Monday, 29 May 2017

Meanwhile In The Real World

Last week, BBC Radio 5 Live featured a spot on the new TPD regulations on tobacco (around 1 hr 8 mins here), along with the cowardly gold-plating which the UK government added by including pointless plain packaging to the mix.

Part of the piece included this very telling vox pop section with retailers and consumers in Haverhill, Suffolk. It is 2 minutes long so do have a listen.

You'll note that the real people spoken to were all of the opinion that none of these silly rules will have any effect on whether people smoke or not. Those who were in retail had first hand experience of how there was absolutely no effect at all except to encourage smokers to trade down ... as we all predicted but ASH etc denied.

You will also notice many other themes crop up which dominated the debate back in 2012 and 2013. That plain packaging will not make anyone quit; that it will lead to an increase in the black market, that smokers will just go for the cheapest product; that it makes people buy more; that it makes it difficult for retailers to find the packs; and that there will be no difference in sales whatsoever.

In short, everything that we warned about on these pages has come true. While everything that ASH and their similarly tax-funded propagandists predicted from their rose-tinted, funding-focused crystal ball, won't.

Predictably, though, later in the feature Hazel Cheeseman (you may remember her nonsense from last week) defaulted to tobacco control central's lamest argument and just stated that this was all bollocks, all just a tobacco industry lie. We've seen this before, including when an ASH trustee denied the most fundamental aspects of economics to say that black markets are not driven by price, and that this was also a tobacco industry lie. No, really, she did!

The people of Haverhill, I expect, know pretty much nothing about the debate that went on in 2012/13; they are speaking about their lived experience rather than models on a spreadsheet, manipulated research and bare-faced corruption that the tobacco control Goliath pumped out purely to ensure they received another round of funding the next year (because that is the very simple purpose of ASH, they have absolutely no care about health or they'd have waved through e-cigs in a heartbeat).

Cheeseman also resorted to lame tobacco control argument number two, which is to just say 'children' a lot. Of course, we know how plain packs went on that score, now don't we?

In fact, we know a hell of a lot about what went on in Australia following plain packs, and none of it is good. It's a story of obfuscation, policy-led evidence-making, desperate stuttering scrambling of state power to avoid awkward questions, unconvincing deceit and downright lies. If you have 22 mins to spare, I recommend you watch this presentation of how Australian officials wriggled and wriggled to avoid being transparent about plain packaging, which is odd considering they trumpeted its unmitigated success.

I think what I'm trying to say is that it is staggering to see government agencies throwing huge sums of our taxes towards people who are incapable of telling the truth.

Real life is showing them up to be incredibly dishonest organisations packed full of repulsive individuals who value their own salaries above truth, fair debate, and what might actually work towards the good of public health. They throw huge sums of cash at a pointless folly like plain packaging while fighting tooth and nail to protect stifling regulations on e-cigs .. which are proving in real life to be working.

Why the fuck are we paying these people to live in their lavishly-funded fantasy cocoon, while the the real world is proving them all wrong on a daily basis and will continue to do so. It's almost like, I dunno, it's not about health after all!

It's time legislators started listening to what the public thinks about these stupid and trivial policy interventions instead of hopelessly conflicted organisations like ASH who derive their income from promoting more and more irrelevance. Why not cut out the middle man, stick these hideous parasites on the dole and save the country a small fortune. 

Monday, 22 May 2017

"Nicotine Has Caused Millions Of Deaths"

It is now less than a month until the fourth Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) which is being held in Warsaw from 15th to 17th June, tagline "GFN is the only international conference to focus on the role of safer nicotine products that help people switch from smoking.".

Every GFN so far has seen representatives of ASH attend, both as panellists and delegates, and on at least one occasion included their director of policy, Hazel Cheeseman. I know this because I once found myself sitting behind her in a plenary session.

Sadly, it doesn't seem that GFN taught her very much at all if her appearance on Radio Kent to talk about e-cigs last week is a pointer, or perhaps she just wasn't listening.

She was asked about the application of ignorant, counter-productive warnings to vaping products, such as this one.

Nothing to see here, says Hazel.
"[O]n the specific point around nicotine warnings I really don't think it's unreasonable for a product to say that nicotine is addictive. I mean, the addiction to nicotine has caused millions of deaths across the planet, you know, for the last many decades"
"Nicotine" has caused millions of deaths, apparently. Not smoking, nicotine.

