Does plain packaging work?

April 1st, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The tobacco industry has ramped up efforts to persuade New Zealand against , by circulating research claiming to show the policy has not worked in Australia.

However, tobacco control experts have dismissed the findings and say it will take years to see the effects of the policy.

Philip Morris, the manufacturer of Marlboro cigarettes, has drawn attention to “three separate data sets that demonstrate plain packaging has not reduced smoking rates in Australia”. Two are company-funded surveys of smoking prevalence, by Zurich University and by policy consultancy London Economics. The third is industry sales data, released by the company, showing a 0.3 per cent rise in the volume of tobacco delivered to retailers last year. …

Philip Morris Australia and New Zealand corporate affairs director Chris Argent said that since plain packaging took effect in Australia, “hard data shows that the measure has not reduced smoking rates and has had no impact on youth smoking prevalence”.

“The plain packaging ‘experiment’ in Australia has simply not worked.”

The two surveys tracked prevalence – one of them looking specifically at youth – before and after the introduction of plain packaging.

My view on plain packaging is that *if* plain packaging does reduce smoking rates, then I think it can be justified. However it should only be introduced if the evidence is that it does reduce smoking rates.

The Cancer Council Victoria said the Zurich authors of the youth study had committed a “breathtaking error of logic” in looking for an immediate drop in prevalence. Adolescents’ uptake of smoking was gradual, starting with the first puff, passing through experimentation to an increasing number of cigarettes smoked each day. Plain packaging would take years to affect youth prevalence “because the change needs to occur early in the period of uptake to divert adolescents from becoming regular smokers as they age into adulthood”.

Professor Janet Hoek, of Otago University, echoed these views.

She said it would have been remarkable if the interviewees, after just one year of plain packaging, had “completely forgotten associations the tobacco industry has carefully cultivated over the last decade”. Researchers had always expected plain packaging’s effects on prevalence to occur over the “medium term”, as branding links were replaced in people’s minds by adverse responses to tobacco and smoking.

The logical response to this is to not introduce plain packaging in any further jurisdictions until you do have the evidence that it reduces smoking rates.

In my experience many public health advocates are motivated more by hatred of the companies that sell the products they see as harmful (and tobacco is), rather than actually reducing the harm of the products.

In terms of waiting to see if they work in Australia, one challenge is other measures like changes in excise tax may impact smoking rates also, and we may never know what is the cause of any change.

That is why my preferred way forward is to introduce plain packaging in one region of New Zealand (a large one, maybe even the entire South Island) and then over time measure the change in smoking rates in that region to the rest of NZ. If the change is a greater decline then you have the evidence to introduce it to all of NZ. If there is no measureable impact, then it should be scrapped as ineffective.

Some will say why not do plain packaging, even if it doesn’t work, because anything that hurts tobacco companies is worth doing. Well I can sympathise with that, but I think the precedent it sets is a serious one. Inevitably you will then have certain groups then advocate plain packaging for other products they disapprove of – spirits, beer, wine, soft drinks, fast food etc.

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77 Responses to “Does plain packaging work?”

  1. Nostalgia-NZ (4,898 comments) says:

    If plain packaging hasn’t worked, then why is the industry against it – surely they must be selling the same amount of tobacco or more to be able to say it hasn’t worked?

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  2. KathyS (17 comments) says:

    Tobacco companies are already severely restricted in the ways they can promote their product. It is not illegal to sell tobacco. Plain packaging is a step too far, too controlling, for a product that is already hidden from sight where it is sold.

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  3. Andrei (2,499 comments) says:

    Just another communist attack on free enterprise – tobacco is the prototype for gaining Government control over any product produced by people they don’t like or approve of – in the name of “the public good”.

    Shame on National for even countenancing this.

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  4. Rowan (1,778 comments) says:

    I would say no it doesn’t work, I am a social smoker, they are still cigarettes whatever colour box they are in. They are readily available for anyone that wants to purchase them despite hiding them from the customers view in the shops.

