Tuesday, 14 August 2018

The #COP8 Stitch-Up Is Afoot

Here we go. Strap yourselves in for the latest biennial anti-truth tobacco conference otherwise known as the FCTC's 'Conference of the Parties' (COP).

You can read about the previous two such as Moscow 2014 where the FCTC's Margaret Chan had tea with Putin instead of tackling Ebola, while thugs manhandled journalists out of the event at the COP6 tag here. You can also read articles on the 2016 shebang in New Delhi where - coincidentally - journalists were also manhandled out of the event, while Indian farmers were hounded away from the venue for the sin of holding a peaceful protest which may have upset the sensibilities of COP delegates intent on the serious of business of banning e-cigs, during a lethal smog cloud hanging over the city at the COP7 tag here.

Regular readers will know that I attended the event in India and I have flights booked for Geneva where COP8 will take place in October, so I was interested to see that the FCTC finally released their guidance - late - to the parties (member nations) on how to handle e-cigs.

You can read it here and, at first, it seems pretty unremarkable. However, it features a major dog whistle by describing the results of a survey conducted on the regulatory policies of countries that have ratified the FCTC and agreed to abide by its recommendations. Instead of listing the policies of all parties, it merely points out the ones which have banned e-cigs, subtlely signalling what the FCTC's particular preference is. On the plus side, it does highlight how low Australia has sunk to be classified in the same category as some of the worst abusers of human rights in the world.


The Aussie government must be so proud.

Further down the document, though, we come to the truly sinister part, as I also tweeted this week.


It's not just the sickening nepotism of a UN body asking for "independent" advice from another UN body, but also that the IARC's reputation as a serious purveyor of balanced research is widely questioned, as described by risk expert Geoffrey Kabat in June (do go read the whole article here).
[W]hen IARC’s assessments have been criticized by researchers on substantive grounds, rather than addressing the issues in question, the Agency has typically responded by dismissing the criticisms by 1) pointing to alleged conflicts-of-interest of its critics and 2) making sweeping assertions regarding the transparency and scientific rigor of its evaluation process and the monographs themselves. In other words, the Agency has shown no willingness to examine, and possibly learn from, the identification of serious errors and improprieties in IARC’s evaluations pointed out by respected scientists.
So it appears that the UN's IARC is equally as resistant to external scrutiny from those who disagree with its pre-conceived plans as its sister organisation, the FCTC. A good fit, don't you think?

The FCTC seems to want to find out if e-cigs cause cancer, so they have chosen a fellow unelected organisation which they can fully trust to come out with the result they seek. This is because the IARC is set up so it, quite literally, can find cancer in just about everything.
According to IARC “a cancer ‘hazard’ is an agent that is capable of causing cancer under some circumstances [emphasis added], while a cancer ‘risk’ is an estimate of the carcinogenic effects expected from exposure to a cancer hazard.” Here, “exposure” refers to actual human exposure levels. The Agency justifies the focus on hazard by arguing that, “even when risks are very low at current exposure levels, […] new uses or unforeseen exposures could engender risks that are significantly higher.” IARC’s focus on “hazard” opens a gaping loophole, which has given IARC carte blanche to highlight results that bear little relation to exposure or risk operative in the real world. To add to the confusion, even though IARC focuses on “hazard,” the title of the Monographs refers “Carcinogenic Risk to Humans.” 
IARC’s adoption of the very elastic concept of hazard is in line with the weight given to the precautionary principle in the EU Charter. The precautionary principle states that, when the effects of a policy or an exposure are unknown, steps should be taken to mitigate any potential adverse effects. While this sounds reasonable, in practice, the precautionary principle is often invoked by people who have no interest or ability to assess the relevant scientific evidence. 
There are many instances in recent IARC assessments of giving weight to positive results, even when these are questionable. At the same time, often higher-quality evidence that does not support an association is ignored. You can see how this penchant aligns with IARC’s invocation of “hazard” and the precautionary principle. 
IARC has long been concerned to guard against conflicts-of-interest, but as in the points discussed above, there is an asymmetry in its policy. IARC’s concern with potential conflicts-of-interest appears limited to those involving industry. The Agency shows little awareness of, or concern about, biases and conflicts-of-interest among academic or government researchers.
Again, it is a perfect fit, isn't it? An organisation which selects evidence to fit with its biased world view and ignores huge conflicts of interest in those who agree with it is cut from the same cloth as the blinkered and science-phobic FCTC.

The FCTC is riddled with a cancer known as Corporate Accountability, a subset of its membership which is not remotely concerned with health, only destroying businesses. All businesses. The IARC is also more interested in attacking industry rather than doing what's right.

As for the IARC's calm, objective view on what is carcinogenic, it doesn't have one.
Of the over 500 substances IARC has assessed over the years (i.e. those not in Group 3), only one has been deemed “probably not carcinogenic” and placed in Group 4. Thus, it appears that in practice IARC’s scheme disposes against declaring that an agent is unlikely to be a carcinogenic hazard.
This is an organisation solely set up to find cancer in literally everything. And the FCTC thinks this is a perfectly independent (which it's not) and dispassionate (which it's not) body to impartially assess the harms of e-cigarettes (which it won't). In fact, it has been gagging to re-categorise nicotine as cancer-causing since 2014.


An "adequate data set" along with funding that the WHO's pharma-friendly FCTC mentions as being desirable. I'm sure that - stung by the smoking cessation market running away from them - there will be pharmaceutical companies queueing up to provide as much as IARC demands, don't you? 

Do you think, maybe, that the FCTC is handing this task to an equally morally bankrupt and unelected UN organisation simply to get an answer to all those mischievous nations which see benefits in reduced risk nicotine rather than negatives? You know, the developed, educated ones that don't include basket case nations, banana republics, oppressive theocracies, murderous dictatorships, elitist inegalitarian kingdoms and Australia?

Because I do.

COP8 in Geneva will be an exercise in anti-vaping sophistry from people who are so self-absorbed and addicted to hoovering up your taxes to fund their lavish lifestyles - the UK funds the FCTC to the tune of millions - that they should not be trusted to run a whelk stall.

COP8 runs from 1st to 6th October this year. Watch this space in coming weeks for more updates about the most anti-human supranational meeting on the planet. Needless to say, this year's offering will have as little to do with health as the seven that preceded it. 



Monday, 6 August 2018

The FDA Blatantly Hands E-Cig Market To Big Pharma

Around about this time last year, the FDA's Scott Gottlieb made a public statement about e-cigs that many vapers thought was a new dawn in how reduced risk products would be treated in the US.

You may remember that I thought it was just a cleverly-worded hill of beans.
The FDA's announcement relents on some e-cig rules but only on the proviso that it might make vaping more attractive to smokers who will be deprived, by force, of nicotine from their combustible cigarettes. That is nothing more than vile coercion and should have no place in a land that claims to be free.  
I cannot possibly cheer the FDA's overall plan and I don't think there is anything particularly concrete to be happy about yet anyway. Smokers are being thrown under a bus but apart from that everything else is up in the air and subject to change.
Despite many vapers rejoicing at this "huge" announcement, and describing it as "momentous",  a "reprieve", with some even saying they had "every confidence" in Gottlieb, it stunk to high heaven in my book. The emphasis seemed to be more on pointlessly reducing nicotine in regular cigarettes rather than promoting e-cigs.

Nothing I've seen since has made me think that the FDA has any intention of taking harm reduction seriously as a policy to encourage smokers to quit. In fact, the evidence is all pointing in the opposite direction.


