Tuesday 31 October 2017

Keyboard At The Ready, Vapers

Here's one for those British vapers who like to engage in a bit of advocacy occasionally. Firstly, you might like to watch this video which has just been released (a longer version is available here).

Now, imagine if your local MP were to see that. It might give him/her/it a fresh perspective, don't you think?

Now also imagine they were to see it and were also told about this debate in Westminster Hall tomorrow morning, eh?
9.30 am - 11.00 am - Vaping 
To be moved by Gareth Johnson, MP for Dartford
Wouldn't it be good if your representative was tempted to take part in that debate? It may be that it was one that had eluded their attention, so a reminder can't hurt, can it?

Yes, I know it's tight for time but you never know. If nothing else, a message from a constituent (i.e. you) may result in a researcher being sent along to take some notes.

Anyway, if you are minded to, you can contact your MP easily at this link. Good luck. 

Monday 30 October 2017

Nicotine, Public Health, And The Profit Motive

It's taken me a few days to get round to writing this but there was a BAT Investor Day held in London last week that threw up a small, but vital, nugget of information.

Wells Fargo Securities circulated a summary of the event via email and described the presentation on next generation products (NGPs) as "the highlight". It spoke of how the global NGP category is likely to reach £30bn by 2020 and how both BAT and PMI expect NGPs will represent 30% of their revenue by 2030. Between them, the companies are now operating in 43 markets (PMI 31, BAT 12) after investing literally billions in R&D and roll-out, and both companies have struggled to reach manufacturing capacity to fully satisfy demand.

But this particular piece of info tells a huge story:
"In terms of profitability, BAT expects tobacco heating product (THP) margins will be higher than combustible cigs and sees vapour margins even higher than THP given that vaping taxes are lower."
You have to bear in mind that this is financial information the company is under an obligation to report truthfully to their shareholders, and there are stiff penalties if they mislead them (just look at Tesco recently). It's not the kind of airy-fairy say-the-first-thing-that-comes-into-your-head propaganda more preferred by the tobacco control industry. No, instead BAT have looked at profitability and identified that e-cigs and heat not burn both offer them more potential profit than traditional combustible tobacco, with the highest margin being derived from vaping products.

I've mentioned this before, but if you seriously want to know why the tobacco industry has gone headlong into reduced risk products in the past few years, there is a very simple reason. It's because they will earn more money out of them. Period.

Cigarette profit margins v E-cig profit margins
Cigarette profit margins v Heat not burn profit margins

Now, considering this hierarchy of profit within the industry, you have to wonder at the mentality - and motivation - of tobacco control conspiracy theorists who claim that it's all a plot to keep smokers smoking instead of quitting. Here's an example from one such cretin who still makes this same claim to this day:
Only the most naïve or captured advocates for vaping could fail to acknowledge that the tobacco industry wants people who vape to smoke and vape, not vape instead of smoking.
Erm, why would any company want its customers to continue using its least profitable products when they have more profitable ones to offer? In reality, much of the reason that the tobacco industry isn't bombarding smokers globally with marketing to make them switch to NGPs is because governments - aided and abetted by tobacco control lobbyists fearful of losing their lucrative seat on the gravy train - have banned them! So if they can't sell their most profitable products they are locked into a situation where they can only, by law, sell their less profitable ones.

We are therefore in this bizarre new world where industry is desperate to sell less harmful products because they are more profitable, while 'public health' runs around spreading misleading information and lies to ensure that the more dangerous combustible tobacco is the only product available. It's a simple and classic case of "follow the money".

Many in public health will often condemn industry for putting pursuit of profit ahead of health, yet all over the world now, it is clear that 'public health' is the greatest threat to the public's health when it comes to nicotine. And, in much the same way as we are on the side of the angels here, it is increasingly also clear that it is now industry working to reduce harm, while the tobacco control cartel works furiously to prolong it. 

Friday 27 October 2017

Travel Advice For Australia Updated For Vapers

Earlier this week I wrote to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to point out that they issued warnings about travelling to Thailand but didn't mention that vapers could be criminalised in Australia too.

Click to enlarge
Well, I've heard back and the page relating to Oz has now been updated with this wording ... immediately after the part about illegal drugs.
The legality of using e-cigarettes in Australia differs between states. Liquid nicotine is classed as a poison and banned from sale nationwide, however some states allow importation for personal use and the use of e-cigarettes without nicotine. You should seek local advice on what restrictions are in place at your destination.
Or, even, just avoid going there to be safe, eh?

It's not as strongly-worded as the warning for Thailand, but then no British tourist has been banged up yet. If/when that happens I guess they'll upgrade the message.

