Is The Answer Really Plain?

There are two sides to every argument.  The wrong side and mine, of course!  I suppose you would think that since I absolutely hate tobacco companies and their nasty ciggies I would be in favour of plain packaging.  Quite the contrary. Why? Because what we’re dealing with here is a government gone mad with excessive regulation.

Here’s the counter argument that was presented to me in response to Say No To Plain PackagingCancer Research UK want to end the ‘packet racket’ based on the idea that “plain packs won’t stop everyone from smoking, but they will give millions of kids one less reason to start”.

I must admit, they almost got me with the ridiculously adorable children and their chatter about how cute the pink packaging is for one pack or how another reminds them of a Ferrari.  But it’s obvious that these children were asked to talk about packaging, and they do; because that is what they have been asked to do. If you asked the same children to talk about smoking I bet their answers would make for a great anti-smoking campaign.

This video certainly cannot be taken as evidence that branding influences a person’s decision to smoke. Branding may influence a person’s decision of which brand to smoke, but not to smoke.  Such influences are more likely to come from peer pressure when it comes to smoking (and drinking).

At least the campaign has got one thing right, plain packaging will not stop everyone from smoking (I doubt it will stop anyone), just like warning labels have only scared a handful of people into quitting. People might stop smoking if the government dealt with the ‘war on tobacco’ from an economic standpoint.  In short, raise the prices of tobacco to such insanely high prices that it becomes a ‘luxury’ to smoke or a completely financially irresponsible (and disgusting) habit.  But that’s a completely different issue.

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