Saturday 31 January 2015

Enjoy The Silence

Yesterday I tweeted something Simon Clark said here because I think it is a good point, well made.

Sadly, I was taken to task for what I hadn't tweeted agreement with, rather than what I had. Still, that's by the by.

What I did find interesting about this undeniable statement is the possible future reactions to yesterday's news that Ireland is planning plain packaging for e-cigs too. You see, it is very true that "advocates of e-cigs within the tobacco control community" are fully behind plain packaging of tobacco - last week gave us a prime example (for which I was unfollowed by the way).

So what are they to make of e-cigs being slapped with plain packaging? Well, my guess is that they'll sit back and say nothing. I mean, how could they do any different? We are constantly told that tobacco controllers are not anti-smoker, they are anti-smoking, and are not trying to interfere in your free choice should you choose to smoke. Perish the thought!

The plain packaging campaign has been at pains to point out throughout the past few years that it is merely trying to stop kids from taking up tobacco, not bullying smokers into submission or intervening if adults choose to purchase a legal product. You have nothing to fear. They are absolutely in favour of your liberties and plain packs won't change that one iota. Or, as the instigator of the Irish proposal put it.

Therefore, considering tobacco controllers are in agreement* that under 18s should be forbidden to buy e-cigs - despite simultaneously arguing that there is no evidence of the 'gateway theory', and despite the current situation slashing youth smoking worldwide - they'll be quite content with plain packaging for e-cigs, won't they? And since they're convinced that plain packaging doesn't stop adults making free choices either, where's the problem?

Of course, if they oppose plain packs for e-cigs ...

* The e-cig advocate who once asked why harm reduction should only be for over 18s excepted.

Link Tank 31/01

Dive in.

Political correctness: How censorship defeats itself

A lifestyle so good, it's mandatory

How the European dream is dying, state by state

Science 'wrong' in EU's proposed e-cigarette law

Women in porn: More progressive than Hollywood?

Irish government urged to lift ban on Good Friday alcohol sales

The bizarre maths of supermarket price wars

6,000 queue at Burger King as it returns to France after 18 years

A ball pit for adults opens in London (pic)

Bud Light's Super Bowl advert features life sized Pac-Man game

French animals have feelings

Friday 30 January 2015

Irish Jokes

Two politicians in Ireland seem to be doing their level best to reinforce the stereotype about their countrymen.
Senators Averil Power and John Crown want to see a ban on the sale of the products to under-18s, an end to advertising and the consumption of e-cigarettes in public places and places of work. 
It will also include the prohibition of sponsorship by manufacturers and importers of electronic-cigarettes and the use of them in vehicles where persons under 18 years of age are present. 
The bill also provides for standardised packaging of e-cigarettes and the fitting of child safety caps on liquid nicotine bottles. 
Yes, they really are proposing a 'smoking ban' and plain packaging for e-cigs, without any evidence whatsoever that they harm even the user, let alone anyone else.

Erm, wasn't the smoking ban about protecting bar workers from 'proven' secondhand smoke? Well no, of course it wasn't, but it's nice of these two clowns to finally confirm what we've always known. That it was never about health.

Interesting, too, that they have leapt straight into proposing plain packs for e-cigs, something they wouldn't even have considered a few years ago, and something Chapman the coprolite said would never happen. Nope, no slippery slope there. Not at all.

But worry not, my Irish friends, this won't change anything according to Averil.
Somewhere there is a pile of bricks thinking that they're not that thick after all by comparison.

Because bans on usage just about everywhere and e-cigs packs designed to scare people away from using them won't 'discourage' anyone, now will they? Despite the legions of tobacco control industry professionals all over the world having claimed for the past decade that smoking bans are an incredibly effective tool for discouraging smoking, and that plain packaging is a brilliant way of stopping uptake in its tracks.

I suppose we should wish for a bit of consistency, but then liars don't go in for that sort of thing, do they?

Thursday 29 January 2015

Nutt As A Fruitcake

Professor David Nutt - the ex government adviser who admirably favours drug legalisation and is a fan of e-cigs - would be a much easier person to like if he wasn't such a raving arse when it comes to alcohol.

Today he has written a mess of a piece for the Spectator arguing for fewer restrictions on cannabis and MDMA (ecstasy) while disingenuously pushing drinkers off a cliff. The utter crap he spouts about minimum alcohol pricing in particular is jaw-dropping.
... alcohol is cheaper and more easily available than it has been since the gin-epidemic of the 1700s ...
It was true five years ago that alcohol was more expensive in real terms by 19.3% than in the 1980s, and the duty escalator on alcohol has added even more to that statistic since. I don't remember having much problem buying booze back then either.
... and half of all 15-16 year olds are becoming dangerously intoxicated at least once a month.
I doubt that statistic very much, but I suppose it depends on what one describes as "dangerously intoxicated" I suppose. My guess is that Nutt is applying a particularly low bar here. But however you cut it, all measures of child and youth alcohol consumption are dramatically in decline, and have been for over a decade, so his hyperbole is badly applied.

He continues ...
Alcohol misuse costs the UK about £30 billion per year ...
No it doesn't, but still.
[P]revention is preferred to treatment and here we have a number of proven strategies that focus on reducing dangerous levels of consumption. The easiest and least intrusive of these is minimum unit pricing of alcohol.
Minimum pricing is "proven" is it? And there was I thinking it was just a flawed computer model produced by incompetent university temperance enthusiasts.
However whenever this is discussed publicly it provokes a barrage of attacks from the right-wing press, probably driven by lobbying from the drinks industry ...
Citation needed, you lazy Professor, you.
... with claims of ‘punishing the responsible drinker’ and politicians of both colours meekly accede. The truth is exactly the opposite, minimum unit pricing of 50p per unit would in practice save the ‘responsible’ drinker significant amounts of money.
No it wouldn't, because the premium of a brand would necessitate rising prices right up the scale. If cheap booze is raised to a similar price as branded stuff, the branded stuff will increase in price to protect the differential. Minimum pricing would cost every responsible drinker more, and the poorest would naturally feel it in their pocket most because of the margins being more acute to those with less disposable income. This is economics and business 101.

But still, let's hear him out.
To understand how this works we need to realise that almost every drinker – and certainly every subscriber to the Spectator – will already be drinking alcohol that is priced at more than 50p/unit as this translates into £3.50 per bottle of wine or £15 per bottle of spirits. In fact the only people drinking alcohol that costs less than 50p per unit are those that contribute the most costs of alcohol harm to our society. These are the young binge drinker and the older alcoholic. Increasing the minimum price of alcohol to these two groups would reduce consumption and harm.
That's right. Apparently, the "only" people who buy cheap alcohol are young binge-drinkers and codgers with a drink problem. No-one else. At all. The poor in society who drink responsibly but can only afford the very cheapest alcohol don't actually exist - funny that, considering Labour keep telling us there is a 'cost of living crisis'. If every responsible drinker is able to afford brand names instead of supermarket own brand vodka, it kinda suggests someone is lying to us, don't it?