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  5. Manolo (13,327 comments) says:

    My view on plain packaging is that *if* plain packaging does reduce smoking rates, then I think it can be justified.
    Now extrapolate that to wine and alcoholic beverages, the next target. Mark my words.

    An outrageous attack on a legal business to satisfy control-freaks, wowsers and academics. A lamentable display of weakness by labour lite.

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  6. alloytoo (431 comments) says:

    Plain packaging reduces the value of brands in the market, that’s abundantly clear, what’s not clear is whether it reduces smoking, or merely encourages smokers to smoke the cheapest available.

    I’m inclined to believe the later. You might well see an increase in consumption for some people as they get more bang for their buck.

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  7. Rowan (1,778 comments) says:

    Does anyone actually believe that by putting the ciggies in a plain package and putting them out of view of the shoppers that smokers aren’t going to buy them. Thats just retarted!

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  8. kowtow (7,584 comments) says:

    Notional,the anti private property rights party…….

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  9. Nostalgia-NZ (4,898 comments) says:

    I don’t think it reduces smoking, but I don’t follow the claim that it doesn’t work coming from the distributors – surely they’d be the last to complain that it doesn’t work. This sounds like the alcohol industry supporting prohibition – sort of Irish.

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  10. Judith (7,486 comments) says:

    I doubt anything they do will stop those people that already smoke from doing so. They know the risks, they know the health issues, and they sure know the financial cost, so packaging probably makes very little difference to them, BUT it could make a difference to potential smokers – it stops the product from looking ‘attractive’ and that is meant to make a difference in marketing.

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  11. mandk (817 comments) says:

    @ Nostalgia-NZ

    Exactly.

    I don’t believe the cigarette companies are telling the whole story here. If smoking rates have not changed, then their profits should have increased because they won’t have had to pay to protect their brands. Reintroducing branded packaging will increase their costs for no gain in revenues.

    I’m not saying here that there are no valid reasons for branded cigarette packaging. I’m just not convinced the tobacco companies are being wholly truthful.

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  12. corrigenda (142 comments) says:

    If it will drop the price of ciggies then I am all for it!!! I might be able to afford to take up smoking again!!

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  13. Reid (15,917 comments) says:

    Why don’t they just wait for the TPP to come in then they’ll be able to sue the govt: i.e. us, if we have the temerity to dare introduce such corporate wacism.

    And how the hell are you supposed to obtain evidence that it reduces smoking unless you introduce it throughout the country?

    And who cares if it doesn’t? The idea as someone said above is to damage the brand. Good job.

    I just wish we could do that to all the other “brands” as well. It’s an unfortunate observation on human nature that some to most people are so profoundly shallow they get influenced in their buying decision by pretty colours, demonstrating that some to most grown adults are no more intelligent than your average 8 year old. It’s a shame one can’t declare war on bimboism, no doubt if one tried there’d be any number of bimbos protesting their “human wight” to behave like complete and utter morons.

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  14. Jim Rose (35 comments) says:

    If plain packaging has no effect on rates of smoking, why do these laws so upset big tobacco?

    Packaging should have some impact on sales for otherwise the practice at hand would not have survived in market competition?

    A tobacco company could have won market share by launching its own cheaper plain-packaged brand if the fancier brand-based packaging is of no marketing value.

    One method of organising production and supplying to the market will supplant another when it can supply at a lower price

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  15. nasska (10,622 comments) says:

    Reid

    ….”most grown adults are no more intelligent than your average 8 year old.”….

    At times that would be hard to argue but I doubt it worries the tobacco companies greatly…..a customer is a customer regardless of IQ. What will have them concerned is how to recruit & retain the next generation of smokers.

    Currently their toolbox of strategies is looking very empty.

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  16. Steve (North Shore) (4,491 comments) says:

    The less people smoke, the more the non-smokers will pay in TAX.
    So all of you control freaks think about the bed you are making – soon the tobacco tax will need to be replaced.
    Socialism works – yeah!

