A Guardian Piece Demanding Plain Packaging

The Guardian published an article entitled:

Delay in law on plain packs for cigarettes angers MPs


There’s an awful lot of ‘froth’ before the final sentence appears:

“A Department of Health spokeswoman said that, under EU requirements, the draft regulations would be considered by EU member states up until March.”

Now – Why did the Guardian publish this article when they knew full well that nothing can be done before March 2015 at the earliest? Why all the froth in December 2014?

Perhaps readers should ask themselves a simple question. What news has recently appeared about the effects of PP in Australia?

Yes – Australian National Statistics have shown that PP has had no effect. Not only that, but teenage smoking has increased substantially. Could that be the reason for the puff piece in the Guardian? It almost certainly is, otherwise it has no point. The intention is to move the goalposts again – from the clear message that PP does not work to demands for it to be introduced here. I’m sure you see how that works. For example, if any product unfairly gets a bad press, the best thing that a producer can do is advertise it widely on TV. One counters the other. Needless to say, the article did not mention the studies which made it plain that PP was not working at any level.

I had to smile as I read the comments. Many of them were very obviously plants. Again and again, Evil Big Tobacco was blamed. “The figures were fixed by Big Tobacco lobbyists”, was the stock answer to attention being drawn to the studies.

And how many MPs are actually ‘angry’? The article doesn’t say. What it does is quote one Tory, one Libdem and one Labour spokesperson each, thus justifying the phrase ‘politicians on all sides’, and, at the same time, giving a false impression that lots of MPs were up in arms. And, of course, up came the name Crosby.

I like the phrase ‘puff piece’, especially as it applies in this instance. You can imagine some organisation like ASH (the public relations department of the College of Physicians) mulling over how to counter the bad news from Australia, and getting in touch with MP supporters and briefing them before getting the Guardian to print that article. Then getting the staff, when they came in to work, to dash off the usual comments. But it looks as though only the Guardian has bitten the bullet to publish while knowing full well that nothing at all can be done before March.


I have been wondering how far the deliberate manipulation of facts, the MSM, the internet, etc will go before someone realises that such manipulation does not sit well in connection with Health. There was a time when people trusted their doctors. I have no doubt that diagnostic errors have always been made, but, because people trusted their doctors, when one confessed to making an honest mistake, that explanation would have been seen as genuine. Thus, if your doctor saw the symptoms of a complaint as those of flu, when in fact they were also very similar to some other more serious complaint, people would accept it. Doctors are human after all and can be trusted to make only genuine errors. In the vast majority of cases, the misdiagnosis would make no difference to the eventual outcome.

That trust is falling apart.

It is a slow process, but people who accepted the anti-tobacco statements from Public Health as the whole truth are gradually beginning to notice the ‘dissonance’ between what they have been saying about tobacco smoking and what they are saying about ecigs. It may be that the general public who do not smoke know little or nothing about ecigs. Why should they? But it is hard to imagine that there is a single smoker who has not heard of ecigs. Now, if there are 10 million adult smokers in the UK, many of whom have accepted, because of TC’s propaganda, that they are in danger of dropping dead imminently because they smoke, what will they make of the attack on ecigs? They must know that ecigs do not contain the carcinogens nor is anything burnt. Will they not start to figure out that they have been conned all along by the Zealots? If they do not, then they are indeed the dopes which TC take them for.

Tobacco Control is faced with a massive contradiction. If it displeases its funders, Big Pharma, it will lose a large part of its funding. If it pleases its funders, it will lose the credibility that its propaganda has build over the last couple of decades. Catch 22.

Michael Siegel reported on a strange fact in a recent post:


He says that a recent study has shown that the public have changed their perception of ecigs as being safer than tobacco smoking. Before, 80% thought that ecigs were safer than smoking, but that that figure has fallen to 60%. Siegel (excommunicated from TC) blames TC for trying to demonise ecigs. Of course, as a Zealot himself, he sees that as being an indication of false claims by TC about ecigs. He does not see it as false claims about smoking, especially about false claims about second hand smoke.

Even the most worried of ‘smoking addicts’ must be becoming aware that they have been lied to again and again. Why are there so many discrepancies in the ‘smoking causes lung cancer’ argument? What about the urban/rural divide? There have been several studies which have shown that LC is far more prevalent among smokers in cities than in the countryside, not only in Britain, but also in Africa. Why did so few smokers in the Doctors Study get LC? Why are so many ex-smokers of long-time cessation getting more LC than current smokers ‘pro rata’?


There are reasons to believe that TC is panicking. Its puppets in Parliament are panicking. The BMA is panicking (witness the BMJ ban on any study financed by Big Tobacco). Panic is in the air and it stinks. Everyone has to take a mental shower and wash their mental clothes to free themselves from the stink of corruption and corrosion.

The rot always starts at the top.



3 Responses to “A Guardian Piece Demanding Plain Packaging”

  1. Frank J Says:

    The tone of the Siegel story, though, is of a reduced belief in the hazards of smoking not an increase in the hazards of e-cigs. Not surprising given that TC have made themselves obvious with the e-cig debate. Most will understand that if there is no tobacco, there’s obviously not the risk. Common sense, innit?

    You can sense there is an increasing feeling of boredom and subsequent disbelief over this issue and the efforts of the MSN simply accelerate it. Just look at the total comments sections on anything to do with this in papers. Also why they’ve had to move on to alcohol, sugar, salt, etc.

    It will take time to roll it all back but, imo, we are beginning to see it. (acorns, oak trees and all that)

    • junican Says:

      Siegel said:

      “According to these sources, in 2010, 80% of the public believed that smoking was more hazardous than using non-tobacco-containing, non-combustible electronic cigarettes.

      However, in 2013, only 60% of the public believed that smoking was more hazardous than using non-tobacco-containing, non-combustible electronic cigarettes.”

      It is important to be exact in what the above means. It means that loads of non-smokers, as well as a few smokers one assumes, know nothing about ecigs and swallow the propaganda. That is the only EXACT interpretation that one can put on it. It says nothing about how smokers see it, or, indeed, how ‘children and young people’ see it.

      • Frank J Says:

        “This is bad news for public health, as it indicates that within three years, the public’s appreciation of the severe hazards of smoking has been undermined.”

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