Monday, 22 May 2017

"Nicotine Has Caused Millions Of Deaths"

It is now less than a month until the fourth Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) which is being held in Warsaw from 15th to 17th June, tagline "GFN is the only international conference to focus on the role of safer nicotine products that help people switch from smoking.".

Every GFN so far has seen representatives of ASH attend, both as panellists and delegates, and on at least one occasion included their director of policy, Hazel Cheeseman. I know this because I once found myself sitting behind her in a plenary session.

Sadly, it doesn't seem that GFN taught her very much at all if her appearance on Radio Kent to talk about e-cigs last week is a pointer, or perhaps she just wasn't listening.

She was asked about the application of ignorant, counter-productive warnings to vaping products, such as this one.

Nothing to see here, says Hazel.
"[O]n the specific point around nicotine warnings I really don't think it's unreasonable for a product to say that nicotine is addictive. I mean, the addiction to nicotine has caused millions of deaths across the planet, you know, for the last many decades"
"Nicotine" has caused millions of deaths, apparently. Not smoking, nicotine.

Has she perhaps forgotten Michael Russell? The idol of tobacco controllers everywhere who famously said "people smoke for the nicotine but die from the tar" which paved the way for Big Pharma's Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to be rolled out worldwide? Or perhaps this is an inconvenient motto in the age of the e-cig and he is being quietly airbrushed out of history. Who knows?

She also objected to Forest's Simon Clark pointing out that the ludicrous warnings on vaping products will put people off switching from tobacco to e-cigs. Not on an intellectual level, of course - because anti-smoking extremists don't dabble in anything as cerebral as honest debate - but instead by way of a bizarre, and frankly quite stupid, smear.
"It's very interesting to be lectured about public health from Simon who is being funded by tobacco manufacturers and really only got interested in this subject since those companies have entered the market"
Really Hazel? Well, as Simon replied, he has been writing about e-cigs since about 2010 when the MHRA set about trying to ban them - with the support of ASH I might add - and that was well before any tobacco company had an interest. For the record, my own first article on e-cigs was in December 2009 and my first on the repulsive moves in the UK to class them as medicines - a stance still supported by ASH to this day - was in June 2010.

Hazel joined ASH in April 2013.

Additionally, as Clark points out, it is pathetic of Cheeseyperson to imply that Forest are late to the discussion because if that's the case, as I've mentioned before, so the fuck were ASH!
ASH altered their "objectives for the public benefit" a few years ago. You see, in 2009 it said this:
1) To preserve and protect the health of the community both physical and mental and in the furtherance of this purpose to provide other charitable relief for those practising or likely to practise cigarette and other forms of smoking. 
2) To advance the education of the public concerning the effects of cigarette and other forms of smoking and their effects on the health of the community and the individual. 
3) To assist, carry out, promote and encourage research into cigarette and other forms of smoking and to collect and study information relating thereto with a view to publication of the same and the communication of information in connection therewith to the general public and others having legitimate interest in receiving such information for the benefit of the health of the community at large.
Nothing in there about e-cigs or any other device which doesn't contain tobacco.

In 2010 - probably when e-cigs started to register on their radar - it was quietly changed to what it remains today (emphasis mine):
1. to preserve and protect the health of the public against the harmful effects of cigarette or other tobacco products; and 
2. to advance the education of the public about the effects of cigarette and other tobacco and nicotine products.
Subtle, huh?
So, to paraphrase Hazel herself, let's apply that to ASH and why they decided to force themselves into a debate which had absolutely nothing to do with them, shall we?
"It's very interesting to be lectured about e-cigs from Hazel and ASH who are being funded by the government - which tried hard to ban vaping - and really only got interested in this subject since they sensed their grants drying up and feared becoming irrelevant"
And, seeing as Hazel took the opportunity of a radio Kent appearance exclusively on the subject of e-cigs to insist that "nicotine has caused millions of deaths across the planet", shall we also re-word Michael Russell's famous motto too, because Hazel is obviously far cleverer than he could ever have hoped to be.
"People smoke for the nicotine but die from the nicotine ... so you may as well all carry on smoking"
Well done Cheeseyperson, what a storming performance! Now, when you get a minute, can you go and explain something to your Boss Debs please? Y'see, earlier this month she was bemoaning why "the message that vaping was much less harmful than smoking had not yet got through to all smokers".
"It's very important smokers realise that vaping is much, much less harmful than smoking," she added.
Can you tell her that the reason is because there are still some really fucking stupid people around who keep broadcasting comments which convince smokers that tobacco and nicotine are, indeed, one and the same thing. Some of them even say incredibly insane shit like nicotine "has caused millions of deaths"!

Thank you. Oh, and if you're going to Warsaw again next month, enjoy dozing off during the sessions like you obviously did last time, won't you?

Friday, 19 May 2017

Tobacco Control Kills

If like me you have spent the past week or so hoovering up eliquid and vaping accessories at quite ridiculous knock-down prices, you'll know that today is the last day of one of the most successful real-world public health experiments in history.

Prior to the EU's disastrous Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) - overseen by a crook and driven through by vacuous MEPs - e-cigs operated as a consumer product in a bustling and innovative free market. It was not - despite what tobacco control liars say - unregulated considering manufacturers were abiding by 20 or so consumer product regulations. The results were stunning! Latest figures for the UK show that there are now 2.9 million vapers, of which over half of them have quit smoking entirely.

This spectacular success all ends tomorrow.

Instead, tomorrow sees the start of a system of regulations which will strangle the pizzazz out of the e-cig market and for no discernible reason. The EU and its tobacco control lobbyists have never been able to credibly justify any of the ridiculous regulations which were forced on the UK government by the EU's TPD. Let's run through a few of them.

Maximum nicotine strength 20mg

The first time I thought e-cigs might have the potential to be something really quite game-changing was when a friend gave me one to try at 30mg. It gave the same throat kick as smoking and I was impressed. Soon after, I tried another which was only 16mg and it was like sucking on air, it took me quite a while to get used to a level that low, many will not bother.

Even ASH admit that 6% of vapers currently use liquid which is stronger than 20% which, by law, they will no longer be able to buy from tomorrow, equating to 174,000 vapers (in reality it will be more than that because manufacturers are erring on the side of caution and limiting to 18mg).

What these 174,000 vapers will do is anyone's guess but it's clear that many will find that vaping no longer offers them the same experience and go back to smoking. It doesn't matter though, because ASH says fuck 'em. What's more, around 20% of vapers - and I am amongst them - first use liquid which is stronger than 20mg. Apply that to the 2.9 million and that's over half a million vapers who might not now be using e-cigs if the TPD had been in operation when they first dabbled with one. Presumably ASH says fuck them too.

Those who demanded this have given no credible reason whatsoever for such an arbitrary and futile restriction. It will 'save' no lives and can only have the effect of deterring smokers from switching and driving current vapers back to tobacco. Tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of them, and all because of entirely unnecessary regulations lobbied hard for by tobacco control. According to tobacco control's own rhetoric, one in two of those tens or hundreds of thousands will die as a result, and that's just in the UK.

Tobacco Control Kills.

Advertising bans

Tobacco control has been telling us for years that the best way to stop people smoking is to stop tobacco being advertised. By the same token then, surely, the advertising bans that the TPD forces on manufacturers and vendors will have the same deterrent effect.