However, the whole thing has since taken an even more sinister tone with the release of another Gottlieb FDA press announcement on Friday.
Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on new steps the agency is taking to support the development of novel nicotine replacement drug therapies to help smokers quit cigarettes
"Novel nicotine replacement drug therapies"? Is he talking about e-cigs here? Well, yes he is.
We’re working on multiple fronts to recognize the role that more novel forms of nicotine delivery could play in achieving our public health goals, as part of an appropriately regulated marketplace. This not only includes encouraging innovation of potentially less harmful tobacco products for those adults who still seek to use nicotine (such as e-cigarettes), but also taking a closer look at our overall approach to the development and regulation of NRT products that are regulated as drugs, and designed to safely reduce withdrawal symptoms, including nicotine craving, associated with quitting smoking. 
The development of novel NRT products, regulated as new drugs, is a critical part of our overall strategy on nicotine.
I added the emphasis because it's quite clear he is not talking about a free market in e-cigs sold from vape shops.

Instead, he has issued some guidance on how to get e-cigs approved by the FDA (emphasis again mine).
This draft guidance, when finalized, is aimed at providing sponsors with recommendations on the nonclinical information appropriate to support development and approval of orally inhaled nicotine-containing drug products. It recognizes that a great deal of toxicity information is available for nicotine. But such information may not be available for other compounds contained in e-liquids and delivered by these products. These include the flavorings and heat-generated chemicals. These products can be used for six months or more over the course of a lifetime. So, it’s important to understand the risks to humans from these exposures, including developmental and reproductive toxicity and carcinogenicity.
Drug products? Six months over a lifetime? I've been using my non-drug e-cigs for about 8 years.

But then when you look at the guidance, it is quite clearly intended for a different subset of businesses than those which currently provide e-cigs for the US market.

It is guidance for a therapeutic product and nothing more. Such a product doesn't currently exist and any company which decided to have a go at it would have to have millions of dollars to spare. It is designed in a way that pharmaceutical companies would understand because it is a route to a pharmaceutical, or 'medicinal', e-cig. This would likely take the form of some ridiculously safe and bland cigalike which is so far removed from the products which are finding favour with smokers and driving the lowest smoking prevalence figures in US history, that it will be practically useless.

OK, it's fair to say that tobacco companies have the resources to throw huge amounts of money at getting a product of this type approved, but it will still be a therapeutic, medicalised e-cig designed for complete nicotine cessation, so it barely matters who manufactures it.

Gottlieb’s approach is cigarettes stripped of nicotine coupled with medicalisation of e-cigs. Because almost all of the products currently being sold in America by independents will disappear in 2022 thanks to the imposition of a predicate date.

It's important to note that Gottlieb has not issued guidance to current e-cig manufacturers on how to produce an independent product which could be sold on the open market as a consumer product. He has hinted that there may be some on the horizon but, for now, he has bypassed that and gone straight to issuing guidance - which heavily leans towards the pharma industry - on what is acceptable for a therapeutic product. At the same time as still insisting on rules which will effectively remove competition from anything recreational that is currently on sale.

It is, to all intents and purposes, a co-ordinated effort to make e-cigs a medical product and one which should only be used as a means to quit nicotine entirely. It is basically handing the entire market to the pharmaceutical industry. In other words - and especially considering the parallel regulations to take the good nicotine out of cigarettes and leave the harmful elements in - 'quit or die' on steroids.

Many were of the opinion when Gottlieb took over the job that he'd just end up being a pharma shill. He seems to be living up to those predictions quite spectacularly so far.

It is so blatant that it's astonishing. One can only assume that this is a result of the American disease of corporate lobbying, with pharma front and centre. I don't know about you but I don't think it's wrong to call this organised crime.

So, no, Gottlieb's announcement in July last year wasn't a new dawn for e-cig use. It was the start of a process which will see a brilliant innovation crushed and handed to corporate interests to destroy. It also proves, once again, that none of this crusade against smoking has ever been anything to do with health. They really couldn't care less.

We're on the side of the angels, always remember that. 



Wednesday, 1 August 2018

The Twisted Language Of 'Public Health'

There are somewhat encouraging signs that the 'public health' racket community see their house of cards as being a bit shaky recently. Hardly surprising considering the huge porkies that are the foundations for their policy demands, but interesting nonetheless.

Take, for example, this from Snowdon in City AM on Friday.
Whatever you think of “sin taxes” on things like alcohol, sugary drinks and tobacco, they are indisputably regressive. 
But not according to an editorial in the Lancet earlier this year. 
In an effort to promote more sin taxes, particularly on food and soft drinks, the medical journal suggested that such taxes benefit the poor and are progressive. 
Whichever way you look at them, these taxes clobber the poor. 
Public health campaigners don’t want to admit this, even to themselves, because they see themselves as champions of social justice.
He's correct. There is no case whatsoever economically, or health-wise, for stating that sin taxes are progressive. So why are 'public health' campaigners making up daft fantasies over this - which no-one believes for a minute - when they have never felt the need before?

Well, perhaps they can sense that the public just doesn't buy their shit anymore.

It is pretty well established in the minds of the public that the poor suffer from these taxes. In the past 'public health' got away with it because people would say "well poor people shouldn't smoke/drink/eat fast food" etc if they are short on cash. But taxes are so incredibly high now - especially on tobacco - that the public are increasingly seeing them as an injustice. A form of bullying of those least able to afford a comfortable life.

No-one likes to see that kind of behaviour, and 'public health' know this, hence their pumping laughable tortured logic (aka lies) out in The Lancet to try to pretend they are friends of poor people rather than a movement which seriously damages their choices and well-being.

This isn't the first time either. I've written about the twisted language of 'public health' before. Y'see, they are getting more and more tetchy about the 'nanny state' tag. They've never liked it but the term is beginning to stick - perhaps as a consequence of the perception of their bullying with taxes - so they have tried to pervert the concept of a Nanny State to meaning businesses which provide products that people want to buy. No, don't laugh, they really did.



In 2016, Sam Bowman - then of the Adam Smith Institute - was faced with this bizarre definition of 'nanny state' on Irish TV on the subject of minimum alcohol pricing.
"Currently we have a nanny industry in alcohol who are deciding the pricing, deciding the availability, and deciding exactly how they want to promote alcohol"
His rebuttal was succinct and entirely accurate.
"Really what Stephen [Stewart] is saying is that he's annoyed that he's not in charge. 
"He's annoyed that the alcohol industry has too much say and he wants doctors to have a say instead. I think that's not right, I think that we should let individuals make the decision for themselves how much they drink and what they drink."
Well, of course we should. Anyone who says anything different is a little bit of a fascist, really.

But isn't it very heartening to see 'public health' spending time and effort trying to think up bizarre excuses for their behaviour? If they didn't think that the public are beginning to see them as the nasty societal parasites that they are, they wouldn't be bothering.

This is all very encouraging. It shows that the concept of sin taxes being regressive and a nanny state dictating our choices are hitting the target if 'public health' groups are twisting language and torturing logic to try to deflect the criticism. If it were all just water off a duck's back, the nannies wouldn't be investing their time trying to counter them in increasingly absurd ways, now would they?

Remember that when chatting over the water cooler or to friends and family in the pub or on social media. The perception that 'public health' is little more than a bunch of bullies and is representative of a sinister Nanny State could well be passing into common public acceptance.

I've always maintained we are on the side of the angels, of course we are. But considering the desperate "not us, Guv" agitprop from 'public health' recently, perhaps people are slowly starting to wake up to who the real anti-social demons are. 



Monday, 30 July 2018

Jamie Oliver And Other People's Children

Over the weekend, the Telegraph published an retch-inducing obsequious puff piece on Jamie Oliver which - inadvertently, I reckon - gave an astonishing insight into the dictatorial mind of the sanctimonious snob. It's behind a paywall but here are some hideous lowlights.
The night before I’m due to meet Jamie Oliver there are whispers from his headquarters of a big announcement. ‘All will become clear!’ they say. The next morning, news duly breaks that the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will ban junk-food advertising on the capital’s Tube and bus network, as well as the opening of hot-food takeaway shops within 400 metres of schools – the culmination of 28 months of close collaboration between Oliver and Khan. 
‘It’s a mega day,’ Oliver tells me at Jamie HQ
He is happy, apparently, because a clueless attention-seeking Mayor has proposed a pointless ban on advertising - which will have no effect whatsoever except to kill advertising revenue and reinforce the idea of censorship while reducing public choice - and stated that he is intending to all but eradicate new takeaways in the capital unless they are to open in a park or the river Thames, as you can see by clicking to enlarge the graphic below.


