New figures released by the Australian government have shown adult smoking rates have fallen by a massive 15%. Before the measure was introduced in December 2012, daily smoking prevalence stood at 15.1% and has now fallen to 12.8%.
Standardised packaging is the only new policy intervention over this time period and is therefore the most likely reason for the significant fall in smoking prevalence. The survey was conducted before the Government’s major hike in tobacco tax of 12.5% in December 2013.As Snowdon explains, this is total bollocks.
There's only one problem. [Deborah Arnott] is lying. Almost incredibly, the date ASH describes as being "before the measure was introduced" was not November 2012 (the month before plain packaging came in). It is not 2012 at all. It is not even 2011. The date they are referring to is 2010, more than two years before plain packaging was introduced.
ASH even gives the reference to the Australian report in its press release so that anyone can check it. I urge you to do so. It very clearly shows a steady and gradual downward trend in smoking rates going back to 1993. There is no increase in the rate of decline in 2013 and no effect from plain packaging. The rate has not "fallen by a massive 15%" since plain packaging came in, as ASH claims, and there has not been "a massive decline in smoking prevalence in Australia following introduction of standardised packaging".Do go read the rest to get a proper idea of how utterly disgraceful ASH's press release really is, because there are no ifs or buts about this, they are lying.
It would seem incredible in any other area that an organisation could claim a policy to have begun working two years before it was implemented, but that is what ASH expect us to believe in the case of plain packaging in Australia. Apparently, Aussie smokers heard rumours about plain packs and just threw the towel in. It's the kind of bilge you'd expect from a two-bit fairground Gypsy Rose Lee, but here are ASH stating it with a straight face.
You see, here's the spectacular decline that ASH are talking about since plain packaging has arrived.
Can you see the dramatic effect the policy had? No, neither can I. In fact, even the producers of the statistics refute ASH's nonsense claim that plain packaging had anything whatsoever to do with the expected long term decline.
[The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s Geoff Neideck] said it was too early to tell whether specific government policies like plain packaging were behind the downward trend.
“It is quite evident that there are a range of government policies to minimise the harms to do with smoking and alcohol,” he said.
“Plain packaging came in between 2010 and 2013, in what was a fairly strong drop in the daily smoking rate, but it would be a stretch to say this data shows that was a key factor.”What it does show, of course, is the sheer panic and desperation within the tobacco control industry as they furiously scratch around for some tiny scrap of evidence that plain packs has been a success ... and fail miserably. After a campaign packed to the gills with rigged evidence, gerrymandering, fraud and corruption, ASH are now topping it all off by lying through their teeth.
More than that, though, because if you check the data behind the report, there is one statistic which leaps out of the excel file and smacks you squarely in the kisser. Because, do you remember that they said plain packs was essential - urgent, in fact - solely to discourage children from smoking? You do remember it was all about the poor 'ickle kiddies, don't you?
Well, these new stats show that the number of children smoking has increased from 2.5% to 3.4% in the same time frame.
That's correct, there has been a huge 36% increase in daily smoking amongst Australian kids since 2010 which - if we use ASH's twisted methodology - can only be attributed to plain packaging, no?
Of course it can't, but what is certainly very clear is that plain packs are not turning kids away from smoking, and could arguably be said to have had the opposite effect. If the UK government do decide to follow suit, on this evidence they will have proven themselves to be stark staring mad.