Perceptive science

There has been a whole slew of reports in the media and on the various “Smoke Free” Twitter accounts recently all pertaining to the recent plain packs debacle. As you may know, Australia became the first to implement plain packs back in 2012. With that implementation, those rather pleasant insane folks over in Tobacco Control kept a very careful beady eye on the rate of smoking down under.

Despite there being very little evidence to show that it is having any effect on the actual rate of smoking, instead they try to view it from the perspective of falling sales indicates fewer smokers. The Guardian reported that plain packaging to thank for Australia’s decline in smoking. Well, to be honest it is pure hubris to assume that any decline is the result of a single policy, let alone one that is going to play right into the illicit markets hands.

But! Never fear dear reader, common sense may still prevail!

Oh wait. Ireland have just done the same thing haven’t they?

But of course, plain packaging wouldn’t be high up on the agenda of the UK politicians would it? Not with the General Election coming… oh wait. Shit. No debate in the House of Commons, high percentage of public against and it passes in the House of Lords. I’d just bet that those jumped up “charity” groups are beside themselves with glee. Morons.

But of course, it’s about the children isn’t it? The infamous ‘They’ don’t want kids to start smoking. To be fair, I didn’t think that I would but ended up doing so anyway. Was it down to the sexy attractive packaging? Uh, no. Not in the slightest.

Now that our friends down under have had a chance to actually look at the results of this utter insanity what have they actually concluded?

The introduction of standardised packaging has reduced the appeal of cigarette packs. Further research could determine if continued exposure to standardised packs creates more uncertainty or disagreement regarding brand differences in ease of smoking and quitting, perceived addictiveness and harms.

Its all about perception. True, us humans are pretty adept at associative reasoning. We see, hear, smell or touch something and our brains like to associate those sensations with feelings, emotions and so on. Neuroscience is not among my credentials by the way, just don’t have the head for it. The study is suggesting that because cigarettes come in a smorgasboard of sexy packs that us poor benighted humans get attracted to them and start smoking. Codswallop.

It certainly addled my brain even further when I saw how they asked the study participants to rate the cigarette packs they had seen - ‘cool’, ‘good’, ‘interesting’, ‘exciting’, ‘ugly’, ‘daggy (uncool)’, ‘gross’, ‘disgusting’ - seriously, what kind of scale is that? That’s just on the “attraction” of the packaging.

The end result of this, laws introduced to combat the “perception” of attractiveness. Utterly speechless. But of course, plain packaging works, doesn’t it?

You’re probably wondering why I’ve blathered on about cigarettes and plain packs when it has been done over and over again. You’d be right, it has been done over and over again, by folks that are far better than I am at dissecting this type of rubbish. Look no further than our very own, dinosaur loving Frampton Stantz.

Reading between the lines somewhat, it is pretty clear that should vaping continue (even if it is regulated) the same insane rules are very likely to apply. All in the name of “Public Health” of course.

Right. I feel better already, don’t you?