Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Calling Australian Vapers And Liberty Lovers

I'm sure many of you will know that e-cigs containing nicotine are illegal in Australia, it's almost certainly why the UK's accelerating decline in smoking prevalence means that we just overtook the Aussies whose rate has stalled. Not because of a state-led authoritarian approach - that has been pretty irrelevant in this country - but because of allowing the e-cig market, which smokers choose to purchase from, to be at least a little bit free.

Well, the Australian House of Representatives and Senate are both now holding inquiries into legalising vaping, and a site has been set up to allow members of the Australian public to generate a pro-forma submission to both of them.


This is a great chance to do something to effect legalisation in Australia. If the inquiries recommend against the idea, then it will take years further more before legalisation comes about (because it is inevitable that it will occur one day). I understand that there are some sympathetic noises coming from those on the bipartisan committees, but without public support they can easily be swayed into making the wrong recommendations by hideous anti-vaping lunatics like Sydney pensioner Simple Simon.

So do consider going to http://www.legalisevaping.com.au/ and making a submission to your elected representative, and if you are not Australian yourself, share the link widely with friends, family and acquaintances who are. The more responses that are received, the more chance some sanity can be installed Down Under. 



Monday, 26 June 2017

The Illiberal Ruinous And Pointless Smoking Ban

As we approach the tenth anniversary of the smoking ban in the UK - otherwise known as "literally a confidence trick" by Debs Arnott - there will be a hell of a lot of unadulterated garbage in the media about how it has ushered in a world of rainbow-coloured unicorns and a national breeze of pixie dust.

So it's good that Forest have today released a report detailing how it has wreaked carnage on businesses, freedom of choice and property rights for no valid good reason whatsoever, you can read the report here.

Written by Rob Lyons, it runs through the major issues with the ban, and is fully referenced including this quote from Lord Lawson which sums up the whole ignorant charade perfectly.
"Passive smoking is an example in which [government] policy demonstrates a disproportionate response to a relatively minor health problem, with insufficient regard to statistical evidence."
Of course, there is no decent evidence whatsoever that passive smoking harms the health of others, however much the massed ranks of state-funded tobacco control industry parasites try to pretend it does. It's simply a pre-determined and long-concocted lie to bully smokers, and is backed up with junk science from soothsayers, mouth-breathers and snake oil salesmen waving shrouds while burying their snouts deeper into the trough of taxpayer cash.

The ban on smoking in private places - yes private, to say it is on public places is just another mendacious tobacco control sound bite - has also, as Lyons points out, never enjoyed popular public approval. There was no demand for it amongst the public, with the ONS data consistently showing that there was little support for the draconian and fascistic blanket ban that the hospitality industry had imposed on it, as I have written about many times before.
Since 1996, they have split the responses between those who approve of an outright ban, those who favoured some restrictions, and the numbers calling for none at all.
The figures up to 2005 were: 
2003: 20%, 70% and 8% respectively.
2004: 31%, 63% and 5%
2005: 33%, 61% and 5%  
Note that the first figure is those in favour of what has now been inflicted on us. The significant majority didn't want it.
Data taken from the ONS here
Lyons also comments on how the ban has had almost no discernible effect on smoking rates - the true reason for its implementation if you talk to any tobacco controller privately, it certainly wasn't about the health of bar workers - with evidence actually showing that, if anything, it slowed the long term decline in smoker prevalence.

He also runs through the barking mad and scientifically impossible 'heart attack miracles' and other trademark tobacco control industry junk science thrown together to try to justify the ban, but his assessment of the damage to the hospitality industry is truly damning!
- The smoking ban has however had a major impact on pub closures that increased significantly following bans in Scotland, England and Wales. 
- Since the introduction of the smoking ban in England in July 2007 over 10,500 pubs have closed, almost 20% of the pub estate a decade ago. In Wales over 860 pubs have closed, approximately 21% of the pub estate in 2007. 
- Pubs hardest hit by the smoking ban were in urban, inner-city or economically deprived communities. 
Far from 'celebrating' the smoking ban in a few days time, we should be appalled that something so illiberal, regressive and incredibly socially damaging was passed without public support - and without any credible scientific evidence to back it up - all at the behest of a small clique of greedy elitist snobs working to continue being in receipt of state cash, or as Lyons put it:
In effect, those who seek to prohibit smoking are placing their own views and prejudices ahead of those who choose to smoke. Not only do anti-smokers have an aversion to smoking – a perfectly reasonable question of taste – they also think other people shouldn’t smoke, that it is wrong to enjoy something they themselves dislike or have weaned themselves off. 
Lyon's Forest report doesn't forget to note the huge role the ban played in greasing the slippery slope, either. Can anyone, for example, imagine that e-cigs would be banned in pubs if it weren't for the fact that cigarettes have been. Yet it is increasingly more difficult to find pubs that allow vaping. As vaping ban after vaping ban is implemented in bars, clubs, hospital car parks, beaches and squares up and down the country, tobacco controllers who claim to be supportive of e-cigs remain totally silent. For them, the jewel in the crown of the smoking ban is too precious for them to lift so much as a finger to protect vapers.

