Life comes at you pretty fast in the world of regulation. Earlier this week, Australia banned nicotine in vaping fluid, making one of the best developments in the fight against cigarettes illegal overnight, because they felt it acted as a gateway to smoking. Less than 48 hours later, New Zealand legalised the same products because no evidence existed to suggest vaping acted as a gateway, and helped smokers quit.
Think that’s nutty? On the same morning that the Times published an article suggesting the UK media could be censured for false reporting on science, across the Irish Sea, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Irish Minister of State for Health Promotion, was busy lauding her government’s decision to announce the date by which it would become illegal for any branding to appear on cigarette packets.
Unfortunately for Senator Kennedy, she had no scientific evidence to back up her claims that plain packaging in any way reduces smoking rates. The minister cited the example of Australia (even getting the date of implementation wrong!) and was also unable to answer the accusation that targeting industries like this is profoundly unfair, and that the decision to introduce standard packs had been done on the basis ‘of a belief’.
Have a listen for yourself…