Thursday, December 11, 2008

More junk statistics about the smoking rules

Chris Snowdon has rather elegantly debunked the arguements surrounding the Government's plans to make smoking an under the counter experience.
According to the BBC:
'In Iceland, which has the longest experience of any such ban, smoking among 15 year olds fell from 18.6% in 1999 to 13.6% in 2003 - two years after the law was introduced. Rates have continued to drop and in 2007 stood at 11.1%. In Canada, smoking rates among 15 to 19 year olds fell from 29% in 2002 to 19% in 2007 - five years after the first ban was introduced.'
The problem is, as he points out this is bunk. Or it is bunk in isolation,
In Scotland, for example, the smoking rate amongst 15 year old boys fell from 30% in 1996 to 16% in 2002 and amongst 15 year old girls from 30% to 24%. The overall decline is greater than that seen in Iceland, and without a tobacco display ban. (See BBC report)

In the USA, the proportion of high school students who smoked fell from 35% in 2000 to 21.9% in 2003. Again, there was no tobacco display ban and cigarette prices were significantly cheaper than in the UK, Canada or Iceland.

Similarly, the proportion of 15-16 year olds who smoked fell in Ireland from 34% in 1999 to 27% in 2003. In England the rate fell from 26% to 22% in the same period.
Most devastating for the anti's arguements is the news from Iceland,
The Grocer journal has already covered the story behind the story:

"The Icelandic ban, introduced in 2001, has failed to achieve its aim of reducing smoking rates in the country's under 18s. In fact smoking prevalence among 15-19-year-olds actually increased from 14.4% to 17.5% in the year that the ban was introduced, official figures from Statistics Iceland reveal. In 2002, smoking revalence among this age group was the highest it had been for five years at 17.%. Today at 15.2% it still remains higher than it had been before the ban."
Go and read the whole thing and wonder how stupid the Government thinks we really are.

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