Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby M.C. » Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:51 am UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:I think the followup question, then, is why were the previous regulations and restrictions on tobacco products inadequate and how does eliminating logos and color schemes serve to fill the supposed gap in protecting the public and why the restriction should only apply to tobacco products?


Because people have different reasons for smoking? And we don't want them to be?

The restrictions are only being applied to tobacco because is a much bigger, easier target (although alcoholism is probably a bigger, cultural issue). Although similar levels of protecting the public are taking place with poker machines.
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby Iulus Cofield » Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:14 am UTC

Could you link to a particular article discussing the proposed poker machine laws? I can't seem to find one in that link that directly addresses it, although I did learn that sports gambling makes a negligible contribution to Australian tax income, that the states are all in agreement about something related to it, the short biographers of politicians involved in it, and whoever writes that news source feels very strongly about it and assumes I already know all about it.
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby jestingrabbit » Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:27 am UTC

I don't know if the legislation has been drafted yet, and I can't find a decent discussion of it either, but there are two things that could happen. The one that everyone is talking about atm is everyone who wants to use a poker machine having a personal keycard type thing that they have to put in the machine to work it. Before they start gambling on a particular day they have to declare how much they're willing to lose. Then, when they've lost what they said they were willing to lose, they are prevented from further gambling.

The other idea that was initially floated was a $1 cap on individual bets. There's some talk that that might be what we end up with because it has such a low enforcement cost compared to the other option.
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby setzer777 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:34 am UTC

I don't think we need to protect people from making their own informed choices.
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby Dark567 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:58 am UTC

The tobacco, alcohol, and poker laws all seem like pretty severe paternalism, that the government/majority knows whats better for you than you do.
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby jestingrabbit » Sat Nov 12, 2011 5:29 am UTC

setzer777 wrote:I don't think we need to protect people from making their own informed choices.


And I don't think that any of these laws are inconsitent with that. All that is being done with the smoking laws are removing some of the cool factor, and all that is being done with the poker machines laws is forcing people to confront, all at one time, how much they are willing to bet, rather than letting the machines incrementally take more than they can afford.

As a secondary benefit, it will also make money laundering a little harder.
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby Torchship » Sat Nov 12, 2011 5:55 am UTC

Dark567 wrote:The tobacco, alcohol, and poker laws all seem like pretty severe paternalism, that the government/majority knows whats better for you than you do.


Well, yeah? There are a huge number of things that governments prohibit "for your own good", but no-one complains that I can't buy my own weight in heroin or a dozen functioning tanks legally. Everyone seems to be behaving as if these laws are some new and exciting rights violation, when they are based on many hundreds of years of similar limitations. Obviously there are many orders of magnitude between heroin or tanks and cigarettes or pokes, but they do illustrate the idea that limiting rights for your or the public's good is not a new one. Whether you believe there is sufficient benefit to be gained to justify such a limitation is another matter entirely, of course.
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby Dark567 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 6:19 am UTC

Torchship wrote:Well, yeah? There are a huge number of things that governments prohibit "for your own good", but no-one complains that I can't buy my own weight in heroin
Yes. I do. Granted I don't complain about tanks, but that's hardly complaining about paternalism(as tanks can very easily cause death outside of the person purchasing said tank).
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby Iulus Cofield » Sat Nov 12, 2011 6:30 am UTC

The argument for tanks and cigarettes being in the same category usually goes like, the adverse effects of smoking increase the cost of healthcare and so damages us all.

I'm not really sure how you could possibly make an argument like that for gambling. There really is no victim besides the user and anyone they are financially dependent on. And worrying about the dependents doesn't hold either, because then you really should be outlawing degrees in art history.
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby Torchship » Sat Nov 12, 2011 6:33 am UTC

Dark567 wrote:Yes. I do. Granted I don't complain about tanks, but that's hardly complaining about paternalism(as tanks can very easily cause death outside of the person purchasing said tank).


Huh, that's unexpected. Oh well, amend that to "very few" and the point still stands.
In any event, cigarettes also frequently cause death in others; second hand smoke is a huge cause of death. Sure, you can illegalise smoking within a certain radius of a non-smoker (good luck with getting anyone to obey that law), but if that is sufficient to make any further restrictions on cigarettes "paternalism", then so is not selling tanks (since killing people with them is already illegal).

