Wednesday 22 February 2023

Rage-Driven Tobacco Control Industry Stupidity Explained In One Tweet

It was once explained to me that there are thousands of students who start off aspiring to be doctors. Those not clever enough to become doctors drift into other public health roles, but those who are not clever enough for that often go into the tobacco control industry. 

This was in answer to my querying why I regularly read stuff from tobacco controllers which are too stupid for words. Either they lack basic comprehension of concepts such as behaviour and economics, or advance ideas so puerile that most 14 year olds should be able to see through them. Often I have imagined that some would not even have had the required intellect to be a driver in my transport company. 

And today, we have seen a diamond-encrusted example of exactly this type of utter tobacco control stupidity. 

In the early hours UK time came this tweet from anti-vaping organisation Quit Victoria, whose Twitter timeline is chock full of ignorant statements and assertions which they must surely know are untrue at the best of times. But on this occasion they have truly excelled themselves.

In answer to Australian academic, Alex Wodak, asking why they rejected the Cochrane Library - the gold standard of evidence reviewers - stating that there is "high level certainty" that vaping is more effective for smoking cessation than NRT, Quit Victoria came up with this absolute stonker of a lie. 

Earth-shattering, if true, but of course it wasn't. What's more, they elaborated on their claim by saying that it was "backed up by investigative journalism", no less. 

The link they provided to 'prove' this was an article in The Australian at the end of January designed to smear pro-vaping academics of being manipulated by Philip Morris International. BAT was not mentioned in the article and the only reference to Cochrane merely confirmed that what Wodak was referring to was correct. 

A review by the widely respected British policy institute Cochrane found rates of quitting smoking were higher when people used vapes and e-cigarettes than when they used nicotine replacement therapies such as patches.

So, we are already in the realms of stunning idiocy, but imagine what kind of thought process went into this tweet. Well, basically none. 

Firstly, where did the thought originate? Had the author read something somewhere to make them think this was the case? Perhaps they were confused with something else. Which leads us to ask did the author of the tweet do some basic fact-checking before going public around the world with it? Patently not, because it has no shred of truth about it.

How can someone be employed in such a role when they are unable to perform basic functions like that in a public-facing organisation? I'm afraid it is just the nature of the industry. When you have a never-ending flood of funding at your disposal, any old idiot gets hired so the corpulent budgets can be spent. 

I can imagine some in the industry think a professional is someone who play sports for money, accountability is being able to add up, and rigour is someone who works pumping oil. 

The motivation for such a moronic action, in case you were wondering, is the irrepressible rage that anti-vapers get when they read convincing and evidence-based arguments about the huge potential benefits of vaping products. For them, this is pure heresy! It must be discredited by any means. If they can't do so by challenging the science (as if tobacco control is bothered by such things) then they will have to lie and lie about it until people disbelieve the claim. Standard tobacco control behaviour. 

A Sydney pensioner has already had a pop at Cochrane by saying it assesses the wrong kind of studies, but even his Koi carp don't listen to the old duffer anymore, so a dullard at QuitVic thought they'd have a go in their own vacant style. We saw the same desperate wriggling, by the same people, funnily enough, to try to discredit PHE's claim (repeated annually since 2015) that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking. Thousands of lies later, they have consistently failed with that too, hence the palpable frustration you see with people who know that, as evidence mounts up in favour of vaping, they are losing the war and just cannot stomach it.    

Word eventually reached Cochrane about the palaver, and they confirmed what everyone except the dumbasses at QuitVic already knew with an admirably low-key tweet. Considering the disgusting slur they had been subjected to, it exhibited class that the likes of QuitVic will never be able to achieve. 

Of course, if QuitVic employed people who possessed even a modicum of intelligence, they could have discovered this themselves as it was announced on Twitter that Cochrane had received a new round of Cancer Research funding on February 10th

And to add the cherry on top of this monumental tobacco control industry self-own, at time of writing it is approaching 6am in Melbourne. It seems they posted a load of demonstrably defamatory cobblers, allowed themselves a smug grin, turned the computer off and fucked off to watch telly. It is often noted that the tobacco control industry has no regulator. No-one to complain to when they make inaccurate or mendacious statements. No accountability, no-one to censure them when they regularly mislead the public. Now, we see that QuitVic doesn't even have internal oversight of its own. 

