Over at Righteous Central, aka the British
Medical Journal’s sidekick ‘Tobacco Control’, they are beside themselves with
They have discovered a
new ‘policy vacuum’. This isn’t a device for hovering up dubious statements
from Public Health Officials detailing the slow and lingering death suffered by
a photogenic six year old four years after she accidentally patted an equally
photogenic pony on the nose two years after it had been ridden by a filthy
smoker. No this is far more exciting than that. This is a whole new area that
they seek to exercise their control over. This could generate grants for
university Public Health researchers the world over.
Tra La! I give you – YouTube! Not just YouTube either, but because
YouTube is hosted on that devilish invention the Internet, they want to control
the Internet as well, just in case anybody else pops up like YouTube. You can’t
be too careful where the satanic nicotine is involved. Their evidence for this
new leap into uncharted ‘policy vacuums’ is breathtaking.
The Internet, they say, ‘is an ideal forum for
tobacco marketing, as it is largely unregulated and there is no global governing
body for controlling content’…..oooh, scary! The fact that most of the tobacco
companies voluntarily signed an undertaking in 2002 not to engage in direct
advertising on the web doesn’t get a mention, naturally. Let’s not muddy the
Three researchers in New Zealand quickly tapped
in the names of the five major brands of cigarettes. Quelle horreurr!
YouTube gave them 20 pages of clips that mentioned those evil words. ‘Quick!
Grab a grant, we’re onto something here’ they cried.
163 video clips dared to say something like
Marlboro in their title, particularly when they were showing a clip of the
Marlboro Man…..disappointingly, some of these clips proved to be anti-smoking.
Not what they hoped to find at all.
Girding their loins, and having updated their
anti-smoking inoculations, for you can’t be too careful, they examined the rest.
That is the 115 videos that they describe as a ‘significant presence’ on a
channel which carries 120,000,000 videos – 0.00009583333% being significant in
tobacco control circles.
‘One pro-smoking video had been viewed over
2million times’ they reported back excitedly. It was probably humorous,
something quite outside their life experience. Worse:
The four most prominent themes of the videos
were celebrity/movies, sports, music and ‘archive’, the first three of which
represent themes of interest to a youth audience.
No! ‘Archive’ is only of interest to the elderly
is it? Who could have guessed.
Burrowing ever deeper down their rabbit hole,
they found a whole 20 videos, which, in their opinion, ‘appeared’ to be
professionally made! Can you imagine! A professional video maker being part of
the pro-smoking lobby? Obviously they couldn’t imagine it, because their
conclusion from this was that the evil tobacco companies were using YouTube to
get round advertising restrictions.
The dangers of an innocent child dropping upon
one of these 20 ‘apparently’ professionally made video clips amongst the other
120,000,980 on Youtube, and rushing out to buy a kilo of ‘Old Shag’ is so great
that today they have brought out the following statement.
Pro-tobacco videos have a significant presence
on YouTube, consistent with indirect marketing activity by tobacco companies
or their proxies. Since content may be removed from YouTube if it is found to
breach copyright or if it contains offensive material, there is scope for the
public and health organisations to request the removal of pro-tobacco content
containing copyright or offensive material. Governments should also consider implementing
Convention on Tobacco Control requirements on the internet, to further
reduce such pro-tobacco content.
See what you have done professional video makers?
You were too good, now they want to regulate the Internet. They’ll come after
the bloggers next. Leg-Iron doesn’t stand a
chance, far too good a writer. Must be one of the tobacco giants in