Wednesday 30 November 2016

Snus, E-Cigs, Now iQos - ASH Hate Them All

So, after months of hearing about the things, Philip Morris have today launched their iQos 'heat not burn' system in the UK (albeit only in London).

The press have avidly taken up the story, most probably due to PMI CEO Andre Calantzopoulos dangling the media-friendly suggestion that the global company "could stop making conventional cigarettes". This is not a new claim, there have been a lot of articles recently where he has been interviewed about this new stance, it's just something the British press has only now picked up on, presumably from the PR.

They are also opening a shop in the West End, which seems to me more like marketing than retail if it sells only one product but - as a Puddlecote Inc office colleague pointed out today - Apple shops do much the same thing.

It is interesting that Philip Morris claim 70% of those who tried iQos in Japan continued to use them, though it has to be recognised that it is an entirely different market; as far as I am aware e-cigs really haven't taken off over there. But having said that, if the claimed 90% safer product is that attractive to smokers then this is surely a good thing in the eyes of tobacco controllers, huh?

I think you know what's coming next even if you hadn't read the articles this morning.

No, of course not. Because tobacco control is not in the health game anymore, they just like bashing the tobacco industry and those who continue to like tobacco or nicotine. Dave Dorn put it very well earlier.
Yes, you read that correctly. PMI could, in the future, subject to the right market conditions, stop making fags. They've even said they're looking to working with Government to make that a reality.  
Now, if I was heading up an anti-smoking charity (which I'm not), I'd be happy as a pig in shit at that news. I'd be grabbing all my minions and despatching them to the Dept. of Health and various other top level bodies and doing my level best to, as Jean-Luc Picard would say, "make it so". 
Cos that's what anti-smoking bodies and charities ought to be about, isn't it? 
But no. No. "We don't trust the tobacco companies." "We're not in the business of promoting tobacco products" (which is, actually, very much missing the point - that the IQOS has tobacco in it is entirely specious to the argument - it can be demonstrated to be of much lower risk than smoking, so they SHOULD be promoting such things. You know, like they do with ecigs. Oh... wait...) 
They're screaming for independent research into the risk profile. Here's an idea. They leech public money - yes, WE fund them - so let THEM, in the public interest (which it undeniably is) fund the research. Let THEM actually use the money they trough from the public coffers for a good purpose - get it given to an independent and unbiased lab to replicate the studies and confirm or deny the claims.
Carl Phillips described this pathetic stance by tobacco control in a blog last summer entitled "Public health (heart) lung cancer", where he offered up a handy test whereby we can assess the motives of tobacco controllers everywhere.
The test for anti-tobacco extremism is the answer to the following question: If you could magically change the world so that either (a) there was no use of tobacco products or (b) people could continue to enjoy using tobacco but there was a cheap magic pill that they could take to eliminate any excess disease risk it caused, which would you choose? Anyone who would choose (a) over (b) takes anti-tobacco to its logical extreme, making clear that they object to the behavior, not its effects.

So what has been the reaction of ASH today to this massively safer alternative to smoking? Well, I think it woefully fails Carl's test, don't you?
But anti-smoking campaigners said products such as Iqos, like tobacco, need tough regulation. Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health (Ash), told Today: "We still need to be very cautious about what the industry's up to." 
"Philip Morris is a tobacco company. They are still making most of their profits from selling cigarettes," she said: "On current trends, smoking will kill one billion people in the 21st century, most in poor countries. 
"If Philip Morris really want to see the end of smoking they have to stop promoting smoking to new young smokers around the world."
Absolutely nothing in there about the promise of heat not burn technology, just a load of irrelevant bleating cockwaffle and veiled smears of how industry is deceitful.

In fact, ASH's press release went even further than that.
ASH therefore believes that unless and until independent evidence shows that IQOS and similar products are substantially less harmful than smoking then these products should be regulated in the same way as other tobacco products.
This is the same ASH, remember, who went ga-ga about the non-existent proof of efficacy of plain packaging and still pumps out regular misinformation about passive smoking being dangerous outdoors which has never been proved and never will be. Yet they comically speak about deceit ...
Particularly because of the tobacco industry’s long record of deceit over the health risks of smoking, there is an urgent need for independent research into the level of harm these products may cause. 
... before declaring that even if it is provided they will ignore it.
We understand that the UK Government has asked the independent Committee on Toxicity to look at the data; this is welcome but not sufficient.
In other words, ASH will not accept any level of verification that iQos is 90% or more safer than tobacco, because ... well, tobacco industry.

Something which I had a good chuckle about this morning.

ASH are part of an industry which is now widely known to be the biggest liars the planet has ever seen, yet they are now set to place insurmountable burdens in front a technology which has definite potential to massively reduce harm from tobacco (their supposed policy goal) and citing deceit.

We've always known that ASH are morally-incontinent and only exist to satisfy themselves with tormenting smokers and looting their cash, but today showed that they are even lower than we previously thought.

I'll make some (not so) bold predictions here and now. ASH and their regional warped fucksticks will campaign vigorously for iQos and other HnB variants to be banned in public places. They won't have any evidence that it is harmful to others, they'll just do it anyway (because it was never about protecting bar staff). They will say, disingenuously, that no tobacco product is safe and follow the same shit path they did by getting snus banned in the 1980s, arguably killing people. And they will do all this because they are not remotely interested in health or harm reduction, and never have been.

They are just a dysfunctional, self-interested organisation - allied to blatant liars worldwide - who hate industry and get paid handsomely for doing so.

And how do I know this? Well, because ASH tried exactly the same with e-cigs. They attempted to strangle vaping in its infancy just like they did with snus; persistently tried to hamper its development at every turn, and still do; and only failed because of the huge enthusiasm and strength of vaper opposition.

ASH are not a friend, they are a vile prohibitionist organisation which has no care for health and which - as today proves - is in favour of tobacco harm reduction like Vichy France was in favour of freedom for the French people. It's shameful that the government funds them; for the good of public health they should be financially starved into extinction.

I look forward to the predictions above coming true, we should hold ASH and their provincial colleagues to account when they do. 

No comments: