Sunday, 25 September 2016

To Play The Game, You Should Really Understand The Rules

They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but then some with very little knowledge have made a lucrative living on the back of their ignorance.

Take Simon Chapman, for example. Fresh from a triumphant tour of Europe including a London stopover - on expenses, natch - chatting to a dozen of his pals, the increasingly irrelevant fossilised tobacco control brick-brain has been pouring forth again. This time about the upcoming industry GTNF conference.


Ahem, Simon, here is what that link says.
"... in setting and implementing their public health policies with respect to tobacco control, Parties shall act to protect these policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law"
Parties, Simon, parties. In this context, parties are national governments, not individuals.

Looking down the list of speakers to which the geriatric Aussie plonker links, there is not a single one who is affiliated with any national government anywhere in the world! So his pointing to the WHO's article 5.3 is entirely irrelevant, as is mention of 180 nations who are collectively sending no government officials there.

We should be careful not to be too harsh on poor old Simon in case this is a dementia thing, of course, but it does kinda help if someone involved in the tobacco control scam were to actually know something about the rules that his grubby profession created. Doncha think?

I do sometimes wonder where these strict tobacco control scruples disappeared to when UK and hundreds of other national government officials attended COP6 in 2014 in a country which had just blasted a packed passenger plane out of the sky and was under worldwide sanctions.

It's a puzzler, isn't it?


Friday, 23 September 2016

Adam Smith vs The Morality Police

The Adam Smith Institute has today published a pretty impressive report which will go down like a lead balloon in the ranks of blinkered trouser-stuffers in 'public health'.

You can read the whole thing here but there are some cracking highlights.
By stifling innovation, regulation may freeze products in a state that is far less safe than free-wheeling capitalism would otherwise provide. Given that most smokers or drinkers would prefer not to die young or suffer from chronic illnesses, there is a clear (and perhaps very strong) profit incentive for the firm that can replicate the experience of smoking a cigarette without producing the harm that cigarettes do. That products like this are finally making their way to market is evidence of the power of this incentive: they are replacing the more harmful original options in spite of, not because of, regulation.
Indeed. And they are being brought to market while those who pretend to be interested in our health are scrambling to ban them.
And it means that policymakers concerned about public health should draw back from the heavy-handed approach based on the precautionary principle that they currently take. The precautionary principle assumes that the status quo is acceptable – with so many people dying of smoking-, alcohol- and drug-related illnesses that is clearly not the case. A new drug or reduced-risk tobacco product that kills some users may still be a massive improvement if it kills one-twentieth as many users as the thing it’s replacing. Our rules go way beyond basic safety standards – they impose a massive burden of proof on anyone trying to market a product that competes with the existing vices that harm people every day. 
A ‘permissionless innovation’ approach may be the best way forward. In this framework, firms are free to innovate and markets anything they like to consumers, with the proviso that untested products must be explicitly marketed as such, with the firm forced to pay the price if and when things go wrong. A regulatory approach on this basis would create a pathway for new reduced-risk products that were, if not 100% safe (such a thing is impossible), a lot safer than the things they were replacing.
This, of course, is never going to fly with 'public health' professionals simply for the fact that thousands of them would instantly become redundant. They need the precautionary principle to exist or they'd have to forsake their annual trip to Tuscany and the Lexus would have to be pawned.

Where's the attraction to state-funded parasites if the state is absolved of its huge financial burden by free markets and regulated free choice of individuals, eh?

What's more, puritanism could be threatened. Those with irrational prejudices just don't like people enjoying themselves, and David Nutt draws a superb parallel with the idea of less harmful booze.
It is unlikely that these innovations would be wholly welcomed. There could be a negative reaction from some parts of the public health movement, just as there has been with e-cigarettes. For some in public health, the very idea that people want to consume nicotine for pleasure is an anathema. It would be unsurprising to see similar attitudes toward synthetic alcohol from campaigners who do not want to see a safer form of intoxication encouraged and who might claim innovations of this sort are a distraction from trying to reduce alcohol consumption or encouraging abstinence.
Isn't it interesting to see prohibitionism in reverse? For years we have seen tobacco control being used as a template for those who want to ban other pleasurable consumer products. Now we see e-cigs being cited as a template for pushing back against the increasing extremism of puritanical junk science-toting fucktards who just don't like the choices of others and pretend their pointless policies are to do with health rather than their own odious bigotry.

