Wednesday 29 November 2017

Tobacco Control Is Eating Itself

Any tobacco controller worth their inflated and unnecessary salary will tell you that tobacco companies cannot be trusted because they used to tell lies ... about 30 to 60 years ago.

As a result, industry as a whole is now routinely referred to as being "merchants of doubt". It has been a successful tactic because nowadays even the mundane - and generally ubiquitous in every political policy area - criss-cross of debate on legislative proposals is condemned by tobacco controllers as industry trying to lie. Here is a perfect example from Martin McKee in April this year.
This matters, because the struggle against tobacco is not yet won. The tobacco industry continues to produce misleading evidence, most recently in relation to the introduction of standardised packaging. The industry has commissioned reports to cast doubt on what is now recognised as the tremendous success of this measure in Australia, by means of highly selective analysis of the data.
It won't surprise you that the reference for this apparently settled declaration of plain packaging success in Australia was from McKee and some of his mates who - in turn - referenced themselves in that paper too. Incestuous really doesn't describe it fully enough.

The reason I mention this is that instead of the truth - which is that industry is presenting conflicting evidence to the manipulated policy-led bunkum that is now the 'public health' charade's stock-in-trade - McKee and his pals try to pretend that anything that disagrees with their assessment is automatically corrupt instead of evicence-based debate. Now, considering the 'public health' industry are the biggest liars on the planet right now, industry pushback is something which is sorely needed and a functioning democracy depends on it.

The problem for tobacco control is that e-cigs have come along and are ruthlessly exposing them for being disingenuous as we here have always known them to be. And boy is it causing a ruck!

Today, the BMA became the latest 'public health' organisation to realise that sticking to pathetic ideology is just fighting a losing battle, and have issued a cautiously positive position paper on e-cigarettes. In the UK that leaves the Faculty of Public Health as just about the only vaguely credible body that is still waving a club around, grunting from their cave, and pretending that every purchase of vaping equipment comes with a free mythical cancer-breathing dragon. But then, look at the standard of their leadership.

It's been pretty to watch as these institutions - every one of which originally wanted to ban vaping for no fucking reason whatsoever apart from cant and prejudice - slowly come to the realisation that they can't ignore reality any longer. But every one of them that stops talking crap means that there is increased pressure on those that wish to continue doing so. It's a simple equal and opposite reaction thing. To create the same level of doubt towards e-cigs, the increasingly vanishing few left have to get ever more extreme, and Mad Stan the aircraft engineer seems to have gone into overdrive of late.

Here's what he said in comments at a Conversation UK piece - that's the UK version, note, so presumably he sees events deserting him over here - today.

Click to enlarge

E-cigs worse than cigarettes? This is contrary to absolutely every piece of available research into vaping, it is solely something that Glantz believes. It is the very definition of "creating doubt", precisely what tobacco controllers acccuse industry of having done. While the tobacco industry is busy producing proper science, Glantz, an Australian pensioner and a low-grade physio from Lincoln are alone in the world spouting bullshit like some crack-addled loon wandering the high street wearing an A-board declaring that the end is nigh.

It's quite pathetic really. You kinda have to feel for him. With a waist the diameter of one of Saturn's rings he isn't a well man, yet his merchant of doubt workload is increasing in direct proportion to the number of former allies who are jumping ship and admitting that they were wrong about e-cigs. Sadly for him, propaganda posing as science just doesn't cut it anymore, and he is so antiquated that he doesn't know any other way.

So, when fellow tobacco controller Robert West presented this slide at the E-Cig Summit last month, it must have stung like a moody vindaloo!

This is basically Glantz's modus operandi exposed. It is what he has built a career upon, and here was West saying that it really needs to stop. In fact, he said that tobacco control had been "lax in accepting bad science at journals because generally we support the conclusions" and compared Glantz to a "recalcitrant first year grad student". Just imagine the horror of that for the old fella? What is he to do?

Well, create doubt of course! Ten days days later Glantz raked up a row from two years ago which led to demands that a journal be boycotted because Robert West edits it.

As Forbes mentioned earlier this year, what does that remind you of?
The hostility toward e-cigarettes is so great that attempts to sow doubt about the relative risks of vaping versus smoking bear a striking resemblance to the efforts of tobacco companies in the 20th century to mask the true nature of their products.
Yes, except most of the tobacco industry personnel who engaged in those tactics are long dead. People like Glantz are actively trying to create doubt now, and I mean today.

The fallout on social media has been astonishing. I've repeatedly said that e-cigs had potential to sort the ideologues from those who actually do think they're being altruistic, but never in my wildest dreams did I think that the suggestion 'public health' do the right thing would be met with such blatant and hilarious vitriol.

Tobacco control is eating itself in front of our eyes and reputations are being shattered. Buy in the popcorn because this could run and run. 

Tuesday 21 November 2017

How The Grinches Rekindled Christmas

When I first read this, I honestly believed it was some spoof April Fool article that someone had found from the spring and mistaken as fact.
SNP ministers are to consider a crackdown on Christmas treats as part of their "bold" plans to tackle Scotland's obesity epidemic. 
The move would see supermarket price promotions on festive favourites such as mince pies and selection boxes being banned north of the Border. 
Other seasonal treats which could fall foul of the legislation would include cakes, biscuits and chocolates, savoury party food and soft drinks.
But no, this is apparently a real story!
Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has found confectionery sales rocket by 54 per cent in the 12 weeks before Christmas, with cakes and pastries up 32 per cent and savoury snacks up 20 per cent.
You don't fucking say!

It's Christmas. What part of that do these nutcases not understand? I've bought two tins of Quality Street already, I won't be touching them till late December, isn't that what we all do?

This, of course, is another step in the annual 'public health' assault on Christmas. Just like their incontinent tantrum about the Coca Cola truck, these people just can't abide the fact that normal people - as opposed to abnormal people like them - quite enjoy having fun.

