Monday 28 May 2018

'Public Health' Crooks

If you thought this place was dormant, you'd be wrong. Yes it's been quiet but - as mentioned previously - there are potentially life-changing things going on at Puddlecote Inc and I'm also not long back from a week on a boat in Norfolk with an angry Scottish ex-squaddie frustrated at not having wifi to talk to his Argentinian girlfriend. Still, I'm a survivor so got back safe and sound.

In the past week, though, the global 'public health' community has been busy removing all possible doubt that it might have anything to do with the public's health. In the run-up to the World Health Organisation's World No-Tobacco day on 31st May, they have been doing their damnedest to ensure that the status quo is protected so they can continue trousering the lovely cash that smokers provide.

Firstly, as reported by Snowdon, not happy with banning its own citizens from using e-cigarettes to quit smoking, Australia is now trying to bully the World Customs Organisation (WCO) into making tobacco harm reduction unaffordable to millions of smokers worldwide.
Last May, Australia proposed that the WCO create a new category (24.04) in Chapter 24 for 'nicotine products for human consumption, not containing tobacco but containing nicotine.' The Aussie government admitted that e-cigarettes are not tobacco products but said that 'they are closely related to tobacco in that they are used as substitutes for tobacco products'(!). 
The WCO Secretariat seems to be sympathetic to this proposal. It appears to wrongly believe that e-cigarettes were developed by the tobacco industry and wants to put all 'new products developed by the tobacco industry as an alternative to traditional cigarettes' in the tobacco category, including those that don't contain tobacco and even those that don't contain nicotine. 
Can you think of anything more evil than this? Even the most blinkered of tobacco controllers concede that e-cigs are safer than smoking, they merely contest to what degree. Yet here is the ultimate prodnosery of Australia not content with merely preventing their own citizens from accessing vaping products, but also forcibly interfering in the affairs of other countries to make sure safer alternatives to smoking are made more difficult to buy worldwide.

Imagine the most disgusting and anti-social neighbour you have ever encountered. You know, the rotten-hearted old crone who would puncture kids' bike tyres for fun and cares not about what happens to the kid as a result? Yep, that's Australia, curtain-twitching on acid, as vile as they come.

Inevitably, the World Health Organisation is complicit.
Last week's document includes a letter from the WHO, thanking the WCO for the invitation to comment and supporting the reclassification.
Well of course they would, because the WHO long since departed from its role of protecting the public's health, it is now just a pitiful parody of the organisation that used to concern itself with preventing disease. Instead it has shut down that part of its operation in favour of attacking legitimate industry. Millions of people are threatened with disease and ill-health while the massed egos and huge salaries of the cretins behind their Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) focus on playground-level politics.

Of course, in an ideal world it would be possible to talk sense into the WHO but that presupposes that they would ever listen to it. This entirely unelected body is 100% unaccountable to all of us despite hoovering up taxes to pay for their expensive shindigs.

What's more, if you try to engage with this disgusting bunch of crooks - because that's what unaccountable cartels are called in any other sector - they simply ignore you.

Take, for example, their latest 'consultation' on non-communicable diseases (do go read here about how this is just a racket to ensure the WHO can steal your money for eternity without improving any nation's health). I put 'consultation' in quote marks because it's nothing of the sort - the WHO has decided it will only listen to organisations which it chooses to.

The New Nicotine Alliance (NNA), for example, decided to respond to their 'consultation' and were promptly ignored as "entities with which WHO does not engage", along with a number of others.

Just like that. No explanation except that the WHO claims that NNA "furthers the interests of the tobacco industry". Only the corrupt WHO could possibly work out how advocating products to replace lit tobacco can be described as that, but then the WHO is not really interested in health.

The NNA has asked for an explanation as to this baffling decision on the part of the WHO but - as is to be expected from an unaccountable perversion of a 'public health' organisation - they have not even had the manners or class to acknowledge the email, let alone respond.

Another included in the black ball list is the Swedish Institute of Tobacco Studies. The pedigree of its director, Lars Ramström, speaks for itself with Google Scholar listing a total of over 1600 academic citations, but I guess they disagree with the WHO's cosy little echo chamber so he has been thrown into the wilderness too.

The WHO FCTC is, as usual, cowering behind their misapplied article 5.3 and hoping no-one will notice what a repulsive gaggle of self-interested troughers they are, and how they are now having an overwhelmingly negative effect on global public health. For the record, the NNA makes it quite clear on their website how they operate.
NNA welcomes donations from individuals and organisations to support our campaigning work. We are however unable to accept such donations from manufacturers and distributors of nicotine products.
With the NNA being a registered charity and staffed by unpaid volunteers, the WHO - a multi-million dollar Goliath by comparison - is showing its complete disregard for the interests of consumers and others who they pretend to exist to protect.

