"Time slips away and leaves you with nothing mister but boring stories of glory days" - Bruce SpringsteenMike Daube is someone you may have read about a few times if you're one of this 'ere jewel-robbing community.
He is a former Director of ASH UK who moved to Australia, advocates banning smoking just about everywhere and is a big fan of the slippery slope. He believes bansturbators should be able to take as much taxpayer money as they feel like, and is now engaged in ensuring that the tobacco template is followed faithfully by calling for gory health warnings on bottles of wine. He is also quite open in admitting that he wants to see full tobacco prohibition by making life as difficult as inhumanly possible for smokers.
The problem is that he is now very old and the archetypal dog which has long since lost the skill of learning new tricks.
You see, for someone who has spent so much of his dreary life obsessing about lit tobacco, you'd think he might be receptive to the idea of e-cigs - an alternative which solves just about every gripe anti-smokers usually have about fags. Such as ...
By virtue of emitting no tar, indeed, no carcinogens of any kind, they knock the stuffing out of passive-smoking concerns. They do not stink, so there is no reason to complain that they interfere with others' enjoyment of food and drink. No butts are left over and no ash is spilled, so they create no litter. They emit a clear vapour but do not burn, and so pose no fire risk. The batteries are rechargeable, the rest recyclable.What's not to like?
Sadly, the above was in reply to a desperate attempt by Daube to portray e-cigs as some kind of tobacco industry conspiracy.
Faced with the impenetrable facts in favour of e-cigs, he instead harks back to the era of Slade, Kojak and the Austin Allegro by talking about 1970s attempts at creating a safer tobacco alternative.
Public health expert Mike Daube, who was interviewed for the National Newsagent article, told Fairfax Media the products were far from safe.
"The massive promotion of these products provided enormous distraction from anti-smoking efforts," said Daube, a professor of health policy at Curtin University in Western Australia.And then conflates these attempts with e-cigs which were conceptualised and invented by some bloke from China who wanted to see people quit tobacco.
The buying of e-cigarette firms by Big Tobacco is not a noble attempt to mitigate decades of death caused by cigarettes, Professor Daube says. It is a totally commercial strategy, he says, one that is not motivated by harm reduction."The fact that harm is being reduced is not acceptable to Daube. He just doesn't like the fact that tobacco companies are a part of it.
"They're not talking about substituting cigarettes for e-cigarettes," he says. "They're talking about using these products as well as cigarettes. Through e-cigarettes, they know they can get back into workplaces and restaurants. They're promoting e-cigarettes as a way to smoke in places that you otherwise can't."Because, you see, for Jurassic Daubosaurus, attacking the tobacco industry is far more important than actually improving public health, a task which he has been employed to do with public funds for the past 40 years.
And it's not just smokers being targeted, says Professor Daube, who advocated the plain packaging of tobacco in Australia, implemented last December. Colourful e-cigarettes adorned with decorations could be seen as a way to make cigarettes attractive to younger consumers, targeting people who may never have smoked but may, through attractive marketing, feel compelled to try an e-cigarette.Hmm. ASH UK, the organisation he himself ran in the 1970s, can find no evidence whatsoever that this is happening. But Daube is so single-minded in his out-of-date crusade against big tobacco - and conditioned over decades to promote falsity as fact - that he really couldn't care about the truth.
"If we have learnt anything over all these years, it's that Big Tobacco will do anything to keep people smoking."And this is what it's really all about. Daube is another to add to the list of mostly moth-eaten, tired, aged tobacco control industry activists who have been overrun by current events. The game has changed with the advent of e-cigs and they are simply too old to adapt to it.
Like the guy in his sixties who can't quite get the idea of how to text or e-mail, Daube is incapable of changing his approach to facilitate better public health outcomes. Instead he sticks rigidly to throwing rocks at an industry which is doing exactly what his movement has been demanding for decades - to market a product which is not tobacco and therefore less damaging to health. You might assume from this that Duabe isn't actually that interested in health, and I'd tend to agree with you.
He is not alone. Around the world there are a handful of former tobacco control industry big hitters who have been rendered obsolete by the e-cig revolution, so they are reduced to trotting out boring stories of decades-old victories in a vain attempt to portray themselves as somehow relevant in the 21st century.
Even boxers now realise when it's time to retire before they look ridiculous, but it would appear that the lucrative tax-funded gravy train is more difficult for crusty tobacco control industry spongers to resist.