Thing is, I'd kinda lost interest in Christmas since my kids became teens. Just buying a few pieces of colourful Fisher Price plastic or a Dalek that said "exterminate" and seeing the joy in their little faces as they messed with it for hours on end died long ago. Instead it had become hugely more expensive and not quite as magical. But if Christmas is so horribly offensive to 'public health' miseries, I am now heartily more excited about it.

Shit, if our over-indulgence at Christmas really gets up their nose that much, bring it the fuck on.

Their turgid and aggressively joyless reaction to the Coca Cola truck has inspired me to love Christmas once again. What better thing in the world can there be than to celebrate the knuckle-biting frustration of absolute bastards?

I think I'll get the tree down from the loft this weekend. Altogether now ... "holidays are coming, holidays are coming"

Friday 17 November 2017

Nine Years Later ...

Today is the 9th anniversary of this blog.

Still proudly "tabloid guff" (© Ben Goldacre fan-boys 2009), there is less content here in recent years due to the increasing pressures of Puddlecote Inc yet daily page visits are still marginally increasing. For interest, there have been over 5 million of them from almost 3,500 articles here.

Many thanks to all fellow jewel robbers who have popped by since 2008 (over 300,000 of you), I will be toasting you with a fair amount of chilled New Zealand white this evening. 

Wednesday 15 November 2017

Another Triumph For Repulsive Elitist Snobs

I remember back in 2007 when the English smoking ban came in, the reaction from politicians and health zealots was nauseating.

If it was truly about protecting bar workers' health, they may have said something like "we're really sorry smokers, we realise this is unfair on you but it's something we feel we have to do". But no, Health Secretary of the time Alan Johnson almost punched the air in delight announcing it; Cancer Research UK sent out newsletters to all its donors "rejoicing" in the news; and Deborah Arnott was excited about how smokers had been "exiled to the outdoors". ASH then published a report boasting about how they had connived, cheated and bullied government into abandoning manifesto commitments to accommodate smokers.

Today, we've seen exactly the same thing following this morning's court decision in Scotland to allow minimum alcohol pricing.

The moment it was announced, social media was swamped with arrogant middle class elitists jubilant at how they had stuck it to the working man. It was a landmark decision, a triumph, one 'public health' activist even published a gif of a stick man literally punching the air, while former Scottish CMO - a man I imagine to be quite rich - was said to be over the moon!

Not one of them had any concern for low earning moderate drinkers who will now have to struggle to pay for a meagre pleasure, no fucks were given for them. The ecstatic outpourings were not muted to take into account that innocent people will suffer hardship, far from it, it was more like health campaigners were bathing in the poor's misery.

We saw the same ugly disregard when the sugar tax was passed by doughnut-brained MPs, who can forget the euphoria of super-rich Jamie Oliver dancing like he'd just won the lottery at the pleasure he derived from making people pay more for something that he personally doesn't like.

All those celebrating these new immoral restrictions on liberty, property rights and self-autonomy are nothing but repulsive, elitist snobs.

You see, the smoking ban, sugar tax and minimum pricing all have something in common. They are all restrictions on pleasures that are mostly enjoyed by less prosperous families. The middle classes have been sneering at the enjoyment of the less well off for millennia, mostly by railing against the licentious and ungodly morals of the unwashed. But now they cloak it as some kind of care for health and think they can get away with it, but they can't.

Today's vile show of rapture from a wide array of bigots betrays what their real motives are. They are not sorry about the working guy because - in every 'public health' area - it is precisely that guy they set out to bully.

The smoking ban wasn't about bar staff, it was about making life more difficult for the builder who likes to enjoy a pint and a fag. They didn't temper their jubilation in respect for the fact that his life had just got worse, because they were glad his life got worse.

Jamie Oliver - and the ghastly middle class sheep that hang on his every odious utterance - didn't acknowledge that the sugar tax was effectively stealing pocket money from kids, because he was glad he was stealing pocket money from kids who he detests for choosing to drink something he disagrees with.

Likewise today. Health campaigners know very well that minimum pricing will have no effect whatsoever on harmful drinkers. It won't stop or slow down the consumption of alcohol for the small percentage of the population who drink far too much, it will just push some people into poverty.

But then it's not aimed at harmful drinkers, it is aimed at everyone. And with minimum pricing they have come up with a policy that targets only low earners. For these very well off elitists, this is just about perfect. A policy which turns their repugnant distate for the habits of working families into something that will harm the frightful working class ... but won't intrude on their own liking for a cheeky top of the range Merlot.

If Marie Antoinette had been able to create policy in this day and age, minimum alcohol pricing would be the policy she would have chosen.

And you know what the clincher is to prove that this is exactly the aim? Minimum pricing doesn't even deliver an extra penny to the state. All the cash generated goes straight into the pockets of mostly big businesses such as out-of-town supermarkets which 'public health' camapigners - overwhelmingly a left-leaning profession - usually like to demonise.

I have no axe to grind myself about minimum pricing, I will still buy my New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Peroni at a price that it won't touch, but I know and employ many people for whom it would cause a hardship. The campaigners behind hideous laws like it, though, generally tend to avoid consumers if they can possibly help it. They don't listen to their concerns, they talk at them rather than with them, and they exclude them from policy-making decisions, instead bypassing debate and going straight to government clutching junk science.

Just like the smoking ban and sugar tax before it, minimum alcohol pricing is just a big elitist party zone where the rich get to look down their noses at the poor and stop them doing things that the elite find a bit icky. They don't care that their actions are fundamentally immoral and are not ashamed at celebrating the misery of low earners because they revel in it. Making life less pleasurable for millions of people, predominantly those who don't have much money is exactly the point.

They are repugnant. May some higher being someday make them rot for eternity for being such a sick plague on society.

