Wednesday 31 May 2017

Congratulating The Fox For Killing The Livestock

Today is World No Tobacco Day and to mark the occasion the Brussels-based Smoke Free Partnership - whose members include ASH and Cancer Research UK - held a lunchtime event at the EU parliament. 

The keynote speaker was Vytenis Andriukaitis, the Lithuanian Health Commissioner. If you are a vaper, you may be staggered as to what he said. Here is an edited excerpt of the speech which you can read here
How can we 'ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages' – our worldwide sustainable development goal for 2030 – without reducing smoking?  
How can we reach the specific target of "reducing by one third deaths linked to chronic diseases" without reducing one of the main causes of such diseases – smoking? 
And finally, how can we succeed in achieving "no poverty" or "zero hunger" – other related goals – without reducing the harm that tobacco causes? 
The answer is: We can't!
And to whom did he address this heart-rending rhetoric?
I am talking here about the revised Tobacco Products Directive that Linda and I negotiated: Linda as the rapporteur at the time and myself as the Health Minister of the country holding the EU Presidency. 
And I would like to thank once more Linda - and also the Smoke Free Partnership - for their tireless work and commitment to this cause.
The Linda in question is Linda McAvan, Labour MEP and the woman who stubbornly drove through the disgraceful regulations on e-cigs which have hampered take-up of the devices in this country and - in some cases - led to draconian measures in other EU member states which amount to a de facto ban. 

E-cigs are proving to be a huge success in tempting smokers away from tobacco - which Andriukaitis seems to want very much, they have already led to more people quitting smoking than the entire TPD Impact Assessment hoped would occur. Yet today he was congratulating McAvan, a person who did everything in her power to have e-cigs eradicated from the EU, and thereby whose actions have protected the tobacco trade more than any other individual in the whole of Europe. 

This is like a farmer watching his chickens get slaughtered then giving an award to the fox that did it. You simply couldn't make such cretinous ignorance up!

Interestingly, Andriukaitis had very little to say at all about e-cigs specifically, just this one-liner. 
And of course we need to consider carefully how to address eCigarettes or novel tobacco products.
"Consider carefully"? Isn't that something that should have been done when the directive was being drawn up, not now four years later when you've dumped a whole load of fuckwitted arsebiscuitry on an entire continent. 

His brief and evasive mention of e-cigs also suggests - as the evidence piles up as to plummeting smoking rates due to vaping - that they're just a little bit ashamed of themselves, don't you think?

The EU seems to be packed with low-grade, low-intellect, broomsticks-in-suits like Andriukaitis; thick as a whale sandwich yet handed power over half a billion people. Roll on March 29th 2019.

Tuesday 30 May 2017

An Object Lesson In Snobbery

A couple of repulsive snobs have been whining in The Times about the government's obesity strategy. It is probably the most draconian in the world, but that's still not enough for these two interfering weasels.
Theresa May dropped crucial features of the childhood obesity strategy because she does not have children, a leading female restaurateur has suggested. 
Thomasina Miers, 41, claimed that if the prime minister had had children she would not have allowed measures such as banning junk food advertising and preventing supermarkets pushing sugary foods at children to be dropped.
Rudely bringing May's childless status into the debate has led to condemnation from some quarters, but this is far more offensive in your host's humble opinion.
“Part of me felt that if you had had children you would not have done that, because it is so important that our children eat [healthy food],” she told an audience at the Hay Festival.
Erm, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from feeding your children healthy food, Thomasina. Oh, but you don't mean your children, do you? You mean other people's children, isn't that right you meddling fuck?

Here's a plan, Thomasina, why don't you look after your children, and we will look after ours. OK?

She's not alone in being a tedious, pinch-lipped prodnose though, there's this rancid curtain-twitcher as well.
Rosie Boycott, who works with various food organisations and advised Boris Johnson on food strategy when he was mayor of London, said that the prime minister appeared to have “kicked out the bits about children”. 
Ms Boycott added: “She [Mrs May] would say that she doesn’t want to be part of the Nanny State but I think that if you can’t be a nanny to your children . . . It should be the same as saying ‘do not run across the road.’ ”
Rosie, Rosie, Rosie. You can be a nanny to your children as much as you like, there is no law against it. But when you say "our children" you're being an intrusive snooper just like Thomasina, aren't you?

Rosie, you nanny your children, and leave the decision whether we want to nanny ours up to us, eh? When you start providing for my kids' food and paying for their upbringing you can decide how they live. Until then, have a Coke and a smile and go fuck yourself.

The double act ended on a flourish as the piece came back to Thomasina adding some stunning ignorance to her obnoxious prying into the lives of others.
Ms Miers said that while she did not believe in “big government” she thought it “has got to have more balls” adding: “I feel that this stranglehold that the big supermarkets have on our food system is not helping. People have to have access to fresh fruit and vegetables; it is mad that they don’t.
Have you ever seen a supermarket which isn't packed to the gunwales with fresh fruit and veg? Where does this preposterous woman shop? Venezuela?

It is astonishing that these vacuous pecksniffs believe they have the right to dictate how others live their lives, but it beggars belief that governments tend to indulge their vile snobbery. The only problem this Times article highlights is the one of legions of people like Thomasina and Rosie poking their unwanted noses into everyone else's business.

Far from being condemned, Theresa may should be congratulated for not caving in to shrill, pompous, loathsome shitehawks such as these two. 

Monday 29 May 2017

Meanwhile In The Real World

Last week, BBC Radio 5 Live featured a spot on the new TPD regulations on tobacco (around 1 hr 8 mins here), along with the cowardly gold-plating which the UK government added by including pointless plain packaging to the mix.

Part of the piece included this very telling vox pop section with retailers and consumers in Haverhill, Suffolk. It is 2 minutes long so do have a listen.

You'll note that the real people spoken to were all of the opinion that none of these silly rules will have any effect on whether people smoke or not. Those who were in retail had first hand experience of how there was absolutely no effect at all except to encourage smokers to trade down ... as we all predicted but ASH etc denied.

