Not anymore. You see, you're merely an 'addict' now.
Now that your right to self-declaration of enjoyment of tobacco has been denied by those who know you better than, err, you, it's interesting to see the same being rolled out for - well - just about anything really. How about food?
Yes, food. All food.
We are, on average, 3st heavier than we were in the 60s. And not because we're eating more or exercising less – we just unwittingly became sugar addictsAnd, of course, once you are an addict, you are a victim who requires help. You're not yourself, d'you see? You have no ability to make any kind of choice, therefore choice must be made for you.
This is tobacco template 101. But for the BBC, it is just another snobby condemnation of the working class - posing as health concern - to place in front of the nation.
The well-trodden path of methods employed by other prohibitionists before them doesn't end there, either.
There's the evil industry knowingly adding unhealthy additives.
Leptin raises a big question: did the food industry knowingly create foods that were addictive, that would make you feel as though you were never satisfied and always wanted more? Kessler is cautious in his response: "Did they understand the neuroscience? No. But they learned experientially what worked."The "they're evil so we must prevent them from having any input into the debate" opening gambit ...
But Yudkin's work was rubbished by what many believe, including Professor Robert Lustig, one of the world's leading endocrinologists, was a concerted campaign to discredit Yudkin. Much of the criticism came from fellow academics, whose research was aligning far more closely with the direction the food industry was intending to take. Yudkin's colleague at the time, Dr Richard Bruckdorfer at UCL says: "There was a huge lobby from [the food] industry, particularly from the sugar industry, and Yudkin complained bitterly that they were subverting some of his ideas." Yudkin was, Lustig says simply, "thrown under the bus", because there was a huge financial gain to be made by fingering fat, not sugar, as the culprit of heart disease.... coupled with a crank being touted as some kind of evangelical saviour. Yep, seen them before too.
The absurd claims.
Other studies have found that sugar may even coat semen and result in obese men becoming less fertile.They'll no doubt get to something about toe-nails in time (funding permitting).
And finally, conflating the threat with a previously denormalised substance (serving nicely as a hat tip to those who made it all possible).
David Kessler, the former head of the US government's most powerful food agency, the FDA, and the person responsible for introducing warnings on cigarette packets in the early 90s, believes that sugar, through its metabolisation by the gut and hence the brain, is extremely addictive, just like cigarettes or alcohol.Now, if they just left it there. You know, education for the lumpen proles so they could make their own minds up, I could hold some grudging respect for them.
But, again, from previous experience we know what comes next. Firstly, from another well-known crank, a gentle encouragement for action to hit evil Big Food business in the pocket.
According to Professor Kelly Brownell at Yale University, one of the world's foremost experts on obesity and its causes, the science will soon be irrefutable and we may then be just a few years away from the first successful lawsuit.Hints at the need for government health warnings on food.
Why has Kessler, when he has had such success with his warnings on cigarette packets, not done the same thing for processed foods high in sugar?And, inevitably, some liberty-blind, and self-determination oblivious, MP stung into furrow-browed action by the constant whining.
Anne Milton, the minister for public health, tells me that legislation against the food industry isn't being ruled out, because of the escalating costs to the NHS. [...] "Let's get one thing straight," Milton tells me, however. "I am not scared of the food industry."Yep, and we've seen that bravado before too.
So the whole lucrative ambulance-chasing bandwagon begins again, just with a different target.
There are plenty other examples of similarities in approach from elsewhere in the referenced piece, see if you can spot them.
Perhaps we should devise a scorecard for when such articles appear and play public health slippery slope bingo, or something.
UPDATE: Spiked reckons the aforementioned Kessler is a hopeless scaremonger, too.
UPDATE: More than that, he's definitely on the cranky side.
And the BBC are promoting these people as calm, reasoned 'scientists'?