This is why I continue to say that the Health Act 2006 was the most socially destructive legislation the country has ever had to suffer. It wasn't about bar workers, it wasn't about health, it was about a small bunch of prohibitionist fucksticks taking control of civil society and ripping apart the fabric of tolerance and free choice. Lyons make the very same point.
What we are seeing is creeping prohibition driven by the precautionary principle, the idea that if something is potentially harmful it must be regulated out of existence regardless of the evidence or concepts such as choice and individual freedom. Whether we smoke or vape, consume alcohol or sugary drinks, adults must be free to make informed choices for ourselves. Moreover it’s in the interests of non-smokers to support the right to make informed choices because once we establish the principle that governments can intervene to prevent us from doing perfectly normal (albeit potentially ‘unhealthy’) things like smoking we’re on a slippery slope that will inevitably lead to further restrictions on personal choice.
Quite.

The report ends with a call for a more liberal and sensible policy, and for a properly independent assessment of the damage the ban has caused rather than the disgraceful tobacco control industry whitewashed farce that tried to pass itself off as one.

As Snowdon quite rightly observed yesterday in his article astutely entitled "10 years of lying about the smoking ban":
There is nothing to celebrate in this act of cultural vandalism. We should be having a wake. 
Indeed we should.

Do go read the Road to Ruin report in its entirety by clicking here, it is highly recommended. 



Monday, 19 June 2017

Reflections On Warsaw: Pissing On Chips Edition

I thought some here may be interested in a few thoughts on my few days away in Warsaw for the fourth Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) ... which I nearly didn't make at all thanks to a car fire on the motorway on the Wednesday afternoon.

I can faithfully report that watching kids playing football on the carriageway amongst stationary traffic when you have a plane to catch in less than an hour is a deeply depressing experience. As it happens the blockage - a car which had quite literally melted by the time it had been extinguished and dragged to the hard shoulder - was cleared just in time for me to catch the flight with minutes to spare. My gallant cabbie floored it for the rest of the way and, after jumping out at the terminal while he was still travelling (I doubt he got out of second gear), managed to sprint to the gate in time for priority boarding.

As for the conference itself, I detected an atmosphere which was subtlely different this year. In the past there has always seemed to be an undercurrent of mistrust, with industry and NGOs distancing themselves from each other and barbed comments being flung from those who were on panels being afforded the use of a microphone, but if it was there this year I certainly didn't notice it. Everyone appeared far more relaxed as if this type of conference - where both sides of the debate are welcomed without prejudice - is now becoming more normal.

David O'Reilly of BAT was represented on one of the panels and there was no theatrical gayness of a staged walk-out as in previous GFNs, while some 'public health' types even turned up to the welcome night booze up!

It was, I believe, this more enlightened and mature approach which Louise Ross may have been referring to when she offered up what was, for me, the best quote of the conference.


That's not to say there wasn't the occasional frisson of controversy. Clive Bates fired the odd searching question to panellists while the idea that cigarettes should be "phased out" advanced by one 'public health' contributor was met with a brilliantly-delivered put-down from VTTV's David Dorn. Plus, my accommodation-sharer, Fergus Mason, managed to ask the question he had travelled all the way from Germany for.


It was, predictably, dodged with Arnott referring to the whole of the TPD rather than the regulations on e-cigs - which Fergus quite obviously meant - but he tried to correct this later in the lobby by clarifying it and asking the same question again. Arnott's response was to angrily say "why don't you leave me alone?!?" and swiftly vacate the area.