It won't surprise you to learn that evidence to date - you know, that evidence thing that politicians like to pretend they look into - shows that all this will do diddley-squat for obesity rates in London.

Mega, huh?

No care for the businesses which will be affected and no care for the choices that he - in his misplaced ignorance - is depriving the rest of the public. Still, it makes his multi-millionaireship happy, so screw everyone else, eh?

But, incredibly, that isn't the astonishing bit. How about this?
‘I’ve been through five prime ministers. Mr Blair was the first person to admit that the state was responsible for children’s health between the ages of four and 16.
The state is responsible for children's health? Not parents? Can you think of anything more repugnant than that? Well, fear not because Jamie can.
The state was doing nothing about how this group are fed, while being right on the case of dog food.’
Did he just compare other people's children with dogs? Or was he comparing a Big Mac with a can of Pedigree Chum? Sometimes you just can't tell with obsessed hysterical extremists, can you?

Anyway, let's crack on.
He’s been accused of being the ‘fun police’, running a ‘nanny state initiative that penalises poor people’, of endangering the revenue of advertising agencies, being hypocritical, upsetting American mothers, and failing to understand what it is to be poor and unable to afford healthier food.
All of which is true, I'd say, apart from the affording healthier food. Healthy food is far cheaper than less healthy alternatives, but hard-working people (who are not paid to be in the kitchen throwing together recipes with ingredients they just have lying around the house like Jamie) make a trade-off with the time they have available. It's the time they can't afford, not a 45p cucumber.
‘Yes,’ says Oliver. ‘I don’t like [the criticism]. I got my arse kicked left, right and centre for 10 years. It makes me feel sick, but defending my position is more important. On the whole,’ he adds with some irony, ‘all of the people I care about most – obese children and their parents – are the ones who don’t like me.’
Well maybe that's a hint, Jamie old boy, that they'd prefer you to leave them alone to make their own choices. Reason being I think they know more about what's best for their families than you fucking do. 
Why don’t you just sell the lot and become an MP and continue your fight in Parliament? The suggestion seems genuinely to shock him; indeed, he stops talking for at least three seconds. ‘But you wouldn’t want me in Parliament,’ he says eventually. ‘I’ve done nothing clever in 15 years,’ he says. ‘It’s all common sense. All I’ve done is create conversations that newspapers report on. Having my own children changed me. It made me realise that those annoying kids down the street were someone’s children, and so they mattered.
I think the operative words there, Jamie, are "someone's children" as in not yours.
Childhood obesity is the first thing and the last thing I think about every day, which isn’t normal.’
No it's not, it is obsessive and you should seek help for your addiction to snobbery and bossing people around.

However, the most stunning part in the entire article has to be this.
Oliver’s obesity campaign faltered when Theresa May’s 2016 legislation (Chapter One) included a tax on sugar content in drinks but nothing about restrictions on junk-food advertising. ‘It’s absolute bollocks that parents are totally to blame for childhood obesity; incompetent legislation is to blame.’
Let's turn that round a tad. If parents are not to blame, he must be saying - in his knuckle-dragging way - that they are not to be judged responsible for what their kids eat. That, instead, the state should usurp parental choices and - as Oliver's daft policies show - dictate the food supply without even a nod to evidence, practicality, efficacy or financial reality. Nope, just feels.

For Oliver to say - with a straight, albeit slack-jawed fat-tongued, face - that the state is responsible for what kids eat, and not parents, is incredibly sinister. Once it is accepted that the state can involve itself in something as fundamentally private to families as what parents feed their children - in fact that it has more of a role than parents themselves - we are almost through looking glass.

I mean, Christ, give them that kind of power over parental choice and politicians will want to name kids next
"their children, Poppy Honey, Daisy Boo, Petal Blossom Rainbow, Buddy Bear and River Rocket". 
OK, not a great example.   



Tuesday, 24 July 2018

A Perfect Population Level Experiment

The NNA spotted a superb statistic on Friday at the government's Tobacco Control Debate. I don't know about you but I think this deserves more attention.
Yesterday in a debate on the government’s Tobacco Control Plan in the House of Commons, Sir Kevin Barron highlighted the gulf between the UK and Ireland, two countries with identical traditional tobacco control policies but with differing approaches to e-cigarettes. Between 2012 and 2016 smoking dropped by nearly a quarter in the UK . In Ireland, where e-cigarettes are viewed with suspicion, the smoking rate actually went up in this period. 
Here is the Hansard entry for it.
I want to give a comparator and to refer back to my intervention on the Minister. I chaired the Health Committee in 2005, after we had fought an election on a manifesto commitment by the Labour party to introduce a ban on smoking in public places. I stood on that manifesto, but the ban proposed was not a comprehensive one. The Health Committee, of which I became the Chair, investigated smoking in public places. We went to Ireland to take evidence, because it had had such a ban for about two years. 
I will now demonstrate the effectiveness of e-cigarettes by comparing smoking rates in the UK versus those in Ireland, where every other approach to tobacco control is identical to those in the UK, such as plain packaging, retail display bans and marketing promotions all stopped. In recent years in the UK, smoking rates have dropped by almost a quarter—according to the Office for National Statistics, 24.4% of UK adults smoked in 2012 and 15.8% in 2016—and the UK now has the second lowest smoking rate in Europe. In Ireland, which has exactly the same tobacco control as we put through this place over many years, smoking rates have stagnated: 23% of adults smoked in 2015 and 2016, dropping to 22% in 2017, according to Healthy Ireland stats. That shows how the use of e-cigarettes has been good in reducing smoking in this country.
As the NNA has shown with their links, Hansard and Barron are actually wrong here. In Ireland the rate was reported as 22% in 2012 (chapter 3) and 23% in 2016. Maybe Barron was confused himself, perhaps it didn't compute. But both figures are derived from the same source, Tobacco Free Ireland.

But whether it is down by 1% or up by 1% matters not, this is a real life experiment which is just about perfect. In the UK smoking rates have nosedived, while in Ireland they have barely shifted. In the UK we have a supportive environment to e-cigs, in Ireland high profile politicians are doing everything in their power to turn smokers away from them.

We are not comparing the UK with a country with vastly differing levels of disposable income here, far from it. Ireland is a country on a par with the UK as far as the economy goes.

What's more, we're not comparing with Africans, south east Asians, Indians, Scandinavians, Americans north or south or antipodeans. We are comparing with our nearest cultural neighbours, so closely aligned are we that we don't even enforce passport requirements between the two countries.

The British and the Irish are about as good a comparison for ecological purposes as there can possibly be.

And, as Barron said, the only difference between UK policy and Irish policy is that over here our government cautiously welcomes new nicotine products whereas in Ireland they don't.

As I mentioned only yesterday, if politicians really want to get smokers to quit smoking - because that is really what they want, isn't it - this should be compelling stuff.

For a political class who consistently say they always wish to act on evidence, this is about the best quality evidence they can get. A population-level, real life study of two almost identical countries - with just the one difference in nicotine policy - but with vastly differing outcomes.

So why are other countries not scrambling to emulate the indisputable success of promoting safer alternatives to smoking that this inadvertent experiment proves? Well, I guess it also shows that the other tobacco control policies legislated for in that timescale - of which there have been many - are completely and utterly pointless. And I suppose there is always the fear that if smokers actually did what politicians pretend they want to see, tobacco tax receipts would also plummet, and they are fully aware that the economically fraudulent propaganda tobacco controllers spout about smoking harming the economy is utter bollocks.

So bravo to Barron for highlighting such a stark comparator in the House of Commons chamber. You just have to wonder why the tobacco control industry and other politicians, both sides of the Irish Sea, have been so silent about it, whereas if the results were the other way round they would be screaming it from the rooftops.

