Would this work?

June 1st, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

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Stuff reports:

If the gory photos on cigarette packs and the threat of a hideous death weren’t enough, now an academic has come up with a grim countdown-to-death for smokers.

Smokers will literally be able to see the minutes of their life expectancy drop away with each smoke, if Massey University College of Health head Professor Paul McDonald’s idea gains traction.

He is proposing an idea in which each cigarette would be marked with six rings and a message saying each ring smoked past would take a minute off life expectancy.

If adopted, New Zealand would be the first in the world to print warnings directly on to cigarettes.

The idea is still in its infancy but a preliminary survey of 10 smokers by Prof McDonald showed it would have a “profound” effect.

I’d be wary of any study with just 10 people in it.

As with plain packaging, I’d trial ideas like this in a geographic region so one can establish whether rates there change more than the rest of the country.

The Dominion Post asked four smokers if Professor Paul McDonald’s idea would encourage them to quit.

- Luke Eling, 23, a chef from Brooklyn: It wouldn’t help.

It’s killing you but you are going to die anyway, so bugger it.

I would see if I can smoke it faster than six minutes.

- Robbie King, 33, a body piercer from central Wellington: If it was actually true and you could gauge it like that, it may help. Yes, smoking can be bad for you but my grandfather lived till 97, smoking five times as much as me.

- Mark Speedy, 35, a milkman from Churton Park: It wouldn’t stop me. What if you have a heart attack? Is it a minute off that? Obviously not.

- Sue Barratt, 54, works in insurance, from Karori:

It probably wouldn’t. I still enjoy smoking – that’s the problem.

I do feel guilty about smoking, more than I used to.

I suspect most smokers already know it kills you.

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30 Responses to “Would this work?”

  1. Manolo (13,767 comments) says:

    Another tobacco-nazi. And had to be an academic (what a surprise!)
    Buggers like him should leave people alone and stop treating the population like children. Fuck-off, petty tyrant.

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  2. beautox (422 comments) says:

    What the hell is the obsession with getting other people to stop smoking? Don’t these folks have their own businesses that need minding?

    But at a deeper level, we should be encouraging smokers. We should be making high-tar, filterless ciggies cheaper, to encourage a faster demise. Why? Because smokers are our best chance of getting out of the sticky pensions problem. If enough of them check out early then that will make the pension affordable for the country. Also the tax that smokers pay far exceeds the health costs of their relatively fast ends. Bring back tobacco advertising I say..

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  3. wat dabney (3,756 comments) says:

    I would see if I can smoke it faster than six minutes.

    I’ve thought about this and I’m pretty sure that if you make it last longer than 6 minutes you are actually adding to your life expectancy. So that complicates things.

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  4. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    There are so many factors here, it is pointless. Example, if you stop smoking before 40, you won’t do as badly as if you start after that, according to a recent study I saw.

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  5. Ryan Sproull (7,144 comments) says:

    It’s exactly the kind of thing that doesn’t work.

    Those six minutes are in some distant future. So are the diseases depicted on the packaging. Addiction is procrastination – giving addicts more worries to put off until later won’t help.

    Raising the price is effective precisely because it’s a consequence felt immediately.

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  6. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Ever watched the movie “In Time”? – having a clock counting down showing just how much time you are consuming, and how long you have to live, can be very effective. Sometimes we need to have explicit messages to motivate us.

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  7. Redbaiter (8,823 comments) says:

    Another fucking communist academic telling us how to live our lives. Fuck off Paul.

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  8. kowtow (8,469 comments) says:

    Fuck you anti smokers.

    I see far more lazy, fat, waddling sugar scoffers around than smokers …..and the poor smokers have been pushed outdoors so are far more visible these days than they used to be.

    Those fat bastards are a bigger danger to the health,welfare system that the health nazis are so determined to protect and milk than smokers are .

    But fat is personal ,part of ‘identity”, race is involved too ……so the health nazis aren’t sure how to go after them………yet.

    So to all you who favour all those laws ,regulations etc that’ve been passed in the anti private property anti business tobacco moral panic ,there’s a lot more to come.

    Enjoy your loss of liberty.

