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Those endless campaigns about our public health. Are they a fat waste of time?

Why do we spend so much money on useless Puritan propaganda?

Published on December 19th 2008.

Those endless campaigns about our public health. Are they a fat waste of time?

Christmas is coming. A time for merriment, good cheer and endless campaigns about our public health. Are the latter a fat waste of time?

Yesterday we had more reports of how drunk we were up here. Manchester tops a league compiled by the North West Public Health Observatory about the problems associated with drink.

You could say, they would say that wouldn’t they? After all they are another government quango who need to justify their existence, their jobs and no doubt long holidays. It would have been rubbish for them if the North West had had the least amount of drinking problems in the UK.

Aren’t we just sick of all these government and health authority warnings and ramblings?

You can’t turn on commercial radio these days without someone telling you in that irritating voice-of-the-people ‘hey mate’ way to be careful you don’t drink/drive/drug or infect yourself to death. It’s grim. And as the Talk to Frank drug campaign proved a while ago, it all amounts to largely nothing. The people who choose to go too far will still do so, no matter how many campaigns flood their way warning them about their behaviour.

Take alcohol, the drink responsibly campaign is pointless, because supermarkets are selling booze under cost price as a loss leader. Unless that situation changes those susceptible to alcohol abuse aren’t going to be reading the leaflets in health centres or listening to those terror ads on the radio. The whole thing is a sham, a sop to society’s conscience, a way of making us think we’re a kinder place.

Confidential asked the Home Office earlier this year how much is spent on these initiatives. They didn’t have a clue, asked us to ring round all the health authorities and add it up.

That might have taken a bit of time so we reckon it must be millions, or perhaps billions of pounds.

Can we not spend that money for say two years on something else? Maybe on beautifying the nation, make astonishing parks, transform our public spaces into something wonderful. Or divide it by the 60 million population and dish it out. Then we could spend it all on going out for a drink?

Vote yes on the homepage if you think as a nation we're wasting too much money on health campaigns, or no if you think they're effective.

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24 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

JinkiesDecember 19th 2008.

I think they're funny more than anything else, would love to see more about Pablo's escapades but I can't help but feel they didn't achieve the shock or awe they clearly aimed for. It would have been much better if they just showed a picture of Daniella Westbrooks' nose with "cocaine did this" underneath it?

emma graceDecember 19th 2008.

The Pablo ads are crap...I doubt anyone will pay much attention to them. Same as those ones where the people make a mess of themselves before they go out and it says "You wouldn't start your night like this, so why end it like this?". I think it's coming to something when they have to make TV adverts telling us all not to drink and take drugs. Pablo the dog is, admittedly, quite cute though...

zabzyDecember 19th 2008.

i find pablo the dog has if anything made me wanna do more coke so the goverment makes more adverts trying to stop me doing coke and i get to see what adventures that crazy dog gets into next.

viva chris ronaldo...December 19th 2008.

I love the fact that radio ads have now given up on drink driving and stepped it up to drug driving. The way the ads say "look we know you lot are upto no good but dont drive home you wrong'un" - Brilliant!

emma graceDecember 19th 2008.

Eugh I know...cheesy or what

scoteeeDecember 19th 2008.

Quite right Ronaldo! and how many people have we seen being prosecuted from the use of a mobile phone in a car whilst clearly some still light up a fag which is equally as illegal yet get away with it?It seems to me that everywhere I look I see an image of a nice bottle of red or a G & T with the rind of a lime carved in to a number 2 set in a glass. No, (I don’t mean a Poo), I mean "the" number 2. Anyhow if I want to get leathered that should be up to me, my body tells me frequently that I have had enough as I wake feeling like a drunken tramp in the morning and cant find the energy to get to the paper shop! Why should I be forced in to staring at ad-campaigns designed to make me feel like a walking alcoholic abacus?!

Nice Guy CarlDecember 19th 2008.

can the feds check you on the spot to see if you have been nailing bing?

scoteeeDecember 19th 2008.

Well what do you know? its narcasisstic Carl ..I would have expected to see you out and about market street today being A Nice Guy to one of those PR Mrs clause girls holding up a sign for Tiger Tiger!

via chris ronald...December 19th 2008.

Go on Scoteee.... There's obviously been a nerve touched here and fair enough. I hate those pints with '3' on.

Nice Guy CarlDecember 19th 2008.

sorry i havent been on in a while, i have been spending £100 a week on products.... e.g BING!!

scoteeeDecember 19th 2008.

Eh? I thought that was a new mobile phone ad? oh god i dont know-hic!

GarretDecember 19th 2008.

what's BING?

zabzyDecember 19th 2008.

its about £50 a gram!!

viva chris ronald...December 19th 2008.

Zabzy - what even in a credit crunch???

emma graceDecember 19th 2008.

Yes...he gets it off Pablo the dog to guarantee the quality

zabzyDecember 19th 2008.

No credit crunch for me. i am recession proof just like Emma Grace

fat philDecember 19th 2008.

I weigh 28 stone drink 20 pints a day,smoke 60 cigs and only eat junk food.S**h i died 10 years ago.

A SutcliffeDecember 19th 2008.

I agree. Does any of this money ever result in any improvement in the nation's health? It just makes you think things are getting worse when actually they are getting better. It keeps loads of people in silly jobs though.

Pablo ze leetle dogDecember 19th 2008.

Zo we drug deelers, have to mask our adverts as 'health' campaigns. Ze leetle juans, they catch on. Don't they grow up fast. Kerching ching

gorDecember 19th 2008.

what is pablo??? does that answer the question

JETSETDecember 19th 2008.

I have to say all those lovely ads with frothy glasses certainly do wonders for the trade down my local !

championDecember 19th 2008.

People drink, take drugs and have unprotected sex for complex and sophisticated social reasons and so any attempt to get them to change their behaviour has to be equally as complex and sophisticated. So poster, pamphlet, TV ad etc and all other blanketing mass media campaigns will never work.

DigDecember 19th 2008.

Why does the Government think we are going to take advice from an arse sniffing dog? What would you rather sniff? Bing or a dogs arse?

zabzyDecember 19th 2008.

People have unprotected sex and take drugs becuase its good fun. I personaly like to combine the two.

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