Has she perhaps forgotten Michael Russell? The idol of tobacco controllers everywhere who famously said "people smoke for the nicotine but die from the tar" which paved the way for Big Pharma's Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to be rolled out worldwide? Or perhaps this is an inconvenient motto in the age of the e-cig and he is being quietly airbrushed out of history. Who knows?

She also objected to Forest's Simon Clark pointing out that the ludicrous warnings on vaping products will put people off switching from tobacco to e-cigs. Not on an intellectual level, of course - because anti-smoking extremists don't dabble in anything as cerebral as honest debate - but instead by way of a bizarre, and frankly quite stupid, smear.
"It's very interesting to be lectured about public health from Simon who is being funded by tobacco manufacturers and really only got interested in this subject since those companies have entered the market"
Really Hazel? Well, as Simon replied, he has been writing about e-cigs since about 2010 when the MHRA set about trying to ban them - with the support of ASH I might add - and that was well before any tobacco company had an interest. For the record, my own first article on e-cigs was in December 2009 and my first on the repulsive moves in the UK to class them as medicines - a stance still supported by ASH to this day - was in June 2010.

Hazel joined ASH in April 2013.

Additionally, as Clark points out, it is pathetic of Cheeseyperson to imply that Forest are late to the discussion because if that's the case, as I've mentioned before, so the fuck were ASH!
ASH altered their "objectives for the public benefit" a few years ago. You see, in 2009 it said this:
1) To preserve and protect the health of the community both physical and mental and in the furtherance of this purpose to provide other charitable relief for those practising or likely to practise cigarette and other forms of smoking. 
2) To advance the education of the public concerning the effects of cigarette and other forms of smoking and their effects on the health of the community and the individual. 
3) To assist, carry out, promote and encourage research into cigarette and other forms of smoking and to collect and study information relating thereto with a view to publication of the same and the communication of information in connection therewith to the general public and others having legitimate interest in receiving such information for the benefit of the health of the community at large.
Nothing in there about e-cigs or any other device which doesn't contain tobacco.

In 2010 - probably when e-cigs started to register on their radar - it was quietly changed to what it remains today (emphasis mine):
1. to preserve and protect the health of the public against the harmful effects of cigarette or other tobacco products; and 
2. to advance the education of the public about the effects of cigarette and other tobacco and nicotine products.
Subtle, huh?
So, to paraphrase Hazel herself, let's apply that to ASH and why they decided to force themselves into a debate which had absolutely nothing to do with them, shall we?
"It's very interesting to be lectured about e-cigs from Hazel and ASH who are being funded by the government - which tried hard to ban vaping - and really only got interested in this subject since they sensed their grants drying up and feared becoming irrelevant"
And, seeing as Hazel took the opportunity of a radio Kent appearance exclusively on the subject of e-cigs to insist that "nicotine has caused millions of deaths across the planet", shall we also re-word Michael Russell's famous motto too, because Hazel is obviously far cleverer than he could ever have hoped to be.
"People smoke for the nicotine but die from the nicotine ... so you may as well all carry on smoking"
Well done Cheeseyperson, what a storming performance! Now, when you get a minute, can you go and explain something to your Boss Debs please? Y'see, earlier this month she was bemoaning why "the message that vaping was much less harmful than smoking had not yet got through to all smokers".
"It's very important smokers realise that vaping is much, much less harmful than smoking," she added.
Can you tell her that the reason is because there are still some really fucking stupid people around who keep broadcasting comments which convince smokers that tobacco and nicotine are, indeed, one and the same thing. Some of them even say incredibly insane shit like nicotine "has caused millions of deaths"!

Thank you. Oh, and if you're going to Warsaw again next month, enjoy dozing off during the sessions like you obviously did last time, won't you?

Friday, 19 May 2017

Tobacco Control Kills

If like me you have spent the past week or so hoovering up eliquid and vaping accessories at quite ridiculous knock-down prices, you'll know that today is the last day of one of the most successful real-world public health experiments in history.

Prior to the EU's disastrous Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) - overseen by a crook and driven through by vacuous MEPs - e-cigs operated as a consumer product in a bustling and innovative free market. It was not - despite what tobacco control liars say - unregulated considering manufacturers were abiding by 20 or so consumer product regulations. The results were stunning! Latest figures for the UK show that there are now 2.9 million vapers, of which over half of them have quit smoking entirely.