Iulus Cofield wrote:The argument for tanks and cigarettes being in the same category usually goes like, the adverse effects of smoking increase the cost of healthcare and so damages us all.


'Eh, I don't really hold that position. I'd argue that it is valid to restrict anything, as long as a sufficiently large benefit with a sufficiently small cost can be demonstrated, irrespective of whether the issue affects society as a whole or not.
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby Iulus Cofield » Sat Nov 12, 2011 6:40 am UTC

Called it.

Edit: I got ninja-edited there. So...what you're saying is, that the government should restrict anything if there is a benefit...even if there it doesn't affect the population is a whole or even in part? If I'm understanding you correctly, you mean that the government should outlaw liberal arts, because you'll be happier making more money in business? Sorry to slippery slope you, but that is the logical end of what I think you're saying.
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby Torchship » Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:47 am UTC

What benefit would banning liberal arts bring? What proof do I have that any current liberal arts majors would be happier in business? Why should I even care about such a minor issue? (I mean, currently there is indeed a glut of liberal arts majors, but that's a problem that can be easily solved with better career education; no need to start banning whole professions). If it were somehow demonstrable that a strong majority of liberal arts majors would be significantly happier (so much so as to outweigh the change in profession forced upon them) in business and that the massive dissociations caused by removing millions of arts majors from the job pool and adding millions of business majors were somehow minor, then I would probably support such an action. However, such a scenario bears so little resemblance to the real world that it doesn't really warrant contemplation.

I am, and have always been, talking about situations with solid, demonstrable benefits and/or costs. If the issue is not clear-cut (as I believe cigarettes, pokes and the like are), then why bother with the risk when there are clearer issues to spend your time on. It seems absurd to believe that we have sufficient understanding of the costs both obvious and subtle (how will the hairdressers feel when they realise that they're probably the next cadre of new business majors?) to ever actually institute sweeping changes like your liberal arts major example. I only support the banning of cigarettes, pokes and the like because the benefits are so gigantic and clear cut that they clearly overwhelm the amorphous and ill-defined costs (this is all my view, obviously. Everyone will judge things differently).
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby psyck0 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:21 am UTC

I really cannot believe that in the 21st century people are defending the rights of cigarette companies. What. The. Fuck. They cause more disease and death than any drug besides alcohol and are the most addictive substance on the planet to the best of my knowledge. The cost to the general non-smoking public in health care and ancillary costs is massive, not to mention the number of people dying 10-30 years before their time because of these products.

Oh, and people still aren't making informed choices about smoking. I thought I knew that cigarettes were bad before I was in medical school, but I had no fucking clue. Their effect on health is just crazy.
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby EmptySet » Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:50 am UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:I think the followup question, then, is why were the previous regulations and restrictions on tobacco products inadequate and how does eliminating logos and color schemes serve to fill the supposed gap in protecting the public and why the restriction should only apply to tobacco products?


Well, I think the attitude is essentially that tobacco is only legal because of historical and culture inertia which makes banning it outright infeasible. Instead, the government is trying the next best thing, which is to is to try to make smoking as unattractive as possible so nobody does it. It's also important to understand that this isn't something they just came up with out of the blue one day - there's been a steady march of anti-smoking measures for decades, including increased taxes, mandating the warning messages on packs, banning cigarette advertising and sponsorship of sports, graphic anti-smoking advertisements showing lungs being cut open and leaking tar everywhere, and advertising campaigns and hotlines encouraging people to quit smoking. Smoking has also been banned from more and more public places so that people don't have to be exposed to passive smoking.

Iulus Cofield wrote:Called it.

Edit: I got ninja-edited there. So...what you're saying is, that the government should restrict anything if there is a benefit...even if there it doesn't affect the population is a whole or even in part? If I'm understanding you correctly, you mean that the government should outlaw liberal arts, because you'll be happier making more money in business? Sorry to slippery slope you, but that is the logical end of what I think you're saying.