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  17. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    Unfortunately total prohibition is an end point.
    We know prohibition does not work.
    Tobacco grows and is in nz.
    As legal market cost rises become prohibitive, More criminality and tax evasion an active black market will result

    Crime is a Trade off for diiberate decrease in the controlled legal and heavily taxed maket revenue earner for NZ inc it is now.

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  18. greenjacket (415 comments) says:

    “of Otago University”
    .
    A few days ago it was Otago busybodies advocating taxes on soft-drinks, then it was an Otago nutcase arguing that stopping offshore drilling would stop global warming (even though gas has lower carbon emissions than coal). Is Otago University in a race with Waikato to be the most left-wing and irrelevant tertiary institution?

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  19. Peter (1,577 comments) says:

    If plain packaging has no effect on rates of smoking, why do these laws so upset big tobacco?

    Differentiation between brands.

    It’s unlikely to reduce smoking, in itself. I imagine many smokers will start buying their own fancy little boxes to transfer their cigarettes into. The rest don’t really care about the box, only what’s in it.

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  20. bc (1,332 comments) says:

    Steve, maybe you should think more about people. It’s not all about dollars and cents.
    Less smokers means less people with smoking relating illnesses. Isn’t that the main thing?

    But if you can only think in monetary terms, maybe less smokers means less demand on health services paid for by the taxpayer.

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  21. Elaycee (4,297 comments) says:

    Any introduction of plain packaging will need to be carefully considered – it opens Pandora’s box in the areas of trademark protection / brand equity / and even company value.

    As an example: ABC Tobacco has invested millions into their brands over time. Their brands are all trademarked. Their company is valued accordingly. But if the NZ proposal is similar to the plain packaging legislation in Australia, it means logos / trademarks are not allowed – even the word ‘ABC’ can only appear in plain font and in a designated position on the pack. So what happens about the reduction in brand equity? What about the effect will it have on the value of the Company? Would ABC (the example) be able to sue for losses? All reasonable questions…

    And don’t think for an instant this is ‘tobacco’ issue – the next target for the advocates of plain packaging will be manufacturers of soda drinks. And then confectionery. And liquor. And ice cream. Then fast food. And so on…

    Currently there are a lot of eyes on Australia to see what happens…. the link (below) is from South Africa but the issues are similar everywhere.

    http://www.mondaq.com/x/288108/Trademark/Plain+Packaging+Legislation+And+Its+Potential+Effect+On+Trade+Marks

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  22. MT_Tinman (2,985 comments) says:

    “tobacco control experts” says it all.

    Health Nazis, each and every one of the bastards, will never accept anything other than complete compliance – and complete control by them.

    Another example in the last couple of days was the attempted censoship of researchers who found fat bastards are more likely to live long and entertaining life then skinny little pricks.

    Be comfortable, enjoy youelf and tell the interferring bastards to go &@#% themselves!

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  23. big bruv (13,217 comments) says:

    Just wait until we have a Labour Green government. Plain packaging for fags, soft drinks, take away foods, petrol, motor cars and anything else that the central office decides is “bad”.

    Of course under that same government all drugs will be legal and able to be purchased from your corner dairy.

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  24. big bruv (13,217 comments) says:

    Oh, and BTW. All of you who bang on about smoking related diseases should thank each and every smoker in this country.

    Those who smoke fund the health system, every control freak and health nut who needs an operation is funded by smokers.

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  25. Dave_1924 (90 comments) says:

    So I don’t care one way or the other BUT I do find this to be an attack on a companies IP i.e. the Brand. Brands have value, they influence customer buying behaviour – if they didn’t companies wouldn’t continuously pour money in to them.

    Do the companies in question get compensation for loss of Brand Asset value on their balance sheets – they should as the right off will go through their P/L…

    And in addition to the destruction of a privately held asset – where does this end is my next point? Is tobacco it or does Alcohol, logically in the its harmful arguments ordering I suspect come next? And if its them then what product and/or service next?

