Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Popcorn Poppycock

You'd think, wouldn't you, that the US governmental Food and Drugs Administration would be tasked with giving the public information based on rigorous and robust science. Sadly, you'd be wrong.

This week - in the face of hysterical panic about youth use of e-cigs - they have produced a poster which they will be sending to every High School in America to be put up in school bathrooms. Now, let's put aside for a moment the laughable idiocy of showing kids the new risky fad that many of their peers use and that they might be missing out on, and look instead at what is in it.

Well, as you can imagine from an arm of the tobacco control scam, it is full of lies, none bigger than this.

Erm, inhaling flavours from an e-cig causes popcorn lung? Well that's the message they seem to be wanting to send here. This is the biggest lie that tobacco controllers have ever told, and that is from a long list of fucking massive lies that their industry is renowned for.

Michael Siegel has written extensively about this and, to cut a long story short, it is absolute bollocks.
There is no evidence that e-cigarettes cause popcorn lung. Despite millions of e-cigarette users, there has not been a single confirmed case of popcorn lung caused by e-cigarettes. Moreover, since the level of diacetyl in cigarettes is 750 times higher, on average, than in e-liquids, why isn’t the Tennessee Department of Health warning kids that smoking can cause popcorn lung? The rest of the story is that popcorn lung has not even been associated with smoking. There is absolutely no evidence that vaping causes popcorn lung. 
Juul, the market-leading product in the US which has caused panic amongst knuckle-dragging American parents countrywide, and which the FDA seeks to demonise, doesn't sell flavours containing diacetyl. But then again, nor do any other vape companies because e-liquid manufacturers stopped stocking products containing diacetyl back in 2015, so it's difficult to contract popcorn lung from a substance which is hugely diluted compared with that in cigarettes if it isn't even in any products at all.

But that's the message these government-funded goons are sending to the entire country. 

Shouldn't the FDA know these kinds of things? Instead of basing their decision-making on solid science they are embarking on hare-brained public information rooted in fantasy and seem to be on an intellectual par with medieval witch-finders. It makes you wonder if they are even in the business of seeking the scientific truth at all. Which means that if they can get this so badly wrong, what is the value of taking anything the FDA says on trust? 

The answer, of course, is absolutely none. 

Thursday, 3 January 2019

A Short History Of Pharma-Bought Influence

If you have half an hour to spare, you could do worse than watch the two excellent films by YouTuber Grimm Green embedded below

Long-time readers here will remember the history of anti-smoking legislation and how it developed from an aspiration in the 1970s with the Godber Blueprint. Specifically:
The 3rd World Conference on Smoking and Health (“The Worldwide Campaign Against Smoking”) was held in New York from June 2 June 5, 1975. 
Sir George [Godber, raging anti-smoking UK CMO,] noted that the means by which smokers could be encouraged to quit, was to : “foster an atmosphere where it was perceived that active smokers would injure those around them, especially their family and any infants or young children who would be exposed involuntarily” to secondhand smoke. 
In other words, the perception of harm to others would have a far greater impact on convincing smokers to give up the habit than merely harping on the long term health risks to smokers themselves. It would also make it easier to convince the public that discrimination against smokers was justified, not just for their own good, but to protect the health of those around them.
This was a gift to pharmaceutical companies who were peddling their ineffective - but highly lucrative - nicotine patches and gums without too much success at the time. The long search for junk science to back this dream began after that conference and anti-smoking legislation has become exponentially more hysterical ever since, with pharma interests encouraging it every step of the way.
At every turn, the public is told that the evidence is leading the policy, but there is every reason to believe that the policies were set in stone many years ago and that these policies have been leading the evidence. It is clear from the documents that plans to deal with passive smoking, for example, were being drawn up long before there was any evidence of harm.
Scroll on to today and we see exactly the same misdirection and junk science being targeted at vaping products, and exactly the same big industry actors throwing billions at hungry 'public health' researchers to produce it.

In a well-referenced piece of investigation, Grimm Green takes you through the history of how Big Pharma bought the 'science' from those days and continues to do so today. Every time there is a threat, there they are, a massively-rich global industry paying huge sums to corrupt the public's understanding and buying off politicians to install legislation which favours their products.

