I’ve generally had little to say about the PHE V Lancet fracas – others have done far better than I could, eg:
But is it not delicious to see the Zealots bashing each other? It would be even more fun if we knew who wrote the editorial in the Lancet. Or could it be that people like Glantz and Chapman put the Lancet up to it? Someone must have. Why would a press release have been issued otherwise? And why would the Telegraph and the Mail make such a big splash about it, even to the extent of (deliberately) distorting what the editorial said? Let’s face it, the editorial did not say that PHE was wrong in what it said about the 95% probability of less harm. All it did was cast doubts upon the honesty of the writers of the PHE document. Would it not be even more delicious if the authors sued the Lancet for libel? They certainly could do.
It’s amusing to think what might have gone on. After all, the WHO has condemned ecigs. How dare PHE step out of line?
I think that there is something weird about the whole thing. Dame Silly Sally, Chief Medical Officer, was less than enthusiastic when she commented. She sort of said, “Well, there is a possibility that shooting blanks at a person is somewhat safer than shooting real bullets, but there’s no certainty of that. It is still possible that the heat from the blast of the blank might cause serious, long term damage, and there are some uncertainties about the smell of the cordite, which could be inhaled. People really ought to take medical advice before indulging in gang warfare with blanks”.
You might say that Silly Sally has given the game away. This is a power struggle.
The question is, who are the contenders?
It is hard not to believe, based upon what Silly Sally said, that the Health Dept is not involved. But whose side is it on? Let’s think….
The Corrupt Elite want to gain effective ownership of ecigs via regulation for their own benefit. To do so, they cannot go on condemning ecigs as dangerous. They must accept, and even promote, ecigs as not only safer than tobacco cigs, but also much, much safer. They cannot have it both ways – condemn them as dangerous and at the same time promote them for profit. Something has to give.
There are all sorts of possible permutations. I read somewhere that Big Tobacco has big shareholdings in certain Big Pharma companies. I wonder if Big Pharma companies have shareholdings in Big Tobacco companies? What is to stop both of those entities having shareholdings in a third, or fourth, or fifth company which holds shares for both entities in common? Who knows? The ecig market, which is potentially enormous, could be carved up.
But, first, ecigs have to be accepted, which means that the stigma of tobacco must be removed. Which means that ‘the gateway affect’ must be downgraded. But must the idea that ecigs are a ‘tobacco product’ also be downgraded? Not necessarily, provided that such nomenclature assists the gaining of ownership of ecigs.
What is clear is that there is big, big, big money at stake. Ecigs are already a huge, international phenomenon.
So how come the Lancet has thrown a spanner in the works? Is it a case of two tribes – the True Zealots, who cannot stand the idea of anyone enjoying nicotine, versus the Pragmatists? In either case, it has little to do with health.
There is something very shifty about how tobacco control is financed. For example, the world bank apparently will not permit credit to nations if it is to be used to support tobacco plant farming. I’m not sure if that includes any sort of blackmail to get nations to stop farming tobacco plants. It might. But who pays the salaries and expenses of world bank employees? Who is paying for tobacco control in the world bank? I don’t know how the operations of the world bank are financed, or indeed what it does, so I’ve just looked it up on Wikipedia. I came across this:
The first country to receive a World Bank loan was France. The Bank’s president at the time,John McCloy, chose France over two other applicants, Poland and Chile. The loan was for US$250 million, half the amount requested, and it came with strict conditions. France had to agree to produce a balanced budget and give priority of debt repayment to the World Bank over other governments. World Bank staff closely monitored the use of the funds to ensure that the French government met the conditions. In addition, before the loan was approved, the United States State Department told the French government that its members associated with the Communist Party would first have to be removed. The French government complied with this diktat and removed the Communist coalition government. Within hours, the loan to France was approved.
On reading further, the world bank is very much involved in climate change. How? The article does not say, except that it ‘encourages’ an end to deforestation. I suppose that it does that in much the same way that France was told to get rid of communists – blackmail. There is no mention in the article of tobacco control, but ‘the millennium goals’ of the UN is mentioned, and we know that tobacco control was a big part of the millennium goals. Apparently, the USA is solidly in control of the world bank because it is the biggest contributor by far. So it looks as if the American taxpayer finances the world bank while private interests, in the form of banks, reap the profits.
To what extent do university students finance tobacco control’s tame professors and doctors? Again, it is not possible to know. But if students do not pay the salaries of tobacco control professors and doctors, who does?
And what about hospital consultants? Who pays their salaries when the spend their time shouting about smoking? Clearly, it is the taxpayer. And then there are the local councillors and MPs, the smoking cessation services, TV advertising, jollies in far away countries, meetings of ministers and administrators, lawyers, civil servants, health dept staff, etc, etc. It is clear that most of the costs are borne by the taxpayer in the first place, but it also seems to be true that consumers of all sorts of goods and services, including ‘children’, are being ripped off to the extent of many a pretty penny.
What is most odd about this situation is that no quantifiable ‘profits’ from these costs ensue, other than to Big Pharma and various parasites. There are certainly no ‘profits’ to taxpayers, ‘children’, students and consumers generally. They suffer the costs while tobacco control takes the ‘profits’.
What I cannot understand is that politicians just cannot see it, or perhaps they simply do not want to, or perhaps they do, but are frightened to say so. Isn’t it amusing that all those non-smoking commenters on articles in newspapers, who rail against tobacco, do not realise that they are paying for the propaganda just as much a smokers! It is said that tobacco taxes pay for tobacco damage to health, but that is not true. The money goes into a big pot, just like alcohol taxes and petrol taxes, income tax, VAT, etc. The origin of these taxes has nothing to do with health – more to do with wars and what was considered to be ‘luxuries’. The ‘war on tobacco’ has been just a convenient excuse to raise taxes on certain individuals disproportionately. I am sure that a good case could be made for a similar levy on entrance fees to football matches and similar. They too could be dangerous. Has anyone counted the number of heart attacks brought on by watching football (as compared with those who do not watch football)? I’ll be that the ‘relative risk’ is sky-high. And what about jogging? What is the relative risk for joggers as compared with non-joggers? Do people with gardens suffer blood poisoning from being scratched by a rose thorn more than do people without gardens? GARDENS SHOULD BE BANNED!
