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« ASH in denial about "public support" | Main | 235,000 people sign the HOOPS petition »

Plain packs brigade calls for international rescue

Truly desperate.

Following our announcement yesterday that the Hands Off Our Packs petition has raised 235,000 signatures (with some late arrivals being added today), Plain Packs Protect has finally come to the party with a tweet suggesting that they have over 170,000 signatures in favour of plain packs.

Add that to the 75,000 announced by Cancer Research UK yesterday and the pro plain pack total is currently just over, er, 235,000.

Fancy that!!!

Perhaps they forgot the 30,000 shop workers who signed a petition submitted by the Tobacco Retailers Alliance a few weeks ago which means that the current total against plain packaging is actually 265,000, a figure that could be even higher once all the petitions against PP are submitted before tomorrow’s closing date.

For all we know, of course, the pro plain pack figure could be higher too, much higher. Personally I don’t trust the tobacco control industry to tell the truth on anything these days but they do appear to be rattled by our numbers.

Why else would they need the help of a global online community to raise last minute support?

Riding to their rescue is a group called Avaaz which I had never heard of until five hours ago.

According to its website Avaaz means "voice" in several European, Middle Eastern and Asian languages. I have now been advised that:

Avaaz is a very powerful campaigning organisation, based in Brazil initially, focusing mainly on environmental issues, but they have widened out to human rights issues and more political issues.

Odd, isn’t it, that Avaaz should launch an online petition in favour of plain packaging 48 hours before the closing date for the government's consultation and just hours after HOOPS announced that we had raised 235,000 signatures against plain packs.

Odder still that Avaaz should implore its 15 million supporters to sign the petition with these words:

We only have 48 hours left before the consultation closes. If enough of us support Health Secretary Andrew Lansley now, we can strengthen his hand to push the plan to make cigarettes uncool for teenagers by selling them in plain, non-branded packs. Click below to send him an urgent message in support of plain packs – and then tell your friends to join in and send a message too!

So, the tobacco control industry (if not the Department of Health) has seen fit to call for international rescue. How pathetic – and desperate.

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Reader Comments (18)

All of this is pretty meaningless and is bringing the Government further into disrepute - if that's possible. These Avaaz petitions appear to be open to non UK citizens. Perhaps explains why ASH UK news has, at this moment in time, a link going nowhere. "Public support plain standardised packaging of cigarettes." They must be deciding how they are going to justify it.

Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 15:30 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Bagley

I would have thought that anyone not registered as living in the UK
should,nt be allowed to have a say anyway. Or is that not the case?

Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 17:49 | Unregistered CommenterSheila

I would say that depends on whatever result the Govt wants Sheila :(

Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 18:37 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

If that is her hand holding the cigarette in the picture, she has far more problems than being a smoker - way too large, Photoshop rules!

Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 18:38 | Unregistered CommenterNeil McIntee

We should all write and complain to DOH
I know quite a bit about the campaign tool and here are the flaws as far as UK is concerned

a) It only asks for name, email and postcode
b) it does not insist on postcode - it can be left blank or can just be made up
c) it does not send a verification to the email you enter - so even the email can be made up
d) it does not stop you entering mutliple names and/or emails , real or otherwise - a busy person could sit there all day just typing in random names and emails
e) I have already see quite a few "john"s and "Tony"s (no surname) , one "party animal" and one erhmmm "Michael Mouse"

I mean , really?
I cant imagine any serious organisation - and especially a govt organisation taking these signatures seriously - without serious scrutiny.

On the other hand what is good for the goose is good for the gander.. set up your own petition here...

Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 19:54 | Unregistered CommenterJay

the avaaz system is a good system for applying pressure on an issue- but is not credible when it comes to a formal government consultation. Everyone knows you can make up a pile of false IDs to boost the numbers. Thats ok if you are looking to run a PR campaign, but wont satisfy the department of health demands in terms of identification of signees. If the government accepts the signatures then (a) we know it is a fix and(b) you might as well give up on all future consultations as they will become meaningless if you allow a world organisation with 12million members to lob in a grenade every time. Might as well make avaaz the govt if that is the case.

Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 20:26 | Unregistered CommenterJulian

What's the point in the puritans using Avaaz. You need to be a UK resident to sign the petitions or else your entry is not valid, and it wouldn't be nice for your campaign to include loads of foriegners. And all puritans who know about campaign will have signed, there will be few who don't know about it and who haven't signed. So the extra publicity won't be much use.

Sounds like desperation and they're trying stupid things to up their numbers.

Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 21:27 | Unregistered CommenterSadButMadLad

It is a complete farce.
You do not need to put in your real name.
Just make up any old thing for an e-mail address
Just make up any old thing for a postcode ( even ones that don't exist )
I expect you can just sit and do that again and again and again
They should be had up for fraud

Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 22:15 | Unregistered CommenterSheila

Why on earth have they resorted to this Avaaz bunch? Surely they could have urged lots of anti-smokers to vote (multiple times, by the sound of what a lot of people on here are saying) via that big European anti-smoking site where all the anti groups go to exchange ideas and tips etc (sorry, can't remember what it's called now)? Or maybe some of the much better-known big anti-smoking groups in the US could have been asked. Strange tactics indeed.

But quite apart from that, maybe we showed our hand a little too soon. Couldn't we have kept our figures secret until the very last day of the consultation, whilst looking falsely worried and sounding suspiciously vague when asked about it, to lull them into a false sense of security until it was too late?

Friday, August 10, 2012 at 2:46 | Unregistered CommenterMisty

I visited that site late last night There was a steady flow of signatories claiming to be from the UK. Given the time of day, I doubt many UK residents would be responding at such a late hour so I suspect that many could be in the USA and Canada. Maybe multi signing by small organised groups.

Friday, August 10, 2012 at 11:03 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

I just signed on as Rumple Stiltskin with a totally fictitious email address. No checks, nothing. Not worth the bandwidth it's excreted on.

Friday, August 10, 2012 at 14:01 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Speller

I'm surprised they've sunk so low as to enlist the help of Avaaz. I've heard of them, I signed a petition to help stop a woman from being stoned to death. Avaaz is a worldwide human rights organisation as far as I know - why are they now being recruited to support Plain Packs? Sounds like Tobacco Control is getting desperate!

Friday, August 10, 2012 at 19:05 | Unregistered CommenterJocelyn

I am a member of Avaaz and do support some of their petitions. As they claim to have 15 million members, they do have klout for a lot of things. I don't know if their members make up email addresses or not. But when I got that email about the plain packs, I just deleted it. Certainly not going to add my name to that. I am a smoker, for better or worse. I am sure kids or anyone doesn't smoke cigarettes because of the packaging. It's more likely the price of cigs in the UK will put kids and others off. I support FOREST and am glad there is one organisation in favour of us poor smokers.

Monday, August 13, 2012 at 13:19 | Unregistered CommenterJoanna V

I'm certain that's not the child's own hand.
How pathetic have Avaaz become when they stoop so low to make a point.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 9:30 | Unregistered Commenterann

There are sooooo many serious problems in this world so wasting time and money on "Plain Packaging" is immoral. Full stop.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at 13:17 | Unregistered CommenterJenny Roth-White

I was disappointed with Avaaz as well- wish I had emailed them to complain now- the person who did wrote a very good email. My points are that packaging doesn't make children want to smoke- the idea is ludicrous! And what about dodgy tobacco being put in plain white boxes- this is a real concern. Also what about smokers with eyesight issues- how are they supposed to find their usual brand?
It is quite clear there is some sinister plot to make tobacco illegal all over the world but how the power mongerers think they can eradicate tobacco beats me. No one has ever won the war on any kind of drug- make it illegal people still grow it sell it use it.
Odd also that they scare monger that a child will be damaged in the street by a smoker whilst they breathe in cocktails of traffic pollution.
I have gone over to e cig vaping instead of tobacco as at least one can sit inside out of the rain!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at 13:39 | Unregistered CommenterMel

I don't care if you smoke or not.
But the IDIOT that said 'there is no evidence plain packaging reduces smoking in kids" should have their right to vote revoked and put in a mental institution.

To hold your claim, you need to explain why the (literally) Quadrillion of dollars spent on MARKETING, PACKAGING, SHOWING PRODUCT IN MOVIES, etc...As well as ADVERTISING, BRANDING, blah blah blah doesn't influence a buyer.

I would suppose that they would not spend beyond trillions of dollars in a year, if they were not getting a return on that investment.

Monday, July 1, 2013 at 20:40 | Unregistered Commenterbrad

You say: "I'll be out of here and I won't be alone" good for you. I been out of there since the insanity of the blanket smoking ban in 2007. Live very happily out of the UK where people and politicians still resemble humans and smoking is alowed and not associated with DSS. Idiots. Rich people from the upper class smoke as well. What should really be stopped are all the chemicals in food, drink, air, water. Look up geo-engineering for instance. Look into the nuclear waste in the Irish Sea. Look at genetic engineering. Look at chem-trails. Look at the real issues which they are hiding in their quest for a New World Order and Big Brother snooping straight from 1984. The social engineering and perception management of Big Brother. They start wars and kill innocents. Unfortunately smokers support the war machine and geo-political agendas for Full Spectrum Dominance through the high taxation on tobacco products. Please, please people wake up and smell the deception!

Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 14:25 | Unregistered CommenterJenny Roth-White

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