Score One for the Aussies

If you’ve recovered from the ecstasy or agony of your nation-state winning or not winning “medals” (what a grown-up culture we have!) for beach volleyball, mountain biking, rhythmic gymnastics, or 10-meter air rifle shooting, here is some other news of national achievement you might find refreshing. In Australia, the Supreme Court has upheld a new law that strips tobacco corporations of the right to sell their products in containers they fully control. Hence, instead of the being able to use their packages as the last step in their larger marketing effort, cigarette pushers now must put their product in boxes designed by the public:

Australian cigarette box image

The response by corporate forces is also quite funny. Lacking any straightforward point to make, they are sounding alarms about the new law’s encouragement of black market cigarette-selling.

It’ll be interesting to see if this change makes a dent in Australian nicotine addiction rates.

7 Replies to “Score One for the Aussies”

  1. Yes, it is a victory, but it also shows how low the bars is set –> based on evidence, it would seem that if there was a product that was uncontroversially bad and harmful that should simply not be produced at all, it would be cigarettes…

    Yet here we are, still dancing around the issue, just ruminating about how to make it slightly more uncomfortable

  2. Sure, High Arka, no doubt there. Drugs are addicting for a very powerful reason. But I assume you’re not claiming that corporate marketing has nothing to do with it, especially in the cases of booze and cigs…

  3. Do you mean that corporate marketing causes depression, or is a result of it? (It’s certainly depressing, but that’s using the term in a different way.)

    What this one is questioning is the standard hate line on tobacco companies in particular. Yes, they’re awful, but how different is Eli Lilly, and why don’t the Aussies have pictures of suicide victims lying slit-wristed and dead in a bloody bathtub on each bottle of anti-depressants?

    Smoking is picked on because it’s the cheaper version of mental dulling, largely associated with the poorer consumer. So, while smoking should be picked on–just as Mitt Romney should be discredited–there seems to be a very meaningful problem with the way our society makes smoking such a triumphant target while other things are so deliberately ignored in plain sight.

  4. Good points… The problem is that if you follow this line of thinking through, virtually all consumption behaviors will qualify. Which is a hard pill for liberals to swallow – they like their Starbucks, shoe shopping and ‘artisanal’ knicknacks. You’ve gots to have the jawnz to get the ‘radical glow’ just right, ya’know?

  5. Ark, we’re talking past one another. All I’m saying is that the rate (and also the expense) of smoking is affected by marketing.

    As to nicotine, though I acknowledge your point about why people use it, I don’t agree that it is exactly the same as modern anti-depressants. It many orders more dangerous.

    I also think tobacco corporations deserve much of the extra hate they receive. They tried to deny science for 40 years after it was undeniable, and they knowingly design and sell a product that simply should not exist.

    That doesn’t mean they’re the only sector that deserves such notoriety, of course.

Comments are closed.