Soon the author of the tweet and the rest of QuitVic will wake up to a whole host of mentions calling them out as liars and their reputation in tatters. 

With any luck the lawyers' letters will soon follow.

Tuesday 29 November 2022

When The Comments Section Lets You Down ...

{Taps microphone} Is this thing still on? 

Well, well. It appears so. Everything from the inside of this looks very different though, a bit snazzy even. I must admit it looks a hell of an improvement, I'm knocking on the walls in a virtual sense to see how robust they are. 

Forgive me, reader, for I have sinned. It's been two years since my last blog submission. I shall submit myself to 12 Hail Mary Poppins and see where posting random thoughts gets me for now.

I've still been writing elsewhere though, and noting the ever-growing - and increasingly wild and hysterical - library of tobacco control lies prevalent across the world. It really is quite astonishing.

Which brings me to why I have dusted off this old thing. Well, it's because I'm old enough to remember when blogs were new and raw. They were also quite consistent, and excelled in beating the mainstream media on standards quite often. One of the early adopters was Irish blogger Slugger O'Toole, but sadly the blog has published a load of arrant tripe this weekend. 

An article entitled "Vaping: We're being fooled again" turned up there which is a boilerplate rehash of all the crap that $1bn of Bloomberg cash is intended to promote. Written by a pharmacist from Belfast, it is astonishingly ignorant about the vaping debate. What's more, it is written by someone whose previous blogs rightly ridiculed COVID conspiracy theorists. 

"[I]t seems no matter how good a scientist you might be when you become convinced of something and you become committed as a believer that faith is next to impossible to change. Even when the data has been shown to be flawed or fraudulent or simply wrong you retain your original position."

But the Belfast pharmacist is fully taken in by conspiracies about reduced risk nicotine products like e-cigarettes. He has swallowed the Kool-Aid willingly and enthusiastically. Perhaps even, intentionally. 

Slugger's about us page states that: 

"We believe diversity of opinion is essential to building a reliable view of any single problem, great or small."

Yet my response to the article has not been published despite others since having been. Perhaps it contained too many references to sources which make the author's claims look a bit fanciful, who knows? 

It is rather sad that the avalanche of misinformation designed to fool the naive and gullible has reached a naive and gullible Belfast pharmacist, but more so that a formerly decent blog seems happy to censor comments which could better educate its readers that they were being fed information designed for the naive and gullible. 

So, for the record, this was the comment that Slugger's blog didn't publish. 

Sorry, but this article is nonsense from start to finish. Where to begin!

How about this? "the evidence does not support the claim that e-cigarettes are a tool for stopping smoking". Pretty poor timing really. The Cochrane Library, considered the gold standard of evidence reviews, published an estimate just last week that vaping is twice as effective as NRT for helping smokers to quit:

"There is high-certainty evidence that ECs with nicotine increase quit rates compared to NRT ... We did not detect evidence of serious harm from nicotine EC"

The claim the author of this article makes that vaping products are not a tool for stopping smoking is contested by the Tobacco Control Lead at the Office for Health and Disparities (OHID), Martin Dockrell, who has gone on record saying "the claim that e-cigs can't help smokers quit is now so plainly false that anybody making it not only discredits themselves but, worse still, undermines public confidence in science". Now, I know it's a tough call, but I tend to trust the opinion of a guy who is leading tobacco control at the government's highest public health agency over that of a Belfast pharmacist.

The article also plays up an increase in use of vaping by youths but fails to mention that the linked ASH report states clearly "Of 11-17 year old never smokers ... 0.5% use e-cigarettes more than once a week". The vast majority of under 18s who vape are or were smokers and considering OHID confirmed in September that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking, what is the author's problem?

The article also states "we now know that e-cigarettes are a gateway to tobacco smoking due to their growing popularity among young people" but can the author please point out any jurisdiction where vapes are sold legally where youth smoking is on the rise? The opposite is true, with UK youth smoking declining rapidly as vaping use rises. It's not difficult to understand why considering they are direct substitutes. In the US, more youth vaping has led to a situation where cigarette smoking is so rare amongst youth that the most used product is cigars! Could the author explain the mechanism of how youths supposedly start with a cheap, pleasant tasting product which is orders of magnitude less harmful than combustible tobacco then decide to move on to a massively more expensive and dangerous product which tastes only of burned tobacco leaves? Are there also instances of kids throwing away their mobile phones in favour of using a call box?

