ABC admits Christian Kerr is correct

There has been a huge kerfuffle (okay – I think that’s a good pun) over Christian Kerr’s article from last week. Last night Media Watch got into the act. So let’s remind ourselves of the basic argument:

Plain packaging laws, which came into force in December 2012, have instead boosted demand for cheaper cigarettes, with reports of a more than 50 per cent rise in the market for lower cost cigarettes.

The research by industry monitor InfoView, which shows a rise in the market share of cheaper cigarettes from 32 per cent to 37 per cent last year, is backed up by retailers, consumer marketers and the industry, with cigarette maker Philip Morris saying its ­information showed no drop in demand.

Last night the ABC confirmed this to be the case:

Well perhaps part of the answer is that tobacco industry’s profits have been hit by plain packaging as people switch to cheaper brands.

People are switching to cheaper brands of cigarettes? Just like Christian Kerr argued? And this effective decrease in price will have no impact on quantity demanded or consumed? (Hold that thought).

I just want to confirm for our international readers that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is not some spear carrier for Big Tobacco or part of the great right-wing conspiracy, but is an Australian government agency.

I should also point out some very interesting cherry picking:

But … let’s ask a couple of questions.

Do the figures mean more people are smoking?

Well, no … the industry admits, the number of smokers fell in 2013 by 1.4%.

OK. So are the people who do smoke smoking more?

No again … the average number of cigarettes smoked per person also fell in 2013 by 1.4%.

Hmmm – Media Watch showed a very small copy of the letter and quickly whipped it off the screen. Let’s look at what the source material actually said:

“Over the five years in the lead-up to the introduction of plain packaging, total tobacco industry volumes were declining at an average rate of -4.1 per cent.

“Subsequently, since plain packs were introduced on 1 December 2012, industry volumes have actually grown for the first time in a long time to +0.3 per cent.

“Further, the number of cigarettes smoked on a daily basis declined at a rate of -1.9 per cent in the five years leading up to plain packaging, while it slowed to -1.4 per cent after green packs hit shelves.

“The long term decline of people giving up smoking at a fairly consistent rate and also smoking less has changed for the worse.

Oh dear; quoted the same number – out of context – twice to make different points.

I wonder why Media Watch didn’t quote this sentence?

“With growth in industry volumes, fewer people quitting and a jump in the amount of cheap illegal cigarettes on the streets, you could draw the conclusion that people are actually smoking more now than before plain packaging came into effect.”

Anyway the ABC then go on to report some fantastic conspiracy story as if it were news.

The other thing that really intrigues me about all of this is the naive reliance on ABS statistics. In particular The Kouk has been tweeting and retweeting the ABS address of the seasonally adjusted volume measure of tobacco consumption – right down to the excel spreadsheet column. To be sure the ABS does a magnificent job, but as the great philosopher Obi Won Kenobi said, “These are not the numbers you are looking for”.

As I have argued these numbers are subject to revision. Then we need to understand that Expenditure is a measure of Price times Quantity. Now with some very sophisticated mathematics I’m going to change the subject of the formula and we also know that Quantity is Expenditure divided by Price.

So now if Expenditure is down and Price is a constant then Quantity is down too. That is The Kouk’s argument and that is what the ABC wanted us to believe last night. Small problem – as even the ABC now admits:

… people switch to cheaper brands.

Price, in effect, is falling. Suddenly for a given level of Expenditure we cannot be certain what the impact on Quantity is – it all depends on the magnitude of the fall in price. But it possible to imagine – just possible – that over 2013 when Expenditure was rising and Price falling that Quantity would rise. The secret to understanding this is that we’re dividing a bigger number by a smaller number.

Another problem with the ABS data is that their technique for calculating chain measures doesn’t entirely eliminate substitution bias. That’s the fancy term for consumers switching from more expensive products to less expensive products – as another government agency, the ABC, now acknowledges is happening. The objective in these calculations is to eliminate price movements and get an understanding of the quantities (or volumes) involved.

… the ABS derives its annual and quarterly chain volume estimates using the Laspeyres formula with annual base years. With the exception of the latest quarters, quarterly chain volume estimates are derived by linking together estimates derived in the average prices of the previous year. However, the latest five to eight quarters are derived in the average prices of the latest base year, which is the year before the previous year.

So how old are the prices being used in the calculation? At the very least, not especially up to date. Now this isn’t a criticism of the ABS per se because for most things it probably doesn’t matter much. But sometimes it does:

For aggregates such as gross value added of mining and agriculture, and maybe exports and imports, where volatility in price and volume relativities are common, the advantages of frequent linking may be doubtful, particularly using the Laspeyres (or Paasche) formula. For reasons of practicality and consistency, the same approach to volume aggregation has to be followed throughout the accounts.

Fair enough, but note the caveat – when “volatility in price and volume relativities are common” the benefit of the ABS approach may be doubtful.

The ABS actually provide an example where declines in price actually distort their data – computers. This is an example we know and understand. But the ABS also tell us that it doesn’t matter that the data are distorted because Australia doesn’t produce computers and so the overall GDP figures are not distorted much. Again that is a fair judgement – but it does tell us that we should not simply accept any and every data point as being definitive or decisive in a debate.

A lot of very careful work needs to be done into the efficacy of the plain packaging policy – the early evidence isn’t very supportive of the policy.

All this is over and above the illegitimacy of state-sponsored persecution of that minority who consume tobacco. That is an argument that I think is powerful, but it has been lost.

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183 Responses to ABC admits Christian Kerr is correct

  1. Problem with smokers is that too many of them are willing to accept crappy laws, as they feel it helps deter them.

  2. feelthebern

    The secret shame that is getting zero coverage is the chop-chop industry.
    This is what happens with SRC politics are actioned in the real world.

  3. I just want to confirm for our international readers that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is not some spear carrier for Big Tobacco or part of the great right-wing conspiracy, but is an Australian government agency.

    That’s simply wrong Sinc.
    It is not an “agency” – it’s a commission.
    To use the word “agency” implies that it operates at the bidding of the government of the day.
    Its foundation is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983.
    It is independent of government.
    That’s why we hear so much crap about bias when we have a Coalition government.

  4. Is ‘cheery-picking’ only selecting examples that make you happy?

    I am aware I’m doing a bit of cheery-picking myself here….

  5. C.L.

    A masterful demolition.

    One of the best ever.

  6. Des Deskperson

    ‘It is independent of government’

    But like most ‘commissions’, it’s funded by the government (i.e. the taxpayer), and the amount of money it gets depends on decisions by government. This means that there is at least a temptation among ABC staff and management to support the side of politics that gives it more money and to oppose the side that threatens or has the potential to impose cuts. This temptation is, of course, all the greater given the ABC’s high public profile.

    We rely on the professionalism of the ABC, backed up by the impartiality provisions in the Act, to resist this temptation. Is it currently demonstrating this level of professionalism?

  7. Roger

    All this is over and above the illegitimacy of state-sponsored persecution of a that minority who consume tobacco. Persecution? You mean beatings by police, deprivation of liberty without trial, confiscation of property? And all for smoking cigarettes? By all means make the case against plain packaging, Sinc (actually, it’s not plain, it’s quite graphic!) but don’t over-egg the omelette, eh?

  8. Bruce of Newcastle

    I note in the transcript that Barry forgot to mention his data is incomplete.

    Its incomplete because something like 25% of tobacco consumption is from illegal sources.

    Therefore the picture is probably even worse for Roxon than the ABS and industry data suggest, since if people are going to cheaper brands due to lack of packaging signals then the cheapest “brand” of all is the one not produced by evil Australian tobacco companies. Indeed the plain packaging fosters more smuggling by making it harder to see that a consumer is actually using blackmarket stuff.

    These days the left refuse to look at data honestly and always try to spin it to their favoured message irrespective of reality. This is called lying. Lying does not work in the long run.

  9. Jeno

    Why are Big Tobacco trying so hard to discredit plain packaging if it isn’t working and people are smoking more? Methinks a bit of misinformation is happening here!

  10. Roger

    Why are Big Tobacco trying so hard to discredit plain packaging…?
    Property rights, Jeno.
    Quite right too. Even though I’m not exactly gung-ho in support of the big tobacco firms, there’s a bigger principle involved in this dispute in which government has over-reached in a manner which has significant potential implications for all trade mark holders/businesses.

  11. Tom

    Why are Big Tobacco trying so hard to discredit plain packaging if it isn’t working and people are smoking more? Methinks a bit of misinformation is happening here!

    Welcome to the Cat, Jeno. Always good to see new faces.

    You’re right. There’s a ton of misinformation around. One of the misinformations is that plain packaging will discourage people from smoking when consumers of a legal product are simply reacting the way consumers in a market behave if a government presents them with an extra incentive to use the product by telling them it’s bad for them; and begin looking for ways to acquire the product more cheaply by avoiding extortionate government sin taxes and buying tax-free contraband.

    I know that this scenario is probably correct, even without official statistics, as it is the calling card of the leftist death cult, which destroys everything it embraces as a cause because it has zero comprehension about how the real world works.