I'm sure the Australian tourist board will be chuffed to bits with the new advice. "Come to Australia, you could be fined or arrested for quitting smoking" isn't the kind of thing you see in their glossy holiday adverts, is it? But I feel certain they're happy that potential tourists to their country are properly informed that they either smoke while they are over there or take a risk with the vape and gamble with their freedom and holiday money.

Bravo FCO!

Wednesday 25 October 2017

'Sensible' Regulation For E-Cigs

Just catching up after an illuminating couple of days in Ireland, I saw this and thought you might be amused.

Isn't that marvellous? The EU has imposed a regulation on all 28 member states which describes a solid inanimate object as containing nicotine when it plainly doesn't. The regulation is so ridiculous that simply by applying it the manufacturer is contravening legislation designed to protect the public from misleading information.

The MHRA then suggests that a way round this is to add qualifying text which corrects the regulation which is contravening legislation designed to protect the public.

But ... this text then contravenes the original EU regulation because it illegally modifies the EU's original demand. 

However, that's OK because the MHRA won't enforce it, probably because it would make them complicit in contravening the EU TPD.

I know it's a hackneyed phrase, but you really couldn't make this kind of absurd EU incompetence up, could you? Can we leave yet? 

Monday 23 October 2017

Dear Foreign And Commonwealth Office ...

Following recent news about how Thailand has banned smoking on a number of popular beaches under threat of imprisonment, I noticed an anomaly on the Government's website for tourist guidance, so I thought I'd better write to them and point it out.

You see, on their Thailand page, they carry this advice.
Thai authorities have announced that in November they will introduce a smoking ban on beaches in certain tourist areas, including in Koh Samui, Pattaya and in Phuket, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chon Buri and Songkhla provinces. Those caught smoking in non-designated areas could face a 100,000 baht fine or up to a year in prison. You should follow local guidance. 
You can’t bring vaporisers (like e-cigarettes and e-baraku) or refills into Thailand. These items are likely to be confiscated and you could be fined or sent to prison for up to 10 years if convicted. The sale or supply of e-cigarettes and similar devices is also banned and you could face a heavy fine or up to 5 years imprisonment if found guilty.
Yes, Thailand is bonkers and fully in the grip of the anti-smoking cult's clutches. However, Australia is similarly afflicted with a nationwide state level infestation of weasel-headed shitgibbons, hence this absurd set of punishments for anyone daring to vape using nicotine.

Click to enlarge
Imprisonment, yes. Three states in Australia think an appropriate penalty for someone stopping smoking by using an e-cig is imprisonment, and all of them think criminalising vapers is the right thing to do. You have to wonder at how very dense their elected representatives have to be, don't you?

Yet here is the corresponding web page advising potential British tourists to Australia. As you can see, there is no warning that visitors could end up in the slammer due to the barking insanity of the fuckspanners who created Australia's science-free e-cigs policies.

It's quite obviously a glaring omission from the FCO so - doing my duty as a loyal and concerned UK citizen - I felt it necessary to write to them to ensure they carry the same important guidance for Australia that they do for the similar basket case stupidity in Thailand.

Here's my letter.
Dear Sir/Madam 
I note that you advise on your local laws and customs pages for Thailand that tourists entering the country can be criminalised and imprisoned for smoking on beaches, or for possession of vaping equipment. This is very good advice. It is important to highlight extremist policies imposed by backward nations that might impact on unwary British travellers.  
However, I think you should also carry the same severe warning on your site for British citizens who intend to travel to Australia. The UK government's recent Tobacco Control Plan stated an intention to support the use of e-cigarettes and Public Health England's Stoptober campaign prominently highlighted vaping as a valid way of quitting smoking. This may give the impression to UK nationals that other countries with a western outlook on life might have the same values as us. However, Australia thinks entirely differently, with every jurisdiction banning possession of e-cigs that are encouraged in the UK, some even threatening imprisonment.  
Click to enlarge
Currently, your page on Australia doesn't mention this. I therefore believe you should be issuing guidance to potential tourists to Australia that if they are vapers they should avoid travelling there as the country is extremely hostile to them. Queensland, for example, even has a 'snitch line' and encourages the public to report sale or possession of e-cigarettes! Just imagine some poor blighter from the UK on a Brisbane beach using the e-cig his local stop smoking service encouraged him to buy, only to be arrested and/or fined on his holiday because someone saw him and called the cops. 
I would like to thank you for continuing to educate our citizens as to the vagaries of legislation in basket case nations like Thailand and Australia and hope you will see fit to update your guidance as a matter of urgency.  
Best regards
Richard Puddlecote (concerned citizen on the side of the angels)
Well, it's only right that travellers are properly informed, don't you think? 

