Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Health Guidelines Are A Weapon Against Choice

Be afraid, be very afraid! 
On Friday evening, I went to Maxwell's in Covent Garden for a pre-theatre meal with a friend. The place has been in business for over 30 years that I know of and describes itself as "the home of the freakshake". I'd never heard of a freakshake before I booked a table and I didn't eat one, but plenty of healthy-looking young things around us did.

Today, a vast number of other people found out what a freakshake is for the first time thanks to those hideous health fascists at Action on Sugar. Via the BBC:
The campaign group Action on Sugar is demanding a ban on freakshakes and all milkshakes with more than 300 calories. 
It surveyed milkshakes sold in restaurants and fast food shops in the UK and found they contained "grotesque levels of sugar and calories". 
Freakshakes are milkshakes that also contain chocolates, sweets, cake, cream and sauce. 
The Toby Carvery Unicorn Freakshake came top of the survey with 39 teaspoons of sugar or 1,280 calories. 
That is more than half the daily recommended amount of calories for an adult and over six times the amount of sugar recommended for seven to 10-year-olds.
I'm late to the party as Snowdon has already pointed out that - as is obligatory with 'public health' lobbyists - Action on Sugar and its supporters are blatantly lying about these products in just about every claim that they make. I recommend you go read how jaw-droppingly shameless they are about it at his site.

I'd like to highlight, though, once again the naive and gullible fallacy of believing that health guidelines are nothing to be afraid of and are actually just giving us information. I wrote about it two years ago in response to this tweet from a 'public health' apologist on (mendacious, natch) alcohol advice.


I only need repeat what I said back then.
This idea that these are just recommendations, and that's all, is incredibly naive. Have these people been sleeping for the past 30 or 40 years? When have guidelines ever remained guidelines without leading to more and more coercion? 
With sugar, the guidelines had barely been altered downwards by the WHO before there were calls from 'public health' that the public isn't following them so we need a sugar tax and TV advertising bans on certain foods. 
There used to be guidelines about what food kids should be given by their parents to take to school, now we have packed lunch inspections and unapproved food being confiscated, while many openly talk about mandatory school dinners because the 'guidelines' are not being adhered to. 
These are just a few examples of many many others I could have chosen (add more in the comments as I'm sure you will know plenty of other examples). This is how health nags work, people, if you haven't noticed that where have you been? 
As a result of these 'guidelines' that we are apparently free not to follow - you know, they're just fuzzy-wuzzy friendly advice, that's all - a whole new door has been opened on alcohol nagging. 
Soon there will be campaigns by the usual suspects to say that the guidelines are not being adhered to. It will not be because the public have taken note of the advice and chosen to ignore it, instead the legions of public health parasites will say that the 'guidelines' are just not working and something must be done about it; that big industry is blinding drinkers to the harms; and that - how convenient - there are now so many more people drinking over the recommended guidelines that government must crack down hard!
And what have we seen today? 'Public health' parasites saying that the 'guidelines' on sugar are just not working and something must be done about it and that government must crack down hard.

By banning a dessert milkshake! We're well beyond the fucking looking glass here aren't we?

We are not free to ignore recommended guidance all the while vicious, draconian, career-puritans like Action on Sugar and their similarly arrogant, sneering elitist chums are indulged by government agencies instead of being recognised as the anti-social cunts that they really are.

As Snowdon describes today, there is not likely to be a ban on Freakshakes, politicians aren't that stupid ... yet (even though we did once see two parties fighting over which was more determined to declare war on a fucking chocolate orange). But it opens an Overton Window which Public Health England will likely exploit.
Public Health England, in its madness, wants to cap calories in milkshakes to 300 per serving. It is Action on Sugar's job to make Public Health England seem relatively reasonable. To that end, they are calling for it to be a crime to sell a milkshake with more calories than this.
Quite. There may not ultimately be a ban, but there will definitely be coercion, and that is because the guidelines or recommended daily amounts are not produced to give us information and then to be left alone - as Suzi childishly tweeted two years ago - they are intentionally produced in order to be a weapon with which to beat us into submission.

We should all be appalled at the very suggestion that any dessert - not drink as Action on Sugar claim - should be subject to a ban, yet this kind of story appeals to the most repellent in society who succumb to the powerful urge to dictate what other people choose to do with their lives. If we want to live in a free country we shouldn't be pandering to such obnoxious and nauseating people, we should be treating them with contempt, yet Action on Sugar - and any number of 'public health' activists in other areas - do precisely the opposite.

If government wants to educate the public with recommendations and guidelines, that's fair enough, but anyone who believes - with the 'public health' industry wildly out-of-control as today proves very much that they are - that those guidelines are just advisory and we are perfectly free to ignore that advice is, quite frankly, a cretin.

Prior to 2007, the very idea that government should be in the business of dictating what businesses can or can't allow their customers to enjoy in their private premises would have been anathema to the country as a whole, but once tobacco control legitimised prodnosery with the smoking ban, it opened the floodgates. Now you just have to harbour some sneering contempt towards what other people are doing that you disapprove of and a 'public health' lobby group - somewhere - has got your back. It doesn't even matter anymore that the only possible harm can be to yourself, the sugar tax proved that. It now also doesn't matter that you are given information to make those choices for yourself, because 'public health' doesn't want you to have those choices available at all.

People who work in 'public health' often bristle when they are referred to as health fascists, but can you think of anything more fascist than dictating how big your pizza is, how much bacon you are allowed to consume, or whether or not you should be permitted to eat a milk-based dessert? After today, the debate is over. It's well past time government stopped listening to these horrendous organisations and starved them of funding; that or drown the miserable bastards in a butt of Marmsey for glorious ironic effect. 

If nothing else, politicians should take away the weapon of 'guidelines' if they want to say we are a liberal country with a straight face. Make it clear that the recommended levels are exactly that, recommended, and that if we choose to ignore them we should be left the fuck alone. 



Thursday, 8 November 2018

Some?!?

A curious piece turned up on the BBC the other day from their 'reality check' team.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock wants to encourage people in England to make "better choices" around their alcohol, sugar, salt and fat intake, while getting more exercise. 
He is promising to spend more on public awareness initiatives to prevent obesity in the latest in a long line of of public health campaigns over the years. 
Three of the best-known health messages are eating five portions a day of fruit and vegetables, getting 150 minutes of exercise a week and quitting smoking. 
But what evidence is there that these have worked?
Being a tax-funded organisation, the BBC team were of the opinion that gentle messages from the government - based on education of the public - are not effective. The fact this is exactly the message that tax spongers in 'public health' were screaming about when Hancock made his policy announcement is surely a coincidence.


There was one area, though, where the 'reality check' team had a different view.
The Labour government banned smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces in England in 2007. 
The result is a marked decrease in the number of smokers.
Yep, when vile coercion is used instead of messages intended to change personal choices without a big stick, the BBC was hinting that this was a huge success.

Except, erm, it was nothing to do with the smoking ban, as the graph they publish with the article shows very well.


The result of the smoking ban was not a "marked decrease in the number of smokers". The marked decrease in the number of smokers came from 2012 when e-cigs went mainstream. As you can see from the BBC's graph above, all that the smoking ban did was halt a previously massive "marked decrease" of smokers prior to 2007.

The 'reality check' team did mention something around this at the very end of the article - how could they not considering it's so fucking obvious - but only in faint terms (emphasis mine).
Changes in law, habits and tastes may all contribute to changes in attitude which may affect lifestyle choices. For example, some of the decline in smoking could be attributed as much to the rise of the e-cigarette as anything else.
Some?!? Look at the figures for crying out loud.