The TPD bans e-cig adverts from TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and the internet, it also bans e-cig companies sponsoring events plus anything else that could possibly be seen in another EU country ... presumably so foreigners are deterred from switching to vaping too.

According to tobacco control, 50% of smokers who are not tempted away from smoking - by e-cig advertising which is now banned - will die as a result of continuing to smoke.

Tobacco Control Kills.

Maximum tank of 2ml & Maximum bottle size of 10ml

I'm currently using a 5ml tank and topping it up from a 100ml bottle. Both of these are banned under the terms of the EU's TPD which tobacco control lobbied for. There is no decent reason for this, no-one in tobacco control has been able to properly explain the point of any of it.

Of course, this just makes vaping fiddly and time-consuming, plus produces waste and inconvenience. If a product is to be seen as more attractive than smoking in order to tempt smokers away from tobacco, it beggars belief that tobacco control has put in place regulations which make vaping more difficult which can - as with the other pointless regulations - only have a deterrent effect.

Additionally, the very same TPD says that you can only buy tobacco in large grab bag sized 30g and upwards and you're not allowed to buy smaller packs of ten either, only 20s. The logic of rules which make you buy less e-liquid but more tobacco can only be guessed at, you have to ask what the blithering fuck these tobacco control halfwits were smoking themselves when they came up with such Baldrickesque cunning plans.

Making vaping a chore will inevitably turn many people off, especially since it's already a common refrain that e-cigs are far more complicated than just buying a pack of 20 from the corner shop or supermarket. Not one smoker will be attracted to vaping by the extra inconvenience of buying more bottles, refilling a tank more often, and fiddling about a bit more than is currently the case.

50% of those who don't make the switch, according to tobacco control, will die.

Tobacco Control Kills

Now, this is without even mentioning the supply side problems such as expense to vaping companies of commissioning and submitting dozens of expensive notifications for every single product and combination of products they sell, and having a 6 month wait after notification before being able to market their wares (which has driven innovation and therefore attracted switchers). The cost has already driven many out of business, along with those who derived much of their income from cross-border sales that are now also banned.

All these restrictions will have no effect on 'saving' anyone at all! The only possible outcome will be that many smokers will continue to smoke.

The TPD has, perversely, bolstered the cigarette market while dealing a huge blow to a vaping market which was rocketing along and contributing to record low smoker prevalence. And all because ASH and their disgusting European chums in tobacco control had little to do so thought they'd get involved in something they still don't understand.

It's always been clear that tobacco controllers were close to jumping the shark when it came to vaping. But from tomorrow, with the installation of a pointless and entirely spiteful TPD, many people will now see that they didn't just jump it, they pirouetted at the apex and nailed the dismount.

Remember that next time you hear any tobacco controller laughably say they are part of a 'health group'. 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Jamie Oliver Is In Australia, Close The Border

Slack-jowelled uber-hypocrite Jamie Oliver has been in Australia this week but, before you get excited, sadly Essex's most esteemed serial arsehole is likely to be coming back.

It's curious that in the past we used to deport hungry poor people to the other side of the world for stealing a loaf of bread, while now mega-rich elitists like Oliver - who advocate policies which steal pocket money from kids - travel there in luxury and enjoy fawning articles promoting his snobbery masquerading as concern for health.

Articles like this one, for example.
Oliver, who has campaigned heavily for a sugary drinks tax in Britain, points to Coca-Cola as one of those big businesses that needs to be doing better. 
"Not that they're my arch enemy – although they probably are – but, if you look at Coke and say, 'Could they be a health food company in 100 years?' I believe they can." 
Well I'm baffled as to how Coca-Cola could be your arch enemy, Jamie, seeing as you sell their full sugar version for a very profitable £2.65 per 330ml can, but whatever.
"I donated 18 months to telling the sugar tax story in the UK, but it's all based on science and fact and the same science and fact applies to Australia."
Hmm, 'donated' is an odd word to use for regularly being in national headlines just prior to the launch of a new book, but as for "science and fact", huh? A consistent and decades long reduction in sugar consumption and a non-existent 'obesity epidemic' doesn't require a sugar tax, Jamie. If politicians stuck to science and fact instead of junk science and career lobbyist bullshit the idea would have been laughed out of parliament. I think the word you are actually searching for is propaganda.
"The conservative UK government didn't want to make that sugar tax policy, but we got it because, when it comes to the crunch, a modern day prime minister has to act on the data if the story is told correctly."
Or maybe the prime minister was a weak pussy and acted on the threat of bullying from people like Jamie and the hundreds of thousands of fellow vile ovine snobs who follow him, because the story sure as shit wasn't "told correctly" by the extremist lunatics who demanded it.
"I think the interesting thing about Australia is that not one major party is even debating or sniffing about it. But France, Portugal, Hungary, Ireland and the UK are all in. Australia will fall in line, too."
It is to Australia's immense credit that they haven't yet fallen for the lies bandied about concerning a sugar tax, and current thinking there is that it is daft and won't work, which is correct because it won't.
Critics of a sugar tax in Australia claim the government shouldn't be interfering with our freedom of choice.
Ya don't fucking say!
Similar to what happened with the introduction of plain packaging tobacco laws and push for pokie reforms, the term "nanny state" is thrown around a lot.
The obligatory reference to tobacco, but remember there is no slippery slope, oh no.
"Australia is a bit obsessed by the nanny state thing, isn't it?" says the chef. 
Probably because it is the most advanced nanny state in the world, Jamie. That would tend to get up many people's noses if they lived amongst it daily.
"But ask Aussie parents if they're cool with 15 cents on a can of sugary soft drink going to schools for food education and sports. When we said that in the UK, the sugar tax polled at 75 per cent approval. The nanny state argument from knobheads is bollocks. This is f--king common sense."
Not really, gobshite. Isn't the tax supposed to reduce consumption? How will significant amounts of money be generated and still reduce the sales of something you say is detrimental to health? You can't have it both ways.
To get a sugary drinks tax implemented in Australia means "mobilising Aussie parents to just tell the government what to do," says Oliver.
This is a quite stunning concept! So Jamie is saying that parents - you know, the people who decide what their kids can and can't eat and drink - should tell the government what to tell them their kids can and can't eat and drink? Erm, why don't those parents just cut out the middle man and stop their kids drinking sugary food and drinks if that's what they want?

The simple answer to that question is that they're not really bothered about their own kids are they? Nor is Jamie, I'm sure his only drink water and eat wholesome sugar-free stuff (as in, not anything Jamie cooks). They are talking about the proverbial and sinister "our children" which they have appropriated as their own to mask their repulsive bigotry.

Theirs is the type of irrational contempt once reserved for other minorities. But it's no longer acceptable - in fact, it's illegal - to discriminate on race, gender, disability, sexuality or religion, so the hateful compulsion to feel superior has to get shifted somewhere. It is, though, perfectly OK for Jamie and his horrible fans to sneer at those fat kids they see in the High Street, to disapprove when they see lower classes coming out of McDonald's, and to demand that government does something about it.

