Thursday 27 February 2014

Government Of The People, By The People, For Ignoring The People

And so it came to pass, as predicted here on Tuesday, that the EU Tobacco Products Directive - corrupt and disingenuous as it is - was approved overwhelmingly yesterday.

I'll get round to writing more on that (I hope) when unusually demanding recent Puddlecote Inc pressures have eased, but for now it's pertinent to say that the whole fiasco was a bastardisation of democratic process. Bypassing proper debate and objective consultation, the EU just steamrollered it through anyway. The snus ban was maintained despite being harmful to European health, and after ignoring overwhelming public disapproval; bans on tobacco flavours, smaller tobacco pouches and packs of ten were promoted on the back of utter piffle; and effective e-cigs banned from 2016 despite huge evidence of their benefits but only innuendo and lies in favour of the ridiculous regulations now inflicted on them.

The last of those, of course, also entailed the EU machine cocking a deaf 'un to a cacophony of protests from thousands of EU citizens while instead listening intently to a tiny minority of mostly state-funded career prohibitionists. If two million vapers had descended on Brussels, each accompanied by their happy GP, it wouldn't have made a monkey's fart of a difference.

The whole thing was a stitch-up from start to finish.

Now, thanks to the transparency afforded by the internet they would dearly love to restrict, we can shine a light on these political lobbyist cockroaches and their next planned distortions of democracy, this time in Westminster.

Yesterday, the House of Commons Health Select Committee unveiled their report on the new quango, Public Health England (PHE). It's enlightening stuff.
The Committee is concerned that there is inadequate clarity about how the organisation will approach crucial policy issues such as obesity, minimum unit pricing of alcohol, and standardised packaging of tobacco products. The public expects PHE to be an independent and forthright organisation that will campaign on behalf of those public health objectives and policies which it believes can improve the nation’s health. We note that PHE focused in the first instance on achieving a smooth transition to the new arrangements and the Committee believes that PHE has so far failed to set out a clear policy agenda.

So it doesn't matter that the UK public is deeply opposed to bashing the poor via minimum alcohol pricing and that half a million people objected to plain (standardised) packaging of tobacco - a thumping majority - when consulted?

Nor, it seems, would it matter if PHE reviewed the evidence in favour of these measures and found it wanting. They are expected to campaign FOR them anyway.

Elsewhere, we find:
PHE staff do not have freedom to contradict Government policy
Hmm, if so, that would surely mean that PHE's submission to Cyril Chantler's review of plain packaging is indeed government policy?
"Public Health England believes there is substantial and compelling evidence to support the introduction of standardised packaging, and this is the right policy for the country." 
"This paper restates PHE’s support for the introduction of standardised packaging at the earliest opportunity"
It very much looks like it, I'd say.

And yet politicians still seem baffled as to why we despise every man jack of them. Bizarre.

Tuesday 25 February 2014

If You Don't Want The Result, Look Away Now

Tomorrow morning, the EU will vote to approve the new Tobacco Products Directive.

It was written by someone who has since been effectively fired over bribery allegations, and I do mean 'allegations' because there was - without doubt - a perfectly reasonable explanation for his jetting off to the Bahamas to scout for places amenable to stashing "sums of up to $100 million" just before being accused of soliciting €60 million via an intermediary.

Still, that's all water under the bridge for the EU. No point in dragging such an inconvenient fact up again. It's not like a billion 400 million Europeans deserve a binding directive which is entirely whiff-free, now is it?

So the process moves effortlessly on to tomorrow's vote which is taking place from 10:30am GMT and you'll be able to watch it here if you have the time. Of course, most will be at work around then so - if that applies to you - here's the result.

I think we're going to require a new EU directive on time travel considering Jean-Paul's remarkable ability to speak "after the vote" but still manage to get his opinions published the day before. I'm not sure that all precautionary avenues have been exhausted to prove that time travel is safe, do you?

Frippery aside, it's fitting that a directive which was written under dubious circumstances; was rigged from the very beginning; was furthered by a Maltese replacement who didn't have a clue about his subject matter; was bombarded by pharma and EU-funded lobbyists while the public were dismissed as tobacco stooges; and as recently as Friday saw its wording altered without debate or discussion, should now be declared as a foregone conclusion without so much as a pre-determined vote being cast.

There are very few certainties in this world, but tomorrow will exhibit two bankers in tandem to the detriment of Europe as a whole. Tobacco control has never been about health and the EU has never been about democracy.

Can we leave yet?

Now, I'm sure that the above may have dampened your expectations of the event but there may yet still be something unpredictable to look out for. The BBC reports that the stand out most liberal nation in the EU is sending a representative to speak tomorrow.
The voting session will be interrupted by a formal address to MEPs from Milos Zeman, the President of the Czech Republic.
And rumour has it that he may be contemplating blasphemy by talking about {gasp} the freedom to smoke! So place your bets, ladies and gentlemen. Will he be browbeaten by McAvan and her cronies or stick to his script and enrage legions of tax-sponging Euro tobacco control execs by mentioning the 'F-word'?

Milos, we double dare you!

Monday 24 February 2014

A Squeak Corrects Daily Mail's Roaring Inaccuracy On E-Cigs

Just before Christmas, I predicted that the Daily Mail were about to receive a second telling-off of 2013 for their unfathomably crap reporting of e-cigs. They had already seen a previous article in January pulled but crucially - as Clive Bates pointed out at the time - not retracted.

