Further to my previous post, I thought I should highlight the fascinating thoughts of our friends in the pharmaceutical industry.
I have added my own comments in italics.
According to the EC's Report on the Public Consultation on the possible Revision of the Tobacco Products Directive:
- The pharmaceutical industry argued in favour of improving consumer information about smoking, especially smoking cessation services. They cited evidence suggesting that advertising quit lines and cessation services on tobacco packaging results in increased usage of these services in the short and medium term.
Of course they did. Big Pharma wants you (the taxpayer) to pay for more smoking cessation services in the expectation that they will sell more of their products. I imagine they also want the taxpayer to pay to promote these services.
- Representatives also argued for mandatory pictorial warnings that rotated regularly to maintain effectiveness.
Graphic health warnings contribute to what David Hockney calls the "uglification of England". Some of the diseases featured on packets may be a result of smoking but they are also extremely rare. No matter. Big Pharma wants to make these images compulsory throughout Europe in the hope that the consumer will be so shocked they will buy a Big Pharma product to help them quit this horrible habit.
- The pharmaceutical industry expressed support for the replacement of the TNCO [Tar, Nicotine and Carbon monoxide] information on packaging, claiming that such information gives the impression that certain tobacco products are healthier than others.
I don't know anyone who talks about one product being 'healthier' than another (although an argument could be made for snus and other smokeless products), but the dose is the poison and the more information the better, surely? Why should we be denied some pretty fundamental information? Let the consumer be the judge, not Big Pharma.
- The pharmaceutical industry pushed for regulation of ingredients through a positive common list of tobacco ingredients ... The goal with this list should be consistent with the goals of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: reducing or preventing tobacco dependence.
Ah, the goals of Big Pharma are consistent with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Says it all, really.
- The pharmaceutical industry pushed for a ban on all distribution channels [internet sales, vending machines and display], in order to limit access to tobacco products inside the EU.
Banning vending machines and forcing tobacco under the counter is about as illiberal as it gets, short of banning the product completely. Why would Big Pharma want to do that? Oh yes, they want smokers to quit and they want you to buy their product in the process ...
- Finally, they advocated the increased usage of tobacco education programmes, as limiting access is only half of the current approach to reduce tobacco use.
So, having "limited access" to tobacco, the pharmaceutical industry wants more "tobacco education programmes". I don't about you, but that sounds more like Big Brother to me. And, once again, who's going to pay? Perhaps Big P should put its money where its mouth is.