It’s been a funny sort of day. Overnight, the wind was so strong that the down-draught from the chimney blew the pilot light of the gas fire out (we have these so-called ‘living fires’ which act more-or-less like a coal fire). It was still very windy when I went to relight the pilot. It lit, but would not stay lit. It is one of these devises which need to be held in for 30 seconds to warm up and open the valve which allows gas to flow to the main burner. I tried several times, holding the control knob in for far longer that 30 seconds on each occasion, but still the pilot went out when I released the knob. In the end, I decided that the pilot light device must be faulty (it has happened before). Fortunately, we have a second fire in the other room which is exactly the same, so I took the pilot light thingie off the other fire and replaced the device which I thought was faulty with that one. Still the damned pilot light would not stay in. It is hardly likely that both devices would fail at the same time, and so I reasoned that something else must be fault, so I fixed the first pilot light to the second fire and tried that. This time, although the gas of the pilot lit when I applied a taper, it would not even stay lit. Clearly, the updraught was just sucking the gas rapidly up the chimney.
For 31st March, the weather here in the North West of the England is foul. Damned windy, damned wet and damned cold. It is not a time to be without fires, even though the central heating is on. So I had to get out the electric fire.
Anyway, eventually, the wind died down so I decided to try the fires again. Lo and Behold! Both pilot lights worked fine!
There is something odd about the behaviour of gas. I’ve notice before that if I clean the gas cooker gas rings by washing them and the surfaces generally, when I reassemble the gummages, even though the electric spark is working fine, the gas rings will not light. The gummages are not wet significantly since I dry them. And yet, go back an hour later, and they light.
In the case of the fires, it is probable that some rain found its way down the chimney, which, along with the wind, caused the bits to become unusually cold and perhaps a bit damp.
The good news, however, is that both fires have had a good clean.
That that is not all. I am having trouble with my car battery. The battery is not old and I hardly use the car anyway these days. It is losing its charge, so I’m trying to figure out whether it is the battery itself or some drain of power from it. (Frankly, I must admit that I am just amusing myself toying with different ideas of what might be happening).
But far, far worse than either of those problems is that I am still struggling to get my seeds to germinate. I have never had this problem before. Thankfully, I have a lot of seeds, so I have been able to try different ways. I’m sure that I’ll succeed, but time is getting short if they are to be ready to go outside in mid-May.
Struggle, struggle, struggle. Damn it! I’m 75! Life should be tranquil. A meander down (or up) to the Big Interview with God to see whether it is Heaven or Hell.
The struggle against BIG CONTROL is somewhat similar. Never a day goes by without further incursions into the freedom of the people. The NHS is overwhelmed by diseases and conditions of old age. Solution? Keep people living longer. Tonight, on the TV, there was short programme about former winners of the Eurovision singing contests from decades ago. Without exception, even though the people were quite sprightly, they were grey, a bit plump mostly, lined, and clearly old. No matter what Public Health says, none of those people will avoid the conditions and diseases which eventually finish them off. I suppose that if any of them have ever smoked, their deaths will be ‘smoking related’. But, regardless of smoking, all of them were old and grey. How come? Shouldn’t the non-smokers have copious, dark or fair hair and have unlined faces?
I was looking at some of Frank Davis’s blogroll links tonight. Quite a lot of them are more or less defunct. I must admit that I sometimes feel like giving up the unequal struggle myself. I don’t think that these people are any less strong in their attitudes. The problem is that the well-funded world-wide tyranny, using the enjoyment of tobacco as a lever, totally ammorally, is too much for most ordinary people to cope with mentally. It becomes a mental burden which is difficult to carry. It impinges too much on one’s life. You wake up thinking about the tyranny and go to bed thinking about the tyranny. And there is not a thing that you can do about it. Also, Big Tobacco abandoned its customers years ago. I can’t help but think that Big Tobacco also thinks that tobacco is more addictive that heroin. But ask yourself this question. Suppose that a person started smoking and continued smoking for a year, and that another person started to inject heroin into his veins and continued to do so for a year, which of those two people would find it most difficult to stop doing it?
The recent capitulation of the Tory party to plain packaging is a case in point. It cannot have been pressure from the LibDems because there was nothing to fear in view of the approaching General Election. Accusations of ‘foot dragging’ could easily have been countered by ‘more important matters to deal with’. After all, the other matter was ‘smoking in cars with children present’, which has not been sanctioned. Why do one and not the other?
