Monday 16 June 2014

Mark Drakeford's Incompetence Exposed Yet Again

The bizarre and indefensible crusade by Labour's laughable Welsh Assembly Health Minister to dent the success of e-cigs in Wales took another blow this week as more of his carefully cherry-picked propaganda was blown out of the water.

You may remember that Mark Drakeford considers e-cigs to 'renormalise' smoking and wants them banned in public places (in itself showing the smoking ban up to be not about tackling passive smoke as his ilk always claim). However, his subsequent desperate propaganda offensive against the understandable backlash has turned out to be as inept and misinformed as the proposal itself.

His blathering performance in May tried to 'prove' that e-cigs were a gateway into smoking by quoting shonky research from France. It was just 24 hours later that real life evidence emerged showing an astonishing and unprecedented reduction in smoking amongst French youths thanks to e-cigs.

Unsurprisingly, his other Earth-shattering revelation to convince fellow politicians that e-cigs are "designed as a product for experimentation and initiation into cigarette use" (yes, those are his exact words) has now also been embarrassingly and ruthlessly exposed as cockwaffle.
"In the United States, scientists have found that nearly two-thirds of young people who have used e-cigarettes have never been established smokers"
So said Drakeford in May. Well, if this was a ploy to turn kids into smokers, it has failed spectacularly, according to the US state's Center for Disease Control.
Cigarette smoking among U.S. high school students at lowest level in 22 years

As the ACSH reports, this is a very significant decline.
We should also note that the teen smoking rates were quite stagnant from 2003’s 22 percent until 2011’s 18 percent: barely a decline at all. Now, all of a sudden, a 2.4 percent fall over 2 years, a decline not seen since 2001-2003.
Why, oh why, is the Welsh Health Minister so opposed to seeing the same dramatic decline in smoking prevalence amongst young people in Wales?

Just to recap, here's what Drakeford said about e-cig evidence last month.
"Do we want our successors to look back at the debates we are holding today and shake their heads at our inability to see where the evidence was leading"
Well, sunshine, the evidence is all dramatically leading in one very distinct direction, while you seem to lack any ability to notice it.

There's only one person that Welsh history will record as being a political clown when it comes to e-cigs, and that's Mark Drakeford.


Junican said...

In some comments on that article (and elsewhere), some commenters have asked: "If PP has increased sales, why are the tobacco companies not in favour of it?"
Seems a reasonable question at first sight, but it isn't. The reason is that the figures merely show that PP is irrelevant as far as its expected effects are concerned. The effect that it seems to have had is to move demand from premium brands to cheaper brands.
A question arises in my mind as to the 'quality' of the cheaper brands. It may be that the cheaper brands use expanded tobacco, which means that there is less tobacco in each each cigarette. It is probable that those cigarettes burn down more quickly, and it is therefore likely that people smoke more cigarettes as a result. I know from personal experience that some makes of cigarettes burn down very rapidly. I bought some sleeves of "Superkings" duty free in a Greek port a couple of years ago, and they did not last for five minutes, especially outside in the wind. That might be as good a reason as any that more cigarettes were sold than before PP.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

It's an argument made by people with no knowledge of economics or business, and simply displays their ignorance. You can generally dismiss anyone who comes up with that argument as a bit of a fool.

Catallaxy have explained that too here.

smiffy01 said...

We always knew that Drayford was an idiot but not this big an idiot! Well put together DP ;)

Kristin Noll Marsh said...

What is Drakeford's supporting evidence that US "scientists have found that nearly two-thirds of young people who have used e-cigarettes have never been established smokers"?

The CDC report on 2012 youth e-cigarette use reported that "among ever e-cigarette users, 9.3% reported never smoking conventional cigarettes".

Last I knew, 9.3% isn't anywhere close to two-thirds, but rather close to one-tenth.

But wait - there's more!

Those were just 9.3% of those who had actually tried e-cigarettes. If you consider the total number of 24,658 youth surveyed, the CDC reported that "ever use" was only 6.8% of them in 2012. So, that means 9.3% of that 6.8% reported never smoking conventional cigarettes, NOT 9.3% of all students surveyed. (See what they did there?)

Out of 24,658 youths surveyed, it seems just 156 (0.63% or about 2/3 of 1%) tried e-cigarettes and had never smoked:
24,658 X 6.8% (ever tried) = 1,676.70
1,676.70 X 9.3% (never smoked) = 155.93
156 / 24,658 = 0.0063 (0.63%)

That is hardly evidence that non-smoking youth are eveb trying e-cigarettes in significant numbers, let alone two-thirds of those who tried them never smoked. And there is no evidence in this survey that those who tried e-cigarettes and never smoked went on to become conventional smokers (the survey didn't ask that question.)

CDC Source:

Junican said...

I'm sure that many people might ask that question 'in all innocence' (as compared with TC deviousness). What I'm saying is that the appropriate response is, "No one is saying that PP is the cause of increased sales. What we are saying is that sales have increased despite PP" Professor ? said (to the effect), "We do not know whether the increase comes from new smokers of from the same number of smokers buying more". But I do not see the importance of that since, either way, consumption has increased. Zealots want to decrease population-wide consumption, which can be the only objective of increasing duty taxes (from a Public Health point of view).

You are, of course, absolutely right to say that the objective of business is profit. At its simplest level, what would be the point of spending your time running a business if it did not, at least, provide you with a living wage? That 'living wage' is the 'profit'.

What is pretty obvious is that PP is about the least likely initiative to 'help' youngsters to not start smoking. Should that not have been obvious from the start? I think that it was, and that PP was always designed to be an attack on Big Tobacco.