Magazine Rack | selected longer reads for the weekend

Alexandr Osang on the overhyped cult of Usain Bolt in Der Spiegel

Troy Patterson tries to quit smoking in Slate

In The New Republic, Evgeny Morozov on the vacuous self-promoters exploiting the TED brand

Malcolm Gladwell on long-distance running and endurance in The New Yorker

Compiled by @TomasRuta

Pro-smoking lobby embraces social media to help protect the kids | James Dean

This has to be the weirdest social media campaign I’ve ever come across.

“Hands Off Our Packs” is fighting against plain cigarette packaging, a measure being floated by the Department of Health to try and make a killer habit less sexy – especially to kids. It tweets from @NoToPlainPacks, runs a Facebook page here and a YouTube channel here.

The main arguments are “nanny state”; that counterfeiting will become easier; and, conversely, that plain packaging will pose a danger to children.

The campaign does have its champions, particularly the Daily Mail. Blogger Abhijit Pandya recently offered this supportive pearl:

Tax revenue from tobacco over the last year was over £12.1 billion, paying for vital treatment in hospitals

It’s probably worth mentioning that the campaign is supported by British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco.

Twitter: @jamesdean_lives

Read more: Burning with indignation, an industry fights back over plans for plain cigarette packets

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