    If people want to smoke a durrie, drink Chivas Regal or Lion Red, light a dobbie, spike a needle – THAT IS THERE CHOICE.

    Yes there a consequences to use and/or abuse… but ADULTS can make choices. Inform people of the risks especially of abuse of their product of choice and let them have at it.

    And TAX the product to fund the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff costs and also to fund the on going education of consequences costs

    I’m an ADULT – I CAN CHOOSE for myself…..

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  26. nasska (10,622 comments) says:

    ….”Those who smoke fund the health system, every control freak and health nut who needs an operation is funded by smokers.”….

    They’ll make it up by taxing pies & petrol or something else. The ability of a a true socialist to tax anything pleasurable is only equalled by the ability of God’s chosen ones to call for bans on what they disagree with.

    It’s the average bloke who gets clobbered every time.

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  27. tvb (4,196 comments) says:

    This also involves destroying intellectual property rights in the packaging. This should not be done lightly. I do not think this move will be particularly effective so on balance it should not be undertaken.

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  28. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    Socialist and Conservative become more authoritarian towards the extremes.

    Untill they are indistinguishable from each other.

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  29. bc (1,332 comments) says:

    What a load of crap big bruv. I don’t smoke , but I know that I contribute to the health budget.
    And have you ever considered that with less smokers, there will be less of a demand on the health budget with smoking related illnesses.

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  30. ShawnLH (3,212 comments) says:

    “Why don’t they just wait for the TPP to come in then they’ll be able to sue the govt”

    Good.

    This was a real low point for National. Totally opposite to their claimed political philosophy.

    I get why Reid, an apologist for Arab and Russian fascists, might like it. But National should never have introduced this blatant attack on private property. Shame on them.

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  31. Yoza (1,523 comments) says:

    With things like alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, meth-amphetamine, heroine etc, we should use the Pharmac model where the state buys in bulk and distributes to regional authorities for sale. That way all the profits from the exercise (and lets face it, there would be massive profits) could be directed to attending to the physical adverse effects of the various substances, helping addicts with quitting programs and running educational programs in schools and the like so young people could be well informed of the dangers before they begin to experiment.

    The only serious side effect would be the removal of a steady stream of profit from the clandestine distribution rackets and also it would not be economically viable to set up a meth lab in a private residence.

    Oh yeah, everything could be distributed in plain packaging.

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  32. nasska (10,622 comments) says:

    What ya smoking Yoza…..you’re making sense. :)

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  33. OneTrack (2,576 comments) says:

    Yoza – so where would I have to go in Auckland to buy my 6 pack of beer cans under your scheme? And how much would it cost me?

    And how long before Coke was added to the restricted list?

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  34. peterwn (3,144 comments) says:

    “In my experience many public health advocates are motivated more by hatred of the companies that sell the products they see as harmful”

    Just the usual left wing hate speech and slogans prevalent in hospitals, school staffrooms etc just like ‘four legs good, two legs bad’ chanting in Animal Farm. And they believe their own bulldust. John Key is the personification of that hatred – from Hone, Kim, Matt, and others constantly exposed to left wing smears and lies, like John Key has suffered ever since becoming National’s leader.

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  35. bc (1,332 comments) says:

    Yep, he is nasska!
    All those people banging on about free enterprise and how dare the government restrict free enterprise, should take a moment to think about the effects of smoking.
    Smoking is a drug, therefore treat smoking as a health issue.

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  36. Steve (North Shore) (4,491 comments) says:

    bc @ 5.40

    Steve, maybe you should think more about people. It’s not all about dollars and cents.
    Less smokers means less people with smoking relating illnesses. Isn’t that the main thing?

    But if you can only think in monetary terms, maybe less smokers means less demand on health services paid for by the taxpayer.

    You want my smoking TAX money for your endless need of entitlitus don’t you? I don’t smoke, sunshine. I gave up after 40 years of smoking – but only for spinal surgery healing. See? I have paid TAX for you sniveling socialists.
    See big bruvs comment at 5.56.

