Monday, 31 March 2014

When Is Bullying Not Bullying?

When a state-paid European health lobbyist says so, of course.

It seems that 'public health' has spent so long modifying words to avoid justified anger that they're starting to believe their own propaganda.

You see, they don't shame you into eating healthily, they encourage; they don't coerce you into drinking less with tax escalators, they 'nudge'; they don't scaremonger governments to consider fat and fizzy drink taxes, they educate; and they don't force you to quit smoking with hikes in duty, smoking bans, denormalisation etc, they help you.

So when it is suggested they're a bunch of rancid bullies ...

None of the obscene tactics employed by the state-funded healthist cartel is 'badgering' or 'bullying', apparently, and Monika is quite offended at the suggestion (even though she admits that smoking bans are a way of forcing you to quit). However, forthright objection to her line of 'work' in small chunks of 140 characters or less is most certainly 'astonishing' bullying.

Got that?

So, for example, this is not bullying in any way, shape, or form.
THREE residents of a nursing home, all in their 90s and two of them in wheelchairs, are being asked to give up the habit of a lifetime. 
All three are being told they have to stop smoking when the ban on cigarettes comes into effect at their nursing home in Co Offaly next week.
Nor should public health be ashamed of themselves for this.
Anti-smoking campaigns and laws have turned smokers into a despised underclass, a study by a Department of Health adviser warned yesterday. 
It said smokers have come to be seen as disgusting and dirty and are increasingly becoming regarded as outcasts. 
The vilification is also stoking up prejudice against the poor because those who are already on low incomes or at a disadvantage are most likely to be smokers, the report by Professor Hilary Graham found.
Fortunately, as we see from Monika's self-denial above, their arrogant collective superiority complex shields them from self-doubt while they continue to denormalise, marginalise and - yes - bully those who simply wish to be left alone.

In fact, their strategy to ensure smokers in particular are seen as malodourous; litterers; selfish and thoughtless; unattractive and undesirable housemates; uneducated; a social underclass; addicts; excessive users of public health services; and employer liabilities is considered a huge positive in 'public health' circles.

Anyone who suggests otherwise is just a nasty troll.

It doesn't matter if you're happy and content with your life, 'public health' is there use your money to make you be healthy. So it's certainly not bullying ... d'you see?

Friday, 28 March 2014

The MHRA Reprise The Role Of Canute

There's something rather subversive going on at stop smoking clinics recently, starting in Leicester a couple of weeks ago.
[W]e are proud to say that we are the first stop smoking service in the country to officially announce that we are ‘e-cig friendly’.

Although we can’t actually supply e-cigarettes, we have listened to the many people who want to change their smoking behaviour. E-cigs are becoming increasingly popular, and we want to learn more about how effective they are in helping people stop smoking for good.
Ouch! That's gotta sting the anti-tobacco luddites who are desperately pretending that e-cigs are useless and are making up fake dangers to put people off.

But it seems to have sparked off others to follow suit. Yesterday, 'Julia' from Hampshire's version made enquiries on the UK Vapers forum.
Hi, I am a service manager with the NHS stop smoking service in Hampshire.
We are trying to find out more about vaping and the products used to improve the support that we can offer to smokers who want to quit tobacco with an e cig / vaper. 
I have read all the academic reports and papers on E cigs but we don't even understand the language used! How do the 'kits' vary, what the differences are between the products for the user and so on? Most of us used to smoke and know about tobacco but we have not used E Cigs. 
If you are in Hampshire and could come in for a chat (office in Aldershot, Fareham or Ashurts) - we promise no lectures, group hugs or any of the strange things you may think the NHS get up to! Or perhaps we can visit you in a coffee shop where E Cigs are allowed to be used as they are not permitted on NHS sites at present? 
We have heard about the great work done in Leicester with UK vapers - can we do this in Hampshire too?
So interested are they in these "useless" devices that they are leaving the comfort zone of NHS premises - because the caring, sharing NHS has forced them to - in order to see what all the fuss is about.

On the same day, Hertfordshire announced on Twitter that they're looking kindly on e-cigs too.

Common sense in spades, despite the fact that - as evidenced by Hampshire's admission of a ban on NHS property - the official health lobby line is to demonise them as demanded by pharmaceutical industry diktat.

Meanwhile, the tobacco control industry continues to fabricate misinformation and encourage scare stories against vaping, and has harried and whined so much over the years that it's still official MHRA policy to insist they are regulated as medicines from 2016.

There used to be a bunch of idiots who thought King Canute was so powerful that he could turn back the tide. The modern equivalent are haranguing the MHRA to do the same in resisting a product which will inevitably engulf them due to people power and overwhelming approval.

When even stop smoking services are implicitly laughing in their faces, it really is time for tobacco control and the MHRA to swallow their pride; give up their laughable crusade; and face reality.

SEE ALSO: Why e-cigs could be the saviour of ASH at the Free Society, published after I originally penned the article above.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Have Politicians Ever Been More Vile?

Via Snowdon, there is a marvellous piece at the Telegraph today by Peter Oborne which is a must-read. It's all good, but this passage is especially pertinent.
Politicians of Right and Left have been transfixed by these anti-smoking campaigns. Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, has shown hardly any appetite to challenge the conventional wisdom of his own department, while Luciana Berger, the shadow health minister, is a breathless proselytiser for the anti-smoking lobby. No mainstream politician has dared to challenge the consensus, and only Rothmans-puffing Nigel Farage of Ukip really gets the point. 
I believe something is changing in Britain. George Osborne’s Budget, with its tax cut for beer and bingo and permission for people to take charge of their own savings, has caught a wider mood of national rebellion against bossy government. I noticed that when Question Time debated smoking in cars a few weeks ago the biggest round of applause was against the anti-smokers. 
This new politics of personal maturity is a problem for Ed Miliband. As Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin show in their important new study of Ukip, Labour has abandoned that sector of the population which used to be known as the working class. Mr Miliband’s Labour instead is in danger of becoming the party of the public-sector workers, the health and safety experts, the Brussels bureaucrats, the quangos and the wider political directorate.
We jewel robbers have known this for quite some time, but as if paid a few cream buns to confirm Oborne's morning article, up pops Diane Abbott on the Daily Politics at lunchtime to ram the point home. Scroll to 1:20 in on the video below for an astonishingly disdainful performance.

Has there ever been a more stark exhibition of 'bossy government' than that?
"One of the reasons why the {pause, smug grin} the Tories have been so reluctant to introduce plain packaging is {even smugger grin} wha' I call Lynton Crosby politics. {in contemptuous caricatured cockney accent} A penny off a pint, a penny off beer, and you can have your fags as well."
Have you ever seen or heard anything so contemptuous of the public a politician is supposed to be serving? We "can have" our fags as well? We are only allowed what politicians say we are now?

