The Yucky Cigarette Papers

I suppose that everyone knows about this proposal from New Zealand. If not, read this from Chris Snowden:

It seems that the proposal that cigarette paper should be a ‘yucky’ colour, like shitty brown or sickly yellow has been raised again after being mooted last May by someone called Moodie. I wonder if these people have run these ideas past the equalities commission? What would the Chinese think of their colour being described as yucky yellow, or the aborigines’ colour being described as shitty brown? Not nice. Not nice at all. And dark green? Half the world is coloured dark green – that is before the autumn when the leaves fall and turn first yellow and then brown.

And, as many have pointed out, brown cigs are a feature of MORE cigs, to say nothing of the multiple coloured sticks of Sobrani.


To be honest, I’m quite pleased about this latest mockery of ‘public health’. I really shows that Tobacco Control is getting very worried. It is not that long ago that it insisted that cig paper must be no colour other than white, and that they should be unmarked. There was a to-do in Australia when cig companies put codes on the cigs so that the origin of a cig could be identified. The Zealots said that this was a breach of the Act. I don’t know if TC won that one.

It is pretty clear that they do not have much to do. Let’s consider their shopping list:

Indoor bans: √.

Tax increases: √.

Some outdoor bans: √.

Erm…. When you think about it, that is not a lot for the costs involved. What are the costs?

Taxpayer funded quack professors: √.

Taxpayer funded anti-smoker  government departments: √.

Taxpayer funded UN, WHO, EU anti-tobacco departments: √.

Heightened Border Guard costs: √.

Smoker apathy re politics: √.

Thriving black market: √.

Smokie drinkies: √.

Falling tobacco tax receipts (plus VAT and knock-on losses): √.

And what have been the Oz NHS (or whatever system they have) cost savings?


And what is their new demand?

Coloured cigarette paper. Let’s give it a tick, shall we? √.

Now, how will that affect Oz NHS cost savings?

? + ?.

And there we see the nonsense of it all. If you look at the big picture, it might seem that the millions of pounds which are spent on reducing smoking prevalence, are small beer compared with the costs savings now and possible future costs savings. But there is no actual evidence that I know of which shows that NHS costs have been reduced over the past fifty years or so since the decline in smoking prevalence started around 1970. I found stats which show that lung cancer, as a cause of death, had decreased during that period of time as compared with other reasons, and, of course, there is evidence that we are all living longer in any case.

But what is becoming more and more obvious is that, even if Doll et al were convinced that smoking causes lung cancer (even though they could not physically prove it), that former health-based conviction has spawned a world-wide industry which is something like a Disney cartoon. Dick Puddlecote often says that ‘it has never been about health’. I think that it was about health to begin with, but the blaming of tobacco was, shall we say, simplistic. It had to be, since collecting and evaluating the statistical information to show that tobacco smoking was the culprit was extremely complicated. To try to allow for other factors, like industrial atmospheric pollution, genetics, viruses, etc, was just too messy and difficult. What the McTear Case showed (see sidebar) was precisely that those other factors were ignored. What Doll et al relied upon (probably genuinely) was that other studies, beside the Hospital Study and the Doctors Study, were also conducted at the same time and showed similar results. But, as Ronald Fisher, “Father of Statistics”, said: “Shit in, shit out” – Oh no, that was not him. He said that using the same methods will produce the same results. which is similar to Einstein’s statement: “Madness is doing the same thing and expecting different results” – or something like that – the negative of Fisher’s statement. Another thing which was ignored was the urban/rural divide – far fewer smokers who lived and worked in rural areas got LC as compared with city dwellers pro rata. We have seen incidences where Zealots have, in effect, said that we can do little about other contributing factors, like diesel fumes, because diesel engines are essential for the economy, but we CAN do something about smoking. Erm… Anyone who accepts that argument must also accept the argument that road traffic accidental deaths among drivers going on holiday are not as important as road traffic accidental deaths among drivers who are driving for work purposes.

In the circumstances described above, TRUTH goes out of the window, and the Charlatans move in. But even worse is the army of paid employees who have no real interest other than earning a crust. You could call them ‘mercenaries’.

I must think about that idea. For example, one could think about Arnott as a mercenary. She must have applied for the job of CEO of ASH in England, been interviewed (by whom?) and hired, and a salary agreed. Since ASH is not an organisation which produces any sort of goods or services, one can only describe it as A Cost on the production of goods and services. One way or another, we all pay for these leaches. The use of leaches to cure ailments has long since been disproved (other than maggots to clean wounds), but it seems that, in Public Health, the medieval practice continues, to the benefit of the leaches.

I don’t hate people like Arnott, Chapman and Glantz. I despise them. I also despise Subrey, Milton and Ellison. I don’t hate them. They are so contemptible that they are not worth expending the emotion of hatred. ‘Despite’ needs little emotion. The word means much the same as ‘worthless’ or ‘not worth bothering about’, or ‘dismissal’. I despise them.


6 Responses to “The Yucky Cigarette Papers”

  1. Rose Says:

    How the FSA got it wrong
    Deborah Arnott

    “Some 10 years ago, I was employed by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to set up a consumer education department to enable the new watchdog to meet its obligation to increase public understanding of the financial system. The logic was that you could only protect consumers effectively if they understood what they were buying. Now I can only look sadly back at my naivety.

    How could I have thought we had a chance of succeeding in this Herculean task when all around us the industry was up to its old tricks? More to the point would have been education for the bankers, regulators and governments. A key message would have been the same one we gave consumers: that if something looks too good to be true, it almost certainly is.”

    • junican Says:

      So she admits to being incompetent when she worked for the FSA? I wonder if you got sacked? But it also explains the emphasis upon regulation rather than education. AKA Force rather than Persuasion. I hold that scare tactics are a form of force, by the way, and not persuasion.

  2. smokingscot Says:

    This one was flagged yesterday. The final line says:

    “Proponents of the scheme position it as a component of a plan to ban all tobacco smoking by anyone anywhere in New Zealand by 2025.”

    And you may be aware that Scotland has declared 2034 as their smoke free deadline.

    • junican Says:

      I read that link yesterday. “Component of a scheme…..” which must, obviously, be deciding upon a date for prohibition.

  3. richard john Says:

    brilliunte blog richard

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