Then, for relaxation, I come home and ... read more pdf files from public sector blow-hards and state-funded, pumped up, anti-fun bansturbators who seem to think they are somehow not the same as indolent benefit leeches. Which they are, of course. In fact, here are some pictured sitting on their sorry arses wasting the handouts that they are shovelled. Bring back national service, I say! Send the lazy, good-for-nothin' tax drains off to Afghanist...
... anyway, I digress. Back to the point.
I read yet another last night, as posted at Taking Liberties. A response to the Welsh Assembly by Imperial Tobacco, specifically, and if you haven't yet done so, perhaps you should read it too as it came as a bit of a surprise.
Simon Clark gave us a few teasers, but the whole document was a fully-referenced piece stubbornly rejecting the collective back-slapping of Welsh legislators in the tobacco control debate (if there ever was one).
As I said, these things have to be worded in a certain way - it's laid down in the public sector scriptures, so it is - but in seven glorious pages, Imperial Tobacco eloquently conveyed the message "Sorry, but you've lost the plot, and we ain't buying your crap no more".
What's more, they did so by quoting back to the assembly their own - and Westminster's - (expensively-drafted) documents. Here's an example.
It is therefore bewildering that the Government sees adult free choice as a ‘problem’; that prevalence stagnation is due to a lack of mass-media anti-smoking campaigns7, the use of niche tobacco products8, and smoking in cars and homes9, all of which were considered negligible issues at the time of the smoking ban6. When informed adults choose to continue smoking the answer should not be yet more draconian and disproportionate policies to force behaviour change.The superscript references were Welsh consultation document assertions totally refuted by Welsh NHS papers apparently referenced in the process.
The Plan claims that ”Smoking is also a leading cause of health inequalities, having been identified as the main cause for the gap in life expectancy between rich and poor.”11And after blowing a raspberry at the consultation for its shoddy evidence, well, why not a bit of plain old-fashioned ridicule, eh?
The belief that health inequalities arise as a consequence of smoking is spurious. As set out clearly in the Marmot Report published in the UK last year, the root causes of health inequalities are fundamental:“…Most effective actions to reduce health inequalities will come through action within the social determinants of health. However, attempts to reduce health inequalities have … relied increasingly on tackling more proximal causes (such as smoking), through behaviour change programmes. Part of the explanation for this emphasis lies with the comparative ease of identifying action to address behaviour, rather than the complexity of addressing social inequalities shaping such behaviours.” 12Marmot sets out two alternatives; one challenging but effective, one simple but ultimately inadequate. The Government appears guilty of opting for the latter option.
The Plan insists that there is no evidence of a shift in smoking to the home from pubs and workplaces. Considering that prevalence levels have remained flat at 24% since 2007 it leads one to question where else the Government thinks the adult smokers, who have been forced out of pubs, now smoke.I just wish the author had been allowed to suffix that with "well, duh!".
Oh, oh, wait. I nearly forgot this bit, you'll love it!
Furthermore, the evidential base for the introduction of invasive legislation is often absent or highly flawed. For example, one report that was extensively recycled in the media claimed that second-hand smoke was “…23 times more toxic in a vehicle than in a home...” 20 Such claims are without any substance, and have been roundly refuted by the evidence21.Indeed. In fact, there wasn't any evidence whatsoever. It was a load of made-up guff from the start and bolstered by a game of gullible Chinese Whispers, as we who are 'not experts, Dave' have known all along, but which ASH (the experts, remember?) swallowed whole.
As did dozy Welsh anti-smoking politicos (and boy are they dozy, you only have to remember laughing at this guy for proof), it would seem.
It's been suggested that the response, great as it is, won't even be read by the people paid by Welsh taxpayers to do so. That's as maybe, but perhaps Imperial Tobacco knew that, as the only thing missing from the response was a great fat dirty one of these at the bottom.
Yaki dah this, sunshine
Following on from obstinate challenges to the vending machine and tobacco display bans in Scotland, is this a new, hunkier tobacco industry we are seeing here? One more in tune with what we would like to see from them?
Let's hope so, 'cos I read the Imperial response and was hearing the A-team theme as Mr T bazooka-ed the damn fools who had held him captive for much of the show; it was the Indiana Jones grimace as he decided enough was enough in Temple of Doom; the bullied kid finally wising up and kicking Big Baz squarely in the balls.
We want more of this stuff, guys and gals. Civil servants and their fake charity lickspittles may not be listening, but if we really must be surrounded by morally and evidentially corrupt righteous scumbags, let's go down fighting like Butch and Sundance, not Mr bloody Bean*.
* Or, indeed, CAMRA.