  12. H B Bear

    I see Super Nanny Professor Mike Daube is never far away.

    A spoonful of government makes the medicine go down, …

  13. Sooo … first Paul Barry and Murdoch monomania … then Jon Faine … then the Chaser ‘boys’ and Chris Kenny … and now this …

    It’s almost like they need a Fact-Checking Unit.

  14. Token

    ‘It is independent of government’

    But like most ‘commissions’, it’s funded by the government (i.e. the taxpayer), and the amount of money it gets depends on decisions by government.

    As usual with the troll, it is stupid or liar.

    Is he too stupid to understand, or does he knowingly lie? You choose.

  15. brc

    Why are Big Tobacco trying so hard to discredit plain packaging if it isn’t working and people are smoking more? Methinks a bit of misinformation is happening here!

    2 reasons.

    1. Precedent. They need data to prove that the effect doesn’t work, in a case other countries decide to introduce it.
    2. Profits. A branded item is more profitable than a generic item. Part of the appeal of a more expensive brand for a smoker is down to the signalling achieved by carrying that pack. I’m sure that some difference in quality is detectable – but probably not at the price difference. Same as a t-shirt from target vs t-shirt from Hugo boss. The quality difference is not matched by the price difference, so Hugo boss makes more profit on a lower volume, despite the extra marketing costs.

    In short, companies make more profit from branded tobacco than unbranded. The trademarks they have developed create profit for them. They wish to protect this profit in the larger markets around the world and so will attack the Oz experiment and show the data having the opposite effect than was intended.

    I’ve never smoked in my life but I support them in this, simply because of the branding/trademark principles at stake. If it is a legal product then they should be allowed to brand it how they like, within standards of public decency like any other brand.

    We as Australians need to ask ourselves if we would be happy if Australian products – let’s say Australian beef in Japan – were stripped of there ability to create and use a brand. If the beef was forced to be sold in a green wrapper with labelling of ‘generic bovine flesh’ – would we be happy? I think the answer is no, unless you are a raving vegan with secret desires to control everybody’s behaviour.

  16. srr

    Why are Big Tobacco trying so hard to discredit plain packaging…?
    Property rights, Jeno.

    How poor would the whole world be now if aspirational Chinese were not buying High End Labels…rhetorical.

  17. Token

    Hmmm – Media Watch showed a very small copy of the letter and quickly whipped it off the screen. Let’s look at what the source material actually said:

    It is very concerning what Paul Barry did during that and the Bolt sessions.

    The purpose of the media watch program was to review the standard of the media with an eye to improve it. It now is a program where exteremely high paid staff indulge in the most base attacks on ideological programs.

    Of course, as Malcolm Turnbull approves of the ABC and does not plan to change the orgnasation by a jot or tiddle, we can expect more sliming to the point the ABC is sued.

  18. Token

    I’ve never smoked in my life but I support them in this, simply because of the branding/trademark principles at stake. If it is a legal product then they should be allowed to brand it how they like, within standards of public decency like any other brand.

    We as Australians need to ask ourselves if we would be happy if Australian products – let’s say Australian beef in Japan…

    It is startling that so many people who endlessly parrot the line “international opinion” don’t see that this one of the few topics where the world is watching and will use to harm our trade if it is successful.

  19. Token

    How poor would the whole world be now if aspirational Chinese were not buying High End Labels…rhetorical.

    I assume you are referring to handbags & luxury cars which a few of the ways the wealth of China is shared with the world.

  20. Infidel Tiger

    Why are Big Tobacco trying so hard to discredit plain packaging if it isn’t working and people are smoking more? Methinks a bit of misinformation is happening here!

    If plain packaging of alcohol was introduced and everyone switched to cask wine, consumption would inevitably rise. The same thing has happened with tobacco. People who were previously smoking palatable B&H have switched to floor sweepings like Holiday 50’s.

  21. Tom

    It’s almost like they need a Fact-Checking Unit.

    Why hasn’t the government introduced an independent ABC ombudsman (with power to fire serious offenders) to investigate complaints? The current in-house circular file system which the ABC has spent decades developing guarantees that complaints are rarely upheld and never acted on.

    The appointment of an ombudsman with real power would stop complaints about bias and most transgressions in their tracks, thereby defusing the ABC as an issue. It’s smart politics — which is obviously beyond the dumbass Credlin Regime.

  22. Token

    If plain packaging of alcohol was introduced and everyone switched to cask wine, consumption would inevitably rise.

    What if they raised the tax on mixed alcohol to an artificial high and left the cost of base alcohol the same?

    There is no way the consumers would choose the base brand and consume more? Would they?

  23. Token

    Why hasn’t the government introduced an independent ABC ombudsman (with power to fire serious offenders) to investigate complaints?

    Lord Wentworth dreams of being PM, so he is putting off fixing the ABC in his quixotic quest as he labours under the delusion he will be able to implement controls when he is in charge.

    Ultimately the country suffers due to the delusions of one talented vain fool.

  24. manalive

    With growth in industry volumes, fewer people quitting and a jump in the amount of cheap illegal cigarettes on the streets, you could draw the conclusion that people are actually smoking more now than before plain packaging came into effect …

    I can see how this may happen. In my smoking days (many years ago) the brand one smoked was part of the attraction e.g. the ‘Marlboro Man’ for the outdoors type (or insecure), ‘Peter Stuyvesant’ for sophisticates, better still ‘Gitanes’.
    Once deprived of the brand cachet anything would do, the cheaper the better.

  25. Lord Wentworth dreams of being PM, so he is putting off fixing the ABC in his quixotic quest as he labours under the delusion he will be able to implement controls when he is in charge.

    Ultimately the country suffers due to the delusions of one talented vain fool.

    Not for the first time.

  26. Leo G

    Why are Big Tobacco trying so hard to discredit plain packaging if it isn’t working and people are smoking more? Methinks a bit of misinformation is happening here!

    Perhaps because plain packaging proliferates low-cost producers and diverts profits to government and government-regulated distributors.

  27. manalive

    e.g. the ‘Marlboro’ ….

  28. walking through the tulips

    Hmmm…let’s see – it is difficult to see the efficacy of plain packaging given
    - cheaper cigarettes have been introduced onto the market at the same time (now why would tobacco companies do this, if we were to believe their PR that plain-packaging would make no difference whatsoever?)
    - prior to an increase in cigarette taxes, retailers bought larger than usual stocks of cigarettes
    So basically, The Australian never had the data to support the key claims of their front page article.

    If plain-packaging is having no effect whatsoever, why are tobacco companies so opposed to it? One would expect that they are relieved that they can save money on packet design costs.

  29. walking through the tulips

    “All this is over and above the illegitimacy of state-sponsored persecution of a that minority who consume tobacco.”

    Actually, if you accept the scientific evidence that second-hand smoke causes cancer in non-smokers, then the relevant legislation is preventing the minority you mention harming the majority

  30. Cato the Elder

    It is independent of government.
    That’s why we hear so much crap about bias when we have a Coalition government.

    Quite so. It’s good to see you acknowledging that their ABC is biased in favour of the ALP.

  31. Tintarella di Luna

    …better still ‘Gitanes’

    I tried Gitanes and Gauloises wearing a jaunty beret, a tight black skirt and a red and white striped boat-neck — didn’t last long, the ensemble did not make them at all palatable, one drag and I threw up. I don’t smoke

  32. Bruce of Newcastle

    Also why is it that the ABC likes legalisation of marijuana smoking when they are so against smoking of tobacco?

  33. Aristogeiton

    walking through the tulips
    #1349960, posted on June 17, 2014 at 11:53 am
    [...]
    So basically, The Australian never had the data to support the key claims of their front page article.

    If plain-packaging is having no effect whatsoever, why are tobacco companies so opposed to it? One would expect that they are relieved that they can save money on packet design costs.

    So much bullshit here. The Australian never claimed that plain packaging was having “no effect at all”. It claimed that the unit consumption of cigarettes was going up. They are not “saving money”; the money has already been sunk into their branding and advertising.

    As usual, the statists are wrong. Their miracle intervention into the market has had unintended consequences, and for the worse. Like every other time before.

  34. Aristogeiton

    walking through the tulips
    #1349965, posted on June 17, 2014 at 11:59 am
    “All this is over and above the illegitimacy of state-sponsored persecution of a that minority who consume tobacco.”

    Actually, if you accept the scientific evidence that second-hand smoke causes cancer in non-smokers, then the relevant legislation is preventing the minority you mention harming the majority

    Yes, by encouraging more smoking of cheaper brands. Right? You’re a dunderhead.

  35. Infidel Tiger

    Actually, if you accept the scientific evidence that second-hand smoke causes cancer in non-smokers

    I don’t accept that junk science.

  36. Andy

    I used to smoke. Plain packaging was the last little push that I needed to quit. I’m grateful for the introduction of those laws and the change to my health has been immense.

  37. Aristogeiton

    Infidel Tiger
    #1349976, posted on June 17, 2014 at 12:13 pm
    Actually, if you accept the scientific evidence that second-hand smoke causes cancer in non-smokers

    I don’t accept that junk science.

