How’s that plain packaging policy working?

Deliveries of tobacco to retailers in Australia rose slightly last year for the first time in at least five years, even after the introduction of plain packaging aimed at deterring smokers, according to industry sales figures to be released on Monday.

Australia, which in December 2012 became the first country to ban branded cigarette packs, is being closely watched for signs of success as other nations including Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom explore similar measures.

Britain last year appointed a respected paediatrician to examine whether plain packaging would reduce the health costs of smoking. The doctor’s report is expected this week.

In 2013, the first full year of plain packaging, tobacco companies sold the equivalent of 21.074 billion cigarettes in Australia, according to industry data provided by Marlboro maker Philip Morris International.

That marks a 0.3 per cent increase from 2012, and reverses four straight years of declines.

Source.
What a policy disaster! The situation of the ground must be even worse. These figures only include legal tobacco. So once we add on the illegal stuff – including the sophisticated counterfeiters I suspect tobacco consumption has increased substantially above the 0.3 per cent increase.

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56 Responses to How’s that plain packaging policy working?

  1. Ant

    What’s a big government nanny state to do?

    Say “oops, so sorry, got it wrong, let’s just get rid of the silly law and go back to where we were before?”

    Hell no. They’ll double down and say that the real problem is that the law didn’t go far enough.

    These numbskulls do this all the time. They introduce idiot laws and programs which siphon a fortune out of the economy with no tangible benefit and, too often, completely counterproductive.

    The tragic thing for taxpayers is that the penalty for stupidity in our political system is non-existent.

    Which only encourages more of it.

  2. Tom

    Every law designed to modify public behaviour that the left introduces, in their rarely allowed excursions out of the ghetto into government, achieves the polar opposite of what was intended. The real story is that the left has zero self-awareness about why this was destined to happen with plain packaging. Australia cannot afford the left because leftism is a mental illness.

  3. Leo G

    A policy to get the chop-chop?

  4. Stephen of Glasshouse

    Prohibition always works so well. It is interesting to see the chaps in ATO vests now showing up at criminal takedown operations as they inspect the nice crops of tobacco..

  5. H B Bear

    This is a job for … Super Nanny.

    Quick call Professor Mike Daube. Now where is the Bat Camry?

  6. Empire Strikes Back

    Britain last year appointed a respected paediatrician to examine whether plain packaging would reduce the health costs of smoking. The doctor’s report is expected this week.

    So paediatricians are now experts in the vagaries of homo economicus? It looks like the quacks will inherit the Earth.

  7. politichix

    What happened to the legal action the cigarette companies were going to mount?

  8. Ellen of Tasmania

    This is a job for … Super Nanny.

    At the risk of being labelled a sexist/misogynist/biggoty-big-bigot, I do wish the nannies and mummies of this world – of both sexes – would go home and have babies of their own to raise as they see fit and leave me and mine alone.

  9. .

    More apt than the Reagan quote. Change Israel for Timor and we’re there:

    Lisa: How come the Smithsonian needs to be sponsored by a cell phone company?

    Omnitouch Rep: I can answer that. Uncle Sam needs to spend our tax dollars on the essentials. Anti-tobacco programs, pro-tobacco programs, killing wild donkeys and Israel.

  10. Dave Wane

    Looks as this “health initiative” will therefore be delivering even more funds to government – no doubt to waste on all the usual nonsense – and probably including more ads warning of the dangers of smoking. Imagine where we would be now if the likes of Roxon (of course now retired), Plibersek and all the other nanny-staters from Labor were re-elected?

  11. Not to mention the 12.5% increase on cigarettes which will only make the black market even more lucrative. And then there’s the e-cigarettes whch now has a black market for ones which contain nicotine. Oh, and of course RBT has resulted in massive increases in drug driving as a substitute for drink driving. Yes, they are now drug testing, but just ask ASADA how difficult that is. Are the police going to adopt the ASADA measures in drug driving in the absence of adequate drug testing?? They just create a giant rabbit hole for which the only escape is legalization or deregulation, or tyranny.