Clearly, many blogs have given up the struggle, and who can blame them? It gets depressing. It eats into your life and mind. It becomes too much.
I must admit that I have been tempted to give up, but I’m not going to. What I have determined to do is to stop bothering my head about some tiny district in the USA becoming tyrannical, or even some city there, like New Orleans. Or Australia, or New Zealand. We have enough to cope with here and now in England.
What it comes down to, in the end, is that you might obey, but you refuse to accept the regulations. You obey because of the force applied, and not because of conviction that the regulations are good. For example, I do not mind in the least that we have little bins into which we put leftovers from our meals. I do not mind at all separating paper from bottles/tins and garden waste. But I would object if the authorities expected me to take the stuff to the tip while still paying for the stuff to be collected. What would I do if force was applied? I would probably do what was demanded, but with hatred of the bastards who forced me to do as they wish, in my soul.
Thus, perhaps we ought to lighten up. Perhaps we should antagonise the Zealots by issuing BIG LIES. For example:
“Tobacco Companies are smokers’ best friends. They fight to ensure that we smokers are supplied with tobacco products. What would we smokers do without them?” A little grain of truth, you see.
“Tobacco Control is doing a great job. I am an old fart who enjoys tobacco, but children are of paramount importance. They must not be allowed to live to 85 and smoke tobacco. They might become ill”
“Everyone who smokes tobacco gets lung cancer. That is well-known. Only because of the reduction in smoking has the incidence of lung cancer decreased from 5% of death causes to 6% of death causes”
“It is clear that, if everyone who buys tobacco stopped that disgusting activity, then government receipts of tobacco tax would increase. That is because there will always be people who are rich enough to pay taxes on unsold tobacco”
“It is well-known that smokers die agonising deaths. That is because they refuse painkillers. They refuse painkillers because they demand cigarettes instead”
“Richard Doll’s ‘Doctors Study’ proved that smoking causes LC because, out of 24,000 doctors, mostly smokers, 1,000 died from LC. The other 23,000 do not matter”
“The Tory/LibDem coalition has shown its contempt of the EU by going further than the Tobacco Products Directive requires”
“It is necessary and desirable for England, with its population of 55,000,000, to be linked to the population of Scotland, being about 5,000,000, and with the population of Wales and Northern Ireland, being another 5,000,000 or so. Only a fool would dispute this”
“The pleasures of drinking and smoking are illusory, temporary and destructive. Compare that situation with the uplifting effect of being teetotal. Teetotal people have the permanent pleasure of being sober”
My serious point is that we should be cynical. We should be cynical about everything. Tobacco Control has taught us to be so. There are no TRUE regulations. Not one. All are suspect. If you want to bury your deceased, aged relative in your back garden, then do so. Regulations which forbid it do not prevent it. In general, regulations which forbid do not prevent.
Lighten up! Ridicule the bastards! Don’t argue with them rationally because they are irrational. Don’t argue against their surveys and studies from a rational point of view. Dismiss their studies as emotional. For example, studies about ecig use among ‘kids’ make no attempt to allow for bravado. Such studies are totally worthless if they do not take account of ‘bravado’.
Ridicule works. Rational argument does not work.
Dick Puddlecote has written a piece entitled: “BBC ‘success’ is 25% of an industry collapsing”:
Dick P was talking about a report on the BBC radio about an Irish publican who has survived the cull of pubs in Ireland, which seriously started not long after the smoking ban. The publican is a Mr Con Dennehy and his pub is in Cork. He said that he was against the ban at first but is happy with it now. You can hear the report here:
I wonder how many pubs in Cork went to the wall? Because if there were quite a few, then Mr Dennehy will have benefited from closures. I have been looking at the pub on the internet. It is called “Dennehy’s Bar”, a traditional pub with various affiliations. It does not do food and only opens at 5pm. It is closed on Sundays. So how has it managed to survive? I think that a major factor must be that it has been in the family for over 50 years, having been owned by his father and then by his mother. It is hardly likely that there would be any significant debt associated with his ownership. Mr Dennehy acquired another pub called “The Venue” in mid 2014. It is in a village called Ballintemple, which is also part of Cork. It was run down and not trading. There are only two pubs in Ballintemple.
