Monday 6 July 2015

Tobacco Products Directive Goes To Consultation

This may well be the only article posted here this week as Puddlecote Inc is going through a major reorganisation. I've been with Reed this afternoon discussing recruitment of two new specialist transport roles to handle a large uptick in fortunes which led to the best results in the company's 20 year history last year. We're also commissioning architects to expand our office space until we can source suitable new premises. All very exciting but it tends take chunks out of my fun time.

However, I have had a brief look at the government's newly-released consultation on the measures to be implemented following the EU's Tobacco Products Directive and it's like watching someone you are supposed to trust deliberately crashing your new car.

You can read the consultation document here if you wish to immerse yourself in a morass of pointless - and in places, counterproductive - tobacco control industry bullshit.

At first glance, I think it deserves a full walkthrough at some point in the future as your humble host has done in the past (see here, here, here, here, here, and here). Yes, I know these things are not "public consultations" but instead public sector consultations - designed as makework for parasite civil service and fake charity tax troughers - but the results have to be published and can sometimes serve to show how corrupt the whole process is, so definitely worth submitting to.

If you find anything interesting in there yourself, do let me know, but I only got as far as question 2 before the increasing tobacco control barrel-scraping idiocy became evident.
The Government intends to implement this provision of the Directive to mean images, targeted at consumers, that are used to promote the sale of products, such as retailer websites offering products for sale. Do you agree with this approach?
This, relates to the {cough} overwhelming promotion of tobacco products all over the country. All advertising may be banned, plain packaging passed, vending machines unlawful, tobacco hidden behind screens at Mr Patel's corner shop, and smokers exiled to a bunker under the central reservation near Leicester Forest East service station, but Sainsbury's still have this page on their website, y'see.

This is, of course, unacceptable. Because thousands of kids - while doing the family shop online with the credit card they are not allowed to own - will stumble across the images and instantly be forced to buy dozens of packs. Banning these images is a no-brainer, then, isn't it?

Or, perhaps, it's not really about the kids, and tobacco control has never actually cared about the choices of adults. What do you think?

There is also an incredibly funny piece of lunacy contained in the document regarding menthol cigarettes. You see, the TPD aims to ban flavoured tobacco (cos the kids, natch) but - to a storm of criticism from anti-smoking obsessives - gave a stay of execution to menthol till 2020. Not that you'll know if you're buying menthol or not anyway.
5.19. The TPD2 will prohibit products benefiting from the transitional arrangements (menthol cigarettes) or exemption from characterising flavours (pipe tobacco etc.), from being labelled with any reference to taste, smell or flavouring. For example, a brand of menthol flavoured cigarettes may continue to be sold until May 2020, but will not be able to be labelled as ‘Brand X Menthol’.
That's right. You can ask for menthol, or flavoured tobacco, but there will be nothing allowed on the packaging to say if you are getting what you asked for or not. Considering plain packaging is supposed to be implemented here next year, that means for four years the UK will be in the utterly bizarre situation of deliberately stopping consumers of a legal product the right to know what they are buying. You won't be even be able to see from the pack design because the colour green will be banned and the word 'menthol' will be too.

When I say tobacco controllers are insane, this is exactly why I can never be proved wrong.

Do go read the whole consultation, it's well woth it for an insight into exactly how the taxes you pay are being abused and handed to thoroughly disgusting trouser-fillers in Shoreditch, Geneva and Brussels. To the benefit of precisely no-one.

The civil servants who drafted it even round it all off with a very funny joke.
The draft regulations will be finalised in due course, taking into account all relevant considerations.
Yes, of course they will. Just like every other consultation British government agencies have embarked upon.

If you wish to respond to the consultation, you have till September 3rd so no rush, plenty of time. The online submission form can be found here.


Vinny Gracchus said...

The only reason I can see actually responding to this is that responses will likely document the lack of public support for the increased steps toward total prohibition of tobacco. I also suspect that like the case in previous consultations the results will be ignored if they vary from the pre-determined recommendations of the tobacco control lobby.

jmshigham said...

Keep at it, Dick. You're the go-to man on this topic.

Him stephenson said...

Maybe it's just me?.....but!...if all cigarettes are hidden behind wee doors....then what's the FKN need for plain packaging? can't see the FKN things anyway?

Blogger said...

Are you paying more than $5 for each pack of cigarettes? I buy my cigs at Duty Free Depot and this saves me over 50% on cigarettes.