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  9. Andrei (2,651 comments) says:

    What a load of bollocks – when you’ve been around a while you will have encountered people who do all the things that the health nazis say are bad who live well into their nineties despite this as well as the health fanatics who suddenly drop dead in their forties or occasionally even younger.

    It is a grim reality something is going to nail you one way or another – these people don’t have your welfare at heart, they are just control freaks

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  10. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Andrei (2,074) Says:
    June 1st, 2013 at 11:58 am

    ———————————–

    You are right, I don’t have their welfare at heart – I have mine and I’m sick of paying taxes for the health costs involved providing long term smokers with treatment. If you want to pay your own health costs in private hospitals – feel free to smoke – but the tax you pay on tobacco does not cover that. As long as smokers take up much needed beds, keep medical professionals busy when they could be dealing with other non-self inflicted health issues – the yes, we have a right to have a say. (Same goes for people who are obese etc, and those who get sick through irresponsibility)

    No problem with anyone doing whatever they like, as long as it has no impact on other people. But when it effects me – I’ll bitch about it!

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  11. Redbaiter (8,823 comments) says:

    “but the tax you pay on tobacco does not cover that.”

    Please provide the figures that lead you to this conclusion.

    (another reason not to have a government funded health system. Who wants commies like Judith deciding what you can and cannot do with your life?)

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  12. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Redbaiter (3,164) Says:
    June 1st, 2013 at 12:17 pm
    ————————————

    I don’t have to provide any figures – the public health system does not pay for private hospitals – something I’m sure you already know.

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  13. Redbaiter (8,823 comments) says:

    In other words you just made it up.

    Once again, a commie sacrifices truth for political advantage. What’s new?

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  14. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Redbaiter (3,166) Says:
    June 1st, 2013 at 12:25 pm
    —————————

    NO, in other words, you just flew in and commented without reading my post properly. You thought I was talking about public medical attention, but I was quite specific and mentioned ‘private’ which as you know, is NOT funded by the government, and therefore not funded by tobacco tax.

    Admit it Red – I caught you out ! You saw what you wanted to see!

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  15. Redbaiter (8,823 comments) says:

    “I have mine and I’m sick of paying taxes for the health costs involved providing long term smokers with treatment.”

    You need to make your mind up as to what you are complaining of and perhaps make it a bit clearer for readers struggling to make sense of your drivel.

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  16. Ryan Sproull (7,144 comments) says:

    Judith, the cost to public health is more than offset by surcharges on tobacco. If smokers paid no additional tax, then yes, you would be paying for their healthcare bills and would be entitled to a say in their behaviour costing you. But that argument only lasts as long as tobacco surcharges don’t cover that extra cost.

    At this point, if everyone stopped smoking, there would be a sudden drop in tax revenue to pay for those hospital beds you’re worried about.

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  17. CharlieBrown (1,012 comments) says:

    Judith – Dieing of any illness isn’t cheap. Alot of recent statistics have shown that the money the government makes from smoking is more than what they cost. You just want to dictate your values into other peoples lives. And not every smoker dies from smoking. Farout – eating too much kills more people. Typical socialist bullshit trying to lump everyone into the same bracket.

    Once the anti-smoking nazis have had their way, alcohol and fast food will be next.

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  18. Ryan Sproull (7,144 comments) says:

    And the surcharge on tobacco more than offsets the public-health cost. It is an explicitly punitive charge aimed at changing behaviour.

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  19. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    You are right, I don’t have their welfare at heart – I have mine and I’m sick of paying taxes for the health costs involved providing long term smokers with treatment.

    That’s fair enough, but the problem with that argument is that every smoker who dies earlier than they should is one more person that the government no longer has to pay National Superannuation to. The costs of Super far outweigh any health costs from smoking. If the government were viewing this issue purely according to their balance sheet, they would be encouraging as many people to smoke as possible!

    I don’t smoke and I don’t like smoking, or smokers, but I do treat them as adults who can make their own decisions in life. I am disgusted that so many others, especially government bureaucrats, are not prepared to extend them the same courtesy.

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  20. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    Would this work? Well, it could theoretically work for very stupid people, but that’s a small minority of the population.

