Tuesday, 1 September 2015

We Can Solve The Problem We Caused - Honest!

Here is some staggering chutzpah from the Irish brand of tobacco control failure. Via the Irish Heart Foundation.
A new levy should be introduced to force tobacco companies enjoying profit margins of up to 60% on cigarette sales in Ireland to pay the cost of helping smokers to quit, a pre-Budget submission by the Irish Heart Foundation and Irish Cancer Society has urged. 
Research carried out for the Irish Cancer Society and Irish Heart Foundation by leading UK business economist Dr Rob Branston of the University of Bath shows that tobacco multinationals are making combined annual profits of between €110 million and €150 million from Irish sales. This is gained from profit margins of 60% for Japan Tobacco International, which controls over half the Irish market, 41% for Imperial Tobacco and 24% for British American Tobacco – way higher than the normal profit margins for consumer staple industries of between 12-20%.
This "leading UK business economist" seems to be blind to the fact that "normal profit margins for consumer staple industries" are dictated by many different aspects of the market. Most of these are driven by competition in the form of advertising, innovation, new entrants to the market and price wars. Now, I could explain, but I reckon I don't need to. How many of those market mechanisms have been forcibly removed from the tobacco industry?

This is Ireland where duty is so eye-wateringly high that price competition is almost irrelevant. When the producer margin is a tiny percentage of the selling price, buyers wouldn't notice anything but pennies if a price-gouging trade war kicked off. Advertising is banned, packs are hidden behind shutters so there is no chance of the market providing competition for incumbents, and innovation has been destroyed because the Irish government hates tobacco. There is simply no chance of anyone breaking into this market and driving profit margins down, and the Irish government is responsible for it.

So to then compare this profit margin that politicians have facilitated to companies making products like bread, tea and Heinz baked beans is quite ludicrous. A "leading UK business conomist" would surely know this or else he is deliberately comparing apples with toilet brushes, otherwise known as a form of lying.
Kathleen O’Meara of the Irish Cancer Society added: “Permitting such high levels of profit also creates an incentive for powerful tobacco multinationals to fight measures such as plain packaging legislation that hit them in the pocket by reducing smoking rates and discouraging young people from starting to smoke.”
"Permitting" high levels of profit Kath? Your life has been dedicated to ring-fencing tobacco profits for decades with the policies you have demanded!
Ms O’Meara continued: “The smoking rate among Irish adults has fallen below the 20% mark for the first time since records began – that’s around 250,000 fewer smokers now than in 2009. But to maintain the trend we have to do more to help smokers quit and we are proposing that nicotine replacement therapy be made available free of charge to everyone enrolled in smoking cessation programmes.”
The weasel words of a repulsive anti-smoking lunatic. Revelling in the dramatic declines that e-cigs have provided since 2009 and claiming credit for it, while continuing to feed her beloved pharma industry with publicity for their shite ineffective products.

Those with memories which stretch back to January will remember exactly how serious the Irish tobacco control industry and their vacuous government are about helping smokers to quit.
Senators Averil Power and John Crown want to see a ban on the sale of [e-cigs] to under-18s, an end to advertising and the consumption of e-cigarettes in public places and places of work. 
It will also include the prohibition of sponsorship by manufacturers and importers of electronic-cigarettes and the use of them in vehicles where persons under 18 years of age are present.  
The bill also provides for standardised packaging of e-cigarettes and the fitting of child safety caps on liquid nicotine bottles.
Can't be having something that actually works taking all those entrenched income streams away, now can we?

So "leading UK business economist" Rob Cranston of Bath University has a cunning plan.
1) Introduce a levy on tobacco industry profits, with revenue used to support smokers to quit.
Theft from legal businesses to fund useless quitting products while the government bans useful ones.
2) Introduce an annual tobacco tax escalator (inflation + 5%), which would require a tax increase of approximately 50 cent in Budget 2016.
Thereby driving even more smokers to the illicit market - Rob the "leading UK business economist" will be aware of this, of course - while doing the damnedest to deter Irish people from alternatives.
3) Increase tax levels on roll‐you‐own tobacco until they are equivalent to those on cigarettes.
The IRA will be ecstatic!
4) Make NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) available free of charge to all those enrolled in smoking cessation programmes.
Making the Irish Cancer Society ecstatic about sponsorship opportunities in the future!
5) Publish the delayed Revenue Commissioner’s smuggling strategy
Which has all been caused by the tobacco control industry's economically illiterate obsession with stamping out free choice. Why a "leading UK business economist" can't see this is perplexing, do you think he may be a charlatan?