You will also notice many other themes crop up which dominated the debate back in 2012 and 2013. That plain packaging will not make anyone quit; that it will lead to an increase in the black market, that smokers will just go for the cheapest product; that it makes people buy more; that it makes it difficult for retailers to find the packs; and that there will be no difference in sales whatsoever.

In short, everything that we warned about on these pages has come true. While everything that ASH and their similarly tax-funded propagandists predicted from their rose-tinted, funding-focused crystal ball, won't.

Predictably, though, later in the feature Hazel Cheeseman (you may remember her nonsense from last week) defaulted to tobacco control central's lamest argument and just stated that this was all bollocks, all just a tobacco industry lie. We've seen this before, including when an ASH trustee denied the most fundamental aspects of economics to say that black markets are not driven by price, and that this was also a tobacco industry lie. No, really, she did!

The people of Haverhill, I expect, know pretty much nothing about the debate that went on in 2012/13; they are speaking about their lived experience rather than models on a spreadsheet, manipulated research and bare-faced corruption that the tobacco control Goliath pumped out purely to ensure they received another round of funding the next year (because that is the very simple purpose of ASH, they have absolutely no care about health or they'd have waved through e-cigs in a heartbeat).

Cheeseman also resorted to lame tobacco control argument number two, which is to just say 'children' a lot. Of course, we know how plain packs went on that score, now don't we?

In fact, we know a hell of a lot about what went on in Australia following plain packs, and none of it is good. It's a story of obfuscation, policy-led evidence-making, desperate stuttering scrambling of state power to avoid awkward questions, unconvincing deceit and downright lies. If you have 22 mins to spare, I recommend you watch this presentation of how Australian officials wriggled and wriggled to avoid being transparent about plain packaging, which is odd considering they trumpeted its unmitigated success.

I think what I'm trying to say is that it is staggering to see government agencies throwing huge sums of our taxes towards people who are incapable of telling the truth.

Real life is showing them up to be incredibly dishonest organisations packed full of repulsive individuals who value their own salaries above truth, fair debate, and what might actually work towards the good of public health. They throw huge sums of cash at a pointless folly like plain packaging while fighting tooth and nail to protect stifling regulations on e-cigs .. which are proving in real life to be working.

Why the fuck are we paying these people to live in their lavishly-funded fantasy cocoon, while the the real world is proving them all wrong on a daily basis and will continue to do so. It's almost like, I dunno, it's not about health after all!

It's time legislators started listening to what the public thinks about these stupid and trivial policy interventions instead of hopelessly conflicted organisations like ASH who derive their income from promoting more and more irrelevance. Why not cut out the middle man, stick these hideous parasites on the dole and save the country a small fortune. 

Monday 22 May 2017

"Nicotine Has Caused Millions Of Deaths"

It is now less than a month until the fourth Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) which is being held in Warsaw from 15th to 17th June, tagline "GFN is the only international conference to focus on the role of safer nicotine products that help people switch from smoking.".

Every GFN so far has seen representatives of ASH attend, both as panellists and delegates, and on at least one occasion included their director of policy, Hazel Cheeseman. I know this because I once found myself sitting behind her in a plenary session.

Sadly, it doesn't seem that GFN taught her very much at all if her appearance on Radio Kent to talk about e-cigs last week is a pointer, or perhaps she just wasn't listening.

She was asked about the application of ignorant, counter-productive warnings to vaping products, such as this one.

Nothing to see here, says Hazel.
"[O]n the specific point around nicotine warnings I really don't think it's unreasonable for a product to say that nicotine is addictive. I mean, the addiction to nicotine has caused millions of deaths across the planet, you know, for the last many decades"
"Nicotine" has caused millions of deaths, apparently. Not smoking, nicotine.

Has she perhaps forgotten Michael Russell? The idol of tobacco controllers everywhere who famously said "people smoke for the nicotine but die from the tar" which paved the way for Big Pharma's Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to be rolled out worldwide? Or perhaps this is an inconvenient motto in the age of the e-cig and he is being quietly airbrushed out of history. Who knows?

She also objected to Forest's Simon Clark pointing out that the ludicrous warnings on vaping products will put people off switching from tobacco to e-cigs. Not on an intellectual level, of course - because anti-smoking extremists don't dabble in anything as cerebral as honest debate - but instead by way of a bizarre, and frankly quite stupid, smear.
"It's very interesting to be lectured about public health from Simon who is being funded by tobacco manufacturers and really only got interested in this subject since those companies have entered the market"
Really Hazel? Well, as Simon replied, he has been writing about e-cigs since about 2010 when the MHRA set about trying to ban them - with the support of ASH I might add - and that was well before any tobacco company had an interest. For the record, my own first article on e-cigs was in December 2009 and my first on the repulsive moves in the UK to class them as medicines - a stance still supported by ASH to this day - was in June 2010.

Hazel joined ASH in April 2013.

Additionally, as Clark points out, it is pathetic of Cheeseyperson to imply that Forest are late to the discussion because if that's the case, as I've mentioned before, so the fuck were ASH!
ASH altered their "objectives for the public benefit" a few years ago. You see, in 2009 it said this:
1) To preserve and protect the health of the community both physical and mental and in the furtherance of this purpose to provide other charitable relief for those practising or likely to practise cigarette and other forms of smoking. 
2) To advance the education of the public concerning the effects of cigarette and other forms of smoking and their effects on the health of the community and the individual. 
3) To assist, carry out, promote and encourage research into cigarette and other forms of smoking and to collect and study information relating thereto with a view to publication of the same and the communication of information in connection therewith to the general public and others having legitimate interest in receiving such information for the benefit of the health of the community at large.
Nothing in there about e-cigs or any other device which doesn't contain tobacco.

