Ban Plain Packaging

The introduction of plain packaging laws for tobacco in Australia was a big win for bullying nanny-statism and a big loss for private property rights and personal responsibility.  At the time prominent nanny staters told us that it would not lead to a slippery slope of plain packaging for food or alcohol, their assurances have become futile.

What’s emerging in the UK and in Australia are calls from publicly funded health authorities for plain packaging for junk food and alcohol.  Former head of the Australian Medical Association Professor Kerryn Phelps recently went so far as to solemnly declare that “protecting children from junk food is a fundamental human rights issue for the child.”

On top of this, a groundbreaking study has been released which shows that plain packaging for food can increase consumption of the presumably unhealthy goods. Its unexpected results were that "(male) participants exposed to the plain packaging consumed more than those exposed to the original packaging", while females were unaffected. One reason for the increased intake is that “deactivating the marketing components of an unhealthy snack packaging deactivates the inhibition system associated with it” - hence showing why branding is important in fighting obesity.

It is a sad day for civil society when taxpayer funded authorities call government infringements “basic human rights.” Not only are they grossly counterproductive, they seek to infantalise the choices made by free people.

The only progress that can be made towards "human rights" would be to ban plain packaging altogether.

By Dylan Walters

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