Cancer Research UK has repeatedly condemned the prevalence of irresponsible misinformation about vaping and commented on how it is having a detrimental effect of public health. This article is exactly the kind of thing they are so concerned about. And that's the most alarming thing about it ... that it has been written by a pharmacist who should know better. How many customers has he turned away from vaping who have continued to smoke, half of whom will die as a result. Good grief!

There, I got that off my chest. 

It's quite comfy in here, maybe I should come back and write more often, eh?  

Friday 29 May 2020

The WHO Doubles Down On Its Incompetence

You'd think, wouldn't you, that after the damning political and media criticism the World Health Organisation has rightly been subjected to over fucking up the health of every nation on Earth - with their pitiful and incompetent response to the Coronavirus - that they would have learned a lesson on getting their priorities right.

Well, it seems not. This week, they were celebrating the "defeat" of e-cigarettes in Finland, as if this is in any way a good thing.
Strong legislation helps defeat e-cigarettes in Finland
Many countries across the European Region have struggled to contain the rising popularity of these products, and instead have simply seen a transferral of nicotine addiction from tobacco products to e-cigarettes.
Erm, that's the entire point of harm reduction, you dribbling cretins. In fact, it is in your own literature where you state ...
1(d) “tobacco control” means a range of supply, demand and harm reduction strategies that aim to improve the health of a population by eliminating or reducing their consumption of tobacco products and exposure to tobacco smoke; 
Harm reduction - in this particular policy area - is exactly about transferring people from smoking to far safer alternatives like, I dunno, e-cigarettes. Do you get the sense that the WHO isn't really interested in improving people's health, after all? Because I sure as shit do.

OK, you may be sceptical about that, so try this instead. It is World No Tobacco Day on Sunday, and the WHO has just issued a call to action. Here is the kind of deliberately misleading garbage they will be pumping out.
Tobacco products kill more than 8 million people every year. Tobacco and related industries must continuously find new consumers to replace the ones that their products are killing to maintain revenue.
"Related industries"? What could they possibly mean by that?
Tobacco and related industries’ tactics to market to children and adolescents include:
Over 15,000 flavours, most of which attract children and adolescents
Sleek, sexy designs
Ah, in other words, vaping products which have killed no-one, let alone 8 million people. And in case you didn't get the clever lie message they are trying to send, they offer 'material' to nail their crooked mendacity to your subconscious with this kind of emotional muppetry. Note the box mod vaping device pencilled into the girl's hand just under the emboldened 8 million figure.

This is the kind of anti-scientific garbage the WHO was hoping to enter into their global policy recommendations that I wrote about in my blog entitled Liars To Convene In The Hague 12 Months Later Than Planned at the end of April. Because there is no other word to describe them except disgusting liars who are wedded to policies which will seriously harm the health of the public all over the world.

Not satisfied with seeing their incompetence towards Coronavirus kill hundreds of thousands, if not eventually millions, across the world - along with the global economy - these utter fuckwits are doubling down and deliberately derailing the biggest driver - worldwide - of declining smoking rates too.

It is no accident and they are not stupid people. No, this is a deliberate; they are simply monstrous and catastrophically irresponsible organised criminals.

As Ecigclick put it recently:
Let’s face it, the WHO has been running a guerilla style war on all things vape for some time. 
Its tactics have included sniping from the sidelines with completely fake news and ‘science’ surrounding e-cigarettes, issuing totally made up decrees based on fresh air and billionaire paid for ‘research’, flooding the social and mainstream media with horrific scaremongering based on total BS, and churning out enough anti-vape propaganda to make a dictator of a tin-pot country jealous. 
Shocking stuff and yet more proof the World Health Organization is not fit for purpose.
Well, quite.

The WHO isn't a 'health' organisation, it's a Goddamn killing machine. 

Thursday 21 May 2020

It's That Man Again!

