Sunday, 14 July 2013

Criminal Gangs? Lack Of Evidence? Who Cares?

While the country enjoyed a glorious barbecue weekend, the incessant bleating from whey-faced puritans after Friday's decision to shelve plain packaging still hasn't abated, with desperate scrabbling by the tobacco control industry to shift attention away from the fact that it is a nonsense of an idea which has been overwhelmingly rejected by the public.

While some are still trying to blame lobbyists for the Conservative party forcing a fantasy U-turn from a policy the coalition government (an entirely different entity)  had repeatedly said they had an 'open mind' about, TV doctor Sarah Jarvis (pictured left) has chosen a more unusual argument.

In a debate on Radio 4, it was reasonably put to her that plain packs could encourage an increase in vastly more dangerous counterfeit products, and that there was no decent evidence for such a measure (which there isn't, apart from the stuff her side rigged, of course).

She responded that she doesn't care about counterfeit fags - which the BBC found were "thirty times more toxic than ordinary cigarettes" - nor does she think that sound evidence is needed before heavily interfering with businesses; ignoring public consultations; and riding roughshod over international trade treaties.

Says it all, really. It's the usual anti-smoking fare, a policy without evidence which doesn't require any more justification than the fact that arrogant statist prodnoses demand it.

And as for a doctor not caring about harm from dangerous counterfeits nor about how many criminal counterfeit gangs there are, who is truly surprised? It has never been about health anyway.

H/T Moonrakin in comments here.


Corncrake said...

Perhaps some one should report her to the GMC, with an attitude like that, I hate to think how she treats her own patients - If she has any left by now!

RooBeeDoo said...

She's a doctor and she doesn't believe in having evidence before prescribing a course of action? Does she hand antibiotics would willy nilly? Would she amputate a limb before investigating whether it can be saved?
I'm gobsmacked! No wonder the NHS is in trouble.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Fellow jewel robbers tried that with this woman, but the ethics committee just ignored it.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

I think she was just incensed at being challenged on the BBC, how very dare they? ;)

John said...

That's the thing when you're a fanatic you see. You only see things through which you want to agree with. There is no possibility of counter argument because even if that counter argument is true, it would ruin your position and make you look bad.

Ergo facts are ignored.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Yep, like a spoiled obsessive spotty teen incapable of taking criticism of their favourite band without throwing a strop.

What the.... said...

Shelving of plain packaging has attracted the predictable screech-fest by the usual suspects. There’s a raucous chorus of “tobacco industry conspiracy” – a perennial favorite, “bloody murder”, or a general theme of “wiv bin done wrong”. Some are even describing it as Public Health “fury”,
as in “hell hath no fury as Public Health freeloading tyrants fearing their
comfortable employment and unmerited stranglehold on public policy being

What the.... said...

On Jarvis. The woman is obviously a massive ego….. “I don’t care”….. “I don’t care”….. “I really don’t care”…… “Only what I think matters” [foot stomp]. Maybe it’s the celebrity status that further feeds the “god complex” already rampant in the medical establishment – delusions of omniscience, infallibility, and benevolence.

Jarvis also seems to be Pharma-connected. Her comments appear on this Pfizer page attempting to convince smokers intending to quit to NOT go “cold turkey” even though the vast majority of those that have quit since the 1950s have done so cold turkey. Pfizer don’t like that; they need to move some NRT product. And Jarvis, like many medicos, is most accommodating - how wonderful:

Only more sickening is “About Pfizer: Working Together for a Healthier World™”
For heaven’s sake!

Another TV doctor (“Dr. Oz” in the USA) comes to mind. Here’s Roizen’s piece on why employment discrimination against smokers is “good for business”. It is the chilling eugenics framework of a plethora of questionable statistics devoid of any humanity. Even more chilling is that Roizen is Jewish and his “hate piece” appears in a Jewish news service: Of all sections of society, one would have thought that these would have been
particularly sensitive to a hate campaign, able to spot it a mile away. But the
“persecution of smokers” theme seems to be lost on them – utterly, so lost on them that they are most happy to promote it. Note, too, the comments to the article:

What the.... said...