I have been searching around and found a snippet of information about the pub trade in Cork:
A substantial, non-residential premises [The Venue], it had been on the market, last year, for €495,000, having been offered, back in 2006, for €2.4m. Since then, the bar trade has plummeted — with the number of licensed Cork premises dropping below 1,000, from a 2005 figure of 1,200. “We want to be a part of the community here,” says Mr Dennehy, who will have a small, traditional bar for locals, as well as a larger section for TV and sports, and will do a limited food offering.
If pubs in Ireland have diminished by 25% overall, it seems to me that Cork has got off quite lightly by only losing some 17% of its pubs. Somehow, despite ‘the bar trade plummeting’, most pubs must have been able to survive. Also, of course, a smaller closure rate in Cork means a higher closure rate elsewhere.
But what Dick P was drawing attention to was the rosy picture which the BBC painted of ‘success’ of the smoking ban. All was well in the pub trade, it suggested, and everyone had got used to the ban. Smokers were perfectly happy to go outside for a cig. Not a mention of the 25% closures (and still counting). Dick finishes his piece with:
And there we were thinking that the BBC is a world-renowned source of agenda-free news, eh?
[I think that Dick was referring to the fact that the report was on the BBC World Service when he said ‘world-renowned’]
I could not help but leave a comment at Dick’s place:
Well, there is a big problem, DP. In the UK, all three main parties are in favour of the smoking ban. Thus, to be politically impartial, the BBC has to report only pro-ban stories.
I took a bit of a liberty with his piece by extrapolating from ‘agenda-free’ to ‘biased’, but I think that it is tolerable.
But can you see my logic? It is a bit peculiar, but is it correct? If the powers-that-be, the political parties and the whole medical profession, are all in agreement that the smoking ban is wonderful, would it be ‘impartial’ for the BBC to go against that ‘consensus’? Would not the BBC be acting ‘partially’ if it gave airtime to views which described the smoking ban as a disaster? Could the BBC be accused of bias in favour of smoking if it gave any serious airtime to studies which purported to show that cancer, especially lung cancer, was due to random changes which had little to do with smoking directly, but was connected to a multitude of variables, of which mere chance is the most important?
But there is a big problem. We saw a couple of posts ago that incidence of LC deaths, as a proportion of total deaths, has hardly changed since 1970, despite the huge reduction of smoking prevalence. However, the evidence from the Doctors Study was that smokers suffered 15 times more LC deaths than non-smokers. What is the explanation for the continuing toll of LC deaths despite the long-term decline in smoking? Let us suppose that smoking declined to 5% and LCs continued to be about 6% of all deaths. What would that tell us? At what point will someone do a study and point out the perfectly obvious fact in those circumstance, which would be, perhaps, that the doctors study began very shortly after a World War, with all its deprivations and risky behaviours; including a lot of doctors who would have been involved in WW1 also; including exposure to all sorts of viral infections; including exposure to smogs and other atmospheric influences. One oddity of the Doctors Study is that Doll said that, at first, he went to some lengths to ensure that a death from LC was in fact certain. But he did not say that he went to any lengths to be sure that a death from pneumonia was certain. How many non-smoker deaths might have been ascribed to pneumonia rather than LC? In any case, how many doctors, who wrote death certificates, would have said: “Erm… Well….. I’m not sure. I wrote ‘pneumonia’ because of the symptoms”.
Smoker = LC. Non-smoker = pneumonia.
And so it goes on. Until something dramatically changes, the Zealots of Puritania will push and push, to their personal advantage. They themselves are not puritans as their shindigs in various pleasant parts of the world have shown. They want Puritania to be imposed upon everyone else, apart from themselves.
But, going back to the BBC. there is another consideration, which applies to all the Media.
If there is general ‘consensus’ among all the political parties and among ‘scientists’, why should the Media buck the trend? From a Media point of view, the fun and profit comes from exaggerating the horror, not from diminishing it.
Given the political consensus that smoking bans are wonderful, why should we be surprised that the BBC concurs? What would it profit them to say otherwise?
I read a very interesting post on a blog this evening about the Climate Change debate. Here is the link:
Of course, according to the Climate Control zealots there is no debate. The science is settled. The author of the above post asked why it is that the zealots, who have all the big guns, are so worried about small blogs, which have no weapons to speak of at all, if they have all that power? Why do the zealots have to attack every dissenting voice with all the force that they have available?
