Wednesday 29 November 2017

Tobacco Control Is Eating Itself

Any tobacco controller worth their inflated and unnecessary salary will tell you that tobacco companies cannot be trusted because they used to tell lies ... about 30 to 60 years ago.

As a result, industry as a whole is now routinely referred to as being "merchants of doubt". It has been a successful tactic because nowadays even the mundane - and generally ubiquitous in every political policy area - criss-cross of debate on legislative proposals is condemned by tobacco controllers as industry trying to lie. Here is a perfect example from Martin McKee in April this year.
This matters, because the struggle against tobacco is not yet won. The tobacco industry continues to produce misleading evidence, most recently in relation to the introduction of standardised packaging. The industry has commissioned reports to cast doubt on what is now recognised as the tremendous success of this measure in Australia, by means of highly selective analysis of the data.
It won't surprise you that the reference for this apparently settled declaration of plain packaging success in Australia was from McKee and some of his mates who - in turn - referenced themselves in that paper too. Incestuous really doesn't describe it fully enough.

The reason I mention this is that instead of the truth - which is that industry is presenting conflicting evidence to the manipulated policy-led bunkum that is now the 'public health' charade's stock-in-trade - McKee and his pals try to pretend that anything that disagrees with their assessment is automatically corrupt instead of evicence-based debate. Now, considering the 'public health' industry are the biggest liars on the planet right now, industry pushback is something which is sorely needed and a functioning democracy depends on it.

The problem for tobacco control is that e-cigs have come along and are ruthlessly exposing them for being disingenuous as we here have always known them to be. And boy is it causing a ruck!

Today, the BMA became the latest 'public health' organisation to realise that sticking to pathetic ideology is just fighting a losing battle, and have issued a cautiously positive position paper on e-cigarettes. In the UK that leaves the Faculty of Public Health as just about the only vaguely credible body that is still waving a club around, grunting from their cave, and pretending that every purchase of vaping equipment comes with a free mythical cancer-breathing dragon. But then, look at the standard of their leadership.

It's been pretty to watch as these institutions - every one of which originally wanted to ban vaping for no fucking reason whatsoever apart from cant and prejudice - slowly come to the realisation that they can't ignore reality any longer. But every one of them that stops talking crap means that there is increased pressure on those that wish to continue doing so. It's a simple equal and opposite reaction thing. To create the same level of doubt towards e-cigs, the increasingly vanishing few left have to get ever more extreme, and Mad Stan the aircraft engineer seems to have gone into overdrive of late.

Here's what he said in comments at a Conversation UK piece - that's the UK version, note, so presumably he sees events deserting him over here - today.

Click to enlarge

E-cigs worse than cigarettes? This is contrary to absolutely every piece of available research into vaping, it is solely something that Glantz believes. It is the very definition of "creating doubt", precisely what tobacco controllers acccuse industry of having done. While the tobacco industry is busy producing proper science, Glantz, an Australian pensioner and a low-grade physio from Lincoln are alone in the world spouting bullshit like some crack-addled loon wandering the high street wearing an A-board declaring that the end is nigh.

It's quite pathetic really. You kinda have to feel for him. With a waist the diameter of one of Saturn's rings he isn't a well man, yet his merchant of doubt workload is increasing in direct proportion to the number of former allies who are jumping ship and admitting that they were wrong about e-cigs. Sadly for him, propaganda posing as science just doesn't cut it anymore, and he is so antiquated that he doesn't know any other way.

So, when fellow tobacco controller Robert West presented this slide at the E-Cig Summit last month, it must have stung like a moody vindaloo!

This is basically Glantz's modus operandi exposed. It is what he has built a career upon, and here was West saying that it really needs to stop. In fact, he said that tobacco control had been "lax in accepting bad science at journals because generally we support the conclusions" and compared Glantz to a "recalcitrant first year grad student". Just imagine the horror of that for the old fella? What is he to do?

Well, create doubt of course! Ten days days later Glantz raked up a row from two years ago which led to demands that a journal be boycotted because Robert West edits it.

As Forbes mentioned earlier this year, what does that remind you of?
The hostility toward e-cigarettes is so great that attempts to sow doubt about the relative risks of vaping versus smoking bear a striking resemblance to the efforts of tobacco companies in the 20th century to mask the true nature of their products.
Yes, except most of the tobacco industry personnel who engaged in those tactics are long dead. People like Glantz are actively trying to create doubt now, and I mean today.

The fallout on social media has been astonishing. I've repeatedly said that e-cigs had potential to sort the ideologues from those who actually do think they're being altruistic, but never in my wildest dreams did I think that the suggestion 'public health' do the right thing would be met with such blatant and hilarious vitriol.

Tobacco control is eating itself in front of our eyes and reputations are being shattered. Buy in the popcorn because this could run and run. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

O/T but not by much

Big Pharma tackled in the US Senate