Thursday 19 October 2017

Mugabe: WHO Role Model Of The Month

Only last month we saw a WHO regional director holding up North Korea as a global beacon in 'progressive' health policy by banning e-cigs. However, I think this month they have topped even that.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday appointed President Robert Mugabe as a global health ambassador for Africa to help governments tackle chronic diseases such as diabetes, stroke, cancer and heart disease.  
Mugabe, Africa's oldest ruler at 93, will work with national and local politicians to highlight the heavy economic and health burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), United Nations health agency said. 
WHO director-general Tedros Ad-hanom Ghebreyesus said Mugabe's appointment would enable governments to "strengthen our response together" to these "major public health challenges". 
NCDs and injuries are responsible for 43 million deaths each year, according to the WHO - almost 80 percent of all deaths worldwide - but the much of the premature death and disability they cause could be prevented with lifestyle-targeted measures. 
Mugabe's role will be to encourage policies aimed at reducing peoples' exposure to the main risk factors - tobacco and alcohol use, unhealthy diets and lack of exercise.
Calling Mugabe a "respected Statesman", the article describes how he is "passionate" about NCDs, presumably because he wants people to live for as long as possible. Which is quite ironic considering he massacred over 20,000 people in the 1980s. Francis Maude had this to say in 2000 following a visit to Zimbabwe.
Two things became clear in the two days I spent in Zimbabwe. First, it is obvious that the general election later this month will not be free or fair. It is being rigged. Any pretence to the contrary is misleading and self-serving. And second, most importantly for the immediate future, people from all walks of life opposed to Mugabe are in danger from violence after - as well as before - the election. 
Voters in many parts of the country have already been cowed by Mugabe's state terrorism. His thugs have kidnapped, tortured and murdered opponents from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition party. And these intense and sudden bouts of violence have served as a warning to others. 
Whites and blacks told us how units of Zanu-PF thugs have toured the country setting up mobile re-education units, where peasant farmers are corralled and then bullied or beaten into submission. People made it clear that this violence has been planned and controlled by Mugabe personally.
In 2008, Human Rights Watch was documenting further atrocities.
President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and state security forces have sharply intensified a campaign of organized terror and torture against opposition activists and ordinary Zimbabweans, Human Rights Watch said today. Armed riot police raided the Harare headquarters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on April 25, 2008 and arbitrarily arrested scores of people, including women and children seeking refuge there. 
“We’re seeing a major increase in government-sponsored violence in Zimbabwe right now,” said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The ruling party has been sending its allies – youth militia and so-called “war veterans” – after people it thinks voted for the opposition in last month’s election. In recent days, the army has been playing a direct role in the repression, and police have arrested people fleeing the violence. Now anyone seen as opposing Mugabe is in danger.” 
Over the past few days, Human Rights Watch has documented a pattern of increasing violence by ZANU-PF militias and the military, both in the number of incidents recorded and the brutality used.
At the same time,  The Telegraph was describing how the "death toll rises in Robert Mugabe's reign of terror before election" while the BBC was giving us "a glimpse of Mugabe terror".

But now, he has been welcomed into the World Health Organisation family by WHO director-general Tedros Ad-hanom Ghebreyesus (who has a few question marks about brutality hanging over his head too, by the way) and is currently in Uruguay as a guest of honour at the WHO's conference on NCDs. Some delegates are very excited about it all too.

As I've said before, from Turkmenistan through the Philippines and all the way to North Korea, it seems there isn't a murderous dictator the WHO doesn't like. Maybe there is something about the unaccountability and corruption such leaders indulge in which appeals to the unelected and dictatorial WHO, who knows?

Anyway, we now have the pleasure of watching on as Mugabe tells the world to stop drinking alcohol, smoking, eating nice foods and drinking fizzy drinks. Because, you see, that's the way to guarantee a long and healthy life ... except, of course, if you live in Zimbabwe. 

Sunday 15 October 2017

Drafting An ASA E-Cigs Consultation Response

Tomorrow sees the deadline for a consultation by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about regulations placed on ads for e-cigs.

The ASA claim this has come about due to products becoming more reliable, but it's fair to say that their rules have been pretty much overtaken by events. What with the Tobacco Control Plan recently putting emphasis on e-cigs being part of the government's future strategy, and with Stoptober prominently featuring vapers in their ads, the rules as they are currently laid out are quite absurd.  Reason being that the CAP & BCAP rules both prohibit claims which are demonstrably true.

