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The cancer-mongers’ new ads

Written By: - Date published: 9:48 am, September 23rd, 2012 - 43 comments
Categories: health, spin - Tags:

I reckon my theory that the tobacco industry’s stupid ‘agree/disagree’ ad campaign is actually just a way of chucking millions at cash-strapped media outlets to buy their silence (and even backing from Granny) has been confirmed. By one simple fact. The new TV ad, which appeals to crass nationalism to argue that we shouldn’t adopt the Aussie plain-packaging law, is voiced by an Aussie.

Just shows they’re not even giving a token effort to make their ads remotely convincing.

43 comments on “The cancer-mongers’ new ads”

  1. blue leopard 1

    The biggest concern re the tobacco companies/consortium’s behavior over this issue is the manner in which they are stating that they will take the government to court over this; which has been conveyed with great confidence and no shame.

    This statement involves private interests suing democratically elected interests
    This is a giant leap against democracy
    This is what will occur with greater frequency when the TPPA is finalized.

    • insider 1.1

      As a point of principle, Making sure a government follows its own rules and agreements is not against democracy. Our government is regularly taken to court. It’s a vital part of democracy that we can do so.

      • blue leopard 1.1.1

        Yeah fair point, yet when the legal system solely works for those with access to huge amounts of money, then the bringing in of an agreement where its open slather for foreign companies to sue our government is only going to leave our governments with less money for the people it is supposed to be working for.

        A corporation can afford to pay its lawyers more and the higher a lawyer is paid the more prepared, it seems, they are of making laughable arguments that go against the spirit of the law, yet win in court.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.2

        Making sure a government follows its own rules and agreements is not against democracy.

        But what if those rules and agreements are ones which disadvantage or even harm the citizens of the nation, in favour of foreign parties and overseas capital?

        Shall we still make sure that the Government follows those rules and agreements?

        • insider 1.1.2.1

          Vote For someone who will change it. That’s democracy.

          • Colonial Viper 1.1.2.1.1

            No you don’t get it. Once you’re signed up to something like the TPP it’s extremely costly – in every sense of the word – to withdraw. That’s how these agreements are designed.

            Voting in a bunch of new faces makes no difference. That’s why it undermines democracy.

            • insider 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Are there penalty clauses?

              • blue leopard

                @ Insider
                I suggest you ask a large international corporation for any information on TPP; as you should know by now, ordinary NZers are not privy to the details of this agreement-but the corporations are.

                If you are really interested there is a link I left on comment 3.1 which goes into some of the details. Auckland University has an informative site on the subject too.

                • insider

                  It would be surprising if there were any. There are none I know of say in nafta or cer. And referred to in any of the leaks. So I’m surprised to see it described as extremely costly to withdraw.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Naive trusting babe in the woods. What are you, a (global trade) virgin?

                    • insider

                      For someone who seems very confident in your own knowledge of international trade agreements and the extreme costs of withrawing, you seem very shy about providing details of the hows and whys.

                    • blue leopard

                      Insider,

                      I’m unclear how you expect Colonial Viper or anyone else to know the details of the TPPA agreement because the very public criticism of this deal is the unprecedented secrecy that surrounds it.

                      Any detailed information that is available about this deal has been LEAKED.

                      I have left some informative links previously and here are a couple more in the off-chance that you aren’t simply into a shallow argument for arguments sake.

                      “…Many in Congress are understandably concerned about the undemocratic nature of an agreement negotiated in secret being implemented without even the most basic protection – Congressional approval…

                      http://fairdeal.net.nz/2012/07/iitp-time-to-walk-away-from-tppa

                      “‘Trade’ agreement is a misnomer. The TPPA is not primarily about imports and exports. Its obligations will intrude into core areas of government policy and Parliamentary responsibilities. If the US lobby has its way, the rules will restrict how drug-buying agencies Pharmac (in New Zealand) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (in Australia) can operate, and the
                      kind of food standards and intellectual property laws we can have. Foreign investors will be able to sue the government for reducing their profits. The TPPA will govern how we regulate the finance industry or other services, along with our capacity to create jobs at home.”

                      http://tppdigest.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=245&Itemid=64

                    • insider

                      Thanks blue. I was talking about these kind of agreements in general as I understand the TPPA is not known. Thanks for posting the links; I have read a couple.

                      CV was quite clear that “Once you’re signed up to something like the TPP it’s extremely costly – in every sense of the word – to withdraw. That’s how these agreements are designed.” I’ve seen no costs of withdrawal as part of an international agreement of this type. If anything the costs are in membership due to the need to limit your sovereignty. Though that;s not always a bad thing for some countries.