As an aside, I find it curious that tobacco vending machines - by far the most expensive way of buying cigarettes - had to be banned because children were flocking to them, yet low-priced alcohol being raised by a few pence is brilliant policy because kids haven't got much money.

Anyhow, I digress.
Today the cost of alcohol misuse in the UK is around £30 billion per year —about £1000 per tax-payer.
No, David, it really isn't.
This sum might be thought acceptable to those who drink heavily but surely not to responsible drinkers. The 10 per cent of the population who are non-drinkers are particularly penalised since they get no benefit from using alcohol at all.
I believe they do. You see, if they don't drink, they don't pay any of the £9bn in alcohol duty the government derives from those who do, not to mention the £2bn VAT on top.
Real life experience in a province in Canada showed that introduced minimum pricing recently found a 10% increase in minimum unit price led to a 30% reduction in alcohol deaths.
No, Nutty, that didn't happen either, as Snowdon explained recently.
This is a reference to a statistical analysis of data from British Columbia conducted by Tim Stockwell (yes, him again). Stockwell claimed that there was a large drop in wholly alcohol-attributable deaths in 2006-07 which roughly coincided with some (fairly minor) increases in the minimum price of some drinks. 
Alas, this is entirely inconsistent with the established facts. Official statistics show that the alcohol mortality rate in British Columbia rose from 26 per 100,000 persons to 28 per 100,000 persons between 2002 and 2008. As the graph below shows, neither mortality (solid line) nor per capita alcohol consumption (dotted line) fell during this period. 
Between 2002 and 2011, the number of deaths directly attributed to alcohol in British Columbia rose from 315 to 443 with the largest annual death rates occurring after the minimum price rises of 2006. Between 2006 and 2008, when further minimum price rises occurred, the number of deaths rose from 383 to a peak of 448. Moreover, the rate of hospitalisations for both alcohol-related ailments and acute intoxication both rose during this decade.
So considering just about everything Nutt has said so far is demonstrably wrong, his further calculations are simply laughable.
Our two groups of consumers of cheap alcohol (the young and the alcohol dependent) contribute about 30 per cent the total burden of costs of alcohol (about £10bill/year) so reducing this by a quarter would save around £2.50 billion a year — the price of 8 new hospitals – or a tax-rebate of £100 or so per taxpayer.
The true, actual cost to the taxpayer is orders of magnitude lower than that at around £6.6bn, which is of course adequately covered by duty income. But even if we discount that and agree with Nutt's debatable share of costs, the quarter cost of £1.65bn is offset by the half billion cost of implementing the policy in the first place, as admitted in the Sheffield model itself.

There's more from Nutt.
Properly pricing alcohol can lead to a virtuous circle of health and wealth. France is a remarkable example of this.
You mean that France where booze is so considerably cheaper than here that we all pick some up on the way back from the place?
What is even more remarkable is the fact that the French alcohol industry has become more profitable; more expensive wine has greater profit margins. 
The UK alcohol industry is well aware of these data, and must accept that they would be more profitable under a more-expensive minimum-priced alcohol policy. So why do they resist any attempt to develop a more rational policy even one as minor as minimum pricing? One view is that they rely on the cheap super-strength ciders and lagers that have come on to the market in recent years to get young drinkers addicted.
And 9/11 was a government plot, yes David. {wibble}
My view is that they have taken a collective position to oppose any change in drink regulations on principle even if it would in the long run benefit them. Their profits are so enormous; they just can’t be bothered to innovate. 
Because anyone visiting the booze area of the supermarket can't fail to notice the complete lack of about 9 different types of Bacardi which weren't available 15 years ago. You know, when innovation and competition died as a concept for the drinks industry. Considering the anti-alcohol lobby has been fighting against the marketing of hundreds of new and innovative products for the past couple of decades, this has to be the daftest claim of the lot.

Now, it's clear that Nutt is a big fan of more realistic policies on drug use, and for that he is to be congratulated. But he is a piss poor advocate of common sense towards drugs when he is spouting such utter bollocks on alcohol.

Fortunately, no-one buys his transparent nonsense and he's getting caned in the comments. Good.

Tuesday 27 January 2015

David Cameron Creates 'Jobs' In Northern Ireland

Earlier this month, I wrote about an Irish Independent article which reported how their police and border forces estimate the provisional IRA could profit massively from plain packaging.
The Government plans to introduce 'plain packaging' carrying only graphic health warnings rather than the current brand designs will provide the smugglers with a massive boost in profits, customs and garda sources say. 
They estimate that Border-based Provo smugglers are importing around €90m worth of tobacco products a year, mainly from the Far East. Based on the experience of Australia, the first and only country to bring in the plain packaging, they estimate the IRA-controlled trade here could boom to around €120m in value.
Nice work if you can get it.

The daft plan is only a proposal in Ireland thus far. Of course, in the UK, Westminster's village idiot Jane Ellison has announced a vote on the matter - without telling half the cabinet - but the idea requires much more work yet in the Northern Irish Assembly.

Fortunately, though, a Sinn Féin MLA badgered on that very subject yesterday.
Mr McAleer asked the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety whether he is minded to introduce plain packaging as part of the tobacco directive.
Well what a coincidence. Kerching!

How nice of Mr Cameron - who this week gave plain packs his backing - to compensate for the loss of 900 jobs in Antrim with a potential €30m per annum regeneration package on the borders.

No experience necessary, salary negotiable, full weapons training will be provided. What's not to like?

Monday 26 January 2015

39% Of Parents Should Not Be Parents

The British Heart Foundation - a multi-million pound cash generation and lobbying business posing as a charity - has decided it doesn't like useful and popular businesses advertising. So it is demanding that politicians please, please, think of the children! (natch).
Seven in ten (70%) parents have been pestered by their children to buy junk food they have seen advertised on TV, according to a new survey by the British Heart Foundation ahead of Heart Month this February.
Err, isn't pestering just what kids do, whether it be food, toys, sweets, playing in the park or keeping a snail as a pet? What is wrong with the other 30%? Doped up on Ritalin or something?
The BHF polled over 2,100 UK parents with children aged 16 and under, and found more than two fifths (43%) of those polled say they are badgered by their children at least once a week.
Once a week, eh? By crikey {yawn} it must be hell on earth.