The accompanying consultation document states that the purpose of the rules on e-cigs are to make sure ads are "not misleading". Well, it is not misleading to say that vaping is less harmful than smoking because the same has been said by Public Health England, the Royal College of Physicians and it is mentioned in government documents too. It's a bit of a nonsense, therefore, that business can't say such things just because a bunch of idological anti-vaping extremists lobbied dullard MEPs in 2013 to protect the makers of useless pharmaceutical patches and gums.

So the ASA is consulting on bringing the rules back into the realms of reality by relaxing the wording to possibly allow general claims of relative risk. Here is the wording they intend to change ... very slightly.

click to enlarge
The simple deletion of those two words would technically permit an e-cig vendor to put an A-frame outside his shop saying that e-cigs are 95% less harmful than cigarettes (although, to be fair, the ASA were always fighting a losing battle with this because I've seen vendors do it anyway. They can hardly fear a court case when they can safely back the claim). Common sense really, isn't it?

So it's a fairly simple consultation to respond to.
Question 1 
Do you agree with CAP and BCAP’s proposal to remove the prohibition on health claims from unlicensed nicotine-containing e-cigarettes? If not please explain why. Please also provide any relevant evidence not already taken into account by CAP and BCAP in making this proposal.
Well of course.

Remember that the ASA is running a campaign on the tube claiming that they are there to ensure adverts are truthful.

So what could be more appropriate than having rules which allow e-cig business to tell the truth? It's a no-brainer.
Question 2 
Do you agree with CAP and BCAP’s proposed changes to the wording of the rules, as set out above? If not please explain why
Seems fair enough, yes. It removes the blockage and will help counteract much of the fake news put out by certain tobacco control liars which has led to a majority of the public thinking vaping is just as bad as smoking.

The consultation then addresses the confusion in its rules which could feasibly mean health groups couldn't make the same claims in their adverts. The ASA proposes this qualification.

click to enlarge, again
Well, I suppose if it's fair enough that businesses can make those claims, we mustn't be churlish and say that the nannies can't.
Question 3 
Do you agree with CAP’s proposal to add qualifying text to the introductory text of the ecigarette section of its Code as set out above? If not please explain why.
Sigh, I guess so, yes.
Question 4 
Do you agree with the wording proposed? If not, please explain why and provide your suggestions as to how it should be amended.
Yes, it seems straightforward enough.
Question 5 
Do you have any other information or evidence that you think might be relevant to CAP’s consideration of its regulation of public health advertisements which refer to e-cigarettes?
Well, I think some organisations should be prohibited from calling themselves 'public health' groups, but that's a different issue, so no.

Talking of which, in case you're wondering why this consultation is worth taking part in, I think I only have to tell you the groups who have registered their objections to the relaxation of these advertising rules.
1. Blackpool Council
2. British Medical Association
3. Johnson & Johnson Ltd (What a surprise! - DP)
4. Proprietary Association of Great Britain
5. Royal College of Radiologists
6. The Welsh Government
They may be few - and laughably miguided - but the more responses we who are on the side of the angels submit in favour of the rules being changed, the more their pathetic voices are drowned out.

Responses are due in by 5pm on Monday 16th October 2017, that's tomorrow of course, so don't delay. Responses should be submitted as a Word attachment to e-cigarettes@cap.org.uk or by fax to +44(0)20 7404 3404.

Go on, you know you want to. 

Thursday 12 October 2017

Signage And The Anti-Vaping Status Quo

In July, the government released its Tobacco Control Plan (TCP). It claimed to be supportive of e-cigarettes, including this part about vaping in public.
Public Health England has produced guidance for employers and organisations looking to introduce policies around e-cigarettes and vaping in public and recommend such policies to be evidence-based. PHE recommends that e-cigarette use is not covered by smokefree legislation and should not routinely be included in the requirements of an organisation’s smokefree policy.
As vaping bans sweep up and down the country without a whimper of objection from 'supportive' tobacco control groups we could mention, it doesn't appear that many employers or businesses are taking much notice of the TCP. In fact, it doesn't even appear that NHS Trusts have bothered to read it either, here's a telling picture of two ghastly goons from Chesterfield unveiling their retarded policy to the media earlier this month.

The very next day, Darent Valley Hospital in Kent went one better. They didn't just completely ignore the TCP, they also celebrated the Stoptober campaign ... by banning the products Stoptober said smokers could use instead of tobacco!

Of course, as we have come to expect, these creeping bans on vaping were met with complete silence by those in the tobacco control industry who claim to be onside. 'Twas ever thus.

In the meantime, Transport for London - which, again, is a state-funded arm of government - insists on these signs on all its taxi and private hire vehicles in the capital.

