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    I have an idea, why don’t we have monkeys behind the counters in supermarkets that throw faeces at smokers when they come in to buy cigarettes. Then make it lawful for pedestrians to spit on smokers as they pass them in the street, clustered and smoking outside of buildings.

    I mean come on, how many smokers really smoke because of the “sexy” and “attractive” packaging – that already has a dead baby or gaping wound warning you that smoking while pregnant may harm your baby taking up half of the box now anyway?

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    John64, you seem to have fallen victim to the misdirection of the tobacco campaign. This is not a measure targeting current smokers. It is a measure designed to (and likely to) reduce UPTAKE of smoking amongst young people.

    ie The next generation of smokers.

    The graphic picutres you describe have proven effective at getting people to quit. The plain packaging is to discourage people from ever taking up the habit.

    It’s actually a worry – there won’t be solid results to be gleaned from this measure for years to come. It might be fantastically effective, but for a few years it will be “we think it’s working… we think it’s working…”

    No doubt tobacco will seize on this and try and raise the issue again in twelve months. Hopefully our federal government in twelve months, whatever political colour it may be, is able to stand up to the tobacco giants. This, of course, is a worrying prosepect.

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    Venise Alstergren

    I’m sure the Australians of the year are worthy and well meaning. However, I imagine the target audience would be eleven year olds and upwards. Surely these names would be unknown to kids of this age.

    If these names are unfamiliar to the average Oz today, how will they be effective for the smokers of tomorrow?

    Couldn’t anyone find enough footy stars?

    It’s fascinating to see how tenuous the cigarette companies believe the hold of a brand name is.

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    Simon Chapman would say that having collared the 6 ‘Australians of the year’ and being on Nicola Roxon’s payroll with an NHMRC grant of nearly $2 million ‘to improve media literacy’. Oh, nearly forgot – he’s also on Nicola’s NPHT tobacco working group. But you would never see Chapman nominate for election. Unelected and unaccountable, but still on the public payroll, is much more luxurious than actually putting your neck on the line. And as reported in the MJA, Chapman says talking in the media about research is more important than the research. What an expensive fraud he is perpetrating on Australia’s taxpayers.

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    Urbancynic, now what is it that makes me feel certain that you might be a tobacco industry stooge? The bravery of your anonymity? — a bit like cockroaches (both spread disease and don’t like the glare of sunlight); your illiteracy about government process? (that researchers who win competitive NHMRC grants assessed by expert referees and a judged by a panel of 12 researchers with no competing interests, are therefore on “Nicola Roxon’s payroll” (ummm.. how would you then explain all the NHMRC grants I had under the Howard government?); the fascinating illogicality of discrediting the views of anyone “unelected” while not making the same point about the tobacco industry and its errand boys in the rapidly disintegrating retail “Alliance”; and flagrant misrepresentation of what I said in the MJA piece.

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    read what the tobacco companies really think about their ‘silent salesman’ (to children)

    Tobacco packaging as advertising:
    “It is the communication life-blood of the firm… the silent salesman” (3)
    “It is a promotional tool in its own right” (4)
    “It is a total opportunity for communications¦ a carefully planned brand or information communications campaign” (5)
    “In this struggle to win over smokers, the pack and its messages have become increasingly important weapons.” (6)
    (3) Underwood R L, Ozanne J. Is your package an effective communicator? A normative framework for increasing the communicative competence of packaging. J Market Commun 1998: 4: 207-20
    (4) Palmer A. The product, Principles of Marketing, Oxford University Press, 2000
    (5) Mawditt N. Putting pack opportunities into the frame. World Tobacco. 2006: 212: 36-7
    (6) Staff Report. Rethinking cigarette packs for a new age. Tobacco Int 1991 Mar 1: 14

    What industry analysts say about plain packaging:
    “regulations… have to date neither undermined industry profitability nor led to commoditization of the cigarette category. However, a ban on conventional packaging graphics could prove to be a very different matter.”(21)
    “Plain packaging would significantly reduce the power of tobacco brands.” “The industry is so profitable only because consumers are willing to pay a premium of £1.50 for certain brands. We think this measure would cause a rapid worsening of the downtrading trend. Over time this would hurt profitability significantly.”(22)
    “Clearly, smokers won’t like it. However, I suspect that the majority of the population that does not smoke will be in favour of the proposal. Anything which boosts the public health is good.”(23)
    (21) Plain packaging is a serious threat but quite unlikely. Morgan Stanley, 2008
    (22) Material new risk appears: UK Govt. suggests plain packaging. Citigroup, 2008
    (23) Spielman A. Little hope in appealing to natural justice. Tobacco Journal International, September 2008


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