Thursday 29 October 2015

Outdoor Intolerance

Yesterday, Chris Snowdon highlighted this despicable piece of shit in Australia.

As I said myself in the morning - and have done for many years here - this is what the tobacco control industry has contributed to the world; a massaging of the prejudices of the most hideous and anti-social in society. The legitimisation of hatred and the encouragement of intolerance and bigotry.

So I can concur with Snowdon when he says that it should simply not be tolerated.
This lunacy needs to be nipped in the bud before it takes over Britain. Last week, the Manifesto Club launched a report in association with FOREST to catalogue the spread of outdoor smoking bans - and their extraordinary cost to the taxpayer - in the UK. It's written by Dolan Cummings and is called Smoked Out. It is well worth reading.
Agree entirely, so do click here if you haven't already had a gander at it.
Sharing a public space requires tolerance, a quality that is absent in the soul of the health fascist. These bigots have taken every indoor public place in Britain. We should not concede an inch of ground to them outdoors. Let's not see any more scenes like the one in the video above.
All of which reminded me of a little piece of London which is a mirror of Martin Place in Australia where that disgusting bully was endorsed by state fascists to spew his bile in public, except for one small detail. Here is a picture I took in Canary Wharf a little while ago.

Now, I'm all for private companies coming up with policies and applying them, but this is just that ... a policy. It is not a law that you cannot smoke outdoors in Canary Wharf, and it should be - in my opinion - an offence to say that it is. There is no enforcement power behind Canary Wharf's ban, nor should there be for the same reason that the mediaevel idea of private armies was barred 500 years ago.

By the way, if you've ever been to Canary Wharf, I challenge you to find any child at all, let alone one who might be lured into tobacco use by seeing smokers in the outdoors. If one were around they'd be more likely to be traumatised or seduced by the heroic levels of drinking on display ... which Canary Wharf seems to be perfectly comfortable with.

Let's just hope Alcohol Concern and their fellow liars don't come knocking on Canary Wharf management's door someday, eh?

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Won't Tobacco Control Please Think Of The Children!

Regular readers will know that for years on these pages I've maintained that e-cigs have the potential to show up the tobacco control industry as the self-absorbed, trouser-stuffing, socially-destructive, health-be-damned, institutionally mendacious collection of snake oil salesmen that they have always been. However, even I'm suprised at how rapidly the the real life proof of that is stacking up now.

In just the past week we've seen how they can't be arsed with actually finding any evidence for banning vaping, nor do they like it when the truth about e-cig use is at odds with what their wet dreams hoped it would be.

Now, though, we can see that this astonishingly luddite approach is delivering the opposite of what professional anti-smokers claim to aspire to ... not that I should imagine they give a shit (emphases mine).
This paper examines the causal impact of e-cigarette access on conventional cigarette use by adolescents. Regression analyses consider how state bans on e-cigarette sales to minors influence smoking rates among 12 to 17 year olds. Such bans yield a statistically significant 0.9 percentage point increase in recent smoking in this age group, relative to states without such bans. Results are robust to multiple specifications as well as several falsification and placebo checks. This effect is both consistent with e-cigarette access reducing smoking among minors, and large: banning electronic cigarette sales to minors counteracts 70 percent of the downward pre-trend in teen cigarette smoking in the states that implemented such bans.
Yes, that's right. The ridiculous stance of blinkered, reactionary, screw-health-let's-just-bash-tobacco-companies 'public health' rent-seekers towards e-cigs in the US is actually leading to more kids smoking than would otherwise be the case (see also, plain packs in Australia).

Quite ironic, isn't it, that a profession which bleats about harm to children from tobacco products at every opportunity is fully committed to a policy which actively results in more children smoking than if they just shut their traps. "Experts", eh?

And before anyone says that this is a world away across the Atlantic, Dick, so why should we care? Well, it's precisely the policy that has been adopted in England and Wales with The Nicotine Inhaling Products (Age of Sale and Proxy Purchasing) Regulations 2015.

One day politicians and tobacco controllers might actually look at the evidence before jerking their knee and passing damaging regulations which contradict the "first do no harm" mantra of the health profession. Today is not that day though, and the case study of e-cigs proves that some glorious enlightenment when dogma and an entrenched jobsworth mentality is abandoned by 'public health' in favour of actually doing something good for the public's health is further away then ever.

Still, who cares? What are a few thousand more smoking kids between politicians and their elite, evidence-phobic, grant-gobbling buddies in the tobacco control industry as long as they all still get paid, eh?

Sunday 25 October 2015

Truth Can Be So Inconvenient, Can't It?

Following on from Thursday's article here about how 'public health' isn't at all interested in proving actual harm from e-cigs, instead merely spreading innuendo and scare stories in order to encourage clueless politicians to install bans ...
So, it would appear that 'public health' has set its sights on convincing governments to ban e-cig use in public not by proving harm actually exists, but by "continued monitoring of public perception" to "guide clean air policy decisions" in favour of prohibition.
... it's worth highlighting this from the mad mechanic's blog too (emphases mine).
Recently I received the following email from a colleague working for a state health department:
Throughout the last six months my colleges and I have been hearing professionals refer to e-cigarettes as harm reduction. A  few months ago I was attending a Youth Engagement Alliance webinar where Dr. Terry Pechacek was presenting. During his presentation made it sound like e-cigarettes are harm reduction and mentioned moving all current cigarette smokers to exclusive use of e-cigarettes. Then a few weeks ago after meeting with an individual who works at our state health department he stated that he had heard something similar at a conference he attended a few weeks ago by Dr. Brian King. Now we are seeing more and more information come out to the public referring to e-cigarettes as less harmful than cigarettes. How should public health advocates respond to statements like this from well-known individuals when a large amount of our work has been focused on educating on the harms of e-cigarettes?
Erm, what harms? There have, as yet, been no proven harms from e-cigs at all and we are well past the first full decade of their use by millions of people worldwide.

Just think about that for a minute. A "colleague working for a state health department" seems to be complaining that evidence of harm reduction benefits from e-cigs - which are incontrovertible in every area so far studied - are a bit inconvenient because, erm, his job. In fact, he is specifically complaining that there are those who believe e-cigs to be "less harmful than cigarettes" as if it is some form of heresy instead of the undeniable truth! Indeed, the matter of fact way that both he and Glantz seem happy to openly and deliberately mislead the public for their own personal financial gain is quite astounding.

Now, just a thought here, shouldn't this guy (and Glantz) be taking account of emerging evidence and changing his ignorant 'education' to something more rooted in reality? Instead of moaning about it and insisting that everyone just shut up about the truth because he wants to carry on promoting utter rubbish to the public?