So, the menthol tobacco ban - mandated by the EU's Tobacco Products Directive from 2014 - came in this week and many smokers will have been completely unaware of it until Wednesday when they found that their usual smokes are never to be seen again.

However, one thing we did see again was the British tobacco control industry's only supporter amongst retail tobacconists. Not surprising since just about every anti-smoking initiative could have the potential - even if it is not designed, which is arguable - to put corner shops and newsagents out of business.

Meet - once again - John McClurey, an anti-smoking newsagent who has had years to stop selling cigarettes in his shop but seemingly without success.
Shopkeeper John McClurey said: "Retailers have known for years about the new menthol rules so there is no reason why we shouldn't be well prepared."
"We?", John? So you mean you've been selling these things for the past 5 years?

You may remember Troy McClure McClurey from previous tobacco control press released material such as "it doesn't cost much money to install tobacco display ban equipment".
During the debate over legislation to end retail displays of cigarettes, I remember seeing lobbying claims from trade bodies claiming that the legislation could cost retailers over £10,000. I’ve just worked out the bill for the curtains I will need to put over my gantry for cigarettes – it comes to only £120.
At the time, it was uncanny that his estimate was exactly the same - to the penny - as a fantasy figure promoted to politicians as fact by the anti-smoking movement.
The Ministry of Health asked anti-smoking organisation ASH (which is hardly a disinterested party) to check on the cost, and it claimed the figure for the gantries was just £120. This figure was sent by health minister Lord Darzi to every member of the House of Lords.
When the supplier, 4 Solutions of Canada, heard about this, it pointed out the individual cost would be approximately £450 — and this did not include any of the installation costs, which would be around £1000. They also pointed out that the costs of the gantries for all the outlets in Britain could be over £30 million. Neither ASH nor the Ministry of Health has corrected the information they have given to the members of the House of Lords in advance of the vote.
That was in 2009 but poor John has still not managed to stop selling the cigarettes that he dislikes so much.

Scroll onto 2016 and John made another return in response to an ASH report with a bold statement:
ASH research shows corner shops don’t need tobacco to be profitable
McClurey was happy to be their patsy on behalf of others in his industry who overwhelmingly disagree with him.
He believes it’s time for change and welcomes the ASH report because it challenges retailers to consider whether tobacco companies and their local reps really have retailers’ interests in mind.  
McClurey added:  
“The decline in the market, the disappearance of cigarettes behind gantry doors and the shift to plain packaging have made the traditional approach to selling tobacco out-dated. A better alternative for retailers is to reduce stock, shift the gantry and free-up space for products that actually turn a decent profit.”
Well, there's nothing stopping you, John. It's very simple, just stop selling cigarettes. You know what they say about actions being worth much more than words.

Yet here we are, four years later, and John seems to have only just quit selling menthols. And there is a good reason why.
“We have seen from Australia that retailers who price at RRP or below have had no adverse effect on their tobacco sales. This is critically important as the tobacco shopper visits c-stores more regularly than non-smokers and spends almost £1,500 per year more in store. As a customer group, these shoppers are vital to your business and for your continued success, you need to retain these shoppers rather than drive them to rivals.”
So, goodbye menthol cigarettes, but hello again to John McClurey, the most indecisive anti-smoking newsagent in the country. Proudly - and alone - championing the tobacco control industry's efforts to close down his fellow newsagents' businesses without actually setting an example by stopping selling 'unprofitable' products himself.

What a trooper! 

Monday 27 April 2020

++BREAKING++: Liars To Convene In The Hague 12 Months Later Than Planned

Today saw an announcement from the World Health Organisation that their biennial anti-nicotine shitfest has been postponed by a year.
In light of the COVID-19 global pandemic and its impact on the conduct of international global conferences and travel, the Bureaus elected by COP8 and MOP1, after consulting the host country, have decided that convening the Ninth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO FCTC (COP9) and the Second Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products (MOP2), scheduled for November 2020, is no longer possible.
They have been moved back until November 2021 instead.

There is something quite fitting about a real public health emergency leading to postponement of a meeting full of pretend 'public health' tax-spongers who bleat about imaginary threats to the world when people are actually dying in real life instead of on cleverly-created computer models.

The WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control had great plans for COP9 in the Hague. Increasingly irritated by the inconvenient propensity of safer nicotine delivery products, such as e-cigs, to decrease smoking rates all over the world - when loudly-hailed FCTC initiatives like plain packaging had done bugger all - they were all set to spout a load of junk science and lies to try to eliminate their far more successful competition.

If you want an idea of the utter donkey bollocks they were preparing to deliver, you just have to watch this from one of their most prominent officials. I could fisk it all but you might recognise the lies by yourself. There is basically not a single word of truth that slithers out of this WHO maggot's mouth.

Probably the most laughable claim he made was that vaping increases heart attacks. This was filmed at the end of February, by which time the joke study to which he relies on for his 'information' had been retracted due to including heart attacks that occurred before subjects had started vaping. It was widely reported in the popular and medical media, so you would imagine that a top-ranking WHO official might have noticed, but apparently this particular 'expert' was as blind to it as if someone had just told him there was a virus in China.

It's strange that they didn't just hold the thing virtually instead; that seems to be the way of other conferences. But, as has been pointed out on Twitter, that's not how the FCTC works.

Indeed. Regular readers will know that the FCTC COP meetings are all held behind closed doors; the public and the press are excluded; deals are done in secret; delegates bullied and gaslighted; countries traded with incentives for repeating falsehoods; and junk science promoted over scientific fact. And that's not to mention the huge influence wielded by pharmaceutical sponsors and funders with conflicts of interests so huge they could swallow planets.

They won't put their conference online because it's not a transparent discussion or open debate, it is deliberately designed to be secret. Despite being funded by taxpayers, they have no wish to let taxpayers see what they are talking about. In 2014 in Moscow, they even turned off the WiFi so that delegates could not communicate with the outside world.
A $40,000 wifi facility was also wasted when tweets dried up on the second day, and Instagram accounts which had been sharing pictures went silent soon after. It seems that the WHO were desperate to ensure nothing escaped to the outside world about what they were discussing.
No, a virtual meeting would never do. They could have put controls in place to exclude people looking in - like they do physically at each COP they organise - and I'm sure they probably discussed it. But, I expect the potential for hacking was too great for them to consider and seeing as they are crap at just about everything else, they decided not to take the risk.

So, farewell then, COP9. We will see you in 2021 and will still be ready to counter your garbage. In fact, it gives us an opportunity. As we have seen recently with various political causes, the public is striking back against elite cabals ... and winning.

The WHO's COP jamborees feature up to 2,000 attendees, but vapers number in the tens of millions, and growing. Arguments are won by people who are infinitely more passionate about causes than their opponents. For the WHO, it's about money, for consumers it is far more personal than that.

We'll be ready for November 2021, slot it in your diary, folks. 

Sunday 19 April 2020

WHO Values Lines Of Text Over Saving Lives

So, it seems that the US has decided to stop funding the WHO.

For those of us who have been aware of how unaccountable and out of control they are for quite a while, it's not surprising that they have been found wanting when it comes to the only thing we all would like them to do very well.

Their failure to cope with epidemics is not just restricted to this one, who can ever forget the former incompetent Director General taking tea with Vladimir Putin at an anti-tobacco and vaping conference in Moscow instead of an event in Brussels to address Ebola killing people very quickly in Africa? She attended Moscow but texted her speech to Brussels.

The US has decided to implement a review because the WHO's handling of the Coronavirus has been an absolute disgrace. Being a highly-professional organisation, the WHO has obviously reacted to this by focussing on what really matters to them in these extraordinary times.

Via The Times.
The World Health Organisation has warned governments about engaging with the tobacco industry over the development of coronavirus vaccines. 
British American Tobacco, whose cigarette brands include Lucky Stripe and Dunhill, said this month that it had made a significant breakthrough in developing a potential plant-based vaccine candidate for Covid-19. 
However, vaccines from Big Tobacco would pose a dilemma for public health officials and governments. Under the WHO’s framework convention on tobacco control, members are restricted in dealing with the industry.
A vaccine to save millions of lives would be a "dilemma" to the WHO? Are you fucking having a laugh? 
The global health body said that “partnership with the tobacco industry undermines governments’ credibility in protecting population health as there is ‘a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy interests’.”
Erm, so an industry producing a vaccine is bad because it goes against "public health policy interests"? This must be the biggest "computer says no" statement of all time.