But hold on. That 70% figure wasn't a regular pestering then, just at some point in their lives. Now I'm seriously worried about the other 30% - they may quite possibly be dead.
Almost two fifths (39%) of parents surveyed also said they think junk food adverts on TV make it difficult to help their children eat a healthy diet.
I suggest then, that it's quite clear that those 39% surveyed should not be parents in the first place. I find 'no' to be one of the easiest words to pronounce, and I have a vocabulary of - ooh - at least 500 of them.
The BHF believes that this survey highlights the urgent need to close legal loopholes in the UK’s regulatory system which mean companies are free to promote unhealthy food and drink products to children both online and on TV during popular family TV shows. 
It does nothing of the sort. It just says that approximately 12 million parents seem to be incapable of controlling their kids.
The BHF is calling for the Government to introduce tighter restrictions online and ban junk food adverts being shown before the 9pm watershed to protect children from making unhealthy choices.
Because that's why people ran round a field for 2 hours in their spare time ... so that their donations could be spent on political lobbying.
[Mike Hobday, our Director of Policy, said:] “We cannot allow companies to continue exploiting holes in the system at the expense of our children’s health."
"Our children", Mike? If I'd had any with you I think I might have remembered. You, Mike, can look after your kids, and the rest of us can look after ours, OK?

Well, it seems that 61% of us can, anyway. Good grief.

Sunday 25 January 2015

Redefining "Misinformation"

The BBC outraged a couple of tobacco control industry execs on Thursday. The Beeb's crime was to invite Imperial Tobacco's Axel Gietz onto Radio 4's Today programme to give an opposing view of plain packaging.

You can get an idea of what Gietz said from this Sky News coverage - it was perfectly reasonable and well argued, but CRUK's Robert West didn't like it one little bit.

I found this quite astounding. After a campaign where the BBC may as well have been a business partner of tobacco control in pumping out plain packs propaganda without question (by contrast, Simon Clark often had to beg to have Forest rebuttals included), here they were admirably - albeit belatedly - offering an alternative view (as they damn well should) but it was seen as heresy by West!

I was driving that morning but saw his tweet after a drop and had to point out that it shouldn't be a surprise that the BBC was acting impartially.

The irony in that response is so thick you'd struggle to cut it with a chainsaw, wouldn't you?

It is the tobacco control industry which holds the levers of power. They have dim-witted politicians eating out of their hands and a supranational unelected WHO dictating what national governments can and cannot do. By contrast, the tobacco industry isn't even allowed to raise an objection without state-funded prohibitionists screaming foul.

The obese bubblegum-phobic was equally pissed off.

For "factually wrong", read "not keeping to the script we wrote for this piece of legislative fantasy". They both know very well that the evidence for plain packaging is less than wafer thin, in fact it's a crock. And as for no-one being invited to challenge, this has been the modus operandi of tobacco control since the 1970s! They actively run away from debate, strain every sinew to stifle opposition, and pretend that everyone who opposes them must have been paid to do so.

What's more, they have some outrageous neck for accusing others of being shifty on the issue of plain packaging. I've attempted to condense all their disgraceful abuses into a shortish list before.
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.
To accuse anyone else of 'misinformation' or being 'factually wrong' is quite stunning when the entire tobacco control plain packs campaign relied on lying, gerrymandering, evidence-rigging, junk science, suppression of dissent, economic terrorism, political chicanery and institutionalised corruption.

Now, the tobacco control industry have this thing they call the 'scream test'. Deborah Arnott described it here.
"Why would the tobacco industry and its allies be so vehemently opposed to plain packaging if they weren't so frightened that plain packaging would work?"
This is 'misinformation' in and of itself, as Snowdon and others have explained very well in the past. It's a con trick employed simply to convince anti-smoking obsessives and the generally stupid.

But, on Thursday, it could have been re-written thus:
"Why would the tobacco control industry and its allies be so vehemently opposed to Axel Gietz on Radio 4 if they weren't so frightened that the truth may get out?"
Roll on the court cases. I hope the tobacco industry sting the government for billions.


For an example of usual BBC fare, see this News24 interview with Forest's Simon Clark and watch out for the snort of derision when the term "denormalisation" is mentioned.

West and McKee doth protest too much, the BBC don't need any help whatsoever from their slew of anti-smoking mouth-breathers. Denormalisation has been a proud stated policy of the tobacco control industry for around a decade now yet the BBC presenter derided it as if Clark was a conspiracy theorist.

World-renowned news source? Ha!

Friday 23 January 2015

A Million Ways To Die In The West Of Europe

For your Friday treat, French anti-smokers have come up with an 'amusing' ad campaign on YouTube which is laugh a minute. Apparently, you should quit smoking because otherwise you are bound to suffer a violent and immediate death.

Those Frenchies have always been arty, haven't they? I just didn't know they were so creative with their imagined killing of smokers.

These are just the first three of an ongoing series, you can subscribe to their channel for weekly episodes here.

I suppose being employed to think up regular gory deaths for people who smoke must be a bit of a busman's holiday for anti-smoking obsessives, as anyone who's read our psycho anti catalogue will agree.

Enjoy the weekend, and try not to get beheaded during a quiet moment, eh?

Thursday 22 January 2015

++Exclusive++ Party Political Address From David Cameron

I have managed to get hold a leaked copy of David Cameron's pre-election rabble-rouser. Remember you read these highlights here first.
When Nick and I held that jovial meeting in the garden of Number 10 back in May 2010, we made you a cast-iron promise. A "new politics". My deputy Prime Minister also promised to "roll back hard-won liberties"
That is why, as we stand on the cusp of an election in May, we have banned DVDs which show things we find rather icky; flirted with minimum pricing of alcohol but left Scotland to trial it for us; refused to rule out following Wales in banning plastic bags; added tax to pasties; banned smoking in your private property; sat silent as lefties attacked page 3; flew to France to express solidarity with Charlie Hebdo while jailing people who post jokes on Twitter; used the Charlie Hebdo massacre to resurrect the Snoopers Charter; and now have bravely stood in favour of your liberties by my Conservative Party being ... 
{Drum Roll} 
... the only party to promise plain packaging of tobacco despite wholesale rejection by the public and a total lack of credible evidence that it will work. Well, the only party if you don't count Labour and Nick's Lib Dems who also want to do the same, but you get the idea. 
That's our "new politics", you see, the one all of us in the mainstream parties agree on. It might look the same as the old shit but it's done in such a more polished way, I think you'll agree. We used to take your liberties mildly and in an unobtrusive way; now we do it openly and don't give a fuck what you think. Serves you bastards right for pulling us up on our expenses, really. Keep your noses out next time, OK? 
Any hoo, I trust we can look forward to your vote in the upcoming election?
At this election you have a clear choice. Vote Labour who hate you, vote Lib Dem who despise you, or you can vote for us, the Conservatives, who just think you're snotty oiks who can't be trusted as far as we can throw our chauffeur. 
Vote Conservative! Vote "slightly less disgusting than the others"! 
Makes a great case not to vote UKIP, doesn't he? 