What's the equivalent of a P45 in the US? Because this dull-headed shitsack should be handed one and thrown out on the kerb by security with the contents of his desk slamming into his head swiftly after.

Thursday 22 October 2015

The Inconvenience Of Proving Harm

It seems 'public health' prohibitionists are a bit miffed that the public is largely uninterested in banning e-cigs in public, so they're doing something about it.

Not by proving beyond doubt that "passive vaping" might be a danger via sound and objective science, of course, because they seem to understand that it would be quite impossible to do that. So instead, they've cranked up the junk science lie machine.
There is ongoing debate over banning electronic cigarette use (vaping) in public places. Many people perceive secondhand e-cigarette vapors (SHV) to be relatively harmless, which may affect their support for policies to restrict vaping in public places.
Well, secondhand vapour is harmless, there are no two ways about it. And, since it's harmless, only a hideous, totalitarian, anti-social crackpot could possibly support a ban on e-cig use in public. End of story, nothing to see here, flogging a dead horse, let's go spend taxpayers' money on something which actually matters, says cash-strapped, David to industry's Goliath, shoestring budget 'public health', obviously.

Or maybe not.
Given that awareness of secondhand cigarette smoke risks predicts public support for clean air policies, we hypothesized that greater perceived harm of SHV to personal health would be associated with stronger support for vaping restrictions.
Not actual harm, you notice, merely perceived harm. As in, what brickie Joe and Tesco cashier Jane might believe, even if it is wildly wrong. It doesn't seem to matter to the study's author if any harm actually exists, they're just interested in the support for banning stuff.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that continued monitoring of public perception of SHV harm and the accuracy of e-cigarette marketing claims about reduced harm would be needed to guide clean air policy decisions.
Again, a "clean air policy decision" should surely be solely down to whether there is "clean air" or not. What the public thinks as they natter in the fish and chip queue shouldn't come into it, should it? Well, not for a proper scientist, no, but junk scientists like this one are a different beast.

And we've seen exactly this approach before from a tobacco control fraudster called Jonathan Winickoff. In 2009 he ran exactly this kind of survey to find out if the public believed there was such a thing as thirdhand smoke. The public being terrified by tobacco control for years, and having been softened up by a prior leading question, thought that yes, there might be something in it. As NHS Choices noted at the time:
The degree of danger caused by “third-hand smoke” was not assessed in this study.
Not that it stopped the Telegraph from spreading the falsehood anyway.
Parents who limit their smoking to the garden could still be harming their children because of the dangers of 'third-hand smoke', doctors have warned.
Winickoff was very pleased with this, of course.
"When you come into contact with your baby, even if you're not smoking at the time, she comes in contact with those toxins. And if you breastfeed, the toxins will transfer to your baby in your breastmilk." 
"Everyone knows that second-hand smoke is bad, but they don't know about this," he added.
That's because the danger quite simply doesn't exist, and he knew that. You see, with tobacco control industry extremists it's all about getting a headline printed, and nothing whatsoever to do with health.

So, it would appear that 'public health' has set its sights on convincing governments to ban e-cig use in public not by proving harm actually exists, but by "continued monitoring of public perception" to "guide clean air policy decisions" in favour of prohibition. All that's needed is more baseless scaremongery and more promotion of terrified ignorance amongst the public and they can start demanding that politicians ban e-cigs everywhere because x% of the public believe something that isn't true.

It's far too inconvenient to actually prove harm exists, because it doesn't and never will, so they just bypass it. It's never been about health, you know.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, these people deserve to be in jail.

Monday 19 October 2015

Hope And Terror At #Battleofideas

As mentioned on Thursday, I took myself away from Puddlecoteville on Saturday to enjoy a small taste of the Battle of Ideas at the Barbican.

Unlike previous years, the sessions I was interested in tended to take place in the same auditorium of the many at the venue due to their being compartmentalised into blocks addressing differing liberty issues. All but one of those I attended were under the umbrella term of "Everyday Liberties", which could equally be described as "Everyday Restriction of Liberties" such is the way life is currently ordered by those who shouldn't be allowed to run a whelk stall let alone be given the power to yank our chains on a daily basis.

As such, I never ventured from the 4th floor with all but one 'battle' being in the same place. Very convenient. First up was a session entitled "Planet of the Vapes: Why is there a war on e-cigarettes?" in the Frobisher Auditorium 2, a wonderful room with banked seating which was great for the audience, but with almost radioactive spotlighting blinding panellists and making for some pretty shocking iPhone pics.

This is the best I managed all day
Now, this time last year I'd spent a lot of time at the BoI bending people's ears about why they should schedule a debate on e-cigs for 2015 and why Lorien Jollye of the NNA would be a good person to place on the stage, so I was thrilled that she was invited to speak a few months ago. I like to think I had something to do with the choice but - considering my badgering received what I can, with rose-tinted specs, best describe as a lukewarm response - it's more likely down to the fact that a couple of the event's organisers had taken up vaping in the intervening period. Oh well.

Anyway, I still got there early and up front to see Lorien in action. Like Robert De Niro being proud of Joe Pesci becoming a 'made man' in Goodfellas because De Niro's character couldn't, if I wasn't on the panel I was going to enjoy her contribution by proxy. I met her beforehand to see what she had planned to say but didn't mention that bit seeing as, in the film, Joe Pesci was whacked with a bullet from behind when he turned up. Didn't think it would calm her weapons grade attack of nerves somehow.

Panto baddie in this session was Duncan Stephenson of the Royal Society for Public Health, a man who announced himself as "representing the nanny state" and thus confidently proceeded to tell the audience that smoking costs the country "far more" than it brings in (which is woefully incorrect), that "there is nothing enjoyable about nicotine" (again incorrect) and that removing nicotine from cigarettes is the very best idea in the history of tobacco control (because smokers won't smoke more, really they won't).

"I am representing the nanny state"
Considering his society recently advocated banning smoking in pub gardens it shouldn't be a surprise that he came across as such a comedy totalitarian but he wasn't the worst of the day, more of that later.

Others on the panel expressed more liberal ideas and roundly rejected the attack on vapers by 'public health' ...

.. including former BMJ editor Richard Smith.

Then came Lorien. Speaking without notes and - as she admitted beforehand, not much of an idea of what she was going to say - she came out with this which I filmed on my shonky iPhone.

It was quite refreshing that she received the only round of applause of any speaker and that the first two Q&A questioners then queried why the state presumes it has the right to decide what we can put in our lungs anyway. As you can imagine, I would tend to agree.