People are dying, but hey, who cares? The WHO has a bit of text and it simply cannot be disregarded. Apparently. 

It's called Article 5.3 and it absolutely doesn't fucking cover this. Not even close! 
In setting and implementing their public health policies with respect to tobacco control, Parties shall act to protect these policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law.
Do you see anything in there about refusing a vaccine which could save millions of lives? 
It said that countries including Britain that had ratified the framework in 2004 “should take steps to prevent any interference by the tobacco industry . . . The key point for addressing tobacco industry interference is to reject partnerships and non-binding or non-enforceable agreements with the tobacco industry at any times.”
In other words, the WHO would dearly love someone to come up with a vaccine to prevent deaths caused by their catastrophic incompetence, but sadly if it comes from a company they don't like, everyone will have to refuse it. Computer says no. 
The London-listed BAT, which generated profits of £9 billion last year, has joined the race to develop a vaccine that involves companies worldwide. Its vaccine is being developed with Kentucky Bio Processing, its American biotechnology subsidiary. It said this month that it was in pre-clinical testing and wanted to form partnerships with government agencies on the non-profit project to help to bring its vaccine to human trials, possibly by next month.
Evil bastards!
David O’Reilly, director of scientific research at BAT, has said that the company has contacted healthcare departments to offer access to its research and planned to contact the WHO. 
The government, which has established a vaccine taskforce including industry and academics, is in contact with the tobacco company and other coronavirus vaccine ventures. 
If testing “goes well”, through collaborations with government and third-party manufacturers between one and three million doses per week could be manufactured from June, the company said. Clinical studies typically take more than a year. 
Dr O’Reilly said that history would take a dim view if the company had not told anybody that it had technology that could be deployed rapidly to help to tackle a pandemic.
Well, quite. I don't know about you, but as someone who would like to go out sometime before next Christmas, actually see flour on supermarket shelves again - maybe even visit a pub - and not see escalating deaths all over the world due to the WHO's stunning stupidity, I really couldn't give a rat's chuff who makes a vaccine. I don't think tens of thousands of bereaved families in the UK or elsewhere will care either. 
Deborah Arnott, chief executive Action on Smoking and Health, an anti-smoking charity, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic is a disaster, there have been over 40,000 deaths since it started and rising — but we mustn’t forget that the tobacco epidemic still kills over 22,000 people a day.”
40,000? Try 160,000 and rising.

But besides that, so therefore we should tell BAT to stop working on a cure? Put away your test tubes, guys, close down the labs and your expensive machines, tobacco control has got this. They're putting health warnings on individual cigarettes soon, that'll learn the virus, and no mistake!

Seriously, some of these people should learn to keep their heads down and shut their traps right now. This isn't a fucking game.

Now, it's clear that WHO are puppet masters of people further down the chain, so they kinda have to dance to the WHO's tune. I'm sure they wouldn't be such disgusting people if that burden was taken away from them.

So for the good of humanity, and to help our UK tobacco controllers to not have to act as heartless oafs, it's probably for the best that the UK government stops funding the WHO too.

It might - just might - force them into working out for themselves that an organisation which claims to be a force for good health around the world, should value people staying alive when faced with a deadly virus which kills in days, more than childish ideology and a few sentences of fucking text.

Sunday 12 April 2020

We're All In This Together ... Except For Some

This week, the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, asked for further help from industry to develop testing for the Coronavirus outbreak. He namechecked a few Titans of industry in his daily briefing which had already downed their usual tools and decided that their talents, and financial clout, could be useful to society in saving lives.

The week before, Hancock had acknowledged the already admirable efforts that the private sector had put in to redirect their ample resources towards tackling the virus, saying:
Many companies are already working urgently to assist us in this and I'm delighted that so many more are looking to step up to this challenge.
It's all hands to the pump and we are all together on this, aren't we? It is so refreshing to see; everyone pulling together in a common cause against a common enemy.

Well, not quite everyone, unfortunately.