It's never been about health, you know. 



Monday, 23 July 2018

Big Trouble In Little New Zealand

Via Eric Crampton, we are seeing yet more evidence of how vaping has utterly confused policymakers all over the world.

E-cigs and other risk reduced nicotine products are - quite rightly - described as a 'disruptive' technology. Of course, the traditional use of that term generally means that it is disruptive to the current market, but considering the current market is dried tobacco leaves in paper tubes that governments tend to dislike, you'd think they'd be happy about that.

Well, in many jurisdictions it appears not, and if you look closely you can see why. As Crampton points out, the NZ Ministry of Health's latest Health and Independence Report is optimistic about e-cigs but it is worth noting that this is only because they were made de facto legal by a court case brought by the makers of iQos. All of a sudden, vaping was legal too. And with that judgement has come some very irritating problems if you are a government set in its ways and who only had dried leaves in a paper tube to regulate before.
1 There remain interesting conflict of laws problems around plain packaging rules and the Fair Trading Act. Plain packaging rules for tobacco products would include heated tobacco, including Iqos. And, in theory, would also cover any nicotine derived from tobacco for vaping too. But putting the big smoking warnings on packages of products that are not smoked could be considered illegal under the Fair Trading Act's prohibitions around false representations and misleading conduct.  
I emailed MBIE asking about this, and they punted to ComCom. When I asked ComCom, they said that they cannot vet specific advertising or business practices for any company - and that companies would have to seek independent legal advice. So it is legal to sell vaping products - but if MoH believes the nicotine to be tobacco derived, it might consider it to be subject to the plain packaging rules. And it might be illegal to put those plain packaging warnings on the packages. But the government will not tell you. Seems pretty dumb. And it's an odd kind of dumb - companies that are cagey about how their nicotine is derived are probably ok, but ones that publicly state that their nicotine is derived from tobacco may not be.  
2 MoH is of the view that the Iqos decision does not apply to snus. Snus has seemed rather important in getting people away from smoked tobacco in Sweden. Why they want this to still be illegal - I don't get it. I expect that if they ever sued NZ Snus for selling the stuff, that the prohibition could easily be deemed inconsistent with the purposes of the Act. 
3 Excise rates on non-combusted tobacco for reduced harm devices remain unjustifiably high. This doesn't affect vaping, which is not subject to excise (phew!), but would be a problem for other products. And what about the display bans and bans on advertising less harmful alternatives?
All very complicated, isn't it? Where did that golden age go where the NZ government could just nod through ineffective policies from extremist tobacco controllers without too much fuss? Wasn't life so much simpler back then? Now, in the blink of an eye, some bastard judge has just made their lives incredibly complicated.

What's more, interests used to be aligned. Prohibitionist tobacco controllers would scream for ever higher tax on tobacco and all parties in government - much like the tobacco control plan debate here last week - shout "hell yeah!" in support. Yes, tobacco duty is well past the Laffer Curve in most western countries, but raising it doesn't cost a great deal and it helps politicians to virtue signal whilst keeping their state-paid vermin off their backs for a little while.

But now this new thing has come along and they're in a cleft stick. They've demanded smokers quit smoking for decades, and now they are. In droves. And it's happening alarmingly quickly. So much so that government receipts from tobacco duty are starting to tank.

It also shows their coercive and bullying tobacco control policies to be utterly useless, and they spent so much time, money and effort on the legislation to get them through. Just think of all those civil service man hours completely wasted.

So now they are trying to fit current policies to new technology and finding it's like putting a square peg in a round hole. It's the same all over the world, the EU Tobacco Products Directive in 2013 regulated e-cigs despite they not containing tobacco, the FDA classes e-cigs as tobacco products because it's far less effort than actually producing a bespoke regulatory regime for them.

Is it any wonder why the laziest of countries - mostly basket case nations, banana republics and dictatorships (and NHS trust fiefdoms) - simply ban the products rather than have the hassle of changing everything they have been doing for decades?

We are living in historic times. Products have come along in an inordinately short space of time for political policies - it's almost a global revolution - and governments are at a loss what to do about it. This is as disruptive as things get.

It's easy to laugh at NZ politicians because they have kind of brought it on themselves in being lazy and complicit in adhering to the sophistry and mendacity of the tobacco control cult in the past, but you have to kinda feel sorry for them having this hot potato thrown into their lap before they can get their spin-masters to react to it and burble their way through committees to water it down.

Of course, if NZ politicians really wanted to provide a huge incentive to their smokers to quit, this graphic provided by Crampton should show them the way.


NZ is a massive draw for criminals to sell black market tobacco in their area of the world. So if they really wanted to get smokers to stop smoking - because that is what they really want to do, right? - they merely have to enthusiastically welcome e-cigs and other safer nicotine products with open arms, not tax them, and see their smoking rates plummet while simultaneously easing pressure on the cost and workload of their border agencies.

What's not to like?

Let's see which way they jump, eh? God I love watching this stuff, it's like a global zoo dedicated to observing the behaviour of disingenuous and venal politicians. 



Sunday, 22 July 2018

WTO Agrees That Plain Packaging Is A Failure, Allows It Anyway

Late on parade with this due to business pressure, but Sinclair Davidson posted a very interesting article about the WTO's ruling on plain packaging a couple of weeks ago.

Davidson has consistently argued that plain packaging has had no impact on smoking in Australia and is an utter failure, despite the desperate spin being fabricated by the government over there.

Well, lo and behold, in the WTO's 800 page reasoning behind its judgement that plain packs are not contrary to global trade rules, they seem to agree.

The WTO strangely argues that there is evidence that the decline in prevalence in Australia appears to have accelerated post plain packaging, but none of the analysis includes any discussion of the huge tax increases which coincided with and then followed its introduction. Instead the WTO focuses on the far more trivial by saying it is unclear whether bigger graphic health warnings or plain packaging were more important.

This is like saying that someone died when a bus drove over his finger without mentioning that he was picking his nose at the time. It's quite obvious that the effect of successive 12.5% rises in tobacco duty have a far more dramatic effect than fiddling with colours on the packet.

When the WTO get to the “quitting-related outcomes and other distal outcomes” though, a little bit of truth comes out (emphases mine).
a. The impact of the TPP measures and enlarged GHWs on adult cigarette smokers' quitting intention and quitting-related cognition reactions is limited and mixed
b. The TPP measures and enlarged GHWs have had a statistically significant positive impact on avoidant behaviours, such as pack concealment, among adult cigarette smokers, while their impact on stubbing out and stopping smoking is much more limited and mixed
c. Although the TPP measures and enlarged GHWs have statistically significantly increased calls to the Quitline, the observed impact of the TPP measures and enlarged GHWs on quit attempts is very limited and mixed
d. The empirical evidence of the impact of the TPP measures and enlarged GHWs on adolescents' quitting-related outcomes is limited. This evidence suggests that the impact of the TPP measures and enlarged GHWs on adolescents' refraining from smoking cigarettes and thoughts about quitting is statistically not significant. No empirical evidence has been submitted to us on pack concealment among adolescent smokers.
Couple this with the Australia Bureau of Statistics data on chain volume measures of spending on Cigarettes and Tobacco showing a long-term decline in tobacco sales having been arrested since plain packaging, and you have to wonder what on earth is going on here.

Click to enlarge
And that is without even factoring in that the Australian government itself has been forced to form a new “Tobacco Taskforce”  to address the issue of a whopping rise in illicit trade post-plain packs. The anti-smoking lobby rubbished the warning of an increase in illicit trade as a result of plain packs but it is reported that seizures of illicit products in the year to date have already reached 98 tonnes compared with 117 tonnes in the whole of the prior year. Either enforcement agencies are on steroids or, perhaps, there is simply far more now to catch.

As Davidson says of the WTO's admission of lack of evidence of efficacy, "that is a damning assessment because what did convince the WTO was even worse – junk science". 