A little more on the medico-bigot, Roizen, from a few years back.

The Godber/WHO Blueprint was advising in the 1970s that medical and educational facilities should ban smoking and also smokers from employment. Medical and educational staff should be nonsmoking “exemplars”.

In half of American states where it is allowable to discriminate against smokers, there is a growing trend for medical facilities to ban employing smoking staff. Everything else about a person, e.g., qualifications, skill, etc, become irrelevant. Only smoking status is critical. Cleveland Clinic is one such facility that has banned employing smokers (Michael Roizen is chief wellness officer and a medico “celebrity”).

“We want to make it easy for you to do healthy things and hard for you to do unhealthy things,” Roizen said. “If you want a sugared drink, you have
to go out of your way to bring it from home. We’re not going to provide it.”

That left fitness and stress relief. The first step was easy: Offer free fitness and stress management classes. But the clinic still had to get its employees to attend. So they reversed the normal calculus. Usually, you have to pay to hit the gym or attend a yoga class. If you work for the Cleveland Clinic, you have to pay if you don’t.

“We raised the premiums for all employees,” Roizen said. But employees didn’t necessarily have to pay the increase. “If you’re doing a healthy program — attending Weight Watchers or Shape Up and Go — you get a rebate.”

That left enforcement. The clinic tracks its employees’ blood pressure, lipids, blood sugar, weight and smoking habits. If any of these are what the clinic calls “abnormal,” a doctor must certify that the employee is taking steps to get them under control. Otherwise, no insurance rebate. The idea is to force employees to have regular conversations with their doctors about wellness. If they participate, they can lock in the rates they were paying two years ago. The savings amount to many thousands of dollars.

…. In one sense, the clinic has achieved the health policy ideal: cutting health-care costs by making people healthier. But consider how the clinic has done it — tying premiums to personal decisions, firing smokers, tracking employee metrics, eliminating popular sodas and foods from campus. By making it harder and more expensive for employees to be unhealthy, the clinic has radically overstepped the traditional, laissez-faire approach of employers to their workers’ personal habits.

It also opens the door to onerous forms of discrimination. The clinic no longer hires smokers. Will the obese eventually face similar hurdles? What about fans of fast food?

What the.... said...

Roizen effectively believes he owns his employees’ bodies - literally, routinely tracking particular measures and with constant medical oversight/surveillance; it’s like a more technologized version of a health[ist] farm early last century, e.g., the eugenicist Kellogg. And this is a condition of employment. Roizen is a classical physicalist and a neo-eugenicist. You’ll notice that all of his “targets” are the behavioral dimension of eugenics. He thinks health is only physical. He is operating by a demonstrably perverse definition of health
(biological reductionism). He grasps no other dimensions of health. Smokers are too defiant for the obsessed with control; the defiance really gets in the craw of their fascist “majesties”. The social-engineering (eugenics) solution: Get rid of them; don’t employ them. And Roizen believes this is an approach that should be applied widely. Roizen well demonstrates what is bad about contemporary medicine. He’s shallow, arrogant, haughty, and suffering a nasty
"god complex".

This is getting into very dangerous territory. Yet it attracts little critique from within the medical establishment itself or the media.

Refusal to employ smokers was seen earlier last century as part of a eugenics-dominated antismoking crusade and more general “clean living” hysteria:

It is to America’s (and now the world) great shame, and particularly the medical establishment, that it has been down this twisted, destructive path only recently and hasn’t learned one useful thing – an insanity revisited.

moonrakin said...

Yeah ... I didn't know she moonlighted for Pfizer but it figures.

The arrogance of some doctors is beyond measuring - the UK profession has far more than its fair share of medics so arrogant that they're prone to entirely arbitrary, dysfunctional pronouncements.

There must be something in the training of English speaking doctors that triggers this - subjectively European doctors show a fair bit more humility than a lot of ours.

Nasty piece of work.