If you're only interested in vaping/smoking issues you can probably leave this article here because that's all there is. However, dear reader, I hope you're tempted to dally further because there was a lot more to the day.

Following lunch it was back to the same auditorium to watch almost incandescently lighted panellists debate "Statute overload: are there too many laws?".

This is where the truly terrifying person of the day rocked up. After hearing from a consumer lawyer and a barrister about how concerned they were about Orwellian laws on such diverse subjects as psychoactive substances, Scottish 'named person' legislation to monitor kids whether parents consent or not, and rules which can incarcerate homeless people for, erm, not having anywhere to live, some incredibly arrogant piece of work stood up to proudly declare the public too stupid to have agency over their own lives.

We, the public, are too stupid to self-regulate and so require politicians to draw up a suite of laws to dictate how we behave, apparently. All because many people do not possess the "correct moral compass". How she decided that her own idea of morals and a compass to guide them are the "correct" ones she didn't say, but I expect it'll be down to personal preference. The terrifying part is that this person was not some wrinkled old curtain-twitcher with a jaded downer on the world, but a young early twentysomething who will no doubt shamelessly eye a career in bossing us all around on the public payroll for our own good someday. What's more, she didn't say this once, but twice, as if we hadn't got the message about how shite we all are at conforming to her ideal worldview the first time. Oh yeah, and that it's all very democratic because politicians and the regulatory state always, but always, listen to the public. Course they do.

Barrister Matthew Scott politely pointed out that there was a big fanfare over repealing bad laws a while ago which achieved about the square root of fuck all once votes had been harvested and politicians lost interest, but I don't think the session's smug authoritarian - who, tellingly, addressed the audience rather than the panel, superior being that she is - was that bothered by silly things like others enjoying a different kind of life than her. What was most terrifying is that - with her interest in political events like the BoI - this is someone who could one day be in charge while we are in our dotage, by Christ I hope she's a rare outlier and not a representative example of youth or else we're all screwed.

Having taken some mind bleach after that sullying of my view of humanity and the prospects for our future, I then got to see one of my all-time heroes speaking just down the corridor. Lenore Skenazy - the World's Worst Mom according to many a talk show host in the US - spent 20 minutes reducing the next audience to fits of laughter at the paedohysteria surrounding simple things like, erm, allowing kids to be kids.

Lenore Skenazy
Addressing the question "Free-range parenting: reckless or responsible?", she delivered a tour de force which prompted a fellow panel member to declare that her Free Range Kids campaign is merely a sideshow to her stand up routine. All sessions at the BoI are filmed so I would heartily recommend you watch out for her performance when it is available, you won't be disappointed and will laugh while being simultaneously dismayed.

After being regaled by Lenore on subjects such as magazine articles 'teaching' us how to hug our kids, protective kneepads for babies, and the impracticalities of abducting a child while in the queue at Costco - all delivered with a healthy dose of humour - the session was thrown out to an eager audience and predictably then overran.

A couple of those present astutely wondered why the NSPCC representative on the panel should be so supportive of free-range parenting considering they spread scaremongering, make exaggerated claims about child abuse and promote the fear of "stranger danger", but they were eclipsed by a teacher who had brought a class along to the BoI for educational purposes. All she had to do was simply read out the risk assessment required by the school before they were permitted to sit in the Barbican and listen to a debate, it was as hilarious as it was frightening that bureaucracies have driven us to such an absurd position where mild risks are amplified vastly in excess of the likelihood of their actually occurring.

It was a sobering end to the session which illustrated precisely why parents get so very scared and why free-range parenting is not at all reckless, indeed it is desperately needed to change current risk-terrified attitudes and allow children to live some semblance of an interesting life.

Last session of the day was back in the floodlit auditorium for "The end of Boozy Britain?". The question mark was hardly required because, as panellist Snowdon notes today in his brief rundown.
There was a good deal of consensus that it had - it is hard to argue with the statistics
Quite. Considering there has been nothing but continual decline in consumption for over a decade now for adults and also youths, anyone who claims otherwise is either misinformed or - in the case of state-funded anti-alcohol organisations - just desperate to protect their income stream.

Snowdon was also struck by the same admirable admission as I was from former chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, Claire Gerada, confirming what the sane amongst us already knew.
I was interested to hear from Clare Gerada (head of the Royal Society of General Practitioners) that she thinks that the current drinking guidelines are based on no evidence and that the advice that pregnant women should drink no alcohol is also based on no evidence. This is undoubtedly true, but it was good to see her say so in public.
Indeed, and it's important to note exactly how that scepticism was described.

Panic about alcohol does seem to be exactly that. A baseless panic. If, as former DoH official Sian Jarvis predicts as she did during this last session, that these ridiculous limits are lowered still further, it can only serve to further show how absurd the government's position is on alcohol. A point at which even the spandex-wearing office health bore will surely start to question their confirmation bias.

I'd also highlight a contribution by another panellist, writer and teacher Neil Davenport, who argued that the binge-drinking Britain meme is arguably the fault of politicians and policy, rather than a change in the nature of our young people. Clare Gerada agreed that youngsters had been harshly judged by the media, but Davenport pointed out that if you'd rather not see images of kids sprawled on the streets of Faliraki, perhaps it's not wise to promote a culture of "pre-loading" by imposing eye-watering taxation, stringent licensing requirements, costly CCTV and overarching security measures, all of which cost money and make the pre-evening vodka almost the only way youths can enjoy a cost-effective buzz on a night out.

Call me old skool but I remember - before the ridiculous alcohol duty escalator and all other panic measures - when we just used to go to the pub for that.

This facet was lost on the student - yes, another scary youngster - who stood up to complain that "I can get a bottle of vodka from Tesco for £5.99" and that the government should do something about it. No, I reckon they've done enough already thanks.

After talking about booze, it was only fitting that we then decamped to the BoI drinks party after, suitably thirsty. But, yet again, the state poked its ugly nose in. Well, attempted to anyway.

These things are sent to try us, I suppose. But all in all it was another fascinating event from the Institute of Ideas, delivering a lot of hope but inevitably attracting a glimpse of hideous authoritarian terror too.

But then, I think that's the idea.

Saturday 17 October 2015

Forgive Us Our Trespasses #LeaveUsAlone

Conservatives for Liberty - a collection of free-minded souls who describe themselves as "an independent libertarian, free market and socially liberal campaign group" - are holding an event next month which I think many who read here will be very interested in.

