Apparently Sarah Wollaston is angry:
Sarah Wollaston is angry. Again. This time it’s about plain packaging on cigarettes. She told the World at One that the decision to stall introducing plain packaging was ‘pandering to election strategists’ and that this was a ‘very sad day for public health’.
Sounds to me more like a little paddy from this noted nannying fussbucket. The truth is that - overwhelmingly - the consultation revealed significant and substantive concerns about the policy, about its effect on jobs and business, the likely increase in smuggling and counterfeiting. All set against what?
There is precisely no evidence supporting the policy. Nothing at all. For sure there have been some studies that show kids like pretty colours better than plain colours but no study at all shows a connection between plain packaging and reduced adoption of smoking or on increased levels of quit.
Apparently Dr Wollaston thinks the policy has been nobbled because Lynton Crosby did some work for tobacco companies. Now I appreciate that doctors are gullible but hadn't realised they were so susceptible to conspiracy theories. Or does it only happen when they become MPs?
As Chris Snowdon shows, the consultation (and boy is the Department miffed about this) shows the scale of opposition:
The Department of Health public consultation on plain packs has also been published. The BBC reports that "53% of those responding to the consultation were in favour of plain packaging while 43% had urged the government to take no action on the issue". This is not true. There were 666,233 responses, of which 2,444 (0.4 per cent) were detailed submissions. 53 per cent of those 2,444 submissions approved of the policy—unsurprising since many of them came from state-funded public health lobbyists. Indeed, it's a shock that this slender majority wasn't larger.It seems that the government has listened to sense rather than fussbucketry. Cheers!
Of the 99.6 per cent of respondents who voiced their opinion through co-ordinated campaigns, nearly two-thirds opposed plain packaging. That, surely, is the relevant figure.