So the gist of this is that there are big problems caused by anti-smoking extremists, but they have a plan to tackle them ... by doing exactly the same myopic crap. Still, it'll keep the cash rolling in for them for a few more years, eh?

Monday, 31 August 2015

Drafting A Welsh Public Health Bill Consultation Response

Following swiftly on from Tuesday's post about the TPD2 consultation which finishes on the 3rd, the Public Health Bill in Wales is being conulted upon and that finishes the next day, on the 4th, as in Friday.

Specifically, this is the proposal which plans to ban use of e-cigs in public places because, well, no reason at all really, as the consultation questions make quite clear.

You can find the consultation here, there is an online survey or you can return an online MS Word proforma to SeneddHealth@assembly.wales instead. The survey is slightly different as it reduces many questions to just a multiple choice scenario, so is likely not to be included as a "detailed response". We've seen this tactic to ignore dissent before so I'd advise you to return the proforma by email and will use those questions for our purpose here.
1 Do you agree that the use of e-cigarettes should be banned in enclosed public and work places in Wales, as is currently the case for smoking tobacco?
No, of course not.

I must admit here to feeling vindicated by the Welsh government even considering this stupid policy. I've maintained for years now that there was no valid health reason behind the smoking ban, it was just a {cough}smokescreen for state bullying. They said it was about protecting bar workers, I said that was bullshit and just an excuse to pander to the most intolerant, bigoted and anti-social people in society. Now they are planning to ban e-cigs in Wales simply because they don't like the look of them (the 'no dogs, blacks or Irish' syndrome). I rest my case.

It's quite a simple answer then, isn't it? The ban "currently the case for smoking tobacco" is because, allegedly, there is harm to others from passive smoke. Public Health England stated quite clearly in their report on e-cigs on the 19th August that there is negligible risk to users and none to bystanders. Therefore the idea of banning them in public places is one which can only be considered by fascists. Considering the absurd nature of the Labour Party in Wales, this might not be a compelling argument - they might even thank you for the comparison - but it's worth a go.

You could also add, though, that only the most vacuous politician and pompous, self-absorbed, cretinous lobbyist would demand government coercion to enforce their personal preferences and petty prejudices on others. This could accurately be described as 'passive spite', which stinks more than acrid sulphur. In a decent society - this is assuming Wales wants to be one, of course - the likes and dislikes of one set of people should not take precedence over those of someone else without a very good reason. In the case of a ban on vaping, there isn't one, just those proposing the idea seeming to think they are more important than managers and owners of businesses who would choose differently on their private property. I'll say that again .. on their private property.

The question should be who do these arrogant prodnoses think they are to interfere in people's lives and businesses simply because they have deeply obnoxious character flaws.
2 Do you believe the provisions in the Bill will achieve a balance between the potential benefits to smokers wishing to quit with any potential dis-benefits related to the use of e-cigarettes?
No, it doesn't. You see, the benefits of e-cigs are real and documented. The 'dis-benefits' (is that a word?) are imaginary and backed up by some of the worst junk science the grubby 'public health' lobby has every produced, and even that has been effortlessly debunked.