And what of the contempt for reducing tax on a pint of beer? This is a British politician sneering at the temerity of the government to drop tax by a tiny amount; disgusted that any politician could contemplate making the noose less tight around the public's neck!

And, having delivered this self-absorbed display of disgusting snobbery, she sat back - satisfied after having chided her class for daring to make working class life that little bit more tolerable - and her haughty, self-satisfied face spoke volumes.

Now, on the plus side, her arrogant, insulting performance will undoubtedly have swayed hundreds if not thousands to distrust the plain packs lobby. But, on the other, it's very sad that the British are not the kind of people to demand the repulsive bitch's head on a spike.

Oborne's Telegraph piece is titled:
There’s a quiet rebellion under way against bossy government
The rebellion won't be quiet for long if Abbott's Marie Antoinette-esque attitude becomes more widespread.

Sir Cyril Chantler's review of plain packaging is due to report by Monday. If it sides with monstrous arseholes like Abbott instead of the public - who provide her wages, remember, and who have overwhelmingly rejected the idea - it will be a watershed moment in showing how politicians despise and deride every single one of us.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Two Slippery Slopes Confirmed In One Day

It looks like tobacco control's Myth 7 has finally been put out of its misery.

Via Reuters.
Plain packaging is seen by public health advocates as the dawn of a new era of restrictions on unhealthy products, and many observers expect a similar campaign against marketing of alcohol and unhealthy foods if the anti-smoking drive succeeds.
OK, it was always an open secret, but it's nice to have it all out in the open now.

The article also shows up one of this blog's figures of fun as more of a clown than we already took him for.

Which is not strictly true. In fact, it's laughable fantasy - but we have to make allowances for the addled old nerk, perhaps he's struggling with that new-fangled internet thingy. If only he'd tried Google before burbling.
Ukraine asked WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo earlier this week to nominate panel members, and Australia said it would ask Azevedo to do the same for Honduras and join the two cases together. 
Despite the change of government in Kiev, Ukraine's representative at the meeting said it remained "actively committed to proceed" with the dispute.
Meanwhile - just like the BMJ - another journal which pretends to be impartial has decided that peer review is utterly useless, and that their integrity is not worth a (fairtrade) carrot.
Why the European Journal of Public Health will no longer publish tobacco industry-supported research
'Public health' advocates have already started popping environmentally-friendly screw tops on their organic cabbage smoothies in celebration at this censorious news ... it's a dream come true!

Remember, there is only one side of any debate as far as 'public health' is concerned, and your freedom of choice is entirely irrelevant, as is the opinion of anyone who tries to defend it on your behalf.

So sayeth our Lords: "We are the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the debate except through us." - Gospel of Public Health Saints verse 14, chapter 6.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Don't Listen To Them, We're The Only Experts!

Now this is what I call desperate.

After seeing their attempts to disguise flimsy circumstantial nonsense in favour of plain packaging as compelling evidence being widely rubbished, the tobacco control industry - this time in the form of Bath University - has been pitifully reduced to pleading that only their voice should be respected. In fact, more than that, they question the entire premise of anyone but public health being consulted at all!

The Bath Chronicle yesterday reported what their local Uni hoped they would.
Researchers in Bath today attempted to demolish the arguments put up by the tobacco industry against plain packaging for cigarettes. 
In a hard-hitting report, experts from the University of Bath say the industry has been “reprehensible” and has put forward “highly misleading” arguments to an official investigation into the subject.
The operative word there, though, is "attempted" because the report itself comes across as a tired last throw of the dice in advance of imminent publication of the Chantler Review. 

Co-authored by ubiquitous tobacco control grant hoover Anna Gilmore, its 15 pages can be accurately condensed into a bleat of "don't listen to them, we're the only experts!".

From the first page, it bemoans the fact that rules on regulation insist on all affected parties being consulted, not just those whose job relies on thinking up daft ideas in the first place.
Beginning in the mid-1990s, governments globally have sought to transform policymaking and regulatory activity through a number of reforms collectively known in Europe as Better Regulation. 
In the UK, Better Regulation is underpinned by neoliberal assumptions concerning business competitiveness, and official guidance declares that regulation should not ‘impose costs and obligations’ on business and other groups ‘unless a robust and compelling case has been made. This process in turn requires the methodical identification and valuation of all potential costs and benefits of proposed regulation, achieved predominantly through impact assessment and stake-holder consultation. Officials are obliged to seek the views of stakeholders, including corporations, on the government’s cost and benefit estimates as well as underlying ‘key assumptions and data’. Commercial entities that will be affected by proposed regulation are thus given an explicit role in evaluating, confirming, or disputing evidence used in formulating those policies.
To the rest of society, this would seem entirely reasonable. If a measure is likely to damage businesses by way of costs or other burdens, it is only fair that they should be consulted, and the case being made should absolutely be robust and compelling. It's not a "neoliberal assumption" to say that destroying jobs and businesses without sound justification is fundamentally wrong and that politicians should be aware of all differing opinions before passing legislation. 

This does, however, pose a significant problem for tobacco controllers when their case is not only far from 'compelling', but also often irrelevant and occasionally fraudulent, hence today's published report.
TTCs [Transnational Tobacco Companies (make it big, make it scary - DP)] have systematically sought to fabricate doubt and controversy over evidence unfavourable to their interests by labelling research demonstrating tobacco’s harms as ‘junk science’, commissioning their own research to challenge established evidence on tobacco’s harms or policy impacts, and promoting a set of industry-specified scientific standards collectively termed ‘sound science’ and ‘good epidemiology practices’.
That's probably because a vast amount of public health 'research' is, indeed, junk science and has been for a very long time. This one on plain packs serving times, for example, is incontrovertible codswallop, as is the one which was press released to produce this headline ...
Designer packs being used to lure new generation of smokers
... despite the study behind it declaring that ...
"There was little prior awareness of the packs used in the focus groups" 
"It appeared that participants were seeing most of the packs used in the focus groups for the first time" 
"The pack appeared peripheral compared with the cigarette in youth smoking, particularly at the initiation/experimentation stage" 
"Some said they never really saw the pack being used it was just the cigarette that was passed around"
Understandable, then, why Gilmore and her Bath Uni friends are so irked at calls for ‘sound science’ and ‘good epidemiology practices’, eh? They'd prefer to resist both as much as is humanly possible.

Their response is to condemn any conflicting opinion because, you see, they are the only "experts" and no-one else should have a say. At all (page 6).
The industry critiques of SP [Standardised Packaging] studies and the Moodie review were all framed by the discipline of market research and associated methodological conventions. The experts’ disciplinary backgrounds included law, marketing, psychology, management, economics, and statistics; none declared expertise in tobacco control or public health.
Because, if you're not a tobacco controller, you shouldn't be listened to. No, seriously, that's what they are saying! All those other disciplines are completely irrelevant according to tobacco controllers, despite all of them being undeniably relevant to the debate about plain packaging.