  12. ugh

    Pretty obvious why this happened – they banned tobacco companies from advertising which led to slight decreases in sales.

    Then Nanny Roxon introduced a controversial law and the fallout kept cigarettes in the papers for months on end – publicity that money literally couldn’t buy for tobacco companies, and reminded smokers they were “stickin it to the man” every time they lit up – hence their sales increased. Brilliant advertising campaign – bet the tobacco companies wish they’d thought of it.

    Just another unintended consequence from the numbskulls that brought us so many others…

  13. .

    They just create a giant rabbit hole for which the only escape is legalization or deregulation, or tyranny.

    They choose tyranny.

    We wanna ban cigarettes…but we must protect our revenue base…

    Nothing is as greedy as a politician or a grant recipient.

  14. Splatacrobat

    Increasing the excise over 15 percent hasn’t changed behaviours either.
    The only thing that has decreased is poor peoples spending on food for their families.

  15. nerblnob

    is being closely watched for signs of success as other nations including Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom explore similar measures.

    They ought to be closely watching for signs of failure too.

    I suspect they’re not “watching” for anything, just waiting for a decent period before proclaiming it a success and pushing forward with their legislation. BBC report hints as much

    Also notice the graph showing downward trend in smoking since the 50s, which has slowed as it reaches the point of diminishing returns.

    Or, if you like, the more anti-smoking measures have been brought in, the more stubbornly slow the decrease gets.

    Or, if you like, everything that has been tried has been followed by a decrease in smoking so they’ve all been rip-roaring successes.

    Or, if you like, it was decreasing anyway so shut up.

    Or none of the above.
    Statistics, don’t you love them?
    Perhaps the sharpest correlation would be between pubs closing and the introduction of the smoking ban. Hard to find a graph for that one.

  16. Rabz

    Simon Crapman could not be reached for comment.

  17. nerblnob

    Damn, didn’t close my link. Take it down if you want, Mod.

  18. politichix

    ugh
    #1241009, posted on March 27, 2014 at 11:01 am
    Pretty obvious why this happened – they banned tobacco companies from advertising which led to slight decreases in sales.

    Then Nanny Roxon introduced a controversial law and the fallout kept cigarettes in the papers for months on end – publicity that money literally couldn’t buy for tobacco companies, and reminded smokers they were “stickin it to the man” every time they lit up – hence their sales increased. Brilliant advertising campaign – bet the tobacco companies wish they’d thought of it.

    Love it!

  19. Zaphod

    The only thing that has decreased is poor peoples spending on food for their families.

    Why is it that smoking rates are so much higher in the poorer, less educated areas of society?

  20. C.L.

    Why is it that smoking rates are so much higher in the poorer, less educated areas of society?

    Let’s go back in time and ask this man.

  21. Infidel Tiger

    So Roxon’s legacy will be switching kids from pre-mixed drinks to buying full bottles of spirits and an increase in the smoking rate for the first time in a generation. She’s the grim reaper with a scarier face.

  22. Baldrick

    Let’s go back in time and ask these doctors.

  23. Baldrick

    Even the Flintstones got in on the act!

  24. Toiling Mass

    The combination of the elites unassailable confidence in their intellect with their utter pig ignorance of the world leads them time and again to hatch schemes like this.

    They think everyone else is a mindless blob that will react predictably to each manipulation and can be corralled into whatever pens they set. The fact that these blobs repeatedly do other than they expect is, of course, the blobs fault.

  25. Tintarella di Luna

    She’s the grim reaper with a scarier face.

    And lankier locks

  26. Fibro

    I am one those cretinous social outcasts who smoke, you know the one that creeps outside for a puff and who’s work colleagues bitch about………..another day maybe.