It's a pretty rum definition of reality and an odd understanding of the word check if the BBC refuse to face up to what reality actually is and fail to check it properly.

Looks more like a supportive puff piece for their comrades in the tax-leeching game to me. 



Friday, 2 November 2018

Cretinous @DundeeCouncil, An Abusive Employer

If you live in Dundee, I'd be very afraid if I were you, because your council is run by weapons grade idiots.

Now, I run a business and have to ensure that my staff are as competent as they can be or else the business fails, but it appears that you don't require even the slightest semblance of intelligence or awareness of what is going on around you to run Dundee Council. You also don't need to have any empathy with any of the nearly 8,000 employees that have to pitifully work for the vile bunch of cretins who govern the city. Via The Courier:
A new policy that bans council workers from smoking during working hours has been branded “tantamount to bullying”. 
Trade unions have also hit out at the Dundee City Council rules, which will mean workers are not allowed to smoke or vape on tea breaks, while travelling between offices or when outside, even if they are not identifiable as council staff. 
Anyone caught flouting the new rules could face disciplinary action.
This is a quite astonishingly tyrannical policy. It effectively says that the council - as an employer - has the right to dictate what employees do in their spare time. It says that they have a right to demand employees do the council's bidding even when they are not being paid.

Dundee Council, as a result, have catapulted themselves to the top of the UK league table of abusive employers. What next? Considering the ridiculous demonising of sugar, will Dundee's vacant councillors soon ban their staff from buying a Coca-Cola while on a lunch break? A McDonald's?

Oh, and they are liars too. According to Simon Clark, their justification is this.
The policy has been created in response to the Scottish Government report ‘Creating a tobacco-free generation: A Tobacco Control Strategy for Scotland’, with guidance from COSLA, and explicitly bans council workers from smoking whilst outdoors, even while walking from one premises to another or during tea breaks. The ban also includes e-cigarettes, which the council does not consider different from cigarettes.
In consultation with COSLA? Well that seems very strange considering Health Scotland "in partnership with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)" had this to say on e-cigs just last year.
Terminology – the use of smoking terminology should be avoided when referring to ecigarettes. E-cigarette use is often known as ‘vaping’ and e-cigarettes users are often known as ‘vapers’. Make clear the distinction between vaping and smoking, and the evidence on the relative risks for users and bystanders.
Erm, Dundee City Council may be distinguishing between between smoking and vaping by mentioning them separately, but they are treating them exactly the same. It takes a monumental collection of fucksticks to think this is somehow acceptable. I have an idea that the Dundee dickheads didn't have any engagement with COSLA whatsoever. If they did, COSLA have questions to answer too because there must be some hideously lazy public sector staff flicking rubber bands around the office and failing to check what Dundee were saying and comparing it with THEIR OWN FUCKING ADVICE!

More cuts required, obviously.

Sooner or later, I expect the champions of vaping, ASH and ASH Scotland, will ride in and chastise these backward Scottish burghers and save the day. Well, maybe not just right now.
Anti-smoking charity ASH Scotland’s chief executive Sheila Duffy said: “Policies like this aim to care for employees and the communities they serve."
Yep. Sheila believes it's perfectly acceptable for workers to be bullied by their employer as to what they do in their spare time because she really wants them to quit smoking. Sheila also believes it's fine that they can be sacked for using a device - again, in their spare time - to quit smoking.

Where the fuck does the lucrative tobacco control industry find these incredibly repulsive people? Do they have anti-interviews where the most hideous are given the job?

As for the ASH mothership.


Once again, ASH seem pretty keen to endorse draconian bans on smokers and are more than willing to disregard the fact that vapers are being thrown under the bus along with them. I often hear about how ASH are the new guardians of vaping and how sincere they are about safer alternatives - mostly from ASH -  but they keep doing shit like this.

ASH Wales, remember, "fully welcomed" a ban on vaping on a Welsh beach, while ASH London absolutely loved a ban on smoking and vaping in hospital grounds. Now we have Duffy of ASH Scotland clapping her tiny hands in excitement about vapers being threatened with dismissal and her London counterparts remaining silent as Scottish vapers are being bullied by an ignorant and hypocritical council.

Put simply. Employers should have absolutely no say about what their workers do - legally - when they are not being paid. I understand the unions are on the case and, for once, I hope they make a massive scene and cripple the city until the pathetic and incompetent people running Dundee Council take their heads out of their arses and think outside their tiny, prejudicial and vapid minds.

I would, however, like to thank them for yet again proving that none of this has ever been about health and that ASH has never been a friend of vapers.

Dundee Council, you are utter morons and abusive employers. In an ideal world your entire executive would be fired on the spot for harassment of your employees and barred from public office for a lifetime.  



Sunday, 28 October 2018

A 'Stalwart Smoker' Tries iQos

A few years ago a friend of mine who travels incredibly regularly for business wrote some guest blogs here. You can see them on the Bear Tripper tag. 

Having recently tried an iQos for the first time after not having heard of it until earlier this month, Bear sent some interesting initial thoughts as a blog article. 

Note: I am not Dick Puddlecote.

I am a stalwart smoker of cigarettes.

Years ago I tried e-cigs when they were new on the market, in fact I was the one who first introduced DP to one in 2009. As someone who travels on an extremely regular basis, I found that the e-cig was helpful in many ways, most notably for use in some no smoking hotel rooms where the policies on smoking are particularly draconian, however I still wanted a proper cigarette. I found e-cigs dried my mouth.

Just a supporting note on that, there are still many smoking hotel rooms, no matter what people say, and it's quite rare on my travels that I don't find them. If you're a regular traveller - especially on business expenses - you are a good customer and I treat those hotels well for their understanding approach to people like me.

Enter the IQOS which I have only just heard about (which says something about the lack of marketing, why are smokers like me prevented from hearing about it? I can only guess that it is because anti-smokers are blocking marketing). It is described as the healthier way to smoke. I had to try this, obviously. My first thought was ‘what a great idea’.  However, after pondering, I kept asking myself the same question. Why?

This is a ‘healthier’ way to smoke but wherever I've tried to use it I am still faced with going outside. If you use an e-cig, nobody knows you ‘smoked’ in a room. With IQOS, you can’t do that. A colleague told me that using IQOS meant he didn’t smell of smoke anymore, but not convinced the hotels or bars would see it that way, regardless of whether or not it had no harm to others.

I was an early adopter of e-cigs, as mentioned earlier, and I remember asking about using it in a couple of bars and was told, at the time that I couldn't. Their understanding of the smoking ban was so poor that they were worried it would be seen as smoking. In truth, they didn't know what e-cigs were and the fines for allowing smoking are so draconian that they didn't want to take the risk. I now see anti-smoking organisations including e-cigs in their campaigns but find it quite hypocritical because uptake would be much better if they had spoken up in the early days so that bars weren't afraid of allowing them. It's probably too late now. As Dick often says, it's not about health is it?

Some bars have now accepted and encouraged vaping, but very few in this country. I have found that the attitude in mainland Europe is far better than in the UK despite this country being praised for being welcoming towards vaping. Maybe that tells us something about the attitudes of Brits and our reluctance to turning a blind eye to silly laws.

Will IQOS be the same? Will we be allowed to smoke a ‘safe’ cigarette? Given that it is like the invasion of the bodysnatchers these days where people point and roar if you smoke, drink, eat chocolate, drink fizzy drinks etc, I am not sure we will have that option. Since trying the product I have looked up articles about it and found nothing but health organisations trying to demonise it before it gets started.

As to IQOS itself. I like the idea. I did find it dry and did not like the ‘taste’ but that was the same with e-cigs in the beginning. It can only be improved. New flavours could prove popular.