Tuesday 14 November 2017

Clueless Councils - One Year On

Last year, the Freedom Association's Freedom to Vape (FtV) campaign submitted FOI requests to every local council in the UK to ask about their policies on vaping in the workplace. If you have a good memory, you will recall that the responses highlighted that the overwhelming majority of local authorities were imposing rules on their staff from a position of superlative ignorance. I wrote about it here.

But still, back then the subject was quite fresh for them so despite positive reports on vaping having been issued from Public Health England (August 2015), the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (February 2016), and the Royal College of Physicians (April 2016), they could be partly forgiven for being lethargic in applying sane and sympathetic policies for their workers.

Public Health England had only just published their guidance that "e-cigarette use is not covered by smokefree legislation and should not be routinely included in the requirements of an organisation's smokefree policy" in July 2016, so the fact that 87% of those who responded admitted doing exactly that was concerning, but would surely change once the rusty cogs of public sector bureaucracy managed to grind their turgid way towards more knowledgeable policy-making, wouldn't it?

Especially since this year's government Tobacco Control Plan specifically stated that it sought to "support consumers in stopping smoking and adopting the use of less harmful nicotine products". And seeing as public health duties have been devolved to local government now, it should also be their duty to take the government's advice and apply it, don't you think?

So with this in mind, FtV followed up last year's efforts by again sending FOIs to all UK councils to see if there had been a change in outlook over the past 12 months. Surely - with all that positive information out there from prime authorities on tobacco control - the average public sector vaping worker's lot would be a happier one, right?


This year's report is now available to read here, and this is truly incredible.
126​ ​councils​ ​(32​ ​per​ ​cent​ ​of​ ​those​ ​who​ ​responded)​ ​require​ ​vapers​ ​to​ ​use designated​ ​smoking​ ​areas​ in all or some circumstances, despite the fact that vapers are not smokers. This​ ​is​ ​an​ ​increase​ ​from​ ​112 councils​ ​in​ ​2016.
Considering PHE's guidance in 2016 said that "it is never acceptable to require vapers to share the same outdoor space with smokers", you have to marvel at the spectacular ignorance and/or rampant snobbery which has led to an increase in councils demanding exactly that. They have, in general, done the exact opposite of what PHE have advised.

The future doesn't look bright either, as the report highlights:
When asked​ ​if​ ​councillors​ ​are​ ​due​ ​to​ ​debate​ ​the​ ​Government’s​ ​Tobacco​ ​Control Plan​ ​and/or PHE’s advice on vaping policies, a​ ​total​ ​of​ ​287​ ​councils​ ​replied​ ​no​. 
When asked if the council's​ ​policy​ ​will​ ​be​ ​reviewed​ ​as​ ​a​ ​result​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Government's Tobacco​ ​Control​ ​Plan​, 150​ ​councils​ ​either​ ​said​ ​yes,​ ​was​ ​scheduled​ ​for​ ​review​ ​later this​ ​year​ ​or​ ​in​ ​2018,​ ​or​ ​that​ ​the  ​policy​ ​was​ ​under​ ​review​ -​ a measly 38%​ ​of​ ​those councils​ ​who​ ​replied.
So basically, almost two-thirds of councils are gonna do diddley-squat about what are largely appalling and thoughtless policies. 

Here are just a few of the more egregious policy snippets from this year's crop of stunning, bone-headed stupidity. 

Despite the wealth of guidance from PHE, the RCP, NCSCT and the TCP, where do you think Glasgow Council went for their advice? Yes, America, obviously!
“Impartial studies such as Harvard reports and US Food and Drug Administration research state that the vapour has been found to contain detectable levels of several known carcinogens and toxic chemicals to which users could potentially be exposed. The reports also suggest that by simulating the use of cigarettes, E-Cigarettes might reactivate the habit in ex-smokers.”
Perhaps we can just save our taxes and stop paying all those UK-based health bodies then, let's just devolve our evidence-gathering to a bunch of conflict-riddled alarmists from across the pond. Glasgow's policy was updated in August this year yet - incredibly - they see absolutely nothing wrong with it!

Cumbria's policy is also out of the ark.
“use of e-cigarettes or ENDS in the workplace is currently unregulated. Extensive trials have not been undertaken to establish if they are safe and tests by Trading Standards have shown that some e-cigarettes are in contravention of product safety regulations. Using e-cigarettes simulates smoking behaviour. Allowing use of e-cigarettes can be viewed as condoning smoking. Cumbria County Council, in line with British Medical Association Occupational Medicine Committee and the Board of Science guidance, does not support the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace. It actively supports employees to stop smoking for their health and also supports actions to denormalise smoking. Consequently Cumbria County Council applies the same restrictions to the use of e-cigarettes that apply to smoking tobacco products.”
Just count the errrors in that paragraph. Isn't it astonishing? The policy dates from 2012, that's why. But they have discussed updating it, as their response details:
Vaping has been discussed at the Cumbria Public Health Alliance and at Cumbria Health and Wellbeing Board both of which contain Cumbria County Council elected members. These bodies both endorsed the advice detailed above. There are no planned further discussions or decision expected from elected members.
PHE? Pah! Cumbrian burghers had a chat this year and that's the end of the matter.

The desperate excuses they use to cling to prohibitionist policy are quite revealing too. Many replied that PHE's advice is just that, advice, so they have ignored it. Others, such as East Devon say they are dedicated to denormalising smoking ... so therefore e-cigs are banned. Burnley says vaping is banned because their policy applies to "anything that is smoked", while the comedy of the piece is provided by South Norfolk.
Employees taking their unpaid lunch break off-site may smoke/vape discreetly to limit them being identified as Council workers. This could be achieved by covering identifiable logos or for depot staff by stepping behind a stationary refuse vehicle so they are not visible from the road etc.
And by Fareham, whose comprehensive ban on e-cigs was updated in August and whose response of 11th October stated:
We follow national campaigns when publicised. We do not encourage e-cigarettes as a means of smoking cessation.
Yes, written slap bang in the middle of the national Stoptober campaign featuring adverts on TV which ... encouraged e-cigs as a means of smoking cessation.