    But Kevin Rudd’s mum died of passive smoking.

  38. C.L.

    But Kevin Rudd’s mum died of passive smoking.

    And his father died from injuries sustained driving into a power pole after a day on the piss.

    So why didn’t he introduce plain packaging of alcohol?

  39. Aristogeiton

    C.L.
    #1349985, posted on June 17, 2014 at 12:22 pm
    But Kevin Rudd’s mum died of passive smoking.

    And his father died from injuries sustained driving into a power pole after a day on the piss.

    So why didn’t he introduce plain packaging of alcohol?

    His mother died at 83, after suffering from breast cancer and parkinson’s disease. Obviously her true cause of death lies somewhere deep in the forgettery.

  40. Cold-Hands

    Why hasn’t the government introduced an independent ABC ombudsman (with power to fire serious offenders) to investigate complaints?

    I nominate Gerard Henderson to really see some heads exploding.

  41. walking through the tulips

    Aristogeiton
    #1349974, posted on June 17, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    “It claimed that the unit consumption of cigarettes was going up.”
    Well, it is true that retailers bought extra stocks to get around a tax hike – but there is no data that establishes that plain-packaging caused smoking rates to increase. So The Australian, as is usual with a plethora of topics, didn’t mount an evidence-based argument, but a blind-faith based one.

    Aristogeiton
    #1349975, posted on June 17, 2014 at 12:11 pm
    “Yes, by encouraging more smoking of cheaper brands.”
    Actually higher taxes cause more people to quit. That’s what data shows.
    I think Sinclair Davidson is referring also to no-smoking areas.

  42. Token

    So why didn’t he introduce plain packaging of alcohol?

    Does that explain the alco-pops thought bubble?

  43. I used to smoke. Plain packaging was the last little push that I needed to quit. I’m grateful for the introduction of those laws and the change to my health has been immense.

    And you are – how many people, exactly?

    Oh, that would be one.

    Count ‘em.

    One.

  44. Infidel Tiger

    I used to smoke. Plain packaging was the last little push that I needed to quit. I’m grateful for the introduction of those laws and the change to my health has been immense.

    You sound like a piss weak beta male.

    Do you shower with bathers on and urinate sitting down?

  45. So why didn’t he introduce plain packaging of alcohol?

    Does that explain the alco-pops thought bubble?

    I think that if you try to work out why Kevin Rudd said and did anything, you will quickly end up in a rabbit hole.

    This is the man who couldn’t be sent to Bunnings by his wife to buy anything actually sensible or practical.

  46. Token

    Actually, if you accept the scientific evidence that second-hand smoke causes cancer in non-smokers

    The science is really dubious here, but given that other laws and society norms has managed the risk by forcing people out of doors.

    …then the relevant legislation is preventing the minority you mention harming the majority

    No, the legislation is unnecessary and ultimately redundant.

  47. Token

    I used to smoke. Plain packaging was the last little push that I needed to quit.

    Wow, are you allowed to play with scissors? There really should be a law about that too, shouldn’t there.

  48. walking through the tulips

    Infidel Tiger
    #1349976, posted on June 17, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    “I don’t accept that junk science.”

    OK.

    Hypothetically speaking, what if you did accept the science? Would you just ignore the issue and leave it to the markets, or would you advocate for government legislation to protect non-smokers from harm?

  49. walking through the tulips

    Infidel Tiger
    #1350003, posted on June 17, 2014 at 12:34 pm
    I used to smoke. Plain packaging was the last little push that I needed to quit. I’m grateful for the introduction of those laws and the change to my health has been immense.

    You sound like a piss weak beta male.

    Do you shower with bathers on and urinate sitting down?

    You sound like you’ve just lost an argument, IT. But given your extremely limited blind faith, I’m sure that happens frequently.

  50. Infidel Tiger

    Hypothetically speaking, what if you did accept the science? Would you just ignore the issue and leave it to the markets, or would you advocate for government legislation to protect non-smokers from harm?

    I’d ignore it. The market has and always will know best.

    Do you believe that alcohol and tobacco taxes are punitive and cause undue hardship on the poor?

  51. Frederic

    Why are Big Tobacco trying so hard to discredit plain packaging if it isn’t working and people are smoking more? Methinks a bit of misinformation is happening here!

    Because they couldn’t care less how many cigarettes are smoked. They only care how many of THEIR cigarettes are smoked, and they can’t increase market share without branding. But surely this is kind of obvious?

  52. walking through the tulips #1350008, posted on June 17, 2014 at 12:38 pm
    Infidel Tiger
    #1349976, posted on June 17, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    “I don’t accept that junk science.”

    OK.

    Hypothetically speaking, what if you did accept the science? Would you just ignore the issue and leave it to the markets, or would you advocate for government legislation to protect non-smokers from harm?

    And a big hi to Steve from Brisbane. We haven’t missed you. Although I like your new moniker; it sort of sums it all up, really.

  53. Aristogeiton

    Whatever. I don’t believe a word you wowser fucks say. You really only care about punishing the transgressors of your sick illiberal morality. That’s why the party of the ‘working man’ increased the price of his cigarettes by 50% and took a gratuity from the rum and coke he bought after a hard days work.

    But e-cigarettes? Can’t be too careful. Not enough evidence. Might ‘normalise smoking’ etc. Whatever. You are a bunch of miserable, lying fucks whose goal in life is to blanch the last vestige of enjoyment that the common man may pursue to lighten his drudgery. I hate you all.

  54. walking through the tulips

    Infidel Tiger
    #1350015, posted on June 17, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    The market has and always will know best.

    How do you know that?
    Also, if that is true, doesn’t that mean that there should be no government whatsoever?

    Do you believe that alcohol and tobacco taxes are punitive and cause undue hardship on the poor?

    No

  55. Aristogeiton

    walking through the tulips
    #1350036, posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:14 pm
    [...]
    Do you believe that alcohol and tobacco taxes are punitive and cause undue hardship on the poor?

    No

    Lol. Yeah; 49% of Aboriginals in remote areas. Concentrated among low SES individuals more generally. Fuck off.

  56. Aristogeiton

    Here is is in a graph. That tapering off at 45+ is probably death.

  57. walking through the tulips

    Philippa Martyr
    #1350031, posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:07 pm
    And a big hi to Steve from Brisbane.

    You can pretend I’m Steve if it makes you feel any less miserable

  58. Aristogeiton

    SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS
    After adjusting for differences in age structure, people living in areas of most disadvantage were much more likely to be daily smokers (33% of men and 26% of women), compared with those in areas of least disadvantage (12% and 11% respectively).

    http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4841.0Chapter32011

  59. Token
    The market has and always will know best.

    How do you know that?
    Also, if that is true, doesn’t that mean that there should be no government whatsoever?

    We will never know as governments at federal, state and local level have swags of legislation (and regulation through rulings) which control the area.

    The facts are plain packaging has increased the actual number of cigarettes. That science is undesputeable.

  60. Aristogeiton

    walking through the tulips
    #1350047, posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:23 pm
    Philippa Martyr
    #1350031, posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:07 pm
    And a big hi to Steve from Brisbane.

    You can pretend I’m Steve if it makes you feel any less miserable

    Creepy, angry obsession with Philippa? That’s our Steve.

  61. walking through the tulips

    Aristogeiton
    #1350034, posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:11 pm
    Whatever. I don’t believe a word you wowser fucks say.

    Who’s being a wowser?

    But you do have a point – one should always check the data and reasoning behind any non-obvious claim.

  62. Infidel Tiger

    Do you believe that alcohol and tobacco taxes are punitive and cause undue hardship on the poor?

    No

    In that case you are an horrendous person who is not worth conversing with. Go fuck yourself in a government approved way.

  63. walking through the tulips

    Aristogeiton
    #1350046, posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:22 pm
    Here is is in a graph. That tapering off at 45+ is probably death.

    I have no idea what the graph is

  64. walking through the tulips

    Aristogeiton
    #1350050, posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:24 pm
    SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS
    After adjusting for differences in age structure, people living in areas of most disadvantage were much more likely to be daily smokers

    Presumably that’s why tax increases reduce smoking

  65. Philippa Martyr
    #1350031, posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:07 pm
    And a big hi to Steve from Brisbane.

    You can pretend I’m Steve if it makes you feel any less miserable

    LOL

    Always, pet. Always.

  66. Aristogeiton

    walking through the tulips
    #1350055, posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:26 pm
    Aristogeiton
    #1350034, posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:11 pm
    Whatever. I don’t believe a word you wowser fucks say.

    Who’s being a wowser?

    But you do have a point – one should always check the data and reasoning behind any non-obvious claim.

    The fuck are you talking about, dimwit? You said:

    walking through the tulips
    #1350036, posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:14 pm
    [...]
    Do you believe that alcohol and tobacco taxes are punitive and cause undue hardship on the poor?

    No

    Of course, if the taxes had the effect that you urge, then you would expect to see greater proportional smoking among higher SES individuals, who can readily bear the tax burden. Right? Right?

