Thursday 11 February 2016

The Curious Incident Of The Wonk In The Night-time

At the weekend, the boy P and I went along to an Aviva Premiership rugby match at The Stoop to see Harlequins v Northampton Saints.

Sadly they have a pretty pathetic policy on smoking and vaping outdoors.

This means you can't smoke or vape in the huge area behind the south stand specifically created for pre-match relaxation and enjoyment. So therefore both are forbidden here ...

... and here ...

... and most definitely here by the entertainment.

Nope, if you want to smoke or vape you have to leave the stadium completely, and two members of staff plus two stewards are on hand to assist you in doing just that.

On a bitterly cold day with a spiteful wind whipping round the place, I'm sure all attendees - who have never seemed particularly bothered in previous seasons - felt comfortably 'protected' from a few wisps of smoke and some vapour. Outdoors!

Of course, it's not about that, there is - and never will be - any evidence that smoke outdoors is harmful to bystanders, and August's PHE report stated that there is no evidence of vapour being harmful to anyone at all!  Nope, it's the dictatorial anti-social 'public health' policy of "denormalisation" in action. In other words, bullying people into ceasing activities of which they don't approve.

This policy was brought about by a particularly rancid state, EU and pharma-funded organisation called Health Equalities Group (HEG), an offshoot of which is Healthy Stadia who conned clubs into installing these ridiculous bans, as I mentioned in January.
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.
So the bullying has come directly from pharma-funded HEG. If you've ever been told you can't smoke or vape outdoors by a sports club, they are the nasty, vindictive, interfering bastards who are responsible.

With vaping in particular, the HEG is a key promoter of anti-science scaremongery about e-cigs. Their Twitter feed can always be relied upon to seize any opportunity to create doubt about the products. Here's a nice example from yesterday.

Robin Ireland, of course, is HEG's CEO and a faithful sidekick of Martin McKee. He was referred to in December's FOI as someone willing and eager to leap to McKee's side and spout cherry-picked anti-vaping propaganda at the drop of a hat.

So, with all that in mind it was intriguing to see a guy called Michael Viggars pop up on Twitter the other night and post a quite remarkable tweet.

Could this be because the person he tweeted sarcastically dubbed himself an "ex-vaping astroturf"? Well probably yes, because you see it turns out he's part of HEG too. 

And he's really not a big fan of e-cigs. 

Therefore he has either had a Damascene change of heart or this would appear to have been a muck-uncovering exercise.

Well, I suppose they could change it by not being vile anti-vaping shit-stirrers who advocate for entirely unnecessary bans, but perhaps that would be too easy.

Anyway, it didn't last long. This olive branch of engaging with vapers soon evaporated once it became clear to Michael that the people he was tweeting were not astroturfers, merely vaping members of the public, and he began rapidly deleting tweets like those above. He also didn't feel keen on 'engaging' anymore.

Anyhow, it was all rather interesting and another epic social media fail from those who are inexplicably ideologically opposed to harm reduction.

By the way, if you are anywhere near Merseyside, you might be interested in this event that vape-hating propagandist Robin Ireland has lined up on Thursday next week.
Why vapers think e-cigarettes will lead to the end of cigarettes, and why their optimism may be misplaced – Robin Ireland 
When:  Thursday, February 18th 2016, 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines, 81 Lime St, Liverpool 
Robin Ireland, a Liverpool-based public health advocate, will discuss the evidence as much as it is available in the context of tobacco control efforts in England.
I'd bet he will do nothing of the sort. Expect formaldehyde, popcorn lung and every other debunked junk research to be heavily emphasised and the vastly more prevalent positive studies to be ignored or glossed over.
His position on e-cigs has led him to be vilified by vapers on social media
Quite rightly too, as anyone who is a "denormalised" sports fan chucked out of venues thanks to him and his hideous organisation will agree.

If you go, I'd obviously be very interested in what he has to say. Take pics.

H/T Top screen grabbing from @d4nno_

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