The smoking backlash

November 6th, 2007 at 8:50 am by David Farrar

The other day one of the ZB panel questions was whether the National Anthem should be compulsory in schools, and my response was nothing would be worse as compulsion tends to lead to a backlash, especially amongst younger people.

With that in mind, I view with interest the NZ Herald story that there has been a significant increase in smoking rates, despite the massive campaigns against smoking.

A Massey University survey for the Ministry of Health has found the number of people aged 15 to 45 who have smoked at least once in the previous year has increased from 31.1 per cent in 2003 to 35.8 per cent.

The survey may be a blip of course. It happens.

I’m by no means against public health campaigns. But this is a useful reminder that they can have little effect or even be counter productive.

UPDATE: On the subject of banning bad things, this other Herald story is fascinating.  For the first time in ages cannabis and P use is dropping.  Why?  because people are using legal drugs more, such as party pills.  So what is the Government about to do?  Ban party pills.  And guess what that might do to cannabis and P use then?  Okay – not as simple as that, but there are links.

Incidentally according to a 2001 report we’re a drug crazed lot. We are 2nd highest for cannabis, 2nd for amphetamines and 3rd for E.  Only average for cocaine and heroin though.

Tags:

20 Responses to “The smoking backlash”

  1. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    David, from the research I’ve seen public health campaigns do reduce the incidence of smoking. You don’t think the Ministry of Health just does them for fun, do you? I suspect there’s a little libertarian ideology clouding your judgment on this one.

    [DPF: Of course they don't do them for fun. And as I said I do support public health campaigns. But that doesn't mean some can't be less effective than others. That doesn't mean one can't reach saturation point with advertising. That doesn't mean that campaigns can't fail to meet targets. Despite immunisations being free, and lots of advertising, we still have too low a rate. Good intentions do not always translate into an effective campaign]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. colinm (65 comments) says:

    Hmm, yes. By all means, educate, inform and provide a few carrots as inducements. But, come into my house and tell me what to do because you think it’s good for me and I’ll tell you to GGF. That, I think, is why we are having this little “blip”. Oh and an interesting note here. About six months after the legislation was enacted, the health authorities surveyed a few establishments and did some tests… The results were less than convincing, but they were published. I haven’t seen any more results published since then…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Monty (962 comments) says:

    Tane – you have no credibility when it cvomes to research as all your “research” comes with a massive left leaning bias.

    The problem with the use of any drug is that it comes about from a lack of self responsibility. The more a person sets themselves goals be it sports, career, or personal, or what ever is important to a particular person, the less likely they will take drugs that will stop them acheiving those goals. This Labour government has effectively through its social engineering programmes, taken away the ambition for self responsibility, and therefore drug use continues to increase (and with it crime and other social negatives)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. bwakile (757 comments) says:

    Maybe people have had a gutfull of state sponsered propaganda and social engineering. Maybe our kids really need to be taught to take responsibility of their own lives and bodies but then that requires discipline, which is a characteristic that no leftwing government will ever promote.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    Maybe you should look at the research as a whole rather than mouthing off over one rogue study?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. bwakile (757 comments) says:

    Exactly Monty
    If we had state sponsered advertising to promote goal setting I wonder what this country would look lie in 50 years.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. PaulL (5,872 comments) says:

    Tane, maybe you should try looking at the substance of what DPF posts, rather than knee jerk opposing absolutely everything. You continual opposition to everything shows you for what you are – a wrecker who is purely out to make this site unpleasant.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Doc (88 comments) says:

    I wonder – how much of this might be attributable to the banning of smoking in pubs? Work with me a little here…

    Previously, a group of young people might have gone out for a night out, and within their chosen locale, there would be a general mix of smokers and non-smokers… If someone lit up, it was about as remarkable as blinking.

    However – In the current scene, a group of young people might go out to precisely the same place. But now, if any one of them wants to light up, they must vacate the premises – this disrupts their ‘group’ – possibly interrupting conversation, whatever… So there will likely be ‘some’ instances where the ‘group’ elects to join their smoker outside to continue their discourse. Now, the non-smokers find themselves in an area specifically designed for smoking. There is a ‘very’ high concentration of 2nd hand smoke – possibly contributing to an increase due to ‘passive smoking’ resulting in a nicotine addiction… There is also a much more highly focused bout of peer pressure – akin to a vegetarian going on a date at a steak house :-)

    I wonder if this situation has contributed to the increase in young people smoking?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Richard (29 comments) says:

    the less likely they will take drugs that will stop them acheiving those goals

    and the more likely they will take performance-enhancing drugs like BZP.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. dave (985 comments) says:

    Only average for cocaine and heroin though
    Well, we better do something about that , then.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Policy Parrot (175 comments) says:

    Perhaps there should be an Royal Commission into why New Zealander’s are so addicted all drugs, both legally (included prescribed) and illegal.

    Granted, in a minority of cases, there are people who are undoubtedly better off on permanently prescribed drugs, but for the most part – why is there such a tendency to fall back on drugs?