Wednesday 21 January 2015

A New Definition Of Violence, WHO Style

Via the WHO, some news from freshly-crowned World Shark-jumping Champions, Latvia.
Following the law on Children Rights Protection stating that smoking in the presence of a child is regarded as a physical violence, the tobacco control law now clearly states that smoking in the presence of a child is prohibited.
Wow! So now a mythical scare based on a fairy story created by George Godber in the 1970s because he wasn't keen on the smell of tobacco is considered "physical violence" in backward states? Looks like they're deadly serious about demanding Latvians quit smoking then, eh?
The revised law applies also to electronic smoking devices, containing nicotine or not.
Or maybe not.
The Ministry of Health believes that the new approach and the philosophy of the law will help to push forward even more stringent rules in the future to fulfill obligations of the WHO FCTC and its guidelines.
"Even more stringent rules in the future"? You mean that banging smokers and vapers up for GBH over pretend harm is just a starter for ten? What does Latvia propose as punishment for crossing a road with a child in front of fume-spewing idling traffic, a firing squad?

If this is what the WHO are handing their legendary cash-stuffed envelopes out to achieve, it's surely time the UK copies the USA and tells the WHO we won't be bound by the hideous FCTC these unelected, corrupt, overpaid arses have created, doncha think?

I don't call tobacco controllers extremists for nothing you know. It's just that it's the most accurate decription.

Monday 19 January 2015

The Provisional IRA Profits To Soar With Plain Packaging

With David Cameron currently talking tough on criminality and terrorism, I do hope he was advised of this article from the Irish Independent.
The [Irish] Government plans to introduce 'plain packaging' carrying only graphic health warnings rather than the current brand designs will provide the smugglers with a massive boost in profits, customs and garda sources say.
Police and border forces have a habit of saying inconvenient things like that. UK police chiefs warn of the same, along with their rank and file, and the concerns of our UK customs officials line up the same too. Perhaps they're all tobacco industry front groups or something.

The Irish Indy continues.
They estimate that Border-based Provo smugglers are importing around €90m worth of tobacco products a year, mainly from the Far East. Based on the experience of Australia, the first and only country to bring in the plain packaging, they estimate the IRA-controlled trade here could boom to around €120m in value.
Kerching for the Provos!
Officers say plain packaging will make the smugglers' jobs a whole lot easier as in future they won't have to repack several brands at their hidden factories along the border. 
One said: "Once plain packs come in, the smugglers won't have to go the trouble of repackaging dozens of different brands as all cigarettes will legally come in drab brown boxes with just a small space left for the brand name. All the smugglers will have to do is simply reprint the brand name."
Well, duh! Only a fucking clown state-funded tobacco control industry trougher could intentionally fail to see this entirely predictable flaw in their plan.

So the IRA seem equally as enthusiastic as Indonesian {cough} businessmen who quite simply can't wait for plain packaging to increase their criminal profits.
He even punched the air as he mocked PM David Cameron, cheering: "Plain packaging... I support the UK government! ...We will make more money. We can make it cheaper but sell for the same price. It's good for you, good for me." 

You have to wonder at the cognitive dissonance required for any politician to take the word of self-interested, career-perpetuating tobacco control industry lobbyists over and above the clear and converging opinions presented by law enforcement agencies and criminals alike as to the undoubted negative consequences of plain packaging. Loopy conspiracy theorists around the world would stand and applaud their capacity for credulous brainlessness.

You also have to marvel at (or, more accurately, be disgusted by) the hideous sight of a tobacco control industry actively aiding and abetting criminal gangs and former IRA terrorists while denigrating police forces as tobacco company shills.

I'll say it again. We here are firmly the law-abiding and on the side of the angels. Never doubt that.

If you - like me - feel very uncomfortable about the IRA getting rich on the back of inept government policy, why not send a message to your MP and double dare him/her to say the police are lying and criminals are making it all up. Their reply would be interesting.

Sunday 18 January 2015

Drafting A Raw Tobacco Consultation Response

Those eagle-eyed guys and gals at Nothing2Declare have spotted a sly move from our grasping government.

Currently, the sale of raw tobacco is not eligible for tobacco duty under EU rules, as the consultation document explains.
Under current legislation HMRC and Border Force (BF) have limited powers to control the movement of raw tobacco. The relevant European Union Directive does not allow raw tobacco being moved within the EU to be charged with excise duty. 

But, of course, this is really frustrating for politicians who are never truly happy unless they're rifling our pockets. It seems that we are condemned to comply with every regulation the EU fires at us, but when these directives are not harsh enough, our own government steps in to attack us even more. It deserves resisting so please consider doing so.

It appears the thought of people buying raw tobacco - which it is intended will include plants that are still growing - without being punished by extortionate duty rates drives our government mad so it does. Especially since it is on the rise.
Since 2011/12 import data indicates a 100% increase in the volume of raw tobacco being imported from 'third countries' to non-registered tobacco producers, with a total of 64 tonnes being imported in 2013/14. This data does not include tobacco imported from within the EU, this means that the actual total volume entering the UK will be substantially higher.
Hence this consultation which is a first step towards putting barriers in front of these sales by way of demanding registration and an explanation of what you are going to do with it, including production of e-liquid which might explain a fair amount of the increased market. Back door regulation like this can only increase costs for vaping businesses and raise retail prices, which I'm sure will make the miserable dinosaurs in 'public health' - who will doubtless swarm this like every other consultation they are paid with our taxes to respond to - very happy.

N2D have offered some guidance on suggested answers in the document embedded below. You can view the consultation documents here, the closing date is 30th January at 11:45pm. Tell them to go away and leave us alone by email or post:


Raw Tobacco Consultation
Tobacco Policy Team
Ralli Quays,
3 Stanley Street
M60 9HL

As N2D say, quite rightly.
We need as many answers as possible. Ok some of you may say it's pointless BUT we have to try!
Of course we do. If only to highlight how these things are designed to screw us and to let them know that we are noticing. As usual, please do copy me in on your replies, they are always very heartening to read.

Thursday 15 January 2015

Today's Labour Health Recipe: Reheated Snobbery In Envy Sauce

Today's Labour "New Approach to Public Health" must be the most disingenuous and spin-fuelled document I think I've ever read, and that's saying something.

It reads like it was written in Islington by a bien pensant yogic chakra-chasing millionnaire surveying life outside their window with disdain and revulsion at how the unwashed choose to enjoy themselves. This, apparently, is what the modern Labour party thinks will chime with working class people currently deserting them en masse for something more honest. Elitist snobbery with lashings of lefty anti-business envy thrown in for good measure.