Ask any MEP, for example, and they will tell you that pharma lobbyists swarmed the EU during formulation of the Tobacco Products Directive in 2012, yet anti-smoking orgs concentrated hard on complaining about those from the tobacco industry who were outnumbered about 20 to 1.

If you've ever wondered why the tobacco control industry seems completely unconcerned about conflicts of interest arising from pharmaceutical grants yet strangely will scream at any hint that a researcher has even had a cup of tea with someone working for a tobacco company, well it's because many of the most powerful players in the tobacco control industry are trousering huge sums from the former, as Green highlights. Hardly any surprise, then, that there was indecent haste by tobacco controllers in the early years of e-cigs to kill the insurgent technology off as swiftly as was possible, it was only a groundswell of activist vapers who headed it off. But the corporate struggle goes on to this day, with the US being the focal point for a rearguard action to try to demonise anything that threatens pharma sales as the burgeoning e-cig market is doing very well.

Don't believe me? Well, take a pew and watch both parts of this. A short history of how Big Pharma has paid for 'science', legislation and - ultimately - global public perception in the smoking and nicotine debate, none of which has anything to do with health, but lots to do with a manufactured market spat over nicotine driven by big stinking corporate profits.

Once again, as I have revelled in many times before, new nicotine products are revealing the corruption and cant that had previously gone unnoticed in the war against tobacco. A spotlight is increasingly being shone on the unrepentant cockroaches in the tobacco control scam like never before. Long may it continue.

With the direction of travel heading towards acceptance of safer nicotine alternatives for those who choose to quit, it's fair to question the true motivation of those last die-hard defenders of 'quit or die', don't you think?

H/T @Twigolet

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Won't Somebody Please Punish The Children

A vile elitist snob, pictured in 2015
Still plenty up in the air in Puddlecoteville for a number of reasons, hence the radio silence recently, but Puddlecote Inc closing for the holiday gives me a breather.

Of course, while most of us are breaking up for a relaxing Christmas period of enjoyment and pleasure, it is about this time of year that rancid 'public health' nags are at their most frustrated. They simply can't bear to imagine people enjoying themselves, so every festive period sees some vile prodnose come out with a miserable or spiteful pronouncement, and this year is no exception.

Via the BBC:
England's top doctor has accused the food industry of "failing the public" and is calling for taxes on unhealthy food high in sugar and salt. 
Dame Sally [Davies] said "industry had not delivered" on voluntary targets set by Public Health England to make their products healthier and called for them to do more. 
"Those sectors that damage health must pay for their harm or subsidise healthier choices," her report says. 
She hinted she would like to see a tax on chocolate and junk food, with the proceeds going to subsidise fruit and vegetables, which should be on offer in obvious places in shops. 
But she recognised this was "a dream".
As I remarked on Twitter yesterday, we all have aspirations in life but it takes a special kind of arsehole to "dream" about taxing chocolate.

So here we have an extremely highly-paid individual eager to slap a tax on products enjoyed harmlessly by millions of people, a tax which the least well off will find most difficult to withstand. Sally, of course, will not be overly affected by this tax considering she is paid a salary of over £210,000 per year.

She is quite happy, though, to take pocket money from kids, which this policy would effectively do. The taxes won't be paid by industry, it will be paid by the consumer just like every other tax.

Elitist snob Davies, angered at the very idea of the public enjoying products she doesn't favour, has chosen Christmas time to declare to the world how repulsive she is.

This miserable harridan once told us all to think of cancer before you have a glass of wine and now sees the joy and excitement of Christmas as an opportunity to guilt trip us ghastly plebs just as we prepare for "the most wonderful time of the year".

It beggars belief that people in 'public health' consider this kind of nagging acceptable. It is nothing less than industralised anti-social behaviour and harassment. And what bollocks is this?
Based on the success of the tax on sugary drinks introduced in April, Dame Sally wants the government to do more to force the food industry to cut sugar and salt in our everyday food.
Success? What success? There has been no effect on obesity whatsoever from the sugar tax, all that has happened is the nation's food and drink supply has been altered by industry at threat of state bullying. Overall well-being of the nation has deteriorated thanks to pompous, insane and vulgar cretins like Davies. Products we freely chose to consume have disappeared following a barrage of snobbish propaganda about a non-existent obesity epidemic being caused by sugar, the consumption of which has been in freefall since the 1960s.