So it is relatively (!) easy to show that Doll’s Doctors Study, despite its size, showed no more than a mere correlation. SOME heavy smokers should not have smoked because they had a weakness in their immune system. Anything could have triggered their health problems at any time, of which smoking could have been one.
Relative risks are a fraud, if they are used to justify legislation. For example, suppose the following:
Compare 10,000 smokers with 10,000 non-smokers. Suppose that only 1 non-smoker gets lung cancer and 10 smokers get lung cancer. What is the relative risk? It is that smokers are ten times more likely to get lung cancer, as compared with non-smokers. The total numbers do not matter. It would make no difference to relative risk if there were only 100 in each cohort – the RR would be the same. Thus, the RR is not important if the number of cases of LC is tiny. And, it does not matter if you repeat the same study in different countries. Discovering a big RR, where the absolute risk is tiny, does not mean that drastic measures must be taken to reduce that RR (by banning smoking in public places, for example).
Such things are obvious to anyone who can think just a little. You do not devastate your garden just because you have been scratched by a rose bush and the scratch has gone septic – just in case you get scratched again, and it may just possibly kill you. You just do not do such things. If you trip over a pebble, you do not blame the pebble.
Blaming the pebble, and thus taking steps to remove all pebbles from the streets, costs loads of money. Someone has to pay, and it will not be the person who tripped over the pebble or the person who decides that all pebbles must be removed from the streets.
There lies the problem, and that is where propaganda comes into its own. Tiny problems can be blown up out of all proportion merely by words. Vast costs can be levied upon the people, a little each, and vast ‘profits’ can be acquired by a few people.
What a shower of shit our Government is!!!
Dick Puddlecote has recommended various responses to the UK Health Dept consultation even though he, and all of us, know full well that the consultation is a charade. It is an invitation for those involved in creating the directive to add more to it. It is issued by public health for public health. No one else matters. It is like king Henry VIII calling for someone to rid him of ‘that troublesome priest’ and then finding, shortly afterwards, that someone has indeed rid him of ‘that troublesome priest’. In the case of the TPD, the ‘troublesome priest’ is the ecig industry. You can read the questions that have been put in the consultation here:
Dick P recommends answers. Personally, I may or may not respond. If I do respond, my response will almost certainly be threatening. I like that idea. I like the idea of putting Public Health England on notice that the lies and misinformation render them open to mega, class action lawsuits, both as a group and as individuals, if they bugger up the ecig industry. For example, an individual might begin an action demanding that a stay in implementation of the directive must be put in place until Vapers themselves, and only Vapers, have been consulted about the affects upon them of the directive. That is not as unreasonable as one might think. After all, the EU Treaties are just temporary agreements – they have no force of law whatever. I have read that Germany has suspended the Schengen agreement (which permits free movement throughout Europe). If Germany can do that, then there is no reason that the UK should not ‘suspend’ the TPD in advance. Cameron might stand up in Parliament and says, “Since the TPD discussions commenced, ten years ago, major changes have occurred. It is clear that the directive is way out of date in many respects. For example, the, possibly dangerous ecigs envisaged by the directive no longer exist. Further, plain packaging in Australia has shown that gruesome pictures on cig packets have no effect. In fact, they might have the opposite effect than what was intended in a psychological sense. That is, once a person has seen a ‘black lung’ pic n times, he ceases to be afraid of ‘black lung’. It becomes just a picture and has no more effect than a picture of a devil or a ‘No Smoking’ sign”. Erm… A bit too much to expect since Cameron and his ilk care nothing whatsoever about individuals. They are only concerned about very big groups, like Tory Voters.
[As an aside, what I like about ‘No Smoking’ signs is that the “No” very quickly disappears from your consciousness, and all you see is the word ‘Smoking’, which is ubiquitous advertising of smoking. In fact, all you see is the red circle and the crossed out cig. It reminds you that you would like a cig. Funnily enough, that does not work on aircraft. Perhaps it is the absence of red circles and the blandness. No wonder youths are taking up smoking with abandon]
What I think is true is that the Zealots are reaping the rewards of their own evangelism. They have exaggerated so much that no one believes their original premise that smoking MAY be bad for specific individuals, and that there MAY be many individuals who are at risk, and that it MAY be better for people to decide not to enjoy tobacco in the smoking form. Had it not been for the anti-tobacco zealotry, many people might have taken up snus and chewing tobacco years and years ago, to say nothing about ecigs.
So maybe I’ll take a look at this consultation and amuse myself if I have time. Perhaps I’ll paint word pictures of the horrors which will ensue from the directive. It could be fun. But a part of me suggests that it is a total waste of time. A part of me tells me that there is only one avenue which is available to an individual, which is to write a genuine letter to your MP. I think that such a letter is the ONLY avenue that you can be sure that your MP actually sees your letter him/herself. Even that is not assured. I would expect that Cameron gets loads of letter. How could he possibly have time to read them? He cannot. But it is possible that he will read letters from his own constituents. I have a feeling that one could write to one’s MP and say, “I would be grateful if X [the MP] would acknowledge that he/she has read my letter personally. If not, please return the letter to me. I have enclosed an SAE should that eventuality occur”.
Somehow or other, MPs must be reminded that they are not elected to please themselves and support dictatorship. In fact, they are elected precisely for the opposite reason. As regards the EU, their duty is to oppose totalitarianism.
