The Government must be doing something right. Why else would the tobacco lobby be shrieking in fear about the legislation to bring in plain packaging for all cigarette products in Australia by July 2012?
Funded by the three largest tobacco companies but branded as the ‘Alliance of Australian Retailers' these new adverts are based on the ludicrous premise that the plain packaging legislation will not lower rates of smoking, it will only make it harder for small businesses to operate and cut into profits.
We don't actually have anyone from the tobacco industry on speed dial but if we did, the conversation might go a little bit like this (for the sake of clarity let's call their representative Nick N):
Cancer Council: Why are you so mad?
Nick N: Plain packaging will erode profits and not lower smoking rates!
CC: Really? Why will it erode profits?
NN: Well, because they will sell less cigarettes.
CC: I see. Why will they sell less cigarettes? Is it because people will be smoking less?
NN: Yes. I mean no. I mean, plain packaging will not lower smoking rates.
CC: I'm not sure I follow - you mean smoking rates will stay the same?
NN: That's right.
CC: So why will profits fall, if smoking rates are the same, won't they sell the same number of cigarettes?
NN: No, smokers will go to bigger supermarkets because it's no longer convenient to buy from a convenience store or service station.
CC: Why's that?
NN: Because it will take too long to get served.
CC: But won't the supermarkets have the same problem? ... This wouldn't have anything to do with tobacco profits would it?
NN: (dial tone)
You see, that's exactly the point of the plain packaging policy - to reduce smoking rates, and with it the enormous burden of smoking-related death and disease in Australia.
You just can't trust tobacco companies. For years they denied the link between lung cancer and smoking. Now they are hiding behind an alliance of milk bars and corner shops in a desperate bid to protect a falling empire which is based on profits from death and disease.
This ad campaign is nothing but tobacco-funded scaremongering. The world will be watching to see what effect our world first plain packaging policy has on smoking rates. And the tobacco industry knows it. And they are scared.
Have you seen the Alliance's ads? What do you think of their argument? Do you think plain packaging will have an affect on smokers?
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