back to article Whitehall to puff punters: 'Hide your fags'

Death-dealing coffin nails will have to be kept out of sight of impressionable Englishpersons, beginning with large retailers in April 2012 and then in small shops beginning in 2015. "Over eight million people in England still smoke and it causes more than 80,000 deaths each year," Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said in an …

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  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    If 80,000 people don't die

    Have they considered the financial implications of 80,000 people not dying?

    The pension costs of immortals are astronomical ! If people stop smoking and don't die, thus living for ever, it's going to cost a fortune in Werther's originals alone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Devils Advocate

      I don't know the answer, but what is the cost of their care during the last months of their life. Doctors, nurses, MRI, Cat scan, x-rays, chemo, cancer drus, other drugs, hospital beds, etc.

      Having said that, how much tax does the government gross from smokers?

      Not saying you're wrong, just muddying the waters while everyone up-votes you :)

    2. Vehlin

      Costs and Revenues

      Smoking is reckoned to cost the NHS anywhere from £1.5b to £5b per year (depending on who you ask). This is balanced against a revenue income of £10.5b in duty and VAT (8.8b duty and 1.7b VAT).

      The government has to appear to do something about smoking on public health grounds, but ultimately it cannot afford to lose income in generates for the tax man.

      I firmly believe that one of the main reasons we'll never see a legalised, taxed cannabis industry is that it's very hard to tax something that people can grow in their own loft.

      1. Smallbrainfield
        Paris Hilton

        They could probably grow tobacco in their loft,

        it's just easier to buy a pack of tabs from the shops. If cannabis was legalised, there would probably be restrictions on growth (H&S for a start) to deter people from growing their own.

        And of course it would be easier to buy a pack from the offy, so why bother?

      2. Gordon861

        Cannabis

        Why not license it to be grown at home?

        Buy a yearly license that allows you to grow X number of plants(work out how many would supply you for a year) for a year for personal use. License gives the police and authorities the legal right to enter your property at any time to check you growing plants, in the same way as a firearms cert gives them the right to check your locker when they want.

        License shops to sell it to over 18's and add a decent tax on it, anyone caught selling illegally gets 5 years inside.

        All you need to do is work out the prices and tax levels.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Grenade

          "License" growing a *plant* ffs

          Well license carrots and potatoes then.

  2. jake Silver badge

    My only question is ...

    Why do people with a clue still take tobacco, in any form?

    1. durandal
      Badgers

      Why do people

      skydive?

      drive fast cars?

      ride motorbikes?

      ride horses?

      ski?

      climb?

      drink?

      1. jake Silver badge

        @ durandal & others

        durandal: All of your counter-examples contain manageable risk. I partake in all of them. Tobacco contains unmanageable risk. When used as intended by the manufacturer, tobacco WILL kill you.

        To those of you who think "it's cool", or "because they can", or "because they enjoy it", I feel ever so sorry for you, and those around you ... This is 2011, for gawd/ess's sake ... wake up, smell reality ... although it'll take close to four years to get your sense of smell (and taste) back after you quit.

        Tobacco is probably the single most useless legal big-money product that modern marketing pushes on the sheeple ... I mean, seriously, what good does it do you? Other than turn you into a pariah that the rest of us can safely ignore, that is ...

        1. peyton?
          Grenade

          @jake re:"WILL kill you"

          Two words: George Burns

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          what good does it do you?

          "When used as intended by the manufacturer, tobacco WILL kill you."

          As opposed to NOT smoking which will make you live forever?

          I started smoking because of a misspent youth - I'll give you a hint, I was addicted to tobacco before I started smoking cigarettes. Now I continue smoking basically to piss off arse-hats like you and when you're senile, sitting in your own shit in a care home visited by loved ones you can barely even remember - I'll be dead. I know which I'd prefer to be honest.

          Or to quote Bill Hicks (a man who practised what he preached - died of Pancreatic cancer aged 32):

          "See, I know you entertain some kind of eternal life fantasy because you've chosen not to smoke; let me be the first to pop that fucking bubble and send you hurtling back to reality - because you're dead too."

          ... or ...

          "They proved that if you quit smoking, it will prolong your life. What they haven't proved is that a prolonged life is a good thing. I haven't seen the stats on that yet."

        3. Eddie Edwards
          Happy

          Actually, no

          "When used as intended by the manufacturer, tobacco WILL kill you"

          Actually, no. Only 1 in 2 life-long smokers actually die from smoking, and that's ignoring those who quit at some point.

          There's also a huge difference between smoking a few at the weekend and smoking 60 a day - which starts sounding like risk management if you're not careful. Oops.

          Of course, the reason people smoke is that they're addicted to nicotine. I'm interested in your anti-addiction technique of calling people stupid, but I'm not sure it works in practice.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Unhappy

        With the exception of drinking...

        The 'natural high' associated with the noted tasks is derived from an adrenalin excess. Nicotine does not occur naturally in the body and is addictive. If people want to smoke that is their affair. What is not fair is that they inflict their noxiousness on 3rd parties and that their evidently unhealthy activity is promoted for profit and tax.

        You could, if you wish, add to your list: Music, films, video games, the internet, mobile phones, reading, fine dining. All these are addictive pursuits with an unhealthy down side..... but let's not get silly about this.

        I smoked for15 years and I don't now. I've lost relatives to smoking related (and drink related for that matter) illnesses.

        For mine and their benefit I would like people to stop but I respect their right in our free society to indulge in legal pass-times.

        1. Jimbo 6
          Coat

          Why do we do it ?

          IIRC, Denis Leary explained it best -

          BECAUSE IT'S A DRUG, AND WE'RE ADDICTED.

          Pass me coat, I'm off out for a 'health stick'.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Grenade

      My only answer is...

      Maybe because they, er, enjoy it? Maybe the health consequences don't feature in their thinking. I assume, of course, that you take no substances of any sort that are hazardous to health - no booze, vit supplements every day, of course take your five-a-day and engage in a solid half hour of sweat-inducing exercise to maintain peak physical fitness. One can also assume that, given the detrimental effects on physique of sitting still for extended periods of time, you also do your work solely on portable device to ensure you remain mobile while second guessing other people's existence. Where's the muppet icon? N.B. I'm not a smoker, just saying is all...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: My only question is ...

      Because it's cool...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      why?

      same reason anyone does anything, because they enjoy it

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: why?

        I don't know any smokers who enjoy it.

        1. CmdrX3
          Grenade

          I enjoyed smoking

          I gave up about five or six years ago, mainly because it was just getting stupidly expensive. I totally enjoyed smoking. People say that those who say they enjoy it only do so because they are addicted but I no longer am and can say that I really did enjoy smoking.

      2. badgerrg

        Why??

        No, not many people who smoke actually enjoy it. The great majority continue to smoke only because of they're addicted.

    5. hplasm
      Big Brother

      Because-

      They still can, if they want to.

