by Carl V Phillips
In the About page, I briefly address the various true motives of the anti-THR liars. Though they have misappropriated the term “public health” to describe themselves, those who work to oppose THR (whether lying or not — though I am not aware of any who do not base their opposition on lies) clearly do not much care about health. They are working to keep people smoking, after all.
To the extent that these same people support the more visible anti-smoking efforts, they can still hide behind claims they care about health. Even then, though, it is pretty clear that this is frequently not their real motive. Today at Spiked, Martin Cullipich provides a nice example of how the advocates for de-branded cigarette packages clearly know that requiring “plain packaging” will have no impact on smoking rates and thus on health. (Well, the ones pulling the strings know that. They keep some useful idiots out front who are not smart enough to see through their own propaganda.) A bit of journalism reveals how those activists have made it quite clear that the only thing they really care about is hurting the major legal tobacco companies, even though that is merely a matter of lowering prices and encouraging black market purchases, both of which will tend to increase rather than decrease smoking. (I have written several posts about the economics of this, starting here, and you can follow the links there back to the extensive analyses of the topic by Snowdon and Puddlecote.)
Cullipich also points out that those who wish to control packaging do not really want plain packages, though they use that term. What they really want are packages with horrible graphic images that — despite the claims that this is about protecting children — most parents do not want their kids encountering (as they obviously will when the labels are on the packages of legal and popular consumer goods). The activists pretend that those labels are “warnings”, but they contain no information that could qualify as a warning. Instead, they are really emotional violence, designed to hurt and manipulate people in ways far worse than the marketers the ANTZ so detest. (We analyzed that point a few years ago in comments to the FDA; the FDA ignored our comments, but some of the same language from the comments ended up in the court ruling that forbade the attempt to do this in the US, so I think we perhaps had some impact.) Again, this is the intentional infliction of harm, which obviously cannot be about helping people. One or several of the other motives listed in the About page must be the true motives.
Finally, it is worth noting that all of this non-health-promoting manipulation of packaging is targeted at “tobacco products” rather than cigarettes specifically. There might have been an interesting fight to try to defend smokeless tobacco from this attack, and maybe even have it actually do a tiny bit of good by using smokeless tobacco to encourage switching. We probably would have lost, though that is moot: The same countries (i.e., the same tiny cabal of tobacco control industry people who think they have a right to impose their will on entire countries) that are pursuing these anti-corporation efforts have already banned the sale of smokeless tobacco. So just in case there was any doubt that these people are actually motivated by trying to help smokers improve their health, that observation should put the issue to rest.