    Has plain packaging changed my habit? No
    Has pricing changed my habit? Yes, I now smoke a cheaper brand.
    Do I smoke any less? No
    Do I buy grey/fake? Yes, when I can
    Am I typical amongst other smokers? Yes

    The net result of Roxons brainwave is that I smoke the same, pay the government less and get more socially outcast. And they wonder why they lost western Sydney.

  27. Andrew

    Why is it that smoking rates are so much higher in the poorer, less educated areas of society?

    That would be because the Uuuuuunions won the smoko. And if you happened to not smoke, there was a risk that you might actually prefer to finish some work that you were in the middle of. Only the addicted could be relied on 100% to maintain Solidarity.

    Likewise, anyone thinking about quitting would receive reinforcement in the workplace for the filthy habit.

    So Moobs is a backer of Big Tobacco.

  28. Zaphod

    And they wonder why they lost western Sydney.
    QED ?

  29. Cold-Hands

    Another unintended consequence- the hallmark of ALP policies and characteristic of progressives who esteem feelings above facts.

  30. Michael

    Sure deliveries increased, but imagine how much more they’d have increased without plain packaging! Can you imagine?

  31. .

    Zaphod
    #1241022, posted on March 27, 2014 at 11:11 am
    The only thing that has decreased is poor peoples spending on food for their families.

    Why is it that smoking rates are so much higher in the poorer, less educated areas of society?

    Rich people do cocaine. You’re a middle class parasite, preying on the poor to salve your conscience.

  32. Joe Goodacre

    Ellen of Tasmania,

    I do wish the nannies and mummies of this world – of both sexes – would go home and have babies of their own to raise as they see fit and leave me and mine alone.

    I’d prefer that they didn’t have children. Fewer future left wing voters.

  33. Joe Goodacre

    The plain packaging laws and the speed that they were enacted showed how freedom in this country can change in a blink of an eye.

  34. Alex Davidson

    How is it that compulsory government propaganda can be called ‘plain packaging’?

  35. Fedup

    The local tobacconist sells certain lines of popular children’s gifts as well as cigarettes (that’s an interesting business crossover), otherwise I would never have any reason to visit there.

    Not long after the change over I asked the staff member the impact of the plain packaging and the large photos of grotesque consequences that some smokers experience. He indicated that if anything this had increased sales as younger people find some entertainment in these pictures.

    It would appear that younger people who enjoy multiple piercings and prolific tattooing are more drawn to the supposed solution than they were to the original problem.

    It would also appear that to have any impact with a policy you need to analyse not what you think might work but do some thorough analysis of those attracted / likely to be attracted and how they think and behave before committing to such a wide change.

    That said, it was probably worth a go but can now go into the ‘tried it but didn’t work’ or the ‘we can learn from history’ section of Parliament.

  36. Infidel Tiger

    Perhaps the next step is to put flowers on the packs or two men making out?

  37. Dan

    How are alcohol sales going? Hmmmmm

  38. nilk

    Then Nanny Roxon introduced a controversial law and the fallout kept cigarettes in the papers for months on end – publicity that money literally couldn’t buy for tobacco companies, and reminded smokers they were “stickin it to the man” every time they lit up – hence their sales increased. Brilliant advertising campaign – bet the tobacco companies wish they’d thought of it.

    Hence why my smoking friends now get cigarettes for christmas, bithdays, housewarmings…..

  39. James of the Glen

    “Simon Crapman could not be reached for comment.”

    Never was a person so accurately renamed.

  40. Biota

    Only one solution after plain packaging- plain dried hay instead of tobacco. That should work.

  41. .

    The most vile legislation on the books. Why we can’t grow our own tobacco:

    http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/ea190180/s28.html

    EXCISE ACT 1901 – SECT 28

    Only licensed producers to produce tobacco leaf etc.
    (1) A person who does not hold a producer licence must not intentionally produce material that is tobacco seed, tobacco plant or tobacco leaf knowing, or being reckless as to whether, the material is tobacco seed, tobacco plant or tobacco leaf.

