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.

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