In 2010 - probably when e-cigs started to register on their radar - it was quietly changed to what it remains today (emphasis mine):
1. to preserve and protect the health of the public against the harmful effects of cigarette or other tobacco products; and 
2. to advance the education of the public about the effects of cigarette and other tobacco and nicotine products.
Subtle, huh?
So, to paraphrase Hazel herself, let's apply that to ASH and why they decided to force themselves into a debate which had absolutely nothing to do with them, shall we?
"It's very interesting to be lectured about e-cigs from Hazel and ASH who are being funded by the government - which tried hard to ban vaping - and really only got interested in this subject since they sensed their grants drying up and feared becoming irrelevant"
And, seeing as Hazel took the opportunity of a radio Kent appearance exclusively on the subject of e-cigs to insist that "nicotine has caused millions of deaths across the planet", shall we also re-word Michael Russell's famous motto too, because Hazel is obviously far cleverer than he could ever have hoped to be.
"People smoke for the nicotine but die from the nicotine ... so you may as well all carry on smoking"
Well done Cheeseyperson, what a storming performance! Now, when you get a minute, can you go and explain something to your Boss Debs please? Y'see, earlier this month she was bemoaning why "the message that vaping was much less harmful than smoking had not yet got through to all smokers".
"It's very important smokers realise that vaping is much, much less harmful than smoking," she added.
Can you tell her that the reason is because there are still some really fucking stupid people around who keep broadcasting comments which convince smokers that tobacco and nicotine are, indeed, one and the same thing. Some of them even say incredibly insane shit like nicotine "has caused millions of deaths"!

Thank you. Oh, and if you're going to Warsaw again next month, enjoy dozing off during the sessions like you obviously did last time, won't you?

Friday 19 May 2017

Tobacco Control Kills

If like me you have spent the past week or so hoovering up eliquid and vaping accessories at quite ridiculous knock-down prices, you'll know that today is the last day of one of the most successful real-world public health experiments in history.

Prior to the EU's disastrous Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) - overseen by a crook and driven through by vacuous MEPs - e-cigs operated as a consumer product in a bustling and innovative free market. It was not - despite what tobacco control liars say - unregulated considering manufacturers were abiding by 20 or so consumer product regulations. The results were stunning! Latest figures for the UK show that there are now 2.9 million vapers, of which over half of them have quit smoking entirely.

This spectacular success all ends tomorrow.

Instead, tomorrow sees the start of a system of regulations which will strangle the pizzazz out of the e-cig market and for no discernible reason. The EU and its tobacco control lobbyists have never been able to credibly justify any of the ridiculous regulations which were forced on the UK government by the EU's TPD. Let's run through a few of them.

Maximum nicotine strength 20mg

The first time I thought e-cigs might have the potential to be something really quite game-changing was when a friend gave me one to try at 30mg. It gave the same throat kick as smoking and I was impressed. Soon after, I tried another which was only 16mg and it was like sucking on air, it took me quite a while to get used to a level that low, many will not bother.

Even ASH admit that 6% of vapers currently use liquid which is stronger than 20% which, by law, they will no longer be able to buy from tomorrow, equating to 174,000 vapers (in reality it will be more than that because manufacturers are erring on the side of caution and limiting to 18mg).

What these 174,000 vapers will do is anyone's guess but it's clear that many will find that vaping no longer offers them the same experience and go back to smoking. It doesn't matter though, because ASH says fuck 'em. What's more, around 20% of vapers - and I am amongst them - first use liquid which is stronger than 20mg. Apply that to the 2.9 million and that's over half a million vapers who might not now be using e-cigs if the TPD had been in operation when they first dabbled with one. Presumably ASH says fuck them too.

Those who demanded this have given no credible reason whatsoever for such an arbitrary and futile restriction. It will 'save' no lives and can only have the effect of deterring smokers from switching and driving current vapers back to tobacco. Tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of them, and all because of entirely unnecessary regulations lobbied hard for by tobacco control. According to tobacco control's own rhetoric, one in two of those tens or hundreds of thousands will die as a result, and that's just in the UK.

Tobacco Control Kills.

Advertising bans

Tobacco control has been telling us for years that the best way to stop people smoking is to stop tobacco being advertised. By the same token then, surely, the advertising bans that the TPD forces on manufacturers and vendors will have the same deterrent effect.

The TPD bans e-cig adverts from TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and the internet, it also bans e-cig companies sponsoring events plus anything else that could possibly be seen in another EU country ... presumably so foreigners are deterred from switching to vaping too.

According to tobacco control, 50% of smokers who are not tempted away from smoking - by e-cig advertising which is now banned - will die as a result of continuing to smoke.

Tobacco Control Kills.

Maximum tank of 2ml & Maximum bottle size of 10ml

I'm currently using a 5ml tank and topping it up from a 100ml bottle. Both of these are banned under the terms of the EU's TPD which tobacco control lobbied for. There is no decent reason for this, no-one in tobacco control has been able to properly explain the point of any of it.

Of course, this just makes vaping fiddly and time-consuming, plus produces waste and inconvenience. If a product is to be seen as more attractive than smoking in order to tempt smokers away from tobacco, it beggars belief that tobacco control has put in place regulations which make vaping more difficult which can - as with the other pointless regulations - only have a deterrent effect.

Additionally, the very same TPD says that you can only buy tobacco in large grab bag sized 30g and upwards and you're not allowed to buy smaller packs of ten either, only 20s. The logic of rules which make you buy less e-liquid but more tobacco can only be guessed at, you have to ask what the blithering fuck these tobacco control halfwits were smoking themselves when they came up with such Baldrickesque cunning plans.

Making vaping a chore will inevitably turn many people off, especially since it's already a common refrain that e-cigs are far more complicated than just buying a pack of 20 from the corner shop or supermarket. Not one smoker will be attracted to vaping by the extra inconvenience of buying more bottles, refilling a tank more often, and fiddling about a bit more than is currently the case.

50% of those who don't make the switch, according to tobacco control, will die.

Tobacco Control Kills

Now, this is without even mentioning the supply side problems such as expense to vaping companies of commissioning and submitting dozens of expensive notifications for every single product and combination of products they sell, and having a 6 month wait after notification before being able to market their wares (which has driven innovation and therefore attracted switchers). The cost has already driven many out of business, along with those who derived much of their income from cross-border sales that are now also banned.

All these restrictions will have no effect on 'saving' anyone at all! The only possible outcome will be that many smokers will continue to smoke.

The TPD has, perversely, bolstered the cigarette market while dealing a huge blow to a vaping market which was rocketing along and contributing to record low smoker prevalence. And all because ASH and their disgusting European chums in tobacco control had little to do so thought they'd get involved in something they still don't understand.