The Mail's December nonsense was just as stupid and inaccurate, bearing this headline.
'E-cigarette smokers inhale MORE nicotine and toxins than regular smokers': Study finds 'users are unknowingly inhaling' a host of dangerous chemicals 
Sadly for the inept author, Emma Innes, the study had found no such thing ... mostly because it hadn't even begun. My comments at the time reflected this.
This is just an announcement of a study which will take place in the near future, not - as Emma states - one that has already concluded and declared results. 
This is a new low for junk journalism about junk science. We're now very well used to "science by press release" whereby conclusions are sent to the press before biased research has been peer-reviewed and published - if, indeed, it is ever published. But at least the studies have normally been completed before some ignorant hack pumps out their garbage. 
Emma Innes has just told the world about conclusions from a study which hasn't even started yet and, as such, I expect her lies to round off the Daily Mail's year with another humiliating retraction.
Well, the PCC have finally - three months later - released their decision, and if anything it's less satisfactory than the one which preceded it.

The amended headline has been altered to this, with a small 37 word footnote the only evidence of the article's previous form.
'E-cigarette smokers may absorb MORE nicotine and toxins than regular smokers': Study to investigate risk of using 'healthy' tobacco alternative
For three months or more the Daily Mail's vast readership has been stumbling across a significant falsehood, yet only now once traffic has died down has it been changed, and even then to something which doesn't materially alter the claim being made; that e-cigs are likely to be more dangerous than smoking.

Now, I suppose it's too much to expect the Daily Mail to prominently announce their journalist's piss poor research in an entirely new piece, but it would be nice to think that they'll be more careful in the future. Or maybe - a slim chance, I know - to report something wildly positive by way of balance.

I won't be holding my breath, mind. The Mail enjoys unnecessarily scaring the public far more than putting the wind up tax-sponging tobacco controllers who truly deserve it.

Saturday 22 February 2014

Dead Horse Flogging At Its Finest

After an incompetent, tripe-filled flight of laughable fancy on e-cigs earlier in the week, the Guardian have since produced a very balanced piece which - and I think this is the crucial difference - was not written by a screaming idiot.

I do urge you to read it as I've just spent a most enjoyable 40 minutes or so watching some of the country's most stubborn anti-smoking fantasists desperately displaying their ignorance to the world while having their lame fallacies being effortlessly dismissed. 

In the piece itself, Martin McKee shows us all that the tradition of rent-seeking fakery promoted by medieval barber-quacks and Victorian-era American miracle cure salesmen is still alive and kicking even in 2014.
"My view at the moment is that these are things that have been around since the 1960s and people had not paid attention to them. Then suddenly the tobacco industry got interested," he said.
Wrong, of course. The first marketable e-cig was only around five or six years ago and wasn't made by a tobacco company. BAT launched their Vype product in October last year after over a million UK citizens were already merrily vaping away. Just yer usual tobacco control industry lie, then?

Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies decided not to comment, which is probably wise considering she probably knows bugger all about e-cigs and didn't want to embarrass herself. Unlike some we could mention.
McKee acknowledges that a lot of people in public health say e-cigarettes are much safer than tobacco. "Absolutely, but that is not the issue here," he said. "They are missing the point."
Of course they are. The point is that McKee's brand of dinosaur would prefer to bash popular businesses for ideological or personal psychopathic reasons than devote their time to something as mundane as health.

But the real fun is in the comments as the increasingly vanishing hard core who refuse to quit their addiction to e-cig hatred - directly correlated with the vast increase in vaping proving to the public that there is nothing to mither about, I expect - pump out some hilarious nonsense in support of their lame prejudices. 

Do go read them yourself, especially Norm Blunt, a Comical Ali wannabe, who sees his every pathetic opinion - attracting barely an upvote amongst them - effortlessly batted away with inconvenient fact, only to then declare himself as victor in a debate where he was mercilessly embarrassed. 

I did think he was my favourite until saw this on page 2.
I may be wrong, but as an ex-smoker I believe that there is little satisfaction to be had from an e-cigarettte in the long term and that it is fad that will slowly, dare I say it, evaporate.
Yeah, that's what all the evidence says matey. 

Business Insider April 2013
Oops, sorry, that's an old one. 

Business Insider May 2013 forecast
Now, I've always said that e-cigs will expose many anti-smokers for the charlatans that they are, but even I didn't see this kind of self-humiliation coming.

Not that I'm complaining. At this rate it won't be long till creationists are viewed with more respect.

Link Tank 22/02

The sublime and the ridiculous.

Six ways to spot if anti-drink stories are trying to mislead you

E-cigarette bans and propaganda are driven by cronyism, not public health

"New Zealand is appalling. You're sniffing KFC wherever you go."

Sugar is like alcohol for children

The less Parliament does, the better

Canadian drug centre teaches alcoholics to brew beer

Cosmo study how men/women watch porn

French police doped up from seized cannabis

Swedish expert disarms a herring tin

Blink, and you'll probably have missed National Chip Week (pic)

What a way to go!

Thursday 20 February 2014

Sauce For The Gander

In support of plain packaging, the tobacco control cartel submitted a systematic review of their 'evidence' to government back in May 2012. This is the basis of every claim by supportive MPs that there is overwhelming 'proof' in favour of banning colours on packs of fags.

However, as I said at the time ...
The review states that they filtered the studies from a starting list of 4,518 citations. How bad the others must have been to leave just 37 which were predominantly authored by the same people conducting the review can only be guessed at. Scribblings on the back of a fag packet, presumably. Is tobacco control really that bad, or are these people just advancing their one-sided agenda under a cloak of impartiality?
Well, scroll on to the present day and a new systematic review of evidence relating to e-cigs has been produced by Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos of the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens-Greece. It is fully described at this site (recommended read), and finds there is nothing to worry about when it comes to vaping.

I contacted Dr F with a pertinent question about his evidence base. Namely:
The 97 studies I read as being covered by your review, are they EVERY study done on e-cigs or have you excluded any as being unreliable/irrelevant/unhelpful etc?
And his reply?
The 97 studies additionally include studies not specifically performed on e-cigarettes but evaluating e-cigarettes components such as PG, VG and nicotine toxicity.  Concerning e-cigarette studies, NO, we did not exclude anything.
Now, if we are supposed to believe that a selective systematic review of plain packaging citations is the gold standard and should be accepted as fact, which tobacco controllers insist. Then, by the same token, the non-selective systematic review of every piece of e-cig evidence ever produced - plus a few extras for the lolz - should be treated in the same manner. Yes?

It's a simple enough concept, and one of the core principles employed by Wikipedia to ensure consistency.

So, if tobacco control continues to insist on maintaining that their cockeyed systematic review is proof positive of the benefit of plain packaging, they can never again claim that "we don't know anything about e-cigs". Now can they?


But then, there is nothing consistent, fair, or principled about tobacco control, so I expect they'll just carry on spouting their garbage regardless.

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Enforced Community Self-Policing

There was a cracking example of onanistic political self-delusion in the Northern Irish Assembly yesterday. Get a load of this.
Jim Wells (DUP) 
There are, of course, the naysayers, or, as someone called them, the pseudoJeremiahs, who say that you cannot enforce [a ban on smoking in cars].  We could not have enforced the ban on smoking in restaurants and public houses — the public houses, by the way, which I do not go to.  We could not have done that.  However, when you see loyalist paramilitaries on the Shankill Road, with studs in their ears, tattoos on their arms and scars on their faces, standing out on the Shankill Road smoking because they know that they are not allowed to smoke in the local bar, the Rangers supporters club, it tells you something.  It tells you that the community is enforcing this.  The community has decided that it is totally unacceptable and is self-policing. 
Therefore, we have not had to have police or environmental health officers raiding bars and restaurants in Northern Ireland.  That has not happened, because the law set public opinion on this issue and the people, as a community, believe that this is the right thing to do and have self-policed.
So, nothing to do with the threat of huge fines, ruination of their business, and possible imprisonment imposed by central government on publicans who won't police the ban, no?

I presume, then - seeing as the 'community' is 'self-policing' the ban - that Jim would be quite confident in publicly announcing the removal of enforcement powers from local authorities, and once again letting publicans and the community decide what they allow in their pubs and restaurants (that Jim doesn't go to).

Nah, didn't think so.

Don't politicians talk utter cockwaffle sometimes.

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Time For Arnott To Admit She Was Wrong

Simon Clark yesterday posted a speculative article suggesting that ASH is no longer relevant.
So what does ASH do that justifies its continued existence? I'm damned if I know.
Forest may not, ahem, be the most successful pressure group in the world but at least we have a unique selling point and don't cost the taxpayer a penny.
The same can hardly be said of ASH who, let us not forget, spend most of their time pushing on an open door.
"You want to stop people smoking? Come in, m'dear. How can I help?"
It's hardly challenging work, is it?
This is true.

It's also true that ASH, and Deborah Arnott in particular, aren't even very good at disseminating truthful information.

Debs's limp denial of the Adam Smith Institute's suggestion of plain packaging leading to the same treatment in other areas has shown her up time and again to be a bit stupid, so it has. It's time she admitted it.

Being the calm and respectful soul that she is, I take no enjoyment out of this (well, maybe a tiny bit), but from the New Zealand Herald comes the most brutal destruction yet of her refusal to accept plain packaging as a precedent for the same treatment for other consumer products.
The shift to plain packaging for cigarettes should further reduce the already low smoking rate of 15 per cent of the adult population. 
Acceptance of the move suggests the time may be right for an equally simple preventive measure to improve the health of hundreds of thousands of people: plain packaging for soft drinks, accompanied by a ban on advertising them. 
Meanwhile, designers have put the soft drinks in bottles adorned with attention-grabbing, headache-inducing graphics - lightning bolts, explosions, rocket ships. 
Imagine if those were all replaced with generic labels that simply bore the name of the drink. 
The usual argument against such a move is that it interferes with certain freedoms and that people have the right to make their own choices.
What a silly ideas that is, eh? Freedom of choice? Pah!

Now, in case anyone hasn't seen Arnott's laughable denial of the bleeding obvious, here it is ... again.
[...] the “domino theory” i.e. that once a measure has been applied to tobacco it will be applied to other products is patently false.
Yes it is still there! The page hasn't been pulled out of embarrassment as it should have been by now. Nor has it been edited despite being comprehensively shown to be the ramblings of an incompetent - or politically mendacious - mind.

So it's time to ask a question of ASH, and Arnott in particular. Why, for the love of God, is this demonstrable horse shit still on your taxpayer-funded website without qualification?

To borrow a couple of ASH phrases, "the debate is over" as far as a slippery slope is concerned. It is quite clear that plain packaging is being considered for a whole host of consumer products even before being forced on tobacco in this country. And "the time has come" for Debs to admit that her assertions are entirely wrong and have been misleading. Not issuing a prominent retraction would suggest she's quite happy being dishonest, and I'm sure ASH don't want anyone to think of their (pfft) fine upstanding organisation in such a way.

We look forward to this little glitch being sorted out soon. Because no-one likes to be seen as deliberately fraudulent debaters ... now do you Debs?

Monday 17 February 2014

Ireland's Plain Packaging Farce Promises To Be Even Worse Than Ours!

For regular readers here, the fiasco of a campaign in the UK in favour of plain packaging will be well-known.

The often fraudulent abuses of process, democracy and common decency are too numerous to list in full, but just to remind you of a few highlights:

Attempting to rig the consultation; producing literature containing bald-faced lies to MPs; enthusiastically encouraging corrupt multiple signatures; and attempting to influence government to exclude any consultation responses they disagreed with and then trying to hide the evidence. Along with inviting two zealous supporters of plain packaging to review the evidence, including a far-left lunatic who simply despises marketing of any product, before producing an impact assessment document which the Regulatory Policy Committee rightly considered shoddy. This without mentioning shovelling taxpayer cash to vested interests to lobby government with, making demonstrably false claims, and blatantly misrepresenting the results of their own research.

