You see, here are a few examples of how those extra phone calls to quit lines in Australia have been greeted by the usual suspects. As parent of a dedicated Directioner, it seems remarkably similar to hysterical pubescent adulation of the rather ordinary and shallow to me.
#plainpacks cause sustained (43week) increase in calls to quitline. https://t.co/e9cf0zGCWT
— Simon Chapman (@SimonChapman6) January 12, 2014
78% increase in the number of calls to the Quitline associated with the introduction of #plainpacks in Australia. http://t.co/Wi4GIWLcV6
— ASH New Zealand (@ASH_New_Zealand) January 13, 2014
New study suggests sustained rise in calls to New South Wales Quitline after introduction of #plainpacks in Australia http://t.co/1VorYPboO8
— ASH Scotland (@ASHScotland) January 13, 2014
New research in Australia shows increase in Quitline calls after #plainpacks introduced @smh http://t.co/9QbBE8i7aj
— Brit Lung Foundation (@lunguk) January 13, 2014
So the whole exercise has been about pressuring adult smokers to quit, has it? That might be news to politicians in Ireland who are currently being bombarded with a quite different message.
Protect children from smoking by asking the Health Committee to support #plainpacks. You can help at http://t.co/fNqAwXg3HV
— Irish Cancer Society (@IrishCancerSoc) January 14, 2014
Want to stop children smoking? Make your voice heard on plain packaging! Takes just a couple of minutes http://t.co/JkuoQ8hgmE #plainpacks
— Asthma Society (@AsthmaIreland) January 14, 2014
Attractive packaging is used to target young people so they become addicted from an early age. Support #plainpacks http://t.co/8E5kDYfTxy
— IrishHeartFoundation (@Irishheart_ie) January 14, 2014
So, before it's about the kiddies, but once they've got their way it's about forcing smokers to quit? Well, of course.
Just like smoking bans were about protecting bar staff until they became about bullying smokers; ditto tobacco display bans, vending machine bans and graphic warnings were all pitched as thinking of the children until the laws were passed - by any corrupt means possible - and they then miraculously became marvellous tools for beating recalcitrant smokers with a big regulatory stick.
Sadly for the tobacco control industry, the latest pitiful 'evidence' - that, gasp, some people rang a telephone number - is perfectly deflated by this Kiwi statistician.
If you look at the research paper, they found an increase peaking at about 300 calls per week and then falling off by about 14% per week. That works out to be a total of roughly 2000 extra calls attributed to the packaging change, ie, just over half a percent of all smokers in Australia, or perhaps a 10% increase in the annual Quitline volume. If the number of people actively trying to quit by methods other than Quitline also goes up by 10%, you still wouldn’t expect to see much impact on total tobacco sales after one year.
The main selling point for the plain packaging (eg) was that it would prevent young people from starting to smoke. That’s what really needs to be evaluated, and it’s probably too early to tell.It is, indeed, too early to tell. Which is why the UK government is correct to wait until these con artists stop screeching like baboons about irrelevant studies and instead provide something which remotely tallies with their heroic pre-legislative claims.
Still no decent evidence for risking increased counterfeit and crapping on corner shops, then. Sir Cyril, take note.