Here is the pitch from back in August.
I’m delighted to say that, in response to the growing attempts to tell people what they can and cannot smoke, vape, drink and eat, that Conservatives for Liberty will be holding a lobby evening of parliament called Forgive us our Trespasses: The moral case for choice and responsibility. It takes place on Wednesday, November 25, from 6.30pm 6:15pm to 8.30pm, and for those who attend, you will have the chance to hear from seven MPs and peers, outlining their belief in individual choice.  
The lobby will firmly defend the principle of freedom of choice which, as a Conservative who believes very strongly in liberty, I believe leads to the greatest prosperity for all. The lobby will defend freedom of choice by arguing that adults should be free to weigh pleasure and risk and decide for themselves when it comes to products such as cigarettes, e-cigarettes, alcohol, and fatty or sugary foods.
Looks right up our street, does it not?

I tweeted this at the time and have been eager to find out more. A Facebook group has since been set up which alters the start time but reinforces the original message and gives further details.
If you want to attend, you will need to RSVP by emailing This event will be held in parliament, and the details of the Committee Room will be sent to people who sign up. We have a limited capacity, so you are encouraged to RSVP soon.  
In the spirit of freedom of choice, and in true Conservatives for Liberty style, there will be drinks after the event in a nearby pub.
What's not to like?

Yes, in there!
I shall be there, of course, and hope many of you will be too. An evening - in the belly of Westminster itself - hearing MPs and peers actually talking about lifestyle freedoms and why they should be defended is surely not to be missed.

I'd advise getting in quick though, because Committee Rooms ain't that big. If it isn't quite your bag but you can make it to London a bit later, come along after anyway and we'll share a sherbert or two. See you there.

Link Tank 17/10

Off to #battleofideas, enjoy.

A short history of libertarianism (or how free will lost its way)

How to write an inept anti-sugar article

Ecigs and the tobacco industry: an investor's view (pic)

Former teacher tours US telling truth, health advocates go batty

The unintended consequences of the plastic bag charge

A petrified parent learns "The Art of Letting Go"

Devon police not interested in car smoking ban

"For sex workers, there's no guarantee the future will be better than the past"

Brewdog launches the strongest canned ale in the world

Watching porn in your lunch break OK in Italy, smoking cannabis not

Caffeinated honeybees

Friday 16 October 2015

Going Out To Smoked Out

The events keep coming, and here is one scheduled for Wednesday next week. I don't need to write much on it because the invite explains it all below (click to enlarge if required).

Simon Clark's blog has further details, and I understand more speakers may be added. So if you've got that evening free, get your RSVP in quick and I hope to see you there.

Thursday 15 October 2015

Something For The Weekend

Here's another event to consider.

If you are at a loose end this weekend, you could do worse than to come along to the Battle of Ideas at The Barbican which takes place this Saturday and Sunday. The BoI is an annual festival of free thinking and debate which has now entrenched itself as a must-visit for anyone with an interest in such things.

If you're unfamiliar with the event, it's where around 2,500 people converge on the Barbican to hear discussion on an array of subjects by speakers from all over the world. I've written about the good, the average and the panto baddies in previous years (see here and here, for example, and I can also highly recommend my good friend Tom's blog from 2012 here), so I will be trotting up there again on Saturday (at least) this time around.

There is a lot to be interested in, such as slots discussing questions like Statute overload: are there too many laws? and Free-range parenting: reckless or responsible?, as well as Snowdon debating 'Boozy Britain' with public health types.

Oh yeah, and there's also a session entitled Planet of the Vapes: why is there a war on e-cigarettes? at midday on Saturday featuring some bird called Lorien from Cornwall (who I've written about before). That might attract some interest too, you never know.

That is just a small selection of the large array of subjects being covered so, if you've got nothing planned this weekend, get yourself a ticket while they're still available and I'll hopefully see you there. And for beer after, of course.

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Roll Up, Roll Up ...

There are a few interesting London live events coming up for those who like that sort of thing. The first I'll highlight is this debate at the Denmark Hill Campus of King's College London on Wednesday 11th November.
This house believes that smoking should be banned in psychiatric hospitals
Professor Sir Simon Wessely, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists
Ms Deborah Arnott, CEO of ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) 
Mr Christopher Snowdon, author and freelance journalist
@Sectioned_, service user and (micro)blogger
Yes, this is your chance to come and watch ASH's Deborah 'not anti-smoker' Arnott speak in favour of torturing mental health patients! It'll be a revolting sight but surely unmissable.

Full details are at the King's College website here. Space is limited so if you want to come along, book your ticket early at this link.

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Aussie Tobacco Control Worse Than North Korea

Swivel-eyed anti-tobacco extremist Simple Simon has been dismissing the notion that eye-watering sin taxes might have societal negative consequences.

The debate is occurring because Australia last month slapped a third 12.5% tax increase (applied every three months) on tobacco, pushing the cost of a pack of 30 to AU$32, around £16.

It's quite clear that at that level of cost, it is the less well off who will be most likely to be priced out of smoking. Unless, that is, they make savings elsewhere on their household budgets. It's a problem Simple Simon doesn't care much about.

Alleviating financial pressure on the poor is apparently "a perverse way to be helpful" according to Chappers, because his - and his tobacco control chums' - only definition of "help" is to bully people into stopping doing things they personally disapprove of. If that means people are forced to stop smoking because they can't afford it - even if they love tobacco and would never choose to - it can only be a good thing for tobacco controllers like Mr Chapman.

John Stuart Mill had something to say about this 150 years ago in his treatise On Liberty:
“Every increase of cost is a prohibition, to those whose means do not come up to the augmented price.”
By this he means that every marginal increase in sin taxes ensures that someone, somewhere, is forced to quit because they can't afford it anymore, which is de facto prohibition. This is self-evident and entirely the point of Australia's huge tobacco tax hikes; they want smokers to be unable to afford to smoke and therefore be prohibited by price.

Chappers obviously doesn't accept that he and his profession are promoting more totalitarian policies than those of North Korea, so let's consider a scenario.

Imagine a smoker chooses not to quit fags and cuts back on food instead to such an extent that he and his family risk immediate health problems, even death. Would Chapman say "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population"? Well of course not, he is a philanthropist, nothing could be further from his mind. Could it?

But that is effectively what Australia's tobacco control policy - guided by Mr Chapman and his equally hideous colleagues - is designed to do. It is a direct attack on individual choice. Of course, Chappers would argue that smokers do indeed have a choice, they can choose to quit, or die (Kim Jong-Un would be proud). However, since no-one would choose to die, the only option is to be forced to quit. He can play with words as much as he likes, but Australia's tobacco control policy is a system of enforced prohibition, with the poorest going first.