                    • blue leopard

                      Cheers Insider :)

                      I assumed CV was employing a general understanding of contract law. I understand a contract isn’t made without certain obligations from both sides to keep to it and an there is an assumption in my mind that costs are involved in the event that one party wishes to withdraw from it. This is not to take into account the costs of the activity required to set up new arrangements. It may be that a deal such as TPPA doesn’t fall under “contract” law, yet it stands to reason that similar such requirements are involved in any agreement, particularly one cultivating as much legal activity as this one appears to be. I fully acknowledge these to be assumptions however based on a little, but not a whole lot of knowledge on the subject of law.

                      I think it advantageous for all of us to have more transparency in this process, it doesn’t appear to be fair or reasonable that multinational corporations have access to a process that will effect the inner workings of government while the people of each country are being left in the dark.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      TPPA is to be enforced by a system of scouts honour between countries.

                    • blue leopard

                      CV
                      With the implicit knowledge of all members being that there is absolutely no scouts or honour involved you mean?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Well you are absolutely right of course. Therefore by deduction, the TPPA uses a system of enforcement considerably sterner than just ‘Scouts Honour’.

                      I was just trying to spell it out for the literal and unimaginative amongst us (insider).

              • Colonial Viper

                How old are you?

  2. tc 2

    I crack up at the line ‘dangers of untested packaging…’ like it’s going to explode or derail and kill people FFS. The packaging is the least harmful part of the deal.

    That would be the same packaging oz would have been using so hardly untested also and the line ‘ we know it’s harmful.. ‘ don’t expect much from our big business rollover gov’t.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    Greedy corporations rising to challenge sovereign nations rights to protect their own citizens.

    • blue leopard 3.1

      Precisely CV

      Here is more info for those interested (my emphasis):

      “… The TPP would require the use of the International Centre for Settlement of Investor Disputes (ICSID) — an arbitration board that is an arm of, and controlled by, the World Bank. Cases that go before one of the Centre’s tribunals are decided by a panel of three judges that are selected from a roster. The judges are appointed by the national governments that have signed on to ICSID, which are most of the world’s countries.

      Eight of the judges have been appointed by the United States. EACH IS A LAWYER WHOSE CAREER HAS BEEN SPENT IN THE SERVICE OF LARGE CORPORATIONS. Six are currently partners in some of the world’s most formidable corporate law firms, one is an academic who formerly was a corporate lawyer and one is a lobbyist for a business group that seeks to codify pro-corporate trade rules under law. Five of the eight U.S.-named lawyers have been counsel to various Republican Party administrations and several of the eight specialize in representing corporations before international arbitration boards.”

      http://systemicdisorder.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/trans-pacific-partnership-trade-pact-more-draconian-than-nafta/

      And here is an open letter from lawyers to the negotiators of the trans-pacific partnership urging the rejection of investor-state dispute settlement

      http://tpplegal.wordpress.com/open-letter/

  4. Lanthanide 4

    They say they agree that tobacco is harmful.

    It seems that the discussion should end right there. If they know tobacco is harmful, they should be working in co-operation with health groups and governments to phase it out. The fact that they’re not, just shows they’re in it to make money and nothing else. So why should we listen to anything they have to say?

    • blue leopard 4.1

      I agree that tobacco companies should cooperate with health groups and governments, as opposed to hindering them with their vast profits

      However I would prefer that stress was acknowledged as a major cause of health issues and was taken as seriously as tobacco smoking is now.

      This way governments might see new reason to cut working hours down and have earning hours shared between all New Zealanders, and encouraging better working conditions in the acknowledgement that both overworking and unemployment is bad for stress levels.

      This move would have a remarkable “side-effect” of benefits to our economy too. :)

      http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/99-101/

      • Jokerman 4.1.1

        ironic? that that tory government-lackey Dr advising welfare reform work argued that Not Working was equivalent to smoking 200 packets of cigarettes over 6 months or so.
        What a clown.
        Convalescence from work-slavery is an excellent way to reduce stress and concomitant health implications

        • blue leopard 4.1.1.1

          Convalescence wouldn’t be required if our system ensured the sharing out of labour-not some people over-working and others having no work at all.

          • fatty 4.1.1.1.1

            Yip…in addition to other employment policies, any work over 40 hours per week should be triple time with no exceptions. This will decrease unemployment, increase equality and bring address work/life imbalance.

            • Jenny 4.1.1.1.1.1

              What about shift work. New Scientist published statistics showing that it is at least as dangerous as smoking. Taking an estimated 7 years off the average shift workers life.

              Having done more than my fair share of it. As a joke I once told my employer that I wouldn’t mind so much if they would pay me for those lost 7 years!