Like I say, this is by no means an exhaustive list, far from it.

So it is interesting to see the same grubby techniques of truth-avoidance and disinformation being played out in Ireland as they embark on their own fraudulent exercise in anti-democratic ideology. In early skirmishes, we've already seen loopy anti-smoking minister James Reilly threatening to ban small boxes, John Crown preferring to make an arse of himself than engage in debate, and an Irish GP glorying in how wonderful it will be to copy the Soviet Union!

However, Forest Eirann's John Mallon today describes how the Irish procedure is not going to be like the corrupt procession we saw in the UK ... if anything, it promises to be even worse.
The day I addressed the Oireachtas Health and Children Committee in Leinster House
Pumped up by their own self-importance and sniffing a chance to attract the media spotlight, members of the Committee rattled off ASH-style propaganda followed by their own vitriol and phobic hatred of smoking. That the tobacco gents behind me didn't just get up and march off was amazing in itself. 
It was, according to members of the Committee, all about our precious children (and not re-election at all). Strangely, though, several of our esteemed democrats got their digs in and then left so when, finally, there was a chance to reply we were talking to a largely empty room. 
And what of the outcome? Well, that had been decided before the whole charade began. The Health and Children Committee will no doubt support the bill to introduce standardised packaging and the process will continue to its natural conclusion.
So, not so much an evidence-gathering exercise than a show trial, then. At least the UK government had the decency to properly gather evidence from tobacco interests in camera, not that the usual lefties were happy with their playing by the rules, of course.

But we also saw today that the Irish debate - even at such an early stage - has already descended into farce.
Law Society president John Shaw yesterday insisted it was “not in the pocket of anyone”. 
The Irish Cancer Society had hit out at the group for adopting the same position and language on the legislation as the tobacco industry. 
Mr Shaw told the Oireachtas Health Committee that the Law Society had concerns about the legal implications of the General Scheme of the Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Bill 2003 in terms of its effect on intellectual property rights. 
The Law Society was criticised by senator Jillian van Turnhout for failing to show the “clear links” between the members of its intellectual property committee and the tobacco industry in a declaration of interest sent to the Oireachtas committee. “The tentacles of the tobacco industry are everywhere,” Ms van Turnhout said.
This is the Irish Law Society, for Chrissakes, but because they raise a valid debating point which doesn't agree with an obviously pre-conceived outcome, they are now apparently a bunch of vile tobacco industry stooges? Good grief!

So outraged by this ridiculous smear are the Law Society, they have taken the step of publishing a rebuttal on their website.
The Society is concerned at the coverage in certain newspapers of the Society's contribution to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health & Children's (the Health Committee) consultation on 'plain packaging' for tobacco products. 
By no means has all of the newspaper coverage accurately reported the Society's position. In particular, some coverage has falsely suggested that the Society's contribution on this matter has been influenced by, or indeed even supportive of, the tobacco industry. This is completely untrue. 
For emphasis, the Society's representatives:- 
1. Made perfectly clear to the Committee that the Society was not representing anyone but its solicitor members and the public interest which the profession serves;
2. Were only highlighting intellectual property law issues to which the plain packaging proposal gave effect;
3. Were not claiming any expertise on health policy matters other than to recognise that "tobacco has had a disastrous impact on health";
4. Agreed with the objective of the Bill and said as much;
5. Were well received by the Committee and thanked for the Society's contribution.
Quite bizarre!

So we have a collection of politicians who walk out of an evidence-gathering session without hearing the evidence, followed by a stakeholder to the evidence-gathering process being defamed for telling the truth as they see it. How much more pathetic can anti-smoking morons get?

Good luck, Ireland, but I fear your government seems to be comprised of a bunch of feckin' eejits.

Footnote: As such, if you're cursed to be living over there and ruled by these hideous, venal numbskulls, do consider signing up to fight them at the Plain Packs Plain Stupid campaign site

Sunday 16 February 2014

Via Glasgow, A Window On The Future Denormalisation of E-Cigs

Last week, TFE pointed out a potential add-on to any legislation tabled on smoking in cars vehicles (inc. yachts, caravans, canal boats) with children.
I feel that their slippery slope of bans would come to a halt without a ban on E-cigs. After all how can you tell that a driver passing you with a child onboard is smoking or vaping? 
As we all know this ban is just the start. I personally think that the ban on smoking in cars with children would be impossible to police anyway and would soon be amended to no smoking in cars at any time. Just to get around the vaping issue. That’s why they have to ban vapers from enclosed spaces.
Quite. Because mission creep is just how anti-smokers roll.

As we know from history, Labour's 2005 manifesto exempted pubs from the smoking ban if they didn't sell food. It also exempted members-only clubs but, once the public had exercised their five-yearly pretence of being involved in what happens in Westminster, the exemptions were kicked out and we were left with what we now suffer - the most totalitarian nationwide smoking ban in the EU, if not the world. Completely devoid of democratic mandate.

So it is almost certain that the tobacco control industry will attempt to crowbar e-cigs into the final draft of the smoking in cars vehicles legislation if they possibly can, and today has shown us some of the oleaginous language they will use to justify it.
ELECTRONIC cigarettes are to be banned in and around Commonwealth Games venues in Scotland, it has been revealed. 
Last year, the Glasgow 2014 organisers said smoking would not be allowed in the vicinity of sites hosting sporting events. They have now decided that e-cigarettes will also be banned.
This is quite a development.

You see, do you remember when bans were only considered worthy of trumping freedoms if they protected bystanders from the instant death of, for example, passive smoking in enclosed spaces after deep, rigorous 'research' complete with relative risk ratios from long-term studies and shit? Well, there is not so much as a hint of that in the Glasgow 2014 announcement. This is protecting, err, no-one. From non-existent health threats.

