Branded cigarettes safer, say 25%More than a quarter of young smokers believe cigarettes in "glitzy" and branded packaging are less harmful than those in packets with a plain design, a charity has warned.
A report by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) found that just over 25% of regular smokers aged 16 to 25 thought a branded cigarette pack was less harmful than another based on the packet design alone.
This refers to the fact that people can still remember when (low-tar) Marlboro Gold were called Marlboro Lights. That was not so very long ago so it is hardly surprising. The BHF do not consider the fact that Marlboro Gold will still be called Marlboro Gold even if plain packaging is introduced and, therefore, a minority of people will consider them to be less harmful—or, to put it another way, that Marlboro are more harmful. Being prohibitionists, they never contemplate the consequences of their actions. Action is all that counts. But unless they plan mass brainwashing of the population, the plain packaging ruse will have no effect on the misconception they profess to be concerned about.
Betty McBride, director of policy and communications at the British Heart Foundation, said: "As informed adults, we know that smoking is a deadly addiction that kills half of all smokers.
Why does the British Heart Foundation—a charity—have a "director of policy"? Is this really what people donate their money for?
"But young people are not always fully aware of the risks, and the power of branding holds more sway."
Firstly, it is highly unlikely that young people are not fully aware of the risks considering the multi-million pound anti-smoking campaigns in every media, as well as at school. Secondly, in case you hadn't noticed, "young people" are not allowed to buy cigarettes and by the time they are able to buy them they are "informed adults". Even if they obtain them illicitly in the mean time, they will find extensive, graphic health warnings on every pack. If these do not make them "fully aware of the risks", the fault lies with the anti-tobacco policy-makers who created them.
But for do-anything, say-anything campaigners like the BHF's director of policy, nothing is ever enough...
"Tobacco advertising is rightly banned in the UK. Yet current glitzy packaging clearly still advertises tobacco on the cigarette box."
Tobacco advertising is indeed banned. I vividly recall organisations like the BHF celebrating all those years ago when the UK introduced a total and utter ban on tobacco advertising and sponsorship. They celebrated because the ban was so "comprehensive". There was not a word from them about any "loophole" which allowed cigarette packaging because, as everyone understood, packaging is not advertising. Only very recently, as the anti-smoking movement searched for new barrels to scrape, have they attempted to redefine advertising to include colours and logos.
She added: "It's an absurd loophole the tobacco industry takes full advantage of to lure in new young smokers."
This is abject nonsense, but expect to hear much more of it next year. The alcohol, food and pharmaceutical industries should take note. 'Junk food' and alcohol are not allowed to be advertised before 9pm. Most drugs cannot be advertised at all. Alcohol may also soon be subject to a total ban. Why, then, should children have to be "exposed" to the "advertising" of "glitzy packaging" every time they step foot in a shop or walk past a window? Won't somebody think of the children? Something must be done, etc. etc.
Either packaging is advertising, in which case products which cannot be advertised on television should be sold in plain packaging from covered shelves, or it is not, in which case some semblance of a free market should remain.
It is not, of course. Never in history has a logo on a product been considered advertising. Even the fruitiest loops of the anti-smoking fraternity never viewed it as such until necessity became the mother of invention. They will resort to anything to get their way, but their corruption of the English language must be resisted by every industry before the neo-prohibitionists take the "next logical step."