Quite. It seems that the World Trade Organisation, no less, was motivated to effectively endorse the confiscation of billions of pounds worth of intellectual property and branding - not just on tobacco as this now forms a precedent - despite finding that there is no valid science behind the concept of plain packaging and that it has had no beneficial effect on smoking prevalence. 

They have basically sided with vague predictions - from people paid to have extraordinarily strong conflicts of interest - about what may happen in the future. On this showing, we can expect the WTO to soon issue rules on the international trading of fairies from the bottom of the garden. 

It seems that everywhere you look these days there is an establishment carve-up going on. It's little wonder that people are increasingly sick and tired of the state and its self-protecting mechanisms. When even a global regulator of trade rules in favour of fraudulent bureaucracy over and above protecting legal businesses from over-reach of state institutions, armed only with ideological bullshit and fake science, we are in a parlous place. 

Hitch Orwell's grave up to a dynamo, his spinning could solve our future energy problems for a century at least. 



Thursday, 19 July 2018

Love Island Idiocy

It's still a bit busy in Puddlecoteville, but things are clearing so I may be able to write more on issues I have wanted to for quite a while .. perhaps.

As a quickie, though, this is a gobsmacker.


Remember that the UKCTAS is funded entirely by your taxes. And they believe a good way of spending your money - so much so that they are boasting about it - is ensuring that people watching Love Island don't see anyone smoking.

Can you think of anything more utterly pointless than that? Because I can't.

What's more, these highly-paid people sat down and watched 21 episodes of the show to count how many times someone smoked a cigarette; catalogued the brand used; and spent time on an exercise to work out how many "impressions" were created as a result. So we appear now to be paying organisations out of taxpayer funds to spend time and our resources on stopping reality shows showing reality. Seriously, this beggars belief.

I would ask UKCTAS how many people, exactly, they have stopped smoking with this brave new idea, because it hasn't even stopped the contestants. I don't know what the show is about, but - yet again - it seems tobacco control is having a harmful effect on people's lives. Here are some quotes from the show's fans.
“Am pretty livid the smoking area has been banned in #LoveIsland Thats where all the kick offs, strops, bitching and secrets come out.” 
“Not seen a single person smoke yet. I miss the chain smoking and gossiping area of the villa #loveisland,”
I love the justification for this too.
The reason that the show no longer airs people smoking is that the islanders have been banned from smoking in public areas due to the barrage of complaints the show received last year.
Oh really? Well UKCTAS just claimed credit for that. Do you think that they are claiming credit for this massive upswell of outrage from concerned private citizens or - as I think is more likely - the "barrage" of complaints came from UKCTAS and their equally miserable state-funded allies?

This is the state of affairs right now, it seems. We've seen recently how health extremists - and health extremists alone - attacked adverts for chocolate by demonising the Easter Bunny and complaining to the ASA. And now we see UKTCAS boasting about how they got smoking banned in Love Island and it being passed off as some kind of public movement.

It's not. There is no public movement. Just about no-one cares about smoking in Love Island and some fans are pretty pissed off that it has lessened their enjoyment of the show.

I'm sure UKCTAS could have some use somewhere, but paying for researchers to watch TV for hours on end, before sending staff to a conference - on taxpayer funding - in order to boast farcically about how they got smoking banned on Love Island, I would suggest, is a fucking shit waste of our money.

Still plenty of cuts needed. We've barely scraped the surface. 



Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Grandad's New Resource

A few months ago I met with a city analyst who read your humble host's offerings and was keen to meet. We enjoyed a liquid lunch in Threadneedle Street but before going our separate ways, he asked if I could put him in contact with Grandad, of Head Rambles fame, as he was a regular visitor to Ireland.

It would appear that they did, indeed, get in touch and the link-up has produced something very useful. Today Grandad explains on his blog how this new project came into being. The result is a glorious website - based on an extensive investor report - which delves into the murky dealings of the tobacco control industry over decades.

Entitled "Smoking - On Ethics" the site calmly runs through the grubby and disingenuous past of tobacco control, and explains how their industry of grifters, charlatans and snake oil salesmen has hoodwinked and conned the public for decades over tobacco. Moreover, it tells the whole story right up to the present day and the continuing misinformation and garbage that is being touted by the global tobacco control cult towards e-cigs, snus and other safer products.

It is impeccably put together by Grandad with easily-navigable links throughout, and the text is straightforward, expertly-written and very readable. It is a great resource for myth-busting the hysterical tone of anti-smoking lunacy we see today, and how it has developed over the years while the public has mostly been oblivious to the chicanery, neatly encapsulated in this short para from the section on harm reduction.
It appears that some in Public Health have adopted an approach which dismisses science which is unhelpful to them and will attack opponents as being paid stooges. It begs the question as to whether this is a new approach, or actually one that is now simply out in the open.
Indeed.

I can heartily recommend the site, I think you will enjoy it. So pour yourself a beverage or two of your choosing, go read here and enjoy. 



Thursday, 12 July 2018

EU Wants To Tax Vaping, Don't Let Them


Via new vaping media source Vapetrotter (which you should bookmark, by the way), it won't surprise you to learn that a vast impenetrable bureaucracy which lives solely on the basis of tens of thousands of employees earning their living by doing nothing but regulating, wants to regulate e-cigs further than the absolute shit-shower they did with the TPD.

The EU seems to have decided it wants to tax e-cigarettes. They don't have any moral or scientifc basis for doing so, but hey, salaries have to be paid and vaping is killing the treasuries of many an EU country.

They have published a consultation and - whether you vape or not - please respond to it and tell them (nicely) that they are taking the right royal piss.

There is also a petition organised by the Collective of EU Vaper Associations which is quite cool and and has been translated into a number of different languages. It's up to about 18,000 so far so do consider supporting that too.

Oh, and remember, as you can see from this, the state is not - and never will be - your friend. 



Wednesday, 4 July 2018

The Grey Miserable World of 'Public Health'

Life still exceptionally busy with Puddlecote Inc, I'm afraid, but I see that the 'public health' bandwagon is still accelerating down the slippery slope they claim doesn't exist.

I find this kind of thing quite staggering.
Cadbury, Chewits and Squashies sweets have become the first companies to have online adverts banned under new rules targeting junk food ads for children. 
The Advertising Standards Authority said the companies did not do enough to prevent under-16s seeing the content.
Now, if you were around in the 80s or 90s, did you ever think we would be in a position where kids are not allowed to see adverts for things that they like to eat, and have for decades? All based on a fantasy panic whipped up by repulsive self-enriching tax thieves?

The Telegraph carried an article which is equally astounding.
The Easter Bunny cannot be used to market chocolate to children, the ASA has ruled after finding against Cadbury. 
The chocolate company marketed a storybook, featuring eggs and the Easter Bunny, on its website, which broke the rules against promoting food that is high in fat, salt or sugar to children under the age of 16. 
Cadbury was banned from marketing The Tale Of The Great Easter Bunny, written by pop singer Frankie Bridge, on its website, after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), decided it was aimed at children.
The Easter Bunny? This is a character that parents have thrilled their young kids with for hundreds of years, but in the new joyless, grey, miserable world that 'public health' have planned for us, this is now illegal.

The hold that 'public health' has over politicians is astonishing, but then it's because politicians are weak, cowardly, and ultimately incredibly stupid, as I have mentioned before.
Chocolate Oranges are one of life's little treats. The overwhelming majority of the public like them. Indeed, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn't like chocolate. 
Yet here we are with two leading politicians arrogantly competing to be the one who appears toughest on making that treat more difficult to enjoy. This isn't a mind-altering drug we're talking about here - legal or otherwise - merely a fucking Chocolate Orange!
But back to today. The trouser-stuffing tax spongers were elated, of course.
Obesity Health Alliance lead Caroline Cerny said: "Whilst today's rulings should be celebrated, the complaints demonstrate the blatant ways in which the food and drink industry attempts to exploit loopholes in the rules."
They are 'celebrating' another little bit of joy being eradicated from children's' lives just so they can keep their snouts in the trough. There is little more vile than that.