As Chapman himself says, even North Korea is not that evil, which makes him and his ilk worse. Hey, don't blame me for pointing this out, Simon said it himself!

Monday 12 October 2015

Remote Control Begging

Yesterday saw the rare occurrence of those weekday nine-to-fivers finding something urgent to tweet about on the day of rest.

This is because the BBC faithfully covered the pitiful sight of a vacant MP holding out a begging bowl for ASH.
Tobacco tax increase urged by parliamentary group
Tax on tobacco should be raised to persuade more smokers to quit, a parliamentary group has said. 
The tax rate currently goes up by 2% above inflation each year, but the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health wants that increased to 5%. 
It says an extra £100m per year would be generated to spend on anti-smoking projects
Would this be the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health which is secretaried by ASH and is just a mouthpiece for whatever their latest piece of anti-smoker gobshitery happens to be? Indeed it is.

So he wants his government to raise tobacco taxes so that an extra £100m per year would be raised to spend on anti-smoking? Like projects that his puppet-master ASH might benefit from you mean? What a fine example of democracy in action that is, I'm sure poodle Bob has also been instructed how proud he is supposed to be with himself for this selfless display of getting ASH's noses further into the tax trough.

Meanwhile in Ireland.
What this means is that, over the past eight budgets and two governments, much-vaunted tax increases on tobacco have, in reality, left Ireland with a budget gap of €367 million.
Is that so?
As the price of a pack of cigarettes has risen over the past decade or so, tobacco smuggling and non-Irish duty paid cigarettes – sometimes sold at half the retail price – have undergone something of an explosion. 
In 2007, the percentage of cigarettes coming from untaxed trade was 6.7%, according to market research company Euromonitor International. 
Over the next two years, successive tax hikes increased the price of a pack by 50 cents, 30 cents, and 75 cents. 
And the untaxed share of the market rocketed to 19.8% by 2009. In 2014, it was just over 23%.

Who cares though, eh? It's not really about health is it, just about how much ASH can screw out of government - and now, smokers - to stuff their fat pockets with.


Simon Clark had some excellent points to make on BBC Breakfast about Bob Blackman's pathetic simpering on behalf of ASH. Definitely worth a watch.

Sunday 11 October 2015

Crappy Gilmore

Like a spoilt little brat in Asda, Europe's most prolific anti-smoking junk scientist and regular feature on these pages - Anna Gilmore - is still banging her fists on the floor and screaming about how unfair it is that governments are made to consider the consequences of their actions.

Via the Observer:
Revealed: how ‘big tobacco’ used EU rules to win health delay  
Analysis carried out by the University of Bath’s Tobacco Control Research Group (TCRG) ...
So perfectly objective and not biased at all, of course.
... has found that the companies played a key role in pushing the European commission’s Better Regulation agenda, which places business interests at the heart of policy drafting. They then used the new laws to block and delay a series of major health reforms, including UK introduction of plain packs.
A key role eh? Sounds terrible.
Under the terms of the Better Regulation agenda, which internal tobacco industry documents reveal was enthusiastically supported by British American Tobacco, European governments, including the UK, must conduct public consultations and impact assessments when introducing laws that affect business. 
Erm, I think you'll find that just about every company in Europe, large or small, would have "enthusiastically supported" a rule which says they should be consulted on laws which will affect business and that the impacts should be properly studied. Businesses, and I mean every one, have to conduct cost/benefit analyses or they die from making bad decisions, who except a gurning muppet would believe that governments should not do the same?

So what are Bath saying here? That businesses should just shut the fuck up and take whatever nonsense some vacant politician thinks up on a whim? Yes. Yes, I do believe so, fascists that they are.

And for why?
Leaked documents show that Philip Morris identified the Better Regulation laws as a key weapon in its battle to derail the 2014 EU tobacco products directive which introduced large-scale health warnings on cigarette packets and a ban on flavoured cigarettes and packs of 10 - both popular marketing initiatives with young smokers (only tobacco control fruitcakes say this - DP). The tobacco giant employed more than 160 lobbyists and spent £1.25bn opposing the directive’s introduction. The European commission department responsible for drawing up the directive was swamped with 85,000 submissions.
This is called democracy by anyone else, and is the same process used by developed nations all over the world. Only banana republics and dictatorships believe it is acceptable that laws can be passed by government without scrutiny, but that is exactly what Bath Uni are suggesting the EU should do. Maybe they'd be happy if the EU passed an enabling act or something like that, I dunno.

It really is desperate stuff.
Many of the claims that they made were based on dubious evidence. According to the TCRG analysis of the submissions, “the research was of significantly lower quality than research supporting the measure. For example, the tobacco companies’ arguments were not supported by any peer-reviewed journal articles about standardised packaging.”
Politicians didn't think so. Tobacco control has so perverted the term "peer review" that proper scientists must despise them for weakening any case a scientist has these days. It's a sham and has been admitted as such by the British Medical Journal, no less. Mostly because the tobacco industry has been excluded from "peer-reviewed journals" but I think Gilmore knew that when she wrote this deliberately mendacious bilge.
"The tobacco companies played a key role in implementing Better Regulation, anticipating that it would help them delay, block or weaken public health legislation,” Gilmore said.
No they didn't, this is right up there with the most hilarious of conspiracy theories. I've heard more believable guff from anti-vaxers and people who believe airplane wind shear is the New World Order doping us all. Tobacco companies were just a tiny proportion of the entire cohort of European business which supported better regulation in order to make sure corruption in government is accountable and bad laws are open to challenge. Only a moron would believe otherwise, and only an idiot would read this Observer rubbish and accept it as serious analysis.
“They have now gone on to exploit it to prevent life-saving regulations. They are flooding consultations with massive numbers of responses to give a totally misleading impression of opposition to public health policies."
Yes, because apparently tobacco companies - which we all know are part of the most trustworthy and revered of all industries in the eyes of the public Europe-wide - were able to play on their enviable popularity to mobilise tens of thousands of people to oppose something they actually believed was fantastic.

This is weapons grade woo. The product of either a depraved and incoherent mind or that of someone who gets paid shitloads of money to produce disingenuous and misleading tobacco control industry propaganda to order. You decide which.

The EU is, and always has been, primarily designed to assist cross border trade amongst member states. It's why it used to be called the common market. What the tobacco control industry's prime tax-sponging starlet seems to be saying here is that the EU has applied regulations to protect trade - which every business in the EU would support - but these particular businesses have used the regulations as they were intended, so are therefore evil.

And do you know why? Because they supported the regulations which protect every single business in the EU against corruption, government over-reach and dictatorship.

