Despite a flood of pharma cash being diverted to organisations sharing mail boxes with the Smokefree Partnership, and one of their advocates - Florence Berteletti-Kemp - formerly being on the payroll of one of those organisations, some still believe there is no corruption here.
I found this quote particularly hilarious.
MEP Carl Schlyter (Green Party, Sweden): “According to my internet research I was not able to detect any connection to the pharma industry.”No proud pharma logos sponsoring their conferences; no openly-admitted cash support; he detected absolutely nothing. He is either a piss poor detective or a very fair guy - perhaps he is so scrupulous that he refuses to call out a tobacco control industry arm as being in the pay of big pharma until he sees an audit trail from payment to bank statement.
Well, that would be believable if it weren't for the appalling tosh he spouts when talking about anyone who opposes the TPD.
But Carl Schlyter MEP, health spokesman for the Greens, called it "a shameful day for the European Parliament, as a centre-right majority, led by the EPP group, has done the bidding of the tobacco industry and voted for weaker rules".A clue as to whom Schlyter classes as the "tobacco industry" is in his EU group's registry of contacts which you can read here.
Out of 95 communications, only 14 are from what you or I would class a tobacco company. The rest are not tobacco companies in any sense of the word. A large majority were independent e-cig companies who have never sold even part of a single tobacco leaf. The rest were packaging companies, trade mark associations, state approved anti-counterfeiting groups ... and even the Good Clinical Practice Alliance.
Apparently, Schlyter can find no evidence whatsoever that Berteletti-Kemp is a pharma stooge despite the payments being clearly evident ... yet he is absolutely certain - beyond any doubt whatsoever - that anyone who opposed the TPD is motivated purely because of payments by the tobacco industry.
This includes, by the way, Adults For Adults who are condemned for sending this letter to MEPs.
We are a group of intellectuals and artists who observe the measures taken by the EU with growing concern. We ask you: do you really believe that it is the role of politicians to issue health warnings? Given mass poverty in Europe, homelessness, rampant youth unemployment and social radicalisation, do you not think that there are other, far more important, complex and pressing political challenges?
Do you not think that the patronizing treatment of adults at the hands of politicians can have dangerous and damaging consequences? If you treat responsible adults like children who need to be given health warnings, you might open the door to people actually behaving like children at some point in the future. Do you really want that? Would you prefer timid, obedient and servile subjects to autonomous citizens?
If the issue you raise is the health costs caused by individuals, the situation might quickly escalate as the public begins to name and shame other costly or no longer productive individuals or groups and considers ways of disposing of them. We have already been there in the previous century. Do you really want to play this dangerous game? If you encourage citizens to perceive others solely as a potential threat, you engage in scaremongering and worsen social divisions, all of which erodes Europe’s social cohesion, already under threat, even further.
Finally, if you treat Europe’s citizens, who have voted you in, as if they were legally incompetent, you ultimately question your own democratic legitimacy – following this logic, you would have been elected by legally incompetent voters.Quite.
They also sent each MEP this glorious visual indication of short-sighted stupidity.
Totally off-message for the Greens and Socialists, so they're shoved into the pigeon hole as tobacco apologists and ignored by criminal citation of FCTC Article 5.3. But, of course, Schlyter finds no similar agenda with the Smokefree Partnership despite pretty clear pharma funding schemes - they are allowed to lobby with as much big pharma cash as they can stuff in their trouser pockets simply because they agree with Schlyter's EU group. Nope, no corruption there, no siree!
It shows just how magnificent the victory for e-cigs was when Greens and Socialists had their ears so atrociously and undemocratically closed to objectors throughout the entire process.