It's always been clear that tobacco controllers were close to jumping the shark when it came to vaping. But from tomorrow, with the installation of a pointless and entirely spiteful TPD, many people will now see that they didn't just jump it, they pirouetted at the apex and nailed the dismount.

Remember that next time you hear any tobacco controller laughably say they are part of a 'health group'. 

Thursday 18 May 2017

Jamie Oliver Is In Australia, Close The Border

Slack-jowelled uber-hypocrite Jamie Oliver has been in Australia this week but, before you get excited, sadly Essex's most esteemed serial arsehole is likely to be coming back.

It's curious that in the past we used to deport hungry poor people to the other side of the world for stealing a loaf of bread, while now mega-rich elitists like Oliver - who advocate policies which steal pocket money from kids - travel there in luxury and enjoy fawning articles promoting his snobbery masquerading as concern for health.

Articles like this one, for example.
Oliver, who has campaigned heavily for a sugary drinks tax in Britain, points to Coca-Cola as one of those big businesses that needs to be doing better. 
"Not that they're my arch enemy – although they probably are – but, if you look at Coke and say, 'Could they be a health food company in 100 years?' I believe they can." 
Well I'm baffled as to how Coca-Cola could be your arch enemy, Jamie, seeing as you sell their full sugar version for a very profitable £2.65 per 330ml can, but whatever.
"I donated 18 months to telling the sugar tax story in the UK, but it's all based on science and fact and the same science and fact applies to Australia."
Hmm, 'donated' is an odd word to use for regularly being in national headlines just prior to the launch of a new book, but as for "science and fact", huh? A consistent and decades long reduction in sugar consumption and a non-existent 'obesity epidemic' doesn't require a sugar tax, Jamie. If politicians stuck to science and fact instead of junk science and career lobbyist bullshit the idea would have been laughed out of parliament. I think the word you are actually searching for is propaganda.
"The conservative UK government didn't want to make that sugar tax policy, but we got it because, when it comes to the crunch, a modern day prime minister has to act on the data if the story is told correctly."
Or maybe the prime minister was a weak pussy and acted on the threat of bullying from people like Jamie and the hundreds of thousands of fellow vile ovine snobs who follow him, because the story sure as shit wasn't "told correctly" by the extremist lunatics who demanded it.
"I think the interesting thing about Australia is that not one major party is even debating or sniffing about it. But France, Portugal, Hungary, Ireland and the UK are all in. Australia will fall in line, too."
It is to Australia's immense credit that they haven't yet fallen for the lies bandied about concerning a sugar tax, and current thinking there is that it is daft and won't work, which is correct because it won't.
Critics of a sugar tax in Australia claim the government shouldn't be interfering with our freedom of choice.
Ya don't fucking say!
Similar to what happened with the introduction of plain packaging tobacco laws and push for pokie reforms, the term "nanny state" is thrown around a lot.
The obligatory reference to tobacco, but remember there is no slippery slope, oh no.
"Australia is a bit obsessed by the nanny state thing, isn't it?" says the chef. 
Probably because it is the most advanced nanny state in the world, Jamie. That would tend to get up many people's noses if they lived amongst it daily.
"But ask Aussie parents if they're cool with 15 cents on a can of sugary soft drink going to schools for food education and sports. When we said that in the UK, the sugar tax polled at 75 per cent approval. The nanny state argument from knobheads is bollocks. This is f--king common sense."
Not really, gobshite. Isn't the tax supposed to reduce consumption? How will significant amounts of money be generated and still reduce the sales of something you say is detrimental to health? You can't have it both ways.
To get a sugary drinks tax implemented in Australia means "mobilising Aussie parents to just tell the government what to do," says Oliver.
This is a quite stunning concept! So Jamie is saying that parents - you know, the people who decide what their kids can and can't eat and drink - should tell the government what to tell them their kids can and can't eat and drink? Erm, why don't those parents just cut out the middle man and stop their kids drinking sugary food and drinks if that's what they want?

The simple answer to that question is that they're not really bothered about their own kids are they? Nor is Jamie, I'm sure his only drink water and eat wholesome sugar-free stuff (as in, not anything Jamie cooks). They are talking about the proverbial and sinister "our children" which they have appropriated as their own to mask their repulsive bigotry.

Theirs is the type of irrational contempt once reserved for other minorities. But it's no longer acceptable - in fact, it's illegal - to discriminate on race, gender, disability, sexuality or religion, so the hateful compulsion to feel superior has to get shifted somewhere. It is, though, perfectly OK for Jamie and his horrible fans to sneer at those fat kids they see in the High Street, to disapprove when they see lower classes coming out of McDonald's, and to demand that government does something about it.

This is the kind of person who loves Jamie Oliver; the control freak whose life is so empty, dull and formulaic that they get their kicks out making other people's business their own without asking, and of thrusting themselves into the lives of others of whom they disapprove.
"But the genius of the sugary drinks tax is that when it happened in the UK, it was the first time I can remember the government standing up and giving the industry a spank. Every other part of the food industry witnessed it so, at a rate faster than I can tell you, the whole industry is reformulating shit out of the food chain. Cutting back on all the salt, fat and sugar. They haven't been asked to do it either — it all comes from that one action."
No, they weren't asked, Jamie, they were threatened, there's a very significant difference.

It won't matter to multi-millionaire Jamie that government adds a levy on Coca-Cola because he'll carry on selling it to rich affected twats who visit his overpriced, sugar-laden restaurants at an eye-watering mark-up. It won't matter to his interfering and snooty middle and upper class followers either, they can afford to pay a bit more for their kids' treats after they have finished their main course of steamed kale and pine nuts washed down with San Pellegrino. It will, though, punish those who Jamie and his repulsive fan base find so objectionable, the poor.

Or, as put brilliantly in the Telegraph at the time Osborne announced the UK's sumptuary sugar tax.
Virtue-signalling politicians, bureaucrats and celebrities feeling tremendously good about themselves because they’ve bossed the rest of us around, and imposed a stealth tax on those least able to afford it.