Proudly exhibited today by the new Soviet Republic of Scotland is the already perverted mission creep of a ban on tobacco indoors being imposed on outdoor areas where there is - and never will be - any evidence, however faked, of threat to the health of anyone. But on top of this, we now see e-cigs added to a ban - which has nothing whatsoever to do with health - despite their not being remotely dangerous even to the user, let alone someone standing (or sitting) near them in the windswept open spaces of Scotland's Commonwealth Games venues.

Considering, then, that this is an insult to civil liberties and pointless gesture politics worthy of a banana republic, state-funded ASH Scotland are naturally ecstatic.
The decision was backed by campaign group Action on Smoking and Health Scotland. Chief executive Sheila Duffy said: “The Commonwealth Games will showcase excellence and aim to build a healthy legacy for the next generation. 
“Providing smoke-free environments during events will help deliver on that commitment, and the decision to exclude e-cigarette use should make enforcement more straightforward and also help put the appearance of smoking cigarettes out of fashion.”
It's never been about health, but at least they used to pretend.

Friday 14 February 2014

'Raping Lungs' And 'Cancer Semen'

A few years ago, we set up a catalogue of psychopathic comments from online smoking articles. Some submissions were magnificent insights into the minds of the mentally unbalanced - see here.

However, many months have passed - last time was July 2011, in fact - since we've seen an article-length example of pure, spittle-flecked anti-smoker insanity.

The wait is over, folks.
To protect those who don’t smoke, enclosed public spaces have been deemed totally smoke-free by many authorities around the world. 
Yet some people choose to violate those laws, lighting up and blowing their smoke around, as if nothing happened. 
When they do, they are raping non-smokers’ lungs. They are taking something from inside their bodies and forcing it inside someone else’s, just because they feel like it. 
They inseminate other people’s lungs with cancer-causing chemicals. 
They impregnate them with tumors. 
So here we are. Talking rape. Not your average fuck-you-and-cum-inside-you rape, but the light-up-and-make-you-breathe-in-and-swallow stuff. 
Rape has evidently evolved. Smokers that choose to smoke in smoke-free areas are practicing it without being called out for it. They are getting away with it. 
Venue owners who allow it are enabling it. 
Police who turn a blind eye to it are enabling it. 
People who say nothing about it are allowing themselves to be fucked in the lungs. 
Am I exaggerating?
Yeah, just a tad, sunshine. Just a tad. Now go see nurse as she has some Ritalin for you.

Good grief.

H/T James Dunworth via FB

Thursday 13 February 2014

What Say You, @ASH_LDN?

Via Redhead, you may have heard some pretty alarmist shit from odious tobacco controllers in the past but this - I guarantee - trumps all of it.

So good he tweeted it twice.

And from the linked article ...
Smokers who have been awarded full or partial custody of their children, or even simple visitation privileges, in a divorce proceeding could lose custody or have their rights curtailed as the result of a new report showing that tobacco smoke residue on furniture, rugs, draperies, etc. – often called “third-hand tobacco smoke” – can be as hazardous to a child’s health as secondhand tobacco smoke, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf (because, yes, it is he - DP), who has helped obtain court orders prohibiting smoking in private homes in dozens of states.
If you can find anything more evil than this from any pressure group, anywhere in the world, please do tell as the ambulance chaser sets his bar pretty high.

Since Action on Smoking and Health declare on their website that it is wrong to "attack smokers or condemn smoking", I'm sure we'll hear Deborah Arnott distancing her rabble from the founder of their US inspiration very soon.

Yep, anytime now, I reckon.


Tuesday 11 February 2014

Mascot Watch #27: State Jackboots In Your Property Edition

Real life has got in the way in Puddlecoteville so there's been no time to comment on how the country's most vacuous woodentops failed to see beyond the end of their snouts and voted for a ban on smoking in private vehicles. For teh chilrenz, natch.

However, I can't let this pass without comment. You see, mere mascot status is looking a tad miserly for our Phil after reading his contribution to the pathetic charade debate. Here are some highlights.
Philip Davies (Shipley, Conservative) 
I have no quibble at all with Luciana Berger, who represents the smug, patronising excesses of new Labour. They think that the only reason they came into Parliament was to ban everybody else from doing all the things that they happen not to like. What perturbs me is that Conservative Ministers appear not to have grasped the concept, even though they claim to be Conservatives, that we can disapprove of something without banning it. This is just another in the long line of triumphs for the nanny state. 
The Conservative party used to believe in the rights of private property, and that people could do as they pleased in their own private property. Their private vehicle is their own private property. If people wish to smoke in a car with children, that is a decision for them to take. As Conservatives, we should not interfere with that. 
We all know where this is going to end up. The people at Action on Smoking and Health, who appear to be the only people the Department of Health listens to, are not going to hand over their company car keys when this measure gets passed tonight—they will be campaigning for the next one, which is of course to get smoking banned in everybody’s homes as well. Once we have agreed to the principle of banning smoking in people’s private cars, how on earth can we logically say that there is a great difference regarding people’s homes?
Do go read the whole thing, including this part of his denouement which lays bare how comprehensively unfit for purpose the current fuckwitted catastrophe (the correct collective noun, I believe) of modern career politicians now is.
The Minister said that it would be a constraint on the Minister’s power to accept my amendments. Well, I make no apology for trying to constrain the Minister’s power. That is what the House of Commons is all about—trying to make sure that sensible decisions are taken based on evidence, not just on the latest whim of the nanny state brigade whom she has listened to. We are supposedly here to try to defend the freedoms of people in this country. This Government want to trample over every single one of those freedoms.
Which, by a stunning coincidence, is precisely why the entire country despises politicians and wouldn't lose sleep if each and every one were to be strung from a lamp post tomorrow.

Bravo, Mr D! As of now, you are no longer my mascot - instead, arise Sir Philip, official blog Knight.