There are no words for the contempt I have for silly Sally Davies. She has condemned vapers who she said should "grow a backbone" and quit or die instead of using the country's most successful smoking cessation device, she wants us to fear cancer when enjoying a glass of wine, and now wants to tax children's pocket money.

There may be a problem with a small section of the public over-indulging in unhealthy products, but it it is vastly outweighed by the disease of rich bastards using their power and influence to interfere in the lives of the less well off and use coercive tactics to change their choices against their will.


Monday, 10 December 2018

More Plain Packaging Failure

No matter how many times tobacco controllers claim that plain packaging has been an overwhelming success, the facts stubbornly refuse to adhere to their fantasies. I've often amused myself with articles on this subject and it's great to see that the failure continues into its sixth year, according to Australian Channel 9.

Remember that Australia was not only the first to introduce this daft idea, but has also punished smokers with a number huge 25% increases to tobacco duty and outdoor smoking bans but with little effect. Once celebrated as offering "a vaccine against lung cancer" by an over-excitable Sydney pensioner, reality keeps butting in and pointing out that plain packaging was a laughable policy and a scandalous waste of public money.

Of course, despite treating even the tiniest positive sign as proof of plain packs success, when things go badly like this the tobacco control scam just circles its wagons ... and blames something else. On this occasion, it's apparently because there are not enough TV ads telling everyone that smoking is bad, as if the public didn't already know this. It's not like the pack doesn't tell them, now is it?

It started with more Aussie kids smoking in the wake of plain packs, but since then smoking rates have flat-lined before the Channel 9 news that more men are smoking now - or "blokes are back on the smokes" as one Aussie newspaper put it. The Daily Mail reported it succinctly too.
Recent data has shown that the campaign to reduce smoking habits of Australians over the last half a dozen years has failed as smoking rates among men actually increased in that time.  
The Daily Telegraph reported on the figures released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare which showed smoking among young men, 25-29, had seen an increase. 
Rates among young men had risen from 17.3 per cent to 19.3 per cent between 2013 and 2016 alone.   
Smoking among older men, 40-49, also saw an increase. 
It's not working in France either, as we found out in March where it was branded a failure by one of those who championed it.

Yet despite all this we see barking mad 'studies' in health journals triumphantly speaking of not just a possible beneficial effect of plain packaging, but ...
A Global Public Health Victory for Tobacco Plain-Packaging Laws in Australia
I don't think co-author of that particular 'study' - Melanie Wakefield who campaigned for plain packaging and evaluated its effectiveness herself - found that absurd headline hard to write, if I'm honest.

It's hard to imagine any other industry which receives massive tax-funded subsidies getting away with trumpeting abject failure as a huge success, but then tobacco control is a completely unregulated Wild West of a profession, and when you have that scenario, liars are always going to float around the top of the cesspit.

So, we have a flat-lining of smoking rates in Australia - and now a rise in some demographics - where they are wielding the big stick mercilessly and where nicotine alternatives like e-cigs are banned; but a dramatic decline in the UK where smoker punishment is less draconian, and e-cigs are legal, regulated and the use of which is advertised in government stop smoking campaigns. 

Hmm, where's the Australian Sherlock Holmes to solve this impenetrable conundrum as to what is going wrong down under? 

Sunday, 18 November 2018

A Decade

Yesterday was the tenth anniversary of this little corner of the internet.

As long-time readers will have noticed, the last year has been considerably lighter on content than previously, and in recent months very sparse indeed. This is because, sadly, a lot of real life has barged its way in - both business and personal - and has left me little time (and sometimes inclination) to write much here. I'm afraid to say that this will be continuing for the foreseeable future so it might be worth subscribing for email notifications of articles rather than checking back since they will be very infrequent.

As in previous years, I'd like to thank all fellow jewel robbers who have popped by since 2008 - over 300,000 of you have posted over 30,000 comments on more than 3,500 articles - creating nearly 6 million page visits. It's been a hell of a ride.