However, credit where it's due, at one point during her presentation, Arnott spoke in almost derogatory terms about Simple Simon Chapman by stating that "even he" had got things wrong about vaping. This was compounded by a plenary session (everyone in the same room) which followed breaking out in laughter when US advocate Cynthia Cabrera placed the name Stanton Glantz and "scientist" in the same sentence ... it was quite revealing to look around the room and see some tobacco control types chuckling along with the rest.

Along with Irish fraud Mountain McKee, it's starting to look like - as scientific evidence piles up against dangerous prohibition of safer products - tobacco control can see the charlatans in their midst over tobacco harm reduction and kinda wish they would shut the fuck up and stop being such dicks.

On a personal level, I spoke with a few on the dark side myself and was decently-received. Had an immensely entertaining discussion with an e-cig researcher from Kent who surprisingly regaled us with tales of her rag and bone man Dad, and found myself next to Linda Bauld at one point, so asked about her recent blocking of me on Twitter when I thought we had an agreement that I like her stance on e-cigs but reserve the right to pull her up on other subjects. To be precise, it went "Oi! You blocked me!", at which she laughed and replied she'd had a bad day that day and promised to unblock, which has now happened, before having a conversation about how my business is going (very well, by the way, thanks for asking).

Oh, that reminds me. Business. Prior to the conference, there was a new departure in the ISonTech day (Thursday) focussing on innovations in harm reduction from industry. Introduced by Hon Lik who brought a replica of his original guy-in-garden-shed 'invention' with him (see below), it was largely occupied by the tobacco industry and I heard a few bemoaning the fact that e-cig businesses hadn't taken the chance to be similarly involved. I hadn't originally planned to turn up to it but Fergus wanted to go along so we did and I'm glad of it as it was very interesting.

Hon Lik's e-cig
PMI exhibited their four platforms of risk reduced products, sadly with prototype platform 2 which I want to try being hermetically-sealed in a perspex box, while BAT educated attendees about their heat not burn product Glo and JTI promoted their expansion of Ploomtech.

My personal favourite on display though was the tobacco free snus which Swedish Match quite literally brought to the table.


Named Zyn, I thought it was a great product and so was extremely happy to find in the pub later that full pods of the Citrus, Mint and Cinnamon flavours had accidentally fallen into my jacket pocket. How lucky was that for the flight home, eh?

The ISonTech part of GFN, I thought, was a brave thing for the conference organisers to arrange, but a worthwhile one. They could have been given a hard time for daring to embrace industry innovation, but hopefully that will not have happened seeing as I witnessed a few well-known 'public health' NGOs there as interested as the rest of us.

As for the rest of the trip, I met fellow jewel robbing commenter Roberto S and also occasional visitor Brian Carter from the US who said he thought I was really funny. Nice to know I'm not regarded as some kind of lifestyle issue Gardener's Weekly or something, I suppose.

All this and I still got to catch the cricket, see Old Town with some immense friends, and enjoy some beer-fuelled late nights before touching down at Heathrow, being whisked home (fortunately without incident) and crashing asleep post-nosebag like a morphine-addled Tom cat after having its knackers removed.

Next stop is Forest's Smoke on the Water boat trip tomorrow, a different crowd entirely where - to borrow a phrase - I also hope no chips will be pissed on. 



Friday, 16 June 2017

Where's Martin McKee?

In September 2015 - in the wake of Public Health England throwing their weight behind e-cigs - merchants of doubt, Martin McKee and Simon Capewell, described their stance as being a house built on sand.
So does the available evidence show clearly that e-cigarettes are as effective as established quitting aids, ask McKee and Capewell.
Unfortunately not. For example, a recent Cochrane review, widely cited in the PHE report, concluded the available evidence was of "low or very low quality" by recognised standards.
So where does this leave Martin and his commie sidekick following yesterday's news about new smoking prevalence data from the ONS.

Long story short, smoking prevalence has plummeted since e-cigs took a big hold on the UK, tending to suggest that PHE made an incredibly wise decision in the summer of 2015.


Where is the 'expert' on e-cigs, Martin McKee? He's gone very quiet of late. Seems like a giant vape-shaped cat has got his flabby, ideological, industry-phobic tongue. 
Come on Martin, let's hear you try to fraudulently talk your dogmatic way out of this one. 