    At 6.20 you say:

    What a load of crap big bruv. I don’t smoke , but I know that I contribute to the health budget.
    And have you ever considered that with less smokers, there will be less of a demand on the health budget with smoking related illnesses.

    You have no idea about TAX and where it comes from

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  37. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    Smokers make money for the taxpayer and save even more by karking it young*.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10809145

    *at around 60 ?

    A Treasury report has admitted that smoking saves the Government money because smokers die earlier and pay more in tobacco tax than their health problems cost.

    The regulatory impact statement on tobacco taxes prepared ahead of the Budget said smokers’ shorter life expectancies reduced the need for superannuation and aged care.

    “When the broader fiscal impacts of smoking are considered … smokers are probably already ‘paying their way’ in narrowly fiscal terms.”

    In last week’s Budget, Associate Health Minister Tariana Turia introduced tobacco levies that will increase the price of a 20-pack of cigarettes to more than $20 in four years.

    The charges would increase the Government’s tax take from tobacco from $1.3 billion to around $1.7 billion by 2016.

    Failure in not taking into account the shrinkage of turn over due to tax burden and transfer to the black market

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  38. nasska (10,622 comments) says:

    bc

    There little doubt that nicotine is an addictive drug….it took me a couple of attempts to get unhooked & they were experiences I’d prefer never to have to repeat. As such it is a health issue but the usual nutcases in the MOH have gone completely overboard about it.

    Like all addictions no one is going to successfully quit unless THEY want to. The anti smoking Nazis are just glorified nags & the ducking stool is too good for them.

    Steve

    Smokers die early & fairly quickly….they save everyone a fortune in taxes by not sticking around.

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  39. Yoza (1,523 comments) says:

    Thanks Nasska.

    OneTrack (1,885 comments) says:
    April 1st, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Yoza – so where would I have to go in Auckland to buy my 6 pack of beer cans under your scheme? And how much would it cost me?

    And how long before Coke was added to the restricted list?

    There are millions of different ways we could organise society, generally we are only provided one model which we are expected to adapt to the majority of social transactions. I think any community should be allowed to decide what form of institute should be allowed in its midst, so if a significant majority in your area was opposed to alcohol being distributed you would have to drive to a more distant distribution point. I do not think it is a goo idea having alcohol, tobacco, cocaine etc available for distribution anywhere there is a regular stream of minors – I think allowing the distribution of alcohol and tobacco in supermarkets and dairies normalises there use in the eyes of impressionable youngsters.

    So I think such substances, like a 6 pack of beer, should be distributed from a centre dedicated to age restricted substances.

    To be honest I haven’t given it a great deal of thought, I am sure there are others who could offer suggestions as well. It does seem unreasonable that some private businesses, whether legitimate or not, should be allowed to impose an unacceptable high cost on society when we can reorganise to direct that profit stream into helping those who most at risk.

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  40. bc (1,332 comments) says:

    Steve, I don’t want your smoking tax money for anything. Price has shown to have the biggest effect on people deciding to quit. So taxing cigarettes is a means to an end.

    And I have every idea where tax comes from – I pay it every day. Why do you have to resort to name calling to make your point? Probably because what you say isn’t very well thought out.

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  41. big bruv (13,217 comments) says:

    bc

    With less smokers you would be paying more tax toward the health budget. If you don’t or won’t accept that then you clearly know very little about tax.

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  42. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    Making unreasonable demands on retail supply is naive with online sales are growing and willing to take up the slack.

    I see the value of having all the current recreational drugs supplied from coffee-house style emporiums or take out restricted to appropriate age and availability on a sliding scale of harm

    Opiate amphetamine cocaine and other very harm full drugs demand could be fed by safe medically prescription supplies under health professional supervision.