Watch out, too for an eloquent contribution from Ian Paisley Jr and a Tory MP rubbishing Deborah Arnott's foul bullshit from the green benches of the House.
Charles Walker (Broxbourne, Conservative) 
My hon. Friend will know that one of the main scourges for young people is alcohol. Why are the Government not proposing standardised packaging for alcohol?
Don't know about Debs, but that certainly looks like a domino theory come true to me.

And lastly, kudos to this Labour MP for delivering a speech which is brilliantly ahead of its time (after three tiny edits).
David Winnick (Walsall North, Labour) 
I was also around when we debated banning smoking in vehicles with children, which it was argued at the time was a grave restriction on freedom. Who in the House of Commons today, in 2019, would argue that, apart from the hon. Member for Shipley and a few others? The ban, which was so controversial at the time, has been widely accepted in the country. People said that it would not be accepted and that the law would be broken, but has it been? Where is the evidence that the law on smoking passed in the previous Parliament has been broken? 
I accept entirely that it may be difficult to implement the measures that have been suggested on smoking in private homes, and I do not underestimate the difficulties. I do, however, say simply that it is worth a try. Every organisation that has been mentioned and is concerned with public health has argued that the amendment should be put into law, as I believe it should be. It provides an opportunity to protect children in the way it describes, and it is likely, however difficult it may be to police, that people will accept that the law has been passed by Parliament, and that there will be a greater desire to ensure that it is observed. This measure is worth a try, and anything that can protect children from the dangers of smoking should certainly be supported tonight.
I wonder where he got his Tardis from?

Sunday 9 February 2014

Wheels Within Wheels

Further to yesterday's article on the stunning level of taxes being wasted by Smokefree South West, comes more evidence that they've troughed far too much money for far too long. You see, it has led to their taking the right royal piss.

As I said before, SFSW are central to any daft idea pumped out by the UK tobacco control industry, simply because they are awash with cash. One such initiative is the woefully inept mud-slinging Tobacco Tactics website, as detailed in their business plan from the time of its inception [pdf page 20].

You know the drill, click to enlarge

So Smokefree South West were funnelling £350k to the University of Bath for their wiki, eh? The same university which boasts Anna "junk for hire" Gilmore, one of the most adept tobacco control grant magnets of all time.

And what do we find from Anna's Bath University web profile?

Look at the entry at the foot of the screen shot
Yes, that's correct. Anna Gilmore is part of the committee which decides Smokefree South West's policy. The same Smokefree South West which is channelling hundreds of thousands of taxpayer funds to the University of Bath ... for initiatives which Anna Gilmore benefits from.

Morally bankrupt? Borderline corrupt? Should be illegal? Of course, did you expect anything else from the tobacco control industry?

It's bad enough that Smokefree South West is taking taxpayer receipts to lobby the government which hands it to them; that they are using public money to further pharmaceutical industry interests at our expense. But when these ill-gotten funds are subsequently being shovelled to Anna Gilmore by, err, Anna Gilmore, there should be some serious questions asked. No?

And perhaps, may I suggest, every penny should be handed back to the country along with an appropriately hefty fine to discourage others attempting the same grubby misappropriation of our taxes.

H/T @TobaccoTacticss

Saturday 8 February 2014

Turning Off The Tax Tap

Via Taking Liberties, if you listen carefully, you might just hear a gravy train coming off the rails down in the South West.
On Wednesday a producer rang to tell me that councils in Bristol, Gloucestershire and Somerset have been reviewing their financial support for Smokefree South West. 
One council has decided to stop funding the group, another has cut its funding, and a third is considering its position.
I'm sure your heart, like mine, bleeds at news of this tax tap being slowly turned off.

Simon Clark continues ...
It's council tax payers' money, after all. I think they have a right to know [how much money Smokefree South West get], even though the Sunday Politics film made a point of saying that the cost to the local community is just 30p per person. 
Add it up across the region, though, and it's a tidy sum. Exactly how much I don't know because the Smokefree South West website doesn't say, but I'm sure, with a few FOI requests, we could find out.
I can give you a ballpark, though, because I asked just that question to all Smokefree South West's funders - "15 Public Health teams based in local authorities across the region", according to their website - back in 2012. For 2010/11, these were the amounts.

Swindon £86,627
Bournemouth £149,019
Dorset £181,371
Torbay £66,601
Plymouth £124,051
Cornwall & Scilly £263,184
South Gloucs £127,197
Bristol £184,718.70 (and 70p?!?)
Bath & NE Somerset £87,814
NHS Somerset £259,318
North Somerset £100,702
Wiltshire £224,356
Gloucestershire £260,384

That's without counting Devon who acknowledged my request but somehow forgot to reply. So the yearly sum was somewhere just shy of a cool £2.5 million! Whether it has increased since then, we don't know but I'd expect not.

Never mind the floods down there at the moment, Smokefree South West are swimming in cash compared to the same reply I received from North East PCTs detailing funds of a comparatively small £733,000. Little wonder, then, that much of the UK tobacco control industry's activity is coordinated by their poster child in the South West, eh? You may remember that the plain packs campaign was led by SFSW thanks to their ability to pull £486,462.06 from their usual funding to lobby the government with their (or our) own money.

As Clark says, congratulations to the councils concerned for recognising that this is something which shouldn't be consuming such a large proportion of our taxes. Seeing as so many other groups have so much to say on tobacco control, let them put their own money up instead of ripping off the public and getting their pharma industry lobbying done at our expense.

Bravo Bristol, Gloucestershire and Somerset, let's hope other regions follow their lead and cut hard; cut deep.

Link Tank 08/02

Since 'stormageddon' is coming, you might as well read these.

The curse of blanket bans

McDonald's debunks the myth of pink slime in their McNuggets

Tube strikes? Replace them all with robots, I say

Time to stub out misguided e-cigarette regulation

Brewdog's latest stunt is to wade into the Sochi gay debate

Return of the 'well-intentioned do-gooders'

So why don't the anti-smoking zealots care about marijuana?

