Monday, 6 August 2012

It's An Open And Shut Case, Amigos

Mexico has posed a question [pdf] to Australia regarding their tobacco plain packaging law.
Mexico invites the Australian authorities to ... Provide the scientific information available in which Australia determined that plain packaging influences consumer behavior, which will contribute to reduce smoking rates
Ooh, ooh, please Sir! I know the answer!
Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon admits there is no proof plain cigarette packaging will cut smoking rates.

"This is a world first," she told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

Ms Roxon was responding to her opposition counterpart Peter Dutton, who earlier called for evidence showing plain packaging encourages people to butt out.

"The sort of proof they are looking for doesn't exist when this hasn't been introduced around the world," Ms Roxon said.
Well, that's pretty clear cut. A classic case of policy-based, non-evidential law-making.

Unfortunately, this kind of thinking is a disease - some may even call it a global epidemic - affecting the brains of politicians in otherwise sane nations (and Scotland). It's not about health, you know. Just pure, unadulterated prejudice and spite.

Now is a timely opportunity, then, to remind you that there are just a few days left in which to tell Andrew Lansley that the country which devised the parliamentary system should be setting an example here. Just because a load of dustbowl-dwellers at the arse end of the world want to dispense with scrupulous legislative process in favour of ideological fuckwittery, it doesn't mean that we should do the same.

It has been a lot of fun trouncing the no-marks in the Olympics (err, how's that humiliating losing bet looking Australia? Again?), so let's also thrash the pants off them at running a country with some degree of competence, eh?

Sign up here to give Lansley a quick nudge or submit something more substantial here by August 10th (a preview of the questions is here).

UPDATE: Looks like Roxon hasn't changed her mind since her last admission of the futility of plain packaging.
Plain packaging isn't going to see cigarette sales drop off any time soon, former federal health minister Nicola Roxon says.

"We've been very clear - we haven't made any estimates about the level of reduction that will flow from plain packaging," she told Sky News on Sunday.
Still an open and shut case then, Mexico. There quite simply cannot be any evidence, so crack on.


SteveW said...

Had been slightly waylaid by 'stuff' and thought I'd missed the deadline - I'll put something together tomorrow for young Andy.

Nice to see the Mexican government getting stuck in and TRIPS seems to be a good place to start (and should tie in nicely with the PM? legal action), if I were feeling picky I'd object to their repeated references to 'advertising or promotion' on packaging, since, as we all know, if it were advertising (or be convincingly construed as such) then it would already be illegal and there would be no need to ban it.

The Filthy Engineer said...

Just look at the Google ad in the screen shot. Poetic justice I think.


George Speller said...

Ok, finally done it. Has anybody FOI'd the reason for the extended consultation? And did they know the results a month ago?

Dick_Puddlecote said...

I'm sure he'll be very pleased to see your submission pop into the DoH inbox before Friday. ;)

Dick_Puddlecote said...

It was extended because the DoH failed to make translated versions available in good time for Urdu/Gujurati etc speaking newsagents. The kind of failure we have come to expect from government, sadly. 

A DP reader says he has FOI'd to ask the questions you refer to, but hasn't provided detail. Needless to say, I've replied asking for details. ;)

Sackerson said...

I understand advertisers say that tobacco advertising is about brand loyalty, not overall consumption, so plain packaging may simply lead to switching to cheaper "generic" cigarettes - which my brother used to choose in the USA (they have a wide range of plain-packaged "generic" products, sort of like "own brand" but in simple black-and-white covers). The end result may simply be to make smoking cheaper.

Barbara said...

Oh God will no-one rid me of these
troublesome women