Monday, 12 June 2017

The March Of Bigotry

Back in December 2015, The Soviet Republic of Brighton Council dropped plans to ban smoking outdoors on beaches and in parks due to the fact that responses to a public consultation told them to stop being a bunch of puritanical knob-gobblers and go do something worthwhile instead.

They didn't.

 Via The Brighton Argus:
CAFES, restaurants and pubs with outside eating areas will be asked to consider introducing a voluntary smoking ban.
Hopefully, those with outside areas will consider the idea, then politely tell Brighton Council to fuck off.
It follows a consultation run by the council in 2015 asking people for their views about smoking in public spaces outside. 
The majority of all those who responded agreed it was anti-social to smoke where people are eating and drinking.
They may well have done, but it's not any of the council's business until they waive business rates for such venues, buy the stock, maintain the premises, pay the staff, and make investments in things such as - oh I dunno - outdoor smoking areas.

You see, if it was advantageous for cafes, restaurants and pubs to ban smoking in their outdoor areas, they would have done so by now. If, at some time in the future, it becomes advantageous to these businesses to ban smoking outdoors, they will do so. The very last people who should have any input into such a position is a local authority.

Customers vote with their feet, not by responding to public consultations. And, apart from some guy in Leeds who runs a children's playgroup which just happens to sell alcohol, pubs especially know very well that it's not a good idea to turn away 40-50% of your regular customers on the basis of some fantasy bollocks about smoking outdoors being dangerous to others ... which it is not, and will never be.

Besides, there are many things that are anti-social in pub, cafe and restaurant gardens, and the most anti-social of all is screaming bloody kids! If mere irritation is the criteria for a council to come wading in with its size 12s then a ban on kids, I think many would agree, should be top of the target list.
Twelve businesses, including cafés, restaurants and pubs from the North Laine, Brighton Marina and city park areas, were interviewed by officials about the scheme. 
Ten said they supported the concept of the scheme, although two had concerns about potentially losing loyal customers. 
The other businesses did not support the idea, saying smokers were generally conscious of smoking around children.
If I ran one of the businesses which being interviewed I'd be quietly licking my lips, and mentally counting the extra till receipts, at the prospect of others in my industry falling for this kind of virtue-signalling crap; it's not often your competitors voluntarily throw their loyal customers in your direction after all.
David Sewell, who runs Brighton’s Pavilion Gardens café, said: “I’ve never smoked in my life but you have to be aware of what customers want. 
“If there was a blanket ban enforced it would be a lot easier."
Ah, the old level playing field, eh? Of course it would, but it's not illegal and there is no health issue. So it's clear from the fact that businesses allow smoking in their outdoor areas that it is financially profitable for them to do so. And as there is no chance of a mandatory ban, only a voluntary one, let's hope the council gets told to take a long walk off the end of that not so long pier of theirs.

As a side note, isn't it curious that these issues only crop up in the summer when anti-smokers start grumbling about smokers enjoying their habit outdoors? When was the last time you heard one of the fake-coughing, exaggerated hand-waving types complaining that their enjoyment of the icy December air is being polluted by smokers who are stuck out there all year round? You have to be one grotesque human being to object to smokers enjoying one of very few places left for them to smoke, yet check the comments and you will see many having the chutzpah to call smokers "inconsiderate" for not respecting that the world revolves around effete, lily-livered, intolerant, bigoted bedwetters whose life comes crashing down if they have to change seat when they get a whiff of a few wisps of smoke.

If they don't want to be inconvenienced by smoke, they have the inside of every pub, cafe and restaurant in the country to choose from. Perhaps they should get back inside to an atmosphere which ensures that they never have to wash their hair or clothes again, and leave the outdoors in summer to people who have learned the admirable skill of living and letting live.

And, if you are a Brighton resident, congratulations for living in a town where this kind of irrelevant bullying is all your councillors have to contend with. It must be an idyllic place



Monday, 5 June 2017

Everything Changes But ASH

There was a bit of a blast from the past on Twitter today when ASH Wales tweeted this.