This spectacular success all ends tomorrow.

Instead, tomorrow sees the start of a system of regulations which will strangle the pizzazz out of the e-cig market and for no discernible reason. The EU and its tobacco control lobbyists have never been able to credibly justify any of the ridiculous regulations which were forced on the UK government by the EU's TPD. Let's run through a few of them.

Maximum nicotine strength 20mg

The first time I thought e-cigs might have the potential to be something really quite game-changing was when a friend gave me one to try at 30mg. It gave the same throat kick as smoking and I was impressed. Soon after, I tried another which was only 16mg and it was like sucking on air, it took me quite a while to get used to a level that low, many will not bother.

Even ASH admit that 6% of vapers currently use liquid which is stronger than 20% which, by law, they will no longer be able to buy from tomorrow, equating to 174,000 vapers (in reality it will be more than that because manufacturers are erring on the side of caution and limiting to 18mg).

What these 174,000 vapers will do is anyone's guess but it's clear that many will find that vaping no longer offers them the same experience and go back to smoking. It doesn't matter though, because ASH says fuck 'em. What's more, around 20% of vapers - and I am amongst them - first use liquid which is stronger than 20mg. Apply that to the 2.9 million and that's over half a million vapers who might not now be using e-cigs if the TPD had been in operation when they first dabbled with one. Presumably ASH says fuck them too.

Those who demanded this have given no credible reason whatsoever for such an arbitrary and futile restriction. It will 'save' no lives and can only have the effect of deterring smokers from switching and driving current vapers back to tobacco. Tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of them, and all because of entirely unnecessary regulations lobbied hard for by tobacco control. According to tobacco control's own rhetoric, one in two of those tens or hundreds of thousands will die as a result, and that's just in the UK.

Tobacco Control Kills.

Advertising bans

Tobacco control has been telling us for years that the best way to stop people smoking is to stop tobacco being advertised. By the same token then, surely, the advertising bans that the TPD forces on manufacturers and vendors will have the same deterrent effect.

The TPD bans e-cig adverts from TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and the internet, it also bans e-cig companies sponsoring events plus anything else that could possibly be seen in another EU country ... presumably so foreigners are deterred from switching to vaping too.

According to tobacco control, 50% of smokers who are not tempted away from smoking - by e-cig advertising which is now banned - will die as a result of continuing to smoke.

Tobacco Control Kills.

Maximum tank of 2ml & Maximum bottle size of 10ml

I'm currently using a 5ml tank and topping it up from a 100ml bottle. Both of these are banned under the terms of the EU's TPD which tobacco control lobbied for. There is no decent reason for this, no-one in tobacco control has been able to properly explain the point of any of it.

Of course, this just makes vaping fiddly and time-consuming, plus produces waste and inconvenience. If a product is to be seen as more attractive than smoking in order to tempt smokers away from tobacco, it beggars belief that tobacco control has put in place regulations which make vaping more difficult which can - as with the other pointless regulations - only have a deterrent effect.

Additionally, the very same TPD says that you can only buy tobacco in large grab bag sized 30g and upwards and you're not allowed to buy smaller packs of ten either, only 20s. The logic of rules which make you buy less e-liquid but more tobacco can only be guessed at, you have to ask what the blithering fuck these tobacco control halfwits were smoking themselves when they came up with such Baldrickesque cunning plans.

Making vaping a chore will inevitably turn many people off, especially since it's already a common refrain that e-cigs are far more complicated than just buying a pack of 20 from the corner shop or supermarket. Not one smoker will be attracted to vaping by the extra inconvenience of buying more bottles, refilling a tank more often, and fiddling about a bit more than is currently the case.

50% of those who don't make the switch, according to tobacco control, will die.

Tobacco Control Kills

Now, this is without even mentioning the supply side problems such as expense to vaping companies of commissioning and submitting dozens of expensive notifications for every single product and combination of products they sell, and having a 6 month wait after notification before being able to market their wares (which has driven innovation and therefore attracted switchers). The cost has already driven many out of business, along with those who derived much of their income from cross-border sales that are now also banned.

All these restrictions will have no effect on 'saving' anyone at all! The only possible outcome will be that many smokers will continue to smoke.

