No wonder Julia Gillard got fired

Evidence is already available: plain packaging works. Smokers are more likely to consider giving up, and they’re also more likely to think the quality of their cigarettes has diminished.

There’s not actually been any reduction in smoking. So plain packaging doesn’t work, does it? And the black market in ciggies has expanded.

So good on Oz for throwing such a shameless liar out of office.

16 comments on “No wonder Julia Gillard got fired

  1. Compared to the rest of the things the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd government did, plain packaging passed through almost without being noticed. It certainly wasn’t an election issue.

  2. Dunno if I’m just becoming a cynical bastard in my old age or it was always thus and I was naive before, but we seem to be living in a world of post-normal politics, where the things politicians and the media say are increasingly disconnected from facts or logic or any of that other old fashioned rational stuff.

  3. To add to the above comment;
    You can see this with our old mate Richie. He’s not particularly bothered about actual tax collection, as his own personal past & present ‘tax efficient’ behavior shows. But there is damned good grazing to be had off of tax campaigning.

  4. “…they’re also more likely to think the quality of their cigarettes has diminished”

    Perhaps the “success” is simply that people enjoy smoking less?

  5. Oz didn’t throw out such a shameless liar: she was overthrown by an internal Labor putsch lead by the odious Rudd.

  6. @ dearieme
    The counter-putsch by Rudd was enabled by her outstandingly low rating in opinion polls because Labour MPs expected to be wiped out in the approaching election.

  7. BIS – Excellent summary in that link, and you’re right. It’s an amorphous blob comprising politicians, the civil service, unions, the media, fake charities, academia, and to some extent, the mainstream churches, all huffing their collective gaseous emissions and declaring them delicious.

  8. The tobacco companies (a) say this won’t reduce smoking but (b) fight it tooth and nail. Let’s assume they’re not fools or liars, but that they’re no better than they should be. The only things they can be worried about then are price and their market share.

    So (I’m guessing) they must be concerned that I (or someone more energetic) could come along selling “Luke’s Ciggies” in the same packs as them, undercut them and mess up a nice uncompetitive business of selling to price insensitive customers (aka addicts). I wouldn’t have to market – I’m not allowed to. All I can do is be cheaper.

    Should the Competition Commission be involved in what sounds like companies abusing a dominant position?

  9. Luke-

    Or, the tobacco companies are just trying to draw a line, same as smokers are. I’m opposed to plain packaging, and I don’t have a commercial interest in tobacco; I’m just aware that it’s another part of the demonisation process and this is as good a line to draw as anywhere else.

    Those of us interested in this issue are well aware that the endgame for the anti-tobacco industry is prohibition. If we don’t stop this bandwagon rolling, that is where we are going to end up. Anyone who does not recognise slippery slopes, thin ends of wedges etc when dealing with organised activism is a fool.

    It is sadly commonplace that industries are fools in this regard and repeatedly cave in to regulation in the hope that at some point the puritans will give up. This isn’t how it works.

    Ultimately, we are going to have to look at activism the way we once looked at the Unions in the 1970s- out of control and an enemy of the general good, however meritous they may have been when they started out (my argument for what it’s worth is that the reformist activist groups have generally never been conducive to the general good on most issues, but most still like to believe they are good folks gone astray; whatever). Unfortunately, reformist activism still has this general halo of goodness around it; hard working committed grass roots making the world a better place and all that jazz. So ultmately, the destruction of the Third Sector as a political force would be the long term goal. In the meanwhile, any line that can be drawn is a start.

  10. Also, anyway, this “proof” is just a telephone poll. It’s entirely worthless from a scientific perspective. I read through the questions and they use the common tactic of alerting the respondent before the question as to what the expected answer is, thus utilising the human tendency towards social compliance to produce a bias in the answers. For instance-

    Q: “The government is working hard to reduce homosexuality. Would a ban on men showing affection in public (e.g. kissing or holding hands) be a good policy?”

    A: “Er, yes, I guess…”

  11. @Ian
    D’y’know. I swear I read some academic mentioning the “slippery slope fallacy” recently. Or maybe it was the “thin edge of the wedge fallacy”. One reads so may academics & it’s so hard keeping your eyes open. So, academically speaking, that probably isn’t allowed. Along with passive smoking or whatever.

  12. Ian B, smoking and competition law are not things I really know about, but

    “Or, the tobacco companies are just trying to draw a line, same as smokers are.”

    I own shares in tobacco companies through index funds. I ain’t paying the management to take principled stances. I’m paying them to sell ciggies.

    You of course are welcome to take principled stances.

  13. I ain’t paying the management to take principled stances.

    The issue of you being a twat is not really germaine to the discussion. Any company that doesn’t try to stop itself getting banned is a company that ends up not selling anything.

    So far as I can see, you’re using the narrow definition of shareholder interest beloved of the left, the old “they are obligated to maximise short term dividends to shareholders” thing, which has been discussed at length and treated with suitable derision on this blog many times. Companies pursue many interlocked goals, one of which is long term viability.

  14. BIS-

    Yes, there’s a considerable effort to render the slippery slope an official fallacy. See the Wikipedia entry for instance.

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