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?