VIDEO: Anti-plain packaging ad a laughing stock

2 minute read

A plain packaging attack ad has attracted widespread ridicule for its use of an unconvincing Australian accent

A cigarette plain packaging attack ad has attracted widespread ridicule for its use of an unconvincing Australian accent

The Youtube video, posted by US lobby group Property Rights Alliance last week, argued that Australia’s 2011 plain packaging laws have not reduced smoking rates.

“In life, not everything you hear is always true especially regarding Australia’s plain packaging experiment,” the voiceover warms at the start of the clip, in what TMR assumes is an attempt at an Australian accent.

Beneath the video, which has been viewed almost 100,000 times, are a series of cutting remarks.

“You’d think with the billions of dollars at stake from the decline in their industry-of-death, that Big Tobacco could afford to pay someone who could at least sound slightly Australian,” writes Australian Images, for example.

Australia’s plain packaging laws attack “liberty” and the “very core of free societies”, the advocacy organisation for intellectual property rights argues in the video.

The word “FAILED” is written in black marker across images of Australian government documents during the video.

The group claims that Australian government statistics show youth smoking rating increased 3.4% one year after plain packaging was introduced.

A second Youtube video by the same group describes a dystopian future where logos are banned.

“Imagine a world without brands, […] a society stripped of its culture, originality and identity,” the voiceover says.

“Government and lobbyists are making decisions that strangle individual freedom and destroy intellectual property rights,” the video continues.

“Did you see the signs that this was coming?”

The director of Public Policy at Cancer Council Australia, Paul Grogan, told The Sydney Morning Herald that the clips were “so lacking in substance and so ludicrous that they would be laughable – if the subject matter of smoking and the death and disease it causes were not so serious.”

“If plain packaging was making more people smoke, why wouldn’t the tobacco industry be embracing it?” he said.

The Australian Government has previously reported that smoking rates dropped by one-quarter since plain packaging was introduced.

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine on June 6 showed that pictorial warnings on cigarette packs increase quit intentions.

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