Tobacco packets attract children. Can't argue with that then.

Tobacco packets attract children. Now argue against making them plain

Well get you. In the typical tobacco control style, you've shut down the debate with an emotive soundbite. What I don't understand is why you did it in your opening sentence. If there is no possible answer to your argument, why did you continue to drone on for an entire article?

Ok, I'll step up. Smoking Hot is always telling me that it's futile to try debating with the anti-tobacco nutters but I just can't help biting.

I'm not going to argue against making packs plain though, like you've challenged, at least not yet. You've shut that argument down by stating that ciggy packs attract children, so let's look at that statement first.
Every fortnight during the summer I come second to a plethora of noisy vehicles. Formula One has arrived and those cars on the screen are seen by my godson and mates as some of the coolest objects on the planet. Anything associated with this world, however subliminally, is cool too. I know, I'm a specialist in brand positioning.
Indeed? I also have a bit of a background in advertising and marketing. As you are a specialist in brand positioning you must know all about how companies attempt to place their products in the minds of consumers in order to maximise sales in a competitive market.

You must also understand that this is an exercise in developing your market share at the expense of your competitors.
But don't listen to me. Just watch a shocking video put together by Cancer Research UK, where primary school children chat about cigarette packs.
Obviously not then. You're going to ignore the area you tell us you specialise in and instead listen to the ramblings of an anti-smoking, used to be charity, sock puppet lobby group.

I'm sure we've all seen the hideous video she's referring to, but if you want to torture yourself, it can be seen here.
One child takes one look at a Marlboro pack and simply says "Ferrari". I suspect that's why Philip Morris is willing to continue to pay an estimated £100m a year in sponsorship to this F1 team despite being banned from making any link to the Marlboro brand name.
Or maybe the kid likes Ferrari's and the red colour reminds him of one. That's no more a reason for changing the colour of Marlboro packets than it is for banning everything that is red. And this is the picture used to illustrate this moot point:


The Ferrari F1 team, sponsored by - Santander. Show the kid a bank account and see what he says. Hell, we all hate banks at the moment, let's take away their branding too.
 Another gazes at a cigarette pack and says "it makes you feel like you're in a wonderland of happiness".
Oh FFS! These are primary school aged children. Do you doubt for one minute that they had words put into their mouths? Even if they came up with this stuff all by themselves, they are tiny nippers. They aren't even interested in cigarettes and when they are old enough, they won't be looking at a pack of fags and comparing it to a 'wonderland'.

Whenever these kids are looking at a pack of fags on display in a shop, chances are they are out with their parents and all they care about is getting a pack of sweets or a toy before they are taken home again.
And this is where my problem starts. I don't normally jump on soapboxes. If adults choose to shorten their lives by smoking I can't criticise – I've been there. But when an industry marketing products that are the UK's single greatest cause of preventable illness and early death protests that "there is no proof to suggest that the plain packaging of tobacco products will be effective in discouraging young people to smoke" (British American Tobacco on plain packaging) I feel obliged to stand up and be counted.
There is no evidence. That statement from BAT is more logical than your reply of 'Tobacco packs attract children. Now argue against making them plain". If you want to be counted then how about providing some evidence
They got me at the age of 13. 
Nobody 'got you'. You made a choice. I doubt you walked into a shop and thought, "Hey, they look nice", and proceeded to buy a packet. I bet you did the same as most children do when they experiment with cigarettes; you nicked some off your mum, got some off a friend or asked a bigger boy to buy them for you.
Back then their quest for my attention started with advertising, but it was the slim silvery green pack perfectly complementing my other accessories that coerced me into an addiction that took 25 years to break.
I'm sure your 'not my fault' nostalgia makes you remember it all happening in exactly that way, but let's have some truth here. You didn't go out and buy your first pack of cigarettes because it matched your earring now, did you?
I have worked with, or had cause to research, many brands that cannot target young people directly, either for legal reasons or because they're monitored for "pester power". Subliminal visual cues and connection are therefore key – through social media, in-game placement, brand extensions such as characters and games, and, most overtly, packaging design. The power of packaging is simply demonstrated by the reduced popularity of a certain children's sweet brand. My own recent research with teenagers found that simply by switching pack shape the brand no longer inspires their imagination. All that is left are small sugar-coated chocolates, with previously bright colours tamed by elimination of chemical additives, now competing less successfully with a plethora of similar imported competitors.
Ah, now that's better, you're trying to offer some evidence. Trouble is, the packaging of sweets is no comparison.