  67. walking through the tulips

    Token
    #1350051, posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    The facts are plain packaging has increased the actual number of cigarettes. That science is undesputeable.

    The increase in cigarettes that you mention has nothing to do with plain packaging.

  68. All right, Steve – I’ll link to it so that you don’t have to say something like, ‘Over at Opinion Dominion, a blog redolent of transparent good sense, there’s a cracking good article by a splendid fellow called Steve who I have of course never met in any way …’

    http://www.opiniondominion.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/evolving-from-disaster-to-not-very.html

    I’m only doing this once, mind.

  69. feelthebern

    I used to smoke. Plain packaging was the last little push that I needed to quit. I’m grateful for the introduction of those laws and the change to my health has been immense.

    So did you think the packaging (that you couldn’t see as it has to be in a cabinet) was appealing enough to be a swing factor in decision making?
    You sound like someone who thinks that a press conference on drugs in sport should be held 2 years before the cops charge anyone.

  70. Aristogeiton

    walking through the tulips
    #1350081, posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:37 pm
    Token
    #1350051, posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:24 pm
    [...]
    The increase in cigarettes that you mention has nothing to do with plain packaging.

    So plain packaging is a cracking success?

  71. feelthebern

    The increase in cigarettes that you mention has nothing to do with plain packaging.

    Yeah it has.
    Chop chop has gone nuts.
    But you don’t sound like the kind of person who even knows what that is.
    But you will, when the speed linked shootings in western Sydney every night start happening at your local latte joint.

  72. walking through the tulips

    Of course, if the taxes had the effect that you urge, then you would expect to see greater proportional smoking among higher SES individuals, who can readily bear the tax burden. Right? Right?

    I haven’t “urged” anything.

    And as for the rest of your point, it’s likely that most of those who’d quit due to price increase would probably be low SES. Obviously.

  73. Aristogeiton

    Philippa Martyr
    #1350084, posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:39 pm
    All right, Steve – I’ll link to it so that you don’t have to say something like, ‘Over at Opinion Dominion, a blog redolent of transparent good sense, there’s a cracking good article by a splendid fellow called Steve who I have of course never met in any way …’

    http://www.opiniondominion.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/evolving-from-disaster-to-not-very.html

    I’m only doing this once, mind.

    Oh, yes, this old chestnut:

    And above all of this is the clear fact that many proponents of plain packaging expected it to work long term by discouraging the young from starting, and assessing whether it is working that way or not would take some time to establish.

    It’s like Sowell said:

    ‘I see this happening on all sorts of issues, from Federal Reserve policies on across the board. You say: “Here’s this wonderful program, and it will do wonderful things and the burden of proof is on others to show that it will not do those things”, and no matter how long it’s been going on, it’s never long enough. If it fails there just wasn’t enough commitment, the budget wasn’t big enough, it should have had a larger staff, wider powers. But there is never any sense of a burden of proof on you to [...] advance the empirical evidence to support what you’ve been doing.
    [...]
    Well, what is a sufficient period? [...] What temporal units are we talking about? Centuries? Decades?’

    (Thomas Sowell)

  74. Aristogeiton

    walking through the tulips
    #1350094, posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:46 pm
    Of course, if the taxes had the effect that you urge, then you would expect to see greater proportional smoking among higher SES individuals, who can readily bear the tax burden. Right? Right?

    I haven’t “urged” anything.

    And as for the rest of your point, it’s likely that most of those who’d quit due to price increase would probably be low SES. Obviously.

    So it’s ‘likely’, ‘probably’ based upon no evidence whatever? Good show fuckwit.

  75. walking through the tulips

    Aristogeiton
    #1350095, posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Oh, yes, this old chestnut:

    And above all of this is the clear fact that many proponents of plain packaging expected it to work long term by discouraging the young from starting, and assessing whether it is working that way or not would take some time to establish.

    It’s like Sowell said:

    ‘I see this happening on all sorts of issues, from Federal Reserve policies on across the board…But there is never any sense of a burden of proof on you to [...] advance the empirical evidence to support what you’ve been doing.
    [...]
    Well, what is a sufficient period? [...] What temporal units are we talking about? Centuries? Decades?’
    (Thomas Sowell)

    Oh yes, the usual paste a slab of the sacred text, the clay tablet gospel, even though it’s completely irrelevant and Sowell seems to have no idea.

    How about you explain, using reasoning, the point you’re trying to make?

  76. Gab

    even though it’s completely irrelevant and Sowell seems to have no idea.

    Racist. And a dumb one at that.

  77. Steve D

    Philippa Martyr
    #1350031, posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    And a big hi to Steve from Brisbane. We haven’t missed you. Although I like your new moniker; it sort of sums it all up, really.

    Stomping? Traipsing?

  78. walking through the tulips

    Aristogeiton
    #1350096, posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:47 pm
    So it’s ‘likely’, ‘probably’ based upon no evidence whatever?

    See references in these articles:
    http://www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au/chapter-13-taxation/13-0-introduction
    http://www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au/chapter-13-taxation/13-11-a-threat-to-government-revenue-

  79. Aristogeiton

    walking through the tulips
    #1350105, posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:59 pm
    [...]
    How about you explain, using reasoning, the point you’re trying to make?

    Why? I could sooner reason with a mule.

  80. walking through the tulips

    Gab
    #1350107, posted on June 17, 2014 at 2:00 pm
    even though it’s completely irrelevant and Sowell seems to have no idea.

    Racist. And a dumb one at that.

    What’s racist?

  81. walking through the tulips

    Aristogeiton
    #1350128, posted on June 17, 2014 at 2:15 pm
    walking through the tulips
    #1350105, posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:59 pm
    [...]
    How about you explain, using reasoning, the point you’re trying to make?

    Why? I could sooner reason with a mule.

    You mean, why use reason when you have blind faith?

  82. walking through the tulips

    feelthebern
    #1350092, posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:44 pm
    The increase in cigarettes that you mention has nothing to do with plain packaging.

    Yeah it has.

    Really?

    How do you know?

  83. walking through the tulips

    But you will, when the speed linked shootings in western Sydney every night start happening at your local latte joint.

    Is this what you think will be caused by plain packaging?

  84. Aristogeiton

    walking through the tulips
    #1350133, posted on June 17, 2014 at 2:18 pm
    Aristogeiton
    #1350128, posted on June 17, 2014 at 2:15 pm
    walking through the tulips
    #1350105, posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:59 pm
    [...]
    How about you explain, using reasoning, the point you’re trying to make?

    Why? I could sooner reason with a mule.

    You mean, why use reason when you have blind faith?

    Your ‘evidence’ is the Cancer Council Victoria, some of the biggest tax eating wowsers ever to draw breath? Good show.

  85. entropy

    Isn’t it supposed to be “tiptoe through the tulips?”

  86. walking through the tulips

    Aristogeiton
    #1350138, posted on June 17, 2014 at 2:26 pm
    Your ‘evidence’ is the Cancer Council Victoria, some of the biggest tax eating wowsers ever to draw breath? Good show.

    Actually, I pointed you in the direction of the references in the articles: to be extremely explicit, scroll to the bottom of each page and you’ll see a list of references.

  87. .

    walking through the tulips
    #1349998, posted on June 17, 2014 at 12:33 pm
    Aristogeiton
    #1349974, posted on June 17, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    “It claimed that the unit consumption of cigarettes was going up.”
    Well, it is true that retailers bought extra stocks to get around a tax hike – but there is no data that establishes that plain-packaging caused smoking rates to increase. So The Australian, as is usual with a plethora of topics, didn’t mount an evidence-based argument, but a blind-faith based one.

    If cheaper cigarettes are being sold, and the value of cigarettes is known to have increased, therefore the volume of cigarettes must have risen by a compensatory amount at least equal to the fall in the price.

    If you are arguing against this, you are arguing against reality.

    The policy has failed.

  88. Roger

    Bruce of Newcastle
    #1349969, posted on June 17, 2014 at 12:07 pm
    Also why is it that the ABC likes legalisation of marijuana smoking when they are so against smoking of tobacco?
    Indeed, given that marijuana smoking is probably more dangerous than tobacco smoking. I suspect it’s because they don’t actually think the issue through on its merits, but approach it with a pre-conceived counter-cultural bias rooted in neo-Marxism. For much the same reasons Leftists are anti-traditional marriage but pro-same sex marriage. Go figure! In the final analysis, it’s all about changing the mainstream culture. The long march through the institutions continues.

  89. Aristogeiton

    walking through the tulips
    #1350142, posted on June 17, 2014 at 2:30 pm
    Aristogeiton
    #1350138, posted on June 17, 2014 at 2:26 pm
    Your ‘evidence’ is the Cancer Council Victoria, some of the biggest tax eating wowsers ever to draw breath? Good show.

    Actually, I pointed you in the direction of the references in the articles: to be extremely explicit, scroll to the bottom of each page and you’ll see a list of references.