    Other recreational drugs could be regulated by strength cost and quantity supplied . On a sliding scale of the actual harm they do to society

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  43. bc (1,332 comments) says:

    Congratulations nasska on quitting. In an ideal world, smoking would be treated as a health issue, alongside any other drug. As you have said it is just as addictive if not more so than illegal drugs.
    It’s a shame some people some people are too busy name calling and treating it as a political left/right issue, to think clearly.

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  44. leftyliberal (642 comments) says:

    I’d agree that at current levels, smoking may well be tax-neutral. That ofcourse is wildly different than big_bruv’s claim:

    “Those who smoke fund the health system, every control freak and health nut who needs an operation is funded by smokers.”

    Government revenue from smoking (including GST) per annum is circa $1.3B.

    MoH spending per annum: $14.7B.

    They don’t do a very good job of funding the health system…

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  45. bc (1,332 comments) says:

    So what big bruv? If it means less smokers and a better standard of living for them, isn’t that what’s important?

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  46. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1A_zkUtGvw :)

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  47. bc (1,332 comments) says:

    Thanks for that lefty. I was giving big bruv the benefit of the doubt, and suggesting that people think of the health benefits to society, as well as any possible tax benefits. Now it appears that there aren’t any tax benefits of having people smoking either.

    It says a lot about big bruv’s humanity that he quite likes having lots of smokers because they pay tax.

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  48. EAD (578 comments) says:

    DPF – how does your advocacy for plain packaging square with your claim to be a classical liberal?

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  49. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    Bugger me and I always thought Sheep were more fun than Camels! :)

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  50. Manolo (13,327 comments) says:

    DPF – how does your advocacy for plain packaging square with your claim to be a classical liberal?

    Very simply: it does not.

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  51. CharlieBrown (889 comments) says:

    DPF – Your logic is seriously flawed. The only two logical policies would be to ban it outright for the “public good” or allow it to be sold without regulation. Any middle ground is just socialist tax grabbing.

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  52. CharlieBrown (889 comments) says:

    Lefty – How much do people over the age of 80 cost the health system? Should we ban them?

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  53. unitedtribes (27 comments) says:

    Just ban sales of cigs to people who are now 13 years old and younger. That would effectively fix the problem

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  54. ShawnLH (3,212 comments) says:

    bc,

    Caffeine is addictive. Alcohol can be. So can chocolate. So can any number of things. Taxing ciggies is about the State finding new ways to steal other people’s money. Politicians could care less about anything else than getting more money to spend on their pet ego projects.

    If it is a cost to the health system, privatize the health system.

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  55. Scott (1,699 comments) says:

    Like many do not agree with plain packaging. Tobacco is a legal product and the government has no business telling private companies how they should market their own products. We have far too much big government already.

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  56. Steve (North Shore) (4,491 comments) says:

    Nasska,
    “Smokers die early & fairly quickly….they save everyone a fortune in taxes by not sticking around.”
    So the TAX comes from where after the smokers die?
    Hook, line, sinker and most of the arm

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  57. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    Bollocks Steve (NS). I smoked up to 45 a day for thirty years and am still alive after quitting for 17 years. I look forward to getting my Winston card and some of all that shitload of bloody tax I paid to support the useless spawn of the lower classes back again! :)

    My $200 dollars a week will go straight into my bucket fund! :)

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  58. Steve (North Shore) (4,491 comments) says:

    3 years to go Johnboy, and then milk the fuck out of them. I am broke, just like Cunliffe is broke.
    Sorry kids of the future, you start paying soon. The Labour you vote for will take you to the cleaners

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  59. leftyliberal (642 comments) says:

    CharlieBrown: An example of the inability to read perhaps?

    My post was simply refuting big_bruv’s ludicrous claim using data available from a 2 minute google search.

    I made no comment whatsoever regarding whether or not cigarettes should be banned, or whether cigarettes should or should not be sold in plain packaging.

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  60. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    I’m pretty keen on getting those cheap rides on the buses Steve! :)

    I haven’t been on one for about 40 years.