It is the legally-mandated no smoking sign, just with the addition of vaping as if to imply that using e-cigs is against the law - which it is not, of course - but they tweet regularly about how you can be fined by a court anyway. As I understand it, if a vehicle does not carry this sign, it will fail inspection and not be licensed.

Don't you have to wonder about how sincere the TCP and the tobacco control industry is about supporting vaping when these signs are going up without so much as a stern word from anyone in 'public health'?

Recently we have also seen private companies pretending that e-cig use is against the law when it isn't. I wrote last month about London Midland trying to brazen it out when challenged that - despite what their policy says - vaping in public is not a criminal offence. Yet here we have Aldi claiming the same thing.

Greggs, too, either think vaping is against the law, or just like pretending that it is.

Now, in light of this apparent support of vaping recently from 'public health', how can it be that so many organisations - both private and public sector - can be allowed to bastardise the law to insinuate that using e-cigs is a criminal matter rather than just a boneheaded policy decision by lazy and/or stupid people?

Surely making claims, either directly or indirectly, of law-breaking when it is nothing of the sort should be subject to some kind of sanction in a country that supposedly values freedom? Well, apparently not, because you see the government itself has said that this kind of fraud is perfectly OK.

Their update to the The Smoke-free (Signs) Regulations in 2012 states:
"While it remains a legal duty to display at least one legible no-smoking sign in smoke-free premises and vehicles, the owners and managers will have discretion as to the design and location of no- smoking signs."
In other words, you can change the legal no smoking sign however you choose, and many have chosen to include e-cigs in theirs.

How about that for joined-up government, eh? The TCP makes a pledge to support vaping, PHE provides advice saying that policies should distinguish between smoking and vaping, but all the while a government statutory instrument allows a wild west affair whereby just about anything can be described as illegal alongside smoking ... and the same state-funded organisations claiming to be in support of tobacco harm reduction just whistle and look the other way.

A cynic might conclude that seeing as tobacco control gets its grants from advocating tax hikes, bans and pseudo-prohibition, it is quite happy for vaping to be demonised in this way, considering how e-cigs have clearly been far more successful in creating former smokers - without any cost to the taxpayer whatsoever - than anything they have done at huge cost to the public purse.

Every week we see research studies from tobacco control about safety of e-cigs, liquids, views of children on vaping, even social media scrutiny of vapers themselves. I have yet to see a single study, though, which touches on the derogatory effect of vaping bans on smokers switching. It's almost like they are happy with the way things are going and really couldn't care less, isn't it?

The status quo is very profitable for tobacco control, don't expect their 'support' to be anything more than a few words here and there designed to con vapers that they actually care, when they really don't. 

Monday 9 October 2017

Another Irrelevant E-Cigarette Summit

Towards the end of proceedings on Friday 17th November, Sarah Jakes of the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) will speak to the fifth E-Cigarette Summit at the Royal Society and describe vaping consumers as "true experts in this field", but note quite rightly that "yet often their voices are missing from the debate".  It couldn't be a more timely speech, because for the whole day that precedes it there will be no consumers involved whatsoever.

Consumers are not included on any of the panels, no consumer has been invited to present to the event, and there is not even a consumer rate given on the registration page.

Click to enlarge
The website effectively screams that vapers are not welcome.

Instead, it is the usual who's who of tobacco control and 'public health' to discuss the precautionary principle, regulations, nasty Big Tobacco and how to make all smokers switch to e-cigs (and maybe even then off those too). As a result, it will skirt round many of the topics that actually matter to vapers. The whole event will only discuss vaping in the context of health and will therefore be fundamentally flawed and irrelevant. You can read the day's schedule here but I don't think you need to look further than the post-lunch presentation to get a comedic flavour of how it is going to go. You see, Deborah Arnott of ASH is going to give her expert opinion on "regulation of ‘heat not burn’ versus e-cigarettes", which shouldn't be difficult to guess considering she has already declared that heat not burn devices should be treated the same as cigarettes.

What's more, those selected for the stage will be speaking to a room full of government, local government, and other state-funded activists, all spending a very pricey day out in London on expenses courtesy of the taxpayer.

Contrast this with Andrew Allison of the Freedom Association's Freedom to Vape campaign. If the E-Cigarette Summit wasn't such a one-sided and blinkered event - dedicated to handing 'public health' a microphone and not asking for it back - he might have been considered as a panellist. Imagine the subjects he could talk about. Why local authorities are ignoring PHE advice on vaping policies as discovered by Freedom of Information requests last year, perhaps, or how regulations imposed by the TPD are causing potentially dangerous unintended consequences. But not only is he not given a free place by way of being involved, he has also not even been afforded a press pass without having to pay for it, despite possessing a national press card issued by the Chartered Institute of Journalists, of which he is a member.

