Friday, September 2, 2011


It's good to see tobacco companies fighting to retain their brand names. After all, the business is legal, historic, and they pay heavily into the treasury.

I'm amazed the industry still exists at all given the centuries of criticism and the decades of state backed attempts to bankrupt it and leave its directors in the gutter.

Of course with "Big" Tobacco's demise has come "Big" Pharma's rise. Both compete for custom from the same market - adults who smoke. BT offers cigars, tobacco, cigarettes and snus and BP offers nicotine patches, inhalers, chewing gum, and a myriad of other products. Why should one aspect of the same industry have a greater influence on Govt over a direct competitor?

This unhealthy alliance between the DoH and its smoke free partners feels corrupt because inviting charities and front groups linked to an industry's competitors is like inviting the manufacturers of biscuits to influence and make policy on how to keep bars of chocolate off the market.

Tobacco companies should be free to market their product to their consumers who are adults who enjoy a legal product and know the risks associated with it. Not one other legal business has been treated this way (err - unless we drag up that old argument.)

The Independent implies something sinister in the Tobacco Companies' FOI request for information on secret Govt meetings held to plan its demise and the final solution for its consumers who will not quit.

The Freedom of Information requests are part of a global campaign by tobacco companies to fight any further legal restrictions on cigarette sales and promotion, particularly the introduction of plain cigarette packets devoid of company logos and branding.

Why it thinks it wrong for a legal firm to want to hang on to it's individual brand name is beyond me. Imagine if The Indpendent had it's brand stolen and became known only as yet another white top in a batch of bland journalism that wouldn't know the meaning of balance if it was ripped apart by a set of scales.

The Govt and its front groups are making policy that affects our lives so it is entirely in the public interest to see what plans they have for Big tobacco and its consumers.

I found The Independent's A brief history of tobacco branding rather ironic, incidentally. It's obvious public health has learned from it's propaganda and used it in reverse to promote the denormalisation programme over many years.

Not one world leader has the guts to stop this perverse gravy train for Big P and its on board "charities" or remonstrate with tobacco-fascist countries like Australia (not even guilty smoker Obama) for stripping legal commerce of its right to display its brand name and plastering a form of "Juden" on its packaging.

The Aussie plain pack with mouth cancer is one of the most offensive of the bunch but they are all revolting and of course faked to create the required panic alert. I guess the sales of cigarette cases will go through the roof. How long before the firms that manufacture those are forced to plaster ugly warnings on top of their artwork?

I wouldn't mind if every "harmful" product - including those provided by Big Pharma - were penalised in the same way. That would be equality. A truly bland world which would suit the puritan ideal too.

What if the woman I interviewed recently had seen a warning sign on Big P products? Perhaps the woman could have warned her friend to seek other alternatives given that Big P killed her. It was the NHS drugs for thyroid that gave her mouth cancer. It went undiagnosed until too late because she didn't smoke. Her last days on earth were inhumane and degrading in Boston Pilgrim Hospital.

Perhaps hospitals themselves should have huge warnings signs outside and the NHS stripped of its brand because it's clearly dangerous to health. Perhaps if I'd known and seen such signs outside I would have stopped my mother from going inside and she might now be alive to meet her great grandchildren.

But, in reality, how far do we want to go with this? There must be loads of firms in line for brand stripping. All and every store that ever catered for mountain climbers or horse riders for a start. How about cars stripped of brands. No more Ford, Vauxhall, or Jaguar. All are dangerous. All can kill. Millions are killed on our roads each year, many of them babies and children. We should not be tempted into buying their brand of car.

Public health's obsession with Big Tobacco and our lifestyles is bordering on the ridiculous and is detrimental to the NHS as a whole simply because of the resources it plunders. Perhaps if the health service just got back the £900,000 per year that the DoH hands over to its pet political front group ASH, then maybe the NHS would be less likely to ignore those with serious illnesses to death, and then have to fork our yet more public cash in compensation for its neglect.

I say good luck to the tobacco industry in finding out the dirty dealings that the DoH is involved in to force an ideological change to our future at any cost to what is morally and legally right. I do hope Big T will tell us about their findings because I'm pretty sure it'll be spun by the time it gets to main stream media friends like those at The Independent.

UPDATE : There is a good read HERE from John Gill over at The Freedom Association on how Govt is keen to rip smokers off to keep the economy going but isn't so keen to treat the manufacturer of that product like any other legal business.

I have to agree entirely when he says :

Soon a decision will have to be reached as to what is more important: individual liberties and the freedom for individuals to smoke, an activity that also contributes to the economy, or unnecessary, unwanted and unneeded nannying policies. I can only hope that the government sees sense and that freedom prevails, for if it does not it will not be just our liberties that will be adversely affected but also the economy, and thus the government will quite simply be cutting off the nose to spite the face.