Oliver succeeds because he panders to the dark and anti-social nature of some of the most hideous people in our midst. He peddles pomposity and the right of self-centred individuals to impose their petty prejudices on others. He is a modern day Marie Antoinette so it is no surprise that his crusade draws on the tobacco control industry for inspiration because their reasoning is equally mired in junk science and their fans equally disgusting.

Australia, can we persuade you to keep him? Essex's, erm, loss could be your gain, after all. 

Wednesday 17 May 2017

Joined-Up Lobbying

ITV's Chris Choi is today asking for thoughts on the new regulations being brought in at the end of this week as a result of the EU's appalling Tobacco Products Directive which was presided over by a crook.

One of the new rules is, of course, that packs of 10 cigarettes will be banned. So here is a view which he might like to hear.
Education not legislation is needed to lower smoking rates in Britain, Martin Dockrell, head of policy at anti-smoking charity ASH, has said. 
"Stopping people from smoking is only a little about law, and much more about hearts and minds." 
He also criticised the DoH's proposal to restrict sales of cigarettes in packs of 10. "People buy smaller pack sizes such as 10s when they are attempting to reduce their tobacco consumption and quit," he said. "If you wanted people to lose weight you wouldn't take away fun-sized chocolate bars and only sell jumbos. I'm with the retailers on this one."
Dockrell is now at Public Health England but ASH, as I don't need to remind you, fully supported the TPD (including the ban on packs of 10) and lobbied furiously in its defence.

It's never been about health. 

Tuesday 16 May 2017

A Good Aussie Speaks Up, Again

As another entry in an occasional series, let's look in on Sydney Australia for more outstanding parliamentarian contributions from this blog's chum, Peter Phelps.

If you've not heard of him before, my introduction from October last year might help.
Those with a good memory might remember Peter Phelps, an Australian politician and Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council. Phelps is notable for being incredibly principled in defending liberal values in such an illiberal environment as NSW, and in a chamber which is situated in nanny state central Sydney. As such, I was thrilled to unexpectedly meet him in July during a coffee break at a Royal Society of Medicine event on over-regulation of pleasure
Last year - when he was government whip no less - I wrote about how he casually entered a chamber packed full of variously ignorant prejudiced prohibitionists armed only with insults, smears, innuendo, wild assumptions, and downright lies, and placed in front of them simple incontrovertible facts about e-cigarettes. 
And arguably won hands down.
That article was about how he was speaking at New South Wales's "Inquiry into childhood overweight and obesity", and bedevilling a dried-up crone who believes kids should be deprived McDonald's, Coca-Cola and chocolate because, erm, because she knows better than a kid's parents how to bring up their own kids.

Well our Peter has been doing the same again last week, this time revealing some inconvenient truths to politicians in his state who feel it's their job to dictate what people eat and drink. Which, of course, it is not.
The real problem is that, in fact, there is no obesity epidemic. The obesity epidemic is a myth, especially an obesity epidemic amongst children. For example, the most current report of the Australian Bureau of Statistics says: 
Around one in four children … aged 5-17 years were overweight or obese, similar to 2011.
That statement made me go back to the 2009 ABS report, which said: 
In 2007-08, one-quarter of all Australian children … were overweight or obese …
So I went back even further and noted that this number has not changed. The obesity epidemic is so great that there has been no real change in the number of overweight or obese children. I went back even further and found that, based on children's body mass index [BMI], from 1995 onwards—in other words for the past 20 years—there has been no substantive change. Indeed, the ABS makes the point in its 2009-10 yearbook that differences between the numbers in 1995 and 2007-08 are not statistically significant. 
That means that there is no statistically significant difference in the number of overweight children between 1995 and 2007-08—and by implication at the current time. The whole idea that there is an obesity crisis or an obesity epidemic is complete and utter bunkum.
It's almost like politicians don't even read the statistics that are collated for them at huge expense to the taxpayer, isn't it?

The result of all this propaganda, of course, is that the New South Wales parliament wants to restrict certain popular food and drink items from being sold in school canteens, in order to tackle an obesity 'epidemic' which doesn't actually exist except in the fevered, grant-thirsty minds of state-subsidised 'public heath' snobs.
They are saying, "It is not about restricting choice, but we're going to restrict choice." (it's true, see here - DP)  Is there a more Kafkaesque press release than this? "We're not restricting choice; we're just restricting choice." That is the sort of nonsense we face.
Phelps then goes for the jugular, in amusing fashion.
Welcome to the New South Wales education system where, in health and personal development classes and sex education, students can be told, "It's okay to fellate your boyfriend three times a week, but because of health requirements you can only have a sausage roll once every semester."
And whose fault is the latter (I'm certainly not going to comment on the former!)? Well, Phelps knows that - as we do - very well.
Who are the people pushing this nonsense? There is a willing cohort of public health activists who are always ready to fabricate a crisis to get on the public teat and get a bit of Government money. 
[I]f you look at the arguments that are used more often than not and the statistics for soft drinks—and I recognise the member's comments on sugar taxes—you will see that it is not based on any real evidence. In Australia there is a declining consumption of sugary drinks in the entire population and most notably amongst children. The only real growth in soft drinks happens at the level of those aged 50 and over. Why does this happen? Because there are people who believe that your body belongs to the State. It is the mantra of public health totalitarians everywhere. It has unfortunate resonances with the totalitarian regimes of Europe in the 1930s, whether of a red or a black variety. Both basically said that your body belongs to the State. When we accept that as a basic premise, we have lost the true meaning of what it is to be a classical liberal in this day and age.
Damn right!

And, as Phelps also points out, this is a hark back to the principle of sumptuary law, whereby poor people are deemed not worthy of consuming what rich elites do without a care. In other words, naked and unabashed, bigoted snobbery.

Of course, when you call out such bigots and snobs, they don't react very well, as Australia's state-funded broadcaster eagerly reported (click through for video clip).
There are now calls for Premier Gladys Berejiklian to pull Dr Phelps into line after he criticised his own Government's new healthy school canteen strategy. 
The Opposition's health spokesman, Walt Secord, said Dr Phelp's remarks crossed the line. 
"I think it's time the Premier acted on Dr Phelps ... he does this on a weekly bases he just makes outlandish, outrageous comments and he is beginning to treat the Parliament like a 1950s locker room," he said.
We don't want none of that truth thing in parliament, now do we? He has to be removed or, before you know it, the public will be able to make their own choices without being hectored by tax-sponging control freaks waving shrouds and junk science ... and then where would we be?

