For those who could even bother following the highly technical argument, the bottom line is that the evidence from the study isn't that overwhelming. M'eh.
Seems a bit beside the point, when before its introduction, I believe the main hoped for effect of plain packaging was to be to discourage young people taking up the habit, and the study wasn't even looking at that. The survey evidence which did get publicity does indicate that it may be having that effect.
So the Professor's attempts to deride plain packaging as possibly being effective are being seen, even by some who comment at his blog, as rather obsessive (and, I would add, desperate). As someone in comments said:
Sinc: wish you would drop this embarrassing obsessionEvery time I see Simon Chapman on the TV talking up dropping smoking rates, I imagine a blood pressure spike happening in a certain office at RMIT. And then a scurry to look at some anti tobacco research or other to see what pointless nitpicking can be made of it.
Update: if you want to read (or at least glance at) evidence for a truly obsessive personality disorder, you need only read the extremely lengthy comments that commenter "Some History" comes up with at every single post where the Prof whines about plain packaging not being proved to be effective.
Update 2: Oh! A new post by SD seems to be correct in saying that the paper discussed in the news (linked above) may have mis-spoke when saying that youth smoking was at "record lows". Although, truth be told, how much weight one should put on the difference between 2.5 and 3.2% in voluntary responses on surveys by teenagers is debatable.
Still, as usual, the overall picture remains a matter of not seeing the wood for the trees. Just like with climate change.