I have a couple of rather significant life changes coming up which could free up far more opportunity to write, but it won't be for some considerable time. In the meantime, thanks again for reading and engaging over the past 10 years with this "tabloid guff", as I am still proud it was described as many years ago by snooty twats.

À bientôt, mes amies.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Health Guidelines Are A Weapon Against Choice

Be afraid, be very afraid! 
On Friday evening, I went to Maxwell's in Covent Garden for a pre-theatre meal with a friend. The place has been in business for over 30 years that I know of and describes itself as "the home of the freakshake". I'd never heard of a freakshake before I booked a table and I didn't eat one, but plenty of healthy-looking young things around us did.

Today, a vast number of other people found out what a freakshake is for the first time thanks to those hideous health fascists at Action on Sugar. Via the BBC:
The campaign group Action on Sugar is demanding a ban on freakshakes and all milkshakes with more than 300 calories. 
It surveyed milkshakes sold in restaurants and fast food shops in the UK and found they contained "grotesque levels of sugar and calories". 
Freakshakes are milkshakes that also contain chocolates, sweets, cake, cream and sauce. 
The Toby Carvery Unicorn Freakshake came top of the survey with 39 teaspoons of sugar or 1,280 calories. 
That is more than half the daily recommended amount of calories for an adult and over six times the amount of sugar recommended for seven to 10-year-olds.
I'm late to the party as Snowdon has already pointed out that - as is obligatory with 'public health' lobbyists - Action on Sugar and its supporters are blatantly lying about these products in just about every claim that they make. I recommend you go read how jaw-droppingly shameless they are about it at his site.

I'd like to highlight, though, once again the naive and gullible fallacy of believing that health guidelines are nothing to be afraid of and are actually just giving us information. I wrote about it two years ago in response to this tweet from a 'public health' apologist on (mendacious, natch) alcohol advice.

I only need repeat what I said back then.
This idea that these are just recommendations, and that's all, is incredibly naive. Have these people been sleeping for the past 30 or 40 years? When have guidelines ever remained guidelines without leading to more and more coercion? 
With sugar, the guidelines had barely been altered downwards by the WHO before there were calls from 'public health' that the public isn't following them so we need a sugar tax and TV advertising bans on certain foods. 
There used to be guidelines about what food kids should be given by their parents to take to school, now we have packed lunch inspections and unapproved food being confiscated, while many openly talk about mandatory school dinners because the 'guidelines' are not being adhered to. 
These are just a few examples of many many others I could have chosen (add more in the comments as I'm sure you will know plenty of other examples). This is how health nags work, people, if you haven't noticed that where have you been? 
As a result of these 'guidelines' that we are apparently free not to follow - you know, they're just fuzzy-wuzzy friendly advice, that's all - a whole new door has been opened on alcohol nagging. 
Soon there will be campaigns by the usual suspects to say that the guidelines are not being adhered to. It will not be because the public have taken note of the advice and chosen to ignore it, instead the legions of public health parasites will say that the 'guidelines' are just not working and something must be done about it; that big industry is blinding drinkers to the harms; and that - how convenient - there are now so many more people drinking over the recommended guidelines that government must crack down hard!
And what have we seen today? 'Public health' parasites saying that the 'guidelines' on sugar are just not working and something must be done about it and that government must crack down hard.

By banning a dessert milkshake! We're well beyond the fucking looking glass here aren't we?

We are not free to ignore recommended guidance all the while vicious, draconian, career-puritans like Action on Sugar and their similarly arrogant, sneering elitist chums are indulged by government agencies instead of being recognised as the anti-social cunts that they really are.

As Snowdon describes today, there is not likely to be a ban on Freakshakes, politicians aren't that stupid ... yet (even though we did once see two parties fighting over which was more determined to declare war on a fucking chocolate orange). But it opens an Overton Window which Public Health England will likely exploit.
Public Health England, in its madness, wants to cap calories in milkshakes to 300 per serving. It is Action on Sugar's job to make Public Health England seem relatively reasonable. To that end, they are calling for it to be a crime to sell a milkshake with more calories than this.
Quite. There may not ultimately be a ban, but there will definitely be coercion, and that is because the guidelines or recommended daily amounts are not produced to give us information and then to be left alone - as Suzi childishly tweeted two years ago - they are intentionally produced in order to be a weapon with which to beat us into submission.

