Wednesday 20 January 2010

Tobacco Control Is Addicted To Failure

Comment Central yesterday highlighted a piece by the British Psychological Society on tobacco health warnings.

Researchers have found that death-related health warnings on cigarette packs are likely to encourage some people to smoke.

While it's encouraging that such a matter is actually tackled on such a high profile blog, to describe this conclusion as 'astonishing', as Hattie Garlick has, shows a lack of understanding as to the laughable incompetence of tobacco control nutters.

As I've mentioned many times before, anti-smokers are so deeply mired in their own self-righteousness that they serially fail to notice that the more wild their hysterical ranting, the less anyone is motivated to give up. They have long since passed into a negative state of effectiveness on the pareto principle, yet still push the same failed methods.

They're like the lab mouse who doesn't learn to stay away from the electrified cheese.

Now, whisper this as we don't want them cottoning on and ruining the fun, but the reason all their ideas - which I'm sure they thought of as inspired when imagining them - fail so miserably, is that they quite simply cannot understand how people can contemplate a differing outlook on life.

Smokers are - and this really should be quite obvious - risk-takers by nature, otherwise, they wouldn't have smoked in the first place, no?

Those who dedicate their lives to eradicating smoking, however, are the very opposite. They talk incessantly of death as if it is something of which we should be morbidly terrified with every waking minute. Like their cousins in the anti-alcohol and anti-food lobby, they see no value in potentially unhealthy substances and view life merely as a competition in living the longest.

As they are averse to any kind of risk, and only ever converse with others who share their views plus the odd thick-as-shit MP, it's understandable that they are never going to spot their mistakes.

Those who have a less hysterical take on society see the problem from a different perspective, though, as I pointed out on the F2C blog in June.

Top US advertiser, Pentagram, was tasked with coming up with an ad idea for Marlboro following stringent rules on cigarette labelling enforced by the FDA. Their suggestion as to how to ensure Marlboro's sales didn't suffer, and maybe even gain a boost, was not dissimilar to the method which deluded anti-smokers think is going to make smokers quit.

Stout suggests that to comply with the crackdown, tobacco companies should embrace the restrictions and make cigarettes look truly dangerous.

“Over the years there has been an onslaught of public awareness messaging about the evils of smoking,” says Stout. “Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last 50 years you are very aware that smoking is not only bad for you, it could very likely kill you. All smokers know this for sure but it doesn’t deter them.

“Our marketing advice to cigarette companies in the new heavily regulated era is to fully accept the new aggressive anti-smoking restrictions and wallow in the government’s apocalyptic health warnings. Don’t make excuses or dance around the stepped-up marketing regulations, just transform the whole cigarette pack into a three dimensional warning label.”

Something like this, they ventured.

Look great, don't they? Probably why ASH are currently tilting at entirely blank packets, as near to an admission of abject failure as you're going to get from them after all their orgasmic predictions as to how effective scary pictures were going to be. Pffft.

Still, it won't deter them. Their capacity to stun us with ignorance is legendary ... one might even say 'astounding'. And if you think that's a one-off, you merely need to cast a glance at some of the other policies which they no doubt consider to be compelling.

Raising taxes is a perennial favourite.

Study: High tobacco taxes not a deterrent

HEC Montreal Associate Professor Jean-Francois Ouellet used data collected by Statistics Canada on smoking trends and found tax rates had minimal effect on usage, the release said.

CCSA Vice President Michel Gadbois said that was evidence the government was costing itself revenue while having no impact on smoking rates.

Smoking prevalence not affected, smuggling and contraband increased. It's the same old story, but still anti-smokers refuse to believe the evidence which consistently pokes them in the eye.

Nope, not for them the calm consideration of reality, the world of tobacco control follows nothing but hyperbole and a masochistic adherence to quixotic gestures, as illustrated again with the recent forcing through, complete with world class mendacity, of the Health Act which banned tobacco displays.

No evidence tobacco ad ban works

A call to ban tobacco displays from shops has not got the support of the National Government at this stage, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key says.

Mr Key said evidence suggested such moves were not an effective way to tackle smoking as a health issue and he wouldn't support it.