This is the kind of person who loves Jamie Oliver; the control freak whose life is so empty, dull and formulaic that they get their kicks out making other people's business their own without asking, and of thrusting themselves into the lives of others of whom they disapprove.
"But the genius of the sugary drinks tax is that when it happened in the UK, it was the first time I can remember the government standing up and giving the industry a spank. Every other part of the food industry witnessed it so, at a rate faster than I can tell you, the whole industry is reformulating shit out of the food chain. Cutting back on all the salt, fat and sugar. They haven't been asked to do it either — it all comes from that one action."
No, they weren't asked, Jamie, they were threatened, there's a very significant difference.

It won't matter to multi-millionaire Jamie that government adds a levy on Coca-Cola because he'll carry on selling it to rich affected twats who visit his overpriced, sugar-laden restaurants at an eye-watering mark-up. It won't matter to his interfering and snooty middle and upper class followers either, they can afford to pay a bit more for their kids' treats after they have finished their main course of steamed kale and pine nuts washed down with San Pellegrino. It will, though, punish those who Jamie and his repulsive fan base find so objectionable, the poor.

Or, as put brilliantly in the Telegraph at the time Osborne announced the UK's sumptuary sugar tax.
Virtue-signalling politicians, bureaucrats and celebrities feeling tremendously good about themselves because they’ve bossed the rest of us around, and imposed a stealth tax on those least able to afford it.

Oliver succeeds because he panders to the dark and anti-social nature of some of the most hideous people in our midst. He peddles pomposity and the right of self-centred individuals to impose their petty prejudices on others. He is a modern day Marie Antoinette so it is no surprise that his crusade draws on the tobacco control industry for inspiration because their reasoning is equally mired in junk science and their fans equally disgusting.

Australia, can we persuade you to keep him? Essex's, erm, loss could be your gain, after all. 

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Joined-Up Lobbying

ITV's Chris Choi is today asking for thoughts on the new regulations being brought in at the end of this week as a result of the EU's appalling Tobacco Products Directive which was presided over by a crook.

One of the new rules is, of course, that packs of 10 cigarettes will be banned. So here is a view which he might like to hear.
Education not legislation is needed to lower smoking rates in Britain, Martin Dockrell, head of policy at anti-smoking charity ASH, has said. 
"Stopping people from smoking is only a little about law, and much more about hearts and minds." 
He also criticised the DoH's proposal to restrict sales of cigarettes in packs of 10. "People buy smaller pack sizes such as 10s when they are attempting to reduce their tobacco consumption and quit," he said. "If you wanted people to lose weight you wouldn't take away fun-sized chocolate bars and only sell jumbos. I'm with the retailers on this one."
Dockrell is now at Public Health England but ASH, as I don't need to remind you, fully supported the TPD (including the ban on packs of 10) and lobbied furiously in its defence.

It's never been about health. 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

A Good Aussie Speaks Up, Again

As another entry in an occasional series, let's look in on Sydney Australia for more outstanding parliamentarian contributions from this blog's chum, Peter Phelps.

If you've not heard of him before, my introduction from October last year might help.
Those with a good memory might remember Peter Phelps, an Australian politician and Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council. Phelps is notable for being incredibly principled in defending liberal values in such an illiberal environment as NSW, and in a chamber which is situated in nanny state central Sydney. As such, I was thrilled to unexpectedly meet him in July during a coffee break at a Royal Society of Medicine event on over-regulation of pleasure
Last year - when he was government whip no less - I wrote about how he casually entered a chamber packed full of variously ignorant prejudiced prohibitionists armed only with insults, smears, innuendo, wild assumptions, and downright lies, and placed in front of them simple incontrovertible facts about e-cigarettes. 
And arguably won hands down.
That article was about how he was speaking at New South Wales's "Inquiry into childhood overweight and obesity", and bedevilling a dried-up crone who believes kids should be deprived McDonald's, Coca-Cola and chocolate because, erm, because she knows better than a kid's parents how to bring up their own kids.

Well our Peter has been doing the same again last week, this time revealing some inconvenient truths to politicians in his state who feel it's their job to dictate what people eat and drink. Which, of course, it is not.
The real problem is that, in fact, there is no obesity epidemic. The obesity epidemic is a myth, especially an obesity epidemic amongst children. For example, the most current report of the Australian Bureau of Statistics says: 
Around one in four children … aged 5-17 years were overweight or obese, similar to 2011.
That statement made me go back to the 2009 ABS report, which said: 
In 2007-08, one-quarter of all Australian children … were overweight or obese …
So I went back even further and noted that this number has not changed. The obesity epidemic is so great that there has been no real change in the number of overweight or obese children. I went back even further and found that, based on children's body mass index [BMI], from 1995 onwards—in other words for the past 20 years—there has been no substantive change. Indeed, the ABS makes the point in its 2009-10 yearbook that differences between the numbers in 1995 and 2007-08 are not statistically significant. 
That means that there is no statistically significant difference in the number of overweight children between 1995 and 2007-08—and by implication at the current time. The whole idea that there is an obesity crisis or an obesity epidemic is complete and utter bunkum.
It's almost like politicians don't even read the statistics that are collated for them at huge expense to the taxpayer, isn't it?

The result of all this propaganda, of course, is that the New South Wales parliament wants to restrict certain popular food and drink items from being sold in school canteens, in order to tackle an obesity 'epidemic' which doesn't actually exist except in the fevered, grant-thirsty minds of state-subsidised 'public heath' snobs.
They are saying, "It is not about restricting choice, but we're going to restrict choice." (it's true, see here - DP)  Is there a more Kafkaesque press release than this? "We're not restricting choice; we're just restricting choice." That is the sort of nonsense we face.
Phelps then goes for the jugular, in amusing fashion.
Welcome to the New South Wales education system where, in health and personal development classes and sex education, students can be told, "It's okay to fellate your boyfriend three times a week, but because of health requirements you can only have a sausage roll once every semester."
And whose fault is the latter (I'm certainly not going to comment on the former!)? Well, Phelps knows that - as we do - very well.
Who are the people pushing this nonsense? There is a willing cohort of public health activists who are always ready to fabricate a crisis to get on the public teat and get a bit of Government money. 
[I]f you look at the arguments that are used more often than not and the statistics for soft drinks—and I recognise the member's comments on sugar taxes—you will see that it is not based on any real evidence. In Australia there is a declining consumption of sugary drinks in the entire population and most notably amongst children. The only real growth in soft drinks happens at the level of those aged 50 and over. Why does this happen? Because there are people who believe that your body belongs to the State. It is the mantra of public health totalitarians everywhere. It has unfortunate resonances with the totalitarian regimes of Europe in the 1930s, whether of a red or a black variety. Both basically said that your body belongs to the State. When we accept that as a basic premise, we have lost the true meaning of what it is to be a classical liberal in this day and age.
Damn right!

And, as Phelps also points out, this is a hark back to the principle of sumptuary law, whereby poor people are deemed not worthy of consuming what rich elites do without a care. In other words, naked and unabashed, bigoted snobbery.

Of course, when you call out such bigots and snobs, they don't react very well, as Australia's state-funded broadcaster eagerly reported (click through for video clip).
There are now calls for Premier Gladys Berejiklian to pull Dr Phelps into line after he criticised his own Government's new healthy school canteen strategy. 
The Opposition's health spokesman, Walt Secord, said Dr Phelp's remarks crossed the line. 
"I think it's time the Premier acted on Dr Phelps ... he does this on a weekly bases he just makes outlandish, outrageous comments and he is beginning to treat the Parliament like a 1950s locker room," he said.
We don't want none of that truth thing in parliament, now do we? He has to be removed or, before you know it, the public will be able to make their own choices without being hectored by tax-sponging control freaks waving shrouds and junk science ... and then where would we be?