It can only be because their case is very weak.
I don’t intend to go into the matter of global warming – read the article. It is claims of consensus which intrigue me – claims like “95% of scientists agree”. I wonder what scientists they are talking about. If they mean ALL scientists, I would ask what self-respecting scientist would put his name to a ‘consensus’ which is outside his own field, the subject of which he knows nothing about? So the reality is almost certainly that the ‘95%’ means ‘me and my mates’ – those climate ‘scientists’ who have been collaborating over a period of many years.
But why do they do it?
I think that it is much the same as Tobacco Control. TC goes back as far as King James 1, as we know, along with other ‘Kings’, ‘Sultans’, ‘Imams’ and whatever.
I think that it all starts with someone having a bee in his bonnet. For example, in the case of Richard Doll, he was a communist in his youth. I have no doubt that he seethed with anger when he thought about the way that Big Industry exploited people. His anger, at the time, would have been directed at all Big Industries. He had a cause. Later, he would realise that Big Industries are here to stay, and direct his ire at the owners, and militate for better conditions for the workers. He would become a Socialist. But some industries were still anathema – tobacco is one. Not only do Tobacco Companies exploit workers, but they also cause death and destruction.
He finds that there are others who share the same ideals. Somehow or other, he gets a Rockefeller scholarship. Pre WW2, he visits Germany and links with the anti-tobacco zealots there. After the war, he joins up with Hill, and so the semi-secret attack on Big Tobacco begins. First, the quick ‘Hospital Study’ as proof of concept (that more smokers get lung cancer than non-smokers), and then the Doctors Study. That study was funded by the British Health Council (or whatever), but where did the Council get its money from?
At the same time, and consequent upon the collapse of Prohibition in the USA (including tobacco), the USA clique of Zealots began studies of their own. Not quite the same studies, but with the objective of ‘proving’ that smoking causes LC. All these studies were coordinated.
And so the first Surgeon General of the USA’s report on smoking and health appeared in 1964. That was the result of the USA studies and a couple of others. The Doctors Study was ‘in reserve’. Doll admitted that the original intention of the Doctors Study was not to go beyond around 1970. I suppose that the Doctors Study was the basis of the Royal College of Physicians anti-tobacco blast of 1972.
But nothing much happened. I remember reading that Prime Minister McMillan was not happy about acting against tobacco. He said (something like), “What is the point of losing billions in tax in order to keep people alive from 82 years old to 84 years old?” I don’t know if that is true or not, but it shows, if true, why Tobacco Prohibition is proceeding in small, incremental steps. At the time, politicians were not prepared to take steps to ban tobacco.
So we see how the present pursuit of Tobacco Prohibition is proceeding at a snails pace.
We may have arrived at an answer to our question of why academics do it. It is because it is a nice little earner. There is nothing else. They care little or nothing about Public Health. They are onto a good thing.
Doll did care. He seethed at the iniquities of Big Business. But that is not the case now. Now, there is a new industry on the block – the Tobacco Control Industry. It is just as much a Global Industry as is the Tobacco Industry, and to be a ‘big wheel’ in that industry is very remunerative.
Will it end?
It must end, eventually, and not necessarily when tobacco is prohibited. It is a case of ‘diminishing returns’. We are seeing this effect in the USA. The Master Settlement (which was an agreement between the tobacco companies and the States, don’t forget) provided lots of new money to States which tobacco control expected to fund their venom. Now, more and more States are using that money to prop up their budgets. Very little of it is going to TC. In fact, many States have foolishly mortgaged those receipts in return for loans. Now, some of them are in trouble because the expected returns are vanishing as people stop smoking. That was not part of the plan.
Is that why ecigs are being attacked with such venom? I think so. Tobacco Control will die out due to diminishing returns causing the curtailment of funding. Other exigences will take over. Sugar anyone? Salt anyone? It may take some time, but, eventually, someone in the Treasury will say, “Hang on. When I tot up the costs of all these ‘charities’, including industry costs, I get a figure far greater than the ‘health’ savings. If fact, all these costs have resulted in no NHS savings at all”.
Because that is the truth. ‘Non-communicable diseases’ are an attribute of old age. It does not matter whether people smoke or not. Eventually, they will die from ‘non-communicable diseases’, if they do not die from ‘communicable diseases’ beforehand.
