Press Release: Plain packaging vote marks illiberal new extension of nanny state

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews, Head of Communications, at kate@adamsmith.org / 07584 778207. Commenting on today's vote in favour of plain packaging in the House of Commons, Deputy Director of the Adam Smith Institute Sam Bowman said:

Today's vote marks an illiberal new extension of the nanny state.

Plain packaging infringes on people’s freedom of expression, curbing the rights of adults to advertise and be advertised to. It seems likely that things like alcohol and fatty foods will be next, and plain packaging is probably a step towards a complete ban on smoking in public.

Even the public health lobby must admit that freedom of expression should only be curbed in extreme circumstances, but plain packaging does not work on its own terms. After its introduction in Australia, household expenditures on tobacco rose, and illicit tobacco seizures rose by 60 percent. The tobacco industry opposes plain packaging because it shifts smokers to cheaper brands, not because it deters them from smoking overall.

The public health lobby simply does not care about people’s freedom to smoke or drink or eat fatty foods. Freedom of expression is being thrown under the bus in the name of ‘public health’. Anyone who values their personal freedoms, whether they are smokers or not, should oppose plain packaging.

The Adam Smith Institute is an independent free market think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.

Dr Eamonn Butler highlights the inefficiencies and expenses of 'Buying British" on BBC Radio Sheffield

Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Dr Eamonn Butler, spoke to BBC Radio Sheffield about the benefits of a global economy, which enable consumers to buy cheaper, better products from specialised vendors throughout the world. He argued that too much emphasis is put on 'Buying British', when often it is more expensive and less efficient to do so. Listen to the full interview here. (Starts 01:24:10)

Sam Bowman's comments on UKIP's immigration policy feature in The Huffington Post UK

Deputy Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Sam Bowman, was quoted in The Huffington Post UK on UKIP's original pledge to cap UK migration at 50,000 people per year.

At the time of Woolfe's announcement, Sam Bowman, from the Adam Smith Institute, said the party's immigration stance was "intellectually and morally bankrupt", adding: "Despite what Ukip claims, immigration is good for virtually everyone in society, rich and poor alike."

Read the full article here.

Ben Southwood's comments on growth and redistribution feature in a BBC News article

Ben Southwood, Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute, was quoted in a BBC News article on the importance of growth, competitiveness and redistribution:

We can achieve economic growth and equality in an economic strategy, but we have to be very careful about what measures we use.

It does seem that the poorer counties in the world are unequal, whereas the richer countries are more unequal. That doesn't necessarily mean that reducing inequality lets you get richer.

In fact what we tend to see is first you grow very fast, become more unequal, and then you carry on growing and everybody else catches up.

Redistributing wealth is very important for alleviating poverty but in the long run it has barely lifted anyone out of poverty, compared to the amount economic growth has lifted people out of poverty.

Economic growth has lifted billions of people around the world out of poverty, redistribution has lifted millions of people out of poverty. Redistribution is important but it isn't nearly as important as growth and we should always be focusing on growth.

Read the full article here.

The Financial Times reviews Dr Madsen Pirie's upcoming book "How To Win Every Argument"

The Financial Times gave a glowing review of Dr Madsen Pirie's upcoming book "How To Win Every Argument: The Use And Abuse of Logic", soon to be released.

All this is not only entertaining: it is genuinely useful when it comes to thinking about how arguments work. Mr Pirie’s contention is that, if you master the fallacies, you are not only better equipped to expose them in your opponents’ arguments, but will be able yourself “to perpetrate fallacies with mischief at heart and malice aforethought”. This is a low and sneaky tactic but an undoubtedly effective one.

Mr Pirie adds: “It is well worth the reader’s trouble to learn the Latin tags wherever possible. When an opponent is accused of perpetrating something with a Latin name it sounds as if he is suffering from a rare tropical disease. It has the added effect of making the accuser seem both erudite and authoritative.”

Read the full review here.