Tuesday 3 June 2014

The Pleasure Of Smoking, Vaping, Alcohol And Fast Food

A common 'public health' industry trick - as I'm sure you'll have noticed - is to emphasise only the negative aspects of whichever particular product they are paid to whinge about. Positives are always ignored entirely because to recognise them would often obliterate the case for regulations or restrictions.

Hence why this news hasn't gone down very well amongst the prohibitionist community in America (emphases mine).
(Reuters) - As U.S. health regulators consider what rules to impose on electronic cigarettes, in their tally of costs and benefits they have placed a value on the lost pleasure consumers may suffer if they used the products less or not at all.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says in a little-noticed document released alongside its proposals for regulations in April that the projected benefits of the new rules, which also apply to cigars, hookahs and other vapor products, should be cut by 70 percent to account for the deprivation consumers would suffer. 
That means if the agency puts a value of $100,000 on the longer and improved life that might be achieved by deterring someone from smoking, then it would cut that benefit assessment to $30,000 because of the pleasure they lost
In a paper published online this year in the journal Health Economics, [the FDA] argued that guilty pleasures like junk food and alcohol are so enjoyable the benefits of reducing their use through regulation should be discounted by up to 99 percent.
This is Kryptonite to the ban and denormalise brigade, since it destroys their long-constructed pretence that no-one actually enjoys what may be unhealthy for them. The historical way public health lobbyists have done this is to continually insist that everything you enjoy is addicting you, therefore there is no true enjoyment.

But here is the FDA actively recognising that there is a pleasure derived from smoking, vaping, drinking and fast food, and they've even put a percentage value on it.

Of course, it's only in prohibitionist circles where this is seen as something unusual. Economics tells us that even if professional prohibitionists gather up every conceivable fantasy 'cost' of any consumer product (many of which are not public costs at all) it still is often nowhere near the value we can put on the public's enjoyment as Timmy notes here with alcohol the example.
The value to the person purchasing the alcohol of purchasing the alcohol must be higher than the amount they spend on purchasing the alcohol. If it weren't, then they wouldn't purchase the alcohol now, would they?

Now yes, this might be diminished by the costs they also bear in cirrhosis, drunken fights and waking up to one of the Two Fat Slags on vomit stained pillows. And it would be right to take those costs into account as well. But as our first order estimate of the consumer benefit of alcohol our lower bound simply cannot be any lower than the amount that people are willing to spend on purchasing alcohol.

The BBC tells me that this number is £38 billion a year.
The UK alcohol market also enjoyed the biggest rise in value, with sales estimated at £38bn – up 15% since 1999.
That’s a fairly large number to put against that £2.7 billion a year cost to the NHS (however strangely calculated that was).
Nice to see, then, that the FDA are sticking to what happens in the real world - as opposed to the cloud cuckoo public health cabal one - and recognising that denying that consumer surplus exists is just a lame lobbying tactic.

The lame lobbiers, of course, are not at all happy.
Public health advocates are concerned about what will happen if agencies charged with protecting consumers also give considerable weight to the enjoyment people get from all kinds of things that have been a focus of regulation - from eating food containing trans fats to riding motorcycles without a helmet.
Well, what might happen - horror of horrors - is that governments may begin considering that the public choose to live the way they do for good reason, and that the public's loss of quiet enjoyment of life and the products we buy bloody well ought to be the prime consideration when weighing up restrictions and bans. Not the demands of a tiny minority of shrieking public health tax leeches.

Perhaps if British politicians were also to instruct their government agencies to take account of our curtailed enjoyment when they are sizing up potential legislation - instead of ignoring the public and binge-legislating regardless - they might not be so vehemently despised.

Just saying.


What the.... said...

Stantonitis Glands is blowing an antismoking gasket.

This is part of the response (more of the same “smokers are not rational” drivel) from Tobacco Control fraudster, Stantonitis Glands and his buddies:

“The RIA presents no empirical justification for this large discount, which, without explanation, was increased from the 50 percent discount in the warning label rule. Indeed, as discussed in detail below, the RIA ignores extensive evidence, presented in the proposed rule itself,{Food and Drug Administration, 2014, p. 23146 and p. 23159} that the underlying economic concept of consumer surplus upon which this discount is based is not appropriate for analysis of behavior involving tobacco because tobacco use and the associated nicotine addiction almost always begin during adolescence (well before the age of reason) and that nicotine changes the way the brain processes information, and thus, rendering “rational” decision-making models inapplicable.”


Mike Loftus said...

The single comment there, and reply by Glantz:
" Comments
Submitted by Anonymous on Thu, 2014-05-29 15:26.
People smoke to avoid withdrawal symptoms,
Dear Dr. Glatz [sic], Why don't you highlight the research showing that tobaco addiction works through negative reinforcement ? People smoke to avoid withdrawal symptoms, which creates an allusion of pleasure ( see sources quoted in PMID: 16463194).