    I went on a Ganz Mavag once when they were new (to do jury service before I figured out the permanent excuse) and bugger me they are all being scrapped now.

    I refuse to ride on the new ones as they have a bloody murri name! :)

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  61. nasska (10,622 comments) says:

    Steve

    By the time the smoker dies at say 60 instead of 75 they’re heading for the time when they’re going to cost the net taxpayers bigtime. They’ve already paid tax like the rest of us plus a shitload of the same on their tobacco/cigarettes but many of them are not going to live long enough to be a drain on National Super, resthomes, dementia care etc.

    When they die the State’s liability does too.

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  62. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    Hell that’s good news nasska …..I’m almost five years into my bludging curve already and in 8 months those up-themselves little gen x’s and y’s or whatever the obnoxious fuckers are called can start adding to my enjoyment fund!! :)

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  63. griffith (1,111 comments) says:

    n June 2013 GWRC announced that it had come to terms for both the purchase of an additional 35 Matangi units and the sale of 42 of the Ganz units to a South African buyer, with one unit to be retained in New Zealand for preservation.[18]

    Shipping of 17 units withdrawn as of 1 January 2014 commenced from 17-19 February 2014 with loading into the cargo vessel MV Pangani bound for South Africa were they will be converted into carriages for operation in Tanzania and Zimbabwe. The remaining units will be shipped once replaced by the second tranche of Matangi units from mid-2015 [19][20]

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  64. Judith (7,486 comments) says:

    @ Johnboy (13,213 comments) says:
    April 1st, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    yeah, but are there enough of the little sods working in good paying jobs to keep up in the manner we should be kept in? Is there some way we can make them work harder? Is whipping really illegal, or just frowned on?

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  65. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    Don’t be so cruel Judith. As long as they work hard enough to cover my TAB and booze account I’m happy. :)

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  66. Judith (7,486 comments) says:

    @ Johnboy (13,214 comments) says:
    April 1st, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    No bugga it, that’s not enough, they’ve had more toys than we got, they need to pay for more than the TAB and Booze – I want some real classy five star joint to linger in, for years and years and years. And I DON’T want some cheap rubbish junk – when I need them, my incontinence knickers better be made of silk and my reverse name badge (for when I look in the mirror to find out who I am) better be solid gold, and NOT made of tin!

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  67. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    You’re meant to have earned the money to pay for all that for yourself Judith from all your years of capital gains and thriving from free edumication wot you have stolen off your sprogs and grandsprogs.

    Just be happy with a cheap ride on the bus down to the bingo hall (using your Winston card)! :)

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  68. Judith (7,486 comments) says:

    @ johnboy

    I’m not going to any bingo – I intend to stay home and whinge and moan, and flick through the tv channels and complain about the food, leave my junk all over the place, and get everyone to clean up after me. Basically, everything I’ve learned from my children.

    But I am worried if they decide plain packing is going to change, because I intend to use my kids credit cards to order lots of parcels, that they wouldn’t want coming in anything but plain packaging.

    No sirree, I want my children to remember me, when I’m gone!! ;-)

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  69. CharlieBrown (889 comments) says:

    Lefty – perhaps my question was targeted at the wrong person but the point is still valid. The cost of smoking is likely a revenue earner when you take into account the absurd taxes and the “opportunity cost” of not smoking. By choosing to smoke you are choosing to increase the chance that you will die young and collect less pensions and other age related government expenditure. Also, compare the cost of dieing from smoking to the cost of dieing from age related diseases, which is what you are likely to die from if you don’t smoke.

    The fact that alludes most people is that dieing is often an expensive process, and dieing from lung cancer isn’t neccesarily more expensive than other ways. Smoking is just one bad lifestyle choice people are free to make (and it should always be peoples individual choice). Targeting smoking is deluded and immoral.