    6. There's a bee in my bot net

      If you really have to ask

      then the only way you will learn is to try it for yourself...

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      Because it's legal

      There are much better drugs with lesser side effects, but they're illegal so people settle for slightly less cool, slightly less nice, slightly more likely to kill you.

      People are going to consume narcotics, so the government has decided to let us opt for alcohol or tobacco, two of the worst options.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Because...

      ... the alternative is to have to live with the pricks who want to control how I live for EVEN longer.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My only question is ...

      Why do people with a clue still drive?

      After people with a clue have stopped smoking, over eating and under exercising, your daily commute is the next big killer.

      Anyway, the obvious answer is that people with a clue are capable of weighing up the pros and cons and can make up their own minds. Hence the moans about the nanny state.

      After all, no-one gets out alive.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Proof of English idiocy

    Of course hiding cigs and making the packet plain is going to stop smokers smoking!

    So hiding drink would stop people from drinking? I think not!

    So if you really think that not smoking is going to prolong your life, your a very sad individual indeed (and likely voted for the condems).

    And my response to "jake's, Only Question" is, did you think about what you were going to say before you said it? What a fking stupid question! Maybe because people enjoy it? Perhaps?, Maybe?, Possibly? What not ask yourself why more 1000's more people drink!

    Why are the english just soooo fking stupid, hypocritical, lying, cheating, moaning, greedy, selfish, worthless toerags?

    (and if any ones comments about "educating" people, they need a slap)

    1. jm83
      Pint

      Addiction?

      I've often wondered if the enjoyment from smoking is largely derived from the release of tension, caused by the cravings.

      The above post would seem to suggest someone needs to take a quick 5 mins outside. get some 'fresh' air.

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. DavCrav Silver badge
      WTF?

      What???

      "So if you really think that not smoking is going to prolong your life, your a very sad individual indeed (and likely voted for the condems)."

      Srsly? I'm going to ignore the rest of your rant for now, and just concentrate on this interesting quotation. You mean you don't think that smoking is bad for your health?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      "Proof of English idiocy"

      "Why are the english just soooo fking stupid, hypocritical, lying, cheating, moaning, greedy, selfish, worthless toerags?"

      Says an bitter little troll who seriously needs to get an education.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Proof of English idiocy

      "Of course hiding cigs and making the packet plain is going to stop smokers smoking!"

      Of course spending lots of money on brightly coloured packets and trendy adverts then putting them in expensive fancy displays at eye level near the till is the tobacco industry just pissing away their profits needlessly. Everyone knows it doesn't get more people hooked don't they? They only pay for all those advertising types because they have too much money.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps..

    In all likelihood the clued up persevere with fags for much the same reasons that some of them still keep drinking to excess on occasion, partake in a line or two of Bolivia's finest, end up addicted to smack, crack, spouse beating, gambling, fish fingers, Spooks, or driving too fast. Some may well do things with bin liners, nylons and oranges of which the dreadful Hazel Blears may have heard, but not approve, while others will deviate from their carefully planned risk-averse lives by jumping out of aeroplanes, or from cliffs into shallow water or even play the odd post-club round of "Mr Wobbly hides his helmet" sans nanny approved rubberwear.

    Or some may just sit smugly passing judgement on others.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Perhaps

      "play the odd post-club round of "Mr Wobbly hides his helmet"

      You owe me a keyboard mate! Well played!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      quite right

      consenting adults in private can do whatever they like

      I certainly do - but that's because that's what i consider myself entitled to do by virtue of holding-up my end of the society contract - I work, pay tax, behave well to others, and in turn expect freedom as my reward.

      Any distinction of legal vs illegal is to my mind, irrelevant, this is private and harms no-one but the consenting adults themselves.

      Oh, and i like the "Bad Mr Wobbly" though it brings to mind the Viz defined sport of stuffing marshmallows into moneyboxes.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Freedom is just another word for annoyance

    I fully support the right of people to smoke. However, I also fully support the right of people (myself included) not to *HAVE* to breathe smoke. The only way to reconcile these two "rights" is for smokers to be responsible for their smoke. I.e. they must not let it impact on others. so go ahead and smoke, but stick your head in a plastic bag when doing so.

    Of course if you take too long to smoke you could die sooner.

    1. It wasnt me
      Thumb Up

      Couldnt agree more.

      I support your agrgument 100%. I would also extend it to cat ownership. I fully support the right of people to own cats. However, I also fully support the right of my children to not stand in catshit in their own garden, and trample it into my house. The only way to reconcile these two "rights" is for cat owners to be responsible for their cats. i.e keep them locked in their own house. With the added benefit that bird life could flourish.

      Effing cat owners - the only right that trumps the human rights act.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Absolutely

      The pro-smoking lobby for the most part come across like dog owners shouting about having the right to leave piles of dog shit on the pavement.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      @Freedom is just another word for annoyance

      If that's the case...

      Will drivers be responsible for their own vehicle emissions (public transport passengers can share the bus/train emissions between them)?

      Will you be responsible for the carbondioxide you breath out (or emit from any other orifice)?

      What about the emissions from the power plants that are used to power the interwebs? Should we all get a small amout of co2 released for each webpage we visit in order to offset the interwebs?

      As an ex-smoker, I might not agree with smokers anymore, but I'll die defending their right to smoke!

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. jm83
      Pint

      Surprise.

      Cost: £5bn per yr.

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8086142.stm

      Revenues received: £10.5bn

      http://www.the-tma.org.uk/tma-publications-research/facts-figures/tax-revenue-from-tobacco/

      Turns out you smokers are doing the rest of us a favour. Cheers.

      I'm quite glad all that nasty tar and crap in your artery's is doing something productive.

      Have a pint on me.

      1. jm83
        Badgers

        on second thought...

        ...smoking does have negative externalities other than on the users health. For instance cleaning up of ciggy butts or enforcement of bans/legal age of purchase. Also arguably the VAT should not be included in the comparison as this is applicable to most goods and contributes towards a society in which people have money/means to buy ciggys.

    2. Cameron Colley

      RE: Norway

      As far as I could tell as many people bought cigarettes from the local shop I went to in Norway as do in my local shop I frequent in the UK. So in my tiny study hiding cigarettes makes no difference. Well, apart from it looks cooler having them all shuttered up like they're weapons or something -- really made me want to be cool and buy some forbidden fruit.

  7. Richard Rae
    FAIL

    What about the fat people????

    I'm sure that the cost to society is a lot larger for the fatties that are amongst us. When are they going to start banning McDos, donoughts and all other fat inducing, heart attack causing, diabetes causing foods? Not to mention the eye sore.....

    It all boils down to 'lets pick on the smokers cause they are an easy target'. We should start the 'lets pick on the fatties to make them loose weight' and see how far that flies, after all it is for their own good!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There will be more of them

      As people substitute alcohol for tobacco the nation overall will get fatter.

