One real motive of the liars, wonderfully illustrated by the “plain packs” campaign

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.

4 responses to “One real motive of the liars, wonderfully illustrated by the “plain packs” campaign

  1. Pingback: One real motive of the liars, wonderfully illustrated by the “plain packs” campaign | Tobacco Harm Reduction |

  2. Pingback: One real motive of the liars, wonderfully illustrated by the “plain packs” campaign | vapeforlife

  3. “[T]hose 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.”

    I know it’s something that we all realize, but I think it’s something that we sometimes forget . . . while the “ruling class” of ANTZ have knowingly and willingly sacrificed public health in exchange for money and power to run its moral crusade, there are some in the public health field who do genuinely care about public health and who have (1) bought into the ANTZ’ lies, (2) are on the fence due to honest confusion, or (3) are afraid to speak out.

    I consider myself to be a relatively intelligent person, yet if you had asked me 5 years ago about smokeless tobacco, I would have told you—without hesitation—that it is very dangerous, probably almost as dangerous as smoking. Simply stated, I believed what I was told by the government, by the mainstream media, and by the various “charities,” such as the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. I am admittedly a bit of a Pollyanna, but it never once occurred to me that my government or those “charities” would deliberately lie to further an agenda, let alone lie about something that could literally save lives.

    In any event, I guess I just felt compelled to offer a word of defense for the rank and file doing the ANTZ work, innocently (albeit naively) feeling that they are working to further the public good. I imagine that when the truth becomes absolutely impossible to ignore, they will feel the same sense of betrayal and outrage that we do.

    • Carl V Phillips

      Julie, Fair enough. I think I tried to fit too much into one sentence, and ended up saying something that is not quite what I meant. That parenthetical was a mess. I will amend to:

      People who are highly involved in this issue and who actively oppose THR are clearly not primarily motivated by health, and it cannot be of much importance to them. So far as I know, all of them are liars. It is possible for someone to fit that description and not be a liar, but I am not aware of anyone. For example, someone could honestly state “my main concern is about simply how many people use tobacco/nicotine, not its effects on them” or “my main concern is to try to make the major tobacco companies go bankrupt, regardless of what harms this does”, and then go on from there to attack THR while being honest about about the health and welfare benefits from THR. That would be refreshing to see, but no one actually does this for the obvious reason that about 99% of the population would refuse to support their little personal pique. So they hide their true motives and pretend to be concerned about health, which means they have to lie about the facts.

      With that in mind, I will continue to point out that they do not care about health (realizing that the absolute phrasing is a bit of an overstatement, but close enough that I am comfortable with it), but I will try to be more careful about defining “they”.

      You are definitely right that some people casually repeat what they have heard — the engineered and heavily propagandized anti-THR lies. I have been meaning to write a clarification about who, exactly, should be counted as liars, and I will use this as a launching point for that. Those who are genuinely expert and know they are lying are obviously liars. Those who are just random people reporting what they read somewhere in casual conversation are victims, not perpetrators.

      In between it gets harder. My feeling is that anyone who is presuming expertise and in a position of authority or trying to have influence (clinicians, government public health people, anyone making the effort to write about the topic or give a quote to an interviewer) are liars even if they are genuinely ignorant. They are obliged to know what they are talking about before they talk.

      Also, someone whose job it is to disseminate the disinformation cannot invoke the “just following orders” defense. If they are fronting for the liars, even if they do not personally condone the lies, they are still lying.

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