In other words, only people who agree with whatever tobacco control liars are proposing at any particular time should be allowed to talk to politicians. And they wonder why some people call them health nazis? Go figure.

Wednesday 7 October 2015

On Vapers Helping Smokers Quit

Writing for Forbes, Sally Satel has highlighted an interesting new approach to encouraging smokers to quit.
Why not assemble a loose network of potential vaping sponsors? True, some vapers communicate informally with smokers already, but if we can build a vaper-smoker buddy system into the public health landscape, we can further arm the fight against smoking. 
The local health department or area hospitals could run public service ads on TV or radio and post billboards advertising the availability of vaping buddies (or sponsors, navigators, etc). A website would contain the name of local vapers who volunteer to serve as sponsors or direct smokers to local vape shops where those names would be listed, too. 
Civic-minded vapers could sign up to be sponsors through the local vape shop or health department. 
It need not be a long-term relationship, but it would be a great way to introduce a patient to vaping if his or her physician determines that the patient intends to keep smoking for the foreseeable future or has had little to no success in quitting with the help of conventional anti-smoking aids.
Former smokers talking to current smokers and giving them the benefit of their advice. An informal way of quitting smoking for those who choose to, and without it costing the taxpayer more than a few pennies in leaflets. What is there not to like if you're a professional committed to reducing smoking prevalence, eh?

Well, maybe this bit.
Unlike many abusers of intoxicants, nicotine-dependent people don’t need to learn to live without a drug, they need to learn to use it in a safer form. They need practical advice (best local vape shop, how to maintain equipment, how to find high quality e-liquid); they need to know what they can expect (e.g. that dual use – vaping while continuing to smoke, at the beginning is very common) and which puff techniques lead to maximal satisfaction. They need a fair assessment of the known and unknown risks associated with alternatives to cigarettes and some need general motivational support if they are ambivalent about relinquishing cigarettes.
This all relies on the 'public health' cabal ditching the idea that nicotine is some evil that must be eradicated at all costs. Do you see that happening anytime soon? No, neither do I.

There is also the fundamental problem that tobacco control is called tobacco control for a reason. Control is the part which pays the wages, which funds careers and shonky science. Without the control element, there is no tobacco control.

This initiative may very well - in fact I'd say it definitely would - deliver a dramatic increase in smokers switching to vaping. The reason being that most smokers do not want to sit across a desk with some stop smoking adviser in a clinical setting and receive schmalzy, twee advice on how to stick a patch on their arm so the local NHS trust receives its financial kickback from Pfizer or whoever.

It's the same concept as people generally hating hospitals. They know a hospital is a good thing and would scream if theirs were shut down, but it's not an environment anyone enjoys staying in for very long. A stop smoking "clinic" - for most smokers who have thought about quitting - is about as enticing a prospect as an evening in the company of E. L. Wisty.

It is precisely why quitting cold turkey is still, and always will be in the current state of play, the overwhelmingly most popular choice for smokers.

Then, of course, Satel points out another big drawback with the concept.
Take public vaping. Vaping has already been banned from offices, public parks, restaurants and airports. But at the very least, it should be allowed in non-smoking adult establishments with well-marked vaping areas. While not emission-free, any “second-hand” vapor that wafts several feet, unlike smoke from a cigarette, will be virtually undetectable as the subtly “flavored” odors dissipate rapidly. Studies show that emissions, such as propylene glycol, formaldehyde, and acrolein, are at negligible levels, thus below clinically meaningful thresholds for otherwise healthy bystanders. 
The idea is for people who smoke to be exposed to vapers as often and as visibly as possible. The infiltration of vapers into non-smoking environments where there are temporarily abstaining smokers (that is, smokers who are, at the moment, banned from lighting up) is a great way to spur curiosity and conversation about vaping.
I can almost hear you giggling from here.

We have Welsh 'public health' currently spreading all kinds of evidence-free shit at assembly level in pursuit of a ban on vaping in public places and - to my knowledge - there has yet to be a single tobacco control industry worker come out and aggressively condemn a vaping ban anywhere in the country.

Not. Even. One.

E-cigs are banned on trains, for no reason; on station platforms, for no reason; in pubs, bars, cafes, for no reason; in Premiership football and rugby grounds, for no reason; at the recent Ashes cricket series at the behest of the ECB, for no reason; and e-cigs are being included in outdoor smoking bans too, for no reason (to compound there being no reason for banning smoking outdoors either).

Where is the outrage from people who are supposed to be a friend of the vaper? Where is the commitment to reducing smoking prevalence where e-cigs are concerned? Where is the vehement objection to stupid bans from people who have been accustomed to bullying businesses for the past decade over smoking bans?

All we hear, instead, is mild platitudes about how it is up to businesses to decide their own policies.

The idea of vapers helping smokers to quit is an extremely good one, and it will work, but unfortunately it rests solely on stubborn, self-interested, trouser-stuffing tobacco control freakery to evaporate first. And that ain't gonna happen anytime soon.

It's a simple fact that smokers will be more likely to quit by chatting to a knowledgeable vaping friend in a pub than they would in a clean sterile office opposite some patronising detached stop smoking adviser, with a target to meet, who hasn't got the first clue how e-cigs work.

However, I'll tell you how it's going to go. Public Health England will like the idea, they will get round a table with ASH and all the other tobacco control tax-spongers  and spout about how game-changing this great initiative could be. But in the back of their mind they will be thinking about how such an approach will make many of their kind redundant so will insist on it being delivered by stop smoking services in a clinical environment, thereby killing the thing stone dead.

Just watch it happen.

"I Can't Think Of A More Damaging Policy"

File this under "unintended consequences that the tobacco control industry couldn't give a toss about". Because they don't get paid to.

Via Prisoner Ben - someone who knows about what happens in prison thanks to 32 years' experience of it - here is an assessment of how well thought-through the impending prison smoking ban is (emphases mine).
[W]hen the national smoking ban was introduced several years ago, and smoking was restricted to cells in prison, procedures were put in place to address this concern. Staff were meant to give a heads-up shout to prisoners as staff were conducting daily cell-checks, so that prisoners could air out the cells. Just to be very clear on this point: procedures were put in place to address staff safety, but staff have never used these procedures. There is no need for any member of staff to enter a smoky cell – unless they allow it to happen. And they do. And in the face of this lazy whine, a total ban on smoking in prisons is planned.
So the ban is a solution to something which has already been solved. You can also bet a hefty amount that tobacco controllers were consulted on the measures above in the first place, so are fully aware that there is no risk of danger - even the mythical one they promote - to prison staff if they wish to avoid it.