      Why not give us a substitute that is less harmful, less fattenning and also fun?

      1. Annihilator Silver badge
        Happy

        Substitute

        Generally speaking smokers are slimmer than non-smokers - it's an appetite suppressor. Not to mention that as people give-up smoking, they turn to something else to distract them, like biscuits. Or at least that happened with me :-)

    2. CD001

      It's already started mate

      Watch the news; the "war on smokers" is entering its latter phase and new targets are being sought. The number of "Smoking's bad mmmmmkay" stories have been declining in the last couple of years whilst the "obesity apocalypse" stories have been on the rise.

      First they came for the smokers ... yadda yadda yadda....

  8. The Nameless Mist

    Blank Packets

    Apparently the UK Gov are planning to make ciggie manufacturers "plan packet" their wares also, so there will be no colourful images to lure the ankle-biters into smoking.

    When a few years ago they forced manufacturers to add "elf and safety warnings" to the packets , some bright sparks made a fortune out of selling "covers" that slipped over the packets to hide the details.

    Wonder if they'll start producing the covers again?

    @jake

    UKGOV makes about £11billion in taxes a year from tobacco sales.

  9. Ben Bawden
    Dead Vulture

    Sounds good to me

    Another balanced article.

    "It's important to make clear that there is no evidence to suggest that plain packaging would have any impact on smoking uptake by young people,"

    Then there is also no evidence that it won't work. Might as well give it a go and see if it does work.

    "it would be like Christmas for counterfeiters and the criminal gangs who smuggle cigarettes"

    Yes, they have real problems duplicating the complicated patterns that are on existing packaging. I suppose it might make it slightly easier. How about a watermark or something?

    "The sale of tobacco will move from responsible, legitimate retailers selling to law-abiding consumers, to irresponsible criminals who won't think twice about selling cigarettes to children."

    What drivel. No-one is suggesting a ban on selling tobacco products. Law abiding comsumers will still be able to buy their product from responsible, legitimate retailers.

    Anything that discourages people from starting to smoke must be a good thing, right?

    1. Velv
      Flame

      Packaging

      "Yes, they have real problems duplicating the complicated patterns that are on existing packaging. I suppose it might make it slightly easier. How about a watermark or something?"

      Actually, why not force the companies to use a very complicated packaging. Holograms or similar, with bigger death warnings. It would increase the cost per packet, but the Government can claim they "didn't put up the tax" :)

      I don't understand why anyone smokes given the evidence. But that's your choice. Why does it matter if the tobacco is visible in the shop, or what packaging its in - you still have to ask for them in EVERY shop that sells them (only exception I've seen is "Duty Free" shops at airports).

    2. Subliteratus
      WTF?

      Re: Sounds good to me

      "Then there is also no evidence that it won't work. Might as well give it a go and see if it does work."

      So the government should march into people business, demand that they refit their shop at their own expense, and (in the case of small retailers) cut their margins and push them closer to the edge of extinction, with no evidence that it'll have any effect whatsoever. You're a real champ at spending other folks' money. Bet you're the sort that bitches and whines about how supermarkets are homogenising the High Street too - ever wonder why?

      "Anything that discourages people from starting to smoke must be a good thing, right?"

      Why? After 30+ years of education on the topic, smoking's an informed choice made by an adult (me). A choice that brings more money into the economy than spent of treating smoking-related diseases (a surplus of about £6bn annually). Then you can add in savings in pensions that nobody seems to bother working out (me too). It's none of your goddamned business.

      Smokers have accepted concession after concession and our willingness to compromise has just made the zealots greedier. We already smoke outside - and it's funny how people whinge about the smell of smoke but completely ignore the taxis, vans, trucks, and buses belching diesel fumes. We have laws to prevent minors buying tobacco already - if they aren't being enforced that's the fault of the enforcers, not the adults smoking legally.

      There's news coming from the US that some local governments there are drawing up plans to ban e-cigs too. No provable harm to the smoker or anyone around them but they want them banned anyway. The agenda of the zealots is clarifying - health's just the foot in the door. It's about control, social orthodoxy, and meek little sheeple finally getting the juice to impose their broccoli-tinted vision of how life should be on their peers.

    3. longbeast
      Megaphone

      Can tell it will be nonsense when the words "nanny state" turn up.

      It's fun watching people trying to read this as persecution of smokers by evil government.

      We all know damn well that advertising works, people buy things on impulse, brand recognition has power, and so on. Companies spend huge amounts of money on these things to influence people's decisions. Removing that influence ought to be a good thing.

      Being advertised to, in whatever form, is not any kind of civil right.

      1. Mark #255

        @longbeast

        It's funny how the obligatory xkcd is the most recent one...

        http://xkcd.com/870/

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I agree

      Until we try it, we won't know if it works, but if it does there'll be plenty of other countries lining up to follow the same route.

    5. DavCrav Silver badge

      Indeed

      "Then there is also no evidence that it won't work. Might as well give it a go and see if it does work."

      But then that's the same argument for forcing people to turn around on the spot three times every time they buy a packet of cigarettes, or anything at all. If a government wants to force expense on another group of people, the reason for it should be less flimsy than "Might as well give it a go and see if it does work."

  10. George Nacht
    Go

    Good intent

    but I hold my opinion, until I see results, positive or otherwise. Colorful packing is main selling point of cigarettes? A bit funny idea, but to do nothing would be worse. Or not, if the prediction about smuggling is correct.

    As for the financial impact....I do not have the latest data, but I was taught, that for each pound, made by tobacco taxation, there are four pounds spent treating diseases, directly caused or worsened by smoking. Might be totally biased stats, true.

    As somebody, who lost a loved one to lung cancer, I am not exactly unbiased, too.

    1. Dr. Mouse

      Actually

      I haven't seen the figures (so don't take this as fact), but someone told me that the tax the govt collects from tobacco exceeds the NHS budget.

      This was a few years back. It may be that NHS costs have gone up and smokers, therefore tax revenues, have gone down. It also may just be incorrect.

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: Actually not

        Nowhere near it

        The Tobacco Manufacturers Association claims that total tax revenue from tobacco is £10.5bn

        http://www.the-tma.org.uk/tma-publications-research/facts-figures/tax-revenue-from-tobacco/

        The NHS Budget is £119bn

        http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/government_expenditure.html#ukgs302a

    2. Chris Byers
      FAIL

      Wrong on tax

      As for the financial impact....I do not have the latest data, but I was taught, that for each pound, made by tobacco taxation, there are four pounds spent treating diseases, directly caused or worsened by smoking. Might be totally biased stats, true.'

      Actually,it's the opposite, tobacco tax actually more than covers the amount spent on treatment, and leave a surplus to spend on other NHS resources.