The TPD has, perversely, bolstered the cigarette market while dealing a huge blow to a vaping market which was rocketing along and contributing to record low smoker prevalence. And all because ASH and their disgusting European chums in tobacco control had little to do so thought they'd get involved in something they still don't understand.

It's always been clear that tobacco controllers were close to jumping the shark when it came to vaping. But from tomorrow, with the installation of a pointless and entirely spiteful TPD, many people will now see that they didn't just jump it, they pirouetted at the apex and nailed the dismount.

Remember that next time you hear any tobacco controller laughably say they are part of a 'health group'. 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Jamie Oliver Is In Australia, Close The Border

Slack-jowelled uber-hypocrite Jamie Oliver has been in Australia this week but, before you get excited, sadly Essex's most esteemed serial arsehole is likely to be coming back.

It's curious that in the past we used to deport hungry poor people to the other side of the world for stealing a loaf of bread, while now mega-rich elitists like Oliver - who advocate policies which steal pocket money from kids - travel there in luxury and enjoy fawning articles promoting his snobbery masquerading as concern for health.

Articles like this one, for example.
Oliver, who has campaigned heavily for a sugary drinks tax in Britain, points to Coca-Cola as one of those big businesses that needs to be doing better. 
"Not that they're my arch enemy – although they probably are – but, if you look at Coke and say, 'Could they be a health food company in 100 years?' I believe they can." 
Well I'm baffled as to how Coca-Cola could be your arch enemy, Jamie, seeing as you sell their full sugar version for a very profitable £2.65 per 330ml can, but whatever.
"I donated 18 months to telling the sugar tax story in the UK, but it's all based on science and fact and the same science and fact applies to Australia."
Hmm, 'donated' is an odd word to use for regularly being in national headlines just prior to the launch of a new book, but as for "science and fact", huh? A consistent and decades long reduction in sugar consumption and a non-existent 'obesity epidemic' doesn't require a sugar tax, Jamie. If politicians stuck to science and fact instead of junk science and career lobbyist bullshit the idea would have been laughed out of parliament. I think the word you are actually searching for is propaganda.
"The conservative UK government didn't want to make that sugar tax policy, but we got it because, when it comes to the crunch, a modern day prime minister has to act on the data if the story is told correctly."
Or maybe the prime minister was a weak pussy and acted on the threat of bullying from people like Jamie and the hundreds of thousands of fellow vile ovine snobs who follow him, because the story sure as shit wasn't "told correctly" by the extremist lunatics who demanded it.
"I think the interesting thing about Australia is that not one major party is even debating or sniffing about it. But France, Portugal, Hungary, Ireland and the UK are all in. Australia will fall in line, too."
It is to Australia's immense credit that they haven't yet fallen for the lies bandied about concerning a sugar tax, and current thinking there is that it is daft and won't work, which is correct because it won't.
Critics of a sugar tax in Australia claim the government shouldn't be interfering with our freedom of choice.
Ya don't fucking say!
Similar to what happened with the introduction of plain packaging tobacco laws and push for pokie reforms, the term "nanny state" is thrown around a lot.
The obligatory reference to tobacco, but remember there is no slippery slope, oh no.
"Australia is a bit obsessed by the nanny state thing, isn't it?" says the chef. 
Probably because it is the most advanced nanny state in the world, Jamie. That would tend to get up many people's noses if they lived amongst it daily.
"But ask Aussie parents if they're cool with 15 cents on a can of sugary soft drink going to schools for food education and sports. When we said that in the UK, the sugar tax polled at 75 per cent approval. The nanny state argument from knobheads is bollocks. This is f--king common sense."
Not really, gobshite. Isn't the tax supposed to reduce consumption? How will significant amounts of money be generated and still reduce the sales of something you say is detrimental to health? You can't have it both ways.
To get a sugary drinks tax implemented in Australia means "mobilising Aussie parents to just tell the government what to do," says Oliver.
This is a quite stunning concept! So Jamie is saying that parents - you know, the people who decide what their kids can and can't eat and drink - should tell the government what to tell them their kids can and can't eat and drink? Erm, why don't those parents just cut out the middle man and stop their kids drinking sugary food and drinks if that's what they want?