If we're throwing around slippery slope arguments and straw men, I take it that you believe banks should be able to sell debtors who don't pay up into slavery and then force them to participate in gladiatorial deathmatches, provided they put this stipulation in legalese in tiny print somewhere in the 80-page loan agreement?
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby Iulus Cofield » Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:02 am UTC

In all fairness, there are different types of slippery slopes. Slopes which are realistic although unlikely and slopes which are not impossible but somewhat absurd. I specifically used the banning liberal arts majors because, although this has not been a government policy anywhere ever, there has been a long history of liberal arts departments being the first on the chopping blocks of universities and schools, because liberal arts degrees don't tend to make into wealthy alumni, and therefore don't create good donors. So if we're going for "the government should protect us from bad personal decisions" approach, you're really not rolling too far down the slope.

Although debtors' prisons have existed historically...really? That's less likely than the legalization of gay marriages leading to the legalization of bestiality. At least those two are both sexual rights issues. I'm not really sure what current real world issue would even begin the road to reinstating debtors' prisons.
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby EmptySet » Sun Nov 13, 2011 1:14 pm UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:In all fairness, there are different types of slippery slopes. Slopes which are realistic although unlikely and slopes which are not impossible but somewhat absurd. I specifically used the banning liberal arts majors because, although this has not been a government policy anywhere ever, there has been a long history of liberal arts departments being the first on the chopping blocks of universities and schools, because liberal arts degrees don't tend to make into wealthy alumni, and therefore don't create good donors. So if we're going for "the government should protect us from bad personal decisions" approach, you're really not rolling too far down the slope.

Although debtors' prisons have existed historically...really? That's less likely than the legalization of gay marriages leading to the legalization of bestiality. At least those two are both sexual rights issues. I'm not really sure what current real world issue would even begin the road to reinstating debtors' prisons.


Um. The situation you describe is not banning liberal arts majors. It's universities neglecting to fund liberal arts because they do not have enough money and/or get poor returns on it. Banning the arts would be the government issuing an edict that nobody can teach the arts even if they want to and have funding. Even then it would not even be close to the same situation as cigarettes, for reasons Torchship has already given a decent explanation of. And I don't know what kind of country you think Australia is, but banning the teaching of arts is about as likely as America banning heterosexual marriage. It's theoretically possible, but really now. I'd actually rate debtor's prisons as more likely.
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby jules.LT » Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:04 pm UTC

psyck0 wrote:people still aren't making informed choices about smoking. I thought I knew that cigarettes were bad before I was in medical school, but I had no fucking clue. Their effect on health is just crazy.

This ^
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:27 am UTC

psyck0 wrote:I really cannot believe that in the 21st century people are defending the rights of cigarette companies. What. The. Fuck. They cause more disease and death than any drug besides alcohol and are the most addictive substance on the planet to the best of my knowledge. The cost to the general non-smoking public in health care and ancillary costs is massive, not to mention the number of people dying 10-30 years before their time because of these products.

Oh, and people still aren't making informed choices about smoking. I thought I knew that cigarettes were bad before I was in medical school, but I had no fucking clue. Their effect on health is just crazy.

You say that as if they wouldn't've died from other causes until their "rightful" time if they didn't smoke. Who's to say that in an alternate universe where no-one smokes, the people who'd've otherwise smoked would not end up dead by meteors or car wrecks or bombings or malaria?
Also, my grandma lived to 85 while smoking half a pack on unfiltered Paul Malls every day
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby M.C. » Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:19 am UTC

cjmcjmcjmcjm wrote:Also, my grandma lived to 85 while smoking half a pack on unfiltered Paul Malls every day

Proof that cigarettes are in fact good for you.
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby Iulus Cofield » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:28 am UTC

I seem to recall reading a blurb in Discover magazine five or six years ago that said some researchers were trying to figure out why some people die in their sixties or early seventies of natural causes and why some people smoke into their nineties.

So, kids, smoke for science!
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby Shivahn » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:46 am UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:I seem to recall reading a blurb in Discover magazine five or six years ago that said some researchers were trying to figure out why some people die in their sixties or early seventies of natural causes and why some people smoke into their nineties.

So, kids, smoke for science!

Wait, what? I'm not convinced that that requires more research than learning some really basic statistics.
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby Iulus Cofield » Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:06 am UTC

I'm not sure you heard me, I said:

For science!