Well played Mr Phelps, again, the world sorely needs more truth-telling myth-slayers like you.

See also: When political correctness matters more than common sense - Spectator

Monday, 15 May 2017

It's The Vaping, Stupid!

You know, if truth was personified, strolled up to ASH HQ and introduced itself to the rancid tax-spongers with its business card, they would still have trouble recognising it. They simply don't do honesty.

Today, the odious, illiberal, disingenuous coven of troughing sock puppets have yet again been twisting language to claim credit for declining smoking rates which should, properly, be attributed to e-cigs.
Getting rid of glitzy, heavily branded tobacco packs is the latest in a long line of achievements by the UK which is a global leader in tobacco control. We now have among the fastest declining smoking rates in the world thanks to decades of sound policy, but smoking rates among the poorest and most disadvantaged remain high.
E-cigs are not a 'policy', they are a product which has been fuelling those "fastest declining smoking rates" of which ASH speak. Yet their article, as has become customary, makes no mention of e-cigs or vaping whatsoever.

I suppose it's awkward for them because they have to keep themselves relevant in the eyes of politicians, despite being quite the opposite. Nothing they have done in the past decade has worked, (and neither will plain packs) as Snowdon noted in March.
[T]here is scant evidence that 'strong tobacco control measures are working'. You can see in the graph above that the smoking rate was falling steadily until 2007 when the smoking ban ushered in a wave of extreme anti-smoking policies. The ban itself was introduced in July 2007, the smoking age was raised from 16 to 18 in October 2007, graphic warnings were introduced in 2008, the tobacco duty escalator was introduced in 2008 and the ban on cigarette vending machines began in 2011. All this was combined with a bunch of anti-smoking advertisements which were so gruesome that some of them were banned
The effect of this frenzy of prohibitions can be seen above, ie. nothing. The fall in smoking prevalence came to an end and the smoking rate stayed stubbornly at around the 20 per cent mark until e-cigarettes became mainstream in 2012-13. Between 2012 and 2015, the only anti-smoking law that was introduced was the display ban but that didn't come into effect until April 2015.  
The only things achieved by 'strong tobacco control measures' are the mass closure of pubs, the maintenance of a large black market for cigarettes, and secondary poverty for low income smokers.
By contrast, e-cigarettes have given people who want to quit smoking an enjoyable and vastly safer alternative.
Quite. In fact, the success of e-cigs has been achieved despite the efforts of ASH, as I described recently.
[B]ack in 2010, the medical community were arguing that e-cigs should be banned within 21 days or - ASH's preference - banned after a year if manufacturers had not applied for medicinal licensing. 
Due to the power of vapers standing up for themselves, that failed. However, in 2013, ASH were still desperately attempting to destroy vaping by getting the whole market banned unless it was medicinalised, as their own emails showed
In 2015 they were then caught enthusiastically cheerleading bans on vaping in hospitals, while their colleagues in Wales were proud to append their logo to a no vaping sign as they declared how they "fully welcome" a beach vaping ban. ASH have since been woefully inadequate in speaking up about pointless vaping bans as they have spread like wildfire in recent years. 
Then, last year, a number of Lords engaged in a debate over the Tobacco Products Directive and its degenerate regulations on vaping. This encouraged Lord Callanan to put forward a fatal motion in the Lords which - in the face of disgraceful lobbying by ASH - was beaten down into a far less powerful 'regret' motion. Even this wasn't good enough for ASH, who then attacked the regret motion too
They then dismissed the damaging consequences of the TPD by saying that a quarter of a million smokers turned away from e-cigs - because of an arbitrary and vacuous limit on nicotine strength - don't really matter.
And, as if to prove the proverb that leopards never lose their spots, since then ASH have illustrated that they are still trying to place obstacles in front of vaping.

So I suppose we can understand why ASH would prefer not to talk about vaping too much, it would show up how pointless all their prohibitionist policies have been, while vaping comes along and shows that free market solutions work far better than highly-paid, morally-incontinent NGOs with a propensity for lying.

As usual, ASH's article finishes with a plea for a new tobacco control plan (with, presumably, a renewal of ASH's funding next time round to implement it). Yet it's clear from experience in the past decade that the best thing politicians can do is to defund meddlesome and obstructive ASH, repeal legislation on e-cigs that ASH lobbied furiously for, step back, and let vaping do the hard work at no cost to the exchequor.

ASH have had absolutely nothing to do with declining smoking rates; since 2012 it's been the vaping, stupid! 

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Stop Pretending, 'Public Health' - You're Simply Common Prohibitionists

A few years ago comedian Steve Hughes jokingly spoke of the approach 'public health' has towards smoking.
"Can we still buy cigarettes?"
"Of course!"
"Where can we smoke them?"
Now, it's a regular refrain from the vile, selfish wankers who form tobacco control's fan base - basically curtain-twitching prodnoses who believe the world revolves around them, their shit doesn't stink, and that they are entitled to meddle in other people's lives - that smokers should smoke in their own homes and nowhere else.

Well, that's kind of the problem, because tobacco control fanatics can't tolerate even that, as we see from the weekend.
Professor John Middleton, president of the Faculty of Public Health, said adults smoking in the home damaged the development of children’s lungs and put babies at risk of cot death. 
"Housing associations and councils are looking at smoke-free housing buildings. Where children are involved I think there is a real case for it,” Middleton said.
The head of "Faculty of Public Health", a civil servant who obviously fails to take into account the varied needs and desires of the public he is supposed to serve. Middleton cites a 'risk' - cobbled together using extreme cherry-picking and junk science - so negligible that when applied to Ibuprofen tablets, his colleagues summarily dismiss it, and employs this paltry non-concern to advocate depriving social housing tenants of one of the most fundamental rights of all; the freedom to do as one chooses in one's home.

These people are quite simply disgusting. There is no other word for it.

But then he has back-up from fellow state-funded tax leeches like Debs Arnott of ASH.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Ash, said the anti-smoking charity had a call last week from a woman whose granddaughter had cystic fibrosis and had never been able to visit because neighbours’ smoke from communal areas drifted into the grandmother’s home. 
Arnott said people were often “frustrated by councils’ and social landlords’ failure to take action”.
Hey, Debs, we have news for you. There are many more people who are "frustrated" that no-one in government is taking action to deprive you of the cash your organisation has been stealing from the taxpayer for over 40 years despite not a soul wanting to hand it to you voluntarily. Tell the woman the truth - that passive smoking is a long-fabricated lie fantasy health issue (as you very well know) - but if she is that worried, arrange a meeting in one of the thousands of venues you have ordered MPs to make 100% smokefree. Then, shut the fuck up.