The referenced Moodie review, however, is to be held up as the gold standard since it only features cheerleaders for plain packaging and cites only those who are wildly enthusiastic in support of plain packaging

The Bath Uni 'scholars' make the point again on page 7.
One industry criticism of the Moodie review was that it was ‘inherently biased and self-interested’ (which it was - DP) because its authors were ‘proponents and advocates of plain packaging’ (which they were - DP) who worked together and ‘recycled’ information and methodologies (which they did - DP). This argument indicates a misunderstanding of scientific work. Evidence synthesis requires the collaboration of scientists/academics with a range of relevant expertise working in the same or related fields and whose work is subject to peer-review.
In other words, we all work together and like what we write. Others who write stuff we don't agree with, not so much, so stop listening to them.

Oh yeah, and in case you got that far and still didn't understand their point, it was emphasised 'for luck' on page 12.
Genuine scientific critique, on the other hand, is typically conducted by those located within the same scientific subculture (discipline/specialty) because only they ‘may be truly in a position to evaluate each other’s competence’ and is aimed at improving the work so that it can contribute to ‘the larger enterprise of creating new knowledge’.
This is almost religious in its hilarity. Only true believers are capable of assessing the evidence and the competence of those producing it. Outsiders are just interfering in the faith so should butt out, no matter how much their input might piss on tobacco control chips. 

Quite incredible!

There is some stunning hypocrisy on offer, too, such as this on page 11.
In addition, they disregarded the consistency in the evidence for SP and tried to divert attention away from packaging to an alternative, less relevant body of evidence
In much the same way as the tobacco control industry has diverted attention from their much-promoted, and only, justifiable reason for plain packaging - preventing kids from starting smoking - in favour of talking about calls to quitlines by current smokers, current smokers displaying their packs, and current smokers not enjoying them so much anymore. But tobacco control is allowed to do that, see, cos they're the only 'experts', so they are.

That isn't an isolated instance of astonishing chutzpah either. Vapers might be amazed to see how Bath Uni condemns the tobacco industry for precisely the same methods employed by their colleagues to demand crippling regulation of e-cigs on page 6.
Because observational evidence cannot be obtained without the introduction of SP, JTI, BAT, and industry experts effectively locked themselves into a nihilistic position that could potentially prevent the introduction of SP indefinitely: SP could not be introduced without evidence that it changed actual smoking behaviours; this evidence could not be obtained without the introduction of SP; and since SP could not be introduced without this evidence, SP could never be introduced.
Let's just substitute a few words there, shall we?
Because observational evidence cannot be obtained without long-term use of e-cigs, tobacco control experts effectively lock themselves into a nihilistic position that could potentially prevent the widespread use of e-cigs indefinitely: E-cigs cannot be allowed to flourish without evidence that they change actual smoking behaviours; this evidence cannot be obtained without e-cigs being allowed to flourish; and since e-cigs cannot be allowed to flourish without this evidence, e-cigs can never be allowed to flourish.
Consistency is not their strong point, is it?

Needless to say, much like tobacco control studies spanning decades, the only real consistency in this report is the industry's customary shying away from anything which might severely compromise the illusion their campaign seeks to create around whichever campaign they are devoting themselves to at any particular time.
"We only focused on those sections dealing with whether SP would achieve the intended public health outcomes; we did not analyse sections on unintended consequences (economic, illicit trade, legal) that also cite and present different types of evidence"
Well, of course not. Unintended consequences are not their concern; perpetuating their salaries unencumbered by inconvenient counter-debate, however, is. 

Hence this barrel-scraper of a report which attempts - as the Bath Chronicle shrewdly observed - to claim that conflicting contributions to consultations by anyone else but public health cliques should be ignored, despite it being quite clear that such input is fair, necessary and firmly part of a proper system of regulation in any civilised country.

Fortunately, it fails badly. Whether politicians and civil servants will recognise that, of course, is a different matter. 

Monday, 24 March 2014

Real Life Interrupts Australian Wet Dreams

Oh dear.

We've been told that Australian smokers think their fags taste shite since plain packaging came in; that Australian smokers were calling the Quitline in droves; and that Australian smokers were ashamed of displaying their packs. All of this meant that plain packs were a fantastic idea and evidence of an upcoming epiphany as antipodean smokers abandoned tobacco wholesale while Simon Chapman and Nicola Roxon preened themselves in anticipation of receiving a Nobel Prize for something-or-other.

But what's this? All those studies from the oh-so-scrupulous tobacco control industry have been overly-optimistic? Say it ain't so!
Deliveries of tobacco to retailers in Australia rose slightly last year for the first time in at least five years, even after the introduction of plain packaging aimed at deterring smokers, according to industry sales figures to be released on Monday. 
In 2013, the first full year of plain packaging, tobacco companies sold the equivalent of 21.074 billion cigarettes in Australia, according to industry data provided by Marlboro maker Philip Morris International. 
That marks a 0.3 per cent increase from 2012, and reverses four straight years of declines. 
The figures represent the amount of tobacco shipped to retailers in Australia by companies including Philip Morris, British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco Group . 
But, but, that's impossible, surely? We were told this was a ground-breaker, a massive fillip for global fake coughers and hand-wavers everywhere. I mean, how can it be that - despite all these wildly enthusiastic predictions of success - in less than a week we have seen real evidence of organised crime moving in on tobacco and an abrupt end to years of declining tobacco sales?

How are Aussie tobacco control going to spin their way out of this one, eh?

Well, they only know one way, don't they?

Except that it simply doesn't work in this instance. Reporting of tobacco sales will be pored over by real experts (as opposed to fake ones of the tobacco control variety) in accountancy and business because, y'see, shareholders get mighty pissed off if they're misled and stock exchanges get twitchy and involve the police. So, yes, these figures will be open to scrutiny like a mofo.

With the Chantler review due to report by the end of the month, and considering that the British public - despite a state-funded campaign of endemic rigging, corruption, gerrymandering, misrepresentation of science, and government lobbying government - has overwhelmingly identified plain packs as the pointless, tobacco industry-bashing, rent-seeking nonsense that it is ...

... Sir Cyril should really only have one recommendation to offer the UK government after this bombshell. And that is to sit back and watch as it tanks in Australia.

But then, we're living in strange times where righteous fantasy seems to count for more than what happens in real life and the preferences of the public, so who knows what will happen?

Sunday, 23 March 2014

More Than Half Of Cigarettes Sold In New York Are Black Market

Just the other day, we learned that organised criminals are latching onto the sky high price of tobacco in Australia and making a mint. It's a simple basic economic fact that the more a state raises prices, the more human beings will look kindly at cheaper sources from whatever source - of course, this is always denied by professional tobacco prohibitionists and denounced as a tobacco industry fabrication.