US State Department, without a hint of irony, warns US travellers about privacy threats in Sochi

Shock, horror! Porn sites track their consumers' habits like any other industry

Fight club for flies

And one to bookmark:

7 days into 'the journey' of a former Winston Man (pic, read from the bottom up)

Thursday 6 February 2014

Audit Trail Of A Public Health Lie

From imagination to finished article, here is a perfect example of a tobacco control industry lie.

Back in 2010, California's Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP) - an organisation which despises tobacco, as the name suggests - decided that a new lie was required, so dangled 3.75 million carrots in front of junk scientists everywhere.
TRDRP Call for Applications
Request for Proposals for TRDRP Initiative on Thirdhand Smoke and Cigarette Butts 
The Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP) announces a Request for Proposals (RFP) to undertake studies on Thirdhand Smoke and Cigarette Butt Waste, under a new initiative. 
Approximately $3.75 million is expected to be available for this RFP.
Of course, junk scientists will say anything you like for $3.75 million (eh, Anna?), and it was clear what results the TRDRP were looking for, so prospective grantees had to be equally clear about what the TRDRP would get for its money.

One such lucky winner - as I reported at the time - was University of California Riverside.
[Manuela] Martins-Green will study the effects of this kind of smoke exposure on skin biology and wound healing. The two-year $250,000 grant will support one graduate student and one postdoctoral scholar. “I am expecting to find that prolonged exposure to third-hand smoke will affect the ability of the skin to protect us from environmental exposures,” she said. “I also expect that, when injured, the skin will not heal normally and could even result in wounds that become chronic.”
So, Manuela already knew what her report was going to say before she embarked upon it. It's kind of a prerequisite in tobacco control; if your study is impartial it might come up with the wrong results, you see, and would have to be buried. And what a waste of TRDRP's money that would be!

What's more, the TRDRP grant application page shows that Manuela didn't only pre-commit to a result, she also knew exactly what her post-'research' conclusions would be.
These studies will lend themselves to preparation of educational materials that can be provided to adults who smoke to raise their awareness of the impact that their smoking can have on their children and elderly parents. Furthermore, these studies will also help adult smokers understand that their family members are severely affected if they undergo surgery and return to a THS-polluted environment because their healing process will be not only be altered but will also be significantly delayed. Finally, the proposed work will benefit the public by providing a better understanding of the cause of impaired healing among individuals who are constantly exposed to Third Hand Smoke, i.e. smokers themselves, children and elderly parents in households of smokers, waiters and waitresses in bars and housekeepers in hotels or houses of smokers.
Scroll on to the present day and whaddya know!
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, found that thirdhand smoke leads to damage to organs in mice, as well as increased wound healing time.
So there you have it, bought and paid for bullshit. From drawing board to mass reproduction by lazy journalists worldwide, how a tobacco control lie is born and travels the globe before the truth can get its Doc Martens on.

The exact same process has been employed in the past to conjure up the passive smoking myth, and is currently being used to create lies about obesity, alcohol, salt, sugar, e-cigs and any other public health hobby horse. Mostly using your taxes to do so.

Yet it is only tobacco-funded research which is too corrupt to be published? You've got to be kidding!

If this is the trustworthiness of 'peer-reviewed science', I suggest that anything published by academic journals should be treated as if you'd just read it in the Beano.

Wednesday 5 February 2014

We've Failed, So It's Your Fault

Something seems to have been studiously overlooked here.
Dr Jean King, Cancer Research UK's director of tobacco control, said: "The most shocking thing about this report's prediction that 14 million cancer cases a year will rise to 22 million globally in the next 20 years is that up to half of all cases could be prevented. 
"People can cut their risk of cancer by making healthy lifestyle choices, but it's important to remember that the government and society are also responsible for creating an environment that supports healthy lifestyles. 
"It's clear that if we don't act now to curb the number of people getting cancer, we will be at the heart of a global crisis in cancer care within the next two decades."
So it's all our fault is it Jean?

Smoking rates are down, alcohol consumption rates are down, we drink fewer sugary drinks and our diets are healthier, yet cancer is still rising according to the article.

You know what we really need? A charity to find a cure for cancer. If only we had one which was over 100 years old and could raise income of over half a billion per year, eh? That would solve the problem, so it would.

And if it didn't, and had to shift attention by blaming victims instead, it could accurately be deemed a monumental failure, no?

Tuesday 4 February 2014

Stop Complaining While I'm Assaulting You, You Bully

As demands from the out-of-control Marxists in the public health lobby become ever more ludicrous and obscene, resistance and anger has also increased. So a new tactic has been in evidence of late.
THE tobacco industry is ready to sue the Scottish Government for up to £500 million in damages if plans to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes go ahead. 
Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said: “I hope the Scottish Government are not intimidated by these bullies."
Bullies? Says a man involved with the organised criminal cartel which steals our income and spends it on bossing us all around?

In the same week, an identical twist of logic is being rolled out by Alcohol Focus Scotland to defend minimum alcohol pricing.
Save 300 Scottish lives a year: end your legal battle against the Scottish people's decision to set a healthy alcohol price. 
Diageo and friends: you are putting your profits before people's lives.This is bullying, motivated by pure greed and it is costing us dear. 
Until you and the other booze barons stop your undemocratic and lethal court challenges, we are mounting a nationwide boycott of your products.
So minimum pricing is the people's decision now, is it? So therefore objections are undemocratic? And there we were all believing that it is a prime duty of the court system to hold government to account for its abuses - which minimum pricing quite likely is under EU law.

Only in the utterly insane world of public health tax-spongers can an unelected body with huge power - financed by taxation the vast majority of the public don't realise is being given to them for the express purpose of brow-beating the public - accuse others of being undemocratic bullies.

