Monday, 14 May 2018

Crushing Safer Solutions For Profit

Sometimes, you really have to wonder if the whole tobacco thing with governments is just a big sham and that they really do secretly want smokers to continue smoking for the tax revenue.

Yes it sounds very much like a conspiracy theory, but how else do you explain heroically mendacious policies such as this from Korea?
Manufacturers of heat-not-burn (HNB) cigarettes, or heated tobacco products, will be required to put graphic warnings about health risks associated with smoking including cancer, similar to warnings all other cigarette manufacturers currently use. Such products will have to use graphic images of cancer-ridden organs, a much strengthened standard than the current image of a needle, which many have criticized as "unclear and ineffective."
Cancer-ridden organs? Has there been even one case anywhere in the world of cancer caused specifically by heated tobacco? No, of course not. But the lumpen-headed shitgibbons are going to plaster sick images all over the packaging anyway without even a cursory nod to reality.
The government plan seeks to dispel the conventional notion that such products are less harmful and therefore should remain exempt from stringent health policy.
Erm, it's not a 'conventional notion' that needs to be dispelled, for the simple reason that it is 100% true.

Just last week, for example, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) published a report on the emissions from HnB products, here is what they came up with.
We show that nicotine yield is comparable to typical combustible cigarettes, and observe substantially reduced levels of aldehydes (approximately 80–95%) and VOCs (approximately 97–99%). Emissions of TPM and nicotine were found to be inconsistent during the smoking procedure. Our study confirms that levels of major carcinogens are markedly reduced in the emissions of the analyzed HNB product in relation to the conventional tobacco cigarettes and that monitoring these emissions using standardized machine smoking procedures generates reliable and reproducible data which provide a useful basis to assess exposure and human health risks.
It seems the only thing that should be corrected in this 'conventional notion' is not that HnB is just "less harmful", but that it is "fuck-my-boots, off-the-launchpad and into the stratosphere less harmful". 80-99% is not just a statistical rounding, it is an abacus-shattering reduction! One which should induce in those who claim they want to save smokers' lives - because that's what they pretend it's all about - multiple orgasms of jubilation. Especially since the uptake in Korea is quite astonishing.

Korea Tobacco recently released its latest financial results, and their conventional tobacco sales make for grim reading, as do sales for all cigarettes in South Korea.

Click to enlarge

Cigarette sales plunged by a massive 10.7% (it was 14.4% the previous quarter) and HnB now accounts for a significant share of the market.
Data from the Ministry of Strategy and Finance showed about 230 million non-HNB cigarette packs were sold in January, while about 20 million HNB packs were sold, accounting for 8 percent of the market, almost a three-fold increase compared to 3 percent seven months earlier. 
So here you have millions of Korean smokers cascading away from tobacco and onto something up to 99% less harmful and their reaction is to slap gory warnings on the products - totally unjustified by the science so far - to deter smokers from switching. Instead they'd rather preserve a blatantly untrue perception that HnB is no different to normal cigarettes.

It's becoming a common theme isn't it? The same story is being played out in Japan where the government has initiated strategies to 'tackle' HnB which has had a dramatic effect on cigarette sales there too, if anything more markedly than in Korea.


The National Institute of Public Health (Japan) is one of over 20 independent organisations to have reported that HnB is massively less harmful than smoking ...
“The concentration levels of hazardous compounds in the mainstream smoke of IQOS are much lower than those in conventional combustion cigarettes."
But - as in South Korea - this is being studiously ignored by the Japanese government, which is formulating regulations to ban it in public places.

Meanwhile Sweden is now openly attacking snus - despite boasting by far the lowest smoking prevalence in the developed world because of it - and even came up with some cock and bull story about how parental leave is responsible for their low smoking rates while arguing for the EU ban on snus to be maintained.

And, of course, there are still battles going on globally over e-cigs, with India currently moving to ban them entirely, just after Singapore and Thailand criminalised not just vaping, but also possession of vaping equipment. Yes, you can now be jailed in many jurisdictions for using an e-cig whilst their governments still profit from tobacco being sold widely.

What on Earth is going on?

Well, considering science is being roundly ignored throughout the world, you have to consider two scenarios. Firstly, maybe government really are addicted to the cash that smoking generates and reduced risk products are causing immense problems for their budgets. In other words, their policy would seem to be "keep smoking, we need the money".

Alternatively, the politicians really do think they are doing the right thing and are just appallingly advised. In which case, we have to look at which disgraceful people are advising them. Oh, hello there ideological tobacco controllers, speak of the Devil, eh?

I've said for years that nothing to do with tobacco control or 'public health' surrounding lifestyle choices has ever had anything to do with health. But to see such wilful ideological opposition by people who claim to be health lobbyists against solutions to problems which - to use their own parlance - are killing people, is absolutely vile.

Of course, you may have some other explanation for why these people are conspiring to prohibit far safer products despite overwhelming evidence that they could be harming the public. If so, I'd be very happy to hear it.

Otherwise, I can only hope that there is a higher being who will one day judge these callous bastards harshly for the carnage they are causing in order that they can keep their snouts in the trough. 



Thursday, 10 May 2018

Smokers As Cash Cows

I think this is the longest gap between blogs ever on this site but believe me I've had a lot going on. Puddlecote Inc is taking up a hell of a lot of my time but someone it is actually good. OK, I've been cursing the EU yet again for the dog's breakfast of GDPR (honestly, look it up, it's a stinker that will cost every consumer for absolutely no benefit whatsoever) but there is also something momentous we are working towards which will be a game-changer for the business.

Anyway, while I've been struggling for time, the Moose has been using his wisely and turned up something you might like to have a read about.
In October last year, Blackburn and Darwen council announced they were hiring a private company, Kingdom Environmental Services, to 'target litter louts and dog fouling' with £75 fines for offenders. 
I fired off an FOI request to B&D council and asked exactly what they had issued fines for in the last six months.
Now, as an aside, can I just say that this is excellent and more people should do it. Tony Blair once said that:
The truth is that the FOI Act isn’t used, for the most part, by ‘the people’. It’s used by journalists. For political leaders, it’s like saying to someone who is hitting you over the head with a stick, ‘Hey, try this instead’, and handing them a mallet.
But it should be used by the people. And, if you turn up what the Moose has turned up, that's when you hand the mallet to the press, which I hope he has done because the response he received was shocking.
These are the figures in full: 
Litter – black bag = 2
Litter – cigarette = 4113
Litter – food = 16
Dog fouling = 26
Litter – other = 110
Litter – printed material = 9
Smoke free = 151 
I confirmed with the council that 'Smoke Free' relates to the indoor public place and work vehicle smoking regulations. Apparently Kingdom are now enforcing those for the council too. 
If it was just about litter, if it was only about 'taking back the streets for law abiding citizens', why would Kingdom also be involved in enforcing smoking bans in indoor spaces and vehicles? 
No. In my opinion, it's not about litter and it probably not even about the fines. These people were brought on board as another weapon against smokers and smoking.
I wouldn't put it past them, would you?

Do go read the Moose's article. he makes a good point that demonising smokers has opened up opportunities for local and national politicians to make cash cows out of them. We are starting to see the same towards drinkers (with minimum alcohol pricing), people who like fizzy drinks (with the sugar tax) and I have no doubt whatsoever that sooner or later the government will start taxing kids' sweets and feel smug about it.

How did we get to this vile state of affairs? 'Public health' tax scroungers peddling fake fears to MPs, of course. Wholesale defunding of the troughers wasting our cash to dictate how we live cannot come soon enough. 