              Needless to say he didn’t crack a smile.

              • Colonial Viper

                No one should stay in shift work for longer than 5-10 years. Unless it really appeals to them personally, of course. There needs to be other employment options.

                Also shift work can usually be far more intelligently organised to cause less stress on health, than many places use it now.

    • Lanthanide 4.2

      Reading their website, they actually make a schizophrenic argument (emphasis mine):
      “The Government’s plain packaging proposal would require tobacco manufacturers to sell their products in packs that are virtually identical. The manufacturer would no longer have the right to use the intellectual property it has created and in which it has invested.
      “We have invested in our brands over many years and have a responsibility to our shareholders to do everything we can to defend our right to use them.”
      As there is no proof that plain packaging will work to reduce smoking rates, we believe its introduction is a risky experiment at the expense of New Zealand intellectual property and brand owners, as well as those of our trading partners.”

      So it sounds like plain packaging will be advantageous to them. They won’t have to “invest” in their brand any more, and smoking rates aren’t going to change. Sounds like they’ll have fewer costs with the same revenue stream = more profit.

      They also say:
      “It could force the industry to compete on price, making cigarettes more affordable, frustrating the stated aim of plain packaging. Even the Australian Department of Health and Ageing acknowledged that this is a risk inherent in plain packaging.”

      Good thing we have this thing called “excise tax” would could be used to compensate.

      • blue leopard 4.2.1

        These are all legalistic arguments i.e they will use any and as many arguments as they can to confuse the opposition and argument and thus fudge a point…and win.

        I assume branding works out of a deduction that it is unlikely companies would persist in spending oodles on it if it didn’t. (…and also being aware that such companies do plenty of research to ensure that any activity they invest in has positive effects. I acknowledge my arguments are left unresearched; I can’t be bothered to do research of my own on the subject!).

        I believe plain packaging won’t stop people smoking, it may slow the trend down.

        I believe that the banning of displays of the product to be very useful. When I was trying to give up I found that staring at the products whenever I was making any small purchase at a dairy or groceries at a supermarket made it very assessable and wasn’t helpful at all. (I was unsuccessful at giving up, by the way :( )

        I don’t think it is cool to ban a substance completely, yet good to ban the marketing and advertising of an addictive product.

    • Richard Christie 4.3

      @Lanthanide
      They say they agree that tobacco is harmful.

      It seems that the discussion should end right there. If they know tobacco is harmful, they should be working in co-operation with health groups and governments to phase it out. The fact that they’re not, just shows they’re in it to make money and nothing else. So why should we listen to anything they have to say?

      My attitude exactly, you must be reading my mail.

  5. Jokerman 5

    btw, NICOTINE is one of the most ADDICTIVE SUBSTANCES in the pharmocopaeia

    • tc 5.1

      ‘The Insider’ Russll Crowe character said the were know as ‘nicotine delivery devices ‘ within the tobacco company he worked in.

      Note that Jack Larsen and the Laramie cigarette company disappeared from the Simpsons after the big settlements in the States and doesn’t appear on the wikipedia page describing all the other simpsons fictional products aside from it’s use in the Tomacco episode.

      They nailed the behaviour in the few swipes they got in ” federal gov’t regulations prohibit us from…..but we are are allowed to sponsor beauty pagents for 8 year old girls “

      • BernyD 5.1.1

        “sponsor beauty pagents for 8 year old girls“
        One place in society where anonymity would be a good thing.

  6. Richard Christie 6

    “We agree that tobacco is harmful…..”

    Only once they were forced to.
    Anyone who gives them the time of day is a fool in mine eyes.

  7. Jenny 7

    The new TV ad, which appeals to crass nationalism to argue that we shouldn’t adopt the Aussie plain-packaging law, is voiced by an Aussie.

    ZETETIC

    Patriotism, the last refuge of a scoundrel.

    Oscar Wilde

    • Te Reo Putake 7.1

      Zet was pointing out the irony of using an Aussie to voice the ad; nothing to do with patriotism. And the patriotism quote is from Samuel Johnson, not Oscar Wilde.

  8. mike e 8

    I thought tobacco advertising was prohibited this is a sneaky attempt by the tobacco companies to get around the legislation if this were an illegal drug cartel they would be locked up and the Key thrown away!

  9. felix 9

    I see a market opening up for branded or personalised tobacco tins and re-usable pouches…

  10. Anton 10

    I’m enjoying following BAT_NZ on twitter. Today they compared apples, not with oranges, but with cigarettes. On the agree2disagree.co.nz some (I suspect) astroturfing compared plainpacks with the holocaust.

    Its entertainingly daft. If it weren’t killing quite so many people.

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