Anti-smoking proposals

September 4th, 2009 at 7:36 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A proposal to license tobacco retailers and turn cigarette packs into plain packages bearing only health warnings has found strong support.

Now when I read that, I think of opinion polls and assume people have been talking to members of the public at large. But reading on we find:

In planning for the “end game” of widespread tobacco use, researchers canvassed public health physicians, policy officials in the Ministry of Health and other departments, and journalists.

I don’t think canvassing public health physicians, policy officials and journalists is the same as canvassing the public.

It’s like canvassing gang members in Wanganui on the gang patch ban, and concluding there is strong opposition to it.

I’m not actually against sensible initiatives that seek to reduce the incidence of . But I urge caution against concluding that because policy officials think something is a good idea, that means the public will agree.

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42 Responses to “Anti-smoking proposals”

  1. andrei (2,668 comments) says:

    Everyone I’ve canvassed reckons sacking public health nannies and busibodys thus making them have to work for a living in a real job is a good idea too.

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  2. Chicken Little (741 comments) says:

    Strange andrei, those are the exact results of my canvassing too. Thus-

    There is widespread opposition to public health officials asking their workmates opinions and then propagandising that as public fact.

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  3. bearhunter (853 comments) says:

    Chicken Little, I would go so far as to say that there is UNANIMOUS opposition to pubic health officials etc…

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  4. Ed Snack (1,927 comments) says:

    In a recent survey about smoking attitudes, over 80% of the people surveyed actually resented having been asked.

    Frankly, that statement in the Herald is an outright lie and fabrication. The researchers deserve to be publicly censored and excluded from future publicly paid work for their mendacity. In reality, they are likely to be commended and given additional access to the trough. Bastards.

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  5. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Get these communist scum out of our lives. The tobacco producers and retailers are law abiding private business entities and as such should not be subject to harrasment from the likes of Professor Richard Edwards, of Otago University or his do gooding nanny state comrades.

    ..and who cares what journalists want? More communist scum who have betrayed their profession and have become mere propagandists for big government.

    These people should not be listened to, and nobody I know gives their opinions a skerrick of concern. Mostly, they are figures of contempt.

    LEAVE PEOPLE ALONE…!!!!!

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  6. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    err isn’t smoking bad for kids health or am I mixing that up with something else?

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  7. The Stig (33 comments) says:

    “I’m not actually against sensible initiatives that seek to reduce the incidence of smoking.”

    Do you call this “sensible”?

    Your only criticism seems to be that they only polled health fascists. Are you upset you didn’t get the contract to poll the public?

    [DPF: No Stiggie, these are not sensible. I just was focusing on the issue of claiming support for the package rather than debating the details.]

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  8. LiberalismIsASin (290 comments) says:

    I’m an ex-smoker. If I get sick from a smoking related illness its my fault. Nobody elses. I was not forced to take up smoking, i took it up of my own free will and I am responsible for its consequences. There is rank hypocrisy in targeting smoking like this. Basically, either make it illegal and ban tobacco, because as it stands the government is like a drug dealer at a tinnie house who is happy to take your money but at the door likes to lecture you about its health effects. I mean, shall we start applying the same logic to food and alcohol? Because the closet totalitarians who propose these ideas won’t stop here.

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  9. Cerium (23,687 comments) says:

    “The tobacco producers and retailers are law abiding private business entities”….

    …who don’t give a shit about the effects their products have on their victims. They make their products more addictive so they can make a killing.

    You often talk about lies and deceit RB, in this industry they are rife.

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  10. Banana Llama (1,043 comments) says:

    smoker here, to any health officials who may read this i am well aware of my mortality thanks.

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  11. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    The issue is respect for private property and the law, and stopping the left’s obsession with destroying that respect.

    These collectivist scum have no real right to attack any private enterprise, (and force them to package their goods they way they demand them to) just because they think its a good idea. This is fascism, and you are a fascist if you support it.

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  12. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    RB maybe it’s not as clear cut as that?

    ohh noooooooo, Cerium I am in agreement with you, Lordy lord.
    Hypocrisy stinks doesn’t it no matter which way you cut it.

    What about all the producers of the fatty ‘orrible food stuffs that are leading the obesity and diabetes epidemic engulfing NZ while we’re at it.
    Is it because they are law abiding tax paying employers too? McD, Coca Cola, pie makers etc).