Monday, 30 April 2018

Banning Things People Want To Buy

Last week the Washington Examiner carried a very astute article by Tim Worstall. The main point he makes cannot be emphasised enough because it cuts right to the heart of why bansturbators are bansturbators.
Local mayor wants to ban McDonald's, therefore admits people want McDonald's
The thing is, the ban (in the form of adamantly denying planning permission) is just proof perfect that the mayor knows that his constituents actually want a McDonald’s. Banning something always is an acknowledgment that people want that thing. 
Consider what happens if they don’t want that item? No sane businessman tries to provide it, and the insane one who does try goes bust very quickly. The absence of consumer desire means that the thing doesn’t need to be banned. And the need to ban shows precisely the opposite: the existence of that consumer demand. 
There’s no reason at all to ban some consumer choice other than the knowledge that if it were available some would pick it. Given that this is obviously so, we liberals should be telling the progressives to go boil their heads. Really, why are you trying to ban something that people so obviously desire?
Why are they trying to ban something that people so obviously desire? Well, it's precisely because people desire it. That's it.

This is true of every so-called 'public health' campaign that has ever been embarked upon. The smoking ban was not about health, it was simply because intolerant people didn't like others who smoke. The desperate wriggling by health zealots to pretend passive smoking is a thing - most recently outside for which there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever - is regularly betrayed by cheerleaders of the ban gloating about how smokers now have to stand outside and talking about how they never have to wash their clothes again. It was a pre-meditated attack on other people driven by anti-social snobbery.

Entire highly-paid 'public health' movements have grown up around pandering to the irrational prejudices of a hideous minority of pompous, curtain-twitching finger-waggers. The sugar tax isn't about health, because it will have zero effect just like it has had zero effect anywhere else in the world. It is about a bunch of elitist snobs insisting the state stop others from enjoying drinks that they personally don't like. In any other area of government policy, it would be shocking to propose regulations which punish the poor, but the sugar tax will do precisely that and politicians are crowing about how good it will be at doing it. In fact, it is a proudly-trumpeted feature of the policy.

Likewise minimum alcohol pricing which directly targets drinks the less well off tend to drink. The rich will be completely unaffected either because they don't drink those 'common' drinks or because the impact on their disposable income is negligible.

Can you imagine an MP proudly announcing a policy to absolve the rich from taxes and putting the burden exclusively on the poor? He would be drummed out of polite society in very short order - yets that is exactly what 'public health' advocates on a daily basis.

In the case of vaping, it's even worse. Health campaigners care more about banning far safer e-cigs than they do about smokers deriving improved health benefits. They would actually prefer that smokers die than allow something to be sold that millions of people would like to buy.

In pursuit of securing the approval of some of the most vile and disgusting in society, politicians are clambering over themselves to ban products for the sole reason that a majority of people want to buy them, as Timmy describes.
It’s that very insistence on not allowing us to make the choice which proves, perfectly, that those denying us think we actually want what they’re not going to let us have.
There can be nothing more vile than that.

And, I'm sorry, I'm not buying this idea that 'public health' does this because it is a well-meaning but flawed movement. They know exactly what they are doing. We see it in the deliberately manipulated junk science; the press released scare stories which bear no resemblance to the research they have conducted; the blatant denial of truth; and the frenzied assaults on anyone who might dare to offer a differing opinion.

There is no public clamour for 'public health' initiatives. They are driven solely by those employed in that industry in order that they can profit from banning things that the vast majority of the public have proved they want to buy because they vote with their wallets and purses. If the 'public health' movement was confident that its messages were robust, it would simply deliver information to the public and the products they deem to be unacceptable would slowly wither and die. They don't because they know that the risks are so minimal that the public will make a calculation - as they have always done - between the enjoyment they derive from buying the products and the risks .. and would probably go on buying them.

Hence why 'public health' must obfuscate, lie, manipulate data and research, silence dissent and - most importantly - never engage with the public. 'Public health' is not only a huge drain on the productive part of the world's economy, but is also a net negative to society in general by causing division and obliterating the public's enjoyment of life by banning things simply because the public wants to consume them.

Of course, those in 'public health' might disagree but there is a perfect test to decide if they are correct. Let's defund the bloody lot of them and see if the public makes up the shortfall. See, just like a 'public health' ban is not required if people really don't want to buy something, so funding is completely unnecessary if the public properly valued 'public health'.

Go to it, politicians, believe me you'll be popular if you do. Just think of those majorities you could benefit from. 



Thursday, 26 April 2018

Secretary Of State For Health Says Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

You may have watched this already, but the Science and Technology Committee of the House of Commons held a further session on e-cigs the other day. You can see the whole thing here.

Chaired by Norman Lamb, a former Minister of State, it was investigating the role of not just vaping but other harm reduction avenues. There were many revealing moments which tie in with my regular refrain that new nicotine products are scaring the living daylights out of the establishment because they simply cannot work out which way to turn. As disruptive technologies go, this new suite of nicotine products - for which e-cigs has been the catalyst - is causing entrenched and turgid civil servants a whole host of problems and they keep being tripped up.

Here, for example, is John Newton of Public Health England having to admit that snus - a product which his government funders fought to ensure remained prohibited in the EU at the ECJ - is the reason that Sweden has a lower smoking prevalence rate than the UK. By a country mile, by the way.


How embarrassing is that? Sweden is better at preventing people from smoking because "they have snus". Erm, which our government is determined stays banned. Isn't our government terribly committed to stopping people smoking? I'm sure I've heard the fuckers saying that quite a lot.

So why strive to stop snus being sold in this country? I've heard the arguments that we don't have a culture of it here, but does that mean the UK shouldn't even try? When did "if it just saves one life it's worth it" cease to be applicable in 'public health' circles? It seems to work very well for them when they want to ban something for some bullshit reason. Is it because the ratchet only turns one way, perhaps?

This was also very telling from Steve Brine - the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health - at Tuesday's hearing.


Got that? "Generally hospitals do not allow vaping however there is no legislation to enforce that". It seems that in trying to give an excuse to the committee as to why his department is so schizophrenic over vaping, with a nudge and a wink he has said vapers are free to ignore the pathetic rules. So a mischievous blogger, if there was such a thing, might suggest that he has implicitly implied that smokers are quite welcome to ignore bans on smoking in hospital grounds too.

The alternative, of course, would be that he would prefer the rules to be observed by everyone, including vapers. It's a tangled web, isn't it, once one tries to justify policies that simply don't add up to a coherent strategy?

The problem for Brine is that he has one set of taxpayer-funded people at Public Health England saying that e-cigs should be widely encouraged and even sold in hospitals, while another set of state-funded people under the DoH's control - the NHS - is busily installing bans on vaping.

So the department is funding highly-paid employees to issue guidance that vaping should be allowed, while simultaneously funding other highly-paid employees to completely ignore the guidance. We are paying for people to produce reports that other people we pay for will put through the shredder.

It truly beggars belief that anyone can think this is a decent way of spending our money.

He later went on to say that the NHS trusts ignoring the exhortations from PHE were "not short on guidance", as if they should probably be adhering to it, but at the same time defending their right to treat the guidance with contempt.

But then, I don't think Steve Brine is much of a fan of e-cigs anyway and appeared to be at the committee under sufferance. "I get a lot of criticism for not being a cheerleader for e-cigarettes, I don't think I should be", he said, seemingly completely forgetting that his department's Tobacco Control Plan - which he boasted about pushing through as soon as he was appointed - specifically talked about the importance of reduced risk products like e-cigs.

If he is not going to be a cheerleader for his own Tobacco Control Plan, then who the hell else is supposed to be bloody doing it?