And who, pray, was it who complained anyway? What disgusting type of person is so miserable as to be driven to complain about something kids like? Well, fortunately, the rulings are on the ASA website. Here is the one ruling against Cadbury.
The Obesity Health Alliance challenged whether the ads were for products that were high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS product ads) that were directed at children.
In other words, no-one at all cared about the ad except the Obesity Health Alliance themselves, a collection of mostly state-funded organisations who would be out of work if they didn't continually promote scares to keep their funding stream.

The complaint about Chewits is much the same.
The Children’s Food Campaign (Sustain) challenged whether ads (a), (b), (c) and (d) were ads for products that were high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS product ads) that were directed at children.
Sustain is a taxpayer-funded parasite which is also, strangely enough, a member of the Obesity Health Alliance.

And who complained about Squashies? You guessed it.
The Children’s Food Campaign (Sustain) challenged whether the Squashies World advergame was an ad for products that were high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS products) that was directed at children.
In each case, there was only one complainant, and it was from people who fabricated the moral panic in the first place and took government money to lobby the government to come up with rules to take as much joy out of children's lives as possible.

It is surely about time politicians woke up and realised the destruction these self-centred bastards are doing to society. They are draining the joy out of kids lives for financial gain and are entirely unrepresentative of public opinion.


Where is this bonfire of the quangoes we were promised? It's the least that should happen because some of these obnoxious parasites deserve to burn for eternity.  



Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Scottish Tobacco Control Plan Hypocrisy

On Wednesday, I promised to revisit the Scottish Tobacco Control Plan at some point, so better late than never.

In particular, let's examine this knuckle-headed nonsense from the document.
There is some evidence that dissuasive colour or dissuasive messages on cigarettes could reduce the attractiveness of, and therefore the potential demand for, cigarettes. Other studies have considered composition – reducing the nicotine level or flavours that mask the true taste.  
For the same reasoning which led to the introduction of standardised cigarette packaging, legislation could be made to make cigarettes less attractive. This could be done through changes to colour, composition and/or warning messages on each stick.
So what is this "some evidence" of which they speak? Well, it's the brainfart of one weird individual in New Zealand called Janet Hoek who is a botanist, zoologist and Beowulf expert and - amongst other ideas she hopes will launch her into global nanny state stardom - would like to see plain packaging for fast food and fizzy drinks and processed food to be treated like tobacco. Oh, she's not  a fan of vaping either, but that's hardly surprising from so-called 'public health' these days.

The "some evidence" is a study of 'Poo Sticks' in 2014 which drew on interviews with 14 adult social smokers aged 18 to 24, followed by another in 2015 which examined "two focus groups and 13 in-depth interviews". Compelling stuff, huh?

That's it.

Now compare that with the new advances in heated tobacco which have seen literally millions of smokers quit smoking in Japan and South Korea and which government inquiries in the UK, US, Russia, Germany and Japan have conceded will dramatically reduce harm.

Also, consider that there are approximately 40-50 new pieces of research on e-cigs coming out every single week, and none of them are finding any great danger, only hinting at innuendo and smears about those who use them, simply because the tobacco control junk scientists behind the research are shitting themselves at being out of a job.

Which does the Scottish government find compelling? Yep, the random isolated study of a handful of people by a zoologist obsessed with irony in an ancient text.

Their policy towards e-cigs is to further ban advertising and the approach to heated tobacco is to put it in plain packaging.

This is, quite simply, government by imbeciles.

It's almost like they find it more attractive to ban stuff and piss on the public's liberties than protect their right to make their own health choices by providing accurate information.

That's not government by consent and it's not evidence-based policy. It's authoritarian abuse of a population worthy of some backwards banana republic. If you're Scottish, I pity you. 



Sunday, 24 June 2018

The Snobbery Of Banning Sweets At Checkouts

On an otherwise glorious day of electrifying sunshine and impressive football success, let's nail this distasteful sophistry from the embarrassing Department of Health and its massed ranks of tax-troughing government lobbyists, shall we?

Via the BBC:
[Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt] said the cost of obesity was too great to ignore. 
"Parents are asking for help - we know that over three quarters of parents find offers for sugary sweets and snacks at checkouts annoying. 
"It's our job to give power to parents to make healthier choices, and to make their life easier in doing so."
Parents are asking for help to, erm, say no? Government is now passing laws - and effectively creating criminal offences - because some parents find something annoying?

Jesus Christ, I find Coronation Street annoying but it's a minority view. So is the annoyance at the display of sweets at checkouts. And how do we know this? Because if it was a widespread problem with consumers, businesses would have got rid of them decades ago. The Conservative Party should know this, but then they seem to have abandoned conservatism in favour of big state interventionist stupidity of late.

The overwhelming majority of parents are perfectly able to say no to their children. The overwhelming majority of consumers are fine with sweets being sold at checkouts, maybe even finding it a nice impulse buy as a treat after doing the chore of a weekly shop. What is absolutely certain is that banning sweets at checkouts will have no impact whatsoever on the prevalence of obesity, nor on an 'epidemic' which is entirely fictional, and it won't save the NHS one penny of a gerrymandered and fictional cost.

So what is really going on here? Well, it's just good old-fashioned snobbery, as I have written about on very many occasions in the past couple of years.

If you questioned these parents who are apparently "asking for help" and asked why their parenting skills are so pathetic that they can't say no to their children, I wager you'd find that they tell you they're brilliant parents! And how dare you suggest otherwise! They are more concerned about "our children", as in everyone else's children.

Tom Paine wrote most eloquently about this a few years ago when discussing a quite rancid authoritarian snob who was rightly termed "the all-round worst person at the Battle of Ideas" of 2012.
My choice is Dr Michael Nelson, director of research and nutrition at the Children's Food Trust (a "social business" working with the "charity" the Schools Food Trust). ... it wasn't the advice he would give parents as to what their children should eat but his contempt for their ability to make choices and their right to do so that was the problem. He ... complained that parents (as witness the contents of packed lunches they sent with their children to school) could not be trusted to make good choices for their children's health. Government attempts to improve nutrition by requiring catering contractors to offer healthy choices had failed because those choices were simply not taken up. If we care about "our children" he said (oddly as he and I have no children together) then we must help parents who;  
...we know from experience do not themselves have the the power of executive decision when it comes to their own diet... 
In other words, these people are too stupid to be parents. I asked myself (but did not dare to articulate the suggestion unless it gave him ideas) why he stopped short of taking all of British childkind into care. After all, their parents are too stupid to raise them properly and are jeopardising their families' health irresponsibly.
Now, if you put the views of Dr Nelson to those who Hunt says are "asking for help", you would find that they would agree. It is not their own kids they want help with, but other people's. If you don't believe me, try this experiment. As above, if you hear a parent say they are in favour of this policy, ask them why they are so bad at parenting they need a law to help them say no. I guarantee you they will instantly talk about other parents and children who are not their own.

How a Conservative government has contrived to place itself in a position where one of its core beliefs - personal responsibility - is being obliterated by its adherence to the vile and the judgemental in society who like to tut and sneer at other people's lives, is a mystery.

Still, at least it's made them popular with the tax-sucking bastards who pander to society's most repulsive snobs, eh?
Government's New Plan To Halve Child Obesity 'Is An Absolute Travesty', Say Health Campaign Groups
For pity's sake, when will these oak-brained politicians realise that appeasing 'public health' only excites them more? Just ignore them!

Fucking idiots. 



Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Scotland Plans To Gold-Plate The TPD And Further Restrict E-Cig Advertising

Yesterday I wrote about the tobacco control industry's habit of cherry-picking evidence and - more recently - disbelieving real life evidence because it doesn't agree with their wild, junk science-led fantasies of how the world works.

Today sees a new low, though, as the Scottish Government released its Tobacco Control Plan. Snowdon has highlighted some of the blinkingly barmy aspects of it, so do go read his piece.