Sweets are designed and marketed for young children. Children like sweets and will seek them out. They have no more relevance to tobacco packaging than they do to condom packaging, petrol brands or coffee. (Or Santander). Haribo have even tried to target their marketing of children's sweets to adults in order to widen their market.
Let's face facts. Every year 100,000 smokers die in the UK and must be replaced to avoid industry obsolescence. 
I thought you said facts? Oh, I'm sorry, you're counting all those smokers who die of age related illnesses.
Smoking is an addiction most commonly started in childhood, with two thirds of smokers taking up the habit while under 18, and smokers are typically brand loyal. To succeed, tobacco companies have to attract new young smokers. They can't advertise at them, they can't promote to them, so the only vehicle with which to attract attention is packaging.
There are two key points in that paragraph. The obvious one is the allusion to brand loyalty. That's what packaging is all about, maximising market share. That and price may be the only way to get existing smokers to switch brands.

The less obvious point is the bit about most smokers starting before they are eighteen. Until a few years ago you had to be sixteen to smoke so the activity was legal for sixteen to eighteen year olds. As for those who start smoking illegally when they are under age, why do they do it?

What happens when you tell a child that something is taboo and they must not do it? We all know the answer to that one, they want to do it even more. Do you think hiding ciggies in plain packs and then hiding the packs behind a door is going to make smoking more taboo or less taboo?
When Imperial Tobacco introduced its Lambert and Butler celebration pack in 2004 market share increased by 0.4% – doesn't sound like much until you do the numbers and realise this was worth over £60m in additional turnover in just four months. Commenting on this "success" Imperial Tobacco's global brand director, Geoff Good, stated that "the pack design was the only part of the mix that was changed, and therefore we knew the cause and effect".
I'm sorry, you're rambling on with irrelevancies. 'Market Share' being the key point in that statement. The extra people who took up Lambert and Butler were not new smokers, they were existing smokers who switched brands. That is what market share means. I thought you were an expert? And why the scare quotes around the word, success?
The industry argues that packaging innovation is about encouraging adults to switch brands, not enticing youngsters to start smoking, that standardised packs will not reduce the number of young people taking up smoking. 
Correct. As you just demonstrated yourself with Imperial Tobaccos previous "success" in the area.
This is clearly untrue; from my own experience and from Cancer Research UK's explorations with very young people, it is clear that the more attractive the cigarette pack the more likely it is that kids will aspire to the brand as part of their lifestyle portfolio.
Clearly untrue. Because anti-smoking fake charities say so. WTF is a lifestyle portfolio? Are you seriously telling us that a child of primary school age who sees a cigarette packet they like will one day seek out that brand and begin to smoke because they have been conditioned to do so. I take it they will also be banking with Santander?
Why do I care? 
I really wish you didn't. I've wasted an evening fisking this nonsense.
Because tobacco is like no other product.
Let me guess. It kills when used as intended and there is no safe level of consumption.
There is no safe level of consumption and the product kills when used as intended. 
Well there you go then. The dose is in the poison and most smokers live into their seventies. There, I can do soundbites too. I bet there is no slippery slope either?
That's why it's impossible to argue against plain packaging.
I beg to differ. That's why I've spent my evening on the couch responding to your unadulterated drivvel when I could have been.....

.....Oh, hang on. I actually enjoy fisking drivvel. Cheers!
The Australians have shown the way – they're putting cigarettes in a standard brown (Olive green. Ed) pack with large health warnings from December this year. We must do the same. That's what I'll be saying when I respond to the government consultation currently under way, because I don't want my godson to be a Marlboro man. I want him to live a long and healthy life.
Australia is showing the way in hideous nanny statism. When you respond to the government consultation you will be asking for a further step into a society that infantilises it's adult population based on junk science and scaremongering for the purposes of control.

If you don't want your godson to start smoking then have a word in his shell like. A little education is a lot better than bullying and dictating to the adult population.

That's all for now, I must go. I have an overwhelming urge to open an account with Santander.

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