I've been helping FtV recently by doing data-checking on the FOIs and - believe me - a staggering number of them are mind-rotting stuff. Anyone with a good understanding of the vaping debate who reads some of the utter garbage I have would, at some point, consider self-harm.

Cumbria wasn't the only council to still think that e-cigs are unregulated, for example. Brighton and Hove was just one of many others. It's almost like the TPD never happened. In fact, on the subject of the TPD, those who have completely ignored it are only matched by those who have used it as a reason to ban vaping.

A perfect bellwether, I think, is Elmbridge Borough Council which accepts that vaping is not covered by the Health Act 2006, but states that:
However, once the EU Tobacco Products Directive comes into effect in Member States in May 2016, electronic cigarettes and refill containers will come under the requirements of the Directive.
So if e-cigs are unregulated, they're banned. But if they are regulated, that's just another reason for them to be, erm, banned. It's almost like it's not about health and you're damn well not allowed to win if local councils can possibly help it. It's the kind of hysterical mindset that makes you understand how medieval witch-hunts occurred, just a bunch of hive-minded ignoramuses who seem to have no care for evidence or knowledge, just a cult-like bovine sense that banning things and sucking satisfaction out of life must be good ... even when aimed at their own colleagues.

It smacks of an environment where banning things is almost compulsory. It only takes a whisper from PHE or the government about salt, sugar, fast food, tobacco or anything else you can think of, and councils are falling over themselves. They rush to create initiatives, throw money like confetti at "raising awareness" days, publish slick promotional material for their latest anti-fun crusade, actually work weekends to promote it too, and use funereal language to demand you heed dire warnings about the tiniest of risk.

But should the government, PHE and a whole host of other organisations produce reams of research and reports saying that e-cigs should be encouraged, not banned, the same eager council employees cock a deaf 'un.

It's what we should expect from regulators, I suppose. The ratchet, as they say, only goes one way. They know - because it turns them on - how to regulate, while "de-regulate" is not even in their vocabulary. It tells me, though, that we obviously require far more cuts to council budgets. If they are so eager to create policies for problems which don't exist, while ideologically resisting guidance which is good for their employees' health, there are obviously far too many of them and they are working inefficiently.

Remember that these very same councils getting something so simple as vaping policy so very very wrong - even when presented with a wealth of good advice from those in their own profession - are the same ones entrusted with making local roads safe, planning how your town develops, and educating your kids. Just let that sink in for a bit.

Do go read the full report here - along with notes on all the FOIs submitted - and see how ignorant your particular council is. Believe me, there are vanishingly few decent ones. 

Sunday 12 November 2017

ASH In A Glass House, With Stones

Today, ASH has been pathetically throwing stones around in their glass house. This, in the Times, is truly astonishing.
Tobacco firms may face ‘murder’ trials
Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) has begun work on pressing the director of public prosecutions (DPP) to bring charges or to allow a private prosecution. 
[Kelsey Romeo-Stuppy, a lawyer at Action on Smoking Health in the US] said: “All of the participants of the Geneva meeting are working towards a case with a charge of manslaughter or murder for the death and disease caused by tobacco.”
The justification for this, apparently, is that smokers have been misled.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Ash in the UK, said:“In the light of the Dutch action, we are assessing the feasibility of pressing the DPP to prosecute BAT [British American Tobacco], Philip Morris [International], Imperial Brands and JTI, or to win permission for a private prosecution. The lesson from the Netherlands is that the prospect of criminal charges has had a sensational impact. Smokers have been angry to find out low tar cigarettes are no healthier, because smokers inhale more tar and nicotine from low tar cigarettes than the tests show. Sick smokers have come forward in their thousands to take action against the industry.”
I am truly staggered that Arnott has had anything to do with such a vile proposal. One can only asume they are battling against irrelevance and so just see this as something to justify wasting our taxes on.

This from an organisation fully ensconced with an industry currently driving headlong with the batshit crazy idea of removing nicotine from cigarettes altogether, while leaving all the harmful bits in. Bear in mind, too, that the EU once demanded that levels of tar be displayed on the packets. Yes, for a decade the EU ordered tobacco companies to 'mislead' the public.

Anyway, that's by the by. The main point to consider is that if this kind of legal atrocity is allowed, let's talk about 'crimes' committed by ASH, shall we?

They still trumpet that smokeless tobacco is dangerous despite it being hugely less harmful than smoking, thereby deterring many people from switching. We also have ASH to thank for the EU-wide ban on snus ... because it was they who demanded it in the 1980s. And the estimated damage that ASH's actions may have caused as a result are huge.
IF, snus is made available by lifting of the current ban in the EU, AND, truthful public education encourages substitution of snus for cigarettes as in Sweden, around 320,000 premature deaths per year can conceivably be prevented among men 30 years and older in the current EU countries.
ASH, as far as I know, still oppose legalisation of snus.

And what about their opposition to e-cigs? They once lobbied the EU for a maximum nicotine strength of 4mg! This is well before the era of sub-ohm devices. If they had been successful, the vaping market in this country would have been strangled almost at birth.

