A systematic review of the proper, academic evidence on plain packaging was published alongside the consultation. Produced by Stirling University researchers, this review considered 37 published studies and concluded “that plain packaging would reduce the attractiveness and appeal of tobacco products; it would increase the noticeability and effectiveness of health warnings and messages; and it would reduce the use of design techniques that may mislead consumers about the harmfulness of tobacco products.” [emphasis added]Dick Puddlecote gives an example of proper academic evidence (illustrating how they showed that plain packaging would speed up transactions). The proper academic evidence is listed in this 'independent' review, carried out by professional tobacco control advocates, starting on page 91. All the studies featured in this review look at the issue of packaging from close range. No study attempts to take a different view, or even substantively addresses the wider legal problems of intellectual property. This is what passes for 'proper, academic evidence': select only studies that support the policy of the government that commissioned you to carry out the review (and select very carefully the authors of the review). Can she actually believe this is objective?
There is clear support for plain packaging from academic researchers, public health professionals and the Scottish public. We at ASH Scotland believe that the debate over the evidence for plain packaging has been settled and that plain packaging will make tobacco products less appealing to young people, resulting in a slow decline in smoking rates as fewer young people are recruited to replace those who quit or who die. The fact that the tobacco companies are so worried suggests that they think so too. [emphasis added]The debate is over. She does believe it then.