If the Welsh Assembly passes this law, they can never again be taken seriously when they bleat about wanting smokers to quit. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if a smoker hoping to quit is forced outside he/she is not going to use an e-cig, they're going to smoke. Hundreds of thousands will do exactly that, so the policy may as well have been dreamed up round a table by Philip Morris and Pfizer. Has the big business-phobic Labour Welsh government considered this? Of course they haven't, because it is quite simply not evidence-based. A cynic might even conclude it's nothing to do with health at all, fancy that!
3 Do you have any views on whether the use of e-cigarettes re-normalises smoking behaviours in smoke-free areas, and whether, given their appearance in replicating cigarettes, inadvertently promote smoking?
They don't 'replicate' cigarettes at all. Here's my current one, you may notice it is not cylindrical, not thin, and doesn't have a glowing tip. It would also not react well if I tried to light it with fire. Only a moron could confuse it with a cigarette.

I don't know how backward the government is in Wales, but the Welsh public buy quite a lot of these. They don't "replicate cigarettes" and don't normalise smoking, they normalise using something completely different. This ridiculous statement - from a government body, no less - is like saying Linda McCartney veggie sausages renormalise steak tartare. Only a fool could think otherwise, but then Wales appears to have one posing as Health Minister.

Besides, all evidence so far (here's some) has found no renormalisation happening anyway, the Welsh Assembly may as well be tabling legislation to ban fairies from the bottoms of gardens.
4 Do you have any views on whether e-cigarettes are particularly appealing to young people and could lead to a greater uptake of their use among this age group, and which may ultimately lead to smoking tobacco products?
Yes, here's a view, the fictional "gateway effect" is exactly that, fictional. All credible studies conducted anywhere in the world have concluded that e-cigarettes do not encourage young people to smoke. This is incontrovertible and can be backed up by the fact that wherever e-cigarettes flourish, teen and child smoking rates have plummeted spectacularly (for example in France and in the USA). If e-cigarettes encouraged children to smoke, tobacco use would be increasing rather than declining rapidly, as is the case in every jurisdiction where e-cigs have not been incompetently banned. So, far from encouraging young people to smoke, e-cigs are doing the exact opposite. Why would the Welsh government want to discourage what they consider to be such a positive outcome?

It's at this point in the consultation that you may be wndering if the Welsh government looked at any evidence at all! No, I don't think so either.
5 Do you agree with the proposal to establish a national register of retailers of tobacco and nicotine products?
No, becase this is obviously designed to make businesses throw their hands in the air and stop selling popular products by adding regulatory burdens. In the case of tobacco it's none of government's business what legal products companies sell and consumers want to buy; and with e-cigs it's worse because it will hamper retailers who are doing the job of expensive stop smoking services and helping smokers who want to quit ... without costing Welsh taxpayers a penny! Just setting up a register and employing people to monitor it and update it, however, will cost taxpayers with no evidence it will have any benefits whatsoever.
6 What are your views on creating a new offence for knowingly handing over tobacco and nicotine products to a person under 18, which is the legal age of sale in Wales?
For tobacco there isn't a problem, in fact it's good to see that the Welsh government is doing exactly what Forest has been suggesting for many years now. Why it has come after variously vindictive, pointless, illiberal, and plain idiotic policies like vending machine bans, hiding boxes behind shutters, plain packaging and outdoor hospital bans is hard to fathom.

However, with e-cigs, is the Welsh government really planning to criminalise a parent who buys an e-cig for their 16 year old kid who smokes? Yes! Yes it is! Just the society Wales wants to see apparently, people being punished for the 'offence' of trying to do what they think is right. There can be no more appalling abuse of government power than that.

At this point - uless you have a view about intimate piercings, tattooing or public bogs - you might like to scroll down to question 19.
19 Do you believe that the issues included in this Bill reflect the priorities for improving public health in Wales?

The Royal College of Physicians, Public Health England, ASH (all three of them as I understand it), many stop smoking services and others all see the potential of e-cigs for 'public health' ... but Wales is proposing banning them from being used just about anywhere. What "priorities" are these then? Because after years of banging on about 'helping' smokers to quit, we're a tad confused.

That's about it really. Remember you only have until Friday so if you plan to respond, go here and have at 'em.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Their Favourite Trick

In their desperation to defame e-cigs, it seems the dinosaur section of the tobacco control industry has stopped scraping the barrel and is now crawling underneath it with the cockroaches instead.