Only the most delusional of vile hypocritical puritans can possibly advocate starving popular businesses of cash for simply exercising their right to challenge government in a court of law, yet somehow not realise that this is the very definition of bullying. Only the most astoundingly hypocritical moron can pervert reality by ignoring the true people's decision made every day by consumers freely purchasing the products that public health lobbyists despise. And only the most disgusting of politicians can define a business exercising its right to challenge and therefore test perceived bad law through the courts as a bully.

It's like the playground Gripper Stebson demanding teacher exclude his victim for answering back.

There are no superlatives of disgust which adequately describe these putrid totalitarian slugs.

Monday 3 February 2014

Why E-Cigs Are Included In The 'Tobacco Products' Directive?

You may have seen this advert for Niquitin Oral Strips on the box recently.

From the blurb in voce macho:
"New Niquitin Oral Strips are the first and only stop smoking aid in a strip. They dissolve fast, release nicotine fast, they start to relieve your urge to smoke. Fast."
It's true that they are the first type of product in this country, but not the first worldwide. You see, dissolvable tobacco strips do exactly the same thing and are available in the the USA.

Up there, second right
So, vapers, a pop quiz. Where have you heard these arguments before?
A Food and Drug Administration scientific advisory panel says dissolvable tobacco products could reduce health risks compared with smoking cigarettes. But the agency also warned the products have the potential to increase the overall number of tobacco users. 
According to the report, exclusive use of dissolvable tobacco products by an individual would "greatly reduce risk" compared with regular use of cigarettes. It also could reduce population-level disease burden caused by tobacco use if the products decrease the number of people who smoke or don't start smoking. 
"Based on understanding of the delivery of toxins to cigarette smokers, exclusive use of (dissolvable tobacco products) should be less hazardous than regular smoking of cigarettes now marketed in the United States," the report said. 
The committee, however, concluded that the availability of dissolvable tobacco products might make people think tobacco in general is safer. Beyond anecdotal evidence, the committee said it found no information on whether dissolvable tobacco products would make cigarette smokers more likely to quit. 
Most public health experts say there is no safe way to use tobacco and push for people to quit above all else. Others embrace the idea that lower-risk alternatives can improve public health, if they mean fewer people smoke.
There is, of course, no evidence that they are remotely dangerous but they are required to carry the same warnings as chewing tobacco across the Atlantic.

It's still better than the situation in the UK, where they fall within the scope of the EU wide ban on oral tobacco - the same one banning snus anywhere except Sweden - which conveniently leaves the market wide open for Niquitin's medical version of the same nicotine delivery device.

Convenient, huh?

Now, just imagine for a second that there are nasty bastards within the EU who are so anti-tobacco that they believe - or have been lobbied to believe - anything nicotine-related should only be sold by Big Pharma. How do you think they would go about such a task?

Perhaps by classifying a clear and present danger to pharmaceutical profits (e-cigs) as a tobacco product - even though it clearly contains no tobacco - and therefore including it in the TPD and bringing down the mighty Goliath of the tax-funded tobacco control industry on it's ass?

Just saying.

UPDATE: Looks like my presumptions were pretty accurate:

Sunday 2 February 2014

Yes We Do

In any debate on e-cigs, you'll always hear some public health mobster say that "we don't know what's in them".

It's entirely untrue, of course, and another example of the fraudulent nature of these people. We certainly do know precisely what is in them and so do they.

But now, via TV's Doctor Christian, we can compare the claim with one of the products made by public health's pharma chums.

Hmm, hydrochloric acid? I can't understand the tobacco control industry's silence about that particularly nasty ingredient in the NRT they relentlessly promote. Y'see, if there was so much as a yoctogram of that in an e-cig, they'd be screaming it from the rooftops.

Can anyone explain?

Saturday 1 February 2014

They Don't Like It Up 'Em

Via Carl Phillips, We've always known that anti-smokers are no fan of free speech or debate, but they seem to be a bunch of spineless whingers too.
== Reported Twitter account: @TobaccoTacticss
== Description of original work: Several copyrighted photographs taken from our flickr account.
== Description of infringement: – Copyrighted image modified to misrepresent our views.
(original image:
- Fake newspaper article including one of our copyrighted images (also infringing the Telegraph’s rights):
- Fake book cover including one of our copyrighted images (also infringing Penguin’s rights):
- use of copyrighted image without authorisation
== Reported Tweet URL:
== Signature: Nicolas Chinardet
That'll be this guy, ASH's techie.

Now, firstly, the hypocrisy is stunning. Here they are moaning about copyright infringement while their current project - plain packaging - seeks to completely destroy billions of pounds worth of copyrighted trade marks and vandalise the places where they are currently displayed. But also, if I understand Twitter correctly, to challenge this childish tantrum from ASH, the person behind the quite brilliant @TobaccoTacticss parody account (well worth following) would have to give their name. So, as well as dummy-spitting from ASH over someone who refuses to fall in line with their totalitarianism, this is just more of the usual vile tobacco control industry intimidation.

That aside, it seems that the tweeted images in question irritate ASH so much that they don't want anyone to see them. So don't look at these, will you? Promise? Cross your heart and hope to die?

I'm glad you averted your eyes, because I'd hate it if you shared these images widely and created some kind of Streisand Effect or something.

God forbid!

Link Tank 01/02

Runaround, n-n-now.

Barbecues: The new tobacco, must be tackled as such

Making 2014 the year when freedom of speech comes back into fashion

A disappointed idealist

Alcohol taxes do little to tackle binge-drinking

China overtakes France as top red wine drinkers

When the Canadian government financed a porno

China bans fireworks for New Year Celebrations

Status Quo launch band-themed Piledriver beer

Visit McDonald's for a really Happy Meal (pic)

Thief subdues victim with his penis

Flying snakes