Climate Change is exactly the same essentially. It started as anti Big Business interests and gradually morphed into a form of Health. However, the Health is the health of the planet. Big Coal, Big Oil, Big Gas, will make the planet unhealthy. There is the cause, and there is the entry gate for the charlatans.
Politicians these days are ignorant. The days of knowledgeable politicians, like Enoch Powell, are long gone. Lots of MPs have come out of universities, done some time as researchers or whatever, and then been parachuted into constituencies. This system depends upon voters voting in a habitual manner.
It cannot last. Theoreticians describe ‘social mobility’ in economic terms. I think that there is appearing a different outlook. Most people just want a decent living wage and a decent home. That is all. The rich can go hang. They do not matter.
Ideas are changing. For the most part, people simply want a pleasant, trouble-free life.
The anti-tobacco crowd have created trouble. The ‘global warming’ crowd have created trouble. Isn’t the purpose of the United Nations to prevent trouble? The stench of corruption is becoming intolerable.
Weird, is it not that Cameron, Clegg and Miliband do not see it. They do not see the inherent corruption in the EU or Climate Change or tobacco control or the UN.
There is no need for a referendum. Just stop giving them our money. Stop giving the FCTC organisation our money. Stop giving the the UN our money. Stop giving the Global Warming crowd our money. Stop giving the EU our money.
It is easy.
I think that there is a sort of intellectual ‘Country’, probably situated in selected universities all over the World, which we might call ‘PURITAN-IA’. The people who inhabit this country have a vision. They are themselves well fed and watered and have lovely abodes. Every day, in their meetings, they pray, and, every day, on their keyboards, they preach. Their objective is to spread Puritania so that it becomes the only Country in the World. Sure, there will be ‘economic units’, such as Germany, France, China, etc, but there will be only one Puritania. Puritania will be an overarching Country, which invades all territories with the willing accession of the Governments of those territories.
In the world-wide Country of Puritania, the people will live simple lives of study, calorie counts and exercise. They will be joyful as a result, and they will live forever.
Am I joking?
You should read this essay:
There is a person named Gerard Hastings.
Here is a quote from Snowden:
For example, Gerard Hastings recently appeared before a House of Lords committee to talk about alcohol regulation. Whilst there, he told this brazen whopper…
“All the evidence is that if marketing is encouraging you to consume a particular brand, it is also going to have an impact on category.”
“All the evidence” does not say that. On the contrary, the overwhelming majority of the evidence shows that advertising for any established category, including alcohol, has little or no effect on overall consumption.
Gerard Hastings has ‘previous’ – his contribution in the McTear Case (see sidebar) was rubbished by the Judge. He is an academic, and one of the rulers of Puritania.
Damnation! How does such a dickhead get to address a ‘House of Lords Committee’? Why is he ‘special’?
There is a serious question underlying the above, which is: “How can politics be removed from Academia?”
Hastings lied. He lied to a House of Lords Committee. He lied. In a Court, it would be called ‘perjury’. These ‘perjures’ should go to jail. I am serious because the harm that they do is very big. For example, there is a campaign going on against ecigs in the US. Those who promote and organise that campaign should be brought to justice and condemned. Hastings is a neo-communist who blames big industry for the ills of the world. He is a crack-put, but, somehow, he gets to address a ‘House of Lords Committee’.
It can only mean that there is a paucity of crack-pots. It must mean that no other person would subject himself to the experience. Or, the ‘House of Lords’ committee is ‘crook’.
It is not necessarily ‘either/or’. It may well be that it is all organised in advance.
It is Friday night and I have been to the pub and over-indulged a little. For a change, it was quite amusing. I really ought not to blog.
But I know (or think that I know) that readers like to be amused by my ramblings. Last night, for example, I considered ‘Tobacco Control Industry Regulation’. It will not happen, of course – well, not until nations see sense and stop it.
What is ‘Pestilence’?
No one uses that word any more. As far as I know, it means much the same as ‘epidemic’, but it could also be applied to natural phenomena, such as locusts.
We have a new ‘Pestilence’ known as ‘The Tobacco Control Industry’. It is not a physical disease, it is a mental disease. It is almost undetectable since it appears to be rational. For example, statements such as, “Smokers will be exiled to the outdoors”, are seen as rational. They are not – well, not in a FREE society. As someone said, “It must be awful for a non-smoking, teetotal person