From The Telegraph:
[The Lancet] accused [Public Health England] of falling short of its mission to protect public health. 
The Lancet revealed that three of the 11 authors of the original study were paid advisors for the e-cigarette industry. The editors of the journal European Addiction Research even issued a warning alongside the article saying there was a ‘potential conflict of interest.
Yep, just the usual. The Lancet piece doesn't bother to challenge the evidence itself, merely choosing to sling ad hominems and smears around instead, the prime tactic of bent tobacco controllers everywhere. Except this time they are attacking their own colleagues. It never ceases to amaze me how very low these disgusting rimlickers can get.

What has been apparently ignored is that the PHE report referenced 185 different pieces of research, yet the Lancet seems to think that because 3 of 11 researchers on one single paper have a potential conflict of interest - which is not even itself proof of bias - the whole thing should be disregarded. All I can say is that those 3 researchers must possess incredibly forceful personalities if they are able to convince the other 8 to abandon all principles and put their name to what The Lancet hints to be a biased whitewash.

It's also staggeringly ironic that The Lancet article puts such store on conflicts of interest but is written anonymously, thereby refusing to identify if the author has conflicts of interest of their own. Say, for example, it was penned by some fat Irish twat at, I dunno, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine or somewhere, wouldn't it be worth us knowing in order that any potential conflicts of said fat Irish twat or the school itself could be examined? The Lancet - in an astonishing illustration of hypocrisy - obviously thinks not.

Lead author of the study being criticised by The Lancet, David Nutt, has defended it on his blog, saying:
The Lancet experts or others who do not like the results should look to provide funding to repeat the analysis. A repetition would be particularly timely now the evidence base for ENDS has grown.
You mean do proper science, David? Why would any tobacco controller worth his salt want to do that when it's far simpler to gain headlines with baseless smears and pathetic innuendo?

Once again, it would appear that The Lancet is proving that the 'public health' industry has only the most flimsy of connections to health these days.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Drafting A TPD2 Consultation Response

A UK Government consultation on the EU's appalling dog's breakfast Tobacco Products Directive finishes on September 3rd so I thought we might have a bash at it, whaddya reckon?

As most of you are aware, these things are really just an exercise in government pretending it is listening to the public. The vast majority of responses come from state-funded quangos and lobby groups so they are better termed public sector consultations. However, over time we have learned the rules, as I mentioned in June last year.
So, what we can gather from what modern politicians laughably call public consultations is that if a postcard or quick click response is in favour of what they and their pet powerful vested interests want to do anyway, they'll shout it from the rooftops. But if it's not, it's time for plan B and to only look at the "detailed responses" which - of course - are mostly submitted by organisations whose only job is to do so on state-supplied wages. 
It stinks, as I'm sure you'll agree, and not something restricted to just this issue - this kind of abuse of democracy is happening every day in any number of different government departments, most of it beneath the radar of anyone but those who are paid to lobby Westminster. This is why ... you should consider adding a "detailed response" to this new second consultation. Regular readers of this blog will remember that many of us did exactly this for the original consultation back in 2012, which I'm sure had an impact in restricting the biased farce to only a narrow 53%/43% split.
As with previous posts of the same nature on this blog (see here, here, here, here, here and here), I'll give you the questions beforehand with a rough idea of how I'd answer them, just pick and choose anything you like the look of. Oh and, as many fellow jewel robbers have done before, any emails of your own submissions are always a great read so most welcome.

Firstly, the TPD2 can be found here. You can post your responses or email them via the addresses below:

Tobacco Products Directive Consultation
Department of Health
PO Box 311

However, there is also an online survey you can use which is also saveable so you can come back to it later if you wish. This is the method I'll be using for this guide. 

Now, before we start it's worth noting that this consultation is not like those previously. Before, there were questions which went right to the root of the proposed legislation, but this being an EU directive, the UK government has no choice but to implement it despite it being utter shit (doesn't that make you proud to be in the EU?). So the questions just fiddle around at the margins without actually giving an option to object to the the fundamental failures in its drafting. This is particularly relevant when it comes to the measures pertaining to e-cigs, which were laid down in early 2014, are already out-of-date, and were written by people who haven't the first clue about the devices or how they work.