Why is it taking so long for individual MPs to realise that EU directives are outside democracy? That party affiliations have no meaning in those respects. That party whips have no bearing on such matters. It is the ‘People’s Representatives’ Versus the EU Bureaucracy. Ministers are outside the equation because of their ignorance – witness Milton’s claim that treaties are ‘legally binding’, and Soubry’s claim that ecigs had been dropped from the TPD. Allison has not yet dropped a clanger, but she will. She will because she has a girlish enthusiasm. I suppose that she has a ‘crush’ on the handsome face of the tobacco control hero. There again, her crush might be on her own advancement. But she will be discarded when tobacco control says that she should be discarded. Perhaps that is why she has to try harder and harder.
I opine that this directive is dangerous. The danger has not much to do with the actual provisions. It has more to do with the implications of elected representative powerlessness in the face of relentless bureaucracy, both in the EU and at home. Even the Prime Minister sucks.
I do not mean the destructive wish. We all know what that is: It is the destruction of tobacco companies, pure and simple. Any excuse which furthers that determination, whether it be true or not, is legitimate. We know that.
But ‘What does tobacco control want?’ is a legitimate question in a positive sense. “To stop people being killed by tobacco companies” is not an answer, for it is negative, and, in any case, if tobacco companies had killed even one person, the executives and shareholders of those companies would be in jail. No one has ever been killed by tobacco smoke. Tobacco smoke is not a bomb which explodes and kills whoever is to hand. Nor is it a virus or bacterium. Nor is it a poison which exists at a toxic level – there is no record of an accumulation of tobacco smoke in the human body similar to arsenic in the hair. In an case, there is no proof whatsoever that any accumulation of stuff would be sufficient to kill within a human lifespan.
So what does tobacco control want?
Suppose that tobacco control succeeded in bullying all smokers, as a result of bans, fines, imprisonment and a few public hangings, drawings and quarterings ‘pour encourage les autres’, into not enjoying tobacco at all. Of what benefit to mankind as a whole would that be? Would it be a benefit that a person would live in perfect health to see his great, great grandchildren? Would that be a benefit? But would such a person, who never smoked or came into contact with tobacco smoke (but other smoke is OK), actually be in perfect health at, say, the age of 120? Well, Yes, he could be. He might have no ‘disease’ in the sense that his heart, kidneys, brain, bladder, etc, are still working in the sense that his body is still ‘alive’. That result would seem to satisfy tobacco control’s objective – that person would be ‘in perfect health’. The fact that he was an incontinent, paraplegic vegetable would not be considered to be contrary to the claim of ‘perfect health’ since none of those things are bodily ‘diseases’. Mental illness is not ‘a disease’; inability to move is not ‘a disease’; loss of control of the bladder is not ‘a disease’. Such a person would be in ‘perfect health’.
But even then, why should tobacco control have ‘perfect health’ as its objective? Stephen Hawking could be described as ‘in perfect health’, I suppose, despite his infirmities, because he is still alive and does not smoke. If he smoked, he would not be in perfect health, by definition. But why should tobacco control have some sort of ownership of Stephen Hawking? Why should it decide upon his longevity by promoting that he should be jailed if he does not comply with smoking bans?
“Mr Hawking”, says the Judge, “You have been caught smoking in ‘a public place’ for the third time. Because of your eminence, I must take into consideration the bad example that you are giving to children. Also, I must take into consideration your perfect health. You will be imprisoned for a minimum term of thirty years without possibility of parole. Take him down”.
So let’s go back a century or so.
You might consider drunkenness to be a reasonable reason for the Prohibitionists to want alcohol banned. I suppose that it might have been true that some husbands got their wages, went to the local saloon and spent the lot on booze, and then went home and beat their wife and kids. At least that argument made some sense. But what was the sense of tobacco prohibition around the same time? It makes no sense, other than puritanism. I can sort of understand it. “For all we are about to receive, may The Lord make us truly thankful”. That is, the money that you earn must only be spent upon worthy things, and not upon waste, such as tobacco.
Many States had tobacco prohibition into the 1930s before the bans were lifted. In Germany, anti-tobacco was very active, as we know, in the 1930s. In the 1930s, people like Doll were going to Germany for discussions about tobacco harm. I have no doubt, in my mind, that the Hospital Study of Doll was planned long before it took place. It took place around 1950, and was a short study. But it was planned around 1947, shortly after the end of the war. I have no doubt in my own mind, that certain eugenicists, of which Doll was one, supported as he was by Rockefeller, or some such, took it upon themselves to further the eugenicist agenda – once the war ended. In fact, the conditions post war were perfect for their plans.
The above is not just ramblings. For I ask again, “What does tobacco control want?”
For the last three centuries or so, Christian missionaries have ventured all over the world spreading the gospel. What did they want? If they were true to the gospel, they would want to spread the word that humility, contentment and forgiveness were the key to happiness in this world, but, above all, thank God that you exist. For the collection of atoms in your body and brain are just like those in trees and cabbages. Your body and brain are THINGS. They are not YOU.
So what does tobacco control want?
There can only be one answer, which is to gain control of YOU. To enslave YOU. If you accept the terms of the slavery, you will be immortal until you peg out. Your health will be perfect until you peg out.
But we still do not know what tobacco control want! In a football match, both teams want certain things:
- To beat the opposite team.
- Not to be beaten by the opposite team.
- Accept a draw if necessary.
Tobacco control has no such sporting hopes. What it has done is disabled the opposition (baccy companies) in every way other than making money.
I suspect that tobacco control is a sort of bacterial infection – it does not know what it wants. It just wants to continue to exist.
It has no perceivable outcome.