The ASI press release adds more policy to the study, and there's not a lot you can argue with unless you're a vested interest prohibitionist.
New study reveals discoveries in cigarettes and alcohol sector could have seismic effects on public health, but are currently blocked by “morality police”

The UK has the opportunity to be a world leader in reducing the risks of drinking and smoking following its exit from the European Union, a new paper from the Adam Smith Institute released this morning reports.

The new study reveals how heavy-handed EU and UK government regulations have held back the development of safer alternatives to drinking and smoking, with public health officials pursuing abstinence campaigns to the detriment of risk reduction products that could save thousands more lives every year. 
Despite slashing smoker numbers, e-cigarettes been hampered by regulation. Although they are 95% safer than combustible cigarettes according to Public Health England, e-cig companies are unable to market their comparative health benefits to the public, and the latest round of EU regulations will make the development of newer, better, and safer e-cigarettes for consumers much more difficult.

As the latest innovation of ‘heat not burn’ tobacco products is brought to market the report underlines the importance of fostering innovation and competition on safety. Regulators are becoming increasingly restrictive rather than fostering innovative and satisfying alternatives to smoking and drinking. 
Theresa May’s government would be wise to utilise Brexit to throw out regulation like the the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive and save thousands of lives a year. Replacing it with a system of ‘permissionless innovation’ where a regulatory pathway for safer products to be developed and marketed is created, both by big players and by new entrants to the market. 
Sam Bowman, Executive Director of the Adam Smith Institute, said:
“It’s innovation not regulation that got us e-cigarettes. They emerged and prospered in spite of regulation, proving to be the best way to get people to quit quickly that we know of. But despite this, misguided public health officials are trying to clamp down on them because of evidence-free and dangerous fears that they ‘normalise’ smoking.

“Other products like synthetic alcohol and reduced-risk tobacco products promise to repeat the success of e-cigs for new people, but only if we let them. It is crucial that the government does not stand in the way of hangover-free alcohol.

“Regulation must be flexible and encouraging of new products that are safer than the vices they’re competing with. Britain can be a world leader in safe alternatives to alcohol and cigarettes, but we need regulation that foster those things instead of stamping them out.”
Just imagine that! "World leader". 'Public health' do so like being the first to do something don't they? So surely they should embrace this with open arms!

Sadly, they all generally pursue only their own self-interest and would shun anything that the Adam Smith Institute ever suggests, even if it is perfect common sense like this which should have those interested in health salivating instead of withdrawing to their state-funded boardrooms to find a way of derailing it.

Which is all rather interesting seeing as it was Adam Smith who introduced the concept of self-interest being the motivator of economic activity. In the 'public health' sphere, the only self-interest is how much they can suck out of the state that funds them, so they will quite naturally reject these suggestions out of hand because - whether they are beneficial to public health or not - they will result in the loss of grant funding for a whole lot of highly-paid parasites in the "OMG, think of the children" profession.

When we talk about disruptive technology, we refer to modern innovations which sweep away indolence and entrenched and costly positions. These are the big burdens on progress, much like candle-makers objecting to the introduction of electricity.

'Public health' is now playing the role of the candle-peddlers, desperately clinging onto their own self-enriching snobbery instead of looking at alternatives which could deliver more benefit to the public than their antiquated restrict, tax and ban mentality could ever be remotely capable of.

Do go read the ASI report here, and let's hope it gains the much-needed column inches it deserves.


Thursday, 22 September 2016

Caution: Health Nazis At Work

Next week sees the annual Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum being held in Brussels. If you weren't aware of it, it is an industry event which discusses all aspects of products provided by tobacco companies and their suppliers.

Last year, this event so heavily leaned towards tobacco harm reduction that even Simon Clark of Forest took to saying that he felt like "a pork chop at a Barmitzvah". It's fairly understandable seeing as all tobacco companies are now producing risk-reduced products that they would wish to discuss them with people who are experts in the field. It's no secret that the industry is moving in that direction and you'd think that 'public health' would be pleased about the fact that industry emphasis is shifting away from lit tobacco and onto safer products.

You'd also think they'd be pleased about recognised public health academics being invited to teach "Big Tobacco" how to do things properly, wouldn't you?

But, no. You see, for the dinosaurs in the tobacco control industry, it's long since ceased to be about health, but more an ideological crusade against all industry in general. Hence why one of the academics who has agreed to speak has been sent a distinctly sinister letter by Tobacco Free Kids, a dysfunctional and fanatical American organisation which would collapse tomorrow if everyone stopped smoking and their Master Settlement Agreement payments ceased.