In case you thought this is just a couple of barking mad outliers flaunting their wildest wet dreams in public, think again. Banning smoking in people's homes is a quietly-stated goal of all anti-smoking health professionals throughout the country, without exception. The reason for this cult-like wish to deprive smokers of their rights is, sadly, because the 'public health' abomination doesn't even recognise that people have rights in the first place, as this state-funded 2009 study from Scotland illustrates starkly.
On the one hand the home is a private space and there is some resistance found in the ethical debates inherent in public health literature to the blurring of the public/private boundary for smoke-free public health interventions. This is often articulated by libertarian arguments advocating the rights of smokers in their own home and opposing perceived encroachment of the State into private space.
On the one had the home is a private space? What other hand is there, exactly? As for the part about the encroachment of the state into private space being merely 'perceived'. No, it's real, because that is exactly what they are sitting around a table to work towards. We don't 'perceive' that they are working towards it, we can see with our own fucking eyes that they are.

Simon Clark has offered a very astute say on the matter here, so do go read, but I'd like to also add this.

Back in 2008, former Scottish Labour MP and decent sort Tom Harris had this to say about the very idea of home smoking bans.
But the Department of Health recently held a consultation on whether the smoking ban should be extended into people’s private vehicles and homes. Now, I know this caused a great deal of perfectly understandable outrage among a lot of people. So let me make this clear: the government will not, under any circumstances, legislate to stop people smoking in private. It would be a crazy move and, believe it or not, ministers are not crazy people - they’re politicians and they recognise political realities.

And if they did attempt to legislate in this direction, I would risk the wrath of those who don’t believe Scottish MPs should vote on English matters by voting against it.

But as I say, I won’t need to, because it’s not going to happen.
That was in 2008, but it shows how far down the absurdly dictatorial road those in 'public health' have taken us in the interim, with the backing of political lightweights who are as gullible as the lowest common denominator in their electorate.

If Harris is correct and politicians aren't that stupid, then why are people like Middleton and Arnott being funded? Who is calling them to account and telling them to stop this kind of Orwellian nonsense?

Secondly, why does 'public health' and the political class hate the less well off so much? This won't affect me because I own my home and if any of these people stepped on my territory to snoop I'd have a solicitor on them for trespass, a luxury not available to those in social housing that disgusting people like Middleton and Arnott wish to harass and bully.

Thirdly, if the tobacco control gravy train is now demanding bans in homes, can they stop denying they are full-blown, hysterical Prohibitionists? Even their most ardent troglodyte fans don't believe it is a justified measure, so why not just come out and admit it? Drop the facade and demand full prohibition of tobacco, and stop wasting everyone's time and money.

Steve Hughes made jokes about the ludicrous positions that anti-smokers make in the UK; he meant it as a parody. But they really are that ridiculous, and it's not funny any more. When they are actively attempting to remove rights of people in their own homes, politicians should act - as Tom Harris rightly said, rationally - recognise that they are beyond the pale; defund them; and also jail a few as the dangerous, bullying, inhumane, anti-social bastards into the bargain. 

Monday, 8 May 2017

The Staggering Hypocrisy Of ASH

Sometimes the hypocrisy displayed by ASH reaches spectacular levels, and today is one such occasion.

Via the BBC (emphases mine):
Some 1.5 million vapers are ex-smokers, compared with 1.3 million who still use tobacco, a survey of 12,000 adults for Action on Smoking and Health found. 
But Ash said the message that vaping was much less harmful than smoking had not yet got through to all smokers
Deborah Arnott, the campaigning health charity's chief executive, said the figures on vapers who had quit smoking were "excellent news" but that the rate of people switching to electronic versions had peaked. 
"The rapid growth in e-cigarette use has come to an end," she said. 
This is because more than a third of smokers have still never tried e-cigarettes, as a result of concerns about the safety and addictiveness of e-cigarettes
But research suggests that 26% of people think e-cigarettes are more - or equally as - harmful as smoking tobacco while only 13% believe they are a lot less harmful. 
"It's very important smokers realise that vaping is much, much less harmful than smoking," she added.
So what, exactly, has ASH been doing to get this "important" message across to smokers then?

Well, back in 2010, the medical community were arguing that e-cigs should be banned within 21 days or - ASH's preference - banned after a year if manufacturers had not applied for medicinal licensing.

Due to the power of vapers standing up for themselves, that failed. However, in 2013, ASH were still desperately attempting to destroy vaping by getting the whole market banned unless it was medicinalised, as their own emails showed.

In 2015 they were then caught enthusiastically cheerleading bans on vaping in hospitals, while their colleagues in Wales were proud to append their logo to a no vaping sign as they declared how they "fully welcome" a beach vaping ban. ASH have since been woefully inadequate in speaking up about pointless vaping bans as they have spread like wildfire in recent years.

Then, last year, a number of Lords engaged in a debate over the Tobacco Products Directive and its degenerate regulations on vaping. This encouraged Lord Callanan to put forward a fatal motion in the Lords which - in the face of disgraceful lobbying by ASH - was beaten down into a far less powerful 'regret' motion. Even this wasn't good enough for ASH, who then attacked the regret motion too.

They then dismissed the damaging consequences of the TPD by saying that a quarter of a million smokers turned away from e-cigs - because of an arbitrary and vacuous limit on nicotine strength - don't really matter.

The result of the TPD that ASH so furiously lobbied for is that a packet of coils for use with an e-cig now looks like this.

ASH will tell you till they are blue in the face that health warnings like that pictured above are highly effective at deterring use of the products they are attached to. So why did they lobby so hard for them if they're concerned that the "important" message gets out to smokers that e-cigs are far less harmful?

Talk of e-cigs being medicinalised implies to the public that there is something very dangerous about them; ASH desperately tried to class e-cigs as medicines. Health warnings will convince the public that e-cigs are "highly addictive" and dangerous; ASH lobbied in favour of them. Vaping bans tell the public that e-cigs must be harmful or the authorities wouldn't ban them; ASH support some bans and have done nothing to stop any prospective ban, let alone turn back the tide wholesale. And ASH lobbied relentlessly to burden vaping products with counterproductive, and entirely unnecessary, regulations which - yet again - send a signal to the public that there must be something very risky about them.

The sheer brass neck Arnott must have to wonder why "the message vaping was much less harmful than smoking had not yet got through to all smokers" is superlatively jaw-dropping!

If you want to know why that "important" message is not being understood by smokers, ASH, look in the mirror because it is entirely the fault of repulsive, anti-social, parasitical tobacco controllers like you.


The NNA has also written on this subject, quite rightly pointing out that today's news is an early indication of the TPD causing harm. They also agree with me about a cause of this abject failure.
It is certainly true that public misperceptions about the risk of vaping relative to smoking have played a significant role in discouraging many smokers to switch to the very much safer alternative. Vaping is estimated to be at least 95% safer than smoking for the consumer, and there are no known risks for bystanders. But what is driving that misperception? What do we do with potentially dangerous products? We restrict their availability, we restrict their use, we restrict the advertising of them, we stifle their innovation via regulations and we force the manufacturers to emblazon them with scary warnings - just as the EU TPD and its UK incarnation the TRPR plus a myriad of public and private space usage bans have done with e-cigarettes. It's hardly surprising that the public then seize upon every garbage media report of shoddy science that surfaces and believes it to be true - the government has all but told them so in its regulation of the products.

And every single one of those measures I have emboldened was heartily lobbied for and cheered along by ASH. Well done Debs and chums, well done. Congratulations for comprehensively blurring that message you have been saying is so "important" today. Was it pure incompetence on your part or have you finally embraced being part of the tobacco industry after all these years? 