When we talk about “The Government”, whether we intend to or not, we refer to the whole apparatus. The political party which won the last general election is not “The Government”, although it is part of it. Or rather, it is those politicians in the winning party who become ministers who are part of it. But the ministers are only the top of a volcano. What spews out of the volcano comes from far below the crater. Have we not seen countless examples in recent decades? A couple of examples:
Around 2005: Conservative party: “We have no plans to introduce smoking bans”.
2015: Conservative/Liberal government introduce ban on smoking in cars with kids present and PP.
2010: Con/Lib administration: “There will be a bonfire of the quangos”.
2015: Bigger and more powerful quangos in place.
Even so, it tends to be the case that politicians do keep some control over what is put to Parliament in the UK Parliament. I suppose that centuries of tradition help. But what has happened in the Welsh assembly and the Scottish Parliament? The proposed ecig ban in public places, now nearly before the Welsh assembly is silly enough (especially in the light of the PHE statement), but what about the new thing in Scotland? What about the new proposal to stop anyone under the age of 25 from buying cigs, and, the requirement for those people to produce proof of age?
I have no doubt that those proposals have come from deep inside crazy world of the Scottish health dept. Any decent Scottish Cabinet would be instituting an investigation into how employees have the time to waste on such things, and demanding a reduction in senior staffing levels. I mean, how did such an idea ever get to the publicity stage, never mind a serious intention to legislate that under 25s are immature children, unable to decide for themselves whether to enjoy tobacco or not.
Clearly, tobacco control zealots in the Scottish administration think that they have everything sewn up, and perhaps they have, but one might ask how this reflects upon the maturity of the Scottish parliamentary system. How does the Scottish health secretary defend such idiocy in cabinet?
It seems to me that we have arrived at a point where the dog must get control of its tail. That is, the Scottish Government cabinet must do a root and branch purge of its departments. It isn’t difficult. All that is needed is to replace the Zealots who occupy the top positions in ‘preventative health’ with sensible people – people who see that bullying is not acceptable in government and will persuade no one.
Obesity? Bullying food companies will have no effect whatsoever because people eat only what they enjoy. I remember a local restaurant going ‘saltfree’. It dishes were cooked with minimum salt. I remember eating there once. The dishes tasted bland, and sprinkling salt on the surface merely made the dishes taste salty. It was a terrible decision because adding salt in the cooking affected the whole dish and made it tasty. That is not the same as sprinkling salt on the surface. I am no cook, but I would doubt that you could get salt inside a chicken that you intend to roast. Therefore, diners need to sprinkle salt onto the roasted chicken on their plate. It was not many months before that restaurant abandoned that policy. Clearly, the attack upon food companies by quangos is misplaced. I guess that the ‘success’ of the tobacco control template is the driving force. What these people do not seem to grasp is that ‘the template’ has been an unmitigated failure.
Because a ten-fold (?) increase in tobacco taxes has not even stopped the poorest of people from smoking. Why should it stop better-off folk if it cannot stop the poorest folk? The reason that the better-off stopped smoking was because their wealth gave them access to many other sources of pleasure, and because smoking became unfashionable in their circles. Note the word UNFASHIONABLE.
Why did smoking become unfashionable? I suppose that that question is as difficult to answer as would be the question, “Why did smoking become fashionable?” Could it be that the stress of wars caused an increase in smoking (it is statistically true that huge peaks occurred in the take up of smoking in WW1 and WW2), and thus drove smoking to become desirable as a stress reducer and general societal lubricant? I think so, because, twenty years ago (if not less) it was considered to be a friendly overture to offer a person, even a stranger, a cigarette. At the same time, in pubs and clubs, it was considered to be a friendly gesture to offer to buy a person a drink. “What’s your poison?” “Oh, thanks, I’ll have a pint – and thanks very much”. Gestures which turned acquaintance into friendship. Is there any modern equivalent? I suppose showing someone the pics on your mobile could be equivalent – Eh??? Erm… I think not. In fact, it would be the opposite. “Goodbye, and thanks for showing me your pics”. There seems to be no equivalent, which may be why the pubs are empty. The same applies to tipping. Not an awful long time ago, I would buy a pint, and if the cost was, say, £1.40, I would offer £1.50 and say, “Keep the change”. Depending upon the circumstances, I might buy something costing £1.50, offer £2 and say, “Keep the change”. I no longer do so.
I no longer do so because the free interchange of service by bar staff, along with a welcome and an ‘ease’ no longer apply. The ‘ease’ has gone. Transactions are forced interchanges. “We have a discount card. Would you like a card which entitles you to 10% discount?” “Erm.. No thanks. I already have 500 discount cards. Tell you what. If I no longer tip, I’ll save even more money than the discount card”. I have an arrangement in my favourite bar in Magalluf. Whatever the cost of my total lunch and drinks is, I round it up to the next euro. Sometimes I ‘win’, if the round-up is low, and sometimes I ‘lose’, if the round-up is high. But what does it matter, because the owner gives me a free pint from time to time! “On me”, he says. When did your local in England give you a free pint because you are a regular? Thus has the ‘ease’ disappeared. The smoking ban introduced ‘dis-ease’, and it is from that that many of our societal troubles have emanated. The common meeting places of old, middle and young, and the balances produced by the interchange of behaviours and ideas due to those meetings have been destroyed.
“All the lonely people,
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people,
Where do they all belong?”
Via the smoking ban, Public Health has created loneliness on a massive scale. Loneliness is a killer, far worse than smoking. Smoking, drinking and socialising are life-giving. They uplift the spirit.
Perhaps the modern day fear of the idea of anything spiritual is akin to Roman rule in Palestine around 1 AD. “Give unto Caesar…” It seems odd that the Christian churches have given up. They made terrible errors of which ‘mens sana in corpore sana’ (‘a healthy mind in a healthy body’) was one. Another was ….. damn it, it has slipped my mind. And yet ‘spiritual’ exists.