You can read it below.


These vile, disgusting people simply cannot contemplate anyone sitting around a table and talking about risk-reduced products in a calm and civilised manner, simply because they despise industry and are petrified of the consequences to their careers if e-cigs and other products take hold. They've been attempting to inflict this kind of fear and intimidation on their own for decades, as Michael Siegel and James Enstrom (pursued for over a decade for producing the wrong result in a SHS study) can attest to. They are, for want of a more contemptuous word, scum.

They have no care about the health of any population; they only care about their own salaries and perpetuating the irrational hatred they have for smokers and the people who provide popular products that smokers like to buy. Their chief method for ensuring these prejudices and their own self-enrichment are enshrined forever is to lie 24-7 and smear and bully anyone who doesn't submit to their will. Everyone must toe the line and fuck the consequences.

Tobacco Free Kids - who despise e-cigs and spread provable falsehoods about them on a daily basis - and others like them, are nothing but grubby criminals, and I do so hope that one day they are made to pay for their immense catalogue of felonies.

I also hope that Dr Russell ignores this repulsive intimidation and attends anyway. Personally, if I'd received it I would have used it to wrap roadkill with and sent it back to them with a few choice words written with a sharpie.

It's never been about health, you know. Always remember who is on the side of the angels here.


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Liars Always Get Found Out In The End

Well here's a thing.

We jewel robbers have been insisting for years that tobacco control exclusively employs junk science as a means to mislead politicians, but have been called shills, trolls, accused of working for the tobacco industry and all manner of other insults.

By far the most egregious of these flights of science-free fantasy have been the heart attack "miracles". The first of all of them was - you won't be surprised to hear - imagined and promoted by Stanton Glantz and focussed on a small town in America called Helena. If you're not familiar with it, read the extract from Velvet Glove Iron Fist which explains how the claim that heart attacks declined by 40% following the town's smoking ban was not only garbage, but mathematically impossible.

You know what? Via Michael Siegel, it looks like we were telling the truth all along. Fancy that!
Helena Miracle? Not So Much; New Study Casts Doubt on Conclusions of Anti-Smoking Groups 
This week, a new study was published in the journal Medical Care Research and Review which re-examines the relationship between smoking bans and heart attack hospitalization rates. 
(See: Ho V, et al. A nationwide assessment of the association of smoking bans and cigarette taxes with hospitalizations for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and pneumonia. Medical Care Research and Review 2016. Published online ahead of print on September 12, 2016. DOI: 10.1177/10775587/16668646.)  
The authors summarize the study as follows: 
"We examine the association between county-level smoking-related hospitalization rates and comprehensive smoking bans in 28 states from 2001 to 2008. Differences-in-differences analysis measures changes in hospitalization rates before versus after introducing bans in bars, restaurants, and workplaces, controlling for cigarette taxes, adjusting for local health and provider characteristics. Smoking bans were not associated with acute myocardial infarction or heart failure hospitalizations, but lowered pneumonia hospitalization rates for persons ages 60 to 74 years."
This merely repeats the findings of another study back in 2009 - the largest ever undertaken - on 217,023 heart attack admissions and 2 million heart attack deaths in 468 counties in all 50 states of the USA over an eight-year period which came to the conclusion:
"We find that workplace bans are not associated with statistically significant short-term declines in mortality or hospital admissions for myocardial infarction or other diseases. An analysis simulating smaller studies using subsamples reveals that large short-term increases in myocardial infarction incidence following a workplace ban are as common as the large decreases reported in the published literature."
Despite the incontrovertible fact that heart attack "miracles" are impossible and utter junk, these deliberately mendacious studies turn up in every juridiction where smoking bans have been enacted and each is exactly the same; they are all - without exception - an exercise in tobacco control lying.

In the UK, our first taste of it was Jill "Pinocchio" Pell's purposely-created lie that heart attacks plummeted in Scotland by 17% immediately after their ban. Despite being described as one of the 10 worst junk stats of 2007 by statisticians in The Times, it was believed by wooden top politicians and dickheads at the BBC for the simple reason that ASH, ASH Scotland, UKCTCS, CRUK, BHF and just about every other bunch of lying arseholes promoted it as settled science and proof positive that smoking bans saved people from collapsing of cardiac arrest at the bar.