They still defend the EU's arbitrary and unnecessary restriction of 20mg for liquids though, which Clive Bates condemns accurately here.
There are about 2.2 million vapers in Britain (ONS) (even more now - DP), so nine percent of them amounts to about 200,000 vapers affected.  It doesn’t need too many of these to relapse to smoking or stay as ‘dual users’ rather than going on to quit smoking for the toll of harm to be very high. What advice do those calling for complacency about the Directive have to address the concerns of this ex-smoker and current vaper, for example? 
Big numbers are in fact a lot of individual stories of triumph and adversity – and it is what regulation does to individuals that we should care about.  In the section below, I have put together a “Desk-murder calculator” so we can try out a few assumptions and see what sort of impact might have on those affected with some more precise numbers. 
I don’t want to sound alarmist calling it “desk murder”: but if a bureaucrat, politician or activist presses for a measure and people’s lives are ended prematurely as a result through a foreseeable causal mechanism for which there are no compensating benefits, then what else should one call it? Desk-manslaughter m’lord?
Clive doesn't want to call it desk murder, but considering ASH want to go down that road, shall we calculate how many deaths their evidence-free arbitrary decisions have caused? Because those 'manslaughters' orchestrated from ASH HQ are mounting up like a motherfucker, aren't they?

I would suggest that ASH would be better served putting down the stones they are intending to sling around their glass house, since the murderous intent of their efforts since they first moved to ban snus in 1984 could be counted as unnecessary deaths now into the many millions.

No-one in the UK can posibly not know that smoking carries risks - the packets scream Smoking Kills for crying out loud, and have carried health warnings since the 1960s - but ASH's decades-long drive to ban safer products is less well-known.

They have been misleading the public about safer alternatives for over 30 years, to the extent that if you ask a smoker in your local pub what snus even is, a vast majority won't know. They have also been complicit in perpetuating baseless fear of nicotine strength in e-cigs which has undoubtedly made tens of thousands of smokers continue to smoke, and all based on prejudice, dogma and lies.

So who's going to prison for that then, Debs? 

Thursday 9 November 2017

Killjoys - How Paternalism Harms The Public

Did you know that the annual budget for Public Health England is now £4bn per annum? That is just one nugget of info I learned tonight from a book that I've just finished reading. Now, assuming it's not a typo, this is a quite incredible amount of money. However, it's far from surprising considering that 'public health' nagging is now a very profitable industry in this country.

You see, last night I went to the lauch of Chris Snowdon's new book, Killjoys, at the Empire Casino in Leicester Square and very good it was too.

The launch was heralded by speeches which amused those assembled while making serious points. The IEA's Jamie Whyte spoke about how he finds nothing wrong with restricting choice for kids because - well, they're kids - but a state that presumes to know our choices better than we do ourselves effectively treats adults like kids. Snowdon himself also pointed out how we seem to be harangued at every turn about harmful life decisions such as smoking and drinking, yet more 'cool' and elitist dangerous pastimes such as mountain climbing or ski-ing are somehow left alone.

It is a theme he also touches on in the book, in fact it is a central one. That being that paternalists of today have barely changed in the past 150 years since J S Mill wrote his seminal thoughts on freedom, On Liberty.

Chris begins by examining Mill's work and notes that back then he was reacting to a fundamental religious morality police who objected to the licentious joys of the commoners. Mill's central thesis was, if you didn't already know:
the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right
The nearest that any paternalist of those days could come to satisfying Mill's harm principle was to say that they objected to alcohol being available because it offended them.

This restrictive way of sneering at the habits of the unwashed was fine for the snobbish paternalist, but Mill argued that only through liberty can an individual maximise his utility (enjoyment) and, consequently benefit the overall well-being of the population. And not much has changed in the intervening period.

The modern 'public health' paternalist would be mocked if they played to religion nowadays, so instead they portray themselves as part of the medical community instead. Yet a doctor can only treat you or advise you with your consent, whereas the new cult of 'public health' doesn't require your consent - or your vote - to curtail your choices and dictate what you are allowed to consume, while they also take your taxes to do so.

Killjoys argues that this is not only contrary to Mill's long-respected principle, but is also actively harming the welfare of the public - because it avoids even considering it - in many different ways, the main one being to view the public's health as our only consideration in life, and discarding absolutely every other measure of well-being that we might hold dear.

Benefits of behaviours and habits are ignored, and blatant downsides of illiberal legislation considered not to exist. 'Science' is perverted, and well-understood consensus on the effect of practices like advertising are denied.

Chris leads the reader through all the varied and shape-shifting tricks that the 'public health' cartel employs to pretend it is helping us instead of the opposite, touching on subjects such as using taxes as a weapon to drive for zero consumption - effectively prohibition - rather than reaching a sweet spot which would maximise the public's enjoyment of life while making adequate compensation for potential harm, real or imagined.

He also illustrates how 'public health' tries to pretend it is adhering to Mill's principles by portraying consumers as victims of industry manipulation instead of having their rights as consumers violated by 'public health'. Industry advertising is deemed to be irresistible, yet 'public health' is quiet about how their own propaganda is so ineffective despite using the same media. A strange occurrence seeing as the same 'public health' consistently says that we all want to ditch the unhealthy behaviour, so it is hard to fathom why we are not queueing up to take their advice unless the messages they are sending are fraudulent.

The books argues, well, that far from increasing awareness about consumer products, the 'public health' crusade actively restricts information, increases market failure that they claim to be correcting, and their policies lead to more harm, more barbaric stigmatisation, along with transferring wealth from the poorest individuals in society to the state and - of course - then onto 'public health' so they can start the whole vicious cycle all over again.

The idea that 'public health' wishes to be honest and cares for our welfare and enjoyment of life is betrayed when Snowdon highlights the outrage that ensued after the US government decided to place a value on consumer surplus - that is, the value of enjoyment lost when illiberal regulations are placed on consumer products. Quantifying the benefits of lifestyle products has been something 'public health' has avoided for decades, simply because it would destroy their entire prohibitionist agenda. Only costs must be counted, benefits must always be ignored.