"Story" is the operative word here, because - as we have come to expect from tobacco control - it linked to a document containing a succession of fake facts like this, for example.
Some of the industry’s claims, and the facts, used in the campaign include: 
- Standardised packaging (in Australia) has led to an increase in youth smoking 
Data from Australia has been misquoted by the tobacco industry in attempts to substantiate this claim. The data used does not include enough under 18s for the figures to be reliable.
As I have explained before, this is rot. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) did, in fact, describe the data as "considered sufficiently reliable for most purposes".

Still, that's nothing compared with this huge whopper about the cost of tobacco displays
- Shutters to put tobacco out of sight will cost small retailers thousands of pounds 
This is simply untrue and cost-effective covers can be bought for as little as £120.
You'll notice that the link to an ASH London page is a dead one, which is probably for the best because the claim that shutters would only cost £120 is a downright lie which was uncovered by FOI requests in 2009. I wrote about it at the time, as did Chris Snowdon; you can read about how ASH deliberately and grubbily misled politicians in parliament by reading his report, The Dark Market (highly recommended), see the document Lord Darzi used to mislead MPs here, and the email where Debs Arnott was told explicitly that she was misleading legislators here.

Yet here we are eight years later and ASH Wales are still repeating this lie! Shameless stuff.

As it happens, at the time retailer groups told the Evening Standard that a gantry would actually cost around £1,500, and what did it turn out to be? Well, once shops were forced to comply, here was the deal being offered by the National Federation of Retail Newsagents.


Just the fact that the NFRN were offering credit terms to small newsagents should tell you that the £120 figure quoted by ASH - and tweeted again today by their fellow tax-leeching Welsh colleagues - was never even remote true, and they damn well know it.

As a curiosity, the dead link which ASH Wales's reiteration of the £120 fabrication once took you to was an ASH PDF which is still available on the Wayback Machine. The source for ASH wales's £120 is therefore an ASH APPG briefing and was put forward by a retailer from the North East called John McClurey.
During the debate over legislation to end retail displays of cigarettes, I remember seeing lobbying claims from trade bodies claiming that the legislation could cost retailers over £10,000. I’ve just worked out the bill for the curtains I will need to put over my gantry for cigarettes – it comes to only £120.
Isn't it uncanny that he "just worked out the bill" and it came to the exact same false and fraudulent figure that ASH had deceived MPs with, eh?

But then I've written about John McClurey before too. He is the only retailer in the entire country that ASH can find who despises smokers enough to agree with their hideous bullying of tobacconists, hence why they use him for absolutely everything.

In fact, he even turned up today in ASH's timeline too, again bemoaning the fact he has to sell those pesky fags that he makes profit from.
The truth is that selling tobacco for me is a burden not a benefit and one I wish I didn’t have to shoulder. I have to tie up lots of money in stock — money which I could spend more usefully elsewhere, and space which I could put to better use.
Well stop selling them John, you melt, no-one is forcing you! But then, do you think that - just as with the £120 lie he faithfully parroted back in 2009 - someone was putting words in his mouth or, more likely, writing the article for the dozy twat?
I hope the incoming government will continue to prioritise working towards a smokefree future and publish a new strategy to achieve this without delay.
Is this the same 'strategy' that ASH have been screaming about since last summer, by any chance? I think it might be you know.

People say that life moves on and everything changes over time, but perhaps not in the ASH echo chamber. Just as they are still trying to lumber e-cigs with medical registration like they were back in 2010, they are also still using the same useful idiot as they were in 2009 - who is still selling tobacco 8 years on, by the way - to try to pretend that their policies don't hurt newsagents, and are still regurgitating the same £120 gantry lie which was an abuse of the parliamentary process back 8 years ago and has been proven comprehensively to be false in the meantime.

It's astonishing that government is still willing to lavishly fund, with our taxes, such a comprehensively dishonest bunch of self-serving charlatans. 



Friday, 2 June 2017

Rubber Bands For New Zealand Please

The problem with tobacco control is that it is a Goliath industry with very few big ticket items for it to go for any more, but it is still drowning in taxpayer cash.

Once a nation has advertising bans, display bans, smoking bans, graphic warnings and even pointless plain packaging, what else is there for their tobacco controllers to do with their huge salaries? Being greedy bastards, they don't make redundancies and scale back their operation - they're for too dishonest for that - but instead they flail around trying to find something, anything, to do.

