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Australia v Big Tobacco

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827479.  Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:27 am Reply with quote

I bought Death cigarettes in a proper, old-school tobacconist.

827481.  Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:30 am Reply with quote

Me too, raised a few laughs in the pub that night.

827489.  Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:44 am Reply with quote

exnihilo wrote:
Just the name in a standard font?

Precisely that. The packs are to be a standardized colour (a rather unpleasant olive grey) and the writing is to be in black, and in a standardized font (it's Arial or something very similar) and point size. Prescribed health warnings also have to be carried.

Canada contemplated a similar move a few years back, although the proposal there had the packs white. The Conservatives did not support it and so it seems unlikely to be resurrected just now. The health warning on Canadian cigarette packs is required to appear in both English and French (usually on opposite sides of the pack), and so it takes up even more space than elsewhere.

827543.  Tue Jun 28, 2011 1:48 pm Reply with quote

Efros wrote:
I liked the ones you could get in the UK some 20 years ago, came in a black pack and were called Death.

here they are!

Speaking of the advertising by the tobacco companies, there is a small story concerning a similarly named cigarette, called Black Death, that is moderately well known within motorsport.

In 1994, the parent company of Black Death cigarettes was negotiating with Simtek, one of the teams towards the back of the Formula 1 grid, over a possible advertising deal.
Now, the deal was concluded ahead of the San Marino Grand Prix, but various delays meant that the new decals would not arrive until after the qualifying session would finish.

Tragically, it turned out that the name of the cigarettes was somewhat prophetic, as one of Simtek's drivers, Roland Ratzenberger, was killed during the qualifying session when his front wing collapsed and his car crashing into a wall at almost 200mph, causing fatal head and neck injuries.
As you can imagine, when the decals did arrive after that session, the team promptly sent them back and cancelled the sponsorship deal, with the cigarette company never returning to Formula 1 after that race.

827571.  Tue Jun 28, 2011 3:24 pm Reply with quote

...although his death was overshadowed by the death of Aerton Senna in the race itself on the Sunday.

I've often reflected at the irony that the last F1 fatality had to be a driver of such prominance, but it does show just how much safer the sport has become since 94.


827840.  Wed Jun 29, 2011 5:07 pm Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
...although his death was overshadowed by the death of Aerton Senna in the race itself on the Sunday.

I've often reflected at the irony that the last F1 fatality had to be a driver of such prominance, but it does show just how much safer the sport has become since 94.


At the time, Ratzenberger was definitely missed by the rest of the motorsport fraternity - the next GP at Monaco featured a tribute to Ratzenger as well as Senna.
You'd have to say, though, that it is probably in part because Senna was such a major presence within the sport that his death was to prove to be the last one. Since it had been 12 years since the last fatal accident during a race weekend, when the rookie driver, Riccardo Paletti, crashed into Didier Pironi's car at the 1982 Canadian GP, perhaps the sport had been lulled into a sense of false security.

[N.B. admittedly, Elio De Angelis had died during a private test in 1986 at Paul Ricard, due to astoundingly incompetent marshalling - there were nowhere near enough marshalls at the track, and most of them were sunbathing, having left their fireproof overalls in the pits.
So, when De Angelis's car flipped over due to a collapsed rear wing, and caught fire, the marshalls were very slow to act, and badly under equipped. Unable to free himself, due to the car being trapped upside down next to a barrier, De Angelis ended up dying of smoke inhalation in a completely preventable accident].

There had been a few near misses - one of them at Imola in 1989, when Gerhard Berger's car exploded into flames when his car aquaplaned off the track - but, because the drivers had walked away with only minor injuries most of the time, I think that most observers had mistakenly thought that the sport was relatively safe.
It also didn't help that the designers and drivers had become increasingly reliant on electronic aids, such as traction control and anti lock brakes, in the previous years, only to be suddenly banned for 1994, producing very fast but unstable cars.

However, moving back towards the topic of this thread, admittedly partially still related to motorsport. As some of you may know, the Renault Formula 1 team is currently using a black and gold livery that is designed to imitate the livery used by the original Team Lotus in the late 1970's and 1980's, due to their sponsorship deal with John Player Special cigarettes.

Now, although the modern livery is very similar to the classic livery, there is no sponsorship deal between JPS and the Renault F1 team - the livery appeared because Group Lotus, the car manufacturer, was attempting to pass itself off as a continuation of the original Team Lotus F1 team (though in fact the F1 team and car maker have always been separate legal entities).

However, ahead of the Canadian GP, the local authorities threatened to prevent Renault from competing because their livery was an imitation of a livery that originally promoted tobacco products, and there were some concerns that this would violate the local laws on tobacco advertising. Eventually, the threat was withdrawn after the authorities accepted that there was no link between the F1 team and JPS - though many have asked what exactly the local authorities were trying to achieve by threatening legal action in the first place.

827874.  Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:49 am Reply with quote

I rather think you're all missing the point here (CB in particular).

The law is a contract between the individual and the state. The state decides that their preferred method of selection is by franchise. Everyone else just uses the method of finding like minded invididuals.

A corporation doesn't impose sanctions on anyone, it doesn't expect the non-participants or opposing participants to agree to its world view.

As CB says

I think it's ridiculous for a corporation to threaten legal action against a state for threatening their profits, without any proper argument that this threatens personal freedoms of people.