Anyhow, following on from that, it seems that the same 'fantasy' scenario is happening in New York too.
The boom in smuggling to avoid cigarette taxes
More than half of the cigarettes sold in New York State are smuggled in from other places to avoid the Empire State's taxes on smokes, which have soared nearly 200 percent since 2006, according to a report issued by the conservative Tax Foundation. 
New York is the highest net importer of smuggled cigarettes - illegal smokes account for 56.9 percent of the state's total market. New York's cigarettes tax is $4.35 per pack, the country's highest.
So, the tax on cigarettes in New York is the highest in the country, and the level of smuggling in New York is also the largest in the country. You know, I think the two might be linked? Unless, of course, it is just pure coincidence (or a conspiracy) that, out of 50 states, New York handsomely leads in both criteria.

Considering the incredibly weak associations and vague correlation considered by tobacco control to be "compelling" or "overwhelming" evidence of causation, it's hilarious that they still try to lie claim that - even faced with real life evidence like this - basic laws of economics are magically incorrect when it comes to tobacco.

This isn't rocket science. It is simply people doing what the laws of economics have always consistently predicted people will do.

With Osborne announcing a rise in tobacco taxes by 2% above inflation for every year till the end of the decade in his budget this week, we can expect the same proportional increasing rise in the level of tobacco sourced from other countries in the EU. The booze cruise of the 90s, of which I'm sure we all have fond memories, will hopefully become increasingly more financially attractive again - most especially if there is the added bonus of being able to buy properly branded packs instead of plain packs which our daft one party state looks set to approve - except that this time it'll be the 'fag cruise' with a side benefit of stocking up with cases of cheap French wine while we're there.

With any luck, one day we may be able to proudly boast - just like New Yorkers - that over 50% of UK consumed tobacco has not contributed so much as a brass farthing to our hideous government. Bring it on!

H/T Norcal David G

Friday, 21 March 2014

Charge Your Glasses

Seeing as it's Friday, here is some budget-related Twitter squealing to make your weekend tipple taste extra sweet.

Public health 101 - when stung, trot out the standard 'evil industry' ad hom. A line faithfully taken up by this AlCon employee.

Then comes the incredulity.

"But ... but ... they're not following the tobacco template! We're next! They told us we were next!"

A concern echoed by one of the team who produced Sheffield's Uni's policy-led minimum alcohol pricing junk.

Then there was the truly bizarre.

Yes, that's the Alastair Campbell and yes, he really did say that. Sometimes put-downs are so easy you don't even have to elaborate.

Lastly, there is the plain dull and disappointed.

'Public health' have been let down? Marvellous! It's something the country should be heartily thankful for, and should be treated to far more often, so I'll drink to that.


Thursday, 20 March 2014

San Francisco Confirms It Has Never Been About Health

The second most viewed item on this blog last year was one detailing how e-cig use could be banned everywhere in California. It was picked up by news aggregator sites like Reddit, where commenters said I was an alarmist and being sensationalistic.

From SFGate.
Smoking electronic cigarettes in bars, restaurants and businesses will soon be illegal in San Francisco, after the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to treat the relatively new product like combustible cigarettes. 
The legislation by Supervisor Eric Mar is intended to limit children's use of the nicotine product, which he and other supporters contend has been marketed heavily toward young people, and to protect all members of the public from the secondhand aerosol emitted by the devices, he said.
Well, I did say that the myth of passive vaping would be added to the myth of passive smoking at some point, but I thought they'd at least have the courtesy to wait for the junk science to be produced first. These guys are in a hurry, though.
Under the legislation, San Francisco would include e-cigarettes in its strict antismoking laws, banning them in most public places besides curbside on city streets, requiring sellers to secure a special permit, and prohibiting their sale in pharmacies and other businesses where tobacco sales are banned. The board will vote on it once more next week, and it will become law in April after the mayor, a supporter, signs it.
April, you say? It was April last year when I published my piece about something that might happen in California. Less than a year later, and the process is actually starting to happen for real.

What a sensationalistic alarmist I am, eh?
Mar puffed on an e-cigarette as he presented the legislation. 
"Sorry for poisoning all of you ..." [citation needed]
Whereas Superviser Eric Mar is not an alarmist at all.
... but it's really important to show - I have a banana-flavored one and a peach-flavored one ... they are really targeted at young people and right now it's not regulated," he said, ...
Nor sensationalistic, either, because everybody knows that only kids like bananas and peaches. Adults never, ever touch them.
... saying the product could create a new generation of nicotine addicts.

Being San Fantasyland, the article wouldn't be complete without a rent-a-quote from the deranged conspiracy theory-addicted mechanic.
Just because they are safer than cigarettes doesn't make them a healthier alternative, [Stan Glantz, head of UCSF's Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education ] said.
Course not, Stan, that would be completely illogical!

Do check out the comments under the line, where many are punching the air in delight at the full force of the law being employed so they no longer have to very occasionally experience a faint odour. Harm, you say? Who cares? It's only ever been about odours, not health.

I suppose we should take it as a positive that the pretence has finally been dropped.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Fake Charities/Quangos And The Freedom Of Information Act

Via Guido, it appears that the Freedom of Information Act may be widened to include private companies which are in receipt of public money.
Freedom of information law is to be extended to private companies carrying out public contracts, a Justice Minister has said. 
Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes said the change would be written into the contracts of companies after the publication of a new code of practice, which he said should be in place by the end of this year. 
"We do intend to extend [freedom of information] further as soon as it will be practical," he told MPs at Justice Questions in the House of Commons. 
"We intend to publish a revised code of practice to make sure that those private companies that carry out public functions have freedom of information requirements in their contracts, and go further than that, and we hope that will be in place by the end of this year."
Sounds fair enough. If a company receives taxpayer funding, the taxpayer should be entitled to ask questions about what is being done with it. An obvious downside is that said company will incur a cost in complying and will pass that cost onto its customers (i.e. the taxpayer) but the principle is sound.

By the same token, though, there are other organisations which happily receive a lot of tax receipts from government who are exempt from the FOIA and - by the same token - should also be included in any extended FOI rules. 

Step forward ASH who received £150k of their annual budget from the Department of Health last year. Or how about ASH Wales who derive 73% of their income from state bodies? Or perhaps Smokefree South West who are 100% tax-funded and currently spending their way through £1.4 million of your money in this financial year?

There are many, many others we could mention, all of which enjoy taking your cash but who are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act and can safely ignore you if you chose to ask for, say, correspondence between themselves and their 'supporting charities'. Shouldn't they be subject to scrutiny too, Mr Hughes?