Anyway, onto the questions, such as they are. 
Do you, or the business or organisation you represent, have any direct or indirect links to, or receive funding from, the tobacco industry?
The usual question designed to weed out anyone who is paid to give the other side of the debate to those who are paid by governments to bully people. The answer is obviously no, but you might want to ask why there's no corresponding obligation to declare links and/or funding from the pharmaceutical industry or, indeed, by governments to justify their existence and salaries by demanding things such as, ooh say ... the EU Tobacco Products Directive. 
1 Should the Government request peer review of any reports submitted by the tobacco industry in relation to certain additives contained in a priority list of additives?
Well, yeah, could do that I suppose. But at the same time, how about having a close look at the peer review fiasco with the tobacco control industry, which in many cases seems to be about as rigorous as checking the spelling in their unutterably mendacious junk studies. 

On labelling and warnings.
2 The Government intends to implement this provision of the Directive to mean images, targeted at consumers, that are used to promote the sale of products, such as retailer websites offering products for sale. Do you agree with this approach?
No, of course not. This, believe it or not, is about making Sainsbury's hide pictures of what they sell on their website. It's not enough that cigs are behind screens and soon to be covered in plain packaging, children have obviously not been protected enough so the government will have to step in and make sure little 8 year old Johnny doesn't inadvertently stumble across a pic of a pack of plain packaged Silk Cut while he is doing the family online shopping with the credit card he is not old enough to own. 

Yes, tobacco control really has become this barmy. They have so very little relevance now that they are reduced to striking out a virtual image of a cig packet in order to keep their noses in the trough. Pathetic.
3 The TPD2 stipulates where health warnings should appear on packs including that the general warning should appear on the lateral surface. The Government propose to transpose ‘lateral’ (Article 9) as ‘secondary’ (defined as the next two largest surfaces of the pack, after the front and the back surfaces) in our domestic legislation. Can you tell us of any packaging shapes where this interpretation would not be the most effective approach / would not work as intended?
Good question. I'm sure there are experts in the field of tobacco packaging the government could ask. Oh yeah, forgot, they are tobacco companies and trouser-stuffing tobacco controllers have bullied politicians into not being allowed to talk to them. 
4 The TPD2 requires Member States to choose between the warnings ‘Smoking kills’ or ‘Smoking kills – quit now’. The Government is minded to require that tobacco products be labelled with the warning ‘Smoking kills – quit now’ to align with UK smoking cessation messaging. Do you have any information/evidence that would inform this choice?
Who cares? No-one looks at them anyway, they're just yet another way for the tobacco control industry to justify its pointless and self-enriching existence. 
5 Are there any other pack shapes for cigarettes, Roll Your Own (RYO) and waterpipe tobacco on the market, other than pouches and squat cylindrical tins/tubs, where there may be technical difficulties in applying any of the new health warnings under Articles 9 and 10?
Ask the tobacco companies and stop wasting our taxes with this, for crying out loud! 
6 To ensure the combined health warnings are applied evenly across each brand of tobacco product, it is proposed that images should appear on between 1/24 (4.15%) and 1/12 (8.33%) of products and each set of images in the TPD2 picture library should be rotated on an annual basis. Are there any additional costs, above and beyond the current regime, imposed by this proposal?
You're proposing additional regulations which change the way companies are forced to operate and you're asking if there are going to be costs to this? Of course it's going to impose costs! Is the next question about the impact on ground cleanliness in woods where bears live? 
7 The draft regulations require producers to ensure the correct health warning is applied to tobacco products. We are minded to treat retailers who repackage tobacco products at the point of sale the same as producers. For example, loose tobacco packaged at point of sale, should comply with the full labelling provisions, including the rotation of the combined health warning. Do you agree with this approach?
No of course not. So some vile tobacco controllers tell you that they've got bored with flicking rubber bands round the office and the result is that old Bert who fought in the war has to have gory images all over the bag his pipe tobacco is served in? Just leave people alone you hideous anti-social tossbags.
8 The Government is minded to derogate individually wrapped cigars and cigarillos from the full labelling regime, requiring only the general warning ‘Smoking Kills’ or ‘Smoking Kills – Quit Now’; one of the text warnings from the combined warning list but no picture; and a reference to the smoking cessation information. Do you agree with this approach?
The only chink of light in the whole consultation. Yes, of course they should be excluded, but then so should everything else, it's just a circle jerking exercise on the taxpayer teat. 

9 & 10 are about illicit trade and how to stop it. Both can be answered in the same manner, just change the words a bit.
10 We would welcome initial views on how track and trace and security markings may impact on business, and what the key issues for businesses will be.
Erm, why not ask the businesses who make the stuff and are harmed by an illicit trade entirely caused by the tobacco control industry? Oh yeah, you can't, so instead you're asking the people who caused the problem how to solve it. Masterful stuff. 

Then we get to cross border sales, including e-cigs.
11 If a registration scheme were introduced for cross-border distance sales, the Government is minded to require the nomination of an individual to be responsible for verifying that the product complies with the provisions in the UK regulations, before the product is supplied to the consumer. Do you agree with this approach?
No, because - and this may come as a surprise to you numbskulls - if I were running a very big company with lots of money I would welcome these proposals with open arms. This is, unless I've missed something, the Tobacco Products Directive, you know, designed to tackle tobacco. So why are you considering handing a huge competitive advantage to big tobacco companies while simultaneously adding an expensive regulatory burden to small independent e-cig companies. A cynic might think this isn't about health but more about providing work for expensive tax-sponging 'public health' makeworks, eh?
12 Should cross-border distance sales of tobacco products to consumers be prohibited?
No, wasn't the EU supposed to be about free trade within Europe? I'm sure I read that somewhere, or perhaps I was dreaming, I dunno. Still, if you do, I suppose white van man is going to be very happy to add a premium to his prices, I'm sure he'll thank you. 
13 Should cross-border distance sales of e-cigarettes and refills to consumers be prohibited?
No. What is it about free trade across the EU you people don't understand? It's the only good bit about the whole Leviathan of pan-European solidarity for Chrissakes!
14 What systems to verify the age of customers are available to, or currently used by, businesses involved in distance sales to other EU Member States?
Oh now you ask eh? It didn't bother you much when other EU countries had effective age ID controls on tobacco vending machines that you banned anyway. Back then you claimed Johnny Foreigner was obviously an idiot, so why ask about their prowess now? Sheesh.
15 Should novel tobacco products be subject to a notification scheme?
If you want to close down small companies, hand markets to large ones and push up prices, yes. Knock yourself out. It seems to be a recurring theme, doesn't it?
16 Under a notification scheme the Government is minded to include provision to require manufacturers or importers of novel tobacco products to provide, with any notification, information on:

 (a) the toxicity of the product, its ingredients and emissions;
 (b) the addictiveness of the product, its ingredients and emissions;
 (c) the expected effects of the product on the cessation of tobacco consumption by existing users of tobacco products; and
 (d) the perception of the product by consumers or potential consumers (or predictions as to how the product will be perceived), including the attractiveness of the product.

 The Government believes that this information should and will be available to manufacturers and importers prior to launching all new products. Do you agree with this approach?
Because the private sector only exists to provide information to wonks, civil servants and quangos. They have staff just sitting there waiting to provide you with pointless information, their business and customers obviously come second to satisfying the state. No, of course we don't agree with this approach. When someone is harmed or dies from using an e-cig as intended, you might have a case to demand this kind of overweening bollocks, till then fuck off.

This is the first of many questions which show how very damaging TPD2 will be. It's not enough that e-cigs are helping smokers to quit tobacco and clearly providing enjoyment to millions of people, the EU and, by extension, the UK government are insisting on imposing terms. You know why? Because mad intolerant anti-smoking obsessives who derive income from being a right royal pain in the ass don't like the idea that someone somewhere might be having a good time.