Oh dear, one is going into vague places.
But is it not true that the Scottish Government, despite its youth, has become an old nanny? It is smacking its kiddies rather than rewarding its adults.
But the youth are not that stupid. It is only old farts like us who give a shit. The youth do as they wish. Their conduct is no longer mitigated by mixing with old farts and mature adults since they no longer mix because of the disastrous effects of the smoking ban. Cameron does not care and neither does what’s-her-name who rules Scotland.
We seem to have a new form of ‘King’ or ‘Emperor’, but its name is ‘Commission’.
In a way, I understand why tobacco companies are saying nothing. But I don’t think that it has anything to do with the Master Settlement. The MS only applies in the USA. I understand their position in the sense that anything that they say will be abused and misconstrued by tobacco control, and that the abuse and misconstructions will be spread far and wide by the compliant media. I suppose that TobComs have only themselves to blame for the situation since they were always dishonest decades ago.
But there has been no reason that they should not have publicly ‘made a firm purpose of amendment’ years ago. The first thing that they could have done is to declare that their intention is merely to supply to a demand. While people want to smoke cigs, they will provide cigs; that the tobacco that they use will be as clean and pure as can be reasonably expected, and of the best quality in terms of what is generally understood as ‘tobacco quality’; that advertising will only be aimed at aficionados of tobacco.
I wonder if there is some sort of ‘missing link’ between smoking and ill health?
For example, eating is necessary for life to continue. Starvation results in death. You can eat anything that you like and, as a result of eating anything that you like, you will probably, accidentally, eat a ‘balanced’ diet. Actually, it is generally true, that eating meat provides all the nutrients that a human body needs. The reason is obvious – the animals that we eat have themselves eaten a ‘balanced diet’! For a cow, a balanced diet equals masses and masses of grass, which contains enough of the necessary nutrients (if you eat loads and loads of it) to build tissue. That is how cows bodies work – loads of grass, loads of shit. All herbivores work the same. We eat the concentrates of the nutrients (the flesh of the cows). Thus, you could say that there is a basic process: Grass becomes cows, cows become meat, meat becomes human beings (physical processes, of course). Thus, the ‘link’ between grass and human bodies is cows.
So what is the link between inhaling tobacco smoke and death? No one actually dies from smoking as such. Smoking is not the same as a bullet to the head or a potion of arsenic; nor is it a virus or a bacterium. But wait! Think again. What among those alternatives is most likely to approximate smoke harm? It can only be ‘a potion of arsenic’.
Tobacco control has, very unscientifically, placed its trust in the propaganda statement that tobacco smoke contains ‘thousands of chemicals’. So it does, but so does every ‘living thing’, including cabbages. We eat cabbages and thus ingest thousands of chemicals. We also ingest theoretical ‘carcinogenic’ chemicals. Our bodies are so constructed as to be able to convert or excrete those carcinogens. If that were not so, they the human race would have died out before it arose. The Earth would be a rock circulating the Sun with some weird molecularly structured things roaming around upon it surface, or just above its surface or just below its surface.
NON OF IT WOULD MATTER!!!
So, what of tobacco companies? There are only a few really big ones. Is it not really weird that the extent of their funding of ‘smokers’ rights’ is to give Forest a pittance of a few thousands of pounds per an for publicity purposes? What is wrong with them? Why are they not funding study after study after study precisely to quantitatively describe the effect on human bodies of inhaling impurities? In any case, what is an ‘impurity’? It is hard to see how the British Medical Journal could dismiss such studies merely because they were funded by a tobacco company. Would the BMJ refuse to publish a TobCom funded study about ebola?
The reason that I mention this is because of Totally Wicked’s legal action in the EU Court of Justice (or whatever). I personally think that the action of TW is very, very important. Blathering about the EU tobacco directive on the net, re ecigs especially, will change nothing since THE TREATY MUST BE ENFORCED.
I wonder if Cameron realises that Treaties have no force in UK law? The fact is that treaties are just convenient agreements for the time being. It is a FACT, beyond dispute, that this current Parliament cannot dictate to the next Parliament. If, in 2020, Labour became the major party with a majority, it could repeal all the Acts which have been passed since forever. Treaties as such do not enter into the equation since they are only temporary agreements.
If there is one thing that tobacco companies have done wrong more than anything else it is not supporting people who enjoy tobacco. The Tobacco Industry depends entirely upon PETS (People who Enjoy Tobacco), and yet it decided to ignore PETS and rely upon its economic power.
How stupid can you get? It is obvious that such an approach will create a moral vacuum which tobacco control will fill.
What is the lesson? It is that we smokers (and vapers) must become as un-reliant as possible upon Big Tobacco. We must become ‘outlaws’ and rely upon unofficial suppliers such as “Manchester”. Vapers must not hope that the Directive will go away. It will not. What will happen is that politicians will rape vapers by enacting the provisions of the Directive.
Smokers and Vapers are equivalent to ‘krill’ as krill is to whales. Whales do not need to fish for krill. They just know where billions upon billions of individual krill fish stuff is. The whales just open their mouths and swallow millions of krill at a time. So it is between Big Tobacco, Big Pharma and Big Tobacco Control. All are interdependent.
The only antidote to the Big Three is our elected representatives. For the time being, at least, I see no indication that our elected representatives will do their duty.