Fair's fair, I say.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Another Tobacco Control Lie Nailed

Via Snowdon, it seems that Australian authorities yesterday launched a "massive pre-dawn police operation" to crack down hard on an organised crime syndicate.
A total of 27 people were arrested after 700 police swept through 45 properties in Melbourne's north and west on Tuesday. 
The raids targeted a "well known" Middle Eastern family-based syndicate allegedly involved in trafficking firearms and commercial quantities of drugs, Assistant Commissioner Steve Fontana said. 
The syndicate has a history of trafficking firearms and commercial amounts of drugs and police say the bust has given it "a pretty good dent". 
"There's always someone that'll try to move in afterwards and fill the void but we've certainly taken out the significant ringleaders," Mr Fontana told reporters. 
More than 35,000 tobacco plants and what is believed to be a high-powered assault weapon were seized in the raids, which police said disrupted the workings of the gang linked to the Haddara family and its associates.
Interestingly, the article seems to have been completely re-written sometime today, with this part having disappeared (but still included in the Guardian's version).
He said tobacco plants, which were seized from a property near Geelong, were grown to avoid millions of dollars in excise tax.
Now ain't that a thing, eh? Because - if you are to believe the tobacco control industry - this type of natural human behaviour, and a basic principle of economics, is not really happening at all. We know this as one of ASH's editorial board was very certain about it a couple of years ago.
BBC: There must be a tipping point where you are forcing poorer people to buy their cigarettes without paying duty. 
Joyless: Well, it's very interesting because [...] the tobacco companies always say that. If the tax goes up, this is going to increase smuggling. And they say it, it's one of their many deceits as it's not true.
So, nothing to see here. The huge Australian organised crime syndicate is just a clever ruse, it was all just orchestrated by the tobacco industry to fool you.

That, or yet another tobacco control lie being has spectacularly exposed as such. Not that it will put off Osborne tomorrow, though, I expect.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Transport Policies Via The Medium Of Comedy

If you happened to wander past Puddlecote Inc this afternoon, you'd have been treated to the sound of gales of laughter as I was reading out some hilarious jokes to my fellow transport professionals. Well, they weren't intended as jokes but were just as funny nonetheless.

You see, because the French government has announced that it is banning vehicles on alternate days in Paris, the Guardian has floated the idea of the same being imposed here. Their readership has predictably lapped it up with a poll showing 76% approval - they get mighty excited about the chance to ban something over there, so they do.

The 'jokes' I read out were merely suggestions posted in the comments by people who seem to have no clue about transport, money, or even life in general for that matter.
If we said that all black cabs, buses and licensed minicabs have to be electric by 2017 (or whenever), what difference would that make to air quality in the long term? What if we extend the congestion charge system? What if we ban the same of diesel vehicles in the UK by 2020 (or whenever)? These are more serious policies, because they are less random and capricious.
That's the one which started off the chuckling, it's something you'd expect from a 13 year old before you sit them down and explain that it's a nice idea and all that, but hopelessly naive. Firstly, there isn't yet an electric vehicle which is economic enough for widespread use amongst domestic drivers with low mileage, nor will there likely be for probably another decade at least. The chances of there being an electric motor capable of operating at consistently high mileage is even more into the future, and one capable of reliably running a rig with the power to carry 150 passengers for continuous day-in-day-out periods is probably two decades away at least.

And even if it were available now, its cost would be massive as Puddlecote Inc knows very well having looked into alternatives ourselves on a regular basis. LPG, electric and hybrid are still novelties and come with a huge price tag. The replacement and running cost of such a huge shift in transport over three different industries would be so immense - because, contrary to what many believe, fossil fuel is way down the list of factors in pricing transport services - that fares would be unaffordable to all but the wealthy.

Isn't it odd how so many 'progressive' hobby horses seem almost exclusively designed to impoverish the poor?

Of course, the same can be said of the article's main premise of banning vehicles on alternate days. Those rich enough to run two cars will simply buy another, the less well off won't be able to. The proposal has a cost in itself because if it was an efficient and cost-effective way of running a city, it would be in operation already without the need for government intervention. Increased costs to businesses and public services are all passed on somewhere, either through taxation, reduced services or higher prices. It's a zero sum game.

But in the world of the Guardian reader, you just wave a magic wand and all your utopian dreams become cost-free reality ... it just takes someone with the appropriate form of madness imagination to commit to it.
Introduce fare-free public transport and there would be even fewer reasons to bring a car to London.
Yes, great idea, that won't cost anything at all. Simply tap up the government money tree and the problem is solved!

OK, so tube fares only account for 50% of the cost of running the underground and the state already has to chuck in £3bn per year - but what's another three billion per annum, eh? It's not like the public have to make up the monumental shortfall with increased taxes/reduced benefits/services, is it?
Eventually, all the country will be blessed with high speed internet access, all south facing roofs will have solar panels/water heaters on them, sewage farms will produce methane gas to be pumped into the gas grid and wind power, tidal turbines, wave power and energy efficiency will be the norm. 
Yes, that one had us in stitches too.
You are right about Athens, this system still continues. It had a huge impact on pollution levels and congestion, positive impact.
This is in reference to Greece sometime ago also having instituted the same ban as France. Because, of course, Greece has been a tower of economic strength ever since.
Unfortunately this positive impact on the environment is somewhat counteracted by the fact that the country is suffering from an epidemic of illegal logging, and, therefore, wood burning as people can no longer afford to buy heating oil nor the taxes associated with everything and so are turning to any other means. Mount Olympus, for example is being decimated, Athens is often clouded in smog, from wood burning. 
Wait for the punchline ...
Still, there are fewer cars on the road and that's jolly good.
By this time, tears were rolling down cheeks at Puddlecote HQ and questions were being asked as to where I was getting this top drawer material. Viz 'Top Tips'?
We need to get properly radical if we are to maintain an anthropofriendly climate. Commuting itself must be banned. People are going to have to live where they work and work where they live. We are subsidising a practise that is destroying our environment.
Err, "anthropofriendly"? And spoken like a truly myopic office worker who obviously wants his plumbing fixed remotely.
Why not something that celebrates diversity, multiculturalism or multi-ethnicity; driving days could be based on identity; gender, race, nationality, etc. So if you needed a ride you'd have to integrate, which would be good for a liberal city like London which is still very much separated by neighbourhood and choice of transportation.
Banned from driving into work today? Simple. Just stand at the side of the road and wait for a black or asian person to drive past and thumb a lift. Brilliant!
What should be banned in London is single driver vehicle drivers. It should be mandatory that vehicles in London have high occupancy of at least 75% of all available seating in a car filled as a prerequisite requirement to commute to outer and inner London.This will give incentive for drivers to seek out and advertise for and acquire fellow travelers or give up and use public transportation.
Seriously, I'm not making this up, they're all there under the line if you feel like fact-checking.

Anyhow, the suggestion is that - to be able to drive to work and contribute to the economy - you must have to expend your time and money first to find at least three other people to share your vehicle with. That's going to help to achieve full employment no end!