We then get to cost and availability. Heets are not that cheap. Will this cost reduce and will they be more available as they grow more popular?

I would like to keep trying IQOS, and will do until the Heets I currently have run out (or beyond if I enjoy it and can easily find more), but I am not seeing the advantage yet. The smoking ban was clearly not about health or else we would be seeing far more vaping allowed in public places. but with IQOS the outlook seems to me to be even worse. So why are we trying to make smoking healthier when we are still banned and thrown outdoors.

If someone in the anti-smoking movement can explain that to me, I'd think harder about whether to carry on trying something safer, but all the while I am thrown out into the cold I'll carry on with the fags, thanks. 



Monday, 22 October 2018

So Predictable

Just the other day I said this about the pitiful state of tobacco controllers when it comes to safer products made by industry.
I don't know about you, but I always thought tobacco control was about stopping people smoking by whatever means. You'd think Arnott would be happy about smokers being encouraged to use something far safer, wouldn't you?
And, today on the BBC, here we go again.
One of the world's biggest tobacco firms, Philip Morris, has been accused of "staggering hypocrisy" over its new ad campaign that urges smokers to quit. 
The Marlboro maker said the move was "an important next step" in its aim to "ultimately stop selling cigarettes". 
But Cancer Research UK said the firm was just trying to promote its smoking alternatives, such as heated tobacco. 
"This is a staggering hypocrisy," it said, pointing out the firm still promotes smoking outside the UK.
Look, it's very simple. In much of the world, the ghastly tobacco control machine has been demonising e-cigs and other similar products so much that governments are banning them. The latest is the absurd decision by Hong Kong to prohibit sale, manufacture and advertising of anything to do with vaping while still allowing cigarettes to be available everywhere. They join cretinous policy-makers in Thailand, Brazil and other assorted lunatic nations like Australia.


What the blithering fuck do these cretins think are going to be promoted if they do silly things like that? Well, a brain donor from CRUK seems to think he has a stunning argument on that.
"The best way Philip Morris could help people to stop smoking is to stop making cigarettes," George Butterworth, Cancer Research UK's tobacco policy manager said.
Jesus Christ! This is the thinking of a fucking 10 year old yet he is being paid handsomely to have it. George, there are things called businesses that are beholden to their shareholders, your puerile nonsense is quite absurd, as I have mentioned before.
Any CEO who cut their shareholders off at the knees with such a stupid destruction of their business would probably end up in jail for abandoning their fiduciary duty to their investors, many of which are pension funds which could see their value decimated overnight. Any tobacco controller who suggests this as a feasible course of action - and some actually have - is showing themselves up to be a monumental cretin.
Let me tell you something that I fully believe Butterworth knows very well. Philip Morris ceasing production of cigarettes would not lead to a single smoker quitting. Their carcass of a company would be picked over by hawkish competitors, their shareholders would be in uproar, pension funds would suffer and their brands would just be produced by someone else.

If he truly believes this is a good argument he is a moron. But I suspect he is not that dense and just says it because he instinctively wants to oppose anything industry does. It's a quite pathetic stance to take and one which ASH are happy to follow too.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Ash, said Philip Morris was still advertising its Marlboro brand wherever globally it was legal to do so. 
"The fact of the matter is that it can no longer do that in the UK, we're a dark market where all advertising, promotion and sponsorship is banned, and cigarettes are in plain packs. 
"So instead Philip Morris is promoting the company name which is inextricably linked with Marlboro," she said.
It advertises its brand in other countries, Debs, because it is legally entitled to do so and is arguably obliged to to satisfy its investors. You were in Geneva for COP8 and singularly failed to remove prohibition of safer products from the FCTC's guidance to less developed nations. If you want Philip Morris to stop selling cigarettes why not talk to your colleagues and get them to stop encouraging countries like India - for example - to ban alternatives?

As for Philip Morris advertising its company name, erm, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a smoker who knows who makes the cigarette they smoke. It's an utterly absurd argument.

The simple fact, yet again, is that tobacco controllers are raging about the fact that industry is doing their job far better than tobacco control can. And they are sensing how much of their funding is going to disappear.

It's never been about health with these people, and today proves it yet again. They are more interested in attacking industry than encouraging smokers to quit.

It wouldn't be so pathetic if it wasn't so bloody predictable.

Anyway, here's the campaign video that these 'anti-smokers' are objecting to. Not my cup of tea but oh how ridiculous and venal tobacco control make themselves by wanting it shut down.





Thursday, 18 October 2018

How Dare You Reduce Harm!

Still bogged down in Puddlecoteville with real life, I'm afraid. I keep meaning to get round to write about recent trips including Geneva to see what the global cult of tobacco control was doing at COP8 at the start of the month, and I will do so soon.

In the meantime, you may have missed this article at the Telegraph in its 'premium' section, meaning you have to pay to access it.
Salesmen for one of the world's biggest tobacco firms have been caught offering potentially illegal incentives to smokers in bars to get them hooked on new "heat-not-burn" tobacco, it can be revealed.
In a breathless exposé, the excitable journo has highlighted the dastardly practice of the tobacco industry in trying to get smokers to take up something the UK's Committee on Toxicology (COT) assesses as 50 to 90 per cent less harmful than smoking. The bastards, eh?
Acting for Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, salesmen push tobacco devices in bars using a range of questionable tactics to entice potential customers, a Telegraph investigation has established. 
Erm, the smokers are already tobacco industry customers because they are smokers. And if the journo wants to talk about getting smokers "hooked" on heat not burn, has it escaped her attention that there is something else smokers are currently consuming which she might class as being "hooked"?

Evil tobacco exec tries to sell a safer product to a smoker, for shame!
The reporting of harm reduction products in media is pretty shit, I have to say. You know what we need? An 'expert' to calm things down a bit. But instead we get the head of the UK's pre-eminent tobacco industry-hating tax sponging organisation instead.
Commenting on the findings, Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity Ash, urged the government to take action.  
She said:  “After the Telegraph’s previous article exposing illegal advertising of IQOS by Philip Morris, the company promised the Government this would stop. Yet over a month later IQOS ads are still all plastered all over vape shops and tobacconists. Not only that, but now we find out Philip Morris is also plying smokers with free drinks in a desperate attempt to promote IQOS and sign up new customers.”
I don't know about you, but I always thought tobacco control was about stopping people smoking by whatever means. You'd think Arnott would be happy about smokers being encouraged to use something far safer, wouldn't you?

Especially if it won't cost the taxpayer a penny instead of government funding groups like ASH to ... oh hold on!

So ASH are calling for a ban on businesses talking to smokers and trying to get them to switch from smoking to products which are far safer. This is actually tobacco control policy in the UK right now. Staggering.

Of course, this just illustrates yet again that anti-tobacco cultists have completely abandoned their stated purpose of acting on "smoking and health" in favour of simply attacking industry instead. I'm sure in the past there were well-meaning people in tobacco control who cared about smokers' health, but once it became a multi-billion pound global industry, grants come easier if you have a dragon to slay.

It's not been about health with tobacco control for a couple of decades now. 



Friday, 5 October 2018

Mind-blowing Cheek Of The EU

I’ve trekked out to Geneva to catch the last knockings of the latest WHO anti-tobacco shit show that is COP8 (see COP6 and COP7 tags in the sidebar for previous tobacco control codswallop) but I just had to share this incredible hypocrisy from the EU.
And attend she did. Bucher is new to the job and it showed, her very first contribution to stopping those 7 million deaths was to advocate a global ban on advertising of e-cigs and to classify them as tobacco products subject to the same restrictions as smoking.
What a fucking genius, eh? Good grief.