One of the worries (and it is a MIGHTY worry) of Public Health England is that surveys have shown that almost 50% of people have been led to believe that ecigs are as dangerous as tobacco cigs. Disregarding the idea that that may be true if tobacco cigs are pretty harmless, we can imagine the look of horror on the faces of public health grandees. The EU blunderings in the field of ecigs did not much matter as long as most people believed that ecigs were ‘a cure’ for smoking. Clearly, such a ‘cure’ would need to be controlled so that it was used responsibly. We don’t want ‘cures’ being regarded as snake oil remedies as a result of impurities, do we? But what happens if this particular cure is already becoming seen as a snake oil remedy? Eh? Especially if it is already well known that the current recommended remedies are snake oil (patches, gum). Thousands and thousands of vapers have extolled the virtues of ecigs. They have described how they tried the patches and gums and found them useless, but, once they tried an ecig and found it really nice (most important point), they were able to stop smoking pretty easily. But while Public Health grandees were plotting to take virtual ownership of ecigs, other Zealots were claiming that what vapers were saying was just anecdote, of no scientific value. They produced studies, which they said were of great scientific value, to show that ecigs were dangerous and useless for tobacco cessation. Lo and behold, the Zealots won. Now the Grandees have stepped outside their ivory tower, looked around and gone, “OH MY GOD! WHAT HAS BEEN GOING ON!”
I wonder if the Chief Medical Officer in the UK has been in touch with the Surgeon General in the USA? If the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) come out with the same garbage as the EU Tobacco Directive, the yanks too will be stitched up.
And this is where we come to ‘The EU Versus the People’, for the statement from PHE throws the cat among the pigeons. Note that there is nothing in the PHE statement about the EU Directive. The PHE must be aware that the directive as it stands will make 99% of current ecigs illegal. In fact, from various readings today, I know that PHE is very much aware of that fact.
The “People” I refer to are the people and government of England. (Note that I do not include the people of Wales, whose government is worse than the EU, nor that of Scotland, which is even worse)
There is a conflict between the people-and-government of England and the EU. How can it be resolved? It seems that it cannot be resolved. England MUST enact the tobacco directive in full. It accepted the directive, and was even a major contributor to the directive. It cannot withdraw now.
So we ask, “Can the EU amend the directive?”, recognising that mistakes occurred. Well, it seems that not. I quote from Clive Bates:
[In the comments]
August 20, 2015 at 5:25 pm
The directive cannot be changed now – it is literally a directive from the European legislature to the UK parliament or devolved administrations to introduce domestic laws that implement the TPD. The main feature of the TPD are not therefore under discussion. Directives don’t alway use actual legal text, contain, penalties or enforcement etc. So the domestic legislature has several tasks:
1. Transcribing the directive – including dealing with ambiguities in the TPD text.
2. Adding all the stuff to do with compliance, enforcement, penalties.
3. Making choices where these are left to the member states – eg. if there are options to go beyond the directive, or choices of which institution does what (eg. deciding the competent authority).
The annoying thing about the DH [Dept of Health] consultation on TPD is that hardly any of the substance is up for discussion, as these things were settled in the directive, for which there has never been any consultation. It’s insulting frankly.
So you see. The situation is set in concrete. For centuries, the UK has had a solid principle set in concrete which is that ‘no government can bind its successor’. Thus, if a law is found to be faulty, a succeeding government can repeal that law. That is what happened with the Poll Tax.
That solid principle has been blown away. When these junior health minister girls, Milton, Subry and Allison, jet off full of enthusiasm to a – wait for it – international ministerial meeting, their ignorance surfaces, their principles evaporate and their brains turn to jelly. They agree to ANYTHING, so long as everyone at the table agrees. It is like having a committee of primary school teachers deciding the EU common agricultural policy. The situation is beyond comedy.
What can be done?
Again from Clive Bates:
August 21, 2015 at 7:34 am · Reply
Clive in a general sense does the EU not have a way of withdrawing or majorly amending directives that are clearly a mistake?
August 21, 2015 at 7:48 am
Yes it does – but it is the same process as used for agreeing a directive in the first place (the Ordinary Legislative Procedure). The things that can be amended more easily are delegated acts within the directive – these relate to the reporting requirements and refill mechanism. Neither is finalised yet.
Clive does not clearly say what the process is for correcting mistakes, but I guess that ‘the Ordinary Legislative Procedure’ means that amendments to directives would require that the whole procedure would have to be repeated right from the beginning.
And why not? It took years of wasting taxpayers’ money to arrive at the directive, and it is almost certainly true that the directive will have no health affect whatsoever, so why not throw the whole thing back to be beginning? In fact, why not kick the whole thing into the long grass and concentrate on stuff that matters, like thousands of waifs and strays, along with crazy islamist zealots, flooding across the Med? In fact, one might ask who the hell turned part of the EU into a subsidiary of the UN WHO? How did the healthy, wealthy West ever become diseased to an extent greater than the poorest places in Africa? What does it matter if smokers die between 70 and 80 as compared with non-smokers who die between 80 and 90? As an aside, I would ask why the WHO headquarters are based in comfortable, wealthy Switzerland. Why is it not based where it is most needed, like Somalia or Nigeria. What is it doing in Switzerland?
Clive Bates reproduced a graph from the Doctors Study:
I have seen that many times. Bates uses that graph to illustrate that ‘lives lost through smoking’ is not as clear cut as that phrase suggests. What the graph illustrates is the average change in life expectancy, and not ’cause of death’. That is, smokers may die for all sorts of reasons and so might non-smokers. All sorts of factors come into the reasons for deaths. The graph does not show that smoking killed the doctors ten years before they should have died. It merely shows smoking might have been a factor in the deaths of smokers. THAT IS ALL. Bates says:
Does 95% still mean thousands die? The UK premature death toll from smoking is about 100,000 per year (see CTSU for other countries). This claim isn’t really designed for the arithmetic of body counts. The residual 5% is really just a safety factor that allows for unknown effects and reflects the caution of bureaucrats and a concern not to imply they think e-cigarettes are safe. But what if it is taken literally? One other way to address this is to ask what does the 100,000 UK smoking-related deaths mean anyway? In reality, smoking causes a shift in the life-expectancy curve…
You see? Even Bates acknowledges that smoking is only one of many possible factors which could be additional. For example, suppose that everyone lived in smoky houses due to coal or wood fires, and suppose that, say, 50% of such people smoked. It would not be surprising that the smokers were more inclined to suffer from the effects of inhaling smoke over a long period of time as compared with those who only inhaled smoke from the fires. But even then (as the graph shows) only those susceptible individuals would be seriously affected (in the graph, 19% on non-smokers were not immortal at the age of 70).
