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! 

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