And how about this, from the foreword of said plan, signed by Steve Brine himself?
For its part, the government will provide leadership and guidance on the most effective interventions, ensure that the new legislation is implemented well and that organisations with national responsibilities are joined up and effective. I know that this ambition cannot be achieved without a collaborative effort.
Erm, where's the leadership in saying that you can't really do much about one organisation saying one thing and another completely ignoring it? Doesn't sound like leadership to me, and certainly isn't a "collaborative effort".

Look, I don't think government should have any say in whether people smoke or not, they should just provide information and leave it up to the public to make their own decisions.

But if we have a government that wants to insert itself into every aspect of our lives, it could at least make some effort of being joined-up about it and get actions at NHS trusts which reflect the guidance they are given. We pay a shit load of money for them to do exactly this, it's laughable that Brine says
he has no power to make them. 

But, in the meantime, if you want to, just smoke on hospital grounds. As the Secretary of State says, there is absolutely nothing to stop you. 



Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Screw Bar Workers, What About Middle Class Diners?

Remember that there smoking ban that was all about protecting bar workers from the terrors of secondhand smoke? Well apparently now it's more about protecting middle class pub diners from being slightly inconvenienced. But then we kinda knew that all along, didn't we?
Smoking ban to be extended to outdoor areas where food served 
The Government is to extend the ban on smoking where food is served to include outdoor areas.
Fine Gael Senators have tabled a private members motion calling on the Minister for Health Simon Harris to change legislation or issue directions via a statutory instrument to address the gap in current legislation. 
The initiative was spearheaded by former minister for health James Reilly, who has said it should no longer be acceptable for people to smoke where others are eating.
Personally, I don't know why they don't eat inside if they're that bothered. They were given every fucking indoor space in Ireland in 2004. It seemed quite important to them back then.
An unintended consequence of the smoking ban has been the prevalence of smokers in the outdoor areas of bars, cafés and restaurants, Mr Reilly said.
It was quite obvious that this was the only possible consequence. In fact, it was a feature of the legislation, not a bug. Who's to blame for that you hideous prohibitionist fuckstick?
“Anyone spending their hard-earned money in a restaurant or café should be entitled to enjoy their meal in a smoke-free environment.”
Why? Do they own the business? Why are they 'entitled' to anything more than other customers who pay the same money for the same goods and services? Smoking outdoors is not harmful so it should be up to the business to decide, not a sweaty, gurning, obese dangle-belly politician with a pathological downer on smoking.

But the idea he should butt out of business decisions "horrifies" this particular odious walking heart attack.
Forest’s John Mallon told RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show that the market should decide if restaurant owners are willing to make this decision. 
However, former Minister for Health James Reilly, who is calling on the Government to extend the ban on smoking where food is served to include outdoor areas, said he was horrified at the suggestion that the market decide health policy. 
Mr Reilly said it was no longer acceptable for people to smoke where others were eating.
No it's not. Most people couldn't give two shits about it. Only vile bloviating pissbags care that much. And if their limp sensibilities are offended so much, perhaps they should go have lunch with Aunt Maud in the local day centre instead, a pub is really not the place for them, or shouldn't be anyway.

But this, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the pièce de résistance in the latest piece of anti-smoking lunacy dressed up as health concern.
Mr Reilly said he was not saying there shouldn’t be outdoor areas for smokers, just that the area should be separate from where food is being served. “This is a killer product.”
So it's only a killer product when there is food around? Do these cretins ever listen to themselves?

It's quite simply just yet another 'public health' attack on things that those 'common' people enjoy. It's a class war by the elite directed at those who they find a bit icky. Snobbery of the very worst kind, driven by a nasty overweight fascist who should look in the mirror occasionally and sort his own health out before passing bullying legislation against others. They never cared about bar workers, it was just a ruse. Now they care so little about them they are happy to see their employers go out of business so middle class snobs can enjoy their one two-for-a-tenner meal once every two months without being bothered by those frightful regulars who keep the pub afloat.

The Augean Stables had nothing on the amount of effluence swilling around 'public health' circles at the moment. It's going to be a Herculean task to rid the corridors of power of nasty dictatorial arse-wipes like Reilly. Where are the brave politicians who will stand up for the people and just say fuck off?

May God rot every one of these vile meddling bollock-chinned bastards. 



Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Tobacco Control's Retarded Understanding of Economics

Things have been hectic at Puddlecote Inc recently hence the lack of content here, but some of that busy-ness is down to something quite momentous which could be on the horizon. The drafts have been piling up but I'll get round to them sometime.

Starting with this. Oh boy!

Next time any tobacco controller tries to tell you they understand everything about how the world works - because they always claim to - simply point them at this hilarious nonsense.


This is in response to a crash in Altria shares following less than expected growth in the iQos HnB platform. Yes, growth, because sales are still on an upward trajectory, just less dramatic than was forecast.

Previous to this, sales of iQos in Japan have been phenomenal, wildly better than any tobacco control initiative in history. According to the Financial Times ...
Shipments of traditional cigarettes fell more than 7 per cent, following an 11.5 per cent decline in the first quarter of 2017, while shipments of alternative “heated units” rose to 6.4bn from 1.2bn in the same quarter last year. 
During the quarter, almost 9 per cent of Philip Morris’s worldwide revenues came from “reduced risk products”, compared with 1.8 per cent a year earlier, with much of this shift occurring in Japan.
This is quite simply unprecedented. The biggest sea change in shifting smokers away from lit tobacco in the world. Ever.

As CNBC reports, the correction to stock prices was just a market reaction to growth - yes growth - slowing.
Philip Morris International shares plummeted 16 percent in the company's worst day since it spun off from Altria in 2008, after PMI posted mixed first-quarter results and said growth of iQOS, its heat-not-burn tobacco product, slowed in Japan.
However, in the cult-like battle that tobacco control is waging against tobacco companies, this was a straw that had to be clutched. So the {cough} wise and knowledgeable 'experts' in the tobacco control industry duly did so, retweeting this hilariously ignorant article with knuckle-dragging enthusiasm.

How stunning success in Japan which has dramatically reduced the sales of cigarettes can be described as "no-one wants" these products anymore is anyone's guess. But then, tobacco control has lived in its own wibbly-wobbly world of mendacious woo for so long that it must be difficult, after a while, for them to work out what is real and what is not. It's not like they're that bright to begin with, after all.

What is actually happening here is that the tobacco control industry is embarrassed that after decades of sucking on the taxpayer teat to the tune of hundreds billions of pounds, they have never once been able to produce results anywhere near as dramatic as this.

Graph pinched from this article, do go read it

And nor will they ever. Because they're morons who have completely abandoned any fig leaf that they are interested in helping smokers and improving public health. As we saw in Cape Town recently, they don't care what smokers do, they only care about bashing industry.

And if they have to support vacuous and incorrigibly retarded articles written by people who have about as much business savvy as a three year old, then that'll do for them, Tommy.

It's quite scary that governments listen to cretins like that, isn't it? 



Monday, 16 April 2018

Forget Your Customers At Your Peril

I've had a busy start to a busy Puddlecote Inc week, so am a bit late on this. Snowdon has already had his say but - as a former loyal customer of Lucozade for decades - I want to chip in something too.

Via The Grocer:
Lucozade Energy has lost £62.6m in value over the past year - the largest loss in the soft drinks category - as consumers turned away from the new lower-sugar formula. 
According to IRI figures, Energy’s value sales were down 18.6% to £273.6m, while volumes fell 18.9% to 162 million litres, after Lucozade changed the recipe last April to avoid the levy.
Good. I'm glad to have been one of those who abandoned them for their cowardly and contemptuous decision to shit on their best customers. I hope they go under.

