GOOD

Do Unbranded Cigarette Packages Rob You of Your Autonomy?

Beware the nanny state! Australia is going to force cigarette manufacturers to use "unbranded," and very graphic, packaging.

Australia plans to ban cigarette manufacturers from showing logos, branding, colors, and promotional text on tobacco packaging starting in January 2012. Instead, cigarette packs will be a drab olive color that research has shown is unattractive to smokers and will feature graphic images of the physical damage cigarettes wreak, along with blunt text warnings. These are some of the proposed designs for the new packs.


They're going to be the strictest restrictions on cigarette marketing in the world. If they happen. Philip Morris has already threatened to sue if the regulations go into effect. But the war is also being waged on the battlefield of public opinion. Another cigarette company, Imperial Tobacco, has set up a website to campaign against the "nanny state" legislation, warning that "the government doesn't believe you can make your own decisions."

Invoking the "nanny state" boogeyman (or perhaps, boogeywoman) is more a scare tactic than an argument. We already have regulations about alcohol advertising, warning labels on cigarettes, and disclosure requirements for pharmaceuticals. Tweaking the way cigarettes are packaged is just that—a tweak. It certainly doesn't represent a sudden lurch toward paternalism.

But on the point of who's making decisions here, the Imperial Tobacco campaign is just wrong. You can still make the decision to buy cigarettes, if that's what you want to do. They aren't going to be illegal. They're just going to be packaged in an unattractive way that's designed to get you to think twice about it. If that counts as robbing you of decision-making autonomy then so does the carefully designed packaging and advertising that cigarette companies have long used to get you to want to buy them.

When you hear someone complain that the government is trying to influence your decision about smoking, remember that Philip Morris is, too. It is hell-bent on getting you to smoke because it cares more about taking your money than preserving your good health—and it's got plenty of marketing money to help you along.

Articles
via Barry Schapiro / Twitter

The phrase "stay in your lane" is usually lobbed at celebrities who talk about politics on Twitter by people who disagree with them. People in the sports world will often get a "stick to sports" when they try to have an opinion that lies outside of the field of play.

Keep Reading
Culture

The Free the Nipple movement is trying to remove the stigma on women's breasts by making it culturally acceptable and legal for women to go topless in public. But it turns out, Free the Nipple might be fighting on the wrong front and should be focusing on freeing the nipple in a place you'd never expect. Your own home.

A woman in Utah is facing criminal charges for not wearing a shirt in her house, with prosecutors arguing that women's chests are culturally considered lewd.

Keep Reading

In August, the Recording Academy hired their first female CEO, Deborah Dugan. Ten days before the Grammys, Dugan was placed on administrative leave for misconduct allegations after a female employee said Dugan was "abusive" and created a "toxic and intolerable" work environment. However, Dugan says she was actually removed from her position for complaining to human resources about sexual harassment, pay disparities, and conflicts of interest in the award show's nomination process.

Just five days before the Grammys, Dugan filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and her claims are many. Dugan says she was paid less than former CEO Neil Portnow. In 2018, Portnow received criticism for saying women need to "step up" when only two female acts won Grammys. Portnow decided to not renew his contract shortly after. Dugan says she was also asked to hire Portnow as a consultant for $750,000 a year, which she refused to do.

Keep Reading