That's not all, this particular contributor is just warming to their task.
Also taxis should not be permitted to cruise for fares but park and be radio dispatched and only for multiple fares that fill available seating to at least 50% of available cab seating.We all have cell phones now.
Because tourists all have plenty of numbers to ring and anyone using cabs always, but always, knows another three people who want to go the same way. And also because sole trader black cab drivers won't demand their union push for increased fares by being forced to subscribe to radio control services. Oh no.

But he/she still isn't finished. The bright ideas just keep on coming.
Vans and commercial vehicles should be higher taxed or even ticketed and fined for "dead heading" on return deliveries from inner London.
Higher taxes which will be passed on in prices; fines - and 'ticketed' suggests licence endorsements - on deliveries for which there is no return package can only be performed by big businesses, who will massively increase charges to compensate or simply not deliver.
How about requiring that all the unoccupied/unused buildings in inner London be made into accommodation and rented out to anybody who works locally at an amount of, say, 20% of whatever their income is. 
That way people won't have the need to travel as much.
Are we talking about buying this property from the legal owners, or stealing it?

Someone else sees a charge he/she doesn't have to pay, so wants it expanded.
London is extremely well-served by public transport. It's largely flat, and it's quite compact. My suggestion would be to extend congestion charging to the M25.
That's right, charge everyone in the home counties to drive any kind of vehicle and give their already taxed cash to the state. That won't result in higher prices through increased demand on wages at all. Of course, charging everyone for using the roads could work, but I can imagine quite a lot of Guardian readers being up in arms about that considering it was proposed by the IEA last year.

But my personal stand-out fave was this.
Some don't have a 'choice' of transportation. Some disabled people either have to drive, be driven or take a cab because public transport is inaccessible to us. As long as anyone who physically could not use public transport was exempt from the ban I'm all for it.
In other words, as long as other people suffer and not me, that's fine. Which is what all the others were saying, really, just without the honesty. Oh yeah, and without even a basic understanding of transport realities and the consequential costs which offset every benefit known to mankind.

Still, terrifying as such ignorance can be if you take it seriously, it brightened up our day so can't be all bad.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

E-Cig Ad Whac-A-Mole

Sigh, here we go again.
An advert for an e-cigarette brand has been banned after the advertising watchdog ruled that claims including that it was "the healthier smoking alternative" could not be substantiated.
Of course it can be substantiated. Even the tobacco control industry as a whole has had little option but to concede that e-cigs are safer than tobacco; only the certifiably insane amongst them are claiming otherwise.

The ASA's ruling is facepalm stuff.
We noted that the advertisers had not provided any documentation from the MHRA in support of their claims. We acknowledged the quote from ASH, but noted it was not supported by further documentation or substantiation showing the effects of electronic cigarettes or the Ten Motives products specifically. We understood that the presentations provided also referred to general information and documentation about e-cigarettes, but noted we had not been provided with any documentation or studies which detailed the effects of the Ten Motives products featured in the ad or which had considered their effects compared to smoking or on the user's health. 
In the absence of supporting evidence which showed that the Ten Motives products featured in the ad were less harmful than smoking and did not have any negative effects on the user's health, we concluded that the claims "The healthier smoking alternative" and "you can still enjoy smoking without worrying about the effects on your health" were misleading.
Eh? So because the MHRA haven't yet officially stated the bleeding obvious, and because quotes about e-cigs in general - which all work in precisely the same way through a very simple process - are not exclusively about Ten Motives products, it means Ten Motives can't state the bleeding obvious themselves?

Good grief. A perfect example of stupid regulatory obstinacy if ever I saw one.

Still, the Guardian is simply reporting on the latest in a long line of frivolous complaints routinely filed against e-cigs whenever a new ad pops up via any media (the one described above was just a leaflet, for Chrissakes). Which begs the question as to who is firing off these complaints.

In September I wrote about a slew of TV ads being banned, again for spurious reasons, with massively over-funded tax leeches Smokefree South West being one of the complainants. Their particular incompetent, dogma-driven whine was rejected out of hand, but the scattergun approach employed by dozens of other obsessive anti-looks-like-smoking cranks ensured that e-cig exposure would be delayed a little bit longer.

It seems like every time an e-cig ad is released, psycho antis are slavering at the opportunity it affords them to be egotistically offended. Just last month, judgement on an E-Lites ad was released by the ASA.
The complainant challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it: 
1.   appeared in a magazine that appealed to children; and
2.   included an image of a penguin and the word 'Christmas', which could appeal to children.
The authority's response was withering.
The ASA noted the target audience cited by the advertiser and publisher and we also noted the articles submitted which consisted of reports on chemical weapons, drug trafficking and whistle-blowers.  We considered those articles and did not deem them or the magazine generally, to be of particular interest to children.
Ya don't say! They also implied that, you know, adults quite like Christmas too and generally consider penguins to be cute and associated with winter weather so told the joyless moaner to stick their complaint where the sun don't shine.

On the same day, though, it was revealed that another e-cig company was not so fortunate. You see, they learned that NHS anti-smoking campaigns are not really their friend after all after their ad was banned for having the cheek to mention Stoptober.
A national press ad for V2 electronic cigarettes stated "USA's #1 now in the UK. Feel the quality. Taste the difference ... For FREE ...". Halfway down the page, text stated "For Stoptober ... To get your Express Starter Kit, ... use promo-code ‘STOPTOBER’...".  
The ASA was concerned that, as the ad used the word “Stoptober”, consumers were likely to understand that the product was associated with or endorsed by the NHS campaign “Stoptober”, which we understood was not the case, and they were therefore likely to believe that the product was suitable for use as a smoking cessation device.
Bloody amateurs! Don't they know Stoptober is only for stopping in ways for which the NHS get paid?

It's starting to look like some farcical game of anti-smoking whac-a-mole with joyless bores (or, perhaps state-funded prohibitionists, who knows) desperately trying to prevent sight of a promising harm reduction product being noticed by people who might like to try it out.

As regularly predicted here since 2010, e-cigs are exposing many anti-smokers for the nasty, spiteful, self-centred pieces of work that they have always been.

The future will hopefully view them with the contempt they deserve.

H/T Jewel-robbing ASA monitor, PJH

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Minimum Alcohol Pricing And, Yes, Pubs

As mentioned this morning, the past week or so has been hectic to say the least.

I've been in extensive negotiations with one of our clients over two 7 year contracts which we have all but won, but which require treading on eggshells over the final agreed price. We've also had meetings with our bank to secure finance which our cash forecasting predicts will be needed before July if the contracts are, indeed, awarded. And while all that is going on, we've had a trainer in to help out with our imminent auto-enrolment pension staging date and had to have serious words with our IT maintenance providers after one of the deadlines for said contracts was almost missed (by a matter of minutes) due to our email system going down without our knowledge - we called them for an urgent talk at our place considering the rick could potentially have cost us over £5 million ... they turned up over an hour late!