Meanwhile their rivals are doing rather well.
Conversely, rival Red Bull added £20.5m to sales of its standard variant, taking its value to £279.6m and assuming the title of Britain’s bestselling energy drink.
Assuming the title of bestselling energy drink from ... Lucozade Energy! Forget about sugar, for a very pissed off former customer, could anything be sweeter than that?

Amusingly, the sales director in charge of this huge fall in, erm, sales is thrilled about losing nearly a fifth of revenue in the space of a year.
“We’re proud to have taken a leading stance and believe these steps have ­future-proofed our brands for our customers and their ­consumers,” said sales director Scott Meredith. 
Future-proofed the brand? It's just lost its top ranking spot. What kind of alternative world are these people living in?

The simple reason that Lucozade are - rightly - being deserted by swathes of their former happy customers is that Lucozade completely forgot the very first rule of business; that the customer is always right. Their customers, like me, enjoyed the product as it was. They changed it, not because customers were demanding it as their lame Twitter feed continually bleats, but because their CEO is a snivelling coward.
'Jamie Oliver was beating me up, so were other celebrities, NGOs and the media. They were demonising me as though sugar were the new tobacco,' says Peter Harding
Aww, poor thing. What was Don Jamie "two chins" Oliver doing to terrorise you, Peter? Firing pine nuts at you out of a carbine? Maybe you should go take charge of a jumble sale instead of a multi-million pound company, because the spidey business sense isn't that acute.
“Our retailers and suppliers have been really supportive,” he says, “because they recognised that we were motivated by doing right by the consumer, responding to the demand for more low-sugar and no-sugar drinks.”
And how is that demand working out for you right now, you cretin?
We’re 9pc of the UK soft drinks market. We’re probably not going to change the world ourselves but if we can demonstrate that it’s possible to make these changes and provide a lead for the rest of the food and drink industry and show that it can be done, then maybe other people will come with us.”
I think you're a little less than 9pc now, sunshine. And I hope you continue to fail so you can provide a lead for the rest of the food and drink industry not to be so spineless in the face of adversity as to abandon their core consumers.

Lucozade customers have had their say at the tills for their preferences being dismissed, now we can but hope shareholders will react accordingly to having their hopes of growth and increased dividends dashed on the altar of cowardice and stupidity. 



Thursday, 12 April 2018

Snus Ban: Let's Leave The EU, Sort It Out Later

As I reported in January, the UK government went in to bat for the EU in favour of upholding the ban on snus everywhere but Sweden when it was challenged in the ECJ.
Reports from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) where the EU's ban on snus was being challenged were not just disappointing, but also quite astonishing! A number of tweets from Gerry Stimson, who was attending on behalf of the NNA, described how a succession of of bureaucrats outed themselves as being in denial about the evidence base behind snus and willing to blatantly lie to the court about it. Most surprising was that the UK government took it upon itself to actively oppose lifting the ban despite overwhelming evidence of the benefits snus could provide.
Overwhelming isn't the word, snus has just about been given a clean bill of health in every aspect. A Lancet review spoke of no evidence of harm from long-term use of snus ”for any health outcome” (p 1364).

This doesn't matter to the ECJ though. They delivered their opinion on the court challenge today and they couldn't care less.
The European Union’s ban on the smoking substitute snus can be upheld according to the European Court of Justice's advocate general. In his preliminary opinion, ahead of the court's decision this summer, Henrik Saugmandsgaard said that while the evidence for the ban was not clear cut, the European Parliament had the right to impose the ban in 1992.
Yep, the EU don't need any compelling evidence to ban anything, just a hunch will do.

Now, although this is only an opinion and the judgement is to be decided at a later date, it effectively kills the thing stone dead and probably the safest form of tobacco use - which has led to dramatic declines in smoking in Sweden and Norway in a short space of time - will continue to be banned for the foreseeable future. All over a moral panic led by Edwina Currie in 1984.

This speaks volumes about how much of a regulatory Leviathan the EU is. It simply cannot be countered. The ECJ is one of the pillars of an organisation that piles bureaucracy upon bureaucracy upon bureaucracy and excludes the public entirely. Its role, as this opinion proves, is not to hold the legislature to account for bad behaviour, but merely to rubber-stamp its right to make bad decisions.

Now, the timing of this wasn't great considering Brexit negotiations are ongoing and the UK may have felt that this wasn't the hill to die on right now, but the fact that they argued so strongly against binning this astonishingly unnecessary ban as a result of the treacle of red tape we are tied into just illustrates what a shit-show the EU is and why it's good that we are leaving. If the UK - which, may I remind you unveiled a Tobacco Control Plan in July saying it wants to "maximise" use of alternative nicotine products - feels it necessary to fight for an unjust law which protects the smoking they also claim to want to eradicate, it's well past time that we maximised an alternative to rule from Brussels.

I know many will say that this proves that leaving the EU will make no difference. Except that UK courts have always been far more predisposed to embarrassing the government, most administrations have been taken to the cleaners by courts in the UK. The ECJ, however, is just another regulatory talking shop, as perfectly highlighted by the court admitting there is no evidence to prove snus is dangerous enough to ban but agreeing that the EU can do it anyway.

Who cares about the public and health, eh? The EU's embarrassment must be avoided at all costs.

Besides, let's get out of the EU and then see what happens with this ban once we're out. The system of electing MEPs is proportional representation which basically means they're in for life and have no power to reject any law whatsoever. British MPs can though, and are directly accountable to their electorate, we can kick many of them out very easily.

The hypocrisy on display by civil servants at the ECJ will be more difficult to justify if they are challenged by angry MPs scrambling for every vote to stay in their office at Westminster. And talking of hills to die on, how many British MPs want to be seen to be pinning their majorities to a policy of backing incumbent cigarette manufacturers against a product deemed 100 times safer and which has led to a smoking rate amongst women in Norway of 1%?

Today - and the incredibly long fight against the EU's ridiculous TPD - proves that the people have no say in Brussels, only corporate lobbyists do. Let's get on with getting out of the absurdly impenetrable, bureaucratic, and anti-democratic EU and sort the crap laws out later. 



Monday, 9 April 2018

The Sugar Tax Con Trick

So the sugar tax was introduced on Friday and on social media many are starting to wake from their slumber as to what it all means.

We are already seeing smaller chocolate bars being sold for the same price, popular drinks that have been national favourite for decades being effectively discontinued, and meal deals being wrecked at the altar of 'public health' fantasy.

The public are being screwed out of their cash for no good reason, and - as Mark Littlewood writes today in The Times - it is hypocritical government which is doing the screwing.
[I]nterventions such as the sugar tax undermine the government’s narrative in other key areas. As leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband struck a chord when he campaigned on behalf of the “squeezed middle” and talked of a cost of living crisis. In the early stages of her premiership, Theresa May said she would be a champion of “just about managing” households. With real wages having been obstinately flat for years and house prices staying high, politicians of both stripes have been keen to empathise with families whose modest budgets barely allow them to purchase the essentials of life. 
Consumption taxes, such as the levy on fizzy drinks, have a measurably regressive impact. They chew up a relatively high proportion of the incomes of those least able to afford them. According to the Office for National Statistics, these types of taxes account for nearly a quarter of the disposable income of the poorest 10 per cent in British society, compared with a more manageable 13 per cent for the richest decile. The next time a Tory spokesman sympathises with those who are struggling to get by, the electorate may ask why the government is gearing the tax system to make it more difficult for those on budgets to afford staple products.
If an industry conspired to ramp up prices in an entire sector as this tax does, it would be condemned as a cartel by government and be subject to scandal and heavy scrutiny. We might expect to see price caps and business owners would likely be prosecuted for fraud.

Yet the government is the one doing the price-gouging and impoverishing the poor, so apparently it's OK. It's not OK and is a national scandal that the government should presume it ever has the right to decide what we are allowed to eat and drink!