On the same day that Hancock said he was "delighted" at the efforts being made, there was one subset of our society which was still excluding themselves from this campaign of working together. You see, British American Tobacco (BAT) had issued a press release - on the very same day - announcing that they were working hard on producing a vaccine. You can read it here.

You would think, wouldn't you, that those in tobacco control would meet to discuss this and decide that now isn't the time to broadcast their childish and insular prejudices to the world. But, I dunno, maybe because communication lines are difficult working for home (I'm being generous) that didn't happen.

Instead, there was a wail of collective outrage from the tobacco control industry, the most vomit-inducing from Wanda de Kanter, a particularly nasty anti-smoking lunatic from The Netherlands.

Yep, in a global emergency, companies she doesn't like should be told to "stop" using their huge resources in an effort to save lives. This, from someone who would call herself part of 'public health'. Note she is not saying that she, particularly, would refuse anything provided by the 'wrong' company if she was on death's door - which is her choice - but that other people who are dying should be prevented from accessing the equipment and that work on a vaccine should cease because she says so.

Considering over 100,000 human beings have died so far, this evil attitude truly beggars belief!

The reference to ventilators is a reaction to a different story broken by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism - an organisation which claims to be the pinnacle of truth in reporting, but currently writes articles to order funded by Michael Bloomberg's puppet, Vital Strategies - about 50 ventilators donated by Philip Morris in Greece.

No-one would have known this story if it wasn't highlighted by the grubby guns for hire of the journalism trade but, sadly, someone far less of a lunatic - and who should know better - chose to chivvy them along by offering this disappointing comment.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, criticised PMI’s motives. “This is a shameful publicity stunt by Philip Morris International, which owns Papastratos and has a 40% share of the Greek tobacco market,” she said. 
“Smoking makes people more vulnerable to coronavirus, and if they get it makes the symptoms worse, meaning they’re more likely to need ventilators. Papastratos makes €1.3bn a year ... In comparison, the donation of 50 ventilators is a drop in the ocean.”
The fact that Papastratos - an affiliate of Philip Morris - had not courted any publicity whatsoever until the Bureau of Incompetent Journalism blundered in, seems lost on some, obviously.

As if that is not bad enough on its own, shall we test this assertion that "smoking makes people more vulnerable to coronavirus"?

Because, you see, it's not true.

Smokers are conspicuously under-represented amongst cases in both China and the USA. An evidence review published three weeks ago found no association between smoking and the severity of COVID-19. Yet every tobacco control organisation - including Public Health England - in the UK has been spewing this fake news from their social media channels for a couple of weeks now.

So, one could argue that the only people using this virus as a publicity stunt are tobacco controllers themselves. Pretty shameful, huh?

In fact, it's worse than that. While we are all working together to defeat the virus, the tobacco control machine is actively trying to nobble any efforts to join with the noble cause as Hancock has been suggesting.

Another Bloomberg-funded sock puppet made a desperate plea a few days ago for governments to refuse help from not only tobacco companies but vaping ones too. Repeating the lies about smoking and vaping leading to increased risks from the virus, they urged governments to "encourage citizens to quit outright and to hold the tobacco industry accountable for the harm caused by its products, including harm related to COVID-19".

Now, I've always had quite a distaste for extremists in tobacco control. They are devoid of empathy, they pervert scientific principles, treat ethics as if they were an inconvenience and are incredibly venal and selfish.

But, I honestly never believed they could be so monumentally crass as to put their own funding and personal dislikes over and above the greater cause of helping as many people to live as possible.

Maybe I'm being unfair and - just as happened when the WHO installed the butcher of Zimbabwe as a goodwill ambassador, remember that? - there are many others in the tobacco control industry who are disgusted by such a cold, heartless and inhumane reaction to companies trying to help lessen the number of people dying during this real public health emergency, but if so they are extremely quiet about it.

If, at some point, BAT did create a vaccine for the virus, I do hope the massed ranks of selfish and blinkered tobacco controllers who find the manufacturer distasteful will refuse to take it. They would be astonishing hypocrites otherwise, and by declining they would leave more supplies for those in the public who value life above stupid and childish ideology.

You may have read often on these pages that I don't believe certain sections of pretend 'public health' actually care about health at all. Well, I think this is case closed, don't you?