Add in two parents' evenings; ferrying little Ps to and from far flung martial arts clubs, table tennis clubs and youth clubs; fixing damage to a back window caused by the boy's rugby ball; plus other stuff like, you know, sleeping and I've barely stopped for breath.

Looking through the draft notes I left myself while all that was going on, most have now been covered elsewhere, but this tweet from Alcohol Ireland is still worth pointing out.

It's quite important we nail this one because it is far from the truth. You see, if the concept of minimum alcohol pricing is allowed to be legislated for - in Ireland or here in the UK - pubs, clubs and restaurants most certainly will be affected in the future.

This is because every jurisdiction considering minimum alcohol pricing is using the Sheffield University bansturbation unit study as its prime source of 'evidence. And while said unit is error-strewn and changes its mind quite a bit, it's very good at removing links to the full report which Mudgie commented on in 2012.
Differential minimum pricing for on-trade and off-trade leads to more substantial reductions in consumption (30p off-trade together with an 80p on-trade minimum price -2.1% versus -0.6% for 30p only; 40p together with 100p -5.4% compared to -2.6% for 40p only). This is firstly because much of the consumption by younger and hazardous drinking groups (including those at increased risk of criminal offending due to high intake on a particular day) occurs in the on-trade. It is also because increasing prices of cheaper alcohol in the on-trade dampens down the behaviour switching effects when off-trade prices are increased.
Not only does the Sheffield model advocate minimum alcohol pricing for supermarkets and "pubs, clubs or restaurants" as the ideal scenario, it also contains detailed tables analysing many different levels of on-trade minimum pricing and the imagined effects they could have on consumption.

Anti-alcohol campaigners like to tell you that your pub pint is not threatened, despite the Sheffield 'bible' they are reading from describing in precise detail why it should be. Now, Alcohol Ireland are paid to read that kind of stuff full time, so they're either woefully incompetent - like Sheffield Uni's anti-fun unit - or are, err, lying?

Unless, of course, they are saying that they'll be happy with minimum pricing for the cheapest booze and will then shut up and be satisfied. Because all nanny state advocacy groups always do that ... don't they?

Link Tank 15/03

It's been a spectacularly busy week in Puddlecoteville hence the lack of content. So many articles I want to write but without even a glimmer of time to do so - hopefully things will calm down in coming days.

For now, some links I did manage to catch amidst the chaos.

The anti-e-cigarette conspiracy

The bores declaring war on Aussie boozing

China’s gambling capital battles to shed bad boy image

Italian woman is told her 50k euros worth of lire are worthless

KFC Canada takes on the Big Mac with the Big Boss (pic)

New Zealand philanthropist offers beer to students for catching rats

Kate and Wills should think of themselves as a couple first, parents second

US town bans beach tents

Video game playing chimps

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Evidence Free Zones: Irish Edition

Last summer I posted two articles on the policies being adopted by train companies regarding e-cigs.

In Train Policy Spotting, we found that Eurostar didn't have one, Scotrail banned them because they're Scottish and that's what the Scottish do, Network Rail said they were cushty and the East Coast line didn't currently ban them but were cracking their knuckles and thinking about it. In This Is An Evidence Free Zone, we discovered that C2C Rail impose a ban because they look a bit like like smoking and South West Trains allow them because they haven't worked out how to enforce a ban just yet.

In the meantime, in a curious moment, I also FOI'd Royal Mail to find out what their policy is. Yup, you guessed it, an outright ban in buildings and vehicles (see their response here).

If you read the reasoning behind each of these bans being applied, or being considered, there is one vital element missing. Can you spot it? Read on for the answer.

Anyhow, the latest train company to go for an all-out ban is Irish Rail. Their justification has to be the most flimsy yet.
IRISH RAIL HAVE taken the decision to ban e-cigarettes on all train services and the DART. 
There is no evidence that the devices cause any harm to anybody standing close to them, but Irish Rail say that they've had complaints from passengers about the smell they create.
No, I'm not making that up, go look at the link for yourself. You can eat a fish and chip supper, pile into a KFC bargain bucket, fart from Donegal to Wicklow, but use an odourless e-cig and you'll be turfed out at the next station because some psychosomatic smokerphobic thinks they can smell something.

Now, forgive me if I'm wrong, but weren't bans on smoking something to do with harm caused to passers-by based on evidence which was - and I'm being generous here - inconsequential myth-making which convinced gullible politicos? Stupid and illiberal as that was, at least there was some vague whiff of logic.

But now we have bans based on nothing but "It looks a bit like something else", "Haven't a scooby what they are, might as well add it to the smoking policy", "They're not a patch or gum", and "I thought I thaw a puddy-tat"?

Once again, e-cigs deliciously reveal that none of this hysteria about tobacco and/or nicotine has had anything to do with health. Never has; never will. I think I should get some sort of graphic sorted for that phrase, or maybe a Puddlecote coat of arms with the motto in Latin just for jolly.

Do go read the comments at the piece as it's laugh-a-minute, populated as it is by such a lot of Irish people who have been manipulated and conditioned by imagined fear easier than Pavlov managed to train his dog with real pain.

Good grief.

Monday, 10 March 2014

E-Cig Wars!

In 2012, I spoke about e-cigs being transformed from a cottage industry into big business after reading about Lorillard's takeover of US e-cig firm, Blu. With such a lot of future profit at stake from a product which is rocketing in popularity, you can understand why large companies have been jockeying for position in the past couple of years.

Imperial Tobacco were generally considered to have missed the starting gun in the market, with their competitors - especially BAT - placing their products in stores while Imperial's arms-length e-cig company were still at the drawing board stage.

However, at the back end of 2013 a deal was struck which was little-reported at the time.
Imperial Tobacco Group Plc, (IMT) Europe’s second-biggest tobacco company, agreed to buy Dragonite International Ltd. (329)’s electronic cigarette unit for $75 million as it seeks to close the gap on competitors in new products.
And the important footnote ...
Dragonite founder and executive director Hon Lik invented the electronic cigarette, according to the company’s web site. The company says it owns an “extensive portfolio” of global patents and pending patents covering e-cigarette technologies.
Fast forward to the past week and we find that this could have been an incredibly clever piece of business.
On Wednesday, March 5, 2014, Fontem Ventures B.V., a Netherlands-based, wholly-owned subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco Group, a British multinational tobacco company headquartered in Bristol, United Kingdom and the world’s fourth-largest cigarette company, filed suit against the following US e-cigarette companies: NJOY, Spark Industries (Cig2O). Vapor Corp., LOEC (Blu Cig/Lorillard). FIN Branding/Victory E-cigs. CB Distributors (21st Century Smoke), Logic Technology, VMR Products (V2 Cigs and Vapor Couture) and Ballantyne Brands (Mistic).  The suit alleges patent infringement, citing four patents that Fontem purchased as a part of a portfolio of intellectual property acquired in late 2013 from Dragonite International Limited, China, for $75 million.
Wow! Just wow!