      This site (http://www.the-tma.org.uk/tma-publications-research/facts-figures/tax-revenue-from-tobacco/ ) shows the amount taken in tobacco taxation each year for 10 years or so. If you compare the figures from 1999 that this BBC article (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/511893.stm) shows that the NHS spent 1.7 billion in smoking related treatment however the govt took 7.5 billion in tax from tobacco products. If you are a non-smker you will have to pick up the slack in missing taxes here. Fancy paying an attional £5-£10 a week in taxes anyone?

      Please back up your speculation with figures next time.

    3. Stu 3
      Stop

      Latest figures I saw

      Total tax revenue for tobacco in the UK is 10bn.

      Cost of smoking related illness to the NHS is 2.7bn.

      So that's 7.3bn that the rest of you get out of us smokers.

      On the subject of plain packets, I think they will be even cooler than the coloured and logo'd packs we have today. I'm also all for hiding them away from innocent eyes - I don't need tobacco to be advertised to me at point of sale. To be honest, they could hide them at the bottom of a tank of piranhas and I'd still reach in to get them.

      And as for the numpty who wants to know why people still smoke - it's for the same reason that I drink vodka, sleep with strangers, jump out of planes and snowboard. Because I enjoy it and find the potential risks do not outweigh the fun to be had.

    4. Annihilator Silver badge

      Stats

      Is very difficult to isolate stats. For example, it's estimated that 1 in 3 smokers die from a smoking related illness, but it doesn't estimate how many of those would have died from that anyway.

      Although having said that, the stats I'd seen were the opposite - more was raised than was spent, but again, hard to isolate this. I just know that 60% of the pack of fags is tax.

      As a "right to choose, but be responsible for your own smoke" ex-smoker, I'm rather biased too though.

      Generally it's peer pressure that causes people to start smoking, either directly or indirectly. Colourful packaging is nothing to do with it as you say.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      money

      "I was taught for each pound, made by tobacco taxation, there are four pounds spent treating diseases, directly caused or worsened by smoking"

      You were taught wrongly then. It's roughly the other way round. The revenue on tobacco dwarfs NHS spending on smoking related diseases.

      I say this because it's true, not because I support the sale of tobacco. I would prefer that nobody smoked.

    6. DavCrav Silver badge

      Seems unlikely

      "As for the financial impact....I do not have the latest data, but I was taught, that for each pound, made by tobacco taxation, there are four pounds spent treating diseases, directly caused or worsened by smoking. Might be totally biased stats, true."

      I just looked this up, and the entire NHS budget is about £110bn last year; tobacco brought in about £11bn, and alcohol about the same. I'm not an expert on what the NHS spends on alcohol and tobacco, but it probably sounds reasonable that about a quarter of the budget goes on these, and unreasonable that four times that is spent, which would mean about 80% of the budget.

      Where the calculation goes wrong however is that it forgets to factor in the cost that these 80,000 people who die of smoking each year would have on the government. 80,000 more pensions a year for about 20 years (assuming life expectancy of 85) yields another 1.6m pensioners if smoking were removed, costing in pensions several billions. Also, they will again die of something, probably some form of cancer, and this involves going back to the NHS anyway. Old people are a significant cost to the NHS, so it's not clear that people dying of a horrible disease at 60 rather than 85 is at all helpful for the NHS.

      So don't whip out a financial calculation for any arguments against smoking. You can go for moral and ethical ones if you want, of course.

      I'm not a smoker by the way, I'm just someone who doesn't like dodgy arguments.

  11. Elmer Phud

    Easier for the con-men?

    Is this just a way for the crooks to make more money?

    No need to have fake packets printed and made up, no need for bogus baccy bags to stuff with 'Olden Virginia' or 'Sumpson'.

    Even more reason to go the the corner shop and find out what else they keep under the counter.

    Handy if it turns out to be a one-stop shop where I can get ciggies, Rizla and a 20 bag.

    Oh, hang on, does this mean no cigs on display but a shelf full of colourful packs of papers?

    No incentive to buy fags but plenty of incentives to skin up? Unlike Al Murray, I am confused.

  12. Teddy the Bear
    Stop

    I'm hugely anti-smoking, but...

    I don't beleive this is the way forward. Repeatedly marginalising smokers is just stupid; either ban tobacco products entirely or legislate to reduce the size (but not the price) so that it a) makes it easer for people to wean themselves off and b) makes it more of a hassle to have to keep going to buy them.

    Imposing more red tape on retailers is utterly unfair - get the manufacturers to pay for changes.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Ir's bound to work...

    ... just look at how effective banning the sale of pornography was, when that was forced under the counter.

    And please don't tell me the tills used in shops represent the IT angle.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Stop

      Eh?

      Who needs to *buy* pornography anyway? You're not married to Jacqui Smith, are you?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    Health?

    People often start asking how we are so stupid or do we realise what we are doing to our selves. Then they go on to the cost on the NHS and usually end up on something about kids and second hand smoke (in my experience).

    To all that i have one answer: were already working hard on killing ourselves, don't stop us, its practically what some people want.

    People will always do what they want, either legally or otherwise. There are plenty of examples of just such activity in the world today. At the very least the state benefits financially from our long, slow and painful demise, they could at least get off our backs for it.

    Happy heart obviously, packed full of narcotics and stims.

    1. Elmer Phud

      And curse Sir Walter Raliegh

      he was such a stupid git.

  15. TeeCee Gold badge
    Stop

    Eh? Come again?

    ".... reduce the glamour of flashing a packet of Rothmans."

    There's no glamour in flashing a pack of Rothmans. When I was at Uni, we always reckoned that smoking Rothmans marked you down as a skinflint. The reason is that they're so vile that you could flash an entire pack in the SU bar without losing any (unless one of those present had been deprived for so long due to impecunity that he'd resorted to smoking his own dried socks in desperation).

    You were everyone's friend (and instantly fagless) doing this with B&H, Marlboro, Embassy, JPS......etc ad infinitum.....

  16. janimal
    Pint

    Freedom & Smoking

    I don't see anything worth ranting about here except that forcing plain packets will reduce the production costs for the manufacturers.

    As a smoker I'm not keen on anyone banning me from purchasing the stuff, but I do think people should be discouraged from smoking. It is an expensive unhealthy addiction with little personal return.

    It's also completely wrong that the ciggy companies do all they can to profit from a highly toxic poison that they know is highly addictive and potentially fatal.

    What is the difference at the end of the day between a tobacco company, an alcohol producer and a heroin dealer? All three are highly addictive and the first two cause severe multifaceted health problems. All three operate under the same principles of minimising costs and maximising profits, usually through marketing and misinformation.

    Ultimately it is impossible to eradicate use of any of these substances as too many large financial empires have already been built on the profits. Prohibition drives it underground and makes it impossible to regulate out the worst of the lies and ALL of the profits go to the pushers and none get returned to society to help it counter the resulting problems.

    I think really the only way of dealing with any of these problems is limited legality, regulation, taxation and education.