The simple answer to that question is that they're not really bothered about their own kids are they? Nor is Jamie, I'm sure his only drink water and eat wholesome sugar-free stuff (as in, not anything Jamie cooks). They are talking about the proverbial and sinister "our children" which they have appropriated as their own to mask their repulsive bigotry.

Theirs is the type of irrational contempt once reserved for other minorities. But it's no longer acceptable - in fact, it's illegal - to discriminate on race, gender, disability, sexuality or religion, so the hateful compulsion to feel superior has to get shifted somewhere. It is, though, perfectly OK for Jamie and his horrible fans to sneer at those fat kids they see in the High Street, to disapprove when they see lower classes coming out of McDonald's, and to demand that government does something about it.

This is the kind of person who loves Jamie Oliver; the control freak whose life is so empty, dull and formulaic that they get their kicks out making other people's business their own without asking, and of thrusting themselves into the lives of others of whom they disapprove.
"But the genius of the sugary drinks tax is that when it happened in the UK, it was the first time I can remember the government standing up and giving the industry a spank. Every other part of the food industry witnessed it so, at a rate faster than I can tell you, the whole industry is reformulating shit out of the food chain. Cutting back on all the salt, fat and sugar. They haven't been asked to do it either — it all comes from that one action."
No, they weren't asked, Jamie, they were threatened, there's a very significant difference.

It won't matter to multi-millionaire Jamie that government adds a levy on Coca-Cola because he'll carry on selling it to rich affected twats who visit his overpriced, sugar-laden restaurants at an eye-watering mark-up. It won't matter to his interfering and snooty middle and upper class followers either, they can afford to pay a bit more for their kids' treats after they have finished their main course of steamed kale and pine nuts washed down with San Pellegrino. It will, though, punish those who Jamie and his repulsive fan base find so objectionable, the poor.

Or, as put brilliantly in the Telegraph at the time Osborne announced the UK's sumptuary sugar tax.
Virtue-signalling politicians, bureaucrats and celebrities feeling tremendously good about themselves because they’ve bossed the rest of us around, and imposed a stealth tax on those least able to afford it.

Oliver succeeds because he panders to the dark and anti-social nature of some of the most hideous people in our midst. He peddles pomposity and the right of self-centred individuals to impose their petty prejudices on others. He is a modern day Marie Antoinette so it is no surprise that his crusade draws on the tobacco control industry for inspiration because their reasoning is equally mired in junk science and their fans equally disgusting.

Australia, can we persuade you to keep him? Essex's, erm, loss could be your gain, after all. 

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Joined-Up Lobbying

ITV's Chris Choi is today asking for thoughts on the new regulations being brought in at the end of this week as a result of the EU's appalling Tobacco Products Directive which was presided over by a crook.

One of the new rules is, of course, that packs of 10 cigarettes will be banned. So here is a view which he might like to hear.
Education not legislation is needed to lower smoking rates in Britain, Martin Dockrell, head of policy at anti-smoking charity ASH, has said. 
"Stopping people from smoking is only a little about law, and much more about hearts and minds." 
He also criticised the DoH's proposal to restrict sales of cigarettes in packs of 10. "People buy smaller pack sizes such as 10s when they are attempting to reduce their tobacco consumption and quit," he said. "If you wanted people to lose weight you wouldn't take away fun-sized chocolate bars and only sell jumbos. I'm with the retailers on this one."
Dockrell is now at Public Health England but ASH, as I don't need to remind you, fully supported the TPD (including the ban on packs of 10) and lobbied furiously in its defence.

It's never been about health. 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

A Good Aussie Speaks Up, Again

As another entry in an occasional series, let's look in on Sydney Australia for more outstanding parliamentarian contributions from this blog's chum, Peter Phelps.

If you've not heard of him before, my introduction from October last year might help.
Those with a good memory might remember Peter Phelps, an Australian politician and Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council. Phelps is notable for being incredibly principled in defending liberal values in such an illiberal environment as NSW, and in a chamber which is situated in nanny state central Sydney. As such, I was thrilled to unexpectedly meet him in July during a coffee break at a Royal Society of Medicine event on over-regulation of pleasure
Last year - when he was government whip no less - I wrote about how he casually entered a chamber packed full of variously ignorant prejudiced prohibitionists armed only with insults, smears, innuendo, wild assumptions, and downright lies, and placed in front of them simple incontrovertible facts about e-cigarettes. 
And arguably won hands down.
That article was about how he was speaking at New South Wales's "Inquiry into childhood overweight and obesity", and bedevilling a dried-up crone who believes kids should be deprived McDonald's, Coca-Cola and chocolate because, erm, because she knows better than a kid's parents how to bring up their own kids.