The reader is also invited to consider that the real damage to the public of unhealthy choices are not the much-vaunted ones on costs to the NHS, which are entirely fictional, but instead those imposed by 'public health'. As I have said many times, if smoking was banned tomorrow, no taxpayer would get any kind of refund or decrease in their taxes, in fact they might even go up. However, shifting resources from traditional public health matters which we have no choice over and instead directing them to areas where we do threatens to take away funding from real healthcare. If you're not getting an operation you really need, that is a real cost to you; it might make you feel warm and fuzzy that some hospital is banning vaping in the car park but you still ain't getting that hip replacement.

Likewise, anyone who is irritated at having to wait another few years till they get their pension might reflect on why there is a multi-billion pound industry fixated on increasing costs to the welfare bill (pensions are the biggest public expenditure) when the only drivers behind 'public health' campaigns are snobbery and self-enrichment.

In short, 'public health' serves not to inform the public and cater for our well-being, but instead to alarm us and cater for the bank accounts of public health professionals, at the expense of the poor, pensioners, and the health system as a whole. It's something legislators might do well to look into.

Chris finishes with some very optimistic policy suggestions in different areas which - although perfectly sound and which would lead to a happier, more prosperous, less costly and better educated Britain, with the public's health not noticeably being any different than it is today - might bring some politicians out in a cold sweat.

I can imagine their horrified faces as they clutch their pearls at the thought of legislating for public well-being rather than morality, but if they truly cared about the good of the country that's exactly what they should be doing.

The book is a cracking read, only 160 pages and will make you think differently about 'public health' from whatever angle you started from. It is available free online from midnight tonight at the IEA website, I heartily recommend you go read it. 

Monday 6 November 2017

Kerching! 11 More Years Of Failure Please

Yesterday, The Sun wrote of a report on when the England might go 'smokefree' according to tobacco control criteria.
ENGLAND could be smoke-free by 2040, a new study has claimed. 
The goal, which means less than five per cent of adults using cigarettes, is getting closer due to new tech such as e-cigarettes. 
Current quitting rates mean it will take another 23 years to hit that level. 
But the Frontier Economics research funded by tobacco giant Philip Morris Ltd says if an extra 210,000 quit each year the target could be reached as early as 2029.
What is most interesting about this is that it chimes in with something published in the Tobacco Control comic in December.
The glaring omission in the rhetoric is the most obvious alternative for PMI to meaningfully contribute to achieving a combustion-free world: announce a date by which the company will phase out combustible products entirely.
This is a classic straw man. Suggesting an insane policy position, not to mention impossible for many practical and legal reasons, just to knock it down. However, although the year cited by Philip Morris's research isn't exactly when all cigarette production will cease, now we at least have a date when - at least in the UK - it might be a vaguely viable proposition, don't we?

Will the tobacco control industry now change emphasis and support the pretty clear motive behind this then? Of course not, because for them it's not about health. They just don't like industry.

So their reaction, again in the joke that is Tobacco Control, is to just double down on their objection to someone parking the tanks on their smoking cessation lawn.
The surprise announcement by the former head of the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Free Initiative, Derek Yach, that he would head a newly-established organization called the “Foundation for a Smoke-free World” to “accelerate the end of smoking” was met with gut-punched disappointment by those who have worked for decades to achieve that goal. Unmoved by a soft-focus video featuring Yach looking pensively off into the distance from a high-level balcony while smokers at ground level stubbed out Marlboros and discussed how hard it was to quit, leading tobacco control organizations were shocked to hear that the new organization was funded with a $1 billion, twelve-year commitment from tobacco company Philip Morris International (PMI). PMI, which has been working for decades to rebrand itself as a “socially responsible” company while continuing to promote sales of its top-branded Marlboro cigarettes and oppose policies that would genuinely reduce their use, clearly believes this investment will further its “harm reduction” agenda, led by its new heat-not-burn product, IQOS.
You won't be surprised to learn that the entire article omitted to mention e-cigs at all. The "gut-punched disappointment" is solely down to the fact that these hideous human beings realise their 'quit or die' brand is in decline and, with it, a whole load of lucrative finger-wagging salaries are direly at risk.

In Sweden, snus has been hugely responsible far the lowest smoking prevalence and lung cancer rates in the world; tobacco control helped to ban it across the EU. In Japan, tobacco sales and smoking prevalence are in freefall due to stunning uptake of heat not burn; tobacco control is fighting against it. And in the UK, e-cigs are demonstrably having a huge effect; tobacco controllers opposed them all the way and - although some have since seen sense - many still do.

You also have to remember that in most of the jurisdictions where tobacco control claims that tobacco companies are promoting smoking, it is because their hysterical screeching about Big Tobacco has meant cigarettes are the only product that is allowed to be sold. Turkey is just the latest country to follow World 'Health' Organisation advice and ban e-cigs, for example. It is difficult for a global company like Philip Morris to cease production of cigaerttes while tobacco control runs around getting any alternatives prohibited, isn't it?

For tobacco controllers, reducing smoking prevalence has long since been kicked to the gutter in favour of destroying tobacco companies. The report that The Sun refers to - out today - shows exactly how harmful, again in their own parlance, their rent-seeking threatens to be.

This graphic tells a story.

To explain, the unprecedented recent decline in smoking prevalence happened not due to tobacco control's inane nannying, but instead after e-cigs went mainstream around 2012. This is quite simply undeniable.

However, instead of welcoming this, the efforts of many dinosaur tobacco controllers have been to focus on destabilising harm reduction; spreading doubt - exactly as they accuse the tobacco industry of doing decades ago - and promoting scare stories and junk science.

Or, as the vacuous Tobacco Control comedians put it, place emphasis on what doesn't work instead of what does.
What is required is leaders who have the humility to work with the movement and policymakers with the backbones of steel needed to stand up to the industry to enact and implement strong tobacco control measures, including high taxes, smokefree laws, effective media campaigns to denormalize both smoking and tobacco companies, and marketing, packaging and retailing regulations to make these deadly products less ubiquitous.
Do you notice how all of those approaches carry a nice juicy payout for tobacco controllers? Whereas the market solving the 'problem' without their interference doesn't? Just follow the money.