But what I find most interesting about this whole grubby affair is the huge con trick that has been played on the British public.

For example, we are told that this measure is required due to the spiralling levels of child obesity. Let's look at those from the latest HSCIC figures, shall we?


The increase - if there is one - is minimal and even that is tempered by the fact that the NHS admits the stats up to 2009 were under-estimated. There really isn't a "crisis" in child obesity.

And even if there is, it has nothing to do with sugar.


And certainly nothing to do with soft drinks consumption either considering it has remained flat for over a decade, with low sugar alternatives making up a greater proportion of that in recent years. If, like me, you are a child of the 70s and 80s, you will remember that we drank much more fizzy drinks than kids today and there were far fewer low-sugar options. We had a lot more tooth decay than kids today but we were - according to the health 'experts' - far slimmer. So how can anyone say it's the sugar causing this mythical obesity crisis? It's quite clearly not.

Yet we are told there is enough evidence about the evils of sugar in food and drink to fleece the public to the tune of £240m to £500m, depending on how trusting you are in the power of the coercive state to make predictions.

It's complete arse-biscuits.

Instead, what has happened is that the public has effectively been brainwashed into believing this fantasy, led by 'public health' cranks with an agenda to promote and a bank balance to feed with grants and advocacy salaries.

Which is why we have the bizarre situation where even articles like Littlewood's, which calmly debunks this paranoia and government over-reach, are always followed by comments from people who just can't get their head around how they have been comprehensively conned. And, to be honest, it's because many of them really want to be conned; they are eager for the poppycock they are fed to be true.

They fall into three camps, but all are based on good old-fashioned selfishness, ignorance and class hate.

Firstly, you have the look-at-me virtue-signaller. These are the ones who will boast about how they always cook food from the healthiest ingredients at home, will ban their kids from McDonald's and never have poison like fizzy drinks in the house. Oh no, they are a better class of person, not like those common oiks they see in the High Street. They are so much better than you and can't wait to jump onto radio phone-ins to explain at length how very perfect they are compared to the rest of society. They will often also requisition your kids as their own by saying action is necessary to save "our children". Ironically, these holier-than-thou types were banging on in the 90s about how they give their kids orange juice not Coca-Cola, but will never admit that now that orange juice has been demonsed too.

Secondly, we have the ones who claim their interest is because they are being unduly taxed for the sins of other people. They will scream about the cost to the health service as if this is costing them personally. The cost to the health service argument is shonky at best considering we're told the obese die earlier than those fine, upstanding healthy people thereby saving a fortune in government's biggest expenditure, pensions. But it always amuses me to think there are people around who honestly believe if everyone was slim they'd get a reduction in taxes. Of course they wouldn't. These people are actually arguing that the sugar tax is good because it will cost the NHS less (which it won't) and that might benefit them (which it won't) so are happy to see the government whack taxes on products that they may buy (which definitely will cost them). They should look up Parkinson's Law.

And lastly, we have the type who knows very well that this is a load of bollocks but just like the fact that sin taxes are regressive. They will leap on any old nonsense to justify a tax which punishes the poor, for the simple fact that they hate people who are not like them. They don't care whether the sugar tax will work, they are simply a modern version of a Victorian aristocrat who would sneer at the choices of the poor. It is now considered shameful to advocate an income tax rate for the low-paid which is higher than that for the rich, but positively encouraged by government to support disproportionately gouging the less well off for products which the rich can afford quite nicely, thank you.

It should be repellent that so many people support this assault on their fellow citizens, but politicians have been conned as much as the rest of society has. The facts show that sugar consumption has been falling consistently for decades; that sugary drinks consumption in the UK has been declining; that taxing that consumption - which makes up such a tiny proportion of our diets - will have little effect on what we buy let alone our waistlines; and it has proven to be a failure wherever it has been tried.

But we still try it because ... snobbery, as Alex Deane described at the time it was announced.
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.
Still, it's only a small imposition isn't it? The government punishing the poor over fizzy drinks will be the end of the matter. Well not really, no, and if you believe that my local pub has a smoking room you can buy at a decent price.

The sugar tax is born out of the same vile and scum-infested middle class base as the smoking ban. The only difference being that back then it was smokers, now it is the overweight. The precedent was set a decade ago, a precedent which gave a green light for the most hideous in society to point fingers, criticise the choices of others, publicly vomit insults, and demand government force be brought to bear on people who they feel offended at seeing. That's all, just seeing!

The sugar tax proves that an entire population can be conned into the most grubby of sentiments purely by the repetition of lies designed to prey upon hidden prejudices. History has seen this before with disastrous consequences. 



Friday, 6 April 2018

More Junk Science From Glantz

There may well come a time where the name Glantz is used as a byword for production of the worst kind of deliberate junk science, such is his expertise in the practice.

A merchant of doubt explains merchants of doubt
Just like we derive the term gerrymandering from the grubby antics of Elbridge Gerry, so we may - nay, should - in future refer to research fraudulently contorted to achieve a preconceived conclusion in any discipline to have been 'Glantzed'.

Brad Rodu has highlighted the latest in a long line of Glantzian chicanery on his blog this week. Publishing in the Paediatrics journal, Glantz once again came up with a conclusion that vaping amongst adolescents drives them towards smoking. Except for one thing, he had discounted prior cigarette consumption altogether.

Erm, I know that tobacco controllers understand smokers less than the general population, but this is a pretty fundamental error. Of course people dabbling with e-cigs are more likely to smoke afterwards if they have smoked before, yet Glantz chooses to completely ignore this vital piece of information.

As Rodu comments:
In their analysis, the authors ignore the fact that their study group consisted entirely of experimental smokers with widely varied experience – one or more puffs but never a whole cigarette, one cigarette, 2-10, 11-20, 21-50 and 51-99 cigarettes.  
It is well established that past smoking (in this case, LCC at Wave 1) predicts future smoking (one year later).  Chaffee, Watkins and Glantz ignored this information in order to claim that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking.  Their study should be retracted. 
Well, yes. In any legitimate area of research, a fundamental flaw such as this would have been discovered during peer review, but then tobacco control has never been a legitimate area of research, it is just political policy-based evidence-making. Why a journal like Paediatrics would continue to allow such a blatantly shonky piece of research to contaminate its pages is anyone's guess.

Rodu reproduced the analysis taking into account prior cigarette use and - lo and behold - the claims made by Glantz entirely disappeared. The data had been comprehensively Glantzed.

This was pointed out in the responses page at Paediatrics by Rodu, and Glantz fiercely defended his study ... by launching an ad hominem attack. Under Dick's Law, this means Rodu has already won. However, the victory is even greater considering Glantz's response admitted that he and his colleagues deliberately treated kids who had smoked only one puff and never a whole cigarette just the same as those who had smoked 99 cigarettes. Only a charlatan would do something like that and, as charlatans go, Glantz is as mendacious and deceitful as they come.

But then tobacco control has long since departed from having anything to do with science, it is in fact anti-science and its journals are increasingly also of the same mindset. It's a cult to which you are either within or without. Glantz is one of the cult leaders so is duty-bound to promote whatever quasi-religious anti-nicotine hegemony that his colleagues wish him to, and at the moment in the US it just happens to be an ignorant and quite absurd dislike for e-cigs based on no reasonable foundation whatsoever.

How ironic is it that someone still banging on about the behaviour of tobacco companies in the 1960s can so brilliantly encapsulate the actions of tobacco control doubt-spreaders in 2018?

The tobacco industry has long since abandoned any pretence that their core product is harmless, but some in tobacco control are employing exactly the same doubt creation methods now towards e-cigs! Glantz has become everything he has spent decades condemning. He propagates ignorance, obscures truth and deliberately creates confusion. And if Paediatrics doesn't retract a blatantly and deliberately false study such as this one, they are complicit in the fraud and their integrity is in the gutter.