Do have a read of the document here, it's a dog's breakfast even before you factor in the spelling and grammar mistakes. But if you can't waste your time on it (and I wouldn't blame you) I'll save you the trouble by pointing out some corkers.
If the 20th century challenge was all about adding years to life, then the 21st must also be about adding life to years. 
As was much discussed on the media today, this is Labour's war on "alcohol, sugar and smoke", all of which are enjoyed by many many people. It's how a significant majority of us add life to the years we have on this planet. By deciding that these free choices are bad for us so we should be stopped from enjoying them as much as we have chosen to, Labour are simply "adding years to life", so how exactly has anything changed? Orwell would have pissed himself laughing at Labour's shifty and clumsy attempt at hiding that.
Changes to diet and lifestyle mean it is all too easy to lead a less healthy life than in times gone by, and we all risk taking on more sugar, fat and salt than is good for us 
It kinda depends on who is deciding what is good and what is not good for us, doesn't it? At the moment, we mostly decide for ourselves, but Labour want to change that. However, it's not finger-wagging, oh no.
[T]o avoid accusations of a ‘nanny state’ approach we need to set out clearly what we see as the proper limits to government action. If policy makers fail to address the ‘nanny-state’ claim, it could in the end undermine public support for making progress on public health. A negative tone, perceived as telling people what to do, can turn people off.
Would "telling people what to do" include, for example, mean demanding that they quit smoking whether they like it or not? Of course.
The ban on smoking in enclosed public places is an example of how big social change to improve health can be achieved with broad public support.
There was never broad public support for the ban we had imposed on us, in fact there was majority support for exemptions. Labour ignored them and wagged their finger anyway. Or, to be more accurate, their finger was wagged by the tax sponging quangos and fake charities which I often think must have compromising pictures of Labour politicians dogging or something, so obsequious are they to public health extremism.
It has been left it (sic) to Labour, from the Opposition benches, to lead the public health debate with the move to ban smoking in cars with children and proxy purchasing of cigarettes.
Debate? What debate? Public consultations are a sham and no legislation on smoking which we currently suffer was included in manifestos before we could vote on it. Which brings me on to plain packaging, because Burnham and Berger are ignoring the debate on that too.
In the face of prevarication from the Government, it was left to Labour, from the Opposition benches, to push forward the legislation to enable the introduction of standardised packaging of cigarettes
Or, to put it another way, it was left to Labour to ignore the largest public consultation response the UK has ever seen ... which roundly rejected plain packaging. Not to mention their adherence to public health extremists who perverted the whole debate by using taxpayers money to rig evidence, employ corrupt practices and lie.

This, I suppose, is what Labour would call good information.
We will empower people with better information and support to make their own choices, rather than the finger-wagging ‘don’t do this, don’t do that’ approach that can make people switch off.
No sign of that with Labour. Choice and education have long since left the building in favour of bullying legislation. By Christ! Labour are even universally opposed to e-cigs - a perfect example of how people can and are making "their own choices" - as was proved with the EU Tobacco Products Directive where every attempt at engagement was ignored and destroyed by Labour MEPs. The left-wing public health extremists who advised Labour then and undoubtedly did so for this document are still doing the same thing now by destroying "better information" and saying "don't do this, don't do that".

Towards the end of the document, they give a nod to e-cigs. Now, how do you think this is going to turn out, be honest.
We will continue to monitor the emerging evidence on the appropriate use of devices such as e-cigarettes in smoking cessation and take action if required.
The party which is advised by far left activists posing as 'public health' professionals are promising to monitor evidence? They don't know the meaning of the word. Their evidence will come from the same people who are promoting misinformation in order to keep their snouts in a lucrative tax-funded trough. The "action" will be to ban e-cigs, thereby removing the chance for vapers to "make their own choices".

The rest is much the same ... but often even more sinister.
The Government has an obligation to protect children from poor choices that may be harmful to their long-term health.
No, Labour, you're confusing the word "government" with "parents". Parents have an obligation to protect their children, not some Tim-nice-but-dim with a PPE degree who has never met them.
Whilst we are clear that the Government has a responsibility to protect and safeguard children and has an important role to play in tackling health inequalities, we are not in the business of telling people how to live their lives. 
Yes you are, that's exactly the business you are in. Who decided that alcohol, tobacco and sugar needed controlling? Not the public, because the public freely choose to buy these products.
It is not something done to people by experts.
No, it really is.

Instead, we want government to be on people’s side
Then fuck off and leave us alone.

If people want this nannying crap, they are quite capable of tackling the businesses themselves. The 21st century population has more access to businesses producing their food and drink than any in history.

Facebook groups, Twitter, e-mail, you name it, it's there. Unlike politicians who try to imprison critics, or 'public health' liggers who block us, consumer-facing industries welcome the feedback. The products which are on the shelves are not some evil conspiracy to make us all fat, they are there because industry spends billions finding out what people want to buy - they wouldn't be able to sell the stuff otherwise. The fact that these products are on the shelves is proof positive that the public want them, or else they wouldn't buy them.

But this is where the Islington yogic chakra-seeker comes in, you see. Just because the public has moulded what they are sold is not good enough. It is what highly-paid idealists consider acceptable for the plebs which is important, and that is the message Labour will be taking to working people in May.


Badly advised as they are, ball-gagged Labour gimps still feel that they have to give something back to the wealthy public health execs who have played them like a fiddle. Hence these disturbing footnotes.
We will make public health a licensing objective and we would like to include the Director of Public Health as a key consultee in the creation of a licensing statement.  
We will ensure public health is engrained (sic) throughout the licensing system so that measures promoting public health (which could range from measures such as plastic glasses and bottles to a ban on superstrength beer and cider) are included in the licensing statement.
The only possible result being to close down pubs, because 'public health' will never say there are too few. Remember that next time some Labour MP says he cares about your local. Definitely not finger-wagging, nanny state, or telling people what they can and can't do, now is it?

And straight out of the finger-waggers playbook ...
Health in All Policies 
We will adopt the internationally accepted ‘Health in All Policies’ approach – putting health concerns at the centre of our programme for government.
Yes, as demanded by the unelected WHO, the first priority of the Treasury will not be looking after money, it will be pandering to health extremists; the Department for Education will ensure children are given health propaganda before learning to add up (like prohibitionists from the discredited past); and the Department for Business will vet every profit-making entity to ensure they have policies on fatties, smokers and vapers while making sure they don't object to 'public health' demands which harm the economy.

Remember the days when Labour used to defend working class people against snobbery, disdain and bullying from a rich elite? It seems a lifetime ago now Labour themselves are the snobs, elitists and disdainful, doesn't it?