Well played Mr Phelps, again, the world sorely needs more truth-telling myth-slayers like you.

See also: When political correctness matters more than common sense - Spectator

Monday 15 May 2017

It's The Vaping, Stupid!

You know, if truth was personified, strolled up to ASH HQ and introduced itself to the rancid tax-spongers with its business card, they would still have trouble recognising it. They simply don't do honesty.

Today, the odious, illiberal, disingenuous coven of troughing sock puppets have yet again been twisting language to claim credit for declining smoking rates which should, properly, be attributed to e-cigs.
Getting rid of glitzy, heavily branded tobacco packs is the latest in a long line of achievements by the UK which is a global leader in tobacco control. We now have among the fastest declining smoking rates in the world thanks to decades of sound policy, but smoking rates among the poorest and most disadvantaged remain high.
E-cigs are not a 'policy', they are a product which has been fuelling those "fastest declining smoking rates" of which ASH speak. Yet their article, as has become customary, makes no mention of e-cigs or vaping whatsoever.

I suppose it's awkward for them because they have to keep themselves relevant in the eyes of politicians, despite being quite the opposite. Nothing they have done in the past decade has worked, (and neither will plain packs) as Snowdon noted in March.
[T]here is scant evidence that 'strong tobacco control measures are working'. You can see in the graph above that the smoking rate was falling steadily until 2007 when the smoking ban ushered in a wave of extreme anti-smoking policies. The ban itself was introduced in July 2007, the smoking age was raised from 16 to 18 in October 2007, graphic warnings were introduced in 2008, the tobacco duty escalator was introduced in 2008 and the ban on cigarette vending machines began in 2011. All this was combined with a bunch of anti-smoking advertisements which were so gruesome that some of them were banned
The effect of this frenzy of prohibitions can be seen above, ie. nothing. The fall in smoking prevalence came to an end and the smoking rate stayed stubbornly at around the 20 per cent mark until e-cigarettes became mainstream in 2012-13. Between 2012 and 2015, the only anti-smoking law that was introduced was the display ban but that didn't come into effect until April 2015.  
The only things achieved by 'strong tobacco control measures' are the mass closure of pubs, the maintenance of a large black market for cigarettes, and secondary poverty for low income smokers.
By contrast, e-cigarettes have given people who want to quit smoking an enjoyable and vastly safer alternative.
Quite. In fact, the success of e-cigs has been achieved despite the efforts of ASH, as I described recently.
[B]ack in 2010, the medical community were arguing that e-cigs should be banned within 21 days or - ASH's preference - banned after a year if manufacturers had not applied for medicinal licensing. 
Due to the power of vapers standing up for themselves, that failed. However, in 2013, ASH were still desperately attempting to destroy vaping by getting the whole market banned unless it was medicinalised, as their own emails showed
In 2015 they were then caught enthusiastically cheerleading bans on vaping in hospitals, while their colleagues in Wales were proud to append their logo to a no vaping sign as they declared how they "fully welcome" a beach vaping ban. ASH have since been woefully inadequate in speaking up about pointless vaping bans as they have spread like wildfire in recent years. 
Then, last year, a number of Lords engaged in a debate over the Tobacco Products Directive and its degenerate regulations on vaping. This encouraged Lord Callanan to put forward a fatal motion in the Lords which - in the face of disgraceful lobbying by ASH - was beaten down into a far less powerful 'regret' motion. Even this wasn't good enough for ASH, who then attacked the regret motion too
They then dismissed the damaging consequences of the TPD by saying that a quarter of a million smokers turned away from e-cigs - because of an arbitrary and vacuous limit on nicotine strength - don't really matter.
And, as if to prove the proverb that leopards never lose their spots, since then ASH have illustrated that they are still trying to place obstacles in front of vaping.

So I suppose we can understand why ASH would prefer not to talk about vaping too much, it would show up how pointless all their prohibitionist policies have been, while vaping comes along and shows that free market solutions work far better than highly-paid, morally-incontinent NGOs with a propensity for lying.

As usual, ASH's article finishes with a plea for a new tobacco control plan (with, presumably, a renewal of ASH's funding next time round to implement it). Yet it's clear from experience in the past decade that the best thing politicians can do is to defund meddlesome and obstructive ASH, repeal legislation on e-cigs that ASH lobbied furiously for, step back, and let vaping do the hard work at no cost to the exchequor.

ASH have had absolutely nothing to do with declining smoking rates; since 2012 it's been the vaping, stupid! 

Thursday 11 May 2017

Stop Pretending, 'Public Health' - You're Simply Common Prohibitionists

A few years ago comedian Steve Hughes jokingly spoke of the approach 'public health' has towards smoking.
"Can we still buy cigarettes?"
"Of course!"
"Where can we smoke them?"
Now, it's a regular refrain from the vile, selfish wankers who form tobacco control's fan base - basically curtain-twitching prodnoses who believe the world revolves around them, their shit doesn't stink, and that they are entitled to meddle in other people's lives - that smokers should smoke in their own homes and nowhere else.

Well, that's kind of the problem, because tobacco control fanatics can't tolerate even that, as we see from the weekend.
Professor John Middleton, president of the Faculty of Public Health, said adults smoking in the home damaged the development of children’s lungs and put babies at risk of cot death. 
"Housing associations and councils are looking at smoke-free housing buildings. Where children are involved I think there is a real case for it,” Middleton said.
The head of "Faculty of Public Health", a civil servant who obviously fails to take into account the varied needs and desires of the public he is supposed to serve. Middleton cites a 'risk' - cobbled together using extreme cherry-picking and junk science - so negligible that when applied to Ibuprofen tablets, his colleagues summarily dismiss it, and employs this paltry non-concern to advocate depriving social housing tenants of one of the most fundamental rights of all; the freedom to do as one chooses in one's home.

