Friday, 17 August 2012

Unleaderlike

I won't say the editorial from the Scotsman (scroll down) on the Australian court decision was disappointing because these days it is hard to expect anything better from the media.
Does anyone really doubt that the way cigarettes are marketed – the packaging’s colour, texture, design and branding – are designed to add an attractive patina of glamour to the product? And does anyone really doubt that this glamour is part of smoking’s attraction, especially for the young and impressionable?
That is the way any packaging is designed.
If so, what possible justification can there be for allowing cigarettes to benefit from this? Advertising and sponsorship by the tobacco industry has already been severely curtailed for precisely this reason.
And tobacco has remained popular regardless, and the anti-smokers need to blame something beyond the fact that people have been smoking for millennia.
What rationale – beyond special pleading by vested interests or a woefully misplaced argument about freedom of expression – can there be for allowing this to continue? 
That we don't particularly want governments to exercise the authority to prevent people and businesses from using their branding because they perceive it to be unhelpful to their policy objectives. This is not 'woefully misplaced' concern. If government deprives anyone of assets, they should provide compensation. Brand packaging exists to protect both consumers and manufacturers from cheap imitations. Sometimes vested interests are good sources of insight.
 Smoking’s social acceptability has declined markedly over the past two decades. When the ban on smoking in public places was first introduced in Scotland, there were those who said it would never work. Does anyone now regret that historic step? Or the ban on cigarette vending machines (where many a young teenager obtained their first furtive pack)? Or any of the other curbs designed to protect public health?
You can just see the point here – anyone not agreeing with this programme can't love children and has probably got shares in tobacco companies.

This is a poor excuse for a leader article. Not even the pretence of an attempt at even-handedness.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I left a comment after that article.
- Carbondated

Junican said...

So have I, C.

The Mail has a big article about the situation. It is obviously a re-hash of a Tobacco Control Industry press release. Here's the URL;

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2189254/One-20-hospital-beds-occupied-smoking-related-illness.html

Just more blatant propaganda.