Anyway, the upshot is that creating doubt about reduced risk products which are proven statistically to be making a difference can only have one effect, according to the tobacco control industry's own propaganda. Creating doubt - according to the rhetoric they incessantly spout - will kill people, and the difference between welcoming a new approach instead of adhering to policies which lend themselves more to psychopathic bullying and self-interest for tobacco control is another 11 years. Yep, tobacco control would prefer another 11 years of failure than to relinquish their cosy cartel in favour of helping smokers quit using something that works.

You can go read the new report here. When you do, remember that we are on the side of the angels now, tobacco control - by contrast - has sunk to the depths of depravity. For many of them, failed policies which enrich them are preferable to hugely more successful products encouraging smokers away from lit tobacco, simply because industry makes them.

Have I ever told you it's not about health? 

Sunday 5 November 2017

The Assault On Christmas Begins

I'm often asked why I have a dislike for 'public health', but it's an extremely easy question to answer. It is because they are the most disgustingly anti-social people in society today.

Here is a perfect example from this past week.
Calls have been made to ban the Coca-Cola truck from Liverpool this Christmas amid concerns about obesity levels in the city.
No, it was just one call; from one pretty miserable human being.
Liverpool's Liberal Democrat leader Richard Kemp said the city is "in the grip of an obesity epidemic".  
He believes Coca-Cola's popular festive vehicle promotes a product which is "grossly unhealthy", as first reported in the Liverpool Echo.
The Liverpool Echo, in turn, reported that:
For each of the past five years, the illuminated heavy loader, emblazoned with the red-and-white logo of the famous soft drink all lit up, has attracted thousands of people in the city centre.
Yes, thousands of people turn up every year for this little piece of Christmas magic - and, erm, there is no obligation to drink the bloody product - but this one joyless pinch-lipped Lib Dem wants it banned. I really don't get these 'Liberal' Democrats. Not satisfied with turning their entire party's raison d'etre into trying to overturn a democratic vote on the EU, now this guy thinks he has sole authority over the thousands of people who will vote with their feet when the Coca-Cola truck comes to Liverpool. He seriously believes that his twisted and perverse view of the world trumps the enjoyment of a huge crowd of happy Liverpudlian families and thinks he has the right to usurp parental choice. He has since been denying that he is a Scrooge, which led to this amusing graphic from some mischievous card at the Liverpool Echo.

But then, he's not really to blame, he's just an incredibly gullible twat. The real criminal in all of this is the money-grabbing 'public health' movement who have been whispering junk science into this inadequate man's brain for years.

Take fellow blood-sucking puritan Simon Capewell, who subsequently applauded Cllr Kemp's anti-social extremism.
“We are indeed fighting for sugary drinks to be treated the same as tobacco which means, higher taxes and stricter limits on advertising. 
“The Coke Christmas truck has NO place in our society.”
Speak for yourself sunshine, but the thousands of people who swarm to see it would disagree with you and your vanishingly tiny monomaniacal minority.

Let's for a moment, take it as read that fizzy drinks - despite being a tiny percentage of overall calorie intake - are solely responsible for an obesity problem that is wildly over-exaggerated. Even in that already extreme scenario, the overwhelming majority of people don't drink Coca-Cola incessantly, and it is even more hysterical to try to equate just one annual event where kids get a bit of Xmas magic thrown their way along with a miniature can of Coke as being anything pernicious at all.

It's snobbery, pure and simple. Extreme arrogance from repulsive wastes of DNA, emboldened by a bunch of fib-lipped charlatans, some of whom have recently been exposed as being keen to pervert truth on a whim to promote their signature form of anti-social behaviour.

We should be throwing these people in jail, not handing them half a billion pounds of our taxes each year. Public health is a vile institution which has completely forgotten that it is there to help society, not beat it about the head with a stick and make kids cry.

This, too, is only the start. We are only in early November and already the public health assault on Christmas is in full swing. From here on in, any excitement about the festive period will be tempered by a queue of charmless, bed-wetting, shroud-waving pieces of hysterical 'public health' slug shit trying to guilt trip us all for enjoying what we choose to enjoy, and their reason for doing so is nothing but their own personal gain.

That is why I dislike 'public health', because they are arrogant, ivory tower fun-snipers who derive joy out of nagging others and taking away their pleasures. They are, quite simply, adult bullies so it is perfectly natural to dislike them.

If you fancy seeing what has got this small minority of repulsive snobs so irate, by the way, get your diary out as the schedule for the tour is here. Holidays are coming. 

Friday 3 November 2017

Vaping Solutions: An Easy Brexit Win

In recent weeks I've written about the ridiculous unintended consequences of the TPD towards vaping.

In August it was noteworthy at Vapefest that vendors were not selling pre-mixed e-liquid, but instead - because no-one wants to buy a whole load of 10ml bottles - were shifting large amounts of flavour concentrates to be mixed at home.
Instead of pharma-grade nicotine being mixed in sterile conditions with professional equipment, it is now being mixed in houses and flats using a Kenwood Chef and nicotine stored in domestic freezers, in whatever bottles are available, by people with varying levels of competence at mixing DIY juice.
And just the other day, I pointed out that the TPD had also led to an explosion in flavours which are free of scrutiny.
My spies at Vape Expo tell me that there has been a noticeable uptick in nic free short fills from countries like the USA and Malaysia where no standards apply and there is absolutely no control on what is in them. So what the fucking morons who devised the TPD have created is a market where vapers are buying black market nicotine from China and mixing in their kitchen, or walking around with a bottle of nicotine and a bottle of flavouring - the contents of which they have no clue about - and mixing themselves when they never wanted to before. Precisely what the myopic cretins in 'public health' wanted to avoid.
It is pretty clear that far from making the market safer, ideological and pathetic meddling by tobacco control - towards a product which they knew the sum total of fuck all about - has led to the potential for more harm rather than less.