Take New Zealand for example. Following a spate of violent robberies and assaults on retailers due to sky high tobacco prices (caused by bored tobacco controllers demanding them), some of the country's tobacco control glitterati came out with this hilarious piece of 'research'.
We undertook a qualitative research study, which involved in-depth interviews with 25 smokefree experts throughout New Zealand, to explore their views about the importance of reducing tobacco retail supply 
Results 
Participants believed tobacco retailer licensing was an important short-term step towards the 2025 goal. In the long-term, participants envisaged tobacco only being available at a small number of specialised outlets, either pharmacies or adult-only stores.
So let's get this straight. They questioned 25 professional anti-smoking fanatics and asked them what they thought about how tobacco is sold in New Zealand, and they all said that it should be sold in fewer places?

Someone get on the line to the Nobel Prize Committee pronto!

What's more, it's incredible that their answer to retailers who are suffering badly because of tobacco control policies is to deprive them of much of their livelihoods instead. Do you have to pass a how-to-be-a-cunt course to be a tobacco controller or does it just occur in them naturally?

Look, politicians, it's quite clear these are overpaid and woefully underworked people, and that there are some quite disgusting human beings amongst them into the bargain. It's high time their funding was cut to the bone instead of seeing taxes wasted on such utter garbage. Or, if you really must spunk the public's money down the drain, at least give the tedious Misery McFucks a few rubber bands to flick around the office to distract them from coming up with laughable and damaging 'research' such as this, which is about as much benefit to public welfare as a jar of verrucas. 



Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Mark Of Stupidity

When the debate around plain packaging was raging in 2012/13, there was one thing that was conspicuous in its absence; that being that there was no evidence whatsoever that it would work.

You may remember anti-smoking tax spongers telling us that they'd found out kids don't like ugly things, which is true but has nothing to do with whether they'll take up smoking or not at some point. They also said that smokers had said an ugly packet might make them ring a quitline, but not whether they would actually quit smoking.

The test case was always going to be Australia and - as I mentioned just the other day - it's been shown not to be working there just as it appears now not to be having any effect on smokers or retail sales in this country either.

Sadly for the anti-smoking cult, it just got worse Down Under. You see, new figures for Australia came out yesterday and, instead of trumpeting the huge success of plain packaging on World No Tobacco Day, the Aussie establishment chose to release them quietly without fanfare.

Hardly surprising considering the figures merely signal yet more disappointing failure.
12.2% of people aged 14 or over were daily smokers in 2016. While smoking rates have been on a long-term downward trend, for the first time in over two decades, the daily smoking rate did not significantly decline over the most recent 3 year period (2013 to 2016).
Oh dear. This graph from Sinclair Davidson of RMIT University makes it pretty clear that not only has plain packaging made no difference, if anything the decline in smoking has slowed since its implementation in December 2012 even in conjunction with three huge tax rises to try to chivvy it along.

Click to enlarge

Yet still you will hear tobacco controllers clucking away that plain packs has been a runaway success in Australia, despite there being not a shred of credible evidence in its favour.

It is increasingly the case that if you hear anyone saying "oh but plain packaging worked in Australia", their words can be taken as a mark of their stupidity.



Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Congratulating The Fox For Killing The Livestock

Today is World No Tobacco Day and to mark the occasion the Brussels-based Smoke Free Partnership - whose members include ASH and Cancer Research UK - held a lunchtime event at the EU parliament. 

The keynote speaker was Vytenis Andriukaitis, the Lithuanian Health Commissioner. If you are a vaper, you may be staggered as to what he said. Here is an edited excerpt of the speech which you can read here
How can we 'ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages' – our worldwide sustainable development goal for 2030 – without reducing smoking?  
How can we reach the specific target of "reducing by one third deaths linked to chronic diseases" without reducing one of the main causes of such diseases – smoking? 
And finally, how can we succeed in achieving "no poverty" or "zero hunger" – other related goals – without reducing the harm that tobacco causes? 
The answer is: We can't!
And to whom did he address this heart-rending rhetoric?
I am talking here about the revised Tobacco Products Directive that Linda and I negotiated: Linda as the rapporteur at the time and myself as the Health Minister of the country holding the EU Presidency. 
And I would like to thank once more Linda - and also the Smoke Free Partnership - for their tireless work and commitment to this cause.
The Linda in question is Linda McAvan, Labour MEP and the woman who stubbornly drove through the disgraceful regulations on e-cigs which have hampered take-up of the devices in this country and - in some cases - led to draconian measures in other EU member states which amount to a de facto ban. 

