Wednesday 25 June 2014

More Plain Packs Propaganda

There are only two conclusions anyone can come to after reading anti-smoker tweets this week. They are either incredibly dense or are simply happy to spread misinformation.

The Sydney Morning Herald published a graph on Sunday as ultimate proof that plain packaging has worked, here's their take on it.
Plain packaging pushes cigarette sales down
Added to the Health Department's website quietly last week amid debate over the effectiveness of plain packaging, the Treasury data shows 3.4 per cent fewer cigarettes were sold last year than 2012.
Well, actually, no they didn't unless the SMH is redefining the term "last year" or don't know yet that we're in 2014. Because the decline, as their graph clearly shows, is entirely in this year.

Seriously, it's interactive, so go play with it yourself. But if you're short on time or all finger and thumbs, here's what it looks like.

And, as the SMH kindly tells us, there was a big hike in duty a year after plain packaging which - unless you're a dunce - would quite obviously explain the big downturn immediately following it.

Not being Australian, on this evidence I can only assume the Sydney Morning Herald is up there in trustworthiness alongside such august organs as The Sunday Sport and The National Enquirer.

Still, it satisfied the usual muppets anyway.


Edgar said...

People who smoke are happier. GOAL!

Keith Ng said...

We are in 2014. Last year is 2013. This is what people usually mean by last year - the year previous to the current year. The SMH said that "3.4 per cent fewer cigarettes were sold last year (i.e. 2013) than 2012." Please reread the original sentence.

They sourced this from the Department of Health site, which says:

"The Commonwealth Treasury has further advised that tobacco clearances (including excise and customs duty) fell by 3.4% in 2013 relative to 2012 when tobacco plain packaging was introduced."

The graph is not from Treasury. It's from ABS. You can tell this because it says "Source: ABS" on the bottom right. ABS is not Treasury.

Yes. The excise hike explains the large drop immediately after it. That's why the author wrote: "The national accounts show a further fall of 7.6 per cent in the three months to March after the first of a number of big increases in tobacco excise announced late last year." That is not attributing to plain packs.

In the sentence before that: "The Treasury data is consistent with national accounts data that shows a decline of 0.9 per cent in the amount of tobacco and cigarettes sold between 2012 and last year." They are saying the national accounts show a small decline in 2012-2013, before the excise hike.


Rob Heyes said...

Except it looks to me as though the data shows there was a 3% increase in sales between Dec 2012 and Dec 2013 (with a peak increase of 4.7% from Dec 2012). Or am I misreading the graph?

westcoast2 said...

Seems like there was an increase in sales after pp. Was this in anticipation of the tax hike they knew was going to happen?

Eric Crampton said...

That's all ABS data rather than the Treasury excise returns, which should be the more accurate ones.

I'd still say that it's way too early to call results on plain packs, where the main effects should be on new smoking uptake. That's, I'd thought, the main claim that the anti-tobacco folks were wanting to make for plain packs. Still too early to tell on that one.

Anto said...

The SMH is Sydney's version of the Guardian. Any further left and they'd be through the footpath and into the front garden.

truckerlyn said...

I spoke to my aunt in Australia last Sunday and she confirmed that far more cigarettes are entering the country than previously and more people are buying them!
She also said that you can only now take 100 duty free cigs into Australia.

Black Market guys must really love all this anti tobacco shit!

Keith Ng said...

You are misreading the graph. It is a graph of % change in sales, not of sales. (i.e. The 3% is a "change in change".)

Keith Ng said...

What percentage of border entry points does your aunt monitor?

truckerlyn said...

None, but it is common knowledge from the news and other programmes on the tv and radio in Oz!