Thursday, 10 March 2011

The balance of the tobacco argument

I don't have a good word for cigarettes. I know some people do (usually smokers) and they will say things like it helps them control their weight or it helps them to relax. My advice would be to find something else to help. So I don't particularly mind reading that tobacco displays are going to be banned and maybe cigarettes will have to come in plain packages. I don't mind but I don't know how useful this will be. The real problem is why we start to smoke. Advertising may play a part and that is the hope of the government.

I don't think advertising is too important. It wasn't important in the 1960s when a huge amount of advertising went into telling us that we were never alone with a Strand. I do hope that I am wrong and the number of smokers goes down. However when cigarette smoking was banned from public buildings, the smokers had to stand outside on the street and advertise to the passers-by that this is what they do.

Last night's BBC news told me that the Tories had changed their mind on this ban but changing an opinion is not necessarily a bad thing. I am sure that most decisions are based on balance of evidence rather than a battle between good and evil. I don't have a good word for tobacco but I do have a lot to say for freedom of choice. On balance I would prefer the ban on displays and fancy boxes. I would much prefer individuals to stop buying tobacco.

Change the world


  1. The whole point about advertising is that it manipulates people into deciding to buy things. If it didn't you wouldn't get so much money invested in it.
    Since the 1960s level of smoking has gone down. It is hard to prove why this is but it is not unreasonable to think that the government campaign has done so and these policies will continue to do so.

  2. I have heard reports that say advertising does not increase the amount of purchasing, it just moves it in different directions.

  3. I just read this from

    After examining in some detail numerous models from both developed and less developed countries, he concludes that ‘...there is no evidence that advertising of tobacco products leads to an increase in the total consumption of tobacco,’ though it affects the market shares of individual brands.