    The thing is, even if people aren’t familiar enough with statistics to know why a population-level mean is no indicator of their individual situation, most instinctively know it. Witness the bloke who says

    What if you have a heart attack? Is it a minute off that? Obviously not.

    Likewise, the one who says my grandfather lived till 97, smoking five times as much as me.

    If you’re providing a health warning that most people will recognise as obviously wrong, most people are unlikely to heed the warning.

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  21. Ryan Sproull (7,144 comments) says:

    That’s fair enough, but the problem with that argument is that every smoker who dies earlier than they should is one more person that the government no longer has to pay National Superannuation to.

    Sick people can cost a hell of a lot without dying.

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  22. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    Yes, but everybody dies of something eventually, and they eventually will need some sort of medical care for whatever kills them. It’s possible smoking related illnesses cost more than dementia or natural bodily deterioration, but not significantly more such that it would offset the savings to NZ Super they make by dying early. And that’s before you even factor in the tax from the cigarettes.

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  23. Warren Murray (311 comments) says:

    I think its a novel idea. Many committed smokers won’t be influenced by it, but fail to see how this is an assault on liberty, like others have said.

    I feel sorry for smokers who have become slaves to their addiction, but my pity quickly becomes anger when I’m forced to breath their second hand smoke or share a confined space (lift, train, bus, etc) with someone who even when they arent smoking reeks of cigarettes.

    Some posts on this subject are depressing, many smokers are not only doomed to die prematurely, but also endure considerable suffering. Tobacco companies are merchants of death and should be put put of business.

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  24. Fisiani (1,039 comments) says:

    The stop smoking seminar at Karori last night was immense. 28/35 people now non smokers. Long may they continue.

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  25. CharlieBrown (1,012 comments) says:

    BlairM – I wouldn’t be surprised if rotting away with dementia for years cost more than someone dieing of lung cancer.

    Warren – Are you one of those nazis that supported the ban smoking in bars and other work places? In this day and age I highly doubt there is any space in NZ where you are forced to breathe in second hand smoke. And even when smoking was allowed in the bars, you still weren’t forced to inhale it ever – you always had the choice to not go to a place that allowed smoking. Tobacco companies are fulling a demand that people FREELY choose to take up, you are someone that wants to take away peoples individual liberty.

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  26. All_on_Red (1,582 comments) says:

    Redbaiter 1
    Judith 0
    Well done Reddy, you’ve scared her off.
    A simple google search finds:
    “May 30, 2012—A treasury report has admitted that smoking saves the New Zealand government money because smokers die earlier and pay more in tobacco tax than their health problems cost, according to a story in the Otago Daily Times.
    taxes are estimated to increase the government’s tax take from tobacco from $1.3 billion to around $1.7 billion by 2016.
    A University of Otago study in 2007 estimated that the direct cost of smoking to the ministry of health was $300 million to $350 million.”

    Admit it Judith- he caught you out.

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  27. Sector 7g (242 comments) says:

    This “professor” believes it’s a good idea for smokers to be smoking ink? What a dumb fuck.

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  28. Fisiani (1,039 comments) says:

    NZ could not afford to be smoke free. The on average six extra years of pension payments would easily dwarf the health costs because all these ex smokers would still have to die expensive deaths.

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  29. bereal (3,137 comments) says:

    A fuckwit professor comes up with an idiotic idea.

    Next he does a ‘survey’ himself which concludes that his idea will have a ‘profound’ effect.

    Next an even more stupid reporter speculates on what may happen if this fuckwits idea, ‘gets traction.’

    Memo to fuckwit reporter and silly professor. Remove head out of arse.

    Traction with who you fool ?
    Which tobacco company do you feel will adopt this genius idea unless compelled to do so by act of parliament ?

    Also.. Q. How can you tell that a university professor is a total effing dropkick idiot ?
    A. He wears a beard and is from Massey or Waikato. (just look at the photo of this fuckwit)

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  30. Steve (North Shore) (4,561 comments) says:

    Have a close look at Professor Paul McDonald. The photos shows he could be missing some teeth.
    I wonder why/how that happened to a Man of his Mana.
    I spray and walk away

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