    Penalty:

    (a) for tobacco seed or tobacco plant–2 years imprisonment or 500 penalty units; and

    (b) for tobacco leaf–2 years imprisonment or the greater of:

    (i) 500 penalty units; and

    (ii) 5 times the amount of duty, worked out under the regulations, being the duty that would be payable if the tobacco leaf had been manufactured into excisable goods and entered for home consumption on the penalty day.

    Note: See section 4AA of the Crimes Act 1914 for the current value of a penalty unit.*

    (2) A person who does not hold a producer licence must not produce tobacco seed, tobacco plant or tobacco leaf.

    Penalty: 100 penalty units.

    (3) Strict liability applies to subsection (2).

    *

    CRIMES ACT 1914 – SECT 4AA

    Penalty units
    (1) In a law of the Commonwealth or a Territory Ordinance, unless the contrary intention appears:

    “penalty unit” means $170.

    Repeal s 28!

  42. Toiling Mass

    Fedup,

    Your tobacconists observation on the fascination of the gruesome pictures on kids reminds me of this short story by Saki.

  43. nerblnob

    Those cancerous mouth pictures look quite erotic from a distance.

  44. ralph

    Hardly a “policy disaster”. As Fed up noted, “it was probably worth a go”. Far too early to make the call in any case. I wouldn’t trust the industry – a 0.2% increase breaking what appears to be an established trend. A big call to say its a policy disaster. How many lives were lost? At this rate you will quickly run out of superlatives if you ascribe this as a “policy disaster”

  45. ralph

    JC – what makes you such a rude prick? Piss off you ignorant fucknuckle and find a life in a exit bag you jerk off.

  46. Yobbo

    What was the rise in population over the same period?

  47. C.L.

    it was probably worth a go

    LOL.

  48. Fat Tony

    “Fuck off Ralph”

    fukn funny – tell me Ralph, do you think destroying the Western industrialised nations in the attempt to “tackle climate change” (aka Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming) is “probably worth a go” too??

  49. nerblnob

    Getting Ukraine to give up their nukes to Russia in 94 in return for non-aggression – it was probably worth a go.

    Prohibition of alcohol USA 1920-1933 – it was probably worth a go.

    Smuggling drugs to Bali in a boogie board – it was probably worth a go.

    What About.com says about prohibition is quite apt:

    Considered by many as a failed social and political experiment, the era changed the way many Americans view alcoholic beverages, enhancing the realization that federal government control cannot always take the place of personal responsibility.

    It’s interesting that the tobacco prohibitionists don’t have enough confidence that their case stands on its own merits but have to keep framing it as the little guy fighting Big Tobacco.

  50. Pat K

    … I suspect tobacco consumption has increased substantially above the 0.3 per cent increase.

    Right on the money here. At least 25% of smokers I know are smoking contraband.

  51. feelthebern

    Right on the money here. At least 25% of smokers I know are smoking contraband.

    It’s rife. The chop chop trade will be bigger than the amphetamines trade in a few years.
    Then the shootings in western Sydney will become the shootings in every suburb.

    Shows how vindictive Roxon etc were.
    They didn’t give a shit about smokers.
    They didn’t give a shit about tax revenue.
    All they wanted to do is stick one in big tobacco’s eye.

  52. Dan

    Yobbo
    #1241845, posted on March 27, 2014 at 9:18 pm
    What was the rise in population over the same period?

    Here is something Yobbo

    1.8% pop. growth with approx 18% of the population who are smokers makes roughly 0.3%.

    More stats here

  53. jack ellis

    By making such a fuss over plain packaging the topic of smoking is even more in the limelight than ever before. Kids will always buck the system so don’t be surprised in smoking amongst kids is on the up. Also, kids can now get trendy cases for their packs like those you get at http://www.smoke-screenz.com where you can even design your own case.

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