The EU, of course, also bans snus which has accounted for Sweden boasting the lowest smoking prevalence rate in the EU by a country mile.

So Bucher’s message appears to be “we want to stop people smoking so what we are going to do is ban and hide away all alternatives that smokers find useful”. And this daft woman thinks that is good policy?

Will no-one rid us of these troublesome - and utterly absurd - quangocrats? Can we leave yet?



Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Tobacco Control Junk Science Of The Week

Or maybe even the year, or decade. Or ever!

From the Tobacco Control comic, naturally.
Indeed, while IQOS heat-sticks (HEETS) include a variety of flavours (tobacco, menthol, bubble gum and lime), no IQOS heat-sticks include capsules. 
Heets come in three 'flavours'. Gold tobacco flavour, amber tobacco flavour and blue (menthol) flavour. Bubble gum or lime heets simply don't exist.

It's a struggle to work out how they can make such a fundamental error like this until you read further.
Furthermore, when British American Tobacco (BAT) introduced its ‘glo’ HTP into the Korean market in August 2017, their heat-sticks (Dunhill Neosticks) did not include capsules. Like IQOS, the heat-sticks included flavour options (tobacco, menthol and lemon ginger), with three additional flavours introduced in December 2017 (‘Ruby fresh (cherry)’, ‘purple fresh (grape)’ and ‘smooth fresh (light menthol)’). 
There also isn't a Lemon and Ginger flavoured Glo stick from BAT.  So what the hell are they wibbling about?

And then the penny drops. Glo dishwasher liquid does in fact come in Lemon and Ginger flavour.

Idiots.



Thursday, 20 September 2018

Popcorn Time: Australia Is Wobbling On E-Cigs

The Australian Guardian reported on Tuesday that the Aussie government is to set up a new inquiry into e-cigs.
The health minister Greg Hunt has agreed to an independent inquiry into the health impacts of nicotine e-cigarettes after a concerted push in the Coalition party room over several months to legalise vaping. 
Several MPs raised the issue in Tuesday’s party room meeting, saying there was widespread support within the government for making nicotine e-cigarettes legally available.
This is significant considering Greg Hunt famously said that legalisation of vaping would never happen 'on his watch' last year. It may be political pressure which has forced his hand, but I reckon deep down he's quite relieved that the decision has almost been taken away from him because Australia - and, consequently, Greg Hunt - is fast becoming a laughing stock while all other developed nations are moving to sensibly regulate safer nicotine products.

This announcement has, of course, been welcomed by tobacco controllers keen to find out if vaping can lower smoking rates, just as they have always wanted. Oh, I'm sorry, my bad. I was confusing tobacco control with other professions who have integrity, of course they didn't welcome it, they reacted in their customary manner. By issuing veiled threats.


The prospect of a truly independent inquiry absolutely terrifies the tobacco control industry, which is why they routinely rig evidence-gathering for policymakers, as I have written about many times. My personal favourite is, coincidentally, from Australia as explained by Catallaxy Files.
In 2012 Professor Melanie Wakefield of the Victorian Cancer Council was awarded a $3 million contract to conduct a national tracking survey of tobacco consumers (and recent “quitters”) immediately prior, during, and after the implementation of plain packaging. Professor Wakefield has previously been a member of the National Preventative Health Taskforce that had recommended the implementation of plain packaging, she was a member of the Federal Government’s Expert Advisory Group on plain packaging, and was then was commissioned by the Health Department, in the absence of a tender process, to investigate the efficacy of the very policy she had recommended, designed. and implemented. Unsurprisingly the results of her research (with several co-authors) supports the efficacy of plain packaging as a policy to reduce the prevalence of tobacco consumption.
And yes, that's exactly how the tobacco control scam has worked for decades. Imagining, preparing, setting questions for, and marking their own homework. It's corruption, basically.

So of course the desiccated Sydney pensioner is going to feel threatened. After all, truly independent inquiries don't cherry-pick rare outliers and try to build doubt about products on the basis of pure prejudice like a Sydney pensioner would. A truly independent inquiry takes the body of evidence and weighs up costs against benefits to come to a sober policy conclusion. Tobacco control industry 'independent' research is always - and I mean always - conducted by state-funded anti-smoking lobbyists with huge conflicts of interest, is preconceived to come up with a certain result, and counts only costs, never benefits.

If tobacco control is scared of this inquiry, it could well be properly independent and could be a massive embarrassment to the bunch of senile dinosaurs in Oz who still cling to the idea that e-cigs can be banned forever in order that they can proudly remain in the elite club of basket case nations who continue to do so.


Australian tobacco controllers will also be scared about a truly independent inquiry because it might show that they have been paid barrels full of money for pathetic and inconsequential tobacco control ideas, while nations which have permitted alternatives have left Australia in their wake.


You know what the likes of the Sydney pensioner and his geriatric old farts need right now? Some real world statistics to prove that their policies are wildly successful. Yes, that would be the ticket! Something to show those federal MPs that they are barking up the wrong tree with vaping and should just carry on listening the old guard, like always.

Cue South Australia, then, and their latest stats on smoking prevalence, also released on Tuesday.


Oh dear. Not a good look, is it?

Yep, despite huge regular 12.5% tobacco tax increases and plain packaging, South Australia's smoking rate is almost exactly the same as it was in 2012. And what are they going to do about this? Incredibly, they are planning to legislate to follow other states down the regulatory path of equating e-cigs with smoking and banning vaping in public places as well. The stupid is very strong down under.

While smoking rates have been plummeting in countries like the UK and US since 2012 when e-cigs went mainstream, in Australia they have just trodden water despite the most hardline authoritarian anti-tobacco policy environment of any developed nation in the world. Just as in perfect population level experiment in the UK and Ireland, Australia - to its embarrassment - is proving that coercion is not successful, while encouragement and harm reduction is.

No wonder, then, that Greg Hunt is probably mighty relieved right now. He will have had people urgently whispering in his ear that he and his government are starting to look like clowns, and that maybe he should back pedal a bit. And politicians really don't like looking like clowns.

This should be incredibly interesting to watch - fortunately from 10,000 miles away - so I'm breaking out the popcorn. If Australia does a U-turn on prohibition of e-cigs, we are going to have sooo much fun! 



Monday, 17 September 2018

None Of Your Business Either

I'm afraid content has been incredibly sparse here of late due to real life getting solidly in the way.

There are huge changes afoot both business-wise at Puddlecote Inc and personally at Puddlecote Towers. Some good, some not so good but I've never been so short of time to write recreationally which - as you may have noticed over the years - is a beloved hobby of mine. I'd like to say that will change in the foreseeable future but I can't.

I did want to touch upon something in parliament recently though, and I had originally intended to write it as a follow-up to last week's article suggesting that it is none of Boston Council's business whether market traders smoke or vape around their outdoor stalls.

This same presumed political interference cropped up during the parliamentary presentation of Norman Lamb's excellent Science and Technology report on e-cigs. It was a great report - which you can read here - but one part of it raised the hackles of ignorant anti-smoking (and therefore anti-vaping) snotgobblers everywhere. They were incensed at the very idea that vapers be allowed to vape anywhere near them, the precious souls that they are.