Wednesday 14 January 2015

A Classic Of The Genre

From Maryland comes this article which describes the entire pyrrhic anti-nicotine moral crusade in a nutshell.
Smoking restrictions on Ocean City's beach and boardwalk will take effect May 1, and will include electronic cigarettes.
Of course they will.

But isn't this a beach and so - I presume - outside where wisps of smoke are diluted by the multi-quadrillion litres of air between the ground and the sky? Do we still ridicule homeopaths as absurd or has something changed?
"Most areas of OC's beaches are packed," he said. "Why should anyone, especially a family with small children and infants, and especially if they had set up their beach camp first, have to endure cigar or cigarette blowing in their faces all day?"
If discomfort is the problem here, one could also ask if adults relaxing on a beach should have to endure a family with small children and infants, especially if they set up their beach 'camp' first. They can also be irritating to some people albeit - just like smoke in wide open spaces - completely harmless. Perhaps there should be a law about prepubescent human livestock too. Just sayin'.
Every night in the summer, public works crews man giant machines that sift discarded cigarette butts from the beach sand and Boardwalk planks.
Oh I see, there is no study in the world to say that passive smoking outdoors is dangerous, so it's now a litter problem is it?
If you smoke e-cigarettes, you're not exempt.
Huh? But, but there's no litter whatsoever with an e-cig.
Council members all agreed, unofficially, that the ban would encompass vaping. According to Recor, extensive research shows that electronic smoking devices could prove harmful when it comes to secondhand smoke exposure.
So now it's about passive 'smoke' again, despite this guy just making up bullshit as there is no study worldwide which has shown any credible threat of harm from e-cigs indoors (nor will there ever be), let alone on a beach. In the open. By the sea. With a coastal breeze. Under an unimaginably huge amount of constantly shifting air.

"Ban it now! We'll think up some flimsy justification later", seems to be the call from the {cough} sage thinkers in this tourist town. Is it a prerequisite for local politicians to be utterly ridiculous or does it just aid the career path?

Apparently drinking alcohol is banned on this beach too, I bet it's a blast of a holiday destination.

Monday 12 January 2015

"We Will Get Away With That"

In case you didn't see it, a comment under yesterday's article about the Scottish Tobacco Control Consultation yielded some astonishing information.
In April 2014 I attended an ASH Scotland conference on the subject in Glasgow. The chair was Donald Henderson - Head of Public Health Policy in the Scottish Government. I've just dug out the notes I made at the time to avoid the risk of misquoting him, and this is what he had to say about smokers: 
"Well none of us want to stand next to one do we?"
And when asked whether Scotland should follow the Welsh and ban vaping wherever smoking is banned: 
"We would like to follow the Welsh lead but we don't have the argument of second hand smoke. The argument will be public nuisance based and we will get away with that."
As I said by way of reply, it's nice to finally get some honesty from these people.

For anyone who has done even the most cursory research into secondhand smoke studies, it's instantly recognisable as piss poor science which only confessed to a derisory relative risk after being tortured to destruction by collecting together cherry-picked studies. The figure decided by the BMA and ASH for the UK was a RR of 1.24, or a 24% relative risk of an already rare event. This was the exact same RR which we were told was to be ignored as "a low actual risk" by the BBC and others in 'public health' when applied to taking of painkillers, for example.

Add into the mix that passive smoke studies were designed to find a pre-conceived conclusion so focussed on long-term exposure indoors over a long period of time and yet still couldn't find anything more compelling than an almost insignificant 1.24 RR, and it's clear that anyone who believes this is barking. Yet here we are with politicians furrowing their brows and panicking about smoke wafting near people at bus stops, in hospital car parks, and wide open unenclosed spaces like Trafalgar Square! We are already through the looking glass and making policy based on the Mad Hatter's rantings.

But Henderson has neatly let slip - as others are increasingly doing - the real motivation behind all these bans worldwide. Some people just don't like smoke and smokers. And, err, that's it. After all, "none of us want to stand next to one do we?".

It's never been about health.

Fortunately, e-cigs have arrived and are proving to be a truth serum against this bullshit because people like Henderson are starting to reveal what it's really all been about. In their arrogant zeal to do the same to vaping as they have done to smoking - that is, to hide e-cigs from the precious anti-social psychos who are happy for the freedom of others to be confiscated so that the world can revolve around them - they're showing their hand. Unfortunately, in the case of e-cigs they have nothing but a pair of twos so they are reduced to grubby Doyle Lonnegan tactics - they crookedly lie, and they shamelessly cheat.

Henderson has effectively admitted that the Scottish Government - which has evidently decided months before any consultation that they want to ban e-cigs - doesn't have even the fig leaf of pretending it's about harm or health. Nope, they'll say they are a "public nuisance" and "will get away with that".

Now, if you can think of a set of people less qualified to decide what is and isn't a public nuisance than politicians, please feel free to enlighten me. And if the public ever gets wind that it's that easy to inflict bans on such flimsy premises, politicians are pretty soon going to be pumping out white papers on everything from curry house odours to the eating of Wotsits in a public place at the behest of curtain-twitching wankers everywhere.

In a week where heads of state have descended on Paris to declare themselves principled guardians of our liberties, I wonder how "we'll get away with that" stands by way of a monument to the political class and the ideals they stand for?

Sunday 11 January 2015

Too Early?

This time last Sunday I highlighted how the The Association of Directors of Public Health (@ADPHUK) had fly-tipped a van load of drivel on the Scottish Government's tobacco control consultation.

However, via Argvargen, it appears that I was reading from the altered version of the ADFUCKERS' tripe. On the 23rd December their answer to question 12 on e-cigs read ...

... whereas it now reads ...

As Argvargen notes:
So we’ve gone from “Ecigs are a gateway” to “surveillance is required to assess the possibility that ecigs may prove to be a gateway.” 
Evidence matters, eh? 
[T]he Scottish Government might do well to take anything they say on the subject of e-cigarettes and vaping in public places with a huge pinch of salt. The evidence clearly shows that they are not to be trusted.
Indeed, but this apparent error offers a glimpse as to how 'public health' advocacy works, especially when it comes to tobacco and e-cigs. Following the example of The Godber Blueprint, the plan has always been to commit to an outcome or conclusion and then construct the 'evidence' to bring said outcome or conclusion to fruition. Generally known as policy-based evidence-making, it is Advocacy 101 for every state-funded 'public health' quango and fake charity in existence.

In the case of e-cigs, it is clear that 'public health' don't like them because vaping messes up their plan. So they have decided that they'd like the public to believe that vaping is a gateway into smoking. It doesn't matter that this isn't the case - research thus far finds no basis whatsoever for the theory - because it will only be a matter of time before they create bent studies to 'prove' that it is. This won't be done with sober analysis of the facts by detached scientists, it will instead be via manipulation of data by carefully-selected career prohibitionist sociologists and aircraft mechanics reporting to a pharma-funded World Health Organisation. 'Twas ever thus.