It could be argued that the directive does not matter as far as PHE is concerned since it affects only peripherals, like nicotine content and volume of liquid containers. But these things DO matter, and they matter an awful lot. For example, again as revealed in a Bates discussion some time ago, the decision that the nicotine in ecig liquids should be no more that 20 milligrams per centilitre (or something like that) was not determined by any scientific health evaluation. It was decided like this:
- A few people like 40 mg/cl.
- A few people like 6mg/cl.
- Most people are happy with around 20 mg/cl.
- 20 mg/cl will be the upper limit because it is the average.
Erm… But 20 mg/cl will not be the lower limit! Why not? If the average is to decide the upper limit, it ought also to decide the lower limit. Why? Because, as a ‘smoking cessation aid’, the ecig would be useless without a substantial quantity of nicotine, and so it must be mandated that the ecig must be effective as a smoking cessation aid. Therefore, it must contain a substantial amount of nicotine, being, on average, 20 mg/cl.
What PHE has done is throw a very big spanner into the machine. It would be very surprising if this were not deliberate. I suppose that it is just about possible that this action is really, truly, altruistic. That someone in PHE has directed that individuals who elect to enjoy ecigs MUST not be inhibited from doing so.
It follows that, somehow or other, the EU Directive must be blocked. We shall see how subservient or how brave our Government will be in the next several months. I feel sure that our politicians will do the right thing – they will ensure that they themselves are protected from ignominy.
Readers will know that I have a nice hobby of growing my own tobacco plants. Erm… Perhaps I should rephrase that – I have a hobby of growing plants of the genus ‘nicotiana tobaccum’. They have pretty flowers.
It just so happens that, if you fiddle about somewhat, it is just about possible to turn the leaves of the plants, despite our lousy weather, into a passable excuse for a ‘proper’ cig.
What the above does not say is that ‘passable’ is pretty damned good.
I use that thought to illustrate what The People have to contend with when The Government create an entity called ‘Public Health’ without any external checks upon what ‘Public Health’ is doing. What seems to me to be obvious is that ‘Public Health has been draining the NHS of funding for several years in the vain pursuit of ‘the healthy, standard human being’.
There is no such thing. All epidemiology studies depend, in the first place, upon the idea that all human beings are clones. That all have a defined life-span. That smokers, drinkers, fatties curtail their life-span by a calculable number of years. The ‘clone’ perfect human does not drink, does not smoke and eats sensibly while exercising.
What is missing is the equation?
I must to bed, but let’s have a quick bit of fun.
At present, maximum life span is, say, 120 years. All humans will live to that age unless…
- The individual smokes.
- The individual drinks alcohol.
- The individual is fat.
- The individual ………
See? None of it makes sense. It is a miasma. But, for the life of me, I cannot put my finger upon what is wrong. When will an Einstein person come along and provide the equations which show that Public Health is barking up the wrong tree?
This will really, really have to be a quick post. I find myself getting carried away. Time passes like an express train, and before I know it, it is 4am. I have ONE HOUR. I must discipline myself.
We have already discussed the machinations of Public Health England (PHE). In the face of overwhelming evidence that ecigs cannot possibly be as harmful as tobacco cigs (unless tobacco cigs are harmless), PHE has capitulated and is trying its best to pull some rabbits out of the hat to justify medicalisation of ecigs. The trick that PHE is intending to use is to put the cart before the horse. Rather than recommending that GPs simply recommend ecigs to people who want to stop smoking and let people buy the ecigs themselves, PHE wants GPs to be able to prescribe ecigs. Why would PHE wish to enable that? As many people have pointed out, if a person can afford to smoke, he can afford to buy ecigs. Even my local Co-op has them on sale. The reason is that the only way that GPs could put ecigs on a prescription would be if they were recognised and approved ‘therapies’. That would be fine if PHE invited applications from ecig makers to have their products approved for the purpose of being prescribed by doctors with PHE approval. What does not follow is that ALL ecigs need to be approved.
It is a moot question whether or not the undoubted approval of ecigs by PHE will cross the Atlantic and impinge upon the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA. The FDA is on the point of producing regulations for ecigs. It has been bombarded with junk science from the likes of Glantz, with his multimillion dollar grants, provided to do just that – provide junk evidence for the FDA to virtually ban ecigs.
In much the same way that PHE has blown the anti-ecig junk science away, events in the USA are taking a similar course, albeit in a totally different way. Michael Siegel has the story:
I have read the transcript of the court decision, so I’m not just parroting Siegel. Very, very briefly, a pharma company produced a drug (from fish oil) which substantially reduced a certain harmful substance (triglycerides) in the blood stream. If I read it right, these things are lipids (oily stuff). The company had FDA approval to market their product as a ‘remedy’ which could reduce the stuff when the stuff was at a very high level. They sought approval of the drug for use with substantially elevated stuff – slightly different – which was intended to reduce heart attacks. The company jumped through the hoops and did all the tests for danger and effectiveness (in reducing the triglycerides) and passed. But the FDA turned them down on the grounds that there was no certainty that reducing triglycerides would reduce heart attacks. The FDA threatened to ‘do’ the company if it told doctors about the results of its tests and the efficacy in reducing triglycerides. Being ‘done’ by the FDA is a serious business and could cost millions of dollars in fines.
Which left the company in no-man’s-land, when all it wanted to do was tell doctors about the results of its trials of its drug in reducing triglycerides.