    They should parade some of us feckless smokers and drunks and some junkies through school assembly every morning so the kids can examine our blackened, yellow teeth and smell the stench on our clothes maybe get us to try and do a couple of star jumps and then ask them.... how cool is that?

    1. jm83
      Thumb Up

      Agreed.

      People should be able to take whatever substance they like, but should be taxed at an appropriate level that the state can afford to pick up the pieces.

      Currently we pay to keep narcotics illegal (massively when it comes to police, customs etc) and then pay to pick up the peices when people abuse them.

      Make them legal, clean and tax em.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most smokers

    start at about age 13, in order to feel adult. By the time they _are_ old enough to make such decisions they have acquired an itch that can't be scratched, that introduced itself so insidiously that it has become background noise. The pleasure of smoking is no longer that of a schoolkid feeling all liberated an' that, and has become that of stopping headbutting an invisible wall. Until they try to quit, at which point the veil begins to lift.

    Jumping out of a plane, etc, though, produces an intense pleasure far in excess of anything you get from having a fag (though I suspect there are some septic readers who might disagree). The analogy is disingenuous, plain lazy, or possibly imbecilic.

    Part of why I became a smoker (at 13 or 14, I forget which) was the tacit message of the advertising billboards, and even the fact of the very sale of said cigarettes, and the prominent display of them in about half the shops in the shopping parade, that the government allowed it therefore it couldn't really be as bad as the scare stories said.

    Only kids, not mature enough to stop thinking of themselves as immortal; the seriously addicted, so heavily dependent on the stuff as to live in almost total denial; and the very few who seem genetically capable of, eg smoking 60 a day yet living to their 90's, don't 'get' this. Oh, and the reactionaries who rant about freedom without understanding or even trying to see the bigger picture.

  18. Jimbo.
    WTF?

    Smoke us out of the deficit.

    Treating smokers costs the NHS in England £2.7bn a year (2008).

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7654153.stm

    Tax revenue from tobacco £10bn (2008).

    http://www.the-tma.org.uk/tma-publications-research/facts-figures/tax-revenue-from-tobacco/

    Smokers are good for non smokers.

  19. The Mole
    Thumb Up

    Ex Smokers

    I don't think hiding cigarettes will necessarily directly stop anybody from taking up smoking for the first time. However I do think it may help some people who are trying to permanently give up smoking not to have the temptation thrust full on in front of their face for the 3 mins they are spent queued up at the corner shop buying their newspaper.

  20. Sampler
    Thumb Down

    Riiight

    Because children start to smoke because they see shiny packets in corner shops - and not because they're not supposed to and therefore it becomes a hundred times more salacious and daring.

    Plus if the government didn't want to advertise smoking why does it make people go and stand in the doorway so everyone can see them smoking?

    I'm not a smoker, viewing the health benefits I wouldn't recommend it to anyone - but if you want to smoke than please god smoke as much as you can, the tax you're paying is saving me a fortune.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    counterfeiting is unlikely to get worse

    Black market fags and tobacco are everywhere, at least half of the packets I ever see people with have their warning labels in dutch, french, spanish or portugese. This 'business' only exists because of the price disparity between tobacco products here and in our EU neighbours. It's not even as though you need to go beyond personal use to save money with EU ciggies.

    The last time I checked it is cheaper for me to get in the car, pay the tunnel, buy a crate of fags and drive home again including an overnight stay and meals out on the trip than buy fags in tesco. And that works even with only one occupant in the car - if you manage to take a full car then you're all quids in.

    The only conclusion is that price controls have already passed their useful peak with the current EU market conditions. Either the price needs to be aligned across the EU or something else must be tried.

    Once you have a market where people are accustomed to buying tobacco from dodgy geezers, it allows counterfeit products to flourish too. If people are buying their fags from a bloke in the pub, do they have any idea if they're proper versions or knockoffs? Generally you can tell once you've bought it, but the difference isn't so large that anyone cares when you compare it against the £9 per pouch saving for baccy.

    Smokers are addicts and we cannot just stop so easily or the 80% who profess to want to stop would do so. The much-trumpeted anti-smoking help available from the NHS is in fact not available in my area at all, or wasn't the last time I tried to use it.

    The government cannot be serious about stopping smoking or else we'd get something other than pathetic half measures.

    1. Oninoshiko
      Boffin

      For the most part I agree, however

      I reject calling an import "counterfeit." Provided it is the product from those companies for other nations and that is why the label is wrong, It is just "avoided taxation."

      Also, if you add more occupants to your car, it will be heavier for part of the trip (there), and there will be less room for fags (back). I suppose if you knew some people looking for a one way ride, you could get them to pay part of the petrol there, so that would be a win, but taking others round trip (presuming you have the cash to fill all the room in your car) would result in lower savings.

  22. JasonW

    Legal challenge from industry coming?

    They passed near enough identical legislation in Scotland in 2010 - but the tobacco industry has lobbed in a legal challenge... net result is that the plans are delayed by at least 12 months (maybe further pending appeal). I'd have thought it more likely than not that a similar storyline awaits in England.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Packaging?

    Meh! They've recently redesigned the packaging of Marlboro Lights (and rebranded them as Marlboro Gold) so the pack has a discreet gold arrow and the word "Marlboro" and that's it. Apart from the gubbinsment health warning which is twice the size of any brand logos on the pack. It's the nanny state all right, and the nanny is Louise Woodward.

    Wahtever happened to the Death brand?

  24. This post has been deleted by its author

  25. Chris Byers
    Stop

    8 Million smokers....

    That’s a hell of a proportion of the population, and given that yes, some will want to quit, they are still imposing a hell of a restriction on 20% of the population who, for the most part, don't want that restriction. Imagine restricting the various holy books used within the UK to having plain covers and only being sold out of sight? I'll bet less than 20% of the UK populous is church/temple/mosque going. There would be riots (albeit polite ones with harshly worded letters to the editor of various daily papers), and much mutterings about living in a dictatorship etc.

    Also, given that the huge tax take that smoking brings in is something no govt want so see vanish they will then have to load that missing tax from every lost smoker onto non-smokers, coupled with the now aging population that will now require extra care/pensions. It’s a bloody stupid idea introduced by a government that didn’t take the hint from the drubbing Labour suffered that we want a government that does things for us rather than too us.

    P.S. All those whingers complaining about the smell of tobacco smoke and how they ‘don’t like it’ I suggest they pay more attention to the fumes from traffic as they will be doing you are (and constant) harm, especially those of you based in London (itself like having a 40 a day habit!). Mind you, you're proberbly the kind of people who visit the countryside and complain about the smell of farms, livestock, trees etc.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Based on faith

    I was all for this. Anything that has been proven to reduce uptake of new smokers, or lead to reduction in smoking in general, has to be good.

