Anti-tobacco campaigner Melanie Wakefield of the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer has been engaged without tender by the Department of Health to undertake a National Tracking Survey of 400 current and ex-smokers between 2012 and 2014 to assess the effectiveness of the plain packaging laws.
Philip Morris Limited Director of Corporate Affairs, Chris Argent, said it was not appropriate for one of the primary advocates and designers of plain packaging to conduct a taxpayer-funded review of the policy.
“This is akin to a student setting the end of year exam questions, taking the test and then marking their own work,” Mr Argent said.
Professor Wakefield was a member of the former Labor Government’s Tobacco Expert Committee which recommended plain packaging in 2008 and then subsequently provided advice to the Government on the implementation of the ban on brands. The Department of Health has stated that the National Tracking Survey is a key measure for determining its view of the impact and effectiveness of plain packaging and graphic health warnings.
Public records also reveal that Professor Wakefield and the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer have received more than $7 million in Federal funding to research tobacco control policies in the last decade.
Good work if you can get it.
(HT: Chris Snowdon via Twitter)