This pass may be good enough for being admitted to political party conferences and press briefings, but it's not good enough for the E-Cigarette Summit, apparently. Now, considering I don't reckon national and international media organisations are beating a pathway to the Summit's doors in droves, it's fair to say press passes on the day will probably be as thin on the ground as the contents of a rocking horse's dinner the night before.

If you've ever been to a Freedom Association event, you'll know they have to work hard at raising money and hasn't got any to burn. I've been to events where they literally rattle buckets to pull in spare change. Andrew hasn't got the unending tax tap that state-funded NGOs have, but then it would seem that the Summit doesn't really want his sort around anyway. Unlike the far superior GFN conference in Warsaw, the E-Cigarette Summit treats consumers as an inconvenient afterthought, carefully selects industry voices so as not to upset the 'public health' grandees it panders to, and therefore contributes just about nothing useful to the whole debate.

Vapers have regularly voiced the motto "nothing about us, without us" to remind 'public health' that they should be talking to and listening to the public they are supposed to serve, not haughtily talking about policy in their echo chamber and pronouncing from on high. Vapers are absolutely right about this, yet November's summit goes against all of what the vaping movement has always been about.

Basically, the whole day will be a load of people who mostly don't vape or smoke talking about what to do to people who do. In other words, yet another public health conference, and all the more pointless for it. Still, it'll suit tobacco controllers not to have to field any awkward questions, and further prove that this sphere of policy is now controlled, dictated and owned by 'public health'.

I wish Sarah well trying to convince the room that consumers should be first on the invite list for these events, because she is absolutely right, but I don't reckon many delegates - if any - will take much notice. She will be trying to make herself heard through a thick wall built with stubborn and lucrative vested interests.


The UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS) has blogged on this today too, it is pretty clear what they believe the event is about and which sections of society they think should attend. Here's a clue, consumers aren't one of them.

Thursday 5 October 2017

Who's Standing Up To Stop Vaping Being Used As A Tool Of Coercion?

For years, many smokers have expressed concern about e-cigs to me. They are obviously quite happy for others to exercise their choice to vape, but they are worried that e-cigs - if accepted by the authorities - will be used as a tool to bully them into quitting smoking. I have always said that these fears are far-fetched, and I certainly would never agree with the idea of any organisation being so crass.

In the UK, acceptance of vaping is arguably more advanced than anywhere else in the world, but it is still true that it is only spoken about by 'public health' in terms of smoking cessation. Yes, there are a very few who understand that long term vaping is fine, but they are just admirable outliers. Remember that this is the official government line on vaping, as expressed in July's Tobacco Control Plan.
The best thing a smoker can do for their health is to quit smoking. However, the evidence is increasingly clear that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful to health than smoking tobacco.  
DH will monitor the impact of regulation and policy on e-cigarettes and novel tobacco products in England, including evidence on safety, uptake, health impact and effectiveness of these products as smoking cessation aids to inform our actions on regulating their use.
The word "recreational" does not appear once in the whole 32 page report. E-cigs are seen solely as something that will help smokers quit. The whole category is viewed through the lens of health, entirely ignoring the fact that it is continued enjoyment of nicotine that is the foundation beneath the huge success of vaping.

It is still good that our country is leading the way - albeit with ridiculous caution - on this kind of subject, because we are seeing other jurisdictions looking awkwardly our way and realising they are being a bit, well, prehistoric.

So recently we saw the FDA in America marginally relax their hardline stance on risk reduced products and - very surprisingly - now Australia is starting to move on the matter too. It's all the talk over there right now.

It's like some in Australia's health community have finally buckled. They tried to brazen it out as the last (allegedly) enlightened nation to resist common sense, but the comparison of their e-cigs policy to knuckle-headed candlemakers resisting the advance of electricity must have finally told.

The transformation has been incredible though! Dr Marita Hefler - a woman not previously noted for any particular positive stance on e-cigs - has changed the conversation from one extreme (prohibition of vaping) to another (prohibition of tobacco).
A leading Australian health researcher has called for a total ban on cigarettes as a new study finds millions of deaths could be prevented if smokers switched to electronic cigarettes.  
Menzies School of Health researcher Dr Marita Hefler says the rapid evolution of alternative nicotine products, such as e-cigarettes, meant outlawing combustible tobacco, including cigarettes, was now possible.
Just a few weeks ago 'public health' Australians were queueing up to tell a government inquiry that e-cigs were rubbish. Now they are apparently so effective that vaping justifies the government banning smoking altogether. Exactly what smokers have been telling me they have been afraid of.