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Awkward Facts Emerge From France

Oh dear. It seems that, just like in Australia, plain packaging is having the same polar opposite effect that tobacco control industry troughers were hoping for in France.

Via The Local:
Smoking on the rise in France despite rollout of plain packaging
Since France introduced a ban on branded cigarettes in January 2017, more packets of cigarettes have been sold compared to last year when branding was allowed, according to the country's Customs Office (L'administration des Douanes). 
In March alone the French bought four million packets of cigarettes, over four percent more than during the same period last year.
It's a bit of a dog's breakfast, isn't it?

The problem for tobacco control is that they delude themselves on a daily basis, and have done for decades. Sitting in their ensconced echo chamber shunning all meaningful debate with the outside world, they have become accustomed to convincing themselves that their policy-led rhetoric is somehow a form of truth, despite being the very opposite.

In this case, they have hoodwinked themselves into being very confident that a policy which every man or woman on the street knows won't work, will. They are so incredibly naive that I really should get round to designing that brochure to show off the fine array of handsome-looking bridges that I intend to market to them in the near future.

It's easy to see how their heroic predictions for plain packaging were rooted in sand when you take a quick glance at the ridiculous propaganda they utilised to get the daft idea past wooden-top MPs in the first place. Apparently it would make the warnings more visible, yeah, so what? No-one looks at them after the first glance. They would increase calls to quit lines, yeah so what? Calling a quit line and actually quitting are entirely different things, as the NHS agrees. It is the opinion of tobacco controllers that the policy they have their future income pinned on will work, yeah so what? Everyone has an opinion, and by the law of averages around 50% of them will be wrong - considering tobacco control comes from a low, fact-devoid base, their opinions are invariably less accurate than that.

Christ! Cancer Research UK even provided them a study where kids told how they have never seen the 'glitzy' packs that they were getting so agitated about! What does it take to make these morons realise it's a dud policy? Does it need to be tattooed on their palms before they start to get it?

So, no, it's not a surprise that plain packaging is failing in France. In fact, it's very predictable.

Just last week, a piece of worthless fantasy bullshit stated that 300,000 smokers would quit in the next year solely as a result of plain packaging. We already know this is star-gazing fuckwittery from people so inept that they shouldn't be allowed to handle a sharpened pencil without supervision. They are not just living in cloud cuckoo land, they are whacked off their heads on crack while living in cloud cuckoo land ... yet government pays them!

Meanwhile, in Australia, tobacco control's Clown-in-Chief is valiantly trying to paint lipstick on his pig of an idea.

It has always been maintained that the tobacco industry fought plain packs because it took away premium branding and the ability to fight competitors for market share, therefore ossifying the market. No tobacco company believed for a second it would harm sales.

Chappers has been pointing to "The Scream Test" as proof positive that plain packs was a winner for years, but now it's been shown to be a damp squib - as anyone not a self-deluded tobacco control cultist knew would be the case - he's even trying to deny reality that is in front of his very eyes. What goes on in the limited mind of someone like that? So the scream test was proof that it will work and now it isn't working the scream test proves that the French are talking bollocks? The mind boggles.

Simon, it's not working in France! This is a fact. Howling at the moon and restating that it surely must work because 'Big Tobacco' fought it doesn't change that. It is you that has the problem of comprehension, sunshine, not the rest of us who live in the real world.

It's long past time we stopped paying these people. Tobacco control is packed to the gunwales with propagandists, junk scientists, chancers, journeyman no-marks, charlatans and weapons grade cretins. Politicians and civil servants, for the love of whichever deity you have faith in or not, turn the fucking tax tap off.


See also: The curse of plain packaging - VGIF

Thursday, 27 April 2017

The Plain Packs Farce Is Confirmed

Before heading out this morning, I read this stunning statement in a BBC article about a new review of evidence (pfft) about plain packaging.
There was no evidence that changing packaging affected the number of young people taking up smoking, [Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, co-author of the report] said.
This is hardly surprising, because it is true. In fact I have written often about how the tobacco control lie-machine has tried very hard to avoid this unfortunate (for them) outcome of possibly the daftest 'public health' policy ever to have crept past lumpen-brained wooden-tops in parliament.

Remember that campaigners for plain packaging insisted till they were blue in the face that it was exclusively designed to stop kids taking up the habit ("protect our children") and nothing at all, oh no, with making smokers quit.

There are a few quotes I collected at the time here but they all went a bit like this from Andy Lloyd of Fresh NE.
"Plain packaging is not about stopping existing smokers but everything to do with protecting children"
But according to this new review, that hasn't happened at all. So it's a 100% cast-iron failure then, as we saw in Australia.

Undeterred, the authors of this review came out with a load of fanciful nonsense to get their headline anyway.
Plain cigarette packaging could lead to 300,000 fewer smokers in the UK over the next year, a major review suggests. 
The Cochrane Review team, led by researchers from London and Oxford, estimated that the number of people who smoked in the UK could go down by 0.5% by May 2018, although they said the current evidence was limited. 
The findings were backed up by a report from the Australian government, which showed a similar drop in smoking prevalence - 0.55% - following the introduction of plain packaging there in 2012.
It's rather disappointing to see that Professor Ann McNeil was involved in this worthless garbage. McNeil was also the lead author of PHE's evidence review of e-cigs which concluded that they are 95% less risky than smoking. The lazy extrapolation of 300,000 fewer smokers ... in a year ... doesn't reflect well on the methods being employed, does it?

The Australian decline in smoking was nothing unusual, and was more likely to have been brought about by savage increases in the price of smokes than what colour the pack came in. It's quite absurd to suggest anywhere close to those kind of numbers will quit in the UK solely because of plain packs.

I expect any decline will be claimed as such though, and I reckon that is entirely the point of the rubbish produced today. If 300,000 smokers do quit in the year following plain packaging, tobacco controllers are going to boast that it was all down to their inconsequential policy. It won't be because of large increases in tobacco duty; it won't be a natural decline fitting with current trends; and it sure as shit won't be because of the enthusiasm about vaping (which ASH and their chums tend to keep very quiet about in their smoking cessation estimates). Nope, the tobacco control scam will make a grab for the lot and say it was the glitzy packs being binned wot done it.

Yet consider how stringent the criteria is that they apply to vaping. There are approximately 3 million vapers, 1.5 million of which are former smokers who now vape instead; if tobacco control had advocated e-cigs from the beginning, they would be claiming the full 1.5 million as a result of their state-funded efforts. In fact, they'd probably take credit for a percentage of the dual users too!

But they don't.

Instead, they rely on a convoluted and extremely complicated analysis of exactly how many vapers quit exclusively because of vaping who would not have otherwise quit by another method (well explained by the NNA here). That figure is around 16,000 per year.

It is called "added value" and the tobacco control industry is very assiduous about calculating that when it comes to e-cigs. This is exactly the correct thing to do and Professor Robert West, whose analysis led to the 16,000 per year figure for vaping, should be congratulated for looking at the figures in detail.

Yet here are McNeil et al sullying the reputation of Cochrane by hinting that 300,000 smokers will quit smoking in the coming year solely because of plain packaging. Why do they not attempt the same sophisticated analysis of added value to assess the value of plain packaging?

I think we know the answer. It's because if they did they would have to reluctantly come to the conclusion that the real projected added value of quitting due to plain packs is somewhere in the region of zero. So double standards it is then.