It seems, instead, the WHO FCTC is using a rule it created itself (article 5.3) - which it claims is to advise governments to ignore commercial interests in creating legislation - to instead justify disallowing consumer charities and others from responding to the WHO which, as should be obvious, is not a government considering it has never received a democratic vote in favour of it from anyone in the world.

Unelected. Unaccountable. And making up its own rules of engagement as it goes along. The WHO isn't a health body, it's a fascist, crooked, tax-gobbling global menace.

250 years ago, the term "no taxation without representation" was coined yet here we are in 2018 and the WHO are steadfastly refusing to engage with anyone whose ideas disagree with theirs, despite sucking up multi-million pounds worth of our taxes. They routinely refuse to debate; prohibit free speech; and ban the press from their meetings, all of which are held behind closed doors.

The WHO is as secretive as the Mafia but with lesser morals. We have to wonder why our government sees fit to shovel our taxes to a body which makes banana republic dictators appear a model of transparency by comparison. Maybe some might wish to ask their MP why this is tolerated by Westminster, aren't we all supposed to value transparency and openness these days?

In the meantime, when you see the WHO proudly boasting about their World No-Tobacco Day on Thursday, allow yourself a wry smile knowing that the biggest supporter of traditional tobacco use in the world right now is ... the WHO. 

Monday 14 May 2018

Crushing Safer Solutions For Profit

Sometimes, you really have to wonder if the whole tobacco thing with governments is just a big sham and that they really do secretly want smokers to continue smoking for the tax revenue.

Yes it sounds very much like a conspiracy theory, but how else do you explain heroically mendacious policies such as this from Korea?
Manufacturers of heat-not-burn (HNB) cigarettes, or heated tobacco products, will be required to put graphic warnings about health risks associated with smoking including cancer, similar to warnings all other cigarette manufacturers currently use. Such products will have to use graphic images of cancer-ridden organs, a much strengthened standard than the current image of a needle, which many have criticized as "unclear and ineffective."
Cancer-ridden organs? Has there been even one case anywhere in the world of cancer caused specifically by heated tobacco? No, of course not. But the lumpen-headed shitgibbons are going to plaster sick images all over the packaging anyway without even a cursory nod to reality.
The government plan seeks to dispel the conventional notion that such products are less harmful and therefore should remain exempt from stringent health policy.
Erm, it's not a 'conventional notion' that needs to be dispelled, for the simple reason that it is 100% true.

Just last week, for example, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) published a report on the emissions from HnB products, here is what they came up with.
We show that nicotine yield is comparable to typical combustible cigarettes, and observe substantially reduced levels of aldehydes (approximately 80–95%) and VOCs (approximately 97–99%). Emissions of TPM and nicotine were found to be inconsistent during the smoking procedure. Our study confirms that levels of major carcinogens are markedly reduced in the emissions of the analyzed HNB product in relation to the conventional tobacco cigarettes and that monitoring these emissions using standardized machine smoking procedures generates reliable and reproducible data which provide a useful basis to assess exposure and human health risks.
It seems the only thing that should be corrected in this 'conventional notion' is not that HnB is just "less harmful", but that it is "fuck-my-boots, off-the-launchpad and into the stratosphere less harmful". 80-99% is not just a statistical rounding, it is an abacus-shattering reduction! One which should induce in those who claim they want to save smokers' lives - because that's what they pretend it's all about - multiple orgasms of jubilation. Especially since the uptake in Korea is quite astonishing.

Korea Tobacco recently released its latest financial results, and their conventional tobacco sales make for grim reading, as do sales for all cigarettes in South Korea.

Click to enlarge

Cigarette sales plunged by a massive 10.7% (it was 14.4% the previous quarter) and HnB now accounts for a significant share of the market.
Data from the Ministry of Strategy and Finance showed about 230 million non-HNB cigarette packs were sold in January, while about 20 million HNB packs were sold, accounting for 8 percent of the market, almost a three-fold increase compared to 3 percent seven months earlier. 
So here you have millions of Korean smokers cascading away from tobacco and onto something up to 99% less harmful and their reaction is to slap gory warnings on the products - totally unjustified by the science so far - to deter smokers from switching. Instead they'd rather preserve a blatantly untrue perception that HnB is no different to normal cigarettes.

