The pseudo-journal Tobacco Control has helpfully published a "study" to help campaigners overcome objections from the public. Being Tobacco Control, the methodology is the tried-and-tested 'messing about on the internet' approach, in this instance the inappropriately named Becky Freeman has been reading comments on news stories.
Results Of 117 relevant news items, 41 included 1818 reader comments. 1187 (65.3%) comments contained no reference to plain packaging, and mainly addressed a tobacco tax rise announced at the same time. The comments about plain packaging were more than 2.5 times more likely to oppose than support the policy. The dominant argumentative frame, comprising 27% of oppositional comments, was that plain packaging would be ineffective in reducing smoking. Online reader poll results showed equal support for and opposition to plain packaging.
Conclusions The results of this study can be used by tobacco control advocates to anticipate opposition and assist in reframing and counteracting arguments opposed to plain packaging.
So most people oppose it and most people think it won't work. The reaction of tobacco control is therefore to 'reframe' the issue so things like popularity and efficacy don't get in the way. All in a day's work for ASH et al.
And if they succeed, will the professional zealots leave it there? Of course not. Having passed a plain packaging law in Australia, the crusaders have already skipped onto their next objectives.
LICENCES to puff, foul-tasting cigarettes, and financial incentives to stop smoking are next in a bid to help the nation quit a $5 billion addiction to tobacco revenue before the end of the next decade.
You read that right: they want the government to make cigarettes "foul-tasting". And you'll need a license to smoke them. These are the people who once claimed that all they wanted was no-smoking sections in restaurants, remember.
Simon Clark has recently launched a website to allow the sane majority to voice their opposition to all this nonsense. I have written a short blogpost touching on some of the main issues around plain packaging. Do have a read and be sure to sign up on the right-hand side of the page.