What a farce.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

ASH And The Goldilocks Fairy Tale

One of the most bizarre measures in the EU's Tobacco Products Directive - a hideous and disgraceful piece of legislation which has nothing to do with 'harmonising EU markets' but everything to do with social engineering - is the ridiculous banning of 10 packs of cigarettes and smaller pouches of tobacco.

As Ian Dunt, editor of, rightly asks, what kind of idiot suggested this?

Well, the supportive delegation to the EU legislation in the UK was ASH of course, as they boasted about just a couple of weeks ago.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Action on Smoking and Health spokesperson Amanda Sandford said: “Cigarettes are already expensive and the price increase of cigarettes is a key factor in making people quit smoking. 
“So by removing the packet of ten cigarettes this means people will have to find that extra money for a packet. 
“It will hit poorer and younger smokers harder who are more likely to buy smaller packs.”
Nice of her, eh? I'm sure many on lower incomes will be extremely pleased that a person very well-remunerated from the taxes ripped from hard-working people is so keen on impoverishing them further for a meagre pleasure.

Anyhow. So we get that ASH believe small packs are bad, and big packs are good. We think they are insane for believing that but then it's a policy, isn't it. And ASH require policies - any policies - to ensure they carry on sucking from the public teat.

Which is probably why ASH yesterday tweeted a parliamentary question hinting at an entirely different policy !
Virendra Sharma Labour, Ealing, Southall 
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what plans he has to introduce maximum pack size legislation for the sale of tobacco products.  
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect of introducing maximum pack size legislation on the bulk-buying of cigarettes.
This MP is calling for a maximum pack size now? ASH must be pretty disgusted, surely. According to their logic the bigger the pack size the better! The price will be more prohibitive the larger the packs sizes get, and if a huge pack size is even less affordable for the dumb, knuckle-dragging poor that ASH so enjoy punishing, that's surely got to be a good thing, no?

Well, apparently not. Because, y'see, Virendra Sharma is yet another member of ASH's APPG so was arguably told to table that question on behalf of his tax-sponging puppet-masters. They didn't tweet his question disdainfully, but because a mandated maximum pack size is exactly what they want to see legislated for.

So ASH now have a policy whereby they want to see small packs banned, and they are also potentially proposing that large packs be banned as well. In their never-ending quest for taxpayer funding, there is apparently some kind of mythical Goldilocks sweet spot somewhere in the middle that is "just right" for Debs and her fellow arseholes to tolerate.

Of course, in the real world - as opposed to the one where ASH pretend they are interested in health - this small pack bad, big pack bad idea is only about punishing absolutely everyone who has the temerity to continue choosing to smoke.

Can we stop calling them a tobacco control 'charity' now? Instead of pretending they are interested in health, we should be describing them properly. Extreme fundamentalist smoker-hating prohibitionists who have been ripping the public off and harassing law-abiding members of society for over four decades.

We don't tolerate bullies in schools; we shouldn't be giving the repulsive parasites at ASH a penny of our taxes either. 

Monday, 24 April 2017

A Question Of Lobbying

I see that ASH have been banging on about the Tobacco Control Plan again ... or Lib Dem Norman Lamb has anyway.

Maybe it's because he's the illiberal undemocratic party's spokesman for health matters which has got them so excited, I dunno, because a parliamentary question about this is hardly unusual. ASH should know, because they have ordered a lot of them like most of us would order a stuffed crust pepperoni with extra cheese.

There have been literally been dozens of PQs on the subject, and we cannot be absolutely certain how many have resulted from Debs Arnott whispering in MPs' ears with her 'access all areas' Westminster pass, but we can be pretty sure that those in the APPG she secretaries will have had a nudge.

For example, Lord Young (a member of ASH's APPG) asked a question in the Lords in July last year.

Another of Arnott's poodles, Bob Blackman, also asked a question on the same subject in July, along with another in November and another in December. He seems especially keen so I'm sure earned a nice pat on the head and gold star from Debs, especially since he also managed to crowbar the subject into Health Questions to Nicola Blackwood in November too.

Fellow ASH APPG member Andrew Murrison took up the cudgels in the new year, enthusiastically asking a PQ on the 11th January and then another just 6 days later.

Scroll onto October and Alex Cunningham, a Labour MP so consumed with anti-smoker rhetoric (therefore an ASH APPG member, natch) that constituents on the Channel 4 show Benefits Street said they'd never even seen him in their road before, was tabling a Westminster Hall debate about the tobacco control plan. He has since asked another PQ last month about, you guessed it, the tobacco control plan.

There is only one reason for all this activity, of course, and it's to put pressure on ministers at the Department of Health to re-invigorate the war on smokers to give ASH something to do with the money they have been sponging off the taxpayer since 1972. And also to give them a sign of what they don't need to campaign on with that cash because the Department will be doing it anyway.

It is classic government lobbying government.

The circular flow of income is simple to track. The DoH gives ASH money; they use it for salaries to secretary their APPG and to spend their days suggesting MPs lobby the government; ministers cave in, announce more anti-smoking measures; ASH dance a merry jig and put out their begging bowl to ask for more cash to deliver the measures it has demanded of the state.

A written question about the tobacco control plan? ASH have written loads of them already!

In these times of huge deficit spending, there is no point whatsoever wasting cash on such a self-serving charade. Precious few care much about smokers or smoking anymore, and the ones who do are the type who should be locked in the attic with a mad uncle and ignored for the good of society.

If the post-election government is looking for an easy win to help the country's finances and get a rancid monkey off their back, it's a no-brainer that they should de-fund ASH and associated parasites satellites, close down its APPG and consign the whole stinking shitpit to history like Smokefree South West and Smokefree North West before it.

If ASH want to continue getting dullard MPs to ask questions they have suggested, that's fine, just get the cash to do so from somewhere which doesn't involve rifling our pockets. 

Sunday, 23 April 2017

A Nanny State Shop In London

The awesome guys from Students for Liberty paid London a visit on Thursday. If you are not aware of SfL, they are a global movement of students campaigning, as it says on the tin, for the protection of our freedoms ... and they are delightfully passionate about it.

Regular readers will remember that a contingent from SfL travelled to India to present the World Health Organisation with an award for being "The Least Transparent Organisation in the Galaxy" in November, and they have also campaigned against nanny statism in a number of major global cities.

On Thursday, they opened a pop-up nanny state shop in Cheshire Street, Shoreditch, so I sauntered up there to get a glimpse of our future.

Sitting at the top of Brick Lane with its many convenience stores and fast food outlets, it was a good choice of location by SfL. With plain packaging already in place for tobacco, and the 'public health' racket already discussing the same treatment for alcohol, sugar and fast food, it is not outlandish to suggest many of the shops in the vicinity could see shelves like this someday, and not in too distant a timescale either.

In fact, as someone observed on Thursday, if anything SfL's packaging and point of sale displays are far too attractive ... to be realistic, and true to the perverted imagination of vile 'public health' gravy train riders, they should carry pictures of rotting teeth, obscenely obese people and diseased livers.

After being given a tour by the guys at the shop, and a glass of water (natch) to soothe my thirst on a warm day, I said goodbye clutching a memento of the place that they kindly gave to me (a practice that I fully expect some charmless 'public health' trougher is already thinking should be banned just as giving away free tobacco is now).