    I saw those, and saw that the evidence was ‘Sufficient’, according to the Victorian Cancer Council. Then I remembered the arguments of Fiona Sharkie here:

    http://www.medicalobserver.com.au/news/a-load-of-hot-air-or-do-ecigs-have-merit

    I further remembered that the data over the last year on unit-equivalent usage does not support this hypothesis, and here we are. Ever noticed how the homeless can continue to smoke; they can afford papers and have the time to go through bins? Lower SES people substitute for rollies, others drop to generic tailors. The data indicates that this is what happens in response to price increases.

  90. walking through the tulips

    .
    #1350144, posted on June 17, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    If cheaper cigarettes are being sold, and the value of cigarettes is known to have increased, therefore the volume of cigarettes must have risen by a compensatory amount at least equal to the fall in the price.

    If you are arguing against this, you are arguing against reality.

    The policy has failed.

    If retailers bought more cigarettes to get around a tax hike in Dec 2013, that doesn’t automatically translate to more people smoking.

    If tobacco companies released new lines of cheap cigarettes at the same time plain packaging was introduced, then the effects of plain packaging and price change are conflated and need to be separated in order to do a proper analysis.

    That analysis wasn’t done by The Australian; therefore they don’t have the data to support their key argument.

  91. .

    That analysis wasn’t done by The Australian; therefore they don’t have the data to support their key argument.

    Nor do you, champion.

  92. walking through the tulips

    Lower SES people substitute for rollies, others drop to generic tailors. The data indicates that this is what happens in response to price increases.

    It’s very plausible that some shifts happen, but the data shows that for every 10% increase in price, tobacco usage declines by 4%. See
    http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/1999/05/437174/curbing-epidemic-governments-economics-tobacco-control

  93. walking through the tulips

    .
    #1350172, posted on June 17, 2014 at 3:00 pm
    That analysis wasn’t done by The Australian; therefore they don’t have the data to support their key argument.

    Nor do you, champion.

    So what argument is that?

  94. Aristogeiton

    God you’re boring, Steve.

  95. Infidel Tiger

    Just when you thought Australia couldn’t become any more of a shit splattered toilet, you discover that Australian wowsers are trying to ban e-cigarettes worldwide:

    http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2014/s4026935.htm

    RENEE BITTOUN: I’ve seen some advertising regarding this, pitching towards young, the upwardly mobile. The actual product itself is sleek and slim and beautiful. I would not like to see, freely on the market, a substance that is likened to inhaling crack cocaine and making it readily available to consumers and public. And, to view it otherwise is really naïve.

  96. Aristogeiton

    Infidel Tiger
    #1350183, posted on June 17, 2014 at 3:16 pm
    Just when you thought Australia couldn’t become any more of a shit splattered toilet, you discover that Australian wowsers are trying to ban e-cigarettes worldwide:

    http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2014/s4026935.htm

    RENEE BITTOUN: I’ve seen some advertising regarding this, pitching towards young, the upwardly mobile. The actual product itself is sleek and slim and beautiful. I would not like to see, freely on the market, a substance that is likened to inhaling crack cocaine and making it readily available to consumers and public. And, to view it otherwise is really naïve.

    Refer rant above. I despise these fucks.

  97. Aristogeiton

    RENEE BITTOUN: That’s the biggest concern I have. Keep in mind that nicotine from this product, comes from the tobacco industry; their past has been pretty atrocious and why can’t we imagine, until proven otherwise, that this is not going to be the same thing happening over again.

    Lie.

  98. walking through the tulips

    .
    #1350181, posted on June 17, 2014 at 3:11 pm
    Precisely what it says.

    My claim is that there is no clear evidence in the data used by The Australian to measure the effectiveness of plain packaging. It appears Sinclair Davidson would agree with me:
    “A lot of very careful work needs to be done into the efficacy of the plain packaging policy”

    Go read the article:
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/policy/labors-plain-packaging-fails-as-cigarette-sales-rise/story-fn59nokw-1226945123085#

    It’s obvious they are conflating plain packaging with the availability of cheap cigarettes, and an increase in wholesale sales.

  99. Aristogeiton

    walking through the tulips
    #1350197, posted on June 17, 2014 at 3:34 pm
    [...]
    It’s obvious they are conflating plain packaging with the availability of cheap cigarettes, and an increase in wholesale sales.

    From the article:

    In the wake of the introduction of plain packaging, and the hike in the tobacco excise, 21-year-old Brisbane finance worker Dunja Zivkovic said she has switched to a cheaper brand and smokes more. She said none of her friends had quit in the wake of the policy change.
    [...]
    Sydney convenience store employee Harry Nguyen, 29, backed up the industry assertions.

    “Because the government has made cigarettes so expensive, people just go for the cheapest ones,” Mr Nguyen said.

    The only conflation is your own. Of course, according to you the increase in the excise should curb usage. Wrong!

  100. Chip Monck

    Tulip guy isn’t Steve; it’s metro mick in yet another guise. The modus operandi is unmistakeable.

    Call for JC..

  101. walking through the tulips

    Aristogeiton
    #1350202, posted on June 17, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    The only conflation is your own. Of course, according to you the increase in the excise should curb usage. Wrong!

    Sample size N=1. Dead giveaway: if you ever went to uni, you probably didn’t study anything but arts subjects.

    Moreover, there’s research that shows that if prices increase by 10% usage drops by 4%. See the link in an earlier comment of mine. Your beef should be with the researchers who discovered that particular relation, you could even “discredit” it.

    But the main topic of this article is plain packaging, and that your beloved tabloid, The Australian, has lived up to expectations in publishing on the front page a feeble-minded mess of an article that claims, yet falls far short of proving that plain packaging is ineffective.

  102. Aristogeiton

    #1350213, posted on June 17, 2014 at 3:58 pm
    [...]
    But the main topic of this article is plain packaging, and that your beloved tabloid, The Australian, has lived up to expectations in publishing on the front page a feeble-minded mess of an article that claims, yet falls far short of proving that plain packaging is ineffective.

    It’s a broadsheet, fuckass.

  103. Aristogeiton

    walking through the tulips
    #1350213, posted on June 17, 2014 at 3:58 pm
    Aristogeiton
    #1350202, posted on June 17, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    The only conflation is your own. Of course, according to you the increase in the excise should curb usage. Wrong!

    Sample size N=1. Dead giveaway: if you ever went to uni, you probably didn’t study anything but arts subjects.

    Hang on a sec, fucknuts. What you actually said:

    walking through the tulips
    #1350197, posted on June 17, 2014 at 3:34 pm
    [...]
    It’s obvious they are conflating plain packaging with the availability of cheap cigarettes, and an increase in wholesale sales.

    Of course, the article makes mention of the effects of substitution and the increase in excise. So you are, as ever, wrong.

  104. walking through the tulips

    Of course, the article makes mention of the effects of substitution and the increase in excise. So you are, as ever, wrong.

    So how does this show “Labor’s plain packaging fails”?

  105. Tulip guy isn’t Steve; it’s metro mick in yet another guise. The modus operandi is unmistakeable.

    Call for JC..

    I stand corrected. Always willling to hear a second opinion …

  106. Aristogeiton

    walking through the tulips
    #1350238, posted on June 17, 2014 at 4:26 pm
    Of course, the article makes mention of the effects of substitution and the increase in excise. So you are, as ever, wrong.

    So how does this show “Labor’s plain packaging fails”?

    Whereas the data shows that the number of sticks sold has increased, rather than the decrease that advocates argued for if the shiny, hypnotic packets were taken away?

  107. 1234

    Our Brisbane finance worker and convenience store worker – sample of two. The research has yet to be done.

  108. 1234

    Indeed, with (non)data like that and ending up on page one it shows how shit The Australian has become.

  109. walking through the tulips

    Whereas the data shows that the number of sticks sold has increased, rather than the decrease that advocates argued for if the shiny, hypnotic packets were taken away?

    OK. I will be maximally explicit with an illustrative example. Suppose hypothetically speaking plain packaging was introduced, and somehow, it was determined that in isolation there was a 4% reduction in cigarettes consumed. Suppose too that the prices of cigarettes were dropped to nullify that reduction in demand. It would not make sense to say that plain packaging was ineffective.

    To evaluate the effectiveness of plain packaging, you need to know how plain packaging affects the consumption of cigarettes while all other factors that influence demand, such as price, are kept the same.

  110. Aristogeiton

    walking through the tulips
    #1350254, posted on June 17, 2014 at 4:44 pm
    [...]
    OK. I will be maximally explicit with an illustrative example. Suppose hypothetically speaking plain packaging was introduced, and somehow, it was determined that in isolation there was a 4% reduction in cigarettes consumed. Suppose too that the prices of cigarettes were dropped to nullify that reduction in demand. It would not make sense to say that plain packaging was ineffective.

    Sorry, where is the evidence that prices have gone down? We know that they have gone up. We are seeing substitution and a probable increase in unit consumption.

  111. Aristogeiton

    Lot of supposition there.

  112. Gab

    Lot of supposition there.

    lol I read that as ‘suppositories’ at first glance. Same diff in this case really.

  113. Petros

    I just saw a shop in Athens that sells e-cigarettes exclusively. Had clear signs outside advertising them. Why would anyone want to prevent people using them? Aren’t they less harmful than normal cigarettes? The statists are nicotinophobes?