ADFUCK's real mistake was merely to be a bit premature in declaring what they and their industry pals intend to make the public believe.

It's the political equivalent of the loss-making factory owner whose friend expresses their sorrow on hearing about the fire which burned down the business. "Shh", he replies, "that's next week!".

Friday 9 January 2015

According To The BBC The Causes Of Cancer Are Whatever Public Health “Charity” Spin Doctors Say They Are

This is a guest article by Chris Oakley, columnist at The Free Society and Liberal Vision

The BBC provided an excellent example over the festive period as to why the public should be deeply suspicious of mainstream media output on health and science. On Boxing Day it ran a story under the headline “Life choices 'behind more than four in 10 cancers'” and followed it on January 2nd with an article telling us that “Most cancer types 'just bad luck'“ .

Those two apparently contradictory headlines suggest scientific disagreement with respect to the causes of cancer but they are not necessarily conflicting and thanks in no small part to BBC spin, it is probable that many people will not fully appreciate the significance of the second article, or its implications for the credibility of public health strategy.

The Boxing Day piece appeared as headline BBC Health news but contained absolutely no news at all. It was a regurgitated press release from CRUK that referenced a 2011 literature review produced by Max Parkin, a medic turned epidemiologist who spent much of his career working for the scientifically non-league but politically premier division WHO. It was published in a journal produced by CRUK.

There is nothing technically wrong with what Parkin produced but any scientist worth the name would question the reliability of the data he used and his report’s dependence on dubious epidemiology bedevilled by both author and publication bias.

Mercifully, the BBC did not reproduce the whole nauseating press release in which CEO Harpal Kumar urges the government to introduce “standardised packaging for cigarettes without delay” and Linda Bauld tells us that she wants to make sure that “the public and the policy-makers know the evidence behind the benefits of these lifestyle changes is solid”. There is a big difference between Bauld’s stated objective and the much nobler one of actually providing solid scientific evidence, but I am sure that a public health disciple with a degree in politics will not let mere scientific credibility stand in her way.

It is hard to fathom why the allegedly quality conscious BBC chose to publish this low grade political posturing as news but Chris Snowdon may have intuited why the political wing of CRUK pushed its neo-puritan agenda just a week before the veracity of its message was to some extent challenged by a more scientifically rigorous paper published in the prestigious independent journal Science.

The paper by oncologist Bert Vogelstein and biostatistician Cristian Tomasetti demonstrates a strong correlation between the lifetime risk of developing many cancers and the number of times that healthy stem cells divide within tissues, a process that occurs routinely throughout our lives. It suggests that the majority of cancer risk can be attributed to random mutations during these routine cell divisions with environmental lifestyle and hereditary factors combined being accountable for only a third of the variation in cancer risk.

The author’s consider their findings quite important because whilst they acknowledge that primary prevention (such as vaccines and lifestyle changes) can have a significant impact on the incidence of some cancers, a better approach for the majority of cancers might be to focus on early detection and treatment. They do not seek to undermine the efforts of others but recent history has taught us that adherents to public health ideology are easily threatened by even mildly dissenting voices arguing in favour of science and reason, so it is not impossible to imagine that the CRUK press office’s evident influence at the BBC was used to limit damage and massage public opinion.

I invite readers to compare and contrast the two BBC articles that I link to above. The Boxing Day article is a shameless PR piece in which absolutely no effort is made to balance dubious CRUK claims. The January 2nd article by James Gallagher - who in my view is normally one of the BBC’s better journalists - covers Tomasetti’s Science publication reasonably well but distracts from its findings by repeatedly referencing CRUK opinion on lifestyle and cancer. A link is provided to the CRUK website, a CRUK spin doctor is quoted at length and we are unnecessarily informed that CRUK research claims that “more than four in 10 of the total number of cancers were down to lifestyle.”

The article gives the impression of having been co-written or at least clumsily influenced by either an incompetent CRUK scribe or a heavy handed BBC editor.

Early on, in a worryingly patronising, moralistic section we are incorrectly told that:
“The study shows that two thirds of cancer types are simply chance. But the remaining third are still heavily influenced by the choices we make. Too much booze, time in the sun or being overweight mean... “
But later we read that:
“The remaining third of cancer types, which are affected by lifestyle factors, viruses or a heightened family risk…”
The two statements are somewhat contradictory and further add to schizophrenic nature of an article that is ostensibly about a US research paper but which relentlessly plugs the views of UK based public health activists.

It is unsurprising that UK public are confused and ill-informed about the relationship between lifestyle and health when the dominant and supposedly independent national broadcaster appears to be incapable of reporting health news without extensive input and interference from favoured pressure groups.

I would greatly prefer a BBC that understands the full implications of what it reports, embraces investigative journalism and starts asking public health spin doctors some serious questions. Even if the unlikely claim that over 40% of cancers are lifestyle related were true, forcing everyone to adopt “healthy lifestyles” would not reduce the overall incidence of cancer by 40%. If Tomasetti is correct, social engineering might reduce the incidence of some forms of cancer but other forms would increase in relative importance because by far the greatest overall risk factor for any individual is age. Outside the alternative reality enjoyed by journalists, people who for example avoid bowel cancer through lifestyle change do not live forever and do not necessarily enjoy good health as a consequence.

It is in everyone’s interest, including the BBCs to see an end to partisan, dumbed down, slogan laden junk journalism posing as health news. It isn’t difficult to report science accurately, but it does require properly educated journalists with enquiring minds and editors who can see beyond the limited horizons of their politically correct media chums.

Thursday 8 January 2015

Painting Lipstick On A Pig

I'm still extremely busy at Puddlecote Inc and consequentially drained, but a couple of observations from catching up today.are worth short commentary.

We're into a new year, but the tobacco control industry is still desperately painting lipstick on their pig of a theory that e-cigs are dangerous.
Cancer Council policy and advocacy director Paul Grogan (snork - DP) said Queensland was leading the way in recognising the potential harm of e-cigarettes. 
Mr Grogan said precautions to protect the community's health had to be a priority. 
"There's a lot of confusion out there around electronic cigarettes," he said.
By 'confusion', he means that people are not listening to the lies he and other pretend 'public health' troughers like him retch up.
Without long term evidence on the effect of e-cigarettes on health, the Cancer Council urged people to be cautious. 
"This was a problem we didn't have a number of years ago. It's a real frustration for those of us working in public health because it wasn't even on the horizon a number of years back. 
"It's something we're just better off without."
Apparently, a product which has led to approximately 700,000 people in the UK quitting smoking is something the tobacco control industry would be "better off without". The "frustration" is that they see smokers slipping through their fingers and not suffering from the state-funded hatred they have spent years constructing. It's not about health with these guys, you know.