    Then I watched a news report on it. I think it was Lansley being interviewed. He straight out refused to discuss any of these plans with the tobacco industry (love em or hate em, they are a legal industry). And also admitted there was absolutely no evidence that these changes would help.

    Ever since that I can't read about this story without some little fella in my head shouting "THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!!" (and there was actually a quote like this on the report too).

    Logical and fact-based governance only please.

  27. tony
    Happy

    #UKUncut

    Is it just ex-smokers or all non smoker who're classed as a tax avoiders?

  28. kiwi8mail
    Pirate

    Do you think it’s an accident that tobacco manufacturers love these displays?

    I’m detecting a certain naivety in the slightly snarky tone of the original news item, and in the comments of many people responding on it.

    These displays are one of the few ways that tobacco manufacturers can work to recruit new younger smokers. And they know from their market research that it works.

    They are there to make money off you, and don’t care it kills you. Let me reiterate that point – they do NOT CARE if their product kills you. But they do care about recruiting the next generation of customers…

    1. Dr. Mouse

      Hmm...

      "These displays are one of the few ways that tobacco manufacturers can work to recruit new younger smokers."

      I think the main way they recruit is by a school kid, one of the tough, cool kids, getting their hands on a pack. Their friends then see it as cool, so start.

  29. squilookle

    If we don't know if making the packets plain, etc is going to work

    Why don't we commission a study or pilot in a small area and see how that goes, before rushing in and having everything changed, to the point it can't be changed back?

    Seems pretty simple to me.

  30. Just Thinking

    Advertising

    Tobacco companies know full well that their product kills their customers, and the also know full well that a mature adult is unlikely to take up smoking for the first time once they get beyond a certain age. So they have no option but to cynically target children in any way they can.

    Look at a typical supermarket or newsagent. The massive, brightly coloured, well lit wall of cigarettes behind the till is an advert, pure and simple. Aimed squarely at children. You might as well let the tobacco companies sponsor school sports days.

    That is why packaging is an issue.

    Smokers, get over yourselves. Nobody gives a shit about your stinking habit, nobody is going out of there way to deprive you of your rights. Nobody cares. Get on with it. Just do it in a way which doesn't encourage kids to follow suit.

    1. dogged
      Heart

      WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN

      Fixed that for you.

      Mind you, I am thoroughly enjoying the idiocy of these cretins who think that making something outlawed, hard to get and muttering all kinds of bogeyman warnings about it isn't the best possible form of advertisement to kids.

      I smoke. Based on family history, I'll die of a massive heart attack aged 65. I will have paid taxes and national insurance for 47 years at that point and will never get the opportunity to claim my pensions. I'll also have contributed a shitload to the economy in the form of taxes you don't pay.

      I'll be perfectly healthy and happpy and then, I'll be dead. You'll get another thirty years of draining the NHS with your piles and your cholesterol while not paying for it and bitching about the people who do.

      But at least I won't be around to read your crap.

      Tell me, which of us is the bad person?

      1. Just Thinking

        What are you on about?

        That does your rant have to do with changing the packaging on cigarettes? How is that going to ruin your life?

        One of the most serious problems with smoking is children taking it up before they are old enough to make an informed choice, and then finding it very difficult to give up later on. Sure, a lot of that is due to peer pressure, bravado, seeing their parents smoke etc.

        But having a huge shiny "advert" for tobacco in every corner shop certainly doesn't help. Why would they put it there if it didn't work? And if that advert can be removed while making naff all difference to anybody's daily life, I can't see why so many people are getting apoplectic about it.

        What is all the ranting is about?

  31. gaz 7
    Flame

    Why do people do it....

    In the case of the missus, cos she is addicted. the addiction means that when she has a fag it makes her feel relaxed (yes we are talking tobacco here).

    Other unrelated health issues mean that often she gets extremely stressed etc, and make it extremely hard for her to break that addiction, cos she reaches for the death sticks.

    I do wish she would stop, or at least choose a quicker and cheaper method of suicide....

  32. matthew1471

    Why do these things take so long to implement?

    Surely it can't take a whole year for a retailer to move a display from behind a sales counter to under the sales counter?

    And why is a 'small retailer' given 4 years to complete this task - if they're smaller it should be quicker?

    1. Andrew Jones 2

      re: Why do these things take so long to implement?

      Re your comment about why smaller shops have longer to complete the change.

      I shall speak from experience - we live in a small village in the Scottish Borders, we both smoke.

      When we pop to the shop for fags, we quite often buy some biscuits or something else while we are there. We do not go into the shop looking for an impulse buy and then happen to buy cigarettes because they are staring us in the face.

      In Scotland they have another stupid idea too - about removing alcohol from display too - because apparently we are more likely to buy alcohol at the same time as buying cigarettes - it's funny because I can honestly say if I go to a shop and buy cigarettes it is because I specifically went to the shop to buy cigarettes. If I go to a shop and buy alcohol it is because that was my intention in going to the shop in the first place. If I go to the shop and buy cigarettes AND alcohol it is because I wanted to buy both - not because I saw one or the other behind the counter and thought hey I don't need either but f**k it eh I'll get both.

      In answer to your question - if our shopping habits reflect the way other smokers shop too - then it wouldn't take long for the shop owner to see a massive drop in takings as we simply would have no need to go to the shop to buy anything.

      The same is obviously not true of a supermarket as people tend to go to Tesco/Asda etc for food shopping and buy cigarettes while they are there (they tend to be cheaper than the local shop).

      In response to someone further up who stated the government don't really want us to stop - I understand what you are saying re half measures etc. The thing that I find very odd was that in many cases the cost of buying "light" cigarettes is the same and in some cases (marlboro) MORE than buying full strength. I did sort of think hmm surely the lighter cigarettes should cost less to encourage people onto a lower strength hence helping to make it easier to stop?

  33. Platelet
    Coat

    package

    There's something strange about a government taking points on the package, then dissing the package.

  34. KroSha
    Joke

    Ain't all bad

    As others have commented, smoking makes the Govt far more than it spends on fixing the mess. Also taking in to account that far less of the more intelligent members of society smoke than don't, maybe it's a socio-evolutionary mechanism to reduce the number of useless work-shy layabouts? All we need now is a full legalisation of all drugs!

  35. James Hughes 1

    I don't get the problem

    Does removing the wall of advertising from the corner shop/supermarket prevent current smokers from buying their cigs? No.

    Does putting the product in plain packages stop smokers from buying their cigs? No.

    Does removing the wall of advertising from the cornershop/supermarket make a difference in people taking up smoking? Probably (Apparently the evidence points that way anyway, according to various studies - I'm paraphrasing what I heard on radio yesterday)

    Does putting the product in plain packages stop smokers from buying their cigs? Perhaps, and it's probably worth trying it out to see if it does as the overall costs to the manufacturers is probably pretty low (once in place, cheaper in printing ink at least)

    So, these measures DO NOT stop current smokers buying whenever and whatever they like, but they probably will prevent some of the next generation from taking it up.