He said that he had only skimmed it and that there is bound to be more crazy in there, and he's correct. There is. For example, how much does this send your hypocrisy detector buzzing?

In the ministerial foreword, Minister for Public Health and Sport Aileen Campbell boasts about NHS services and how "there are new, more effective medications and our services are now more e-cigarette friendly", while further down the document it states:
On the basis of current evidence vaping e-cigarettes is definitely less harmful than smoking cigarettes. So, e-cigarette use as a means to quit should be seen by health professionals as a tool which some smokers will want to use. 
It also says about "smokers in mental health settings":
Raising awareness of the need to take a new approach in these settings and particularly about the possibilities which e-cigarettes being made available in appropriate non-NHS prescribed ways could have a big impact on the physical health of these patients.
So what are they going to do about these products which they have obviously recognised as being something which smokers are choosing to use and which have led to smoking prevalence tumbling?

Well, they're going to ensure that almost no-one knows about them, of course.
Providing protection through regulations and restrictions 
We will consult on the detail of restricting domestic advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes in law.
The key word there is 'domestic' because the EU's article 20 of the TPD specifically banned cross border advertising, therefore broadcast and online media. Domestic advertising such as posters, leaflets, direct mail, cinema and ads on buses are not covered by EU law.

So, the Scottish government is consulting with a view to gold-plate the EU regulations by placing further restrictions on 'domestic' advertising; that very e-cigarette advertising which is currently not burdened by the ignorant, lobbyist-led stupidity of Brussels.

With the UK's advertising regulator recently having given evidence to the UK government's Science and Technology Committee that they are looking at allowing e-cig vendors to make truthful claims about the safer nature of vaping - as in, relaxing the regulations - the Scottish government is planning to go the other way and make sure as few people know about vaping as possible.

The Calvinist puritanism being displayed in Scotland right now is jaw-dropping, but this takes the biscuit. We have a tobacco control plan for England committing to "maximise the availability of safer alternatives to smoking", at the same time that Scotland has decided it only wants safer alternatives available via state-run channels. If they can't control it, they'd prefer you don't even try.

There are also sinister hints that they intend to go even further down the rabbit hole of anti-vaping moral panic.
Over the course of this action plan it is likely that the markets for e-cigarettes and novel heated tobacco products will develop further. This could mean that the current focus of tobacco control enforcement changes over time to take account of these newer markets. For example if there were changes to the law on restricting the sales of non-nicotine containing e-liquid for e-cigarettes this would have implications for enforcement.
If markets for e-cigs and heat not burn increase, that is a good thing! But not for Scotland, it seems. There is also a hint there that there might be more regulations on the horizon for nicotine free e-liquid, again not covered by the EU TPD.

Have I got your attention yet, Scottish vape reviewers? Yep, that could be the end of short fills.
There may also need to be programmed initiatives on ensuring e-liquids are authorised products ...
Well, considering the TPD created a new category for e-cigs so they are already kinda "authorised", could they mean yet another gold plate layer on top of EU regulations? Or maybe they just mean the whole hog and enforced medicinal licensing. We shall have to see.
... and perhaps even on whether these age-restricted products are being marketed in a way which primarily appeals to young people. 
They've really swallowed the anti-vaping Kool Aid in bucket loads, haven't they?

And as for this ...
During the summer of 2018 we will work with health boards and integration boards to try to reach a consensus on whether vaping should or should not be allowed on hospital grounds through a consistent, national approach.
It's not illegal, it's not dangerous, the same document talks about smokers using e-cigs to quit. Where is the debate?

I reckon the best take I can offer to you is that if you are Scottish and a vaper, remember that ASH Scotland - who will have advised the government in detail on production of this plan - is not your friend. Neither, I would suggest, is the SNP. Worth remembering next time some politician asks for your vote.

Like Snowdon, I have only skimmed the document and - like him - I think "these people are off their heads". I'll leave it there for now, though, but I'm sure I'll be coming back to this utter insanity, maybe tomorrow. Watch this space. 



Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Inconvenient Evidence For Tobacco Control

Life is still overwhelmingly busy at Puddlecote Inc hence the lack of content here of late, plus I've just got back from Poland after another interesting GFN conference. There is lots to write, but sadly not much time to write it.

For now, your humble host would invite you to read this article at Reason which neatly highlights some textbook tobacco control fraud.
Three days after more than two-thirds of San Francisco voters agreed that mandating flavorless e-liquid was a reasonable response to the rising popularity of e-cigarettes among teenagers, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published survey data showing that in 2017 vaping declined among middle school students and remained steady among high school students after falling in 2016. E-cigarette alarmists were so flummoxed by reality's failure to fit their narrative that they insisted the survey must be wrong. "Study Says Vaping by Kids Isn't Up," read the Associated Press headline, "but Some Are Skeptical." 
The skeptics had heard that teenagers are Juuling in schools across America, and they figured all that press coverage should translate into higher vaping rates. They suggested that survey respondents might not have realized Juul e-cigarettes are e-cigarettes.
It seems we are seeing a new application of the customary spreading of misinformation and lies. For decades tobacco control has deliberately spread falsehoods by way of quack science, misdirection and hysterical exaggeration of tiny risks. They have been doing this relentlessly in the US towards e-cigs but the evidence refuses to comply with their scare stories.

So their answer now appears to be - instead of looking at the real world evidence and changing their approach - to deny that the real world evidence is reliable.

It takes a special kind of liar to rubbish hard data from unimpeachable sources and continue to advocate for fantasy and fairy tales instead. This would be bad if it were, say, in the field of finance or transport, but to urge governments to ignore what is happening in real life in an area which will have an impact on the public's health is beyond the pale.

It also shows that tobacco control either cannot, or will not, understand the concept of market share. Just because Juul is taking off in the US it doesn't mean the market is increasing. It is a tool they used disingenuously in the campaign for plain packs in the UK, as I have written about before. The trick was to highlight a tobacco industry document talking about how their market share increased and pretend this was an increase in the market as a whole.

It's bunkum, of course. The scam centres on confusing (deliberately?) the tobacco industry with a monopoly instead of a collection of companies who fight like cats with each other for market share. Only in a monopoly is an increase in one product's sales volume an indicator of an increase in the market. And tobacco control is very happy to promote this confusion in how businesses work because they are never interested in the truth.

However, it's up to you to decide, in this case, whether this is a purposeful thing or that US tobacco control honestly doesn't have the first clue about what market share is, so have therefore confused themselves.

If it is the former, they are recklessly playing games with the public's health; if it is the latter, they are woefully fucking stupid, should be roundly ignored by policymakers and defunded immediately.

But there is a deeper flaw in all this mendacious guff from American anti-vaping organisations. Because whatever they morally think about youths using e-cigs, it doesn't matter one iota.
Despite the constant warnings that increased experimentation with e-cigarettes would lead to more smoking, consumption of conventional cigarettes by teenagers stubbornly continues to decline, reaching a record low last year in the Monitoring the Future Study, which began in 1975. According to the NYTS, the incidence of past-month smoking among high school students fell from 15.8 percent in 2011 to 7.6 percent in 2017.
If all those anti-smoking organisations are so interested in people quitting smoking, why on earth are they fighting this?

Here is how youth smoking looks in the US according to the latest government data.


You'd think they'd be pleased, wouldn't you?

I can only agree with Reason when they say that tobacco control in the US is "only pretending to care about public health". Sadly, 'twas ever thus worldwide. 



Sunday, 10 June 2018

Public Health England's Ratchet

Here's a puzzler.