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  13. Graeme Edgeler (3,290 comments) says:

    How can a law which states you can smoke, and makes smoking legal be an “anti-smoking” law?

    This is just spin, DPF. The Greens never called it an anti-smoking law – the media has just been misleading a misinformed public on the true nature of the proposals since the beginning!

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  14. Cerium (23,687 comments) says:

    “What about all the producers of the fatty ‘orrible food stuffs that are leading the obesity and diabetes epidemic engulfing NZ while we’re at it.”

    There is a long list of products that are bad for us and we don’t need, or we don’t need anywhere near as much as are pushed and consumed. The only health many large companies are interested in is the health of their bottom line. Lies, deceit, brainwashing? Bombarded incessantly. And this isn’t a communist plot.

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  15. andrei (2,668 comments) says:

    Bloody Calvinists – has anybody ever noticed that the things people enjoy are the very same things the nannies find reasons to claim are bad for us and need to be controlled and taxed into oblivion.

    I got news for you puritans you can eat all the dreary boring and plain disgusting stuff you like – live your so called healthy lifestyles and guess what YOU WILL STILL FUCKING DIE. In reality you probably wont even live longer but given the dreary boredom of how you live it might seem like it.

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  16. Brian Smaller (4,026 comments) says:

    Cerium – no one I have ever met was forced to light up their first cig. Proof of this is that most people don’t in fact smoke.

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  17. bobux (349 comments) says:

    …researchers canvassed public health physicians, policy officials in the Ministry of Health and other departments, and journalists.

    Any group on that list stand out?

    Public health physicians and MoH policy officials may just have a better grasp of the facts around smoking than the average citizen. But journalists?

    How exactly were they consulted? Via their national organisation? One by one, in some sort of statistically randomised way? Or sent a bulk email, with a request to respond?

    And what tobacco-specific knowledge do they bring to the table that differentiates them from, say, plumbers or accountants?

    Sorry, Otago University, but this looks like a shabby exercise in asking an opinion from people who already agree with you.

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  18. Cerium (23,687 comments) says:

    Did you read the whole article?

    The proposal for the strong version of the commission was put before public focus groups which included smokers and non-smokers.

    “Among the public, there was very strong support, stronger than the policy-makers, even among the smokers,” Professor Edwards said.

    “There’s very little support for tobacco or the industry among smokers. In some of these issues, the public are ahead of the policy-makers.”

    Professor Edwards will present the findings to the Public Health Association conference in Dunedin today – maybe more in formation will be available then.

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  19. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    No I’m with Cerium, ban the buggers it’s for their best interests.

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  20. Chris (106 comments) says:

    how typical of red ‘New ulcer everyday’ baiter to call people who are anti smoking “communist scum”

    Last time I checked smoking was pretty fucking bad for society, being a proven killer and all and creating a burden on the health system… affecting Our tax. Last I also checked most people dont like smoking, dont want people smoking around them and would rather the poison wasnt around.

    No no, thats just communist scum according to red.

    you really are a fucking douchebag.

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  21. Camryn (543 comments) says:

    NZers are an inconsistent bunch.

    We implement a socialist healthcare system that charges (via tax) based on income rather than risk, and provides based on apparent need while taking care not to make any judgment on any role the individual may have had in creating that need.

    We then complain when government tries to compensate for the lack of financial incentives to be healthy by introducing other artificial incentives.

    I’d prefer to see some kind of stronger incentives in the healthcare market and less nagging of those who’ve weighed the incentives and decided to do some legal activity.

    NZ wastes a ton of taxpayers money implementing bureaucracy around things like smoking and creating advertising campaigns begging the citizenry not to be fat, lazy, clumsy or careless. Socialism not only removes the effective incentives of the market but wastes a ton of money on ineffective alternatives.

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  22. Alfred (52 comments) says:

    Who paid for this research?

    Who paid for his time at the PHA conference so this so-called researcher zealot could call for more tax-payer research?

    The Otago School of Medicine in Wellington is a hot bed of do-gooders who wear 1970s clothing and love Helen Clark and have captured the MOH officials that in turn, provide them with loads of cash.

