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? 

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