  114. Aristogeiton

    Petros
    #1350281, posted on June 17, 2014 at 5:09 pm
    I just saw a shop in Athens that sells e-cigarettes exclusively. Had clear signs outside advertising them. Why would anyone want to prevent people using them? Aren’t they less harmful than normal cigarettes? The statists are nicotinophobes?

    All evidence points to them being basically inert, aside from the delivery of nicotine (which is actually a very safe drug). The arguments of the wowsers need to be heard to be believed. After telling us that ‘every cigarette you smoke is doing you damage’ for years, some e-cig users dual-use, and so should be prevented from the safer product as they are still smoking tobacco occasionally. It will encourage young people to smoke (though the data says it will not). It will ‘normalise smoking’, whatever that means. These cnuts want people to die of cancer now. They are disgusting human beings. They have forced me to break the law for the sake of my health. Thanks asshats!

  115. Infidel Tiger

    The statists are nicotinophobes?

    God forbid anyone on earth should be engaging in any small pleasure.

  116. Gab

    I just saw a shop in Athens that sells e-cigarettes exclusively. Had clear signs outside advertising them. Why would anyone want to prevent people using them? Aren’t they less harmful than normal cigarettes? The statists are nicotinophobes?

    Firstly, I’m extremely jealous you are in Athens.
    Secondly, Big Pharma doesn’t manufacture the e-cigs, they’ve lobbied the govt here et voila! They’re illegal if containing nicotine.

    Now everyone, go buy some nicotine gums, gels, patches, sprays, shampoo, moisturiser instead. Big Pharma needs your money.

  117. walking through the tulips

    Aristogeiton
    #1350262, posted on June 17, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Sorry, where is the evidence that prices have gone down?

    Here. Also, a few days ago BATA released this.

  118. feelthebern

    Is this what you think will be caused by plain packaging?

    Do you not know what chop chop is?
    Do you not know how wide spread & open the trade is?
    So, you take an illegal trade (chop chop), with high margins & you think organized crime wont (or haven’t already gotten involved).
    Speaking with an assistant commissioner in the NSW police a month ago & he said it was one of the biggest issues on their radar.
    Why?
    They get stick from all the speed related shootings in Sydney, pretty much every day.
    They know the value of the chop chop business is a multiple of that.
    Soooo…they reckon the money & associated crime from chop chop will end up increasing the violence.
    But don’t worry, keep reading your reports.
    Maybe pop in to your local newsagent bright & early one morning & see if a large tattooed chap drops (in clear site of customers) a large parcel, that quickly gets put in a safe place.
    I’ve seen it myself on a few occasions.
    My local newsagent gets his of a Saturday morning.
    Plain paper packaging has many unintended consequences.
    This is one.

  119. feelthebern

    Who gives a fuck what all these vested interests have to say – on both side of the argument.
    Plain paper packaging is giving the chop chop trade the biggest leg up ever.

  120. walking through the tulips

    feelthebern
    #1350381, posted on June 17, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Black market cigarette trade will thrive if the excise becomes too high. But there’s no evidence to suggest that plain packaging will encourage black market cigarette sales.

  121. .

    But there’s no evidence to suggest that plain packaging will encourage black market cigarette sales.

    Bullshit.

    Next.

  122. Peewhit

    Prohibition is prohibition whether by making something outright illegal or just prohibitively expensive. One of our problems is that the example of the American experiment in banning alcohol is too far in the past. No-one seems to believe that the criminality and corruption resulting from illegal drugs is the same thing. In my opinion it is up to the individual to choose their course in life, and possibly their cause of death. You might as well die from something you have enjoyed as die from misery. It may be that the only certainties in life are death and taxes, but I am busy avoiding taxes as much as I can. Death may be slightly harder to avoid. One last thought is that I have believed for some years now that the danger of cigarette smoke complies with the inverse square law. Take the distance and square it to get the reduction in hazard.

  123. WhaleHunt Fun

    That’s why we hear so much crap about bias when we have a Coalition government.

    Numbers is spot on. The drivel coming out of Minister Turnbull’s mouth about the ABC not being utterly and completely biased is, to use Number’s term, “crap”.
    The ABC is a festering cesspit that must be purged by fire. Only flame will clean out this contamination of society. It worked for witchcraft. You don’t see many witches persecuting people nowadays. So it will work for ABC supporters and their “familiars”, the Greens.
    Fire now or regret later.

  124. WhaleHunt Fun

    Illegal tobacco imports are, according to sources in customs, used by the drug cartels to trial novel import routes. If they go wrong the consequent punishments are mild. If they go right, they are then used for more profitable items such as drugs.

  125. WhaleHunt Fun

    So best to legalise smoking, remove excise, or get tough and execute smokers.
    One or the other.
    If you don’t want to go round killing people then ditch the stupid laws and taxes.

  126. feelthebern

    Black market cigarette trade will thrive if the excise becomes too high. But there’s no evidence to suggest that plain packaging will encourage black market cigarette sales.

    You’re basing you position on a false premise.
    So we sit back & wait until there’s a report saying it is a problem?

  127. feelthebern

    You’re basing your position on a false premise.

  128. The Kouk posts sense.
    And makes a bet -

    A bet on offer to Kerr, Creighton, Davidson, Sloan or Merritt. I will wager that when we get the ABS measure for the household consumption of tobacco and cigarettes for the December quarter 2014, it will show lower consumption than for ANY quarter in 2012 or 2013. To be clear, it is the chain volume measure, seasonally adjusted, household consumption of cigarettes and tobacco, currently Table 8 of the national accounts. The data are likely to be published in March 2015. Any takers? Or do they know that I am right and the policies to reduce tobacco consumption are working?

  129. .

    I bet Kouk is an idiot who doesn’t realise what chop-chop is.

  130. Infidel Tiger

    What a lying tool. The debate is over what has happened in the present with the current data.

    Kouk’s bet naturally doesn’t occur until after the next astronomic excise rise on September 1st.

    If illegal sales could be accurately tracked, there would be a huge rise in smoking recorded.

  131. Aristogeiton

    Infidel Tiger
    #1351328, posted on June 18, 2014 at 12:15 pm
    What a lying tool. The debate is over what has happened in the present with the current data.

    Kouk’s bet naturally doesn’t occur until after the next astronomic excise rise on September 1st.

    If illegal sales could be accurately tracked, there would be a huge rise in smoking recorded.

    As Sinc says above, quoting from the ABS method for their chain volume data:

    the ABS derives its annual and quarterly chain volume estimates using the Laspeyres formula with annual base years. With the exception of the latest quarters, quarterly chain volume estimates are derived by linking together estimates derived in the average prices of the previous year. However, the latest five to eight quarters are derived in the average prices of the latest base year, which is the year before the previous year.

    Kouk doesn’t answer this one in the silly post Numbers links to.

  132. JC

    Yep, tulip is that boofhead metromick, my escaped carbon slave.

    Metro/ Tiny, you’ve been life time banned from here. Get lost. Go shine the fake Walkley.

  133. JC

    Kouk’s bet naturally doesn’t occur until after the next astronomic excise rise on September 1st.

    We now have first hand evidence how the Grecian finance ministry operated. The idiot would make a great Greek finance minister. Lying through his teeth.

  134. Aristogeiton

    JC
    #1351345, posted on June 18, 2014 at 12:30 pm
    Kouk’s bet naturally doesn’t occur until after the next astronomic excise rise on September 1st.

    We now have first hand evidence how the Grecian finance ministry operated. The idiot would make a great Greek finance minister. Lying through his teeth.

    He’s just fucking flat-out lying about the dataset:

    Kerr and Creighton then note that “several tobacco companies are now offering “loosies” — and an extra cigarette or two in packets of 20 or 25 — to attract customers”. If so, this increase in volume (get it guys, volume of tobacco) would be captured in the ABS consumption data. Nothing here.

    Lie.

    Two point four cheers (seasonally adjusted, volume terms) for Kerr and Creighton – maybe the message of facts from the ABS is sinking in! These are the numbers which show the volume of tobacco consumed. Yes! Hooray!

    No.

    But they make the mistake of quoting Mr Connell saying “ABS data is based on consumption expenditure. That’s money spent on cigarettes, not volume”. Whoops. Wrong Mr Connell

    Wrong. While perhaps imprecise, it is at least closer to the truth than Kouk’s lies.

    And it goes on and on. With the fucking lies.

  135. JC

    What’s really nauseating about this dick is that he’s trying to move the goal posts by putting forward the bet proposition in order to steer away from the fact that he’s wrong about his analysis of pasta data. None of the people he challenged to a bet have made any prediction about future tobacco consumption. All they’ve done is analyse past data and came to the conclusion that plain packaging has been a dismal failure at that point in time.

    The future Greek finance minister aspirant doesn’t want to talk about this though. Lying douchbag

  136. Aristogeiton

    JC
    #1351352, posted on June 18, 2014 at 12:40 pm
    What’s really nauseating about this dick is that he’s trying to move the goal posts by putting forward the bet proposition in order to steer away from the fact that he’s wrong about his analysis of pasta data. None of the people he challenged to a bet have made any prediction about future tobacco consumption. All they’ve done is analyse past data and came to the conclusion that plain packaging has been a dismal failure at that point in time.