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  70. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    If your children are at all like us on KB Judith they will quickly forget you. :)

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  71. Judith (7,486 comments) says:

    @ Johnboy (13,220 comments) says:
    April 1st, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Well one of them is National supporter so its on the cards – not sure what I did wrong there, must have been affected by the ‘free will’ style of parenting I was using at the time, and now its too late to beat it out of him… ;-) It’s shameful to admit I got it so wrong, but every family has its disappointments. :-)

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  72. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    Well at least some of your genetic material can’t have been all bad Judith. :)

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  73. Scott1 (444 comments) says:

    Those who want the government to have only two options (ban or allow unrestricted) are being silly. That is like saying a builder should only be allowed to use a saw or screw driver – which will be a major setback next time he needs to put a nail in a piece of wood.

    Or to give a policy example : “on crimea there are two options world war, or total surrender.”

    As to the effectiveness of plain packaging – I find it hard to believe it would not have some sort of effect – even if that effect might be hidden by other effects going on in the market, for example I have to wonder if the tobacco companies intentionally made sure this years deliveries exceeded last years by moving deliveries from one year into the other or getting someone to store some or a similar trick. this is the sort of thing business do in order to get budget based bonuses anyway.

    Even if it only meant that cigarette companies save money on packaging and marketing that would probably be a good thing.

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  74. Ed Snack (1,733 comments) says:

    I would imagine that the tobacco companies objection to plain packaging is based around profits not numbers. With plain packaging the cigarettes are close to being reduced to a single undifferentiated product so the “natural” tendency will be for the prices to fall overall with the removal of the brand effects. Costs will reduce as well, there will be far less marketing expense, but overall I can well imagine that profitability rates will drop although to some extent the increase in volume will compensate.

    There is little doubt that this is simply part of a longer term campaign to make smoking a banned practice akin to drug use; with the method being a gradual increase in price and restrictions to avoid the odium that would be incurred from banning it outright. It is also social engineering, trying to get people to not want to smoke through dissuasion in an effort to make the banning more effective. I think it is accepted that an outright ban at this point would lead to significant black market springing up; and what would they do, imprison people for smoking cigarettes ?

    And at present, commenter bc is badly wrong. It has been calculated that the current amount of tax taken in tobacco excise is greater than the amount spent on the medical (and disability) treatment of smoking related diseases. When you then add the impact of averagely shorter life spans reducing the superannuation and long-tail aged health costs, then smokers are an economic plus to a significant degree. Looked at in a purely economic sense, if smoking ceases to make this contribution then additional revenue will need to come from elsewhere, either as income taxes, GST, or other excise taxes such as alcohol.

    As for setting up government agencies to produce and distribute “substances”, a socialists wet dream, power, money, and control in one package. And as we know, all beers, whiskeys, and wine are really all just the same only with fancy labels to tempt the unknowing into spending extra. You can pry my Glenmorangie out of my cold dead hands you bastards…

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  75. CharlieBrown (889 comments) says:

    Scott1 – There are only two logical options – the third option f something in between is nothing other than greedy tax grabbing and PR.

    Doing something in between is not addressing the supposed problem. It is saying, “we believe what you are doing is bad and going to kill you but hey, we will take money of you for that privelage.”. Alternatively, national members that want half measures probably believe “We know it is your choice but alot of people think it is bad so to gain their votes we will tax you and make it appear that we care about you.”

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  76. CharlieBrown (889 comments) says:

    ED – the only affect plain packaging will have on smoking is remove all brand distinction between the tobacco companies. Smokers will still smoke, do you think they choose to smoke because the packages have pretty colours? C’mon, if you believe that then you are close to f’ing retarded.

    Likewise, testing out a plain packing law in a geographic area is dam stupid as well, especially for the likes of the South Island which has quite a different culture to the North Island.

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  77. Jack43 (3 comments) says:

    All this talk about plain packaging is serving to put smoking high on the news agenda and if anything making it more likely that youngsters will take up smoking. Even if it is introduced, kids will just buy cases like these http://www.smoke-screenz.com to put their cigarette packs in and hide all the packaging. They can even design their own. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are not backed by a big tobacco company.

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