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  23. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    So who pays these people and who sanctions their actions, it wouldn’t be the National Socialist party by any chance ?. I’m sick of these proxy government organs telling us how to run our lives. Fuck off you scum suckers. Where is the fresh face of governance promised by Shonkey and his fallow snake oil salesman?. Chris, mate you so totally miss the point, if these wankers had their way, smoking banned, next alcohol banned, next fast foods banned, next foods that are bad for you banned. For fucks sake man most people know smoking is bad we don’t need idiots like these people in our lives. Just as smoking is addictive so is the power that comes from running peoples lives. Redbaiter is right on dead center but I would have called them totalitarians.

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  24. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    RedBaiter wrote:

    Get these communist scum out of our lives. The tobacco producers and retailers are law abiding private business entities and as such should not be subject to harrasment from the likes of Professor Richard Edwards, of Otago University or his do gooding nanny state comrades.

    That’s a bit flaky RedBaiter: “..retailers are law abiding private business entities..”. And this conversation is about a proposed law. Abiding by the current law is not as argument against new laws. It’s just a non-argument.

    Until we have something closer to direct payment for health cost (e.g. insurance where you would pay a lot more for smoking) then I think libertarian ideals need to be set aside. Bring on the plain packets.

    Why not calculate the extra cost of smoking to the health system, divide that by the number of cigs sold each year and slap that onto the price. Build it up over 5 years. How much would it be?

    But wait.. I quite like a drink or three. I don’t want to drink my Macs Gold out of a plastic box. Christ, this is a mess.

    cheers

    Malcolm

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  25. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    What Camryn said.

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  26. Cerium (23,687 comments) says:

    “So who pays….”

    Smokers pay the ultimate price with fag fucked lungs. But the rest subsidise the healthcare. And the benefits. And the street cleaners. And cover for the reduced productivity. And despair when their kids get peer pressured into getting addicted.

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  27. Brian Smaller (4,026 comments) says:

    How about mandating that all cigarettes come in plain packets but every tenth packet contains something instantly lethal. In a few years there wont be any smokers.

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  28. Banana Llama (1,043 comments) says:

    30$ a week ( yes i know i am a mug ) for tobacco tells me that i’m paying for it not society Cerium.

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  29. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    andrei 9:34 am,

    Bloody Calvinists – has anybody ever noticed that the things people enjoy are the very same things the nannies find reasons to claim are bad for us and need to be controlled and taxed into oblivion.

    I got news for you puritans you can eat all the dreary boring and plain disgusting stuff you like – live your so called healthy lifestyles and guess what YOU WILL STILL FUCKING DIE. In reality you probably wont even live longer but given the dreary boredom of how you live it might seem like it.

    Indeed.
    Of course, in my [preferred] version of the after life, whether I choose to smoke, eat fatty foods, imbibe, whatever, will ultimately have no effect on me. And there won’t be any taxes on such things either. It will be heavenly. And there might even be a few “Bloody Calvinists” there as well.

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  30. peterwn (3,312 comments) says:

    The last straw for me with the anti-tobacco brigade was that freezing works being told it could not have a ‘smoking room’. It was unfair on both the management and the workers because the working arrangements made it impossible for an employee to leave the building in work clothes.

    I personally think anyone who smokes is a b****y fool, but I think the anti-smoking business has been taken as far as it reasonably goes.

    Assuming that a cost-benefit shows that there is no overall financial benefit in banning smoking (as a British Treasury study apparently showed) then I say leave things where they are.

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  31. MT_Tinman (3,261 comments) says:

    MikeNZ (102) Vote: Add rating 3 Subtract rating 6 Says:
    September 4th, 2009 at 8:47 am

    err isn’t smoking bad for kids health or am I mixing that up with something else?

    Statistics suggest quite the opposite.

    In fact smoking when very young could be beneficial as is smoking when very old (again according to statistics which show a far higher number of older people dying as non-smokers than smokers).

    Of course statistics can be made to say anything but …….

    For mine, as long as smoking tobacco is legal let the sellers of the product package it how they like and sell it how they like and let those who choose to smoke not to smoke pick their own places to go.

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  32. CraigM (694 comments) says:

    I despise big tobacco ALMOST as much as I despise big pharma.

    But….

    Make smoking illegal, or leave it alone.