Personally, I don't see the problem with it but Norman Lamb was very eager to distance himself from that when he presented his report to parliament on the 6th September.
Let me now turn to the area of our report that created the biggest debate: the treatment of e-cigarettes in public spaces. Despite some suggestions to the contrary, we did not recommend that e-cigarettes should be allowed in closed public spaces or on public transport. We called for a public debate on how these products are dealt with in our public spaces. The coverage of our report has certainly kick-started a public discussion, and I really welcome that. We need such a debate because the evidence suggests no public health rationale for treating e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes as one and the same.
Maybe he didn't recommend that they should be allowed in public spaces (which they are anyway considering there is no law against it) but why not? Well, here's why.
There are, however, nuisance justifications for restricting e-cigarettes’ use in public, such as in enclosed spaces and on public transport.
"Nuisance justifications"? Is that a thing politicians think they should be getting involved in now, is it? Well ASH trustee Bob Blackman seems to think so.
There is the nuisance aspect of smelling vapour, which often has a particular scent ... Personally, I would oppose any relaxation in the use of e-cigarettes in any enclosed spaces.
Bob, you speak as if whether the subjective "nuisance" of anything is any of your business, because it's not. And also, Bob, is this the policy of ASH whom you represent, because I think we should know. ASH like to portray themselves as friend of the vaper but if they are dead set against private businesses relaxing restrictions on vaping, maybe they should come out and say it. It would be weasel-like not to, don't you think?

Lamb came back to the subject later too.
However, there is a good justification, which I totally accept, for not allowing vaping because of the nuisance—because people find it invasive.
Nuisance is not a reason for politicians to intervene in behaviour unless it physically harms others (see J S Mill) so really has sod all to do with them. All politicians should note that if they come out with a sentence like that, they should really suffix it with "but that is none of our business".

If, however, politicians are now in the business of recommending action on "nuisance", maybe they can do something about some of what I find irritating. Here are some policy ideas they might like to consider, I suspect you could add more.

- On the spot £100 fines for people who stop in doorways
- A ban on kids in pubs (£2,500 fine for premises allowing it)
- Restrictions on boy bands on TV after 9pm
- The showing of holiday pictures to friends and colleagues to be reportable to the police unless explicit permission is given
- Immediately prohibit production of the Nissan Micra
- A ban on flying for people who stand up the moment a plane lands
- The name Keith to be prohibited
- Cous cous, just no!

Why on earth do we have politicians actually talking about "nuisance" as a reason for restrictions and bans? It is absolutely nothing to do with them, it is solely up to the owners of the property or business.

We went from a 30 year battle by anti-smoking fanatics to 'prove' with junk science that smoking was harming people around them, to now talking about how restrictions are justified because of "nuisance" which varies from one individual to another. Jesus effing Christ, when did this country's establishment lose all perspective about endorsing liberty?

I suppose if you can con the public that a whiff of smoke is going to kill them - and you fund a Goliath of a 'public health' industry to throw up scare stories for the good of their own bank accounts - the world is your oyster. 



Saturday, 8 September 2018

None Of Your Business, Boston Council

It is odd that recently the establishment seems pretty confused as to why the public despises them. They don't seem to understand that if they act like petty dictators, sooner or later they will piss the entire population off in some way.

Here is a perfect example from Lincolnshire.
Council discuss banning market traders from smoking and vaping at their stalls
We're only on the headline but unless you're an arsehole you should already be thinking, erm, why is it any of the council's business? Well, here's why they think it is, anyway.
Councillors in Boston have discussed whether market traders should be banned from smoking and vaping while working on their stalls. 
The suggestion to ban smoking and vaping from the Boston market was suggested by students from Boston Grammar School, Haven High Academy, Giles Academy and Boston High School, during a recent consultation.
Can you believe that? Market stall holders are taxpayers and also pay rent to the council; their customers are taxpayers; kids at fucking school are not taxpayers. Who did the council listen to? Yes, the ones who don't vote and don't pay taxes.

It is also another example of authorities who are clueless as to current recommendations around vaping. They are entrusted with power at a local level but are exercising it without even bothering to read up on the subject matter.

That aside, this is still quite insane. It is absolutely no business of the council what market stall owners do with their stalls, they are beholden only to their customers. There is no law against smoking or vaping outdoors and Boston Borough Council have no power to implement one. So what fucking right do they think they have interfering?
June Rochford from Frampton said: “I don’t think people should be smoking behind their stalls, especially if it’s a food stall. But then it is still a public place where people can smoke. I have seen a few traders smoking but they often move from behind the stall. 
"If this was imposed they would have to stop everyone from smoking in the Market Place as it wouldn’t work."
Well, yes June, you'd think people entrusted with running a council might have the brains to work those things out for themselves, but they obviously can't.

How this ever reached the level of becoming a council proposal beggars belief. A bunch of propagandised kids think up some hare-brained nonsense and the local authority leaps gormlessly into action despite it being an utter absurdity.

Now, do you think they consulted the market traders or their customers before embarking on such a wild goose chase? No, of course they didn't.

Fortunately, the idiotic policy dreamed up by a load of spotty indoctrinated kids has been shelved because the thick-as-shit council eventually had to concede that it was a waste of everyone's time and money to even consider it. But doesn't it show you the mentality of the modern politician? It is now a definitive them (who think they know better) versus us (who they see as ignorant and incapable of making our own decisions). No wonder voters all over the country are increasingly eager to give the political class a kick in the balls when we get to the ballot box. One day they might get the message and start respecting the people they serve. I'll repeat that, the people they serve.

As one trader pointed out, instead of a daft policy which will require rigorous enforcement, why not just leave it up to a natural - and free to taxpayers - method of regulation which has worked for millennia. That is, the customer is always right.
“Customers will enforce that – if somebody is selling goods and they have a fag-end hanging out their mouth then customers will make their own decisions.”
Quite. If customers are still buying regardless, they are obviously not bothered and the council are just dreaming up makework to justify their existence. Readers at Lincolnshire Live certainly don't give a penguin's pecker about it.


It looks like Boston is another council which has far too much time and money on its hands and could do with more government restrictions on their budget. Slash away, Chancellor, on this evidence there is still much more council waste left to cut. 



Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Five Years On And The EU Has Learned Nothing

Today Snowdon reported that the EU is set to travel to COP8 in Geneva and demand that vaping be treated exactly the same as smoking for advertising purposes.

In fact, more than that, it will demand that even scenes in films portraying smoking and vaping should be classed as advertising.
In preparation for the event, various documents have been circling the global anti-smoking community to get a consensus on what to ban next. The depiction of tobacco use in the arts is one candidate. You can read the WHO's proposal here. The most notable part of the document is the WHO's intention to include tobacco use on film and television as tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS) because:
Entertainment media content such as movies, music videos, online videos, television programmes, streaming services, social media posts, video games and mobile phone applications have all been shown to depict and promote tobacco use and tobacco products in ways that may encourage youth smoking uptake... Therefore, policies that reduce youth exposure to entertainment media depictions are required.
Note the word "may" in there. Because, as usual with tobacco control, there is no evidence whatsoever except for archetypal junk science from - you guessed it - Stan Glantz. They're interfering in the public's entertainment on the say-so of criminally-conflicted and arguably insane single-issue maniacs.

As Snowdon points out, the EU delegation to the FCTC's COP8 in Geneva - of which the UK will be a part - is actually trying to get e-cigs included in this daft policy.
The EU is one of the FCTC's members and, due to its size, it is rather influential. So have they objected to this? Yes, they have. But not because the proposals are too extreme. They object because they don't go far enough. In particular, the EU wants vaping to be included.
The EU welcomes the report of the Expert Group on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship and supports its recommendations... [The EU] stresses that TAPS [tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship] regulatory frameworks and their implementation at national, regional and international levels do not only cover all tobacco products, both traditional and emerging ones such as heated products, but should also consider tobacco-related products such as ENDS.
Isn't that incredible? Five years ago the EU were forced to abandon total prohibition of e-cigs - apart from medically licensed ones with a maximum of 4mg nicotine - in their Tobacco products Directive (TPD) but not without a massive struggle.

