a carpetbagger,when his fall comes ,we know where his nest is feathered.
Morally,polically,spiritually and intellectually ,a first class fake which says a lot for the leafy lane remote idiots who dwelll in his blinkered
Cambridgeshire Constituency  

Mudplugger said...

On the basis that dogs often resemble their masters, should we be surprised if the Health Department looks "like a bunch of cretinous clowns" ?

Smoking Scot said...

This is begining to resemble that sordid case of child abuse in Orkney. One raving loon felt she had a bullet proof system to prove they'd been meddled with. It was utter rubbish.

They've done this with the X'mas (I want Mummy to quit), plus countless photo's. Fact is all the kids really want is for their parents to be left the hell alone.

Mark S. said...

Dear me, that report in the indy was bad really bad. I guess that is what happens went you have no evidence. oh and having seen the video, may I
suggest CRUK hire a new scriptwriter.

ChrisBro said...

Ex Blue, 
if you needed any more persuasion you'd only have to go back 7 days to DP's article  
Hypocrisy Doesn't Get Any More Blatant Than This  

Tom said...

A year ago they were saying that the colour red painted on Ferrari's was going to cause children to salivate and begin smoking if I remember correctly. They might even have done a "study" to "prove" that one too.

Mag01 said...

Here's another one:

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Yes, saw that but they don't really count ;)

Dick_Puddlecote said...

If they hadn't pulled the camera back dramatically, they could have been talking about sex aids 

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Subtle, but very true ;)

Mike said...

When plain white packaging is introduced (despite being covered from view) then the next logical step will be a standardised packet.
How will they decide whether the American soft pack is better than the European flip-top? Will slide-tops or flip-up corners be outlawed?
Big Tobacco will fight back with a 'transformers' pack which 10 year olds can origami into an AK47, but to no avail.
Obviously the "This pack will explode in your face and kill millions of children" pack will be 'unacceptable', and when it is finally outlawed the MSM will declare it as 'too little, too late':
"1,000,000 children every day DIE trying to use cigarette packets in drive-by shootings!"

P JH said...

 Just dredging through the report myself DP - did you miss this, rather interesting, bit in section 4.2.2 bottom of page '27'

"It was not possible to split the [6] groups [of 8 15 yr olds] evenly by smoking status, as was intended, due to difficulty in recruiting smokers at this age group."

If packaging is really aimed at encouraging teen smokers, surely they should have been able to find enough of them to participate ;)

Unless of course it doesn't actually encourage them...

P JH said...

And another nugget. Either Ford is lying (hah!) or her 'experiment' is not as robust as she'd like to think it to be....

On how it was set up, the second (pack) and third (packs) groups of products:
" Plain pack
[...] The plain pack featured 
a text health warning on the front, a pictorial warning and UK duty paid label on the back, 
and ingredients and emissions information on the side - in line with current UK regulations 
for tobacco packaging Plain packs
[...]As with 
the plain pack, all tobacco packaging markings required in the UK were displayed.

But, what's this over in section One of the participants said of the third group of products (plain packs) about "Strength and harm":
"There is no information on the packets except for the warnings...
You can’t distinguish one from the other, except from shape

Now either the lables with the tar fell off between sections 4.2.3 and 4.3.7, or they weren't there to begin with in section 4.2.3.

Gordon1960 said...

When I was 15 years old I was held in government custody for several weeks.Back then I did not smoke but was offered 2oz of tobacco every week. I was told if I did not want it I could trade it for other things but I took the tobacco and started smoking it and still smoke today. That was 40 years ago and the government still give tobacco to kids in custody today.

Mark S. said...

I was thinking the estate of Roald Dahl should sue. That mix of sugar and sanctimoniousness, cannot not be good the health.

Mark Wadsworth said...

I've just had an inspired thought. We club together and set up a company called "Plain brown cigarettes" which sells cigarettes in very dull, kraft paper type cardboard boxes, with the statutory health warning crap on it, but little else. And then when the Powers That Be try and force the other companies to use plain brown packs, we sue them all for trademark infringement/passing off. Ker-ching!!

Just_me said...

 I work for a tobacco company in UK so some might argue my opinion is biased, but I can assure you, it is not. As any thinking and half educated person would agree, this plain packaging is a total waste of time. I would go a step further and argue that government is discriminating against and industry and using tobacco as a social experiment. Obesity in this country costs the tax payer a lot more than smoking related disease, so why not ban KFC and doughnuts???!!!Oh, it makes me so angry! Has our so called Health Minister even consider the consequences of this to tax revenues from tobacco, illicit trade and counterfeit shit that will flood the UK??? How will NHS cope when people start dropping dead and developing God knows what caners from smoking saw dust mixed with rat poison.....

P JH said...

 "Obesity in this country costs the tax payer a lot more than smoking related disease, so why not ban KFC and doughnuts???!!!"

No. Stop it. That's not the way to argue against it. That's just like the prisoner who's about to be hanged complaining that the noose around the neck of the person next to him isn't tight enough.[source]

Just_me said...

Ok, that is a fair point, however, would you not agree that the government is singling out tobacco industry and using it as a Guinea pig? I don't smoke myself and I would tell anyone how bad it is for you, nonetheless, if you have made that choice, it is my business to offer you a quality, LEGAL product to consume, is it not? There is a big political and social debate about world's economy being in recession and how we ought to return to good old manufacturing....well, I got news that might shock-tobacco is a FMCG business;)

P JH said...

 "[...] would you not agree that the government is singling out tobacco industry and using it as a Guinea pig?"

No. I'd strongly disagree.

Governments and fakecharities are also "singling out" food, salt, alcohol, sugar and anything else the puritans take a dislike to.

These sort of bansturbatory practices are not restricted to tobacco.

They've recently got their sights on porn as well.

Michael J. McFadden said...

Just leapfrogging back here from one of your more current blog entries and wanted to say that I think your capture of this argument is one of the best I've seen. You explain EXACTLY why this whole thing is nonsense. You should try to get this article reprinted and passed around as much as possible: I think most people would find they'd have to agree with your general argument and would be impressed by the specific backup documentation you offer.


John Adams said...

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