When Pell's gerrymandered and cherry-picked stats were later compared with real data from NHS surveys, it was shown to be a pile of poppycock, but by then the lies the tobacco control industry intended had been accepted as fact and flown around the world. This 17% figure is still, to this day, quoted by politicians in defence of smoking restrictions; and ASH and their pals - despite knowing very well the figure is a blatant lie - continue to let people believe it.

When the same method of lying by junk research was employed in Wales and promptly rubbished by statistician Michael Blastland on the BBC, Public Health England's Martin Dockrell - then at ASH - launched an incredible attack accusing the impartial statistician of being a "conspiracy theorist" and a "dissident".

Indeed, Linda Bauld emphasised these junk studies in a review - and specifically referenced Jill Pell - when she was paid to pretend that smoking bans had had no impact on pubs whatsoever.
International evidence of impact on cardiovascular health
Recent systematic reviews of the international literature on smokefree legislation have also outlined its impact on cardiovascular health, primarily on hospital admissions for MI and other related cardiac conditions (IARC, 2009, Callinan et al, 2010). The recent Cochrane review included ten studies that reported hospital admission rates for MI or coronary heart disease following the introduction of smokefree legislation (Callinan et al, 2010). Five of these were in the USA, three in Italy, one in Canada and the final study in Scotland as cited above (Pell et al, 2008). Ten of these studies showed a significant drop in hospital admissions for MI following the legislation, with the remaining two showing a drop in deaths from coronary heart disease and the Scottish study showing better prognosis following acute coronary syndrome among non-smokers. 
I'll just digress for a minute here and remind you that this is why we are the ones on the side of the angels and why they deserve to be in prison. We expect certain qualities out of people who waste our taxes - deliberately lying to con gullible politicians into illiberal courses of action is not one of them.

Anyhow, back to Siegel ...
When these studies were first published, I warned anti-smoking groups not to use these conclusions to promote smoking bans because I believed that the conclusions were not adequately supported by the data. In particular, I criticized these studies and questioned their conclusions because they did not adequately account for secular trends in heart attack rates that were occurring even in the absence of smoking bans. 
I also argued that it was not plausible to see such large effects in so short a time span because it takes many years for heart disease to develop. In contrast, I noted that respiratory effects might be observed immediately.
In other words, the "scientists" in tobacco control had been told that such studies were carefully-selected poppycock but ignored the advice and ploughed on with the lies anyway. In fact, they did more than that.
It is interesting to note that it was my expression of the above opinions about these studies back in the mid-2000's that led to my "expulsion" from the tobacco control movement, including being thrown off several list-serves, ostracized by many of my colleagues, accused of being a "tobacco mole," being characterized by my hero and mentor - Stan Glantz - as being "a tragic figure," having copyright to one of my articles violated by an anti-smoking organization, no longer being invited to speak at tobacco conferences, not being able to present at tobacco control conferences anymore, not being able to obtain further research grants, and having colleagues refuse to appear with me at conferences to discuss these or any other scientific issues. In fact, it was this censorship that led to the creation of the Rest of the Story in the first place.
Much like the way your humble host was dismissed as a troublemaker, so even were those in the tobacco control industry itself who even attempted to tell the truth.

It's how such cliques in the tobacco control arena roll. If you challenge their decisions, ideology, or even hint at disagreeing with a policy or decision they have made, you are excluded from their echo chamber. Dissent is prohibited, even if you're correct.
Nearly three million page views later, perhaps these groups knew what they were doing because it appears that I may have been right all along. By silencing me, these groups were able to disseminate their pre-determined conclusions widely to the public through the media long enough for the conclusions to be generally accepted. Now, it is too late to undo the damage. The media and the public have already made up their minds, and one article noting the results of this new study is not going to correct or undo 10 years of dissemination of unsupported and errant scientific conclusions.
I do love the use of language there. "Errant scientific conclusions" can be taken to mean scientific incompetence or deliberate lying, it most certainly cannot possibly refer to rigorous evidence produced by objective and honest people.

It just goes to show yet again that if you trust a tobacco controller you must be off your rocker. I've often said that if they tell you the time you should still check your watch, but I'd go further than that these days and say that you should check your watch again immediately afterwards just in case they have stolen it.