At the time ASH were arguing for exactly that too. It was only once a lighter touch was applied and Public Health England - acting on recommendations from the Nudge Unit - turned guns away from vaping, that they apparently had an epiphany. The results we have seen since on smoking prevalence are astounding.

Now, you'd think that the EU might look back on 2013 and recognise that they regulated from a position of laughable ignorance back then, wouldn't you? They should be deeply embarrassed about it. But no, today's revelations suggest that they still haven't a fucking clue.

Five years on and the EU has learned absolutely nothing, judging by this

Vapers saw back then how intransigent, opaque, anti-democratic and abusive the EU is. It is why a vast majority voted for leave in the referendum. All this is doing is proving that they were right to do so.

As I understand it from COP7 in India, any EU proposal will be subject to approval from member states in meetings prior to the event. Once a position is agreed, no member state (including the UK) will have any power to object at COP8 because the EU represents all 28.

I guess we will see how serious the Department of Health really is about its Tobacco Control Plan if it allows the EU to do this. The ASA is already working on proposals to relax advertising restrictions on e-cigs rather than prohibiting all marketing outright, so direction of travel in the UK couldn't be further removed from the EU's position. And as for the proposal to ban all media online, this could mean that even bodies like NCSCT (involved in smoking cessation) would not be able to produce films for Facebook and Twitter.

If, as I suspect, the UK Department of Health - who, remember, are advised by ASH about FCTC matters - doesn't nip this in the bud, all arguments that we are better in the EU because we can have input will be washed away. If UK government policy which has produced brilliant results can be undermined by an anti-democratic gravy train urging an entirely unelected and unaccountable global cartel - both of which entirely cut the public out of their discussions - to prohibit vaping adverts worldwide, you have to ask what is the point of being in the EU delegation when we could represent the UK instead. And boy would we be hassling the fuck out of the Department of Health if they proposed this unilaterally. We tried that with the EU and they just cocked a deaf 'un.

We're watching you DoH and ASH. Very. Closely.

This is as daft as it gets and makes me 100% certain that I voted the right way in June 2016. The more of this sickening behind-closed-doors bureaucracy we can chip away at, the better. 



Tuesday, 4 September 2018

That Mask Keeps Slipping

Remember that smoking ban which was about protecting bar workers? Oh yeah, and the plain packaging of cigarette packets which was solely about making sure kids don't start smoking?

It wasn't about bullying smokers, heaven forbid! No, you were free to make your own choices, they just wanted to safeguard the kiddies and put a welcoming arm around poor put-upon bar staff. It was a shame that the hospitality industry was severely damaged with tens of thousands of pubs closing and the bingo industry all but wiped out, a shame that social exclusion for vulnerable adults has meant we now have a Minister for Loneliness, and a shame that intellectual property worth billions was eradicated to the detriment of legal UK businesses for no purpose whatsoever.

And it was a shame that this has set a precedent which has unleashed a torrent of single interest zealots on the public at large trying to prohibit everything from your weekend pint to a box of Corn Flakes.

But it was only about protecting people, absolutely nothing to do with veiled coercion towards smokers. Got that?


When the mask slips like that, it makes this blogging lark so worthwhile.

It's never been about bar workers. It's never been about kids. I have consistently said this for nearly ten years. It is purely hideous state-funded bastards justifying their existence by fighting for their place on the taxpayer teat.

They have no interest in the public's welfare, they don't even have an interest in health. Just look at that tweet and see what is missing from that list of 'successes' over the past 20 years; most especially since about 2012.

Yes, the one thing that their own kind didn't think up, which has had a far more dramatic effect than any of the daft policies they implement and then refuse to allow to be judged for efficacy. And the thing that many on their own side are lying through their fucking teeth about (you know who you are if you're an obese Irishman, a Sydney pensioner, a 1970s trot throwback from the north west, or an inconsequential wage slave from Lincoln) because they can't earn out of it.

It was never about bar workers, it was never about kids, it was never about health. It's always been a collection of zealots making a buck out of a job massaging their prejudice towards smokers.

Has there ever been such an ignoble and socially-damaging profession as tobacco control? I venture to suggest not. 



Monday, 3 September 2018

Is Barnsley The Doziest Council In The Country?

With councils squealing about 'austerity' and 'savage cuts' at every opportunity, the BBC reported yesterday on a vital public service being promoted by Barnsley Borough Council.
Smoke-free zones are set to be introduced outside 80 primary schools in Barnsley. 
The move is an extension of a council scheme which has already been implemented in the town. 
Each of the schools will be given signs, letters to send to parents and "tool kits" to help staff set up the zones around the premises. 
Kaye Mann, senior health improvement officer, said: "The aim is to make smoking invisible to children."
So it's a council scheme, is it? Because that's not what was conveyed to the media in May
ABOUT 150 children staged a peaceful protest imploring parents not to smoke near their school kick-starting a project to make smoking ‘invisible’ to school children across Barnsley.  
Pupils from Laithes Primary at Athersley South linked arms to form a chain on front of the school’s entrance, waved placards and shouted chants at the event on Wednesday - some even took to the megaphone. 
Yep, it was all the kids' doing, even down to the professionally printed banners. They bought those out of their pocket money, natch. 


Let's leave aside for a moment the vile manipulation of children here - completely oblivious to how it must make kids with parents who smoke feel to see their loved ones treated like that - and look at what Barnsley is actually doing. Because, as is quite obvious, it's fuck all to do with the kids, and not really anything to do with health either. 

Mawsley of POTV has been asking the council some searching questions.
Planet of the Vapes contacted Barnsley Council for comment. 
A spokesperson told us: “It's not an outright ban, more of a request, but yes, vaping is included."
So it's the usual 'voluntary ban' which I hope many will completely ignore. And erm, why is vaping included? 
"We want to encourage a smoke free generation and make all smoking invisible to children so they don't see it as a regular adult behaviour.”
If every kid at that school took up vaping at 18, they would still be "smoke free". Don't Barnsley get that? 

Well of course not. Because Barnsley Council is run by utter morons, as we can see from last year's Freedom to Vape survey of local authority policies on vaping in the workplace. 

Barnsley was one of the most committed councils in the country to ensure that smokers don't switch to e-cigarettes instead. 
Whilst the Council acknowledges PHE's statements that e-cigarettes carry a fraction of the risk of cigarettes; have the potential to help drive down smoking rates; improve public health; and help to denormalise smoking; and accept that current evidence indicates that the risk to the health of bystanders from exposure to e-cigarette vapour is extremely low, the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace: 
- Is a matter of professional etiquette and projection of a clean and healthy image for our premises
- May lead to ‘lookalikes’ (e-cigarettes made to resemble cigarettes) being misconstrued as cigarettes
- May have an impact on public perception of the Council and its employees
- May affect people with asthma and other respiratory conditions who can be sensitive to a range of environmental irritants, which could include e-cigarette vapour
- May be a distraction for those vaping and also a nuisance or distraction for people nearby
- Would be contrary to the Council’s aim of inspiring a ‘smokefree generation’ in the borough 
The council also requires vapers (and smokers) to remove their Council ID card and lanyard so they cannot be immediately associated with the Council. Employees are not allowed to vape (or smoke) whilst wearing a council uniform.
OK, they are quite entitled to set their own vaping policies, however retarded they might be. And Barnsley's is one of the most jaw-droppingly ignorant in the country. But none of those barrel-scraping excuses justifications above have any bearing outside of schools. 

