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.