We should all be appalled at the very suggestion that any dessert - not drink as Action on Sugar claim - should be subject to a ban, yet this kind of story appeals to the most repellent in society who succumb to the powerful urge to dictate what other people choose to do with their lives. If we want to live in a free country we shouldn't be pandering to such obnoxious and nauseating people, we should be treating them with contempt, yet Action on Sugar - and any number of 'public health' activists in other areas - do precisely the opposite.

If government wants to educate the public with recommendations and guidelines, that's fair enough, but anyone who believes - with the 'public health' industry wildly out-of-control as today proves very much that they are - that those guidelines are just advisory and we are perfectly free to ignore that advice is, quite frankly, a cretin.

Prior to 2007, the very idea that government should be in the business of dictating what businesses can or can't allow their customers to enjoy in their private premises would have been anathema to the country as a whole, but once tobacco control legitimised prodnosery with the smoking ban, it opened the floodgates. Now you just have to harbour some sneering contempt towards what other people are doing that you disapprove of and a 'public health' lobby group - somewhere - has got your back. It doesn't even matter anymore that the only possible harm can be to yourself, the sugar tax proved that. It now also doesn't matter that you are given information to make those choices for yourself, because 'public health' doesn't want you to have those choices available at all.

People who work in 'public health' often bristle when they are referred to as health fascists, but can you think of anything more fascist than dictating how big your pizza is, how much bacon you are allowed to consume, or whether or not you should be permitted to eat a milk-based dessert? After today, the debate is over. It's well past time government stopped listening to these horrendous organisations and starved them of funding; that or drown the miserable bastards in a butt of Marmsey for glorious ironic effect. 

If nothing else, politicians should take away the weapon of 'guidelines' if they want to say we are a liberal country with a straight face. Make it clear that the recommended levels are exactly that, recommended, and that if we choose to ignore them we should be left the fuck alone. 

Thursday, 8 November 2018


A curious piece turned up on the BBC the other day from their 'reality check' team.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock wants to encourage people in England to make "better choices" around their alcohol, sugar, salt and fat intake, while getting more exercise. 
He is promising to spend more on public awareness initiatives to prevent obesity in the latest in a long line of of public health campaigns over the years. 
Three of the best-known health messages are eating five portions a day of fruit and vegetables, getting 150 minutes of exercise a week and quitting smoking. 
But what evidence is there that these have worked?
Being a tax-funded organisation, the BBC team were of the opinion that gentle messages from the government - based on education of the public - are not effective. The fact this is exactly the message that tax spongers in 'public health' were screaming about when Hancock made his policy announcement is surely a coincidence.

There was one area, though, where the 'reality check' team had a different view.
The Labour government banned smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces in England in 2007. 
The result is a marked decrease in the number of smokers.
Yep, when vile coercion is used instead of messages intended to change personal choices without a big stick, the BBC was hinting that this was a huge success.

Except, erm, it was nothing to do with the smoking ban, as the graph they publish with the article shows very well.

The result of the smoking ban was not a "marked decrease in the number of smokers". The marked decrease in the number of smokers came from 2012 when e-cigs went mainstream. As you can see from the BBC's graph above, all that the smoking ban did was halt a previously massive "marked decrease" of smokers prior to 2007.

The 'reality check' team did mention something around this at the very end of the article - how could they not considering it's so fucking obvious - but only in faint terms (emphasis mine).
Changes in law, habits and tastes may all contribute to changes in attitude which may affect lifestyle choices. For example, some of the decline in smoking could be attributed as much to the rise of the e-cigarette as anything else.
Some?!? Look at the figures for crying out loud.

It's a pretty rum definition of reality and an odd understanding of the word check if the BBC refuse to face up to what reality actually is and fail to check it properly.

Looks more like a supportive puff piece for their comrades in the tax-leeching game to me.