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  33. Cerium (23,687 comments) says:

    “statistics which show a far higher number of older people dying as non-smokers than smokers”

    – because a lot more smokers don’t get to be older people?

    I have sympathy for those who became addicted in the past when smoking was more acceptable, even promoted – I supported and nursed my father for years through cancer treatments and as his lungs gradually turned to mush. I have seen how hard it can be to quit even when someone knows their life and quality of life are at stake.

    But there is no good reason to start now. The demographic most likely to smoke are also most likely to be unemployed or on sickness benefits, beneficiaries, more likely to be poor (cause and effect), more likely to need greater health care, more likely to have problem kids. Two thirds of prisoners are smokers. In short, smokers are more likely to be part of some of our society’s biggest problems.

    All of this knowingly promoted by “law abiding private business entities”.

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  34. Repton (769 comments) says:

    How about mandating that all cigarettes come in plain packets but every tenth packet contains something instantly lethal. In a few years there wont be any smokers.

    Dave Barry’s suggestion: require cigarette manufacturers to put cigarette loads into every 100th cigarette.

    Of course, IIRC over 50% of cigarettes smoked in NZ are roll-your-own, so it wouldn’t work anyway :-/

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  35. Right of way is Way of Right (1,122 comments) says:

    Anti Smoking.

    Anti Smacking.

    What’s next, Anti Smocking? Anti Stacking? Anti Sticking? Anti Smooching? ………………. Anti Speaking?????

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  36. Cerium (23,687 comments) says:

    Yes, antispeaking does seem to be topical…

    President Obama’s plan to deliver a speech to public school students on Tuesday has set off a revolt among conservative parents, who have accused the president of trying to indoctrinate their children with socialist ideas and are asking school officials to excuse the children from listening.

    “The thing that concerned me most about it was it seemed like a direct channel from the president of the United States into the classroom, to my child,” said an engineer from Tex., who said he would keep his three children home.

    “I don’t want our schools turned over to some socialist movement.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/04/us/04school.html

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  37. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    ssb said..

    “..his fallow snake oil salesman?…”

    (heh..!..)

    (how does he know..?..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  38. Alfred (52 comments) says:

    This is all just a covert cry from the nanny state seeking extra funding. However well meaning they are in their ideas, there is always a quite line near the end that says “of and more money for tobacco control research” How much bloody more do they want when they already get $55million a year for tobacco control!

    Bring back tobacco sponsorship and then we may be able to get some decent sports on TV aside from those useless Warriors and smug, stuck up All Blacks. At least we’d have a grand ol time as they were the best sponsors!

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  39. ness (1 comment) says:

    Why not simply make selling/importing Tobacco/Cigarettes illegal in New Zealand. Then those who really wanted to continue smoking could simply grow their own legally. This, i imagine, would be too much effort for most, including those teenagers who are so “at risk”. I also imagine that any home grown tobacco would pose a significantly lesser health risk than the stuff the tobacco companies produce.

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  40. Nicholas O'Kane (168 comments) says:

    “How about mandating that all cigarettes come in plain packets but every tenth packet contains something instantly lethal. In a few years there wont be any smokers.”
    So much for concern about smokers health. What your basically advocating here is genocide.

    And as for the arguement smokers cost money in healthcare costs, ever heared of tobacco tax? The revenue from that greatly exceeds to cost to the government of treating smoking related illnesses. And thats not to count the billions in pension money smokers save the Government by dying early.

    I smoke, and it was entirely my own choice. I don’t want to quit. I only want to have my descison respected.

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  41. nostromo (29 comments) says:

    I’m in favour of a one time offer to all smokers. The deal would be that they would absolve the rest of us the responsibilty of looking after their ruined bodies in return they would get the right to claim back all tax paid on their ciggies.

    Personally I don’t like smoking, but I wouldn’t tell anyone else how to live, and to each their own I say – I just don’t want my tax dollar to pay for your mistakes so this way seems fair.

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  42. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    We are told that 2nd hand smoke kills 400 people per year however the Herald reveals this morning that DIY kills 600 people per year.

    Should every lawnmower, weedeater, hammer, ladder and garden trowel come in plain packages bearing only health warnings?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10595342

    Memo to Govt; “Fuck off out of my life”

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