A hospital in Swindon wanted to get all that ghastly (dahling) smoke away from those who complain about smokers doing so. So they came up with a very calm, common sense solution.
Head of health and safety Mark Hemphill said: “The trust did have a plan to install visitor smoking shelters, and a policy was drafted and installation of three smoking shelters outside of the atrium, west and emergency department entrances were specified and costed for installation by Carillion last summer."
Wise man. Everyone is catered for and there is no longer any problem. Well, there wouldn't be until Public Health England chipped in.
“The plans changed three months ago at the direct request of Public Health England, who wrote to each trust chief executive and stated the importance of relaunching the Smoke Free NHS.” 
All NHS trusts in England will go smoke free by the start of 2019, with smoking banned from hospital grounds.
Might I remind you that there is no law against smoking at any NHS hospital so therefore they have no enforcement powers behind this. Nor should there ever be. The idea that an establishment owned by taxpayers - of which smokers are some of the highest paying personally - can ban people from using a legal product without any evidence whatsoever of harm to others outdoors, is absurd. The fact that these bans include the car park, where the NHS is happy for instantly lethal carbon monoxide to be generously spewed out, just makes the whole thing laughable.

Yet despite non-existent enforcement, PHE is issuing demands rather than guidance.

Now, the reason I find this curious is because PHE have often been asked why they cannot instruct hospitals and other organisations to allow the use of e-cigs. The stock answer is always that they can issue guidance but that they cannot demand that it be adhered to.

So why the difference here? Why are they all of a sudden able to get heavy with hospitals while not doing the same when it comes to demanding them to treat vaping favourably? I expect it's the usual authoritarian public sector disease that the ratchet only goes one way. And every time away from any semblance of liberty.

In fact, we can see this in the response from the hospital.
Dr Ian Orpen and Dr Christin Blanshard, co-chairmen for the clinical board of the Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Sustainable Transformation Partnership, which commissions NHS services, said the changes were part of a bid to stop patients and staff smoking. 
The doctors said: “We understand that some people may not wish to stop smoking and we will be providing them with assistance to ensure that during their stay in hospital or whilst at work they can abstain by using nicotine replacement therapy and support from our stop smoking advisors.”
So where the fuck was PHE's 'guidance' or demands about e-cigs to that hospital? There is absolutely no mention of other products except pharma NRT. Remember this is the organisation that announced to the world they'd be happy with vaping products being sold in hospitals.

Did they conveniently forget?



Thursday, 7 June 2018

Keep Smoking Tobacco, Says Finland

In case you are not on social media so missed this, have a gander at something quite staggering!

Remember I've said for years that one day the lies of tobacco controllers will come back and bite them on the arse? Well, I kinda relished how they seemed unable to cope with e-cigs. I always presumed that it would be that kind of harm reduction which would expose them, simply because they are too dim to understand the nuances of a concept where smokers are gently encouraged to switch - when they are ready - to something which would evolve into a valid and satisfying alternative.

They have tried their utmost to demonise vaping - leading to many jaw-dropping and amusing episodes on the way where they reveal themselves to be just a bunch of prohibitionist parasites rather than people interested in health, but with the world now boasting an estimated 44 million vapers they are fighting a losing battle.

There are still some stick-in-the-muds, but they are increasingly seen as stark staring bonkers. The proof of concept of harm reduction has been thoroughly proven with the inconvenient habit vaping has in reducing smoking dramatically wherever it is allowed to flourish.

This has, sadly for tobacco controllers, merely intensified interest in their previous crimes against humanity. Remember the ban on snus?

Snus was banned by the EU in the 90s after the UK govt had listened to absurd scare stories by ASH (yes, we should never forget this because ASH have never apologised for it). The exemption was Sweden, who made it a pre-condition of joining the EU that they be exempted from the ban. Sweden now boasts by far the lowest smoking prevalence rate in the EU and Norway - outside the EU so able to allow snus - is seeing the same effect.

All of which makes this tweet from nutters in Finland utterly astonishing!

I've screenshotted it because I still can't believe they have left this up for so long without deleting it out of shame.


They are actually saying smokers should be dissuaded from switching to snus - which carries just about no risk whatsoever - and should carry on smoking instead.

Yet tobacco companies are supposed to be the bad guys? Fuck me! What kind of messed up people are we dealing with here?

This is the modern state of play in the nicotine debate, sadly. They can complain all they like about the tobacco industry being economical with the truth 40 or 50 years ago, but tobacco control and its acolytes are are lying on a daily basis now



Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Tobacco Control Carnage

Still very busy in Puddlecoteville, but I've found a window to get down a few scribbles from what's been in the news of late.

For example, here is the kind of appalling shambles you are left with when you let ideological lunatics determine public sector policy.
Smoking will be fully banned at the Royal United Hospital in Bath by the end of the year. 
It is currently advertised as a smoke-free site but there are designated shelters for lighting up that will be removed to end the ‘conflicting messages'.
Conflicting messages? What would they be? That smokers should be bullied or else it sends the message that people at NHS institutions might be in the caring profession? Yes I suppose they have a point.
Vaping will be allowed but anyone wanting to smoke will have to leave the site - a move expected to upset neighbouring residents.
So having annoyed one set of taxpayers - smokers - this NHS trust is now going to piss off locals who pay council tax too. Isn't it far easier to just have some shelters somewhere which makes sure everyone is happy?

Of course not, we are dealing with extremists here.
"By the end of this year we have to be smoke free."
Why? There is no law saying you have to. Nor is there any danger to bystanders (please look up J S Mill).
"We have some work to do to build support for our staff around smoking cessation. 
"Probably the most challenging aspect is enforcement."
Yes, because there is no law about it so you have none.
“What expectation do we have on our staff? What sanctions could there be for repeat offenders? Enforcement is the key to this."
Ah I see, so you're going to write into your employment policies that anyone using a legal product in their spare time where no-one can be harmed by it will lose their job.

Sometimes I feel like linking a dynamo up to George Orwell's grave, it could provide free light and heat for the entire country.
James Scott, the trust’s chief executive, said: "This is a significant challenge for us and every hospital I've ever been in, including abroad. 
"Don't think this is an NHS problem. 
"We will be forcing smokers off-site - that's our patients and staff. 
“The consequence is we will get more and more complaints from our neighbours. 
"That's what's happened every time we've done this in the past.
Erm, so don't do it then. Seriously, no-one will care.
“Legally, provided staff are outside our curtilage, they can smoke."
Yep, sadly for authoritarian arseholes, this is true. And long may it continue to be so.
He said some doctors may object to the ban because of the calming effect that smoking can have in stressful situations.
Good, there are still some people in the health service who are human and haven't completely turned into vile interfering cultists.
Public Health England recognises vaping as an effective tool for quitting smoking but Mr Scott said there is some emerging evidence that it "isn't as harmless as it's currently thought to be".
What a clusterfuck of ignoramuses our NHS is.
Nigel Stevens, a non-executive director of the trust, asked if there had been any research into how smoking bans affect staff retention - which is an issue for the RUH. 
He was told the trust would look into it. 
A survey showed that staff are divided on the issue. 
49 per cent thought the RUH should go smoke free, while 49 per cent thought it should be permitted in some capacity. 
Some 90 per cent of smokers thought that smoking should be allowed. 
Those against the ban said that shelters were a good way to contain smokers; staff, visitors and patients may be under a lot of stress and need to smoke; and that people had free choice over whether they smoke. Those who supported the ban said the RUH had a responsibility to promote healthy choices.
Of course, if they just ignored the whole non-problem most people wouldn't give a shit and they could spend their apparently meagre resources on healthcare rather than blathering on about fripperies like this.

Still, plenty of objections there, maybe they will decide that way anyway, who knows?
The trust backed the ban.
Of course they did, the knuckle-dragging cowards. All objections were completely ignored; no compromises were allowed; there is absolutely no middle ground with 'public health' campaigners, it has to be a binary all-or-nothing.
A report to the meeting says that patients, visitors or residents have not yet been consulted but this is planned for later in the year.
As if that's going to make any difference. Or, as someone said in the comments ...
They tried this once before...it failed. What makes them think it will work again?
Brainwashed ideological morons will never, ever see sense. An NHS administrator recognising and addressing the needs of their visitors is about as rare as a BNP member embracing black history month.

I think we need a few more elections where we collectively vote none-of-the-above-screw-everything-and-hope-you-all-burn before these elitists get the message, don't you?