Well our Peter has been doing the same again last week, this time revealing some inconvenient truths to politicians in his state who feel it's their job to dictate what people eat and drink. Which, of course, it is not.
The real problem is that, in fact, there is no obesity epidemic. The obesity epidemic is a myth, especially an obesity epidemic amongst children. For example, the most current report of the Australian Bureau of Statistics says: 
Around one in four children … aged 5-17 years were overweight or obese, similar to 2011.
That statement made me go back to the 2009 ABS report, which said: 
In 2007-08, one-quarter of all Australian children … were overweight or obese …
So I went back even further and noted that this number has not changed. The obesity epidemic is so great that there has been no real change in the number of overweight or obese children. I went back even further and found that, based on children's body mass index [BMI], from 1995 onwards—in other words for the past 20 years—there has been no substantive change. Indeed, the ABS makes the point in its 2009-10 yearbook that differences between the numbers in 1995 and 2007-08 are not statistically significant. 
That means that there is no statistically significant difference in the number of overweight children between 1995 and 2007-08—and by implication at the current time. The whole idea that there is an obesity crisis or an obesity epidemic is complete and utter bunkum.
It's almost like politicians don't even read the statistics that are collated for them at huge expense to the taxpayer, isn't it?

The result of all this propaganda, of course, is that the New South Wales parliament wants to restrict certain popular food and drink items from being sold in school canteens, in order to tackle an obesity 'epidemic' which doesn't actually exist except in the fevered, grant-thirsty minds of state-subsidised 'public heath' snobs.
They are saying, "It is not about restricting choice, but we're going to restrict choice." (it's true, see here - DP)  Is there a more Kafkaesque press release than this? "We're not restricting choice; we're just restricting choice." That is the sort of nonsense we face.
Phelps then goes for the jugular, in amusing fashion.
Welcome to the New South Wales education system where, in health and personal development classes and sex education, students can be told, "It's okay to fellate your boyfriend three times a week, but because of health requirements you can only have a sausage roll once every semester."
And whose fault is the latter (I'm certainly not going to comment on the former!)? Well, Phelps knows that - as we do - very well.
Who are the people pushing this nonsense? There is a willing cohort of public health activists who are always ready to fabricate a crisis to get on the public teat and get a bit of Government money. 
[I]f you look at the arguments that are used more often than not and the statistics for soft drinks—and I recognise the member's comments on sugar taxes—you will see that it is not based on any real evidence. In Australia there is a declining consumption of sugary drinks in the entire population and most notably amongst children. The only real growth in soft drinks happens at the level of those aged 50 and over. Why does this happen? Because there are people who believe that your body belongs to the State. It is the mantra of public health totalitarians everywhere. It has unfortunate resonances with the totalitarian regimes of Europe in the 1930s, whether of a red or a black variety. Both basically said that your body belongs to the State. When we accept that as a basic premise, we have lost the true meaning of what it is to be a classical liberal in this day and age.
Damn right!

And, as Phelps also points out, this is a hark back to the principle of sumptuary law, whereby poor people are deemed not worthy of consuming what rich elites do without a care. In other words, naked and unabashed, bigoted snobbery.

Of course, when you call out such bigots and snobs, they don't react very well, as Australia's state-funded broadcaster eagerly reported (click through for video clip).
There are now calls for Premier Gladys Berejiklian to pull Dr Phelps into line after he criticised his own Government's new healthy school canteen strategy. 
The Opposition's health spokesman, Walt Secord, said Dr Phelp's remarks crossed the line. 
"I think it's time the Premier acted on Dr Phelps ... he does this on a weekly bases he just makes outlandish, outrageous comments and he is beginning to treat the Parliament like a 1950s locker room," he said.
We don't want none of that truth thing in parliament, now do we? He has to be removed or, before you know it, the public will be able to make their own choices without being hectored by tax-sponging control freaks waving shrouds and junk science ... and then where would we be?

Well played Mr Phelps, again, the world sorely needs more truth-telling myth-slayers like you.

See also: When political correctness matters more than common sense - Spectator

Monday, 15 May 2017

It's The Vaping, Stupid!