These people are quite simply disgusting. There is no other word for it.

But then he has back-up from fellow state-funded tax leeches like Debs Arnott of ASH.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Ash, said the anti-smoking charity had a call last week from a woman whose granddaughter had cystic fibrosis and had never been able to visit because neighbours’ smoke from communal areas drifted into the grandmother’s home. 
Arnott said people were often “frustrated by councils’ and social landlords’ failure to take action”.
Hey, Debs, we have news for you. There are many more people who are "frustrated" that no-one in government is taking action to deprive you of the cash your organisation has been stealing from the taxpayer for over 40 years despite not a soul wanting to hand it to you voluntarily. Tell the woman the truth - that passive smoking is a long-fabricated lie fantasy health issue (as you very well know) - but if she is that worried, arrange a meeting in one of the thousands of venues you have ordered MPs to make 100% smokefree. Then, shut the fuck up.

In case you thought this is just a couple of barking mad outliers flaunting their wildest wet dreams in public, think again. Banning smoking in people's homes is a quietly-stated goal of all anti-smoking health professionals throughout the country, without exception. The reason for this cult-like wish to deprive smokers of their rights is, sadly, because the 'public health' abomination doesn't even recognise that people have rights in the first place, as this state-funded 2009 study from Scotland illustrates starkly.
On the one hand the home is a private space and there is some resistance found in the ethical debates inherent in public health literature to the blurring of the public/private boundary for smoke-free public health interventions. This is often articulated by libertarian arguments advocating the rights of smokers in their own home and opposing perceived encroachment of the State into private space.
On the one had the home is a private space? What other hand is there, exactly? As for the part about the encroachment of the state into private space being merely 'perceived'. No, it's real, because that is exactly what they are sitting around a table to work towards. We don't 'perceive' that they are working towards it, we can see with our own fucking eyes that they are.

Simon Clark has offered a very astute say on the matter here, so do go read, but I'd like to also add this.

Back in 2008, former Scottish Labour MP and decent sort Tom Harris had this to say about the very idea of home smoking bans.
But the Department of Health recently held a consultation on whether the smoking ban should be extended into people’s private vehicles and homes. Now, I know this caused a great deal of perfectly understandable outrage among a lot of people. So let me make this clear: the government will not, under any circumstances, legislate to stop people smoking in private. It would be a crazy move and, believe it or not, ministers are not crazy people - they’re politicians and they recognise political realities.

And if they did attempt to legislate in this direction, I would risk the wrath of those who don’t believe Scottish MPs should vote on English matters by voting against it.

But as I say, I won’t need to, because it’s not going to happen.
That was in 2008, but it shows how far down the absurdly dictatorial road those in 'public health' have taken us in the interim, with the backing of political lightweights who are as gullible as the lowest common denominator in their electorate.

If Harris is correct and politicians aren't that stupid, then why are people like Middleton and Arnott being funded? Who is calling them to account and telling them to stop this kind of Orwellian nonsense?

Secondly, why does 'public health' and the political class hate the less well off so much? This won't affect me because I own my home and if any of these people stepped on my territory to snoop I'd have a solicitor on them for trespass, a luxury not available to those in social housing that disgusting people like Middleton and Arnott wish to harass and bully.

Thirdly, if the tobacco control gravy train is now demanding bans in homes, can they stop denying they are full-blown, hysterical Prohibitionists? Even their most ardent troglodyte fans don't believe it is a justified measure, so why not just come out and admit it? Drop the facade and demand full prohibition of tobacco, and stop wasting everyone's time and money.

Steve Hughes made jokes about the ludicrous positions that anti-smokers make in the UK; he meant it as a parody. But they really are that ridiculous, and it's not funny any more. When they are actively attempting to remove rights of people in their own homes, politicians should act - as Tom Harris rightly said, rationally - recognise that they are beyond the pale; defund them; and also jail a few as the dangerous, bullying, inhumane, anti-social bastards into the bargain. 

Monday 8 May 2017

The Staggering Hypocrisy Of ASH

Sometimes the hypocrisy displayed by ASH reaches spectacular levels, and today is one such occasion.

Via the BBC (emphases mine):
Some 1.5 million vapers are ex-smokers, compared with 1.3 million who still use tobacco, a survey of 12,000 adults for Action on Smoking and Health found. 
But Ash said the message that vaping was much less harmful than smoking had not yet got through to all smokers
Deborah Arnott, the campaigning health charity's chief executive, said the figures on vapers who had quit smoking were "excellent news" but that the rate of people switching to electronic versions had peaked. 
"The rapid growth in e-cigarette use has come to an end," she said. 
This is because more than a third of smokers have still never tried e-cigarettes, as a result of concerns about the safety and addictiveness of e-cigarettes
But research suggests that 26% of people think e-cigarettes are more - or equally as - harmful as smoking tobacco while only 13% believe they are a lot less harmful. 
"It's very important smokers realise that vaping is much, much less harmful than smoking," she added.
So what, exactly, has ASH been doing to get this "important" message across to smokers then?

Well, back in 2010, the medical community were arguing that e-cigs should be banned within 21 days or - ASH's preference - banned after a year if manufacturers had not applied for medicinal licensing.

Due to the power of vapers standing up for themselves, that failed. However, in 2013, ASH were still desperately attempting to destroy vaping by getting the whole market banned unless it was medicinalised, as their own emails showed.

In 2015 they were then caught enthusiastically cheerleading bans on vaping in hospitals, while their colleagues in Wales were proud to append their logo to a no vaping sign as they declared how they "fully welcome" a beach vaping ban. ASH have since been woefully inadequate in speaking up about pointless vaping bans as they have spread like wildfire in recent years.

Then, last year, a number of Lords engaged in a debate over the Tobacco Products Directive and its degenerate regulations on vaping. This encouraged Lord Callanan to put forward a fatal motion in the Lords which - in the face of disgraceful lobbying by ASH - was beaten down into a far less powerful 'regret' motion. Even this wasn't good enough for ASH, who then attacked the regret motion too.

