Thursday 28 January 2016

Capewell, Ireland, Their Pharma Friends And Vape Bans

You may recall that in December we found out Martin McKee and the Chief Morality Officer Sally Davies had conspired to try to stop Public Health England from seeking filmed opinions about e-cigs, from tobacco controllers, presumably because they knew that many would be positive.

For those ideologically opposed to vaping this is something which had to be crushed, Sally Davies particularly didn't want it to see the light of day, as I mentioned at the time.
Stating to McKee that she had contacted the organisation and "was clear that [PHE] should not go ahead", she then - incredibly - asked if McKee could enlist the help of the Faculty of Public Health to deter PHE from continuing with the idea. McKee, of course, was quite happy to do so and called on now-President of the FPH, John Middleton, to assist.
Now, we know that FPH are absurdly opposed to e-cigs as their former Chairman shared that info one wild and wacky, tired and emotional Saturday night back in September 2014. So it wasn't much of  surprise that his replacement, Middleton, would be more than happy to be a health-be-damned merchant of doubt too.

However, the December FOI also mentioned someone else who is very eager to create as much fear and confusion about e-cigs as possible.
John Middleton, Robin Ireland and I have been doing almost non stop media interviews (and of course the blogs and tweets are having a field day, photoshopping my face onto all sorts of things...) 
OK, stop sniggering about the photoshop bit for a moment and consider that reference to Robin Ireland. If you don't know him, he is prime propagandist at the Health Equalities Group which has a Twitter timeline that Chairman Mao would be proud of for its incessant barking of junk science on everything from e-cigs to 7Up. Robin himself is no slouch in that respect either, I can recommend you following both to observe their screaming insanity on a daily basis.

Well, Argvargen has been looking into Robin Ireland's organisation and found some very interesting info.
The Health Equalities Group comprises Hearts of Mersey, HM Partnerships and Healthy Stadia, which are wholly owned subsidiaries of the umbrella “charity”, as well as Food Active, which runs the truly pathetic GULPnow campaign. It is run by Robin Ireland, and lo and behold, one of the trustees is none other than the hashtag-haiku-tweeting phenomenon that is Simon “Capslock” Capewell. HoM/HEG is partly funded by the taxpayer, via tasty grants from a number of the North West Directors of Public Health. (Getting very cosy this, isn’t it!)
Simon Capewell, did he say? Trustee of Health Equalities Group? Who is also on the board of the FPH who McKee enlisted to try to get positive opinions of e-cigs silenced? Say it ain't so!

Argvargen continues ...
It is also happy to take “kind contributions” from Pfizer:
Yes, you know, the makers of nicotine patches and gum. In fact, Argvargen's investigations show that organisations under the control of Robin Ireland regularly receive cash from pharmaceutical companies, and not restricted to Pfizer either. Do go have a read.

What particularly struck me though was the mention of Healthy Stadia and how they are funded.
In 2005/6 Heart of Mersey put in a bid for with the EU’s DG SANCO for another sack of taxpayers’ cash for their Healthy Stadia project. DG SANCO didn’t have any sacks, so they sent a truckload. €532,000 to be precise. 
So what do vapers & smokers have to fear from Healthy Stadia? Put simply, they actively, aggressively and successfully encourage football, rugby, cricket and other clubs to ban smoking and vaping in any indoor or outdoor part of their sports stadia and surrounding areas. That’s right – if you’re planning on visiting Euro2016 this summer, you won’t even be allowed to vape in the concourse outside the stadia. and it’s all thanks to the shitpuffins at Healthy Stadia. It’s a horrendous policy that divides rather than unites sports communities and exemplifies the unscientific, fanatical and frankly inhuman creatures that dominate the public health industry today.
You see, some will know that I am a cricket and rugby fan so am acutely aware of how this group's badgering of sports venues has resulted in such fascist illiberal bans. So much so that in 2014 I enlisted the help of a fellow jewel robber to ask what Healthy Stadia had done to encourage outdoor vaping bans in particular. Their spokesman, Matthew Philpott, was adamant that they only "consulted" the clubs as to their policy.
We have not carried out consultation with fans concerning use of e-cigarettes at stadia, only with individual clubs and governing bodies.  
I should also state that we have not been instrumental in directing UK clubs to ban e-cigarettes – we have simply conducted consultation on their current policies regarding this matter.
Follow up questions asking for evidence of the material they sent to the clubs concerned was ignored, so I contacted a few clubs to ask exactly what Healthy Stadia had sent them. You won't be surprised to learn that it didn't correlate with Philpott's innocent explanation.
The advice they gave us was that e-cigs still normalised smoking and guided us to our Council Public Health views which was not to encourage. 
Advice? Erm, I thought it was just consultation.

It all becomes clear when you read, via Argvargen, how Healthy Stadia has been funded.
And what do you know? Robin’s Healthy Stadia is also funded by patch floggers. Yes indeed ladies and gentlemen. Vape-free stadiums, brought to you in association with and thanks to funding from the makers of Nicoderm

So here we have an organisation which is strapped for cash, taking money from a pharmaceutical company which makes nicotine replacement therapy, and advising sports venues - bypassing fans altogether - to cease the practice of vaping in all areas inside and outside. Seems legit, eh?

Now, considering the huge conflict of interest taking pharmaceutical money and then advocating bans on e-cigs in stadia represents, do you think they should be advertising that they enjoyed "success in engaging, informing and influencing North West MPs and MEP in relation to a number of tobacco control issues including the Tobacco Products Directive"? Do you think they should be shouting out how brilliant they think proposed Welsh vaping bans are? Additionally, don't you find it hilarious that HEG trustee Simon Capewell was one of the authors of a smear article in the BMJ based solely on lamely questioning the conflicts of interest in one study out of hundreds referenced by PHE's positive report on e-cigs?

And considering Robin Ireland appears to be desperate for funding and eager therefore for pharma cash, isn't it absurd that he should be consorting with the proven liar McKee to spread doubt and fears about e-cigs, let alone actively encouraging their being banned?

Incredibly, these people have the gall to accuse tobacco, drinks, food and soda companies of being corrupt. It truly beggars belief, doesn't it?

H/T Argvargen, see his articles here and here.

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