You know, if truth was personified, strolled up to ASH HQ and introduced itself to the rancid tax-spongers with its business card, they would still have trouble recognising it. They simply don't do honesty.

Today, the odious, illiberal, disingenuous coven of troughing sock puppets have yet again been twisting language to claim credit for declining smoking rates which should, properly, be attributed to e-cigs.
Getting rid of glitzy, heavily branded tobacco packs is the latest in a long line of achievements by the UK which is a global leader in tobacco control. We now have among the fastest declining smoking rates in the world thanks to decades of sound policy, but smoking rates among the poorest and most disadvantaged remain high.
E-cigs are not a 'policy', they are a product which has been fuelling those "fastest declining smoking rates" of which ASH speak. Yet their article, as has become customary, makes no mention of e-cigs or vaping whatsoever.

I suppose it's awkward for them because they have to keep themselves relevant in the eyes of politicians, despite being quite the opposite. Nothing they have done in the past decade has worked, (and neither will plain packs) as Snowdon noted in March.
[T]here is scant evidence that 'strong tobacco control measures are working'. You can see in the graph above that the smoking rate was falling steadily until 2007 when the smoking ban ushered in a wave of extreme anti-smoking policies. The ban itself was introduced in July 2007, the smoking age was raised from 16 to 18 in October 2007, graphic warnings were introduced in 2008, the tobacco duty escalator was introduced in 2008 and the ban on cigarette vending machines began in 2011. All this was combined with a bunch of anti-smoking advertisements which were so gruesome that some of them were banned
The effect of this frenzy of prohibitions can be seen above, ie. nothing. The fall in smoking prevalence came to an end and the smoking rate stayed stubbornly at around the 20 per cent mark until e-cigarettes became mainstream in 2012-13. Between 2012 and 2015, the only anti-smoking law that was introduced was the display ban but that didn't come into effect until April 2015.  
The only things achieved by 'strong tobacco control measures' are the mass closure of pubs, the maintenance of a large black market for cigarettes, and secondary poverty for low income smokers.
By contrast, e-cigarettes have given people who want to quit smoking an enjoyable and vastly safer alternative.
Quite. In fact, the success of e-cigs has been achieved despite the efforts of ASH, as I described recently.
[B]ack in 2010, the medical community were arguing that e-cigs should be banned within 21 days or - ASH's preference - banned after a year if manufacturers had not applied for medicinal licensing. 
Due to the power of vapers standing up for themselves, that failed. However, in 2013, ASH were still desperately attempting to destroy vaping by getting the whole market banned unless it was medicinalised, as their own emails showed
In 2015 they were then caught enthusiastically cheerleading bans on vaping in hospitals, while their colleagues in Wales were proud to append their logo to a no vaping sign as they declared how they "fully welcome" a beach vaping ban. ASH have since been woefully inadequate in speaking up about pointless vaping bans as they have spread like wildfire in recent years. 
Then, last year, a number of Lords engaged in a debate over the Tobacco Products Directive and its degenerate regulations on vaping. This encouraged Lord Callanan to put forward a fatal motion in the Lords which - in the face of disgraceful lobbying by ASH - was beaten down into a far less powerful 'regret' motion. Even this wasn't good enough for ASH, who then attacked the regret motion too
They then dismissed the damaging consequences of the TPD by saying that a quarter of a million smokers turned away from e-cigs - because of an arbitrary and vacuous limit on nicotine strength - don't really matter.
And, as if to prove the proverb that leopards never lose their spots, since then ASH have illustrated that they are still trying to place obstacles in front of vaping.

So I suppose we can understand why ASH would prefer not to talk about vaping too much, it would show up how pointless all their prohibitionist policies have been, while vaping comes along and shows that free market solutions work far better than highly-paid, morally-incontinent NGOs with a propensity for lying.

As usual, ASH's article finishes with a plea for a new tobacco control plan (with, presumably, a renewal of ASH's funding next time round to implement it). Yet it's clear from experience in the past decade that the best thing politicians can do is to defund meddlesome and obstructive ASH, repeal legislation on e-cigs that ASH lobbied furiously for, step back, and let vaping do the hard work at no cost to the exchequor.

ASH have had absolutely nothing to do with declining smoking rates; since 2012 it's been the vaping, stupid!