They then dismissed the damaging consequences of the TPD by saying that a quarter of a million smokers turned away from e-cigs - because of an arbitrary and vacuous limit on nicotine strength - don't really matter.

The result of the TPD that ASH so furiously lobbied for is that a packet of coils for use with an e-cig now looks like this.

ASH will tell you till they are blue in the face that health warnings like that pictured above are highly effective at deterring use of the products they are attached to. So why did they lobby so hard for them if they're concerned that the "important" message gets out to smokers that e-cigs are far less harmful?

Talk of e-cigs being medicinalised implies to the public that there is something very dangerous about them; ASH desperately tried to class e-cigs as medicines. Health warnings will convince the public that e-cigs are "highly addictive" and dangerous; ASH lobbied in favour of them. Vaping bans tell the public that e-cigs must be harmful or the authorities wouldn't ban them; ASH support some bans and have done nothing to stop any prospective ban, let alone turn back the tide wholesale. And ASH lobbied relentlessly to burden vaping products with counterproductive, and entirely unnecessary, regulations which - yet again - send a signal to the public that there must be something very risky about them.

The sheer brass neck Arnott must have to wonder why "the message vaping was much less harmful than smoking had not yet got through to all smokers" is superlatively jaw-dropping!

If you want to know why that "important" message is not being understood by smokers, ASH, look in the mirror because it is entirely the fault of repulsive, anti-social, parasitical tobacco controllers like you.


The NNA has also written on this subject, quite rightly pointing out that today's news is an early indication of the TPD causing harm. They also agree with me about a cause of this abject failure.
It is certainly true that public misperceptions about the risk of vaping relative to smoking have played a significant role in discouraging many smokers to switch to the very much safer alternative. Vaping is estimated to be at least 95% safer than smoking for the consumer, and there are no known risks for bystanders. But what is driving that misperception? What do we do with potentially dangerous products? We restrict their availability, we restrict their use, we restrict the advertising of them, we stifle their innovation via regulations and we force the manufacturers to emblazon them with scary warnings - just as the EU TPD and its UK incarnation the TRPR plus a myriad of public and private space usage bans have done with e-cigarettes. It's hardly surprising that the public then seize upon every garbage media report of shoddy science that surfaces and believes it to be true - the government has all but told them so in its regulation of the products.

And every single one of those measures I have emboldened was heartily lobbied for and cheered along by ASH. Well done Debs and chums, well done. Congratulations for comprehensively blurring that message you have been saying is so "important" today. Was it pure incompetence on your part or have you finally embraced being part of the tobacco industry after all these years? 

Wednesday 3 May 2017

Awkward Facts Emerge From France

Oh dear. It seems that, just like in Australia, plain packaging is having the same polar opposite effect that tobacco control industry troughers were hoping for in France.

Via The Local:
Smoking on the rise in France despite rollout of plain packaging
Since France introduced a ban on branded cigarettes in January 2017, more packets of cigarettes have been sold compared to last year when branding was allowed, according to the country's Customs Office (L'administration des Douanes). 
In March alone the French bought four million packets of cigarettes, over four percent more than during the same period last year.
It's a bit of a dog's breakfast, isn't it?

The problem for tobacco control is that they delude themselves on a daily basis, and have done for decades. Sitting in their ensconced echo chamber shunning all meaningful debate with the outside world, they have become accustomed to convincing themselves that their policy-led rhetoric is somehow a form of truth, despite being the very opposite.

In this case, they have hoodwinked themselves into being very confident that a policy which every man or woman on the street knows won't work, will. They are so incredibly naive that I really should get round to designing that brochure to show off the fine array of handsome-looking bridges that I intend to market to them in the near future.

It's easy to see how their heroic predictions for plain packaging were rooted in sand when you take a quick glance at the ridiculous propaganda they utilised to get the daft idea past wooden-top MPs in the first place. Apparently it would make the warnings more visible, yeah, so what? No-one looks at them after the first glance. They would increase calls to quit lines, yeah so what? Calling a quit line and actually quitting are entirely different things, as the NHS agrees. It is the opinion of tobacco controllers that the policy they have their future income pinned on will work, yeah so what? Everyone has an opinion, and by the law of averages around 50% of them will be wrong - considering tobacco control comes from a low, fact-devoid base, their opinions are invariably less accurate than that.

Christ! Cancer Research UK even provided them a study where kids told how they have never seen the 'glitzy' packs that they were getting so agitated about! What does it take to make these morons realise it's a dud policy? Does it need to be tattooed on their palms before they start to get it?

So, no, it's not a surprise that plain packaging is failing in France. In fact, it's very predictable.

Just last week, a piece of worthless fantasy bullshit stated that 300,000 smokers would quit in the next year solely as a result of plain packaging. We already know this is star-gazing fuckwittery from people so inept that they shouldn't be allowed to handle a sharpened pencil without supervision. They are not just living in cloud cuckoo land, they are whacked off their heads on crack while living in cloud cuckoo land ... yet government pays them!

Meanwhile, in Australia, tobacco control's Clown-in-Chief is valiantly trying to paint lipstick on his pig of an idea.

It has always been maintained that the tobacco industry fought plain packs because it took away premium branding and the ability to fight competitors for market share, therefore ossifying the market. No tobacco company believed for a second it would harm sales.

Chappers has been pointing to "The Scream Test" as proof positive that plain packs was a winner for years, but now it's been shown to be a damp squib - as anyone not a self-deluded tobacco control cultist knew would be the case - he's even trying to deny reality that is in front of his very eyes. What goes on in the limited mind of someone like that? So the scream test was proof that it will work and now it isn't working the scream test proves that the French are talking bollocks? The mind boggles.

Simon, it's not working in France! This is a fact. Howling at the moon and restating that it surely must work because 'Big Tobacco' fought it doesn't change that. It is you that has the problem of comprehension, sunshine, not the rest of us who live in the real world.

It's long past time we stopped paying these people. Tobacco control is packed to the gunwales with propagandists, junk scientists, chancers, journeyman no-marks, charlatans and weapons grade cretins. Politicians and civil servants, for the love of whichever deity you have faith in or not, turn the fucking tax tap off.


See also: The curse of plain packaging - VGIF