Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Prominent Aussie Tobacco Control Researcher Admits Plain Packaging Is A Failure

Well, I say 'admits', but he more accurately uses the same approach as UK-based tobacco control industry turd-polisher, Olivia Maynard, did last year. That being, misrepresenting the research.
Take, for example, a study she led on the effect of plain packaging of cigarettes which was published in March [2015] (emphases mine).
Conclusions: Plain cigarette packs reduce ratings of the experience of using the cigarette pack, and ratings of the pack attributes, and increase the self-perceived impact of the health warning, but do not change smoking behaviour, at least in the short term.
This wasn't a run-of-the-mill study either. This, as Maynard herself boasted, is the only randomised controlled trial (RCT) so far to look at the effectiveness and behavioural responses towards plain packs. It's a gold standard study, the best there is. And it said plain packs do not work.

Not that this deterred committed tobacco control industry professional Olivia much, of course ...
The results add to the growing evidence base that plain packaging is likely to be an effective tobacco control measure.
Erm, like how? You've just said it didn't change smoking behaviour, in fact you were very clear on that.
Yes, welcome to yet another episode of the long-running series commonly known as the perverse and truth-free world of tobacco control. Where junk is science; failure is success; and none of them actually gives a damn because they all get paid out of your taxes for making shit up.

Yesterday, I mentioned that Aussie politicians are quite aware that plain packaging has been a thundering failure down under, hence their astonishing reluctance to go on record disingenuously claiming the opposite.

Well, on browsing the next tax-funded jolly lined up for tobacco control troughers - the Society for Research on Nicotine & Tobacco (SRNT) annual meeting to be held in Chicago in a couple of weeks - I found something mighty interesting.

Y'see, Ron Borland - a career anti-tobacco researcher with a fine pedigree, if it's possible to use the word 'pedigree' in relation to tobacco control - has submitted a paper which is ingenious in its avoidance of describing what it really concluded following a study on the effectiveness or not of plain packaging (page 21). Translations in plain language are my own.
RESULTS: Smokers became much more supportive of the changes post-implementation.
They fell for our propaganda.
Most desirable reactions to GHWs were stronger, especially avoidance, ...
Smokers did what they always do and ignored the warnings.
... and there was some evidence of stronger relationships with subsequent quitting activity. 
They told us they would think about quitting because they know it's what we want them to say.
Indices of brand identification declined, but were unrelated to quitting interest. 
Smokers noticed the packs were plain now, but it didn't make a difference.
There has been an increase in reported use of budget brands and having no regular brand.
Without premium branding, why not just buy the cheapest?
CONCLUSIONS: Standardised packaging with larger GHWs has had modest positive impacts on smokers in all areas investigated. However, for cessation, at least, it has not been a game-breaker (emphases mine - DP), but adds another element to a comprehensive approach.
Erm, in other words it doesn't work.

Don't you just love the description "not been a game-breaker"? I think the scientific term is "we found no effect", but that would almost be like admitting it has been a crashing failure, now wouldn't it?

Don't expect the tobacco control industry to be trumpeting this new research anywhere, will you? It'll be quietly buried like Maynard's inconvenient RCT last year. Tobacco control 'science' is like that; it's not about health and it's as far removed from real science as is humanly possible.

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