Monday 11 November 2013

An Object Lesson In The Art Of Ignoring The Public

The New York Times has provided us with an object lesson in how the tobacco control industry - and, by extension, the entire public health nanny state who hang on their coat-tails - contrives to ignore you.

Again, it is those mischievous e-cigs doing the exposing.
BRUSSELS — Facing a decision on whether to impose tight restrictions on a booming market for electronic cigarettes, members of the European Parliament received a pleading letter in September that was signed by thousands of former smokers worried that “the positive story of e-cigarettes may be about to come to an abrupt halt.” 
The signatures had been collected via a website,, which proclaimed itself the voice of the “forgotten millions in this debate” — people who had taken up e-cigarettes to stop smoking, and their grateful families. 
The website, however, was not quite the grass-roots effort it claimed to be. The text of the letter it asked people to sign was drafted by a London lobbyist hired by Totally Wicked, an e-cigarette company. The website had been set up by a British woman living in Iceland who had previously worked for the owners of Totally Wicked.
That is enough. It's all that is needed to jerk the knee of glorious democratic thinkers of our age such as Martin McKee.

You see, a grass roots effort involving millions of consumers is only worth listening to if it is organised by ordinary Joes and Janes themselves.

They are supposed to come together organically; find huge funds to set up web sites and petitions; after - of course - keeping their eyes continually on the impenetrable machinations of EU regulatory bodies buried amongst thousands of EU web pages; and all without any company pointing potentially troublesome proposed legislation out to them.

No enjoying a life for you plebs, oh no. You must be as dedicated to trawling through acres of regulations on every subject you remotely care about as Martin McKee and the public health community - who are paid a hefty salary to do precisely that all day - or you are to be considered an industry stooge, just like half a million public consultation responses on plain packaging can be air-brushed out of political discourse as if they didn't happen..

But, unlike you, the other side are exempt from accusations of astroturfing. Despite, err ...
Among the companies arrayed against the e-cigarette industry were GlaxoSmithKline, the London-based pharmaceutical company, which sells Nicorette nicotine chewing gum in the United States, and Johnson & Johnson, the American consumer products company, which owns the manufacturer of Nicorette gum, patches and inhalers.
Now is not the time to draw attention to the billions in fines pharma companies have been served with for fraud and malfeasance, it's irrelevant because they have never lobbied McKee or anyone else in the tobacco control industry. Not. Ever.

Sponsored, yes, but that's OK, because professional tax-sponger McKee and his ilk quite like them, they fit their anti-vape and smoke agenda perfectly.
“Are these people all in the pay of e-cig companies?” said Linda McAvan, an influential member of Parliament’s environment and public health committee. “No. But they have been told by these companies that Brussels wants to take away their product. They are genuinely angry. But their anger has been fed.”
What? Consumers are angry about something they were told would prevent them from consuming a product they enjoy? How fucking outrageous! But it's OK, they've been alerted by an e-cig company, so we can just ignore them as astroturf groups.

Their complaints should dribble in weakly, haphazardly, and ignorantly so highly-paid McAvan and her chums can continue making hay with their personal preferences while the spotlight is anywhere but on their dubious and borderline criminal cockroachery. The public actually knowing what is going on is so very inconvenient, isn't it?

This is cognitive dissonance at its most stark. Thousands of vapers have engaged in the democratic process by writing to MPs and MEPs, while state-funded, pharma-sponsored public health pros desperately invent ways to ignore anything someone outside of their influence says.

And they call others sock puppets? Go figure.


Threthny said...

..and any 'health professional' promoting NRT is not astroturfing ?

Ivan_Denisovich said...

McKee wrote this affront to both science and freedom of speech.

He is a deeply illiberal man who makes his living at the taxpayers expense courtesy of the corrupt carbuncle on the arse of society known as the WHO

He is a "Professor" who appears never to have produced anything of any notable academic value.

He is a politician in all but name living in an ivory tower erected by an organisation that should give taxpayers better value for their money.

I would like to say something nice about him but in his case I really am struggling.

He is a parasite.

truckerlyn said...

Totally disgraceful. However, perhaps these very little people are becoming afraid for themselves, their pay packets. their status and their influence?

This in know way excuses their corruption, but if this is the case, then just maybe that gives us an iota of hope? Ok, cloud cuckoo land again!!

I really wish we could get sufficiently organised to somehow turn the tables on these totally corrupt, self serving, lying, cheating waste of spaces. Of course, that takes money which they have (ours of course) in abundance and that is why, I believe we are struggling so much.

If I were to win the lottery (about us much chance as getting rid of these imbeciles) then I would certainly look at funding the right group of people to take these parasites on as well as donating to UKIP to give them a greater chance of ridding us of the equally parasitic jokes we have in the main 3 'political' parties!

moonrakin said...

The State Broadcaster lurches into the e-cig debate


Dragonmum said...

Such a load of BS! Totally Wicked were pretty late coming to the party - when their ex-employee posted that letter on UKV forum many of us, for various reasons, declined to sign it, but good luck to those who did. By that time we had written to MEPs and posted endless comments and had our own totally untainted petition up and running! Whatever inducements TW could use would be chicken-feed to those who lobby the EU and finance the anti-ecig commentators who posture on social media. I refer of course to the Big Pharma faction who have the most to lose by the success of ecigs - and they are set to lose big-time.

nisakiman said...

Slightly OT, but look - it can be done. A rare outbreak of commonsense in Italy:

The education decree enacted a few days ago has removed the ban on e-smoking in
public places introduced in June by the VAT-employment decree.
Amendment 4.25, proposed by the chair of the Chamber of Deputies’
culture committee, the People of Freedom’s (PDL) Giancarlo Galan and
approved on 23 October, removed paragraph 10b of section 51 of the
Sirchia law - introduced with the VAT-employment decree. It was this
provision that extended to e-cigarettes the regulations “concerning the
protection of the health of non-smokers” for tobacco products.

removal of the last phrase, as the Public Policy parliamentary press
agency discovered on Friday 8 November, in effect permits e-smokers to
vape in places where traditional cigarettes are banned, such as offices,
restaurants, cinemas, public transport and bars.

Good heavens! That won't sit well with the zealots!

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Good news, eh? I tweeted it yesterday thus:

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Not only that, many GPs are actually paid for recommending it, as are the NHS. See here.

Carrie Blanc said...

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