"The reason is there is no international evidence that it actually works, and it's hugely expensive to do it," he told TV3's Sunrise show on Tuesday.

So, based on bitter experience, prepare for an increase in smoking amongst UK teens once fag packs are hidden behind screens which corner shops will struggle to afford. That's if they continue being corner shops at all (how many pubs closing per week now? I lost count).

It's far from astonishing that anti-smoking tactics are being shown up as suspect. Quite the opposite, tobacco control's track record is such that there would be more surprise if they advocated something which actually resulted in constructive success.

ASH and their friends would be well advised to understand that there is more than one way to view life, and that their fears are entirely different to those of their ideological opposites.

They say there are no smokers, merely addicts. It would not be too inaccurate to counter that there are no anti-smokers, merely bigots who are addicted to failure.


Quiet_Man said...

People are contrary, tell them not to do something and some of us will. Terry Pratchett summed it up nicely, with his statement that were someone to fit an "End of the World switch, do not press" in a cave in the middle of nowhere he'd have to fight his way past the crowds waiting to push it on his way out.

Mark Wadsworth said...

It's all bollocks.

It's a straight trade-off between physical health and mental health. Of course smoking is bad for you, physically, but it helps you cope, it helps you relax, it helps you in stressful situations, it gives you something to do with your hands, it gives you the opportunity to strike up conversation with complete strangers.

And it goes really, really well with alcohol.

JJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JJ said...

If being a pipe smoker of some 40 years has taught me anything, it is this…that almost all of the most interesting and imaginative people I’ve had the good fortune to meet along the way have smoked.

I remember joining the army when I was 18 and being in a platoon where nearly everyone smoked, I never had so much fun. Smoking has always engendered social cohesion where you talk, drink, tell jokes and meet women. It gives you something to do with your hands…although in my case my hands always found their way up ladies skirts fondling well formed bottoms!

Smoking was also an advantage back then when catching the bus home after a night out…how? Well, in those days mini-skirts were all the rage, and I remember standing behind a young dolly at the bus stop wearing a teeny skirt, the bus came and I made sure I was right behind her.

Now remember, you could only smoke on the upper deck…so up the stairs she went with me in hot pursuit – sporting a ludicrously solid erection. Of course your timing had to be just right, not too close and not too far back…just enough distance to see a gloriously rounded botty tightly wrapped in a pair of M&S panties.

I don’t mind telling you that lovely sight has given me hours of pleasure over the years…

Now then…back to your post DP…well, the way I see things, it’s like this …

Pogo said...

One thing I note from the diatribe emblazoned on the first picture of the pack of cigarettes is that "half of regular users of cigarettes eventually die" - does this mean that if I take up smoking I've a 50% chance of imortality? :-)

John Pickworth said...

Okay cigarette smokers... without looking, can you recall which portent of doom is displayed on your current pack of 20?

Bad liver, rotten teeth, dead fetus, etc?

No? I'm not surprised. I just had to go look at mine (its the diseased liver one). Frankly, after the initial novelty value had worn off no one even looks at the warnings anymore. QED, they're totally ineffective and were always likely to be so. Starker, more deadly warnings would produce the same results after a short while.


Along with gangster music and the jailbird inspired saggy pants look; teenagers are beginning to like the 'edgy' appeal of cigarettes. Their facebook pages and blogs are increasingly being furnished with images of themselves sporting a woodbine hanging from their gob. In fact, raising the age to purchase cigs to 18 is having a counter-effect to that intended. Now every, eager to look older, 15/16 year old is afforded another cool badge of adulthood in the shape of a Marlboro.

I'm not surprised the smoking industry was so keen to go along with all those Government initiatives. They must have been laughing their socks off.

Giolla said...

Those packets remind me of the briefly fashionable death cigarettes

WV tocchoo - the next replacement for tobacco?

Junican said...

It is true - no smoker reads the warnings on the packet (although I must admit that it is quite fun to try to translate the words on the Spanish fags that I smoke. 'Fumar puede matar' - literally, 'to smoke can to kill' - lovely how the Spanish language uses the infinitive as a noun where we normally do not). Only non-smokers and anti-smoking zealots read these warnings and get their knickers in a twist about them.