Hmm, no mention of that in ASH's briefing paper on 'smokefree prisons'. Fancy that!

Ben continues ...
Unlike tobacco in the wider society, tobacco in prison plays a huge role in prisoners’ lives. Tobacco isn't merely a diversion. It is the default prisoner currency, the standard unit of trade that all other commodities are valued against. As such, banning it would have the same social effects as if Government suddenly banned the cash in your wallet or purse. Sans tobacco, some other substance will become the default currency and the only candidate is heroin.
Considering a prime justification for the ban is "the need to improve prisoner health", that's a huge step forward, quite obviously. Slow handclap for ASH and their chums at Public Health England, jolly well done!
With the current medium of exchange prohibited, waves of disruption will flow through the social structure. Those who "baroned" tobacco – burn, snout – will be worthless, their ability to calm a stressed prison gone. In their place will rise, to a more embedded level than currently, those who deal in the "powders". But tobacco barons have always been a stabiliser, a bank, a bureaux de change, with the flow of tobacco being largely consistent. Heroin, in contrast, leads to some prisoners wielding undue influence – "powder power" – but inconsistently. Supplies of drugs are far more uncertain and temporary, leaving the suppliers in a shaky socioeconomic position and as such as likely to prompt instability as anything else.
Instability, eh? Just what a prison environment needs. But it'll be a 'smokefree' instability, so that's all right then.
50,000 smokers deprived of their fix will be a fearsome thing.
In a prison? What could possibly go wrong?
Tobacco is also used by the Prison Service as an intelligence tool. Every Wing Manager has traditionally had a few packets of tobacco to hand, to dish out to the passing casual informers. This will now end. On a wider scale, by tracking tobacco purchases from the prison shop – the "canteen" – managers have been able to discern economic activity. This activity is often tied to broader prisoner activities and can highlight the wheelers and dealers. A non-smoker buying lots of tobacco is obviously "up to something"! Whether this oversight of prisoners’ economic activity has ever led to more substantial intelligence is unknown; what is known is that this source of intelligence will now cease.
Well done tobacco control industry. You've 'helped' the prisoners in a very meaningful way.
Banning tobacco, then, will have the key consequences of instantly dismantling economic structures which have stood for decades; will destabilise the social structure; reduce intelligence; tempt staff to smuggle; and throw social power into the corrosive and unstable hands of heroin dealers. 
I can't think of a more damaging policy.
Who cares? Tobacco control and Public Health England - who collectively sponge close to £1 billion per annum in taxpayer funding - have ticked a box and been paid for it. Why should they give a shit what happens once their lobbying bandwagon moves onto the 'next logical step' in justifying their hefty salaries at the public's teat?

In every measurable sense, we are at the stage where anti-smoking organisations do nothing but cause net harm with every dingbat policy they promote. And they do so for one reason and one reason only ... to enrich themselves. Why government is handing out our taxes to such toxic, anti-social and damaging troughers is anyone's guess. They need to be cut off without a penny, and soon, for the good of society and the public at large.

Tuesday 6 October 2015

A "War" On 80% Of The Public

Here's more of that non-existent slippery slope we keep hearing about.
An international expert on tobacco control is calling for Scotland to lead the way in a global ‘war’ to tackle alcohol problems, similar to the efforts which have been made to reduce smoking across the western world.
A "war", no less! So who is this caped crusader against a consumer product enjoyed harmlessly by the vast majority of the population?
Professor Gerard Hastings, who founded the Centre for Tobacco Control Research at Stirling University, and has advised governments and the World Health Organisation (WHO), said tobacco and alcohol were examples of an “industrial epidemic”, where health issues are being driven by commercial interests. 
He wants Scotland to take a leading role in urging the WHO to introduce a framework which will outline how countries can take action to address alcohol problems by introducing measures around advertising, packaging and the way it is sold.
Oh I see, it's far left wing anti-business nutcase Hastings, a guy (along with others) who came to the attention of Peter Oborne of the Telegraph last August.
Linda Bauld and Gerard Hastings are academics from Stirling University, where they contribute to something which calls itself the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies. Generally speaking this taxpayer funded group is in favour of heavy regulation and blanket bans.

But Prof Hastings also has a wider political and social agenda. Here is his latest anti-business rant:

At the time, Frank Davis offered an accurate description of this lunatic.
But I watched the YouTube video of Professor Gerard Hastings embedded in the text. It was one long emotional rant (he seemed like he was about to burst into tears) against not just smoking and drinking and fatty food, but against marketing, big business, inequality, profit, everything. Here was someone who had looked at the world around him and did not like it one bit, and desperately wanted to make it into a better world. He wanted to completely reconstruct it. For him, public health was not just about smoking and drinking and fatty food: it was about absolutely everything, and he wanted Public Health to be running absolutely everything. 
A century ago he would have been a bomb-throwing anarchist, like Gavrilo Princip. But now people like him are professors of public health, paid handsomely to interfere in everyone’s lives.
Indeed they are. And, as Frank says, not just on behaviours which are harmful, but on ones which are more often than not beneficial to society in general and arguably healthy. Predictably, he hates e-cigs too.

So how is this public-despising degenerate extremist planning on conducting this "war" then? Well, in the same way as with tobacco of course.
Hastings said: “With tobacco, public health has eventually got its head round it and said if you are really going to tackle tobacco, you have to do something about the business side of this. 
“Initially that focused in on advertising, as that is a very visible part of what they are doing. 
"But it is actually having to look at the whole marketing environment - which is not just the advertising but the product development, the pricing strategies, the distribution, the point of sale, the packaging and also indeed all the stuff that big business does to curry favour with government as well as customers. 
“To deal with that, the route that was taken was to produce the (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.” 
Hastings said a similar treaty should now been put place for alcohol
Oh dear, that very much contradicts what Debs said a while ago, doesn't it? (emphases mine)
[T]he “domino theory” i.e. that once a measure has been applied to tobacco it will be applied to other products is patently false. The same argument was used against the ban on tobacco advertising, but 9 years after the tobacco ban in the UK, alcohol advertising is still permitted with no sign of it being prohibited. Tobacco is a uniquely dangerous consumer product which is why there is a WHO health treaty (the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control) to regulate tobacco use.
Which is precisely what Hastings' (and presumably Bauld's too) new "war" on alcohol intends to set up. I suppose it's too much for us to hope ASH will issue an apology for declaring this domino theory a myth when it has now been proven to be 100% true? Nah, thought not.

