We've been told that Australian smokers think their fags taste shite since plain packaging came in; that Australian smokers were calling the Quitline in droves; and that Australian smokers were ashamed of displaying their packs. All of this meant that plain packs were a fantastic idea and evidence of an upcoming epiphany as antipodean smokers abandoned tobacco wholesale while Simon Chapman and Nicola Roxon preened themselves in anticipation of receiving a Nobel Prize for something-or-other.
But what's this? All those studies from the oh-so-scrupulous tobacco control industry have been overly-optimistic? Say it ain't so!
Deliveries of tobacco to retailers in Australia rose slightly last year for the first time in at least five years, even after the introduction of plain packaging aimed at deterring smokers, according to industry sales figures to be released on Monday.
In 2013, the first full year of plain packaging, tobacco companies sold the equivalent of 21.074 billion cigarettes in Australia, according to industry data provided by Marlboro maker Philip Morris International.
That marks a 0.3 per cent increase from 2012, and reverses four straight years of declines.
The figures represent the amount of tobacco shipped to retailers in Australia by companies including Philip Morris, British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco Group .But, but, that's impossible, surely? We were told this was a ground-breaker, a massive fillip for global fake coughers and hand-wavers everywhere. I mean, how can it be that - despite all these wildly enthusiastic predictions of success - in less than a week we have seen real evidence of organised crime moving in on tobacco and an abrupt end to years of declining tobacco sales?
How are Aussie tobacco control going to spin their way out of this one, eh?
Well, they only know one way, don't they?
.@paddyc1702 "industry sales figures". Right. Bound to be all above board. No motivation there at all. All open to full scrutiny
— Simon Chapman (@SimonChapman6) March 24, 2014
Except that it simply doesn't work in this instance. Reporting of tobacco sales will be pored over by real experts (as opposed to fake ones of the tobacco control variety) in accountancy and business because, y'see, shareholders get mighty pissed off if they're misled and stock exchanges get twitchy and involve the police. So, yes, these figures will be open to scrutiny like a mofo.
With the Chantler review due to report by the end of the month, and considering that the British public - despite a state-funded campaign of endemic rigging, corruption, gerrymandering, misrepresentation of science, and government lobbying government - has overwhelmingly identified plain packs as the pointless, tobacco industry-bashing, rent-seeking nonsense that it is ...
But then, we're living in strange times where righteous fantasy seems to count for more than what happens in real life and the preferences of the public, so who knows what will happen?