    Tackling the core issues that promote drug usage rather than nibbling around the edges with bans here and restrictions there would go a long way to improving the country’s health without resorting a pill, doobie, or a line.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Bryce Edwards (248 comments) says:

    Tane might be right about DFP’s libertarian ideology influencing his views on this – not that this is such a bad thing – but what’s more significant is to think about what might be clouding the Ministry of Health’s decision-making processes. The MoH actually seems to operate under their own addiction to spending heaps of money telling us what we should be doing. Their addiction to telling us off and telling individual what we should be going is what leads to accusations of nanny statism in health.

    For some intelligent and critical opinions on the anti-smoking campaigns in the UK, see here:
    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/issues/C56/

    Bryce
    http://www.liberation.org.nz

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. bearhunter (859 comments) says:

    I imagine our low placing in the cocaine classic and the heroin handicap is due to cost and availablity. Neither is cheap and neither is readily available at a decent quality. Speaking of quality, I’m amazed at NZ being 3rd in the E-stakes, given the general crapness of the product here and the grossly inflated prices.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. PhilBest (5,117 comments) says:

    Conservative commentator Melanie Phillips (blog at “The Spectator”, U.K.) had a piece recently on the British Government’s spin on the fact that Cannabis use had dropped. Melanie Phillips points out that Cannabis use had risen exponentially in the under-18s but after that, they tend to have got into harder stuff. Relevant?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Hoolian (220 comments) says:

    That’s such a liberal’s spin. Banning takes effort true and needs to be consistent, but its also a stand. Just because it’s hard to ban something doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.

    BZP etc are actually quite harmful. It’s more than that though, its about undoing an error that should not have allowed the drug to enter NZ.

    Ironically, school is compulsory – is there a backlash against that in young people? How about obeying the road rules? PE for years 8 – 11? There are hundreds of examples of things that are complusory which, in turn, have a positive effect on youth.

    There was a study done by Vic Uni that reached the conclusion that “”party pill users are more interested in trying illegal drugs, and they were also under the impression that illegal drug use is less risky, compared to non-users.”

    http://www.victoria.ac.nz/home/about/newspubs/news/newslatest.aspx#1236

    Good work DPF, but your own agenda is failing to make an impact. Particularly on younger people.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Rocket Boy (163 comments) says:

    DPF said: ‘For the first time in ages cannabis and P use is dropping. Why? because people are using legal drugs more, such as party pills.’

    Really? Gosh Davey you are expert on everything, including drug use. Maybe there use is dropping because the police are making it harder to get. Or maybe unemployment rates are lower and people have less time and inclination to sit around taking drugs – it is probably a number of factors.

    With regard to the public health campaign against smoking, does it not occur to you that the increase in smoking may actually be higher if there was no campaign and therefore the campaign is having an effect, it is just not as effective as hoped for.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. colinm (65 comments) says:

    @Doc.
    Just visit my local and you will see exactly what you said. The smoking area is full, the bar empty. A mix of smokers and non congregate there, chatting etc. On big game nights (rugby usually), the bar is full, lots of people spill out into the smoking area as well. It’s quite interesting to watch a non smoker try and complain about the smokers on those occaisions, trying to stop people smoking near them in the smoking area. You can guess the results, heh.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. kiwi in america (2,433 comments) says:

    Re youth smoking rates – sadly there is but one technique that works with the U18 year olds and that is price hikes. Shock horror images are ignored and confined to a far off future that is so far removed from adolescent consiousness as to have little relevance to their decision making. They are however THE most price sensitive consumers and so tax driven price hikes on fags does work to some extent.

    NZ has adopted a rather piecemeal and unintegrated legislative mix re drugs that amounts to a blunt and less effective prohibition model and the effect had been that NZ has some of the highest levels of drug use in the Western world. But just because NZ’s method of prohibition is less effective does not mean that more intelligent laws that discourage drug use can’t work. Sweden’s permissive drug laws led to high levels of drug use there by the late 70′s. These have been reversed with a suite of laws and policies that are more intelligently enforced. The Swedish goverment spends the necessary kroner on excellent, accessible drug treatment, they only use very carefully researched (ie successful) drug education programmes targeted to youth use that do work and they back it all up with rather tough laws that the Swedish police have considerable street level discretion to enforce. They targeted low level users and dealers (rather than the top down approach used by the NZ Police) and they ended up catching more high level dealers this way. The results have been dramatic although their integrated approach to drug use took 20 odd years to impliment. Sweden now has the lowest levels of drug use in the Western world by a sizeable margin especially in the vulnerable 15 – 25 year age cohort.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. duncan_bayne (53 comments) says:

    A while back I read (on Not PC, IIRC) that one of the consequences of a prohibition is that there are very strong economic incentives to consume & produce the strongest possible drugs (e.g. moonshine whisky and P). Only in a liberal legal climate will the use of ‘mild’ drugs predominate (e.g. beer and party pills).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. minxxee1 () says:

    Lesser Use of cocaine, heroin, and other such harser drugs in NZ is most likely due to availability. For those that wish to use such substances, its probably easier to cruise on to the local tinny house, and pick up whatever such supply is desired. As for smoking…It will always increase, or decrease at a negligable level. Until smoking is either banned by Dear uncle Helen, or whoever shall decide in the forthcoming future, NZ’ders who choose to, will continue to smoke. Even after a ban for NZ on smoking, no doubt, an underground market for cigarettes, imported here from the rest of the world who allow them, will mean gangs will make extra money, on top of the money they are already making FROM Drugs by supplying cigarettes.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.