On Article 20 (object to this and support a court case against it here if you haven't already).
17 The Government is minded to use the TPD2 definitions of an ‘electronic cigarette’ and ‘refill container’. Do you foresee any problems with inconsistency with the definitions in The Nicotine Inhaling Products (Age of Sale and Proxy Purchasing) Regulations 2015?
Here's where the big faffing around begins. Article 20 is a pile of steaming horsecrap which has then been placed back in the nosebag for the horse to crap it out once again. It is written by idiots, so is therefore not fit for purpose and should be abandoned completely. Or, as Clive Bates describes it ...
"a catalogue of poorly designed, disproportionate and discriminatory measures that will achieve nothing useful but do a great deal of harm."
But instead of asking us about that, this consultation just impotently asks vapid questions about the peripheries of the legislation. If you ever wanted a sure sign that the UK is in hock to the EU up to its eyeballs - whether it's good for the health of the nation or not - this is it. 
18 The Government intends to handle notifications of e-cigarettes and refill containers electronically and make all information contained in notifications automatically available to the public unless this information can be considered truly commercially confidential. What information contained in the notifications should be considered commercially confidential?
People are quitting smoking using e-cigs and it has not cost the taxpayer a penny. What is not to like? Just butt out, all this proposal will do is hamper the progression tobacco controllers claim to want to see. 
19 The Government is minded to put the obligation on ‘producers’ (which includes manufacturers, importers into the UK and those that rename a product) in the transposing regulations which will ensure that there will always be a person in the UK who collects information about suspected adverse effects in relation to e-cigarettes and refill containers. Do you agree?
No. You need one person to log adverse effects in relation to e-cigs. He can sit in Whitehall and spend all day on Facebook if he likes, they are so few and far between. Why should government demand that consumers pay more for a beneficial product by obliging companies to employ someone on the back of the hysteria of state-funded blowhards who see their tax-sponging income stream drying up?
20 The Government is minded to give the Secretary of State for Health (SoS) the power to prohibit the supply of an e-cigarette or refill container or to require producers and suppliers to recall a product if he/she considers them a serious risk to public health. Do you think there are other options that should be provided to the SoS, for example the power to require modification of a product or to require enhanced monitoring and/or reporting of company data?
No. I can't think of anyone least qualified to decide policy on e-cigs than politicians and/or civil servants who have made such a monumental cock-up with this legislation. Remember this bit of utter incompetence from Anna Soubry? According to her e-cigs were dumped from the TPD2 two years ago!

Give the SoS power over e-cigs? He or she knows absolutely nothing about them or how they work. You may as well give a fox the keys to a hen coop. 
21 The TPD2 provides Member States with two options on the wording prescribed in the health warnings to appear on packs of e-cigarettes and refill containers. Member States must choose either a) ‘This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance’; or b) ‘This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance. It is not recommended for use by non-smokers’. The Government is minded to require that e-cigarettes be labelled with the warning ‘This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance. It is not recommended for use by non-smokers’. Do you agree?
No. You've been telling smokers they are smelly, thoughtless, unattractive, and undesirable house sharers for years, now you want to deter them from switching to something else? Never been about health, has it?

I mean, why on Earth would you do that? Is your drive to meddle in an industry you don't understand really so strong that you're blind to the consequences? 
22 Should the Government charge the industry proportionate fees to recover costs associated with the TPD2, including the following activities:
No to all check boxes. It's your ridiculous and ill thought-through TPD, if you want to back it to the hilt, do it with taxpayer funds so you're accountable for the dreadful waste. Why should consumers pay for it through the prices that they pay for products they choose to consume? 
23 Should retailers and importers be given the proposed transition period until May 2017 to sell through old stock?
Of course, anything else should be regarded as theft by the government and courts should hold you to account. 
24 Do you have any comments on the drafting of the regulations, including anything you want to draw to our attention on the practicalities of implementing the regulations, as drafted?
Yes, Article 20 especially should be ripped up and forgotten about. If the EU won't do it, how about the UK government grows some balls and tells the EU to go away and think again? This government is constantly talking about renegotiating our terms with the EU and ditching rules that are detrimental to the UK, well here is a perfect example. 