As an aside, I was also mighty amused with this from fellow finger-wagging lefty twat Richard Simpson, a Labour MSP.
Simpson said he would support Hastings in terms of having an international campaign to limit the advertising of alcohol in a similar way to tobacco. 
“The harms are not quite the same, but there needs to be further restrictions on advertising,” he said. 
“It is about trying to de-normalise alcohol as well – it may be used by over 80% of the population, but having almost ubiquitous advertising and spending vast amounts on advertising is not acceptable.”
Admitting to being part of a tiny minority of 20% but declaring that it's "unacceptable" to abide by the choices of the 80% is astonishing from a politician. But then, hatred and bigotry does so cloud the faculties, doesn't it?

Sunday 4 October 2015

ASH Can't Bite The Hand That Feeds Over E-Cigs

Last week, Lord (Matt) Ridley wrote an article in The Times which was unanimously welcomed by e-cig users on Twitter and elsewhere. Here are extended highlights of his salient points.
Egged on two years ago, I am sorry to say, by British ministers (incompetent ones, Matt - DP) and some MEPs (including compromised ones, Matt - DP), the EU has agreed a tobacco products directive, which has to be implemented into law by next spring. Its Article 20 concerns the regulation of devices for vaping nicotine. And it hits them much harder than it hits cigarettes. 
For a start, it is bizarre to include vaping devices in a “tobacco products” directive at all. It’s like regulating coffee in a hard-drugs law. Remember the evidence is now overwhelmingly strong — and the British government has recently, but belatedly accepted this — that vaping is a really effective way to quit smoking and that, far from being a gateway into smoking, it is a highway out. By some estimates, approaching three million people now vape in this country, nearly all of whom are smoking less or no tobacco as a result. 
Gobsmackingly, the directive specifically outlaws the very vaping devices that are most useful to heavy smokers trying to quit: the ones with more than 20 milligrams of nicotine per millilitre. Heavy smokers need high-strength nicotine vapour to quit smoking, so the people with the worst health are going to be denied help. And by insisting that refillable devices are leak free, the directive will effectively kill 90 per cent of the devices sold by independent firms and hand the market back to the struggling non-refillable “cig-alike” ones made mostly by the tobacco firms. 
It gets worse. The directive outlaws most vaping advertisements, which will certainly slow vaping’s advance at the expense of smoking — ie, cost lives. It creates a six-month “standstill” period for new vaping products, following notification by the manufacture of an intention to sell a product. This will slow innovation and is asking for a black market to thrive: Chinese websites will be selling new devices into Europe while regulated manufacturers here twiddle their thumbs for 26 weeks. 
But all of this pales into insignificance beside the truly shocking idiocy in the directive, which is this. From next spring a manufacturer of a vaping device will have to submit far more information about its emissions than a tobacco company will have to submit about emissions from smoking devices. 
Under the new directive, e-cig makers are going to have to measure and list “all ingredients contained in, and emissions resulting from the use of, the product, by brand name and type” — including toxicological data — even though these emissions are far lower and far less toxic than tobacco smoke. Remember, the best evidence suggests that vaping is 20-100 times safer than smoking. But here we have regulation falling far more heavily on the safer product 
The result will be a slowdown in the take-up of vaping and therefore more premature deaths from smoking
Now, the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) is a dire piece of legislation in its entirety, but Article 20 is quite simply a staggering disgrace.

The TPD was drawn up by an alleged crook who was fired by the EU and its Article 20 was written in some Brussels back room to purposely avoid democratic process and without consultation, evidence base or an impact assessment [PDF]. The disastrous problems Article 20 will inflict on e-cigs and vaping are fundamental and will utterly destroy their effectiveness at luring smokers away from tobacco (Clive Bates explains why in full here).

So you'd think, wouldn't you, that ASH - you know, the vaper's new friend - would be a trifle worried about such an undemocratic, corrupt and damaging set of regulations which can only harm 'public health'. Well, no, they absolutely love it!

Here is ASH's Hazel Cheeseman writing a haughty letter to The Times in response to Ridley's wisdom.
Sir, Matt Ridley misses the point on proposed European regulation of electronic cigarettes. Under the new tobacco products directive, electronic cigarettes and their contents will be regulated to ensure they are safer and more effective.
By safer, I can only assume because fewer people will use them and by effective, I presume she simply doesn't understand how they work.
The evidence is now overwhelming that vaping is safer than smoking and offers a good chance for many smokers to quit. 
Well yes, Cheeseyperson, they certainly used to, but that was when levels of nicotine over 20mg were allowed to wean smokers off of tobacco. It won't be the case after the TPD has been implemented because 20mg is simply not enough to hook smokers unless they are incredibly committed to quit. It's almost like ASH still want there to be a rump of hardcore tobacco users to justify their jobs, isn't it?
The EU has therefore rightly rejected the approach of other parts of the world where electronic cigarettes have been banned altogether. Instead, EU regulations will provide a safe framework through which electronic cigarettes can be sold, giving their users confidence in these products. This is likely to save many thousands of lives.
Sorry, Hazel, but that's bollocks. Your support for Article 20 will - let's slip into your vernacular for a minute here - cost many thousands of lives. Because, y'see, every smoker who can't get the buzz of e-cigs containing under 20mg of nicotine will continue to smoke and the cost differential will be dramatically degraded by the onerous regulations being placed on e-cig manufacturers and vendors. I know ASH are fucking shit at economics but even they should be able to work out this simple piece of maths. 

For every penny added to the cost of an e-cig starter kit, a smoker will be dissuaded from switching away from tobacco. 
Smokers will benefit from having electronic cigarettes on sale that meet reasonable consumer standards.
Article 20 is not reasonable and does not set consumer standards which are in any way fit for purpose. The only effect of Article 20 will be to put smokers off of e-cigs, the only debatable stat is about exactly how many will be deterred. Will it be hundreds of thousands or only tens of thousands? 

So how does this square with ASH and their exalted new position as the vaper's friend? Well it doesn't, obviously. Just the fact that Cheeseman felt motivated to attack one of Westminster's most vociferous supporters of vaping is very telling.

You see, ASH are a central element of the Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) - a lobby group allied to the World Health Organisation - which hates e-cigs. They are also beneficiaries of a hefty grant each year from the UK government whose official position is that e-cigs are a bit icky

You simply don't rock the boat if your occupation relies on pallying up to pharma-enthralled WHO and a government which hands you free taxpayer cash. 'Public health' be damned.

ASH is the vaper's friend, but only when it doesn't involve biting the hand that feeds them. Yet another reason why they should be cut off without a penny, it would help focus their minds on what works for harm reduction instead of acting on what benefits their salary bill.