Wednesday, 2 January 2013

The Real Monsters Inc

I've just been reading an article at the Canadian Globe and Mail which is another republishing of the FT's Lucy Kellaway as highlighted by Simon Clark yesterday.
Soon the few people left in civilized society who still smoke will be stubbing out their last gaspers and resolving to quit. Some of them may turn instead to e-cigarettes, those funny little white cylinders of plastic and metal, which contain liquid nicotine and are being sold in ever greater quantity. 
One of the great advantages of these things is that it’s perfectly legal to puff away at work. As you can’t actually light them, they don’t count as smoking. And as all they emit is a little water vapour, they aren’t even antisocial. 
Yet, increasingly companies are taking the very regrettable step of banning them. Some say they are a fire risk or that they may be harmful, but the main reason seems to be that they look too like the real thing. A spokeswoman from the British Medical Association recently complained that they set the wrong example and they renormalize the idea of smoking in offices just when everyone had succeeded in making it seem freakish. 
It is for that very reason - the similarity to a real cigarette and the way they normalize the idea of smoking at work - that I’m strongly in favour of people puffing away on them in the office.
It's an interesting piece, but some of the comments were quite telling.
The Globe should be ashamed. 
Nicotine is a drug and it is addictive. 
Why would employers allow staff to use such an addictive product during work hours? 
The tobacco lobby must be grinning with nicotine-stained teeth that such a propaganda puff piece has been able to sully the pages of this newspaper.
But then ...
I wouldn't be surprised if the tobacco lobby is trying to influence the government in outlawing these new ecigs containing nicotine just to protect their turf. Now that ecigs in public places are an issue for no other reason than looks I'll just stick to my smokes. I guess if both the antismoking lobby, the tobacco companies AND government (tax collector) are all on the same side of this argument then these things will never see any real traction as a stop smoking aid. Too bad.
So the tobacco industry are both overjoyed that e-cigs are being promoted, while also evilly using all the underhanded methods at their grubby disposal to get them banned. Huh?

Similar ill-informed nonsense was being spouted in the comments to a ludicrously irresponsible article entitled "Electronic cigarettes 'DON'T help fight addiction and cause harm to health'"
I would guarantee that Tobacco supplied the finances to support this 'research'.
- rhc_333, Road to Santiago, 30/12/2012 19:00 
I'm sure the study was funded by the tobacco industry.
- Robert, USA, 31/12/2012 6:23
You see, the tobacco control industry has spent so many years demonising the thousands of people who work for tobacco companies, supplying popular and legal products, that this is how otherwise sane people now imagine them.

So whether an article on e-cigs is good, bad, or indifferent, it must be those monstrous tobacco demons who are behind it.

This doesn't stack up much with the Mail article, though, considering the study in question emanates from the Italian Ministry of Health who are not only barred from even speaking to tobacco companies under article 5.3 of the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control, but would most likely slit their wrists rather than do so anyway. They are, however, almost certainly on first name terms with the pharma industry's top schmoozers.

In reality, tobacco executives more accurately look - I expect - not unlike this.

Just like any other business man or woman, primarily interested in business and their shareholders. And what better to interest a business man or woman than the incredible rise in e-cig sales, eh?

Here is how the phenomenon was graphically described by UBS earlier this year.

Growth of 100% or more is going to dramatically raise eyebrows from any businessperson, and most especially for those already in the recreational nicotine delivery business. Little wonder, then, that tobacco companies are scrambling over themselves to invest heavily in e-cig companies or simply buy them up lock stock and barrel.

On the other hand, we have pharmaceutical companies - who are also in the nicotine delivery business, but in a medicinal capacity - who would much rather smokers continue smoking than use e-cigs (or snus) to quit or cut down.

So who would you believe are more likely to be behind the disastrous continuation of the ban on snus contrary to the views of the European public, along with the baseless impending ban on e-liquid and its accompanying junk science, as promoted by the pharma-friendly Italian Ministry of Health?

I'd guess it is more likely to be pharma executives who - as we all know - look like this ...

... and who are universally understood to be happy to profit from tobacco, however deadly the consequences of their actions in encouraging bans on alternatives.

Or that would be how the public view them if only the tobacco control industry were to apply their (pfft) 'caring' rhetoric consistently. But they won't, of course, because pharmaceutical companies hand them a hell of a lot of money on a regular basis.

"Follow the money" is the relevant saying here, I believe.


timbone said...

I saw the tobacco company director (the one on the right, almost as tasty as my first cigarette of the day) on a Channel 4 programme. She was good. When asked about the smoking ban, she said that, although she would never deny that her product could possibly be harmful to the consumer, too much legislation was passed without sufficient evicence.

Lisabelle said...

Behaviors are being judged. Science ignored. Profitable investments protected. Smoking related diseases down-played. Politics of financing exposed. Government corruption.