Sadly, the shop was only open for the one day, but it was pleasing to see SfL replicating their nanny state store in the UK after a couple of previous incarnations across the Atlantic. If you couldn't make it on Thursday, there is a panorama of it at this link that should work OK.

Alternatively, here is a short film of one they made earlier.

If you want to learn more about Students for Liberty, or are a student yourself and would like to join them, click here and have a browse. 

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Authoritarians Left And Right

The Foundation for Economic Education published an interesting essay last week on the nature and politics of authoritarianism and how it is not the sole preserve of the politically left or right. The tract is primarily focussed on the US but it works just as well for this side of the pond.

Here are some extracts which will be easily recognisable by fellow jewel robbers. 
What exactly is authoritarianism, though? It’s rather hard to defeat an enemy that one cannot define, let alone understand. 
Broadly, authoritarianism is the desire to impose one’s own worldview on others in one’s society by institutionalized coercion. Authoritarians, therefore, see punishment as an appropriate response when members of the group with which they identify (the United States, in this case) diverge too far from values that the authoritarian believes are best for society – even if the punished person has neither caused direct harm to another nor infringed another’s rights.
Yep, "leave us alone" is no longer a defence against the people we despise here, they insist on doing things to you for your own good. 
Authoritarianism becomes a significant force in the politics of a society when a psychological disposition to authoritarianism is activated among enough of the people who possess it. Any large country has a significant minority that score highly for the authoritarian psychological disposition. Usually, however, that disposition is latent, driving neither behavior nor political preferences.
There used to be an insignificant minority who peered through their curtains and didn't like what other people were consuming, but they were insane, anti-social, and thankfully powerless.

'Public health' massaged their bigotry, encouraged their misanthropy, and turned them into a vile throbbing mass of seething anger about the inconsequential choices of others. In an era where racial, sexist, homophobic and religious hatred has been largely reined in, the legions of self-enriching 'public health' professionals nurtured the bile and redirected it towards the harmless choices of friends, family, acquaintances and strangers so much so that online comments such as "the only good smoker is a dead one" are not only not unusual, but almost endorsed by the state. 
Authoritarians – whether they lean left or right – justify their politics, like everyone else, by arguing for particular positions on issues they care about. But if your goal is a free and kind society, then arguing an issue on its merits with an authoritarian may often be to shoot yourself in the foot. Doing so can mean buying into the unstated assumption that underpins all authoritarian politics – that an argument that X is right is automatically an argument for using force to make people do X. 
It isn’t.
Specifically, the fact that “X is morally right” is a long, long way from, “It is morally right to compel people to do X,” because the latter actually means, “It is morally right to harm someone for not doing X”… and whether that is true can only be determined by an unprejudiced comparison of the harm caused by not doing X vs. the harm done by the enforcement.
And, as we know, on lifestyle issues, the 'public health' racket never, ever, even considers harm done by enforcement, just as it also ignores the benefits of the behaviour it is paid to hate. 
In any political argument with an authoritarian of any stripe, the real issue – the meta-issue, if you will – is whether, even if he is right about the best way for people to behave in a certain situation or for society to organize itself, what makes it right to cause physical harm to compel it?
It isn't right, obviously. And this is a truth which was universally held to be true from the teachings of J S Mill for over 150 years before the current crop of repulsive state-funded prohibitionists resurrected a new age of obnoxious hate-filled puritanism against respectful and law-abiding citizens. 

You can read the whole thing, "Authoritarians to the Right of Me, Authoritarians to the Left", here

Sunday, 16 April 2017

An Outbreak Of Truth On The ASH Twitter Feed

Unless the cleaners got hold of ASH's Twitter feed on Good Friday or something, was this a fleeting glimpse of real life intruding on the fantasy economics they usually try to present to the world?

Indeed it has, as the article they link to describes.
THE numbers have reached a staggering level. For every two cigarettes smoked in Malaysia, one is an illicit cigarette. 
In other words, the share of the cigarette black market has reached 57.1 per cent as at December 2016, based on Nielsen Cigarette Study 2016.
By Christ! How could this sorry state of affairs have happened?
Right now, illicit cigarettes are priced between 17 and 25 sen per stick at the retail level. 
This compares with 85 sen per stick for legitimate cigarettes. This includes the excise rate of 40 sen per stick. 
No wonder the industry volume for legitimate cigarettes has been on a sharp decline. Last year, the volume fell 25 per cent to just eight billion sticks from 2015, much less than the number of illicit cigarettes.
Perhaps that is the part - about tobacco companies not selling as many legal cigarettes - which attracted ASH's attention, I dunno. It's true to say that the richly-funded tobacco control Goliath's emphasis has long since become a crusade against industry rather than having anything to do with health, so that would fit very nicely.

Except it's not the whole story (emphases mine).
One worrying effect is that the number of smokers is on the rise, not on the decline
Seven out of 10 youths are buying illegal products, according to the Health Ministry. 
According to the Health Ministry’s Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2011, the number of smokers in Malaysia was 4.75 million. 
Subsequently, the ministry’s National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2015 – Reports on Smoking Status among Malaysian Adults reported that the number of smokers increased to five million. 
However, cigarette prices during the same period increased by an average of more than 30 per cent. If cigarette price increases really do have a correlation with smoking cessation, the percentage of smokers would have dropped.
Blimey! Do they mean that applying excise to cigarettes to an extortionate degree inevitably leads to a burgeoning black market? But ASH have always said this is nonsense, a figment of the tobacco industry's imagination in fact!

Still, I suppose in Malaysia there could be a partial solution to this 'problem' with the advent of risk reduction products like e-cigs, couldn't there? Yeah, well kinda.
Looking at the treatment of vaping in Malaysia is like entering a frightening 1984 world of doublespeak. The Deputy Education Minister is quoted as saying: “We must go to schools. And parents must be aware that e-cigs and vape are no different from tobacco products… We must ‘de-normalise’ smoking.” 
And as if vape replacing smoking wasn’t denormalising smoking to begin with, the paper repeats the hysterical calls from the Association of Adolescent Health: “[We] urged the Health Ministry to take aggressive steps to protect our youth from the harmful effects of using e-cigs or vape, by implementing a complete ban on the manufacturing, distribution and marketing, of the devices.”
So, faced with too many Malaysians smoking, both young and old, the response from the country's government - which apparently doesn't like the prevalence of smoking though you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise from their daft policies - is to ramp up tobacco taxes to ridiculous levels and stamp hard with a steel toe-capped Doc Marten boot on any potential alternative.

Now, considering ASH are the most vocal organisation in the UK for punishing the poor by demanding eye-watering tobacco tax rises; were frenzied in their support for the EU's TPD which puts huge concrete blocks in front of vaping as an alternative; admitted they don't give a shit about collateral damage; and have been utterly silent as vape ban after vape ban is introduced in the UK, I suppose we should find it refreshing that they are tweeting about articles proving their approach is irresponsible and not even remotely to do with health.

And if they are going to choose a weekend on which to repent on Twitter, admit their sins, and illustrate why their policies are counter-productive, self-serving, mendacious and retarded, the Easter one is as good as any.

Meanwhile, it looks like we here are still firmly on the side of the angels because, for years, we have been warning that price prohibition and over-regulation will have this effect. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, huh?

H/T @d4nno_