Eyes Wide Shut

Now, much as it pains me to keep mentioning the embarrassing event last week where hardly anyone turned up to see the legendary vandal academic Simon Chapman (after he bravely taunted vapers for not attending despite having demanded they be banned) ... it appears to be the gift that just keeps on giving.

Y'see, he's been questioning the figures.


It's a clever (albeit customarily rude and arrogant) attempt at misdirection by the dunderheaded lobcock, but anyone who has ever arranged a function of any sort knows that those who say they will turn up is never even close to the number who actually do. And his estimation of the 'crowd' differs greatly to those of three personal accounts I have come across, the most generous of which could only say "12 maybe, at a push".

Of course, considering Chappers was there for the whole day, and definitely for the hour that he stood in front of them reading his speech from a piece of paper, perhaps - I dunno - he could have counted them? Or maybe he was unsighted? Reading with his back to the audience? Frosted glass between him and those in attendance, perchance; or perhaps his eyesight is failing, it would be understandable for someone of his age and failing faculties I suppose.

Still, we shouldn't mock the afflicted, he's never been that great at adding up, after all. Maybe counting to 12 was just too taxing.





Monday, 19 September 2016

The 'Bravery' Of Simon Chapman

Following on from yesterday's article about the global joke that is Simon Chapman, you can't help but laugh at this.


Brave and fearless Chappers was just itching to face up to his detractors,so he was. So very disappointed that no-one turned up to listen to his fuckwittery, what with us all having jobs and stuff instead of being paid out of the public's taxes to go on holiday.

So imagine how surprising it was to read this about brave, brave Sir Simon.


So on the one hand he was dying to bravely hold a position of exalted power over vapers in the audience by way of a microphone and more chance to speak but, on the other, cowardly demands that no-one be allowed to challenge him from a position of equality.

I do believe this is called having one's cake and eating it. Still, if it makes the old fool happy as he becomes progressively more irrelevant, it would be pretty cruel of us to deprive him of his delusions of grandeur, don't you think? Believe me, you're going to miss high comedy like this when he carks it.

UPDATE: In fact, as I now understand it, brave Chappers specifically demanded of the RSM that none of the "vaping mafia" - as he put it - be allowed to attend the event at all! How odd, then, that he should tweet complaining that there were no vapers in attendance, eh?



Sunday, 18 September 2016

ECHO, Echo, echo ...

Some of you may remember this tweet by bone-headed prohibitionist Simple Simon Chapman last year.


He also described the event as "a small meeting of vaping activists in Poland" in an article for the 'public health' industry's favourite shitsheet, The Conversation.

Presumably, by cherry-picking images he had collected from Twitter feeds of the many people who attended the event, he was attempting to dismiss the gathering as somehow irrelevant or something, because - as I made an effort to find out at the time - there was quite an impressive turnout.
"Attendance comprised in excess of 250 delegates representing 43 countries in Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australasia. Our records show that 42 vaping consumers registered to attend."
So, if Chappers would describe over 250 delegates from 43 countries "a small meeting" and therefore a target for ridicule, I wonder what he would make of this?


Just ten? So what on Earth was happening at this - by Chapman's logic, quite pathetic and miniscule - event to cause so many people to stay away in their droves?

Well, it was a panel debate at the Royal Society of Medicine where the keynote speaker was none other than - you guessed it - Simon Chapman.
10.15 am
“A sneeze in one country causes international pneumonia tomorrow”: explaining the plain packaging pandemic 
Professor Simon Chapman, Emeritus Professor in the School Public Health, University of Sydney 
3.15 pm
Years well spent. A reflection on a professional lifetime spent in public health advocacy 
Professor Simon Chapman
Of course, unlike the many images posted on social media confirming big attendances at GFN last year, we have no way of verifying Munafo's estimate because no-one tweeted any pics. So we have to use caution and go by 'public health's' margins of error - that is, the 'crowd' could have been as high as 11 or as low as 9!

By way of comparison, an event at the very same venue in July this year to discuss the question "has regulation of pleasure gone too far?" attracted an audience of around 40, the vast majority of whom were interested medics.

As some wag quite astutely pointed out on Twitter, if environmentalist and advocate for action on climate change Chappers wanted to have a cozy little chat with a few friends and acquaintances in London, perhaps he could have done so on Skype instead of flying halfway around the world to talk to the vanishing few who want to listen to his narcissistic burbling.

I wonder if the dozy tumbleweed-magnet did any scintillating vaper-spotting while he was here?