Why have our rulers got themselves into such a mess?

For example, you may be aware that, in Spain, only tobacconists sell tobacco. Imagine walking into a tobacconists in Spain and being confronted by blank, shuttered shelves, so much so that it is impossible to see what is behind the shutters. Imagine that an assistant has to open the shutters so that you can see inside in order to decided what fags you want to buy. Imagine that all the cig packets are the same and are totally blank (apart from a name?). Imagine that there are no prices stated. One's mind boggles at the stupidity and time-wasting of it all. And yet that seems to be the way in which we are going in this country.

How on earth are these dumbbells in government getting away with it? What I have said above applies not only to fags. Consider this new Equality Bill which is about to become law. The same 'unintended consequences' will also apply thereto in due course.

JuliaM said...

"Those who dedicate their lives to eradicating smoking, however, are the very opposite. They talk incessantly of death as if it is something of which we should be morbidly terrified with every waking minute."

And they are starting younger and younger...

Neal Asher said...

The anti-smoking thing long ago passed into the political territory global warming also occupies. Emphasis is put on smoking as a cause of ills rather than the truth. I noticed this when looking at oesophageal cancer. On the anti smoking sites the bansturbators shout about smoking and drinking as the prime cause, when the reality is that the main cause of it is acid reflux.

Uncle Marvo said...

Make them look dangerous.

How about making the filter tip out of barbed wire, or something? Or maybe recycled razor blades?

Letters From A Tory said...

Good post. Sadly, the message just isn't getting through.

Laurence said...

Half of regular users of cigarettes eventually die it says on the fag packet.

I'm thinking that the other half don't which is a ghastly proposition. Can there be a better reason for quitting this elixir of eternal life?

Andy said...

Is it any wonder Tobacco companies stoppped employing expensive lawyers to oppose Anti-tobacco measures, when they all now result in increased prevalence and marketing of their products. Meanwhile, unhindered by opposition, AT's claims become more and more absurd, and will eventually result in a loss of credibility and possibly an end to their impact on policymaking.
BT could be silently smug.

Andy said...

Is it any wonder Tobacco companies stoppped employing expensive lawyers to oppose Anti-tobacco measures, when they all now result in increased prevalence and marketing of their products. Meanwhile, unhindered by opposition, AT's claims become more and more absurd, and will eventually result in a loss of credibility and possibly an end to their impact on policymaking.
BT could be silently smug.

Dominic Allkins said...

Great post Dick.

Some of you may remember the 'alternative' health warnings - still available - on

My favourites - tricky but I think it's these two:

Your newsagent or corner shop can help you start smoking


Nobody likes a quitter

JohnRS said...

Just because they're wrong doesn't mean they'll stop. After all these are publically funded, premier cru, 24 carat bansturbators. They're not going to be put off spending loads more of your money just because it has no effect!!

Mrs Rigby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs Rigby said...

You're absolutely right.

They don't really want to stop people smoking because it generates too much income, so to satisfy the health lobbyists they've got to look as if they're trying really hard - by "banning it" or making it "socially unacceptable".

It's a bit like telling girls their school skirts must be to the knee. When the teachers check the skirts they are the right length, but moments later all the waistbands are rolled over so the skirts are the length the girls want them to be.

The statisticians will be able to prove that 'policies' work, the reality will always be different.

Make something illegal and it makes it popular - and more money rolls into the coffers.
(apologies for previous deletion - I hit the wrong button)

Anonymous said...

People who worry more about their physical bodies - as did the Nazis - instead of their spirit life, freedoms, liberties, pleasures, friends, loved ones - of their souls and spirits - are essentially worshipping satan and his materialism and binding themselves to hell instead of to heaven.

It's why the saying is that good intentions are the pathway to hell.

That little puff of smoke lingering here and there was everyone's insurance policy that other liberties of life, spirit and living weren't being intruded upon. Once that symbol of the spirit's freedom was banned and people put on alert to worship their bodies instead, to jump through hoops to obtain 3.6 months more of it at the end, that is when God retracted the Holy Spirit from the people and let them be condemned to the very hell we now find ourselves in - with no way out, unless or until we begin worshipping the eternal life of spirit and stop worshipping the finite life of the body.