As I mentioned earlier this week, there's a very good reason why vapers don't believe a word that tobacco controllers say, and Glantz has just provided them with another prime example.  



Monday, 2 April 2018

None So Blind ...

It's only early April, but we have a contender for the most delusional and ill-judged tweet of the year.
Now, I've always said that new products such as e-cigs had the potential to show up tobacco controllers as the charlatans that they are, but the incompetent behaviour of some in the face of a changing nicotine market has exceeded even my hopeful expectations. That tweet - from an editor of the Tobacco Control comic - says it all.

For the best part of a decade, tobacco controllers have been telling outrageous and blatant lies about e-cigs in order to get them banned. Meanwhile, the tobacco industry has been quietly developing proper science around their products.

Industry has been selling products that consumers like while tobacco control has been issuing junk science study after junk science study which are so lame that they take minutes to see through. 

It takes an incredibly cult-like outlook on life to not understand, then, why vapers trust industry over a bunch of liars who have restricted choice of products in the EU and are still doing their damnedest to either tax e-cigs into oblivion or take them off the shelves globally.

Of course the tobacco industry now has more integrity in the eyes of many vapers than tobacco control, and rightly so.

Incredibly, Ruth "remains mystified" as to why, despite the evidence being all around her, as Mike Siegel wrote in 2014.
When the tobacco industry decided - sometime back around 2000 or so - to stop monitoring tobacco control science and to just let us say anything we wanted to - I thought they had made a poor decision. But in retrospect, I think it may have been brilliant. They apparently knew that before long, without the restraints of having to answer to Big Tobacco's public questioning, our science would deteriorate and we would just start saying anything we wanted to. Unrestrained, the tobacco control movement's scientific rigor would fall to such a low level that we would end up discrediting ourselves and undermining our own credibility. 
Well, we're there. We're officially there.
We are indeed, yet many tobacco controllers just keep digging that hole, oblivious to the harm it is causing them.

Hilarious!  



Sunday, 1 April 2018

Juvenile Nonsense

It pains me to write this but it's fair game considering I've had the same back the other way in the past.

Simon Clark posted an inane and, sorry to say, embarrassing article yesterday where he tried to insinuate that pro-snus advocates have been lackadaisical in publishing a rebuttal to the stupid scaremongering about snus in football.

According to Simon:
It's not easy, I know, getting your voice heard in these circumstances. You should try however and it's now 48 hours since the Mail published its 'investigation', plenty of time for pro-snus advocates to issue a statement (or statements) of their own.
Simon, of course, is paid to do his job. There are no paid advocates of snus in this country and this was the Easter weekend.

He tweeted at 10ish yesterday and then wrote an article at 2:16pm.

The accusation is that those defending snus are somehow lazy in not being more active in getting a counter-argument out there. As he said here.
Nevertheless, if I was a snus advocate I know what I'd be doing this weekend. I'd be on the phone to a national newspaper offering to write an article that defends not only snus but nicotine in general.
Now, I'm struggling to understand why he didn't send this to the people he is targeting considering he has all of our contact details easily to hand. He certainly has mine, and I know he has many others too.

So why did he take such a juvenile approach? The ban on snus is being challenged at the ECJ so those advancing that opinion should be supported rather than be subject to childish point-scoring.

He's completely wrong anyway because if he'd bothered to contact anyone about it - as in, if he cared about the campaign - they could have told him that things were in hand. He could have even contributed. The NNA published a press release just 45 minutes after he posted his blog and anything published at the NNA site has to be approved by the board. It contained - as he would have noticed - 13 different links to back up a commentary. If the NNA did that on the back of Simon's article they would surely be absolutely superb at reacting quickly. More worthy of praise for amateurs rather than sneering remarks, I'd say.

In answer to a tweet replying to him, he tended to suggest that this PR was only as a result of his tweet and blog, except that it was nonsense. So I told him in the comments on his blog that I'd read a draft of the PR on Friday night so his article was fatally flawed flim flam. His response was "if you say so".

Erm, yes I do say so because I was at the house of a trustee of the NNA on Friday evening and read a draft. I write for recreation about issues such as nicotine, smoking and other assaults on our liberties by the nanny state. It would be a surprise if we didn't talk about the ridiculous moral panic over snus.

Oh yeah, we also wrote an article for Spiked that night. That was nothing to do with Simon either.


Yes, you owe an apology, Simon. Man up and do so. 



Tuesday, 27 March 2018

First The Pubs, Now For The Corner Shops

I've written about the pathetic and futile tobacco control policy of 'divestment' before. If you've not heard of it, the theory kinda goes something like this:
"If we convince people to stop investing in tobacco companies, Big Tobacco will inevitably fail and victory will be ours! Ours I tell you! Muahahahaha!"
It's the kind of daft policy a ten year old with a very loose grasp of how the world works would think up, but tobacco control apparently seem to think they're onto a winner. Hint: They're not.
As I've explained before, it just goes to further show that tobacco controllers have absolutely no clue about economics and finance.  
The only loser in this sad story are the poor pensioners and future pensioners who are cursed to have lost high performing stocks as a result of stupidity. The tobacco industry couldn't give a toss. 
You see, the price of a company's shares is entirely separate to the profitability or true worth of the business. Unless the company concerned is thinking of announcing a rights issue to raise funds - something tobacco companies don't have to do because they are highly profitable - the share price is irrelevant to them as far as income is concerned. 
Profitability and worth are real things, share price is just a measure for those who wish to make money on the back of that profitability and worth by way of yield and dividends. 
Righteous types can sell billions of shares on principle but it doesn't matter one iota to 'Big Tobacco'. The share price may wane but nobody will stop smoking because of it, but whoever buys the shares after that makes a lot more money.
The sum total of people who will quit smoking as a result of divestment is precisely zero, as Snowdon further emphasised writing for City AM last year
You have to wonder whether campaigners for divestment really understand how the stock market operates. From their rhetoric, you would think that Exxon Mobil and Philip Morris were startup companies looking to raise money by floating on the stock exchange, and that they can be starved of cash if people refuse to buy their shares. 
This is obviously not how it works. Divesting from tobacco stock will have a negligible impact on the share price and will have absolutely no impact on either cigarette sales or company profits. There is no mechanism by which selling shares could deter a single person from smoking.
Yep, it's just further proof that tobacco control has now ceased most of its efforts at helping people to quit smoking, and are now dedicating their time towards pseudo-political posturing against big industry instead. It's not about health anymore, it's just about bashing 'Big Tobacco', as we saw from the laughable and Orwellian WCTOH earlier this month. 

Well, now it seems that Cancer Research UK is hoping to extend this idea to UK corner shops, as this research funded by them illustrates. 
In comparison to other products sold in small retail shops, profit margins from tobacco are low (4–6%). For example, profits (sic) margins on confectionary (sic) sales are estimated at 30%
Well yes, if I compare apples with oranges I could make many stupid claims too. Of course margins on cigarettes are going to be small, probably because of the huge 80% tax that government has slapped on them; margins are larger on confectionery because the Exchequer has not found a credible way of taxing children ... yet. They're still working on that particular piece of hideous state interference. 

Yet again, though, we see tobacco control embarrassing themselves with their knowledge of how businesses work, abjectly failing to understand smokers, and overlooking what their role is supposed to be. Let's, for example, assume that CRUK manage to persuade small retailers to abandon cigarette sales entirely. What public health benefit will accrue? 

Well, nothing, of course. How does a retailer deciding to stop selling cigarettes make anyone quit smoking? 