A fine argument. And what exactly is the argument of the state who are so assiduous in defence of personal freedoms? Erm - we got voted in by just under half of the population (I'm being gernerous here). Incidentally, we imposed a law that everyone must vote or they'll get locked up. And by the way we introduced the Volstead Act and look at how successful that was.

By what simple argument can anyone justify the imposition of this law (and it's enforcement)?

(In case anyone is in doubt - I think smoking is a bad thing and I'm a smoker - but this is bad law)

828896.  Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:49 pm Reply with quote

Those discussing this topic may like to view the above website, which has also been advertising via TV.

Here is the commercial:

I don't like cigarettes, second hand smoke bothers me something shocking, but I think it's a joke that cigarettes are available on one hand but the government is taking lots of nice juicy taxes from their sale on the other, which then has to be pumped in to the health system for the medical consequences of smoking in the long term. I think most people are bewildered at these ironic set of circumstances, same goes with alcohol. They're keeping cigarettes available but at the same time saying to people "Don't smoke, they're bad, they have bad consequences and we'll try and make it impossible/unaffordable for you to have them, we know they're addictive, but we'll still make them available!" /circular argument/

828916.  Tue Jul 05, 2011 3:36 am Reply with quote

Most governments are in a fiscal mess concerning cigarettes, they want to discourage smoking but make so much money from it in tax and duty that it is an income stream they can't so without.

828941.  Tue Jul 05, 2011 4:57 am Reply with quote

I've argued in the past that a lot of things should be legalised in order to allow governments to tax them and regulate them.

The money side that Efros mentions is a decent amount, but not enough on it's own. One of the benefits of legalising a product and taxing it is you can regulate what can go into it.

828942.  Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:00 am Reply with quote

The revenue from tobacco products more than pays for the cost of smoking related illness.

The commonly cited cost to the NHS of smoking is around 3 billion pounds but Oxford researchers have placed it at over 5 billion when other factors are taken into account. Either way, this is more than covered by the tax revenue on tobacco which for the period covered by the research was 10 billion. Ban tobacco and you'll need to find at least 5 billion extra for the NHS, and possibly anywhere up to 10 billion.

Not only does the revenue on tobacco cover the health costs it heavily subsidises the rest of the healthcare system, as does alcohol. Everyone knows both smoking and drinking are bad you you and we still do both because we enjoy both, just as we do all manner of other dangerous things. If it represented a massive risk to others then the Government should step in, and to an extent it has with the ban in public places, that's as far as it need go.

828956.  Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:29 am Reply with quote

exnihilo wrote:
Ban tobacco and you'll need to find at least 5 billion extra for the NHS, and possibly anywhere up to 10 billion.

Not to mention the increased costs of pensions as these people start to live longer.

exnihilo wrote:
Not only does the revenue on tobacco cover the health costs it heavily subsidises the rest of the healthcare system, as does alcohol.

Alcohol I'm less sure about, since that doesn't just impact the NHS. To add up the costs of alcohol to society, you'd have to include not only the costs of treating diseases such as cirrhosis, but also the costs of treating injuries due to accidents or punch-ups, then there's the cost of the extra policing that's required on a Friday/Saturday night, the cost of repairing damage caused to property, and the cost to the economy of people taking sick days off when they wake up on Monday with a dreadful hangover.

Not that I'm saying you're definitely wrong, just that it's a much more murky picture, as you might expect after a few pints :)

828959.  Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:49 am Reply with quote

As I'm the sort of person who gets very chatty after a few beers, and incredibly sleepy after lots of beers, I've never understood the link between alcohol and violence. I've also never had to be 'cared for' when blootered, always been sufficiently compos mentis to get myself home and never understood the abandonment of self/dignity that I've seen when someone is so drunk that they can't function. Don't get me wrong, I have been well and truly hammered frequently in my life, however, I seem to have an internal switch that says 'no more and it's time to go to bed'. I've always been of the opinion that if you do something illegal when you're drunk that you wouldn't do otherwise then perhaps you should think about it, and if you use that as an excuse in a court of law then your penalty should be greater.

828969.  Tue Jul 05, 2011 6:18 am Reply with quote

On the rare occasion I have been a bit too drunk, as with Efros, there's no violence at all, I tended to wobble around and laugh a lot. I could no more have had the control to aim at someone, let alone hit them.

And whether or not smoking does not take up all of the health budget, 5 billion pounds is still being spent on something either the government shouldn't be selling or people shouldn't be consuming, same goes with alcohol. And the Government won't stop selling it because it does make a "profit" on the taxes on the smoking. However, with an ageing and increasing population, will the cost of smoking one day outstrip the taxes it brings in?

829022.  Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:43 am Reply with quote

Is it, though? If tobacco ceased to exist today Government revenue would be 10 billion less, but the cost tot he NHS would decrease by only 5 billion, so that 5 billion would need to come from elsewhere, presumably from increases in NI contributions, which would be very unpopular indeed. At least with tobacco duty it's essentially voluntary, you chose to smoke and you have to pay what the cigarettes cost.

Figures seem to suggest that although tobacco sales are down revenues are up, due to increased taxation, but if sales are down so must the cost to the NHS be so I can't see how the reverse would come to pass and the costs rise to eclipse the revenue generated.


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