How has this kind of fascistic nonsense - which I'm sure other tobacco controllers worldwide, however supportive of vaping they are, secretly dream of - happened? Well, it seems pretty clear that vaping is being considered by 'public health' solely as a cessation tool. I've long argued that e-cigs can be viewed as both a way to quit smoking, if one chooses, but also as a recreational device one would choose to indulge in. Both arguments are persuasive so I've always been supportive of both.

But with the first open admission that tobacco control want to use e-cigs to force smokers away from tobacco, it's clear that the other side have no intention of honouring the freedom of choice approach, they exclusively regard e-cigs as a method of coercion, nothing more, nothing less. They feel they have captured the idea and are now promoting it - see Stoptober - as just another tool in their armoury on the way to the 'endgame' and full prohibition of tobacco.

At the end of December, Carl Phillips described 2016 as "The year tobacco control officially came to own e-cigarettes", and this new development only serves to prove that he is correct. The whole debate has become a clusterfuck.

'Public health' talk about cessation, vaping industry associations talk about cessation to 'public health', tobacco companies talk about cessation to 'public health', vaping advocates talk about cessation to 'public health'. Where are the advocates for choice for vapers and also for smokers?

As Paul Barnes said today, quite rightly:
I’m sure I don’t need to remind you, but vaping isn’t a stick to go around beating smokers with.
No, it's not, but no-one seems to be that bothered about stopping it being used as such. 

Wednesday 4 October 2017

Common Sense Spotted In Canada

A mayoral candidate in Edmonton, Canada, doesn't seem to be adhering to the dumb politician script. In fact, he's talking sense.
Edmonton mayoral candidate Don Koziak says the city should revisit the "failed experiment" to ban smoking inside public spaces. 
"I think it's probably a suicidal type of position because everybody wants to be seen as righteous, but I think reasonable voters can see the benefit to a reasonable bylaw that allows for all of the citizens of Edmonton to enjoy what they want to enjoy," Koziak said in an interview Thursday.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone could do exactly that, enjoy what they want to enjoy? But, as he says, it is a natural instinct of humans to want to be seen as righteous and the gullible amongst us tend to believe that smoking bans are actually about health, sadly.
"I think that the smoking ban was an experiment, and we've tried it, and there's still people smoking," he added. "And I find it frustrating when I see people outside in the dead of winter, trying to keep warm, because we've decided that we can't accommodate them."
Well, "we" didn't decide we couldn't accommodate them, a ghastly clique of political wooden-tops and state-funded grant-gobblers did that, the public were excluded entirely as were any industry voices with the clout to counteract the lies. That's, therefore, a big fat "they" who decided that comprehensive bans were the only way.
In the interview, Koziak said he doesn't smoke cigarettes but enjoys the occasional cigar. He has a degree in civil engineering, which helps him view the issue from a technical viewpoint, he said. 
"It's really a ventilation problem. It's an engineering problem, not a social ills thing," he said. "The total ban on indoor smoking is not supported by sound engineering logic. I mean, we can ventilate a room."
Not if you're a tobacco control careerist, you can't. According to them (or, more accurately, a raving lunatic called James Repace) only catastrophic weather conditions can possibly clear a bar of secondhand smoke, it's a classic of anti-smoking junk science. They only disagree about whether it would take a tornado to do it or a hurricane. I'm not making this up, by the way.
The city should consult with mechanical engineers, Koziak said, to determine the level of ventilation required to mitigate the smoke in some indoor areas. 
Business owners who are prepared to spend the money could be certified to allow smoking in designated areas, he said. That would allow some restaurants, bars and patios to accommodate smoking clients.
Well yes, considering vicious and dictatorial anti-smoking lunatics are a minority of the public, this looks to be a sensible solution acceptable to all, eh? It's not mandatory, after all.
He said he finds it "horrible" that smokers aren't accommodated at the new Rogers Place arena downtown, and also suggested that smoking could be permitted in the top 10 rows of seats in the stands at Commonwealth Stadium.
Here is the Commonwealth Stadium, I'd say that only suggesting the top 10 tiers is being extremely cautious. There has never been any science, even of the junk kind, to say that secondhand smoke is remotely harmful outdoors, and the stadium has a shit load of outdoors.