It doesn't matter whether smoking is unhealthy or eating tofu is healthy. SHS Fraud was just that, a fraud, it's good intentions the pathway to hell and the resulting loss of freedom of spirit the inevitable result.

Until that becomes recognized I imagine God in his true goodness will continue to allow the charade of false goodness brought on by tyranny to march forward and claim more souls for the property of the devil.

It's historically how things seem to work in the natural order.

Mark Wadsworth said...

@ Mrs R, if ever get bored with the old accountancy, how do I apply for a job checking the length of schoolgirls' skirts?

Anonymous said...

I don't believe that ASH et al know that their proposals are doomed to failure - they know they're not going to work. They don't want them to work because their income stream will dry up.

If they really wanted to stop people smoking - put some images of a smokerfree world on the packs: smokers would wish themselves dead rather than live in their bland, hypocritical world (the image that springs to mind is that dreadful TV ad that accompanies the song It's not that easy being green...").

Bring on the doctors who don't think that murder is just an'additional role'!!


Sam Duncan said...

“the reality is that the main cause of it is acid reflux.”

Oh, great. Thanks. I'm a martyr to that. Terrific. Might as well take up smoking, then.

But then, if I take the big C I'll go down as a smoking statistic. Better not.

Junican said...

@ religious anon.

I like your religious attitude to this matter, although I may not phrase my opinions in the way you do. For example, I may have said that wicked people can be really, really healthy if they do not smoke, drink etc and good people can be really, really unhealthy if they do smoke, drink etc. In other words, there is no co-relation between wickedness, goodness and health. Certainly, good people do not think that goodness equals longevity. By the same token, longevity does not equal goodness.
Consequently, the obsession of politicians etc with health and longevity is not necessarily good. It could just as easily be wicked.

It would be nice to think that you would give yourself a name. It is quite easy. When you post, type in the 'word verification'. Scroll down to 'Name/URL'. Click the circle. In the box revealed, type in the name you choose. Click 'Publish your comment'.

It is a weird fact that you will then be told that 'your word verification is wrong'. Ignore that and simply type into the 'word verification' box the new word displayed, then click 'Publish your comment'. Your comment will then be published.

I am not going to follow this procedure.

Junican said...

It must be sod's law, or if you wish, God's will, but the last sentence of my immediate past post should have read, "I am NOW going to follow this procedure". Here we go again....

Dick Puddlecote said...

Or get a Google account, Junican. It's very easy, takes a couple of minutes. See here.

Pat Nurse MA said...

I think you mean almost ALL MPs are thick as shit or they wouldn't have voted for a blanket smoking ban which will lose many of them seats. Bring on the Hung Parliament so they get the message we don't really want any of the bigots whose heads are so far stuffed up their own back ends, I'm surprised they still can't smell the crap!

Curmudgeon said...

Imagine applying the same approach to alcohol, where people already routinely ask "what's your poison?" and happily talk of destroying brain cells :-)

Curious? said...

Have you ever noticed people who are unable to grasp the fact that people think independently are the same ones who over use (and by this I mean just use) phrases such as "thinking outside the box" and "lateral interpretation"?

People may indeed be contrary and smoke inspite of health warnings, I know I do. But I confess there is something intimately satisfying about responding to a Sales worker who enquires "Have you thought about quitting?" "No". They are not sure what to do with that response, given they have been conditioning smokers for years to become the epitome of apology for their own choice. I am proud to not be a "guilty smoker" when faced with a smogasboard of advertising. It makes me sure I have some self control and personal freedom.

Dick Puddlecote said...

I've done that too, Kelbelle, with a worker outside a mobile CRUK office they set up in the high street. They were offering cotinine tests or something and approaching smokers with the same question. I said no with a condescending laugh (as if to say "are you stupid or something"?) - her sickly smile crumpled into a look of confusion. :-)

Willy said...

"Have you thought about quitting?" "No".

A packet of 20 can last me up to 5 days. When i tell people this, they ask me why i don't stop altogether.

Why would i want to? It gives me pleasure, and the amount of harm it does is minimal.

Ashley Williams said...

This is really serious to think about!!