Now, remember that only a couple of weeks ago the government's Science and Technology Committee made this recommendation
Many businesses, public transport providers and other public places do not allow e-cigarettes in the same way that they prohibit conventional smoking. But, there is no public health (or indeed fire safety) rationale for treating use of the two products the same. There is now a need for a wider debate on how e-cigarettes are to be dealt with in our public places, to help arrive at a solution which at least starts from the evidence rather than misconceptions about their health impacts.
The Government's Tobacco Plan - subtitled "Towards a Smokefree Generation", yes the same words used by the cretins up in Barnsley - aspires to "help people to quit smoking by permitting innovative technologies that minimise the risk of harm". and Public Health England says "e-cigarette use is not covered by smokefree legislation and should not routinely be included in the requirements of an organisation’s smokefree policy"

Yet Barnsley Council is blissfully unaware of any of this. Here's what their bone-headed council lead said on the subject. 
Cllr Jim Andrews, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health, said: “We want to ensure smoking becomes almost invisible to protect children’s health. Children and young people are influenced by adult behaviour and are less likely to start smoking if they do not view it as a normal part of everyday life."
So why are you 'banning' devices that smokers are using to stop smoking, you bellend?
“We’ve brought the latest campaign to the school grounds and it’s fantastic to see the children get involved too. We’re soon to see more schools across the borough take up this scheme and hopefully it will see parents listen and be more considerate about where and when they smoke, if not make them consider stopping completely.”
By 'prohibiting' devices that "have become the most popular stop smoking tool in England" according to CRUK? How does Barnsley get such dipshits as councillors? Are they selected by way of a lucky dip? Jesus wept!

It's clear that Barnsley has no clue about the subject and are just spunking taxpayer money up the wall on pointless, and arguably damaging, vanity projects.

In April, the local MP was bemoaning the fact that Barnsley is suffering from government cuts.
“Once again, local authorities are being forced to shoulder drastic cuts in funding through this government’s continued obsession with austerity. 
“Barnsley Council has seen its budgets slashed since 2010, but demand for vital local services in our community continues. 
“It’s grossly unfair and unrealistic to expect local authorities to continue providing the same level of local services with ever-dwindling resources. 
“This government needs to take responsibility for their cuts and provide the resources local authorities like Barnsley desperately need to continue providing for local communities.”
I'd say there is huge scope for further savings if Cllr Jim Andrews and his equally ignorant - and probably highly-paid - staff are an example of how Barnsley Council operates. They could start by sacking the lot of the useless idiots at no detriment to local taxpayers whatsoever. 



Sunday, 26 August 2018

Let's Make The Harmful Stuff Cheaper

Jesus H Christ!

I've seen some pretty moronic stuff from the tobacco control trough-snorting gravy train in my time but this really takes the biscuit.

I've written before about how this daft idea of forcibly making tobacco companies reduce the level of nicotine is monumentally stupid.
One can only assume that the people endorsing it are either corrupt or mentally compromised. 
The US FDA seems to think this is a great idea though. They will mildly relax regulations (perhaps) around vaping while at the same time taking an innocuous ingredient - nicotine - out of cigarettes but leaving all the other crap in. They couldn't be more crazy if they announced that they were to embark on an expedition to find out where unicorns live. 
This is the end result of decades of tobacco control lunatics having the ear of government.
But take a look at this. Not only do these dangerous maniacs think that lowering nicotine in cigarettes so smokers self-titrate by taking in far more nasties than they would otherwise is a good thing, they seriously recommend making the more lethal option cheaper!
The results indicate that smokers' response to price points when purchasing cigarettes may extend to [low nicotine cigarettes] if these were commercially available. Differential cigarettes prices based on nicotine content may result in voluntary selection of less addicting products.
They actually want to dangle a carrot in front of smokers by making it cheaper to smoke products with less nicotine which they would obviously smoke more of. It is truly staggering how much of a bastard industry tobacco control has become.
The FDA has proposed a rule that would reduce nicotine content in commercially available cigarettes. However, it is not known how smokers may respond in an environment where products of differing nicotine content and of differing prices are available. This study demonstrates that price may be an important factor that could lead smokers to select reduced nicotine products voluntarily, even if those products are rated as inferior or less satisfying.
Yes, and for a smoker, if a cigarette is not satisfying, they will light another one. Good fucking grief.

In 1976, in advance of the roll-out of nicotine patches and gum, Michael Russell wrote that "people smoke for nicotine but they die from the tar".

Now that e-cigs have turned up, the tobacco control mantra - in the US at least - seems to be people smoke for the nicotine, so we'll take that out so we can keep our salaries.

By crikey I hope these people rot for eternity. 



Friday, 17 August 2018

Science And Tech Committee Lifts Up A Stone To See What Crawls Out

I'm sure you've already seen it, but today the government's influential Science and Technology Committee released a report which will have capslock cretins, lardarse Irish academics, follicly-challenged no-mark physiotherapists and crusty Sydney pensioners spluttering their purified water all over their disinfected keyboards.

In the report - carried by, erm, just about every media outlet and heavily featured on the BBC - the committee makes a number of recommendations about reduced risk nicotine products which I summarise below:
- A simpler and cheaper system for manufacturers to get e-cigs approved for medicinal use
- Increasing information about e-cigs so that they can be used in far more public places
- More government-backed research into e-cigs and heat not burn products to be added to PHE's current annual review of e-cig evidence
- A review of the stupid limits on nicotine strength and tank sizes thanks to the inept EU's TPD
- To look at allowing e-cig adverts to make health claims (which, of course, are 100% true)
- A shift to a "risk-proportionate regulatory environment", meaning a joined-up government policy to co-ordinate approaches to regulations, advertising rules and tax regimes to accurately reflect relative risks of harm reduction products
- Vaping to be allowed by default in mental health institutions unless there is a damn good - evidence-based - reason not to
- And to look again at the absurd ban on snus
In the words of Committee Chair Sir Norman Lamb, "E-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes, but current policy and regulations do not sufficiently reflect this and businesses, transport providers and public places should stop viewing conventional and e-cigarettes as one and the same. There is no public health rationale for doing so."

Of course, the reason many of those mentioned are confused is due to a longstanding and continuing campaign of misinformation by organisations - many state-funded - based on ideology and with little care about health. This cuts through all that and will send shivers down the spine of anti-vaping denialists up and down the country; their deliberate lies and fabrications have been nailed. The new age merchants of doubt - in the UK at least - have been rumbled.

They should, of course, take this as a chance to change their ways and move into the real world where safer nicotine delivery devices are doing their job for them but ... oh hold on, perhaps that's the problem!

What has also become clear today is how brutally e-cigs have, yet again, shown up the hypocrisy, cant, dishonesty and prejudice surrounding smoking ... or should I say, anti-smoking.

Norman Lamb has released a report saying that policies should be based on the evidence about e-cigs, that the public should be better informed, and that this is vital for the good of the nation's health. The response from the ever-decreasing band of anti-vape denialists and much of the public has been - effectively - "fuck health, I don't like them".

As Carl Phillips has written before on this subject, 'public health' campaigners who desperately cherry-pick evidence and sling ad homs around to avoid having to admit the obvious benefits of harm reduction are nothing but dangerous extremists.
About ten years ago, I coined the term “anti-tobacco extremists” to refer to those who take the most extreme view of tobacco use. This was an attempt to push back against anti-THR activists being inaccurately referred to as public health, given that they actively seek to harm the public’s health. I have since given up on that, and recognize that “public health” is an unsalvageable rubric, which should just be relegated to being a pejorative. But the extremist concept remains useful. The test for anti-tobacco extremism is the answer to the following question: If you could magically change the world so that either (a) there was no use of tobacco products or (b) people could continue to enjoy using tobacco but there was a cheap magic pill that they could take to eliminate any excess disease risk it caused, which would you choose? Anyone who would choose (a) over (b) takes anti-tobacco to its logical extreme, making clear that they object to the behavior, not its effects.
The same goes for the public who are squealing about the very thought of vaping being allowed anywhere. The very same miseries will have furrowed their brow and insisted that the smoking ban was to save the lives of those poor, put-upon bar workers. They absolutely, most definitely, honestly didn't want to interfere in your choices, but, you know, it's about health. Innit.