    I'd say that was a win:win.

  36. Anonymous John
    Pint

    Re Costs and Revenues

    There's still a legalised, taxed alcohol industry is the UK, even though it's easy, legal, and cheaper to make your own wine and beer.

    It just takes longer than buying it. Which would also be the case if cannabis were legalised.

    Mine's the one brewed in a bucket in the airing cupboard.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      Don't forget distilling....

      Since buying my home still in 2007, I've avoided giving HMG hundreds of pounds to waste on silly projects ... and it tastes better than some of the cheaper shop-bought stuff ...

  37. Dr. Mouse

    One point to note:

    I remember reading somewhere that this will just generate more revenue for Tobacco companies.

    Tobacco co's saved a hell of a lot when they were no longer allowed to advertise, and this was not passed on to the consumer.

    The same will happen with packets: They will cost the co's a substantial amount less.

    It will not discourage smokers. It is unlikely to stop people from starting smoking, as most start in their teens before they are legally allowed, so can't buy them from a shop anyway.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Journalist FAIL

    "Shops in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are off the hook – those governments formulate their own health policies."

    Once again the progressive countries are ahead of England. Or were until "legal challenges" happened. Scotland will now need to wait to the same dates as England.

    http://news.scotsman.com/scotland/Tobacco-law-change-delay.6731658.jp

  39. andy 45
    Unhappy

    re:It's already started mate

    Yep. I've noticed just about every week for the past year on more some numpty or other has been calling for a minimum price on alcohol.

    Maybe that would be time to start making some homebrew -- Moonshine!

  40. Aldous
    Stop

    god help small shopkeepers....

    if they try to make these under the counter only as was once discussedthen alot of stores are gonna need a redesign as that small amount of space is normally stuffed with ancient epos/ups and very little storage space

  41. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Already like that here in Canuckstan

    As I recall (I may be wrong) but when the govt here came up with that bright idea, they gave the retailers big and small about 6 months to implement.

    After much wailing and gnashing of teeth by retailers, tobacco industry and any other bandwagon jumpers, some bright spark hit on the idea of plastic flappy thingies that go over the existing cancer stick display to shield the eyes of impressionable ankle biters.

    Now the people behind the counter had to go through several flaps to find the product the customer was asking for as they couldnt immediately see. Cue the labeling machines and print out nice stickers with all the brand names on to stick on the flappy thing to make it easier to find.

    Net result - a wall of nice labels showing the various types of tobbacco available.....

  42. Andrew Jones 2
    Stop

    Here we go again...

    It amazes me how many people are using the same arguments time and time again.

    Check what the health warnings say on packets of cigarettes before you start spouting please!

    There is *NO* scientific agreement that smoking causes cancer - the closest they have got is that it *MAY* cause cancer. But what does it really matter? Do you use WiFi - there is constant research being done to see if these low powered microwave frequencies are actually detrimental to our health and one study completes and claims yes it will cause brain tumours and another study finishes and claims WiFi is safe. The exact same thing goes for mobile phones.

    It causes me no end of annoyance this nanny state that we are turning into - I mean Christ they are going on too much salt being bad for you. Well guess what - it's bollocks - sure if you never sweat and never do anything physical for your entire life than the recommended allowance might do you just fine - but I know in my case certainly I sweat a lot through my hands and feet and if I stick to the recommended allowance and don't ADD salt to my food then by day 3 I am not feeling very good at all, by day 4 I feel tired, lacking energy and light headed.

    The truth about cancer (in my opinion anyway) is fairly simple - the magnetic field around the earth is supposed to stop harmful (as in causes harm) radiation from the sun affecting the surface of the planet - the majority of this being (xrays and gamma rays) which shock of shocks HAS been proven to destroy DNA and cause mutation leading to cancer.

    However pop onto the net (Google is your friend) and do a bit research about the state of our magnetic field - you will find that 1) it has a very large hole in it and 2) the strength of it is weakening. Now what do you suppose these things mean? (on a side note - isn't it interesting that as the field gets weaker and breaks down the planet is apparently getting warmer)

    Finally - let's assume smoking was banned tomorrow and that 1/3 of people who have smoked throughout their lives develops cancer. If we cost the NHS £5billion a year, you do realise that the NHS would still have to cope with 3 generations worth of smokers at £5billion a year whilst the government would not be getting the £10-12billion a year in smoking tax to help cover the cost.

    1. Ben Bawden
      FAIL

      Hahahaha

      "There is *NO* scientific agreement that smoking causes cancer - the closest they have got is that it *MAY* cause cancer"

      That is the biggest load of shit I have ever read. Care to show me a peer-reviewed meta-analysis showing this?

      Argue that you should be allowed to smoke if you choose, and I will support you. But not even tobacco companies are claiming that their product doesn't cause cancer any more.

  43. Grifter

    Not enjoyable?

    I've seen a number of comments that claim smokers don't enjoy smoking, and while I can't speak for all smokers I certainly enjoyed it immensly. I smoked for close to 15 years and it was one of the more joyful sensations, the act of pulling it into your mouth, inhaling it and then exhaling it. As smokers we are aware of the risks, but for me that sensation outweighed any potential future ailments, not to mention my own dad has smoked for close to 80 years, so it seems I have genetics on my side. I had absolutely no intention of quitting smoking, it just happened on its own.

    This last december (2010) I came across something called electronic ciggs, the name is a bit misleading because it's not a cigarette, there's no burning and there's no tobacco, it's not made by the tobacco industry and it's not made by the pharmaceuticals, infact both of these institutions are heavily against it (because you essentially utilize household items, and neither institution can overcharge you for them).

    More of a grassroots movement it's essentially puffing on a miniature fog machine, the kind you'd find in concerts and clubs, you heat up a hygroscopic liquid, propylene glycol or glycerol, which combined with the air intake from drawing on it creates a visible fog with higher density than air, so you get the sensation of smoking, you get the visual aspect of smoking, but since there is no burning or fire, there is no smoke. The fog dissipates very quickly after exhalation and it doesn't leave a lingering cloud of bad smells. And no tar means no discolouration.

    Took me a week of researching after I learned about it until I placed my order, took almost 2 weeks for the order to arrive over the xmas, but when my kit dropped in the mail dec 29, that's when I became an ex-smoker. All of the enjoyment, and none (or as close to none as you can come anyway) of the dangers. After about 2 weeks the cilia in my lungs had grown back, my airways cleared up and I no longer had a wheeze, and I didn't get winded going to the store up the street anymore. If any of you are smokers I highly recommend this as a substitute. I'm not going to give you product recommendations, you will have to do your own research. It's so worth it though.

    (Shouldn't be necessary to say this, but if you aren't already a smoker, then you clearly shouldn't start with this despite the lack of risk, the very least risk is to not put anything into your lungs other than the polluted air around you.)

    http://www.e-cigarette-forum.com <-- read new members section and general discussion.