The idea behind the research was that there are apparently a bunch of anecdotal stories of people living well beyond their life expectancy and also being smokers and also a bunch of anecdotal stories of people who apparently lived healthily, had no major illnesses, had passed middle age, and still died from things like natural heart failure well before their life expectancy. So the scientists thought that perhaps there was something about the genes, nutrition, or behaviors of the former that might be helping them live longer in spite of decades of something clearly shown to lower your life expectancy. I don't know if anything ever came of it, probably not.
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby Shivahn » Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:09 am UTC

Oh, I see. Yeah, that makes more sense. The wording just threw me off, because when the population of the planet is 6 billion, you expect to have significant numbers of high-risk people living significantly longer than significant numbers of low-risk people.

Where "significant" just means "a lot", and is not a statistical word.
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby nitePhyyre » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:00 pm UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:Although debtors' prisons have existed historically...really? That's less likely than the legalization of gay marriages leading to the legalization of bestiality. At least those two are both sexual rights issues. I'm not really sure what current real world issue would even begin the road to reinstating debtors' prisons.
By 'historically' you mean 'a current practice in a third of states' and by 'I'm not really sure what current real world issue would even begin the road to reinstating debtors' prisons' you mean 'Judges have signed off on more than 5,000 such warrants since the start of 2010 in nine counties', I can only assume?
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:32 pm UTC

Iulus Cofield wrote:I'm not really sure how you could possibly make an argument like that for gambling. There really is no victim besides the user and anyone they are financially dependent on. And worrying about the dependents doesn't hold either, because then you really should be outlawing degrees in art history.
And anyone who's financially dependent on them. Their kids, for instance.

Gambling is a terrible, terrible industry, and I'm for methods that hobble it while not preventing the consumer from participating in its terribleness. The same goes for smoking. I never liked the images (I've had several customers tell me they found them upsetting, and they spent extra time searching for packs that didn't have an image of diseased lungs or decaying teeth.

Keep in mind, as has already been implied in this thread, companies have millions upon millions of dollars to dump into ways of investigating how to hook you into their business model; the odds are stacked in their favor. I don't like treating people like children, but I do like evening the odds, particularly when the products are so incredibly toxic (cigarettes and gambling). So long as the consumer's freedom to buy isn't affected, I'm (usually) unconcerned.
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby psyck0 » Tue Nov 15, 2011 3:06 am UTC

cjmcjmcjmcjm wrote:
psyck0 wrote:I really cannot believe that in the 21st century people are defending the rights of cigarette companies. What. The. Fuck. They cause more disease and death than any drug besides alcohol and are the most addictive substance on the planet to the best of my knowledge. The cost to the general non-smoking public in health care and ancillary costs is massive, not to mention the number of people dying 10-30 years before their time because of these products.

Oh, and people still aren't making informed choices about smoking. I thought I knew that cigarettes were bad before I was in medical school, but I had no fucking clue. Their effect on health is just crazy.

You say that as if they wouldn't've died from other causes until their "rightful" time if they didn't smoke. Who's to say that in an alternate universe where no-one smokes, the people who'd've otherwise smoked would not end up dead by meteors or car wrecks or bombings or malaria?
Also, my grandma lived to 85 while smoking half a pack on unfiltered Paul Malls every day

Uh... actuarial tables say that pretty conclusively. But, you know, personal anecdote>cumulative data from studies of millions of people.

To elaborate on their effect on health: the only thing that even registers for long-term health effects compared to smoking is diabetes, and diabetes is a terminal disease that kills one person every 7 seconds.
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Re: Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws semi-passed (Australia)

Postby alexh123456789 » Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:32 pm UTC

psyck0 wrote:I really cannot believe that in the 21st century people are defending the rights of cigarette companies. What. The. Fuck. They cause more disease and death than any drug besides alcohol and are the most addictive substance on the planet to the best of my knowledge. The cost to the general non-smoking public in health care and ancillary costs is massive, not to mention the number of people dying 10-30 years before their time because of these products.

Oh, and people still aren't making informed choices about smoking. I thought I knew that cigarettes were bad before I was in medical school, but I had no fucking clue. Their effect on health is just crazy.


Yes, their actions allow people to harm themselves, but can you really say they're the ones causing it? People have the right to make an informed decision, (not necessarily the details you'd learn in medical school, but the fact that it will greatly shorten their life expectancy) and in protecting cigarette companies we protect this right. I support cigarette company's rights for the same reason I support the right of a convict not to be beaten by the police; just because we don't like the results of their actions doesn't mean that we should infringe upon their rights.
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