In fact the stadium has no discernible indoors whatsoever.
[He said] "There is a football game on Saturday. There's going to be … a couple thousand people standing outside smoking, and I think more than one of them is going to think, 'Geez, that would be a great idea, why can't we be up there watching the game instead of standing out here?' "
They can't be up there watching the game because a bunch of vile state-funded zealots have said they can't, and a load of woolly-minded politicians are too cowardly to stand up to them, so illiberal and science-free bullying has - up till now - won the day.
Koziak is the general manager of the Chateau Louis, a hotel and conference centre at 11727 Kingsway. 
"I have a lot of smokers that I employ," he said. "We have to accommodate them by sticking them outside the back door of the hotel, and I don't have a choice in the matter because the city has tied my hands. 
"If it were up to me, we would have a smoking room … that the employees could use, and we would put in better ventilation so that it wouldn't offend other people."
Oh, but it would offend other people, Koziak, and that is entirely the problem. It would offend people who would never have to go anywhere near the smoking room, and they will be offended because smokers are being given somewhere comfortable and humane to smoke instead of being bullied.
Koziak's idea didn't meet with approval from the manager of a popular Old Strathcona nightspot. 
"If that is coming to an option to come back, I would be against it," said Jezzy Letros, general manager of The Pint, at 8032 104th St. "It's not fair to people who don't smoke to be in that kind of environment."
Well here's the amazing thing, Jezzy, people who don't smoke would not be forced to be "in that kind of environment" because they could be in your smokefree one instead. Well, I presume you'd stay smokefree anyway considering you think it such a bad idea and that customers would desert places that permitted smoking in their droves. Surely it's a till-ringer if other businesses want to choose to allow smoking and tobacco controllers are telling the tuth about smokefree venues being massively popular. What's not to like?

Or, hmm, do you quietly suspect that maybe it could be a popular thing that might threaten your business? It's a puzzler isn't it?

The article ends with a telling description of Edmonton's slippery slope when it comes to smoking bans.
In July 2003, Edmonton banned smoking in public places that permit minors, including restaurants, billiard halls and bowling alleys. Bowling alleys and casinos were allowed to have designated smoking rooms. Smoking was also banned on outdoor patios. 
Two years later, the ban was extended to include total restrictions at all establishments, including bars, bingo halls and casinos. No designated smoking rooms were permitted.
Don't forget to mention big fuck off open air 56,000 stadiums for no reason whatsover except someone might be afflicted with a hand-flapping condition. And the cherry on top?
In October 2015, Edmonton banned the use of electronic cigarettes in all public spaces where smoking is prohibited.
It has never had anything whatsoever to do with health. Merely ignorance, rent-seeking, cant, lies and snobbery.

Good luck Mr Koziak, I think you'll need it. You should be a shoo in for the mayoralty, but common sense has fallen like litter into the hedgerows beside a thundering road of scheming careerists and selfish, intolerant human beings. Those of us who are not gullible intolerant fools salute you though, and wish you well. 

Monday 2 October 2017

More Vile Lunchbox Snooping In Yorkshire

Some cynical types hinted in the comments under my last article about a Bradford School's ban on sausage rolls - which really ground my gears if you hadn't noticed - may have had more to do with the pork than health.

Sadly, it seems it's not that simple, there appears to be something very rotten in the county of Yorkshire.
A fed-up mother of four, whose children attend Westgate Primary, in Otley, says she is considering launching a petition urging the school to review its strict packed lunch policy 
The mother, who does not wish to be named, said: “The teaching assistants take at least half-an-hour inspecting children’s packed lunches in the morning while wearing rubber gloves.  
“Kids as young as eight are being given the responsibility to ‘advise’ and tell on their friends if they have inappropriate items in their lunch. 
“If an item is removed it is bagged-up with the child’s name and given to parents at the end of the day.
Teaching assistants acting like prison guards; young kids egged on to become snitches; confiscating perfectly legal and benign products? It's quite staggering and shows just what a cancer the rent-seeking 'public health' industry is to have driven our public sector institutions to such insanity over fripperies.

As I said last week, a child's lunchbox is firmly in control of the parent and - as such - is a private space between the child and home and therefore out of bounds to teaching assistants, so I really struggle to understand how any school can believe this is acceptable behaviour.

Incredibly, the school head seems to think it is, though.
Helen Carpenter, headteacher at the school, said: “Encouraging healthy eating amongst our pupils is really important to us here at Westgate Primary School, therefore we have adopted a packed lunch policy, like many other schools, with a view to ensuring our pupils have a healthy, balanced and nutritious lunch."
And there's that word 'encouraging' again. Mandatory lunchbox inspections, the use of informers and forced confiscation is not encouragement' by any definition of the fucking word. It is hardline coercion. You'd think a teacher - even a hellbeast as vile and gullible as this one - would know that.

You'd also expect her to be using school resources better. There is no point her, or any other teacher, squealing about how their budgets are squeezed while they are wasting time and money on such vacuous and sinister nonsense.

Still plenty more to cut in her school's budget, of that there is absolutely no doubt.