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? 

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