E-cigs are proving to be a huge success in tempting smokers away from tobacco - which Andriukaitis seems to want very much, they have already led to more people quitting smoking than the entire TPD Impact Assessment hoped would occur. Yet today he was congratulating McAvan, a person who did everything in her power to have e-cigs eradicated from the EU, and thereby whose actions have protected the tobacco trade more than any other individual in the whole of Europe. 

This is like a farmer watching his chickens get slaughtered then giving an award to the fox that did it. You simply couldn't make such cretinous ignorance up!

Interestingly, Andriukaitis had very little to say at all about e-cigs specifically, just this one-liner. 
And of course we need to consider carefully how to address eCigarettes or novel tobacco products.
"Consider carefully"? Isn't that something that should have been done when the directive was being drawn up, not now four years later when you've dumped a whole load of fuckwitted arsebiscuitry on an entire continent. 

His brief and evasive mention of e-cigs also suggests - as the evidence piles up as to plummeting smoking rates due to vaping - that they're just a little bit ashamed of themselves, don't you think?

The EU seems to be packed with low-grade, low-intellect, broomsticks-in-suits like Andriukaitis; thick as a whale sandwich yet handed power over half a billion people. Roll on March 29th 2019.



Tuesday, 30 May 2017

An Object Lesson In Snobbery

A couple of repulsive snobs have been whining in The Times about the government's obesity strategy. It is probably the most draconian in the world, but that's still not enough for these two interfering weasels.
Theresa May dropped crucial features of the childhood obesity strategy because she does not have children, a leading female restaurateur has suggested. 
Thomasina Miers, 41, claimed that if the prime minister had had children she would not have allowed measures such as banning junk food advertising and preventing supermarkets pushing sugary foods at children to be dropped.
Rudely bringing May's childless status into the debate has led to condemnation from some quarters, but this is far more offensive in your host's humble opinion.
“Part of me felt that if you had had children you would not have done that, because it is so important that our children eat [healthy food],” she told an audience at the Hay Festival.
Erm, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from feeding your children healthy food, Thomasina. Oh, but you don't mean your children, do you? You mean other people's children, isn't that right you meddling fuck?

Here's a plan, Thomasina, why don't you look after your children, and we will look after ours. OK?


She's not alone in being a tedious, pinch-lipped prodnose though, there's this rancid curtain-twitcher as well.
Rosie Boycott, who works with various food organisations and advised Boris Johnson on food strategy when he was mayor of London, said that the prime minister appeared to have “kicked out the bits about children”. 
Ms Boycott added: “She [Mrs May] would say that she doesn’t want to be part of the Nanny State but I think that if you can’t be a nanny to your children . . . It should be the same as saying ‘do not run across the road.’ ”
Rosie, Rosie, Rosie. You can be a nanny to your children as much as you like, there is no law against it. But when you say "our children" you're being an intrusive snooper just like Thomasina, aren't you?

Rosie, you nanny your children, and leave the decision whether we want to nanny ours up to us, eh? When you start providing for my kids' food and paying for their upbringing you can decide how they live. Until then, have a Coke and a smile and go fuck yourself.

The double act ended on a flourish as the piece came back to Thomasina adding some stunning ignorance to her obnoxious prying into the lives of others.
Ms Miers said that while she did not believe in “big government” she thought it “has got to have more balls” adding: “I feel that this stranglehold that the big supermarkets have on our food system is not helping. People have to have access to fresh fruit and vegetables; it is mad that they don’t.
Have you ever seen a supermarket which isn't packed to the gunwales with fresh fruit and veg? Where does this preposterous woman shop? Venezuela?

It is astonishing that these vacuous pecksniffs believe they have the right to dictate how others live their lives, but it beggars belief that governments tend to indulge their vile snobbery. The only problem this Times article highlights is the one of legions of people like Thomasina and Rosie poking their unwanted noses into everyone else's business.

Far from being condemned, Theresa may should be congratulated for not caving in to shrill, pompous, loathsome shitehawks such as these two. 



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.
Indeed.

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!