Grogan and his ilk don't seem very bright to me, and are destroying their credibility with every daft pronouncement they make. You see, they have spent decades repeating one lie after another about tobacco - mostly to populations which are willing to buy into it because they're not keen on the smell - and think that the same approach is going to work with e-cigs.

It won't.

Only the most anti-social and hideous 1% of the public give a toss about e-cigs ... because they can't smell them. Grogan's target audience for this kind of crap are the relative you hide behind the sofa from when they come to visit you unannounced; the people you cross the road to avoid; the nutters on the bus; and the criminally insane. It's a vanishingly small and roundly disliked minority.

Meanwhile in Texas, the 'public health' cult has even become so desperate as to produce what are effectively slick adverts for tobacco products. You shouldn't try e-cigs because the FDA haven't regulated them ... unlike cigarettes, of course.

We know these people have always been the marketing department of the pharmaceutical industry's NRT sector, but their ridiculous and irrational behaviour is now starting to make me wonder if they're taking cash in brown bags from big tobacco too!

Good grief.

Tuesday 6 January 2015

Death As A PR Opportunity

Yesterday I wrote about a tobacco control industry lie - created by false accounting - finally being comprehensively nailed five years later.

On the same day, serial maths failure Simon Chapman was employing his own creative means to defend himself against accusations of dancing on Joe Cocker's grave. You see, on the day of Cocker's death, the Aussie career obsessive had posted a respectful tweet celebrating the singer's extraordinary talent in life a tweet that may as well have said "the filthy smoker got what he deserved" - it wasn't very well received.

You can tell when Chapman is miffed at being caught out because he tends to fire off blustering articles which serve to further highlight his embarrassment. Just as he did in this case.
Dying at 70, [Joe] Cocker effectively lost one day in eight off the life expectancy the average Englishman has today (80 years).
The link takes you to a database listing life expectancy ... at birth.

Except Joe Cocker wasn't born today, he was born in 1940. At that time, life expectancy for males at birth was 60, there's a reason why the state pitched pensionable age back then as 65 you know.
We will of course all die. But the sad part of Joe Cocker’s death is how early it occurred. Like Cocker, the 50% of long-term smokers who die from tobacco-caused disease lose an average of ten years of life.
Whereas Cocker outlived his average birth cohort by ten years. Now, wouldn't saying that he gained an extra ten years by quitting smoking 23 years ago be a much more positive message for Chapman to promote than pissing on the guy's memory using manipulated stats? Isn't this guy meant to be in the smoking cessation business? On this showing, he seems to be saying you're dead if you smoke anyway, so you may as well carry on.

But then, I reckon Frank Davis described this attitude very well the other day.
[D]espite supposedly being designed to improve “public health” and “help” smokers, all antismoking measures invariably attack smokers. Smoking bans, for example, “exile smokers to the outdoors” (Deborah Arnott), and exclude them from ordinary social interaction. At the same time punitive taxation robs smokers. And hiding tobacco products from public display obstructs smokers. And so-called “plain packaging” is really just a way of sending hate messages to smokers, by printing them on cigarettes packets. For while the actual message might be “smoking causes lung cancer”, the true message is: “We hope that smoking causes you lung cancer.”
Because death by lung cancer is seen as a perfect marketing tool for tobacco controllers, they just can't help themselves. What's more, Cocker was not only someone who achieved global adulation, success and riches while being that most disgusting of people to Chappers, a smoker, but also a stratospherically  more talented musician than wannabe rocker Chapman could ever be even in his dreams (see here for an example if you're not squeamish).  The temptation to get a jibe in on the day Cocker died was therefore just too irresistible and no amount of damage limitation wriggling can hide that.
Confused calls for a cone of “respectful” silence about smoking’s role in cancer and other tobacco-caused disease and for euphemisms about deaths following “a long illness” are forged by the same mentality that thinks tobacco packs should not have graphic health warnings because they might remind people too well about what smoking can do.
No, Chapman, they're forged by something called dignity, manners and human decency. Just more proof that we're on the side of the angels here. .

Monday 5 January 2015

Time Confirms Yet Another Tobacco Control Lie

As anyone who has observed their shameless shenanigans over a period of time will have noticed, the tobacco control industry works by creating a melee of inaccurate and mendacious information to place in front of politicians, in the hope that when the truth eventually materialises no-one will notice.

They have done this with smoking ban 'evidence', heart attack 'miracles', and are currently following the same methodology in trying to bully Westminster into adopting pointless plain packaging.

Back in 2009 they were doing exactly that with the tobacco display ban, when the London Evening Standard published this.
The vote is due next Wednesday, and retailers are extremely upset. They say the move will damage their businesses — especially as it could cost £1500 to install a special gantry to store the products. 
The Ministry of Health asked anti-smoking organisation ASH (which is hardly a disinterested party) to check on the cost, and it claimed the figure for the gantries was just £120. This figure was sent by health minister Lord Darzi to every member of the House of Lords. 
When the supplier, 4 Solutions of Canada, heard about this, it pointed out the individual cost would be approximately £450 — and this did not include any of the installation costs, which would be around £1000. They also pointed out that the costs of the gantries for all the outlets in Britain could be over £30 million. 
Neither ASH nor the Ministry of Health has corrected the information they have given to the members of the House of Lords in advance of the vote.
I wrote about it at the time here, and Snowdon wrote up the whole farce in detail. It was also questioned in the House of Lords but the lie was allowed to stand.

Time has moved on and in April all corner shops will have to cover up their displays. A perfect time, then, to look at what small retailers are now - in real life and not ASH's fairy story - getting ready to shell out.
There are a number of solutions available, which will enable you to comply with the legal requirements relatively inexpensively. These include self-installed plastic ‘curtains’ which, for a small gantry, can cost as little as £50 plus delivery, or retrofitted sliding doors costing about £350 plus delivery – however, these require professional installation, which will add another £200 approximately to the cost. 
Both of these options will enable you to fully comply with the law and you may decide that is all you want to do. However, the gantry area is probably the most valuable selling space in your shop and simply covering it up will kill it stone dead as a selling space.
So, unless you're talking about a very basic self-installed plastic sheet, which will adversely affect the business in the long run, the cost is already nearly five times what ASH claimed.

However, Lord Darzi - delivering the happy news to Westminster on behalf of ASH and the tobacco control industry - cannot possibly have been talking about those.
"Removing displays need not be costly—in Canada, even professional covers cost as little as £120 for an area measuring 1 metre by 1.3 metres"
And professional is the operative word. Because professional covers will, indeed, cost the £1,500 which retailers - quite truthfully - said they would when politicians ignored them in favour of state-funded lobbyists.

Fancy that!