Submitted by sglantz on Thu, 2014-05-29 15:30.
That's the point
Carefully read the comment. That is one of the reasons that consumer surplus does not make sense when applied to tobacco use (nicotine addiction)."

This is the quality of anti-smoker research. If the pleasure of smoking is avoiding withdrawal symptoms, why do people actually start smoking? Do they deliberately keep at an unpleasant activity until it at last becomes pleasant when they are 'addicted'?

"Ugh, these things are awful, but I'm going to keep smoking them until they're nice."

That's anti-smoker logic right there, appropriately in a nutshell.

Jax said...

I’ve always wondered where, precisely, enjoyment (“good, approved-of” enjoyment, that is), stops and “addiction” (for which read “bad, unapproved-of” enjoyment) starts. It’s very easy to come out with pat phrases like “when you can’t stop doing something” or “when it affects your life” or “when you need more and more of something,” but these don’t quite answer the question, really. Take me, for example; if I buy a normal-sized bar or bag of chocolate, or if there’s any in the house, and I have some, then I’ll scoff the lot at one sitting without even thinking about it. But if I have one of those giant bars/bags, I’ll stop at around the “normal” size and won’t want any more. And if there’s none in the house, I won’t even think about it until more appears - often bought by my OH, occasionally by me because I may be hungry when I’m in a shop and I fancy something sweet. So where does that leave me? Am I addicted to chocolate, because I can’t stop eating it when it’s there, or am I not addicted because, between bars I go for weeks without even thinking about the stuff? Am I an addict because I may eat a bar of chocolate, knowing that I’ll be having my dinner soon and thus ruining my appetite? Or am I not an addict because I pretty much stop at the same amount of chocolate, even if there’s more available? Am I an addict because I am “compelled” eventually by my addiction to buy some more chocolate? Or am I not an addict because I don’t feel compelled to buy chocolate every time I run out?

Maybe the purists have trouble with the concept of enjoyment and its value to the human soul because (a) they don’t actually enjoy anything themselves very much, so it’s something of an alien concept to them and (b) because most of them are pretty soul-less, and they can’t consider the needs of something which they don’t have or which they are so out of touch with that they might as well not have one. I personally believe that it’s pleasure/satisfaction/ enjoyment which pretty much drives us to do anything – which is why we never actually “get used to” doing anything that we don’t enjoy, no matter how long we have to go on doing it. And this lack of understanding of the need that human beings have for enjoyment/satisfaction is what explains why ex-smokers – forcing themselves as they do to being non-smokers (which they don’t gain any pleasure from being) – are such a bitter, twisted and resentful bunch. And it also explains why they never seem to get any less bitter, twisted and resentful, no matter how long they remain ex-smokers, in fact, quite the reverse.

ScottWichall said...

I am actually starting to wonder if an analysis needs to be done into the psyche of the bansturbators. Much in the same was the analysis was done some years ago and concluded that 6% of the population are genetic psychopaths, and tend to gravitate into positions of power.

I wonder what percentage of the population are genetically predisposed towards shrill, pinch faced, hand waving, cry wolf, scared of everything bansturbatory miserablism?

Perhaps also around 6%.

Either that or the Eugenics arseholes just sort of morphed into the public health industry.

JonathanBagley said...

From what I read yesterday, their main argument is that costs of lost pleasure should not be attributed to addictive substances. Unless one is an alcoholic, that surely doesn't apply to alcoholic drinks.

truckerlyn said...

There are times, some nutritionist told me, when we might binge on cheese, for example, and that is usually because the cheese contains something our body is lacking and therefore craving, for it's own good. A bit like you with your chocolate. Now, I can't say I am not addicted to chocolate, but like you, when there is chocolate in the house I will eat the bar/bag that I take in one go. If, however, I REALLY want some chocolate, and there is none in the house, I will go out and buy some!

On another note, I am assuming that politicians are so elite that they are immune to all this 'bad' stuff. After all, they drink plenty, at our expense, in their parliamentary bars, they even have places to smoke and I am sure that DC, for one, has not put on all that weight in the last few years by only eating healthily!

DP said...

Dear Mr Puddlecote

I like food. I am addicted to it. The first signs of withdrawal are hunger pangs, which get worse if I don't have my fix. I've heard total withdrawal from food addiction is 100% fatal within a couple of weeks.

I like a drink. I am addicted to it. The first sign of withdrawal is feeling thirsty, which gets worse if I don't have my fix. I've heard
total withdrawal from water addiction is 100% fatal within a few days.

Don't get me started on my oxygen addiction ...

I can't understand these people's concern about the type of food, drink or gases imbibed or inhaled when withdrawal from any is fatal.


JonathanBagley said...

Yes, and why do people start again months after having given up?