    The future Greek finance minister aspirant doesn’t want to talk about this though. Lying douchbag

    Good point.

    There’s also the appeal to ‘accuracy’, lack of ‘bias’ and ‘comprehensivity’:

    Well, um, slagging ABS data is a bit like slagging the Bureau of Meteorology for bad weather.

    The ABS produce the most accurate, unbiased, comprehensive data set on the volume of tobacco consumed each quarter, Australia wide. Naive? No. Accurate I would suggest.

    Is anybody arguing otherwise? No. What they are saying is that the way that this data is calculated does not make it responsive to substitution bias.

    Fucking pathetic, lying asshole.

  137. The AMA speaks truth to power (Murdoch).

  138. Aristogeiton

    1735099
    #1351582, posted on June 18, 2014 at 4:34 pm
    The AMA speaks truth to power (Murdoch).

    Your totalitarian friends over at the AMA, supporters of regulating what you eat, and how much you pay for your booze (hint: a lot more), and yet strangely keen that you get lung cancer.

  139. Infidel Tiger

    The AMA is a left wing terrorist organisation. In a properly ordered society they’d all be imprisoned.

    Note they could not refute any of the facts.

  140. Aristogeiton

    Infidel Tiger
    #1351591, posted on June 18, 2014 at 4:43 pm
    The AMA is a left wing terrorist organisation. In a properly ordered society they’d all be imprisoned.

    Note they could not refute any of the facts.

    Doctors, judges, lawyers. Few would survive under your dictatorship IT :)

  141. Infidel Tiger

    Few would survive under your dictatorship IT

  142. Infidel Tiger

    Few would survive under your dictatorship IT

    Freedom and order would reign supreme.

  143. Aristogeiton

    Infidel Tiger
    #1351603, posted on June 18, 2014 at 4:52 pm
    [...]
    Freedom and order would reign supreme.

    “But—to put it brutally—you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, and the Bolshevist leaders are just as indifferent to the casualties that may be involved in their drive toward socializaton as any General during the World War who ordered a costly attack in order to show his superiors that he and his division possessed the proper soldierly spirit. In fact, the Bolsheviki are more indifferent because they are animated by fanatical conviction.”
    (Walter Duranty)

  144. walking through the tulips

    I’m confused. Perhaps one of the knowledgable people here can help.

    According to The Australia, plain-packaging has caused the consumption of cigarettes to increase. How does this follow from the data?

    Or perhaps someone could try to explain another claim from The Australian, that plain-packaging causes consumers to switch to cheaper cigarettes. How does this follow from the principles of economics, given that cheaper cigarettes are also in plain packaging? How does this follow from the data?

    I have not seen a single unambiguous argument that successfully supports either of these claims, mostly just fuzzy-minded rhetoric. Can anyone who knows some supporting arguments that stand up to scrutiny please present them?

  145. Infidel Tiger

    I’m confused

    Let’s leave it at that.

  146. wreckage

    How does this follow from the principles of economics, given that cheaper cigarettes are also in plain packaging?

    Usually people are brand-loyal. Once they decide on a preferred brand they continue to buy it. The government has eliminated this by making their preferred brand indistinguishable. In the absence of other factors, consumers always choose the cheaper product. The government has cleared the way for pure market force to determine the market. People consume the cheapest product, then, finding they have more money to spend as a result, they buy more product.

  147. Aristogeiton

    walking through the tulips
    #1351666, posted on June 18, 2014 at 6:24 pm
    I’m confused. Perhaps one of the knowledgable people here can help.

    I’m confused. Perhaps someone could help me. I troll here, but am having trouble being perceived as sincere. Should I try a new approach?

  148. wreckage

    Also, plain packaging removes the prestige-good satisfaction people derive from consuming brand-name goods. The simplest alternative satisfaction is the satisfaction of consumption itself, so they substitute that in.

    How is any of this fluffy rhetoric? It’s all accepted market and psychological theory.

    Here’s another one: plain packaging turns cigarettes from a luxury good to a commodity. Price drops, consumption rises.

  149. Aristogeiton

    wreckage
    #1351727, posted on June 18, 2014 at 7:23 pm
    Also, plain packaging removes the prestige-good satisfaction people derive from consuming brand-name goods. The simplest alternative satisfaction is the satisfaction of consumption itself, so they substitute that in.

    How is any of this fluffy rhetoric? It’s all accepted market and psychological theory.

    Here’s another one: plain packaging turns cigarettes from a luxury good to a commodity. Price drops, consumption rises.

    Your options for discovery of products is severely limited in the absence of trademarks and advertising. How can you differentiate, even to make a product selection? It’s very difficult.

  150. walking through the tulips

    wreckage
    #1351720, posted on June 18, 2014 at 7:20 pm
    How does this follow from the principles of economics, given that cheaper cigarettes are also in plain packaging?

    Usually people are brand-loyal. Once they decide on a preferred brand they continue to buy it. The government has eliminated this by making their preferred brand indistinguishable. In the absence of other factors, consumers always choose the cheaper product.

    I quite like your answer but I think it’s too simplistic. I presume many smokers who prefer a particular product do so for a variety of reasons, not just for packet branding. For instance there are variations in flavour, strength, cigarette texture, burn characteristics – there are lots of differences from cigarette to cigarette that presumably influence the buying decisions of a regular smoker. The packet branding continues to exist in verbal form, and the cigarettes themselves still appear the same. Moreover branding is much more than the packet design.

    I guess another point is, if someone was buying cigarettes mainly for the packet branding and the resulting image boost, aren’t they less likely to buy cigarettes if packet branding is uniformised and therefore does not offer additional image “currency”?

    People consume the cheapest product, then, finding they have more money to spend as a result, they buy more product.

    This is not obvious to me at all. Presumably you mean that when people switch to cheaper cigarettes, they keep spending exactly the same amount of money on cigarettes hence consume a greater volume of tobacco. The obvious problem with this argument is that the number of cigarettes that many smokers consume per day may not be influenced by price; they may smoke a fairly specific number of units and end up choosing ones acceptable in quality for the price they’re willing to pay.

  151. JC

    People consume the cheapest product, then, finding they have more money to spend as a result, they buy more product.

    This is not obvious to me at all.

    Interesting, so a demand shift can’t occur with fall in price. If you’re right you should go for the nobel prize.

    Look dickhead, it doesn’t even matter if consumption is down at trend because even if it is plain packaging has failed as it was meant to hasten the fall.

  152. walking through the tulips

    Here’s another one: plain packaging turns cigarettes from a luxury good to a commodity. Price drops, consumption rises.

    What is the difference between a luxury and a commodity? Can it really be as narrow as packet design?

  153. walking through the tulips

    JC
    #1352052, posted on June 19, 2014 at 12:35 am

    Look dickhead, it doesn’t even matter if consumption is down at trend because even if it is plain packaging has failed as it was meant to hasten the fall.

    How do you know that?

  154. walking through the tulips

    JC
    #1352052, posted on June 19, 2014 at 12:35 am

    Interesting, so a demand shift can’t occur with fall in price. If you’re right you should go for the nobel prize.

    Where did i argue that?

  155. Too Cheap to Meter

    I quit smoking some years ago. Now days tobacco smoke smells disgusting and that is probably because what is sold as baccy these days is worse than floor sweep. Before I quit altogether I was growing my own baccy with the connivance and best wishes of a very dear Yugoslav friend – they break the law relying on the Edmund Hillary principle. It was a sweet smelling smoke and I would have used it as an incense had I not quit smoking. Much like I loved the taste of really class cannabis and would love to have continued with that, if only it didn’t f89kwith your head.

  156. TipToeingthruthePansies

    Phillipa! Get that tulip nutcase.

  157. Well, who’d a thunk it?
    British American Tobacco contradicts the Fart of the nation…

  158. Aristogeiton

    1735099
    #1352713, posted on June 19, 2014 at 4:37 pm
    Well, who’d a thunk it?
    British American Tobacco contradicts the Fart of the nation…

    Lol:

    “Australia:
    Profit was up strongly as a result of higher pricing and cost saving initiatives, partially offset by lower volume.”

    It couldn’t be they have lost market share because of idiocy?

  159. Steve

    “Profit was up strongly as a result of higher pricing”.

    Higher pricing would be a very interesting economic outcome. Arguably, one of the effects of plain packaging, in the short term, is to create a barrier to entry for new brands. Smokers will find it very difficult to know when a new brand is launched and hence may be unlikely to switch to a brand they do not know.

    Of course, the opposite argument is that smokers will not care about brand at all and hence tobacco companies will primarily compete on price.

    It would interesting to know whether despite average prices rising, the lowest price has been falling. It could mean both things are happening.

  160. .

    walking through the tulips
    #1352055, posted on June 19, 2014 at 12:40 am
    JC
    #1352052, posted on June 19, 2014 at 12:35 am

    Interesting, so a demand shift can’t occur with fall in price. If you’re right you should go for the nobel prize.