With market analysts predicting sales in the billions for e-cigs, Imperial look to have either severely hampered their competitors, or saddled them with perpetual royalty payments. It will be interesting to watch how it pans out.

We have seen the same type of litigation used in other new technologies - the most publicised being spats between Apple and Samsung - but the fact that big industries obviously consider the potential rewards from e-cigs lucrative enough to go to these lengths must be like a kick on the plums for tobacco controllers and their hideous cheerleaders.

Of course, this is a US-based action and so not yet applicable here, but it begs the question as to whether Fontem are planning to pursue the same course in the EU. If they do, it will bring Imperial into battle with BAT as their Vype cigalike is almost identical to the Njoy mentioned above.

Where this leaves smaller (non-tobacco industry) manufacturers and sellers of e-cigs which don't resemble traditional cigarettes in the slightest - like my one - I don't know. But if their products contain any of these patents and Fontem comes after them, I expect they'll be too short of cash to defend it thanks to the EU imposing huge costs to their operations via the tobacco control industry's absurd TPD.

And if that leaves the market wide open for the tobacco industry to corner, who wants to be first to laugh at myopic anti-smoking dinosaurs for helping out their {cough}chums in Big Tobacco?

Interesting times, ladies and gentlemen.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

What You Won't Hear From ASH

If you haven't yet seen it, there was a particularly ignorant and anti-social article at HuffPo earlier this week written by a psychopathic anti-smoker. Entitled "Why smokers must be shamed", it argued - amongst other nonsense - that smoking outdoors in public should be a criminal offence and that smokers should not be allowed to work with children. Oh yeah, and that e-cigs should be included too, just for jolly.

Yes, really.

Frank Davis and Redhead have filleted the piece nicely, but there is one group of organisations which will say absolutely nothing on the subject.

You see, ASH pretend that want the debate to be about smoking, not smokers - as they say on their website.
 We do not attack smokers or condemn smoking.
Yet you know damn well that they are happy for others to do so. Their silence about the HuffPo article - which is guaranteed - will speak volumes.

Because, for a rent-a-quote group like ASH, it's telling that they will get their comments into any piece about smoking - like this one this weekend about a school which values education above anti-smoking dogma - but routinely fail to intervene when nasty little fascists like the HuffPo author spout their bile.

They were also silent when a report claimed that anti-smoking policies are harming the less well off.
Smokers are like ‘migrant and indigenous groups’ in past centuries who were seen as contaminating the rest of society and threatening the way of life of normal, healthy people, Professor Graham, of York University, added. 
Her report calls for anti-smoking campaigns to be redrawn so they try to help the poor improve their lives.
Nothing from ASH or their friends. Nada. Zilch.

It's not like they're unable to do so, as we saw when Stephen Williams wrote an article for Lib Dem Voice about plain packaging. In that instance, ASH's Arnott and Phil Rimmer - along with other state-paid tobacco control lobbyists - were queueing up to get stuck into the comments.

The tobacco control industry also had absolutely nothing to say about a Luton Herald & Post article in 2011 - in the same week that Anders Breivik killed 69 people in Norway - which thought it hilarious to talk about shooting smokers on sight.

So let's set a squad of licensed snipers on the streets, with permission to pick off smokers whenever there's a clear shot. 
I confidently predict that the prospect of having your head blown off while enjoying what you didn't realise would be your last cigarette would give smokers up and down the country an extra incentive to kick the habit. 
And if they defiantly carry on puffing, when they are popped between the eyes it will save the health service all the costs of caring for them in their declining years. 
We know bans don't work if they're not enforced. My way is simpler, and a lot more effective. 
Alan Dee, Herald & Post (July 21, 2011)
They industry was, however, very quick to squeal about an equal and opposite reaction to it from Freedom2Choose.

Ask ASH - or any other anti-smoking organisation, for that matter - on Twitter to condemn anti-smoker hatred or blatant lies from fellow tobacco controllers and you'll be met with silence. I know because I've tried.

We can, then, only assume from this that they're quite content for the most repulsive and vile anti-smokers in our society to advance their disgusting ideas, and will barely shrug on the day that a smoker is actually killed by one of these psychos.

I suppose Debs and her cronies could prove me wrong when they're back in their tax-funded office tomorrow and post a withering condemnation of the HuffPo author's rancid views in the comments, but don't hold your breath. They'll probably send her a congratulatory email instead.

Friday, 7 March 2014

A Sign From The East

On Wednesday, Simon Clark posed a question.
Does this study threaten smoking in the home?
It's fairly obvious what's going on. This [study is] the first (latest?) move towards a de facto ban on smoking in the home.
Of course. It was always somewhere along the prohibitionist timeline after ad bans, smoking bans, display bans, plain packaging and banning smoking in cars, which is why I'm still confident of proving Tom Harris MP wrong about his insistence that politicians are not crazy.
But the Department of Health recently held a consultation on whether the smoking ban should be extended into people’s private vehicles and homes. Now, I know this caused a great deal of perfectly understandable outrage among a lot of people. So let me make this clear: the government will not, under any circumstances, legislate to stop people smoking in private. It would be a crazy move and, believe it or not, ministers are not crazy people - they’re politicians and they recognise political realities.
And if they did attempt to legislate in this direction, I would risk the wrath of those who don’t believe Scottish MPs should vote on English matters by voting against it. 
But as I say, I won’t need to, because it’s not going to happen.
He's already wrong if he included cars in his definition of 'private', but it's a moot point because homes will be included soon. Admittedly, we're not near that point in this country ... yet, but some geezer in Hong Kong is quick out of the blocks.
An anti-smoking activist and community-health specialist has urged the government to ban smoking in cars and even homes to protect children's health. 
Professor Lam Tai-hing was speaking after a new study, published yesterday, showed that second-hand smoke can make children prone to heart attacks and strokes later in life, in addition to other known risks such as lung cancer, middle-ear disease and respiratory disease. 
"Smoking in front of children should be seen as poisoning and abusing them," he said. "There are laws that protect children against being abused, why is it we don't consider second-hand smoking as a kind of abuse?"
Yes, it's the very same study highlighted by Forest - a piss poor one at that - being used exactly as Simon Clark predicted it would.

Prof Tai-hing may well be insane and undeserving of his professorship if he can't discern between proper science and the junk kind, but politicians will listen to him anyway, just as they will in the UK when the idea is raised over here.

Only a matter of time, Tom. Only a matter of time.