It's becoming a common theme isn't it? The same story is being played out in Japan where the government has initiated strategies to 'tackle' HnB which has had a dramatic effect on cigarette sales there too, if anything more markedly than in Korea.

The National Institute of Public Health (Japan) is one of over 20 independent organisations to have reported that HnB is massively less harmful than smoking ...
“The concentration levels of hazardous compounds in the mainstream smoke of IQOS are much lower than those in conventional combustion cigarettes."
But - as in South Korea - this is being studiously ignored by the Japanese government, which is formulating regulations to ban it in public places.

Meanwhile Sweden is now openly attacking snus - despite boasting by far the lowest smoking prevalence in the developed world because of it - and even came up with some cock and bull story about how parental leave is responsible for their low smoking rates while arguing for the EU ban on snus to be maintained.

And, of course, there are still battles going on globally over e-cigs, with India currently moving to ban them entirely, just after Singapore and Thailand criminalised not just vaping, but also possession of vaping equipment. Yes, you can now be jailed in many jurisdictions for using an e-cig whilst their governments still profit from tobacco being sold widely.

What on Earth is going on?

Well, considering science is being roundly ignored throughout the world, you have to consider two scenarios. Firstly, maybe government really are addicted to the cash that smoking generates and reduced risk products are causing immense problems for their budgets. In other words, their policy would seem to be "keep smoking, we need the money".

Alternatively, the politicians really do think they are doing the right thing and are just appallingly advised. In which case, we have to look at which disgraceful people are advising them. Oh, hello there ideological tobacco controllers, speak of the Devil, eh?

I've said for years that nothing to do with tobacco control or 'public health' surrounding lifestyle choices has ever had anything to do with health. But to see such wilful ideological opposition by people who claim to be health lobbyists against solutions to problems which - to use their own parlance - are killing people, is absolutely vile.

Of course, you may have some other explanation for why these people are conspiring to prohibit far safer products despite overwhelming evidence that they could be harming the public. If so, I'd be very happy to hear it.

Otherwise, I can only hope that there is a higher being who will one day judge these callous bastards harshly for the carnage they are causing in order that they can keep their snouts in the trough. 

Thursday 10 May 2018

Smokers As Cash Cows

I think this is the longest gap between blogs ever on this site but believe me I've had a lot going on. Puddlecote Inc is taking up a hell of a lot of my time but someone it is actually good. OK, I've been cursing the EU yet again for the dog's breakfast of GDPR (honestly, look it up, it's a stinker that will cost every consumer for absolutely no benefit whatsoever) but there is also something momentous we are working towards which will be a game-changer for the business.

Anyway, while I've been struggling for time, the Moose has been using his wisely and turned up something you might like to have a read about.
In October last year, Blackburn and Darwen council announced they were hiring a private company, Kingdom Environmental Services, to 'target litter louts and dog fouling' with £75 fines for offenders. 
I fired off an FOI request to B&D council and asked exactly what they had issued fines for in the last six months.
Now, as an aside, can I just say that this is excellent and more people should do it. Tony Blair once said that:
The truth is that the FOI Act isn’t used, for the most part, by ‘the people’. It’s used by journalists. For political leaders, it’s like saying to someone who is hitting you over the head with a stick, ‘Hey, try this instead’, and handing them a mallet.
But it should be used by the people. And, if you turn up what the Moose has turned up, that's when you hand the mallet to the press, which I hope he has done because the response he received was shocking.
These are the figures in full: 
Litter – black bag = 2
Litter – cigarette = 4113
Litter – food = 16
Dog fouling = 26
Litter – other = 110
Litter – printed material = 9
Smoke free = 151 
I confirmed with the council that 'Smoke Free' relates to the indoor public place and work vehicle smoking regulations. Apparently Kingdom are now enforcing those for the council too. 
If it was just about litter, if it was only about 'taking back the streets for law abiding citizens', why would Kingdom also be involved in enforcing smoking bans in indoor spaces and vehicles? 
No. In my opinion, it's not about litter and it probably not even about the fines. These people were brought on board as another weapon against smokers and smoking.
I wouldn't put it past them, would you?

Do go read the Moose's article. he makes a good point that demonising smokers has opened up opportunities for local and national politicians to make cash cows out of them. We are starting to see the same towards drinkers (with minimum alcohol pricing), people who like fizzy drinks (with the sugar tax) and I have no doubt whatsoever that sooner or later the government will start taxing kids' sweets and feel smug about it.

How did we get to this vile state of affairs? 'Public health' tax scroungers peddling fake fears to MPs, of course. Wholesale defunding of the troughers wasting our cash to dictate how we live cannot come soon enough.