  44. Mickey Finn
    Big Brother

    The missing link...

    I have just read some of the comments, searched the rest and read the text, and I have not found any reference to the European Union (EU), which I have to say, is typical.

    The last time an article like this appeared in the Register, I made the same observation; it was in regard to the Spanish abandoning their "traffic light" system and implementing a total ban on tobacco in public places.

    Anyway, there is no point in complaining to Cameron or criticising the implementation of this "law" to Westminster...

    Its implementation is written in stone, it is a conglomeration of European Commission "Decisions, Regulations and Directives", and by hook or by crook (crook probably) their "Will Be Done".

    http://ec.europa.eu/health/tobacco/docs/tobacco_consultation_en.pdf

    Make no mistake, whether one agrees with their attitude to tobacco or not, the problem for the people affected by this sort of thing, is not the product but how the ban came into place... Whether we have any democratic redress, should we disagree.

    I am pretty sure that the majority of people just do not understand (or even have an inkling) of just how pervasive is the nature of the European Union/Commission.

    If they were, they would surely be voting UKIP (and any other anti-EU party) in droves... Maybe the recent idiocies in regard to voting prisoners and equal opportunities for women drivers etc. have had a small effect, but people should not forget that this is widespread and not just related to minority issues like those above.

  45. eLeft
    Megaphone

    The only cigarette advertising still allowed

    As I understand it the only advertising allowed to the cigarette companies is the packet and how it is displayed. These companies often provide the shelving, and use their "salesmen" to monitor all outlets to ensure their own products are prominently displayed and stocked correctly. This information is then fed back to HQ via IT.

    Ensuring all packets are the same mundane colour with writing in the same font would destroy this form of advertising. Then sell them from below counter so customer does not know what is available unless they ask. Then mandate all product are the same colour so they can be differentiated by the consumer.

    Finally ban the lobbying of all tobacco products in Westminster.

  46. Mad Mike
    Thumb Up

    Cost/benefit analysis and freedoms

    The issue of smoking is really only around two issues; cost/benefit analysis and freedoms.

    From a cost/benefit anaylsis point of view, they're god sends. Not only do they pay in about £10.5b in tax etc. (which people quote) and cost at most £5b a year (NHS etc.), but they also generally die earlier (or at least a reasonable quantity of them) and therefore have additional savings in terms of pensions etc.etc. So, from a cost/benefit analysis, smokers are great and the more we can have, the better for everyone else.

    From a freedom point of view, it's far from simple either. People who complain about breathing in smoke don't often complain about their cars pumping out noxious gases!! Or, at least, are perfectly happy to keep using them, even though car exhaust fumes are shown to cause ill health as well. Same for loads of other activities. However, as smoking is higher up the toxicity list and has a quicker and more profound effect, I can understand some limitations. However, people often complain simply because they're not prepared to do something themselves. The number of people I've heard of asking for a ban in pubs (as has now happened) rather than having smoking and non-smoking pubs. The reason? If they go out with their friends, they'll want to do in a smoking pub because that is their vice (as well as alcohol presumably). That measn the complainer either has to upset their friends or not go if they want to avoid smoke. Rather than do this, it's easier for them to pass the buck onto the government and get them to enact legislation that covers the problem for them.

    So, all in all, I believe everyone needs to become more tolerant. Yes, smokers need to try and avoid impacting people who don't smoke and many do. However, equally well, those that don't smoke have to stop coughing and spluttering everytime a small whiff of smoke comes near them. It's about tolerance. There are plenty of other 'noxious' activities (and I include in this the consumption of alcohol) that don't attract the same level of abuse as smoking and yet are just as bad. In the case of alcohol, it's considered the worst of all, including all drugs etc. in the respect of impact on society.

  47. efeffess
    Troll

    Smoking's Real Health Effects

    Circa 1937, the American Lung Association found that incidents of cancer were on the rise, and members therein were looking for any social phenomenon that could explain such a rise. At the time, smoking was the only real link, and as such a massive marketing campaign was initiated, lasting to this day, to 'reeducate' the public as to the 'health detriments' of smoking in terms of The Cancer.

    Fast forward to a couple of years back, when a study appeared explaining that, at the same time as the above, incidents of tuberculosis were dropping. The reason found for this was that incidents of cancer were being misdiagnosed at the time as tuberculosis, but as diagnostic technologies were advancing cancer was increasingly being properly diagnosed. This led to the perceived rise of cancer in the general public.

    Cigarette smoking affects the body in ways that your typical media organisations, churches to which most people have freely given their thought processes, would not prefer to have you know about. It toxifies the bloodstream, causing the immune system to work to flush the foreign invaders out of the system. At the same time, cancer is far, far less likely to be able to survive in such a toxic environment. And since we all know that the immune system is also what fights cancer, smoking is, in many cases, an effective way to help the immune system keep cancer at bay.

    It also helps prevent against Parkinson's disease if you start between the ages of 25 and 45. But you already knew that.

    There are only a few instances where smoking can be detrimental. The obvious is related to cases where an individual has preexisting conditions leading to pneumonia or other lung issues. In addition, if your blood vessel cell walls are naturally weak (which is likely due to low cholesterol intake), high blood pressure (which smoking and other activities can cause) may break the seal, so to speak, leading to strokes and what-not.

    In effect, judging from the responses in this thread, smoking's only real health effect is allowing the individual to become lax in the act of conducting their own research to gauge the truth for theirself.

    On a final note, labelling a smoker as an addict is unfair to the rest of the human race, members of whom are all addicted in one way or another to substance intake. A whole article could be written about how the body attempts to maintain a certain status quo of protein and nutrient balances, and as such implements an effect of 'addiction' to maintain those levels of substances. The side effect is the ability to become addicted to a wide range of other substances that have not-so-beneficial impacts on the body.

    For the record, I have had no formal health training nor do I work in the field of health. All of this information is available to those who are willing to spend a few hours of time researching with an open mind.

    (Nice religion you've got there. But mine's better. Want some?)

    1. jake Silver badge

      @efeffess

      "For the record, I have had no formal health training nor do I work in the field of health."

      We (TINW) can tell. But thanks for clarifying.

      "All of this information is available to those who are willing to spend a few hours of time researching with an open mind."

      Paraphrasing: "It must be true! I read it on TehIntraWebTubes!"

    2. Mooseman Silver badge
      FAIL

      re smokings real health effects

      "cancer is far, far less likely to be able to survive in such a toxic environment. And since we all know that the immune system is also what fights cancer, smoking is, in many cases, an effective way to help the immune system keep cancer at bay"

      Erm...

      this *might* be true if cancer were an infectious disease - have you looked up what cancer actually is during your long internet searching??

      You also owe me a new keyboard, I haven't laughed so much in days.

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