Your own health body, PHE, published a report last week which goes against almost all of the terms the TPD2 imposes on e-cigs. Are you seriously going to go with the Brussels car crash instead of listening to a quango you pay half a bill per year to fund? 

And lastly the Impact Assessment. This will make you laugh.
25 (a)What is the likely cost of reassigning or retiring capital and adjusting manufacturing processes in response to the restrictions on certain product lines and requirements for additional health warnings?
Hmm, let me think. Considering no regulation in the history of state interference has ever been cost neutral or has reduced costs, I'd say costs will increase, don't you? I'm sure the economic heavyweights in the tobacco control industry will argue that black is white again though, as usual.
25 (b)What are the likely marginal impacts of implementing the TPD2 on e-cigarette manufacturers?
There will be no marginal effects whatsoever. There will be a lot of huge, stifling, game-changer destroying apocalyptic ones though.
25 (c)We are aware that tobacco products that benefit from transitional arrangements (menthol), or are exempt from the ban on characterising flavours, will no longer be able to provide a reference to the flavour on the packet. We would be interested to receive views on the impact of this provision.
It's quite hilarious that the TPD says menthol is not allowed to be communicated on packs anymore. So what does the UK do when plain packaging comes in? How are those who choose menthol cigarettes - which will be available until 2022 - supposed to work out which ones they are buying. More to the point, how are retailers supposed to identify which packs contain menthol? You really couldn't make this kind of incompetence up, could you?

There are two more on the IA but they can be answered easy enough by pointing out that government Impact assessments are usually garbage and this is no different. 

Anyway, if you feel like having a go, do click here and have your say. It's quite cathartic and why let state-paid miserablists set the agenda, eh? You have till September 3rd so get a wiggle on, I'd say. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

A Bad Day For Anti-Smoking Bigots

I'm sure you couldn't have missed yesterday's news about Public Health England's report on e-cigs, it was quite prominent on the front pages of some papers and received blanket coverage across the BBC.

The report was very bad news for tobacco control's scattered e-cig denialists because it effectively debunked every one of their desperate imaginary reasons why vaping should be restricted. No threat from passive vaping, no adverse health effects for users, no renormalisation of smoking and no gateway effect for children. If this was a chess game, it was the equivalent of taking the denialists' Queen, checkmating their King and then setting fire to all their other pieces, they have literally nothing left.

Well, apart from lying, of course.

Incredibly, this guy Capewell - who is a top official in the Faculty of Public Health no less - decided that an obscure eight month old study from Japan trumps a meta-analysis from the government's chosen health body! What's more, he believes the obscure study over and above his own colleagues despite the extreme formaledhyde claims it contained having been debunked as utter garbage. It was such a misleading claim that even the Daily Mail apologised for publishing it!

Meanwhile, wobbly wibbling e-cig hater Martin McKee was retweeting the very same junk claim.

Remember that these people are supposed to be public health professionals dealing in 'evidence-based policy'. No, really!

The reason for their gnashing of teeth and quite pathetic straw-clutching becomes evident with this tweet from McKee.

You see, they despise smokers so it's not enough that you quit smoking - you have to also suffer while doing so and there must be some element of force to aid the egos of these dreadful anti-smoking bigots. Taxes to bully you into quitting are fine, but enjoy the experience of quitting using e-cigs? Nope, that's unacceptable.

And if you want a prime example of how incredibly vile, power-crazy, and fascistic the anti-smoking crusade has become, check out this jaw-dropper from this morning.

Read it twice if you're unsure you'd read it correctly first time, I'd quite understand. Yes, they are actually conceding that e-cigs are a great tool to help smokers who want to quit, but still demanding government deny property and business owners the choice of whether to allow their use or not. We're a long way down the road from the 'protecting bar staff' lie now aren't we?

It's like watching a boxer having had his brain pirouetted in his head but stilll flailing around and thinking he's in the fight, it's time these truth-avoiding anti-smoking dinosaurs were counted out. I'd pity them if they weren't so contemptuous, evil and deserving of jail time.