These cretins seriously believe that corner shops stopping selling cigarettes will inevitably lead to locals smoking less or quitting because of the nuisance. Erm, no, it would more likely mean smokers would buy from supermarkets instead - almost certainly cheaper due to economies of scale - and they'd stock up by buying in bulk rather than as single packs. The only loser here is the local shop who has stupidly forsaken footfall as a main driver of his business, on the advice of tax-sponging no-marks employed in an unproductive industry which is a costly drain on our economy.

Because, you see, the study admits this in its data. This research found that tobacco is important not just because of footfall, but also because of revenue: 90.3% say tobacco sales are important or very important and 80.2% say they rely on tobacco sales for footfall - precisely the mechanism that drives customers to the more lucrative 30% profit margins of other products such as, well, confectionery.

If tobacco controllers weren't such irretrievable morons when it comes to basic economic principles, they might have worked it out for themselves. After all, 250 years ago Adam Smith wrote about how self-interest drives business, not the financially-illiterate, state-led coercive bullshit peddled by cranks and charlatans in 'public health'.
"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."
This is true of any business. I don't run mine to benefit my customers, I run it to make a living. Just like corner shops sell cigarettes because it is helpful to their bottom line; if it wasn't they wouldn't sell them. If I didn't make that living, what's the point? I'm not a charity. Only people who float through life not having to worry about where the next dime is coming from can possibly get this fundamental business principle wrong.

Which is why it is completely alien to tobacco controllers.

Hmm, so let's think how corner shops could better serve their own self-interest and simultaneously benefit health goals without obliterating their footfall, shall we? The authors of this research say that some retailers reported higher margins on e-cigarettes, but make nothing of it. Wouldn't this be a better message to send from a CRUK-funded study than this blunt and flawed insistence that small shops abandon cigarette sales simply because tobacco control hate the tobacco industry and don't give a monkey's chuff about the profits that local retailers need to stay in business?

Well yes, but you won't hear tobacco controllers making that argument. In fact, in Cape Town, one of their finest said the exact opposite in a press conference about e-cigs.
Between 2012 and 2015, the UK phased out the display of cigarettes in shops, and all cigarettes now have to be hidden behind shutters but “as tobacco was removed, e-cigarettes came in and took their place within their displays,” said UK scientist (University of Stirling) Catherine Best.
Yes Catherine, isn't that the entire fucking point? This, by the way, is the same University of Stirling which advised government that no pubs had closed as a result of the smoking ban. Do you see a trend?

There really is no pleasing these people. And let me emphasise once again that this study was funded by CRUK, those fine upstanding champions of e-cigs and harm reduction. Yet their researchers were presented with an open goal here and hoofed the ball into row Z of the upper tier instead. They can advocate for retailers to cease selling fags as much as they like, but the only result will be as many bankrupt and empty corner shops as there now are pubs. Here was an opportunity to offer a positive message but, dagnabbit, they just couldn't shake that addiction to coercion and bullying of honest, hard-working businesses instead.

Christ! What a waste of their time and, more importantly, everyone else's money.  



Thursday, 22 March 2018

An Outbreak Of Common Sense In Sheffield

When people talk of 'austerity' in this country, especially towards funding of public sector organisations and local authorities, it never really rings true to me considering that - daily - we hear of widespread public sector interference which is completely unnecessary.

One perfect example of this is local authority restrictions on vaping in taxis. Transport for London have a shameful policy - which they tweet regularly - saying that vaping is not allowed in a licensed vehicle at any time, even when the driver is alone and/or off-duty.


Considering taxis and private hire vehicles in London are all privately-owned property, what business is that of TfL? Even worse, why the blithering fuck do TfL think they have the authority to fine passengers £50 for vaping in a cab when it is not harmful; isn't against the law; and the vehicle is not TfL's property?

They are forced, sadly, by law to ban smoking but when they ban e-cigs they are making the taxpayer pay for their pure ignorance and spite.

Councils have this power - which they get some perverse kick out of - because of how debilitating it can be for their licensees to be denied a licence. Since the authority it gives them can deprive someone of their livelihood - and there is no competitor to move to if you think their rules are shit - they should exercise their power wisely. But, as we can see from TfL, many don't. Instead they micro-manage issues that they have no right to get involved in. It's a control freak's wet dream.

In your blog host's humble opinion, any authority which spends time and taxpayer resources banning vaping in taxis - for which there is no health or road safety justification - is proving that they have plenty of funding so can stop bloody whining about austerity. If anything it tells us they are too well-funded and that there is plenty of scope for them to be starved of even more cash. The discussion should solely extend to "is it against the law?", "no", "then let's move on".

Of course, that is London where bureaucracy pumped out by Metropolitan elitists is a plague, so it was interesting to see that Freedom to Vape submitted FOI requests to find out taxi policies in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. Their report is here and it makes for interesting reading.

In short, 8 out of 27 councils ban e-cigs in taxis so can shut the fuck up about funding cuts, another 2 are considering it so obviously also have plenty of cash spare.

But shining like a beacon out of it all is Sheffield City Council. Their policy is absolutely perfect and puts the rest to shame. It is what a model policy should look like, respecting taxi owners, passengers and taxpayers alike, while respecting property rights and public health into the bargain.
Sheffield City Council, through its Licensing Committee who set the policies for our licensed drivers does not currently have a ban on Vapour cigarettes in Licensed vehicles. The policy is reviewed on a regular basis and this may be part of the consultation in the next review. 
We currently follow the legal guidelines around smoking in public vehicles and as of yet Vapour/E-cigarettes are not covered under the current laws. 
If this changes we will of course enforce the restrictions as strongly as we do the current smoking restrictions on our licensed drivers. Where passengers decide to use the E-cigarettes this would currently be down to individual drivers, and would be for them to ask passengers to refrain from use of the cigarettes in their vehicle if they wished them not to use. 
We would also advise drivers that use these types of machines to refrain from using them whilst passengers are on board, unless they have received permission from the passenger at the time, which should be common courtesy for both the driver and the passenger to ask such a question.
A policy built upon common sense and mutual respect? Well, fancy that!

Sadly, councils are stuffed full of pompous blowhards for whom liberties are just something that get in the way of their own self-importance, and Freedom to Vape is cognisant of that.
I would like to strike a note of caution. Just because a council has said that it doesn't plan to ban vaping in taxis and private hire vehicles, doesn't mean that it won't change its mind tomorrow.
As we all know, the ratchet almost invariably only goes the one way.

None of this, of course, would be anything local authority licensing boards would have bothered about too much before tobacco control embarked on the hysterical denormalisation of smoking, and now, nicotine. We've seen some fine words from them on e-cigs occasionally, but I don't see much by way of missives to councils to stop being monumental dicks towards vaping.

When I see a 'public health' NGO ripping publicly into arrogant, monolithic shitgoblins like TfL about damaging and illiberal bans on vaping in taxis - or anywhere else come to that - I'll start to believe they're not just playing us like fools. Might have to wait a while though.

In the meantime, Bravo Sheffield! Don't let the bastards grind you down. 



Wednesday, 21 March 2018

++Breaking++: Vape Marketing Discovered At A Vape Marketing Event!

On Sunday I wrote about one of the funniest pieces of anti-vaping 'science' I've seen so far. If you remember, the 'researchers' - I use that description in the very loosest sense - from North Carolina wanted laws to make all e-cigs the same so that it made it easier for the lazy buggers to study them.