    Where did i argue that?

    Here’s your problem you dolt: You don’t know your arse from your elbow then you want to teach your betters to suck eggs.

    Back to mouth breathing for you, giggles.

  161. Infidel Tiger

    What a dishonest shit The Kouk is. Here is the full quote from BAT in their annual report:

    Profit was up strongly as a result of higher pricing and cost saving
    initiatives, partially offset by lower volume. Illicit trade increased following
    the introduction of plain packaging. Market share was lower

    http://www.bat.com/group/sites/uk__9d9kcy.nsf/vwPagesWebLive/DO9DCL3B/$FILE/medMD9HEGPT.pdf?openelement

  162. Infidel Tiger

    Page 32 of the report.

    Great report too. All in all tobacco continues to be one of the world’s most beloved products.

  163. .

    Arguably, one of the effects of plain packaging, in the short term, is to create a barrier to entry for new brands.

    Ergo they could hand you any old shit and charge the premium price.

    Fuckwit.

  164. Infidel Tiger

    BAT’s brands tend towards the premium side, so naturally when plain packaging was introduced consumers drifted to cheaper competitors.

  165. Steve

    “BAT’s brands tend towards the premium side, so naturally when plain packaging was introduced consumers drifted to cheaper competitors.”

    That would explain the higher prices. Has the cheapest pack in the market fallen?

  166. walking through the tulips

    Infidel Tiger
    #1352738, posted on June 19, 2014 at 5:03 pm
    BAT’s brands tend towards the premium side, so naturally when plain packaging was introduced consumers drifted to cheaper competitors.

    This claim is conflating the effects of plain packaging (full compliance by 1 Dec 2012), increased tobacco excise tax (12.5% in Dec 2013) and recent availability of cheaper cigarettes (eg $11.50 BATA “Just Smokes”, May 2012) on consumer demand, and ignoring the possibility that plain packaging and graphic new health warnings reduced demand.

  167. The Paddies do their homework.

    H/T Jack O’Toole

  168. walking through the tulips

    What was obvious to any objective reader was that The Australian made some key claims (eg plain packaging has caused smoking rates to increase) which did not follow from the data that they used.

    With the release of more data we now learn that the Australian’s claims are flatly contradicted by evidence.

    I wonder if they will ever publish a retraction for all the reams of incorrect articles on this matter that they have published in the last fortnight?

    This is a desultory lesson for those who uncritically accept The Australian’s default anti-science position, and those who choose to place blind ideological faith – and unquestioning trust in aligned figures of authority – ahead of evidence-based reality.

    There were many commenters here using vague justifications for The Australian’s stance rather than just seeing it clearly for what it was. Now we have a fascinating and permanent display in the comments above of how ideological adherence reduces IQ.

  169. Tom

    This is a desultory lesson for those who uncritically accept The Australian’s default anti-science position … Now we have a fascinating and permanent display in the comments above of how ideological adherence reduces IQ.

    What is it about leftards and projection? The Cat certainly flushes out the whackjob haters.

  170. egg_

    unquestioning trust in aligned figures of authority – ahead of evidence-based reality.

    So, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ is a parody, after all?
    Suspected so.

  171. .

    walking through the tulips
    #1353123, posted on June 19, 2014 at 9:22 pm
    Infidel Tiger
    #1352738, posted on June 19, 2014 at 5:03 pm
    BAT’s brands tend towards the premium side, so naturally when plain packaging was introduced consumers drifted to cheaper competitors.

    This claim is conflating the effects of plain packaging (full compliance by 1 Dec 2012), increased tobacco excise tax (12.5% in Dec 2013) and recent availability of cheaper cigarettes (eg $11.50 BATA “Just Smokes”, May 2012) on consumer demand, and ignoring the possibility that plain packaging and graphic new health warnings reduced demand.

    It’s not doing what I want it to do! Waaaah!

  172. .

    With the release of more data we now learn that the Australian’s claims are flatly contradicted by evidence.

    No. No new evidence.

    You’re lying.

    You’re a totalitarian freakshow, wanting to control the actions of millions. In a just society, you’d be thrown off a cliff.

  173. walking through the tulips

    You’re a totalitarian freakshow, wanting to control the actions of millions.

    Actually, if you read my comments, you’ll notice that I have never made a value judgement about plain-packaging, excise tax increases etc.

    I have simply pointed out that the claims peddled by The Australian are not supported by evidence.

    In a just society, you’d be thrown off a cliff.

    Now that is a dead giveaway of a hardcore authoritarian and Utopian.

  174. .

    Actually, if you read my comments, you’ll notice that I have never made a value judgement about plain-packaging, excise tax increases etc.

    Bullshit.

    You want to force other to do as you wish but you’re too much of a wimp to do it yourself.

    Not only that, you won’t say if you want people forced to do something or not.

    People like you are evil, dishonest, devious little shits.

  175. walking through the tulips

    .
    #1357043, posted on June 23, 2014 at 5:02 pm
    Actually, if you read my comments, you’ll notice that I have never made a value judgement about plain-packaging, excise tax increases etc.

    Bullshit.

    You want to force other to do as you wish but you’re too much of a wimp to do it yourself.

    Not only that, you won’t say if you want people forced to do something or not.

    People like you are evil, dishonest, devious little shits.

    LOL.

    You sound like a moon-bat in a tin-foil hat on a crusade against rationality. Is the political party you link to full of people like you?

  176. .

    I can’t crusade against your rationality because it is non existent. You have no evidence that Sinclair is incorrect. You asserted there was “new data” and he showed it was false.

    Are you telling me without the taxes on tobacco and plain packaging you’d enforce these as a vigilante? You believe in your case so solidly without evidence.

    Without the government forcing people to do things you approve of at gunpoint – it seems you have no inclination to force other people to do things.

    The alternative is that you’d meet an unfortunate end when your luck runs out.

    The upshot of this is that you believe the government forcing people at gunpoint like armed robbers to do as you see fit, without evidence is “just”.

  177. walking through the tulips

    .
    #1357066, posted on June 23, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    You believe in your case so solidly without evidence.

    This was published in The Australian:
    “Labor’s plain packaging fails as cigarette sales rise”

    Let’s now see some government figures:

    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.

    Clearances are an indicator of tobacco volumes in the Australian market.

    This is corroborated by BATA spokesman Scott McIntyre:

    “From 2008 to 2012 smoking incidence, or the number of people smoking, was declining at an average rate of 3.3 per cent a year,” he said, pointing to Roy Morgan data.

    “Since plain packaging was introduced, that decline rate slowed to 1.4 per cent.”

    In other words the number of people smoking in 2013 was less than the number smoking in 2012.

  178. Aristogeiton

    This is corroborated by BATA spokesman Scott McIntyre:

    “From 2008 to 2012 smoking incidence, or the number of people smoking, was declining at an average rate of 3.3 per cent a year,” he said, pointing to Roy Morgan data.

    “Since plain packaging was introduced, that decline rate slowed to 1.4 per cent.”

    In other words the number of people smoking in 2013 was less than the number smoking in 2012.

    What?! He’s saying that the consistent rate of decline in smoking incidence has slowed. Less people are quitting. Can you read? Are you an idiot?

  179. .

    Less people are quitting.

    Steve from Brisbane uses this as evidence of the success of the policy – which is monumentally stupid on its own…

    He believes the policy works despite the evidence, and thus this gives the right to support coercion and violence against citizens with different lifestyle preferences to him – but he won’t accept the moral responsibility of such coercion. He refuses to be compared to a common violent thug with wring headed ideas and a messiah complex, which the community would be right to retaliate against with force up to and perhaps including deadly force.

    Yet he has a messiah complex, stupid wrong headed ideas and wants other people to enforce his puritanical point of view by the barrel of the gun.

    What a living, breathing, abortion of morality this man is – his preference is justified on the basis that he isn’t the one pushing people around and he isn’t prepared to do it himself.

  180. walking through the tulips

    Aristogeiton
    #1357135, posted on June 23, 2014 at 6:42 pm
    This is corroborated by BATA spokesman Scott McIntyre:

    “From 2008 to 2012 smoking incidence, or the number of people smoking, was declining at an average rate of 3.3 per cent a year,” he said, pointing to Roy Morgan data.

    “Since plain packaging was introduced, that decline rate slowed to 1.4 per cent.”

    In other words the number of people smoking in 2013 was less than the number smoking in 2012.

    What?! He’s saying that the consistent rate of decline in smoking incidence has slowed. Less people are quitting. Can you read? Are you an idiot?

    Read it again. He said that there were 1.4% fewer smokers in 2013 than 2012.

  181. walking through the tulips

    .
    #1357264, posted on June 23, 2014 at 7:57 pm
    Less people are quitting.

    Steve from Brisbane uses this as evidence of the success of the policy – which is monumentally stupid on its own…

    Actually what I’m arguing is that The Australian was wrong in its key claims about plain-packaging. I’m not arguing about the effectiveness of the policy, only that The Australian made up nonsense that isn’t supported by evidence.

Comments are closed.