Alongside the consultation document launched last week, the UK and Scottish governments published an evidence review by Stirling University. This collated 37 academic studies and concluded there was “strong evidence… plain packaging would reduce the attractiveness and appeal of tobacco products”. In one study, 87 per cent of children rated plain packs as “uncool”.
It seems, therefore, that the evidence is plain to see.Magnificent: an open admission that a predetermined agenda, supported by a so-called academic review written by people who share that agenda, using sources that address only that agenda and none of the wider issues, is all the evidence that the government needs to pursue tobacco control. My comment:
The academic study referred to by Sheila Duffy acknowledged two weaknesses: one that it isn't possible yet to evaluate the policy in practice, and two that 'a number of types of literature were not covered by the review'. http:phrc.lshtm.ac.ukpapersPHRC_006_Final_Report.pdf
IMO the study (described by Lansley as an 'independent' academic review) also fails as it doesn't include anyone outside the narrow confines of tobacco control among its list of authors. Nobody qualified to offer expert analysis in branding, marketing, communications or the international black market in tobacco was involved. The range of literature (Table 4.1) reflected this obsession with tobacco control and failed to reflect concerns from beyond the tobacco control community: 'barriers' to plain packaging were a nod to the idea that not everyone agrees with it. Considering we are awaiting judgement in a court case and Ukraine and Honduras have both risked the ire of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control by challenging the legislation, an independent review should have been authored by all, or at least more, of the interests at stake.
If you support the policy, and your source material supports the policy, and you don't include anyone who doesn't support the policy, then hey presto, your study will also support the policy.This letter was a response to this by Robert Dow, who also comments on Ms Duffy's letter.