Posts Tagged ‘anti-smoking’
As well as levying greater and greater taxes and duties on cigarettes, one way in which the Government has been looking to help reduce smoking is through hiding packets. Already cigarette boxes are covered in stores, but Ministers decided, back in 2012, to hold off on introducing plain packaging across all brands until there was examinable evidence from Australia, who did exactly that in December 2012.
New figures based on the first full year of plain paper packaging shows that, actually, more tobacco was sold in Australia than before the packaging ban- reversing a five-year declining trend.
Later this week, an independent review will report to UK ministers on the case for banning branded cigarette packs. Health campaigners claim the move would protect children, who are considered to be less likely to take up smoking if packs are unbranded. However, the findings from Australia suggest that actually, if no-one knows which brand you are smoking, you may as well buy cheaper brands. And if cigarettes are cheaper, you can buy more of them. Common sense, innit?
And it’s not like no-one saw this coming. Back when the UK announced a review of cigarette packaging in March 2012, we reported that London Economics predicted exactly this outcome. It’s like they have experience in economics or something.
Deborah Arnott, director of Action on Smoking and Health, said: “We are repeatedly seeing attempts to undermine the case for standardised packaging. The number one reason for standardised packaging is to protect children. It is about dissuading them from taking up smoking – and one year’s data from Australia about delivery levels of tobacco tells us nothing about that.” But then she would say that. She also recommends that even greater taxes be used to ‘level up’ the price differential across brands.
It is worth noting that the Australian figures being presented have come from tobacco peddler Philip Morris (of Marlboro fame), and represent wholesale amount shipped to Australia, rather than retail figures. Eoin Dardis, director of corporate affairs for Philip Morris in Britain, said: “When you commoditise a product, people go after the price. If people are buying cheaper stuff, maybe they’re smoking more of it, I don’t know … It’s definitely a point of interest and that’s something that absolutely needs to be explored because that’s the counter of what this policy was seeking to achieve.”
But then he would say that.
Amazingly, there are still people who smoke. Not that there is anything wrong with people making their own minds up to smoke, provided they are in full possession of the health warnings, it’s just that smoking nowadays requires such a high level of commitment. Sure, having a fag outside is no hardship on a sunny day, but in the middle of a never ending wet and snowy winter? You’ve gotta really want that fag.
One claim smokers make is that smoking helps calm their nerves, something that might be in abundance just before a job interview. But new research from the States might mean that smoking before a job interview would not be the best way to get a job.
According to the completely unbiased Tobacco Control Journal, smokers actually cost more to employ than non-smokers owing to absenteeism, lower productivity and increased pension costs. They put this extra cost as the equivalent of £3,839 a year, including £344 in extra days off, £307 in reduced productivity while you dream of your next fag break, and £2,045 in time wasted on fag breaks themselves.
Anti-smoking groups have welcomed the report, because they knew this all along, with some groups, such as of British Lung Foundation Wales calling for employers to provide smoking cessation services for employees to help them over their addiction. After all, it’ll save them money in the long run.
But Simon Clark, director of the consumer group Forest, which lobbies for the rights of smokers, was understandably less impressed:
“This study trots out the usual estimates and calculations. Yes, smoking is a risk to people’s health but so is obesity, drinking to excess and lack of exercise,” he said.
“Non-smokers take coffee breaks, make personal phone calls and use social media at work. Should those activities be targeted too?” he concluded, conveniently ignoring the fact that smokers can also drink coffee, make personal phone calls and use social media.
However, he finished by insisting that whether a person smokes or not should not be a factor for employers, saying “people should be judged on their ability to do the job, not on whether they smoke”. While smokers are not officially a discriminated-against group (although smokers may argue they are discriminated against) it is unlikely to be legal to refuse to employ someone just because they smoke. But then again, perhaps your CV will just look better if it doesn’t smell of stale smoke…
Smoking’s a dirty business. Ask Yul Brynner (one for the teenagers there). This anti-smoking ad proves once and for all that puffing away on the nicotine sticks is exactly the same as getting the living daylights battered out of you.
It’s bad for your health and what’s more, it’s pretty anti-social as well, as the waiter in the restaurant demonstrates by escorting the warring ladies to a separate ‘special area’ where scum like them can half-kill themselves without the rest of us normal types having to see any of it.
Here comes Nike’s relaunching of the rebranded Tiger Woods, ahead of his return to golfing action at The Masters later today (well I’M excited about it).
Look at him – he’s pensive, he’s a bit sorrowful, he’s older, wiser, possibly still thinking about shagging blondes but certainly doing a good job of hiding it if he is. And who’s that talking bollocks at him? Why it’s his dead dad Earl!
Thanks Nike – that’s some classy work there! Although obviously nicked from that anti-smoking ad starring Yul Brynner that appeared after he died. Actually….
Earlier today, we posed the question ‘Should smokers be paid to quit?’ It’s one way of looking at the situation. Maybe the government need to come down harder on the suckers of cancer sticks – we could cut off their fingers or stitch up their lips to help them quit their filthy habit.
Perhaps we could incorporate some kind of Russian roulette / Charlie And The Chocolate Factory element to it all – get the government to add Semtex to five random cigarettes dotted around the UK. Smoke one and you’ll go up like a rocket on Bonfire Night. Unfortunately.
Sod it – let’s just give everyone a six-month deadline to pack in the tabs and if they don’t, send Superman round and he can do to them what he did to Nick O’Teen in this 1981 ad. Problem solved.