The instinct of regulators like the cretinous faux 'experts' in tobacco control will no doubt be to install even more pathetic regulations which, in turn, will inevitably lead to even more unintended consequences. There is a better way though, and it will present itself in March 2019 thanks to Brexit.

Today the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has released a report entitled "Vaping solutions: An easy Brexit win" stating exactly that. I highly recommend you give it a read as it is a beacon of common sense emerging from the carnage of 5 years of retarded interference from tobacco controllers who don't know one end of an atomiser from the other.

As author Chris Snowdon sums up in his report ...
The TPD was a solution looking for a problem that did not exist. The vaping market functioned better under the relatively laissez-faire regime that preceded it than it has since. The sooner it returns to its previous state, the better for the health, prosperity and liberty of the nation.
Indeed. It's important to note that the vacant policy that vaping manufacturers and retailers have to abide by is not only restrictive, anti-competitive and wasteful, it is also damaging to the health of the public.

It is exactly such EU stupidity and over-reach that Brexit should be fixing. Repealing these dangerous and incompetent regulations - created by ideologues and career anti-nicotine hate-preachers - should be one of the first things that we do once we leave the EU.

It is easy to do, doesn't require primary legislation, and is backed by sane politicians and pragmatic health practitioners alike. It will certainly be met with a collective "meh" by the vast majority of the public and the only objections will come from screaming bigots, anti-social snobs and clueless fat Irish professors or Marxist moon-howlers from the north west.

It's an easy post-Brexit win and we should grab it with both hands. Do go read the IEA report here

Thursday 2 November 2017

Public Health Rogue Traders

Some of you may have caught a segment on The One Show yesterday evening where Matt Allwright visited the Vape Expo event in Birmingham.

It was a surprisingly positive piece from the guy who is known for exposing Rogue Traders, and if you missed it you can watch it here from 41:30 minutes in. It was even complemented at the end with Andrew Marr giving his opinion that vaping is "an entirely good thing". Not bad, huh?

However, I think he missed the real story here.

Yesterday also saw a Westminster Hall debate secured by Gareth Johnson, MP for Dartford, where he pointed out some of the absurdities of the regulations imposed on us by the EU. You can watch the whole thing here but keep an eye out for the part from 9:25 mins where Johnson tells other MPs about the ridiculous warnings on hardware - which I wrote about last week - that blatantly lie to the public.

Because, you see, the real appalling story that needs publicising about e-cigs and vaping is the disgraceful regulations applied by 'public health', as I touched upon in August.
However, what was most striking is that the stall-holders had almost abandoned selling pre-mixed nicotine-containing e-liquid altogether! Yes, you could buy 10ml TPD-compliant bottles but I didn't see many people doing that. In previous years 30ml, 60ml, and even 100ml bottles of ready-to-vape liquids were available at advantageous festival prices, but - of course - the TPD has ensured that those size bottles are now banned. 
So the upshot is that the industry has moved to selling the concentrates (flavours) instead, to be mixed by vapers themselves. Just think about that for a moment. By observing their absurd 'precautionary principle' to supposedly protect vapers and children from the overblown dangers of nicotine in e-liquid, tedious shroud-waving tobacco controllers and their dim weasel-headed EU pals have created a situation whereby liquids are not mixed in a clean environment by professionals, but instead in kitchens up and down the country by vapers buying illicit nicotine base from China ... because you can't get that in anything over 10ml bottles either. 
Instead of pharma-grade nicotine being mixed in sterile conditions with professional equipment, it is now being mixed in houses and flats using a Kenwood Chef and nicotine stored in domestic freezers, in whatever bottles are available, by people with varying levels of competence at mixing DIY juice.
Now, I've heard the trend at Vape Expo was for "short fills", that is where a 60ml bottle is filled to 50ml with a nicotine free liquid which would then be topped up with a 10ml bottle of "nic shot". This is perfectly understandable. Vapers don't want to buy stupid 10ml bottles - a regulation the EU imposed for no decent reason whatsoever - so the result is a get-around which is perfectly reasonable.

Except that just about the only part of the EU TPD that relates to vaping that anyone can possibly say makes sense is the part demanding that anything containing nicotine must be 'notified' to the MHRA so they know what is in it. This, of course, doesn't apply to liquids that do not contain nicotine. The short fill bottles, being nicotine free, can contain whatever the manufacturer wants them to contain, there is no scrutiny whatsoever!

My spies at Vape Expo tell me that there has been a noticeable uptick in nic free short fills from countries like the USA and Malaysia where no standards apply and there is absolutely no control on what is in them. So what the fucking morons who devised the TPD have created is a market where vapers are buying black market nicotine from China and mixing in their kitchen, or walking around with a bottle of nicotine and a bottle of flavouring - the contents of which they have no clue about - and mixing themselves when they never wanted to before. Precisely what the myopic cretins in 'public health' wanted to avoid.

Far from regulating the industry - which had a good record of regulating itself - the TPD has managed to take a beneficial free market and turn it into the fucking wild west, all because a few tobacco controllers either see their Caribbean holiday evaporating through redundancy or simply just can't bear to see smokers quitting without suffering the hair shirt.

The real story that Matt Allwright missed with his visit to Vape Expo is that 'public health' are the Rogue Traders who need to be humiliated. They are the ones who have screwed everything up and are potentially causing a massive amount of harm. There have been no deaths attributable to vaping so far worldwide, but if we ever see one it will most likely be tobacco control who caused it.

If 'public health' was serious about preventing harm from vaping, they would immediately demand that the regulations on bottle sizes be scrapped. But it's never been about health, so they won't.