You'd think they must be bottom-feeders in the tobacco control community, but it's a field where absurd morons jostle for position with laughable ones. I reckon this, from the Tobacco Control Comic Journal, beats it for stupidity.
World Vapor Expo 2017: e-cigarette marketing tactics
A newly emerging public health issue is the surge of ‘vaping conventions’ for e-cigarette marketing and sales. 
E-cigarette marketing strategies such as those observed at the 2017 World Vapor Expo echo earlier cigarette promotions infamously used by the tobacco industry to attract consumers, most notably teenagers. E-cigarette marketing strategies should be closely monitored to guide policymakers on how to regulate e-cigarette marketing and sales. Further research is needed on vaping events to document the age range of attendees and how social interactions at such events affect e-cigarette risk perceptions, vaping behaviour and perceived norms.
Vape marketing discovered at an age-restricted Vape Expo? Wow! Hold the front page!

Apparently, these two wide-eyed man-children believe this glimpse of reality that has just been revealed to them "may have serious public health implications". I think they may have got those words in the wrong order there. They mean vaping will have serious implications for those who laughingly call themselves 'public health'. After all, who needs parasitic junk scientists spunking public money down the drain like this when e-cigs are making their industry look like an expensive, ineffective and fraudulent disease?



Sunday, 18 March 2018

Our Job Is Difficult, So The World Must Change

We've known for a while that anti-smokers - in fact, any person with a beef about what other people enjoy that they personally dislike - want the world to revolve around them. They want the moon on a stick and a unicorn for Christmas, you see, so they demand that society re-orders itself to fit with their individual likes and dislikes.

The most prominent example is the smoking ban where a system of smoking and non-smoking pubs was not acceptable; anti-smokers wanted them all, without exception. Another, more recent, example is the case of fast food where odious snobs pretend they are worried about the health of working class people while, in reality, they just find other people's choices grubby and, well, common. Just because they wouldn't be seen dead in a McDonald's they want as many restrictions placed a successful business despite often enjoying far more unhealthy 'niche' or 'artisan' food themselves.

However, I've never seen this leaking into 'public health' research before. Well, not until now, anyway. I laughed out loud when I saw this.
Electronic Cigarettes: One Size Does Not Fit All
Electronic cigarettes (EC) have been rapidly growing in popularity among youth and adults in the US over the last decade. This increasing prevalence is partially driven by the ability to customize devices, flavors, and nicotine content and the general notion that EC are harmless, particularly in comparison to conventional cigarettes (CC).
Firstly, I'd argue that there isn't a "general notion" that they are harmless, more's the pity. Especially "in comparison to conventional cigarettes" which is indisputable.

But get this!
The hurdle presented by diverse device designs and [e-liquid] permutations, which contribute to inconsistency of available data, also highlights the need for legislative standardization of EC.
Yes. These idiots from North Carolina are actually of the opinion that their job is made more difficult because there are so many different e-cig product combinations which enthuse and attract smokers to alternatives that will suit them. So they want the law to change what they are studying so it makes it easier for them to do so.

Three lazy spongers who really believe that the world should stop being so diverse because it makes their gathering of junk science for the FDA more difficult.

If I didn't provide the link, you'd have thought I made it up, wouldn't you? Go on, admit it. 



Thursday, 15 March 2018

Plain Packs: The Failure Continues

Yep, about sums it up
Tuesday saw news from Australia and France on the embarrassing failure of plain packaging since it was introduced, but what about here in the UK? For such a much-vaunted and "urgent" tobacco control policy, there has been very little exultation at its effect here, in fact the silence has been deafening.

Well, maybe it's because there is nothing much to shout about. According to Convenience Store magazine [from page 33], it's had no impact whatsoever.
Roger Sraw's tobacco sales have remained steady year on year. "We certainly haven't seen the decline we were initially worried about," he says.  
Manny Patel of manny's in Long Ditton, Surrey has had the same experience. "Tobacco sales are steady in our store. Year on year we've seen no decline, even in January when people tend to try to cut down or quit."
So much for the frenzied rush to Stop Smoking Services predicted by tobacco control lobbyists during the plain packs campaign, eh? It doesn't look like the "300,000 fewer smokers" in the year after plain packaging legislation will be anything to do with the packs, after all.
In fact, a number of stores which have invested in training and robust category management are even reporting a rise in tobacco sales since EUTPD2 came in. Take the Costcutter store at Brunel University, for example. "Unbelievably, our tobacco sales have actually grown since the law was enforced," says store manager Arnaud Leudjou.
At a University? Where young smokers tend to congregate, do you mean? But surely plain packs was specifically designed to scare youth away from smoking, that's what we were told quite categorically by Smokefree South West (RIP) back in 2012.

"The government thought that banning small cigarette packs and RYO pouches would deter people from smoking, but here it seems as though the opposite is happening. 
"Smokers are now buying the larger packs and because they have more cigarettes on them, they are just smoking more. The volume and value of our tobacco sales are both up on this time last year," he adds.
Well fancy that! Something that was obvious would happen, did happen. Of course, it was obvious if you understand smokers, which tobacco control clearly doesn't, and actively refuses to.

But hold on, there's a sliver of hope for the tobacco control morons.
But not all stores share Arnaud's experience, Bipin Harria, owner of Seaford News in East Sussex, says he has noticed a "subtle decline" in tobacco sales since the start of the year. 
Well I suppose that's a straw to clutch, anyway.
"But revenues are up due to the larger pack sizes", he adds. Bipin blames increased price competition, from the illicit trade and also from other high street retailers, for the decline.
Or maybe not.

Now, we knew that plain packaging was a pathetic policy proposal with no chance of success, and it was reinforced by the tobacco control industry quickly turning down their ridiculously overwrought campaign hyperbole once the legislation had been passed. Prior to the vote in the House of Commons, plain packs was heralded as a huge step forward for 'public health', but once the law was assured tobacco controllers were downplaying expectations by saying "it's not a silver bullet". On this evidence, it's not even a bullet.

But smoking prevalence still declines more rapidly than at any time in recent history, and we all know it's because the rise in the use of e-cigs.

In light of this, can you guess what was the focus of the debate by anti-smokers at the World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) in Cape Town last week? Yes, you got it. More plain packaging, less vaping, as the Tobacco Atlas - unveiled at WCTOH - makes quite clear.
The implementation of key tobacco control demand-reduction measures (e.g., tobacco taxation; smoke-free policies; packaging and labeling provisions; marketing bans; and cessation programs) at the highest levels of achievement accelerated among the WHO FCTC Parties between 2007 and 2014. Effective implementation of these measures is significantly associated with lower smoking prevalence, which typically leads to considerable reductions in tobacco-related morbidity and mortality.
I love the term "demand-reduction measures". They mean forcing smokers to quit. But with what? Well, anything but e-cigs, natch.
Governments must be comprehensive and forceful in their smoke-free policies. For example, some jurisdictions have begun to include water pipes in their ban, or have at least implemented partial bans (e.g., the United Arab Emirates). E-cigarette public bans (including New York City)— not without controversy — have also become more common around the globe. 
The most basic issue is whether these novel nicotine products should be given market access at all. 
Most governments are trying a variety of other approaches to gatekeeping market access, ranging from permissive (e.g., similar to existing tobacco products) to more restrictive (e.g., requiring authorization from health authorities before entry into the market and on an ongoing basis).
It really is quite astonishing how addicted tobacco control is to failure. Their Luddite denial that free market alternatives move consumers away from smoking at an exponentially faster rate than restrictions and bans - or, in the case of plain packaging, infinitely faster because plain packs don't motivate anyone to quit - would make a great thesis for a student of psychology. Of course, I'd say it's simpler than that. They just know that new nicotine delivery products don't generate money for the tobacco control industry scam.

Of course, if tobacco controllers were interested in health, they would happily forgo their own salaries for the greater good of society; but it's not about health, so they don't.

H/T GV on Twitter