But now a report is produced stating - having looked at the evidence and taken testimony from a range of health bodies such as PHE, MHRA, NICE, ASH, and even the Department of Health - that there is no harm to bystanders from vapour, the mask slips.

"I don't give a shit", they shriek, "I don't want it in my pub!". Evidence be damned. The nation's health begone. Choice for all, get out of here. But then, it was never about health anyway.

Of course, the committee's report said that there needed to be better education of the public about these devices, so all the vitriolic bitching and whining proves - apart from that there are a hell of a lot of self-absorbed anti-social arseholes in the UK - is that what the report says is absolutely true. The public are ignorant on the subject and they do need to be better informed of the evidence, and maybe the government have to step in and do something about it. Ignorance doesn't cure itself, after all.

Anyway, you can read the report here, unlike the self-professed bar room experts screeching on social media about how e-cigs "STINK" (remind you of anything in the past?) will do. It's a great piece of commonsense which is causing a lot of butthurt anger amongst anti-vaping 'public health' extremists and the vilest anti-smoking prodnoses in the population at large.



Tuesday, 14 August 2018

The #COP8 Stitch-Up Is Afoot

Here we go. Strap yourselves in for the latest biennial anti-truth tobacco conference otherwise known as the FCTC's 'Conference of the Parties' (COP).

You can read about the previous two such as Moscow 2014 where the FCTC's Margaret Chan had tea with Putin instead of tackling Ebola, while thugs manhandled journalists out of the event at the COP6 tag here. You can also read articles on the 2016 shebang in New Delhi where - coincidentally - journalists were also manhandled out of the event, while Indian farmers were hounded away from the venue for the sin of holding a peaceful protest which may have upset the sensibilities of COP delegates intent on the serious of business of banning e-cigs, during a lethal smog cloud hanging over the city at the COP7 tag here.

Regular readers will know that I attended the event in India and I have flights booked for Geneva where COP8 will take place in October, so I was interested to see that the FCTC finally released their guidance - late - to the parties (member nations) on how to handle e-cigs.

You can read it here and, at first, it seems pretty unremarkable. However, it features a major dog whistle by describing the results of a survey conducted on the regulatory policies of countries that have ratified the FCTC and agreed to abide by its recommendations. Instead of listing the policies of all parties, it merely points out the ones which have banned e-cigs, subtlely signalling what the FCTC's particular preference is. On the plus side, it does highlight how low Australia has sunk to be classified in the same category as some of the worst abusers of human rights in the world.


The Aussie government must be so proud.

Further down the document, though, we come to the truly sinister part, as I also tweeted this week.


It's not just the sickening nepotism of a UN body asking for "independent" advice from another UN body, but also that the IARC's reputation as a serious purveyor of balanced research is widely questioned, as described by risk expert Geoffrey Kabat in June (do go read the whole article here).
[W]hen IARC’s assessments have been criticized by researchers on substantive grounds, rather than addressing the issues in question, the Agency has typically responded by dismissing the criticisms by 1) pointing to alleged conflicts-of-interest of its critics and 2) making sweeping assertions regarding the transparency and scientific rigor of its evaluation process and the monographs themselves. In other words, the Agency has shown no willingness to examine, and possibly learn from, the identification of serious errors and improprieties in IARC’s evaluations pointed out by respected scientists.
So it appears that the UN's IARC is equally as resistant to external scrutiny from those who disagree with its pre-conceived plans as its sister organisation, the FCTC. A good fit, don't you think?

The FCTC seems to want to find out if e-cigs cause cancer, so they have chosen a fellow unelected organisation which they can fully trust to come out with the result they seek. This is because the IARC is set up so it, quite literally, can find cancer in just about everything.
According to IARC “a cancer ‘hazard’ is an agent that is capable of causing cancer under some circumstances [emphasis added], while a cancer ‘risk’ is an estimate of the carcinogenic effects expected from exposure to a cancer hazard.” Here, “exposure” refers to actual human exposure levels. The Agency justifies the focus on hazard by arguing that, “even when risks are very low at current exposure levels, […] new uses or unforeseen exposures could engender risks that are significantly higher.” IARC’s focus on “hazard” opens a gaping loophole, which has given IARC carte blanche to highlight results that bear little relation to exposure or risk operative in the real world. To add to the confusion, even though IARC focuses on “hazard,” the title of the Monographs refers “Carcinogenic Risk to Humans.” 
IARC’s adoption of the very elastic concept of hazard is in line with the weight given to the precautionary principle in the EU Charter. The precautionary principle states that, when the effects of a policy or an exposure are unknown, steps should be taken to mitigate any potential adverse effects. While this sounds reasonable, in practice, the precautionary principle is often invoked by people who have no interest or ability to assess the relevant scientific evidence. 
There are many instances in recent IARC assessments of giving weight to positive results, even when these are questionable. At the same time, often higher-quality evidence that does not support an association is ignored. You can see how this penchant aligns with IARC’s invocation of “hazard” and the precautionary principle. 
IARC has long been concerned to guard against conflicts-of-interest, but as in the points discussed above, there is an asymmetry in its policy. IARC’s concern with potential conflicts-of-interest appears limited to those involving industry. The Agency shows little awareness of, or concern about, biases and conflicts-of-interest among academic or government researchers.
Again, it is a perfect fit, isn't it? An organisation which selects evidence to fit with its biased world view and ignores huge conflicts of interest in those who agree with it is cut from the same cloth as the blinkered and science-phobic FCTC.

The FCTC is riddled with a cancer known as Corporate Accountability, a subset of its membership which is not remotely concerned with health, only destroying businesses. All businesses. The IARC is also more interested in attacking industry rather than doing what's right.

As for the IARC's calm, objective view on what is carcinogenic, it doesn't have one.
Of the over 500 substances IARC has assessed over the years (i.e. those not in Group 3), only one has been deemed “probably not carcinogenic” and placed in Group 4. Thus, it appears that in practice IARC’s scheme disposes against declaring that an agent is unlikely to be a carcinogenic hazard.
This is an organisation solely set up to find cancer in literally everything. And the FCTC thinks this is a perfectly independent (which it's not) and dispassionate (which it's not) body to impartially assess the harms of e-cigarettes (which it won't). In fact, it has been gagging to re-categorise nicotine as cancer-causing since 2014.


An "adequate data set" along with funding that the WHO's pharma-friendly FCTC mentions as being desirable. I'm sure that - stung by the smoking cessation market running away from them - there will be pharmaceutical companies queueing up to provide as much as IARC demands, don't you? 

Do you think, maybe, that the FCTC is handing this task to an equally morally bankrupt and unelected UN organisation simply to get an answer to all those mischievous nations which see benefits in reduced risk nicotine rather than negatives? You know, the developed, educated ones that don't include basket case nations, banana republics, oppressive theocracies, murderous dictatorships, elitist inegalitarian kingdoms and Australia?

Because I do.

COP8 in Geneva will be an exercise in anti-vaping sophistry from people who are so self-absorbed and addicted to hoovering up your taxes to fund their lavish lifestyles - the UK funds the FCTC to the tune of millions - that they should not be trusted to run a whelk stall.

COP8 runs from 1st to 6th October this year. Watch this space in coming weeks for more updates about the most anti-human supranational meeting on the planet. Needless to say, this year's offering will have as little to do with health as the seven that preceded it.