The company went to court to seek protection from the threats of the FDA if it went ahead and used its right to ‘freedom of speech’ to publicise the benefits of its product. It won. It won because the statements that it made were true and not misleading.
The significance of that case is that the FDA needs to be very careful that it does not infringe the right of companies to ‘free speech’. Thus, it is likely that, if an ecig company claims that its products are ‘safer’ than tobacco cigs, and those claims are true (which the PHE statement seems to have confirmed), then that company has not made a claim which offends any FDA demand. It follows therefore that FDA regulation of ecigs must be reasonable – safety of the machine, purity of liquids, childproof containers, but NOT curtailment of trade by mandating maximum amounts in ecigs or containers.
I wonder if these two events could be of assistance to ‘Totally Wicked’ in the EU court? One might think so if it can be shown that the EU Parliament was asked to vote upon the wrong questions. That is, if the Parliament gave approval to a directive which was fundamentally flawed, surely, once the flaw was discovered, then it would have to be corrected? Or that what the Parliament voted for was not what will appear in the actual directive. Surely no one would wish to press ahead with the imposition of a law which has been demonstrated to be very dangerous?
Damn! I am half an hour late! More discipline is required!
It is a perfectly obvious ploy, is it not? If I was some sort of Ruler, and I wanted a slice of the action in respect of some activity, it would behove me to insist that the activity needs my approval. It would also be to my advantage that the costs involved in getting my approval are borne by the applicant. In fact, if I set the fees sufficiently high, I can determine what is presented to me for approval and what is not. If I think that I cannot profit from the activity, then I can demand high fees, such that the applicant is hard put to afford the fees. Further, I can make further demands for information and thus nip the proposal in the bud.
It is absolutely clear beyond doubt that, a couple of years ago, Tobacco Control intended to use the Government control of medicines to destroy ecigs. There is no doubt about that at all. It was stated absolutely specifically that, from 2015 (?), the The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) WILL strictly control ecigs. It would treat ecigs as ‘a medicine or healthcare product’. Obviously, it would take into account the EU tobacco directive, and demand, in its regulations, that all the convolutions of the directive be complied with.
BUT THE SHIT HAS HIT THE FAN BIG TIME!
It is clear why this is so. Despite the best endeavours of Chapman, Glantz, etc, it has become obvious BEYOND DOUBT that the putative harmful substances in tobacco smoke do not exist in ecig vapour. THERE IS NO DOUBT, despite the deliberate attempts to produce fake carcinogens by overheating coils and liquids.
So, the original ‘raison d’etre’ for referrals to MHRA (possible harm) no longer exist. The EU ‘directive’ is already out-of-date. Thus, a new reason is required to justify ecig regulation.
It is hard to believe that The Zealots expect to get away with it. Where are the MPs shouting about their support? The Zealots’ plan is rather cool. It is to take control and ownership of ecigs BY RECOMMENDING THEM!!!! If TC is to recommend ecigs, then they must be approved by MHRA! Thus, it comes to the same thing, apart from the publicity.
Am I inventing this stuff? See this:
“Public Health England says they are 95 per cent safer than smoking normal cigarettes, and recommends that they be made available on NHS prescription for those wanting to quit tobacco, once they have been licensed as medicines.” [My bold] That from Public Health, England apparently. It is easy to see that, eventually, ecigs will ONLY be tolerated once they have been licensed as medicines.
But there is something good about this fracas – something really, really, really good.
It is that the idea of inhaling stuff, other than pure air, is not dangerous. That has been a long time in coming. It has been common and well known from a ‘Health and Safety’ point of view, but is only now infiltrating into the putrid consciousness of the Fascists. Or rather, it is only now that they are having to accept that people are knowledgeable enough to dismiss their totalitarian propaganda.
Even so, the inhuman lies keep coming:
“The message was backed by the government’s chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, who nevertheless cautioned that “there continues to be a lack of evidence on the long-term use of e-cigarettes”. She said they should only be used as a means to help smokers quit.
“I want to see these products coming to the market as licensed medicines. This would provide assurance on the safety, quality and efficacy to consumers who want to use these products as quitting aids, especially in relation to the flavourings used, which is where we know least about any inhalation risks.”
How on earth can a person who expresses such ideas continue in post? As Chief Medical Officer, what other unutterably stupid things is she saying? In any case, what function does she fulfil? What is the purpose of the position “Chief Medical Officer”? I see no reason for the existence of that position. Nor do I see any reason for the existence of the position of “Surgeon General” in the USA.
But we can see, without doubt, from the above statement by the ‘Chief Medical Officer’, that the use of ecigs is to be ‘nationalised’. Everything about them is to be controlled and and to be profitable to The Tobacco Control Industry.
Vapers must fight on. They still hold the high moral ground. They must say, again and again and again, that the reason that they switched to ecigs was that they found ecigs just as enjoyable as tobacco cigs. They must say that they did not switch in order to comply with TC strictures. They switched because they felt like doing so, and the alternative was very nice.
So, the way that things seem to be, Vapers have one more huge battle to win. They hold the HIGH MORAL GROUND, no doubt at all. They must demand that ecigs must not be considered as tobacco products at all; that they should come under the ‘Health and Safety Executive’ and not ‘public health’; that NGOs should either not exist or not be funded by taxpayers without accountability.
The fight goes on. Tobacco Control is on the verge of collapse. Day after day, it becomes less and less a disciplined movement. Day after day, utterly stupid edicts are enacted here and there. The stupidity of those edicts reflect back and upwards to the top.
This scenario has always been on the cards. The reason is that it is not possible to regulate chaos. The more that you try to regulate chaos, the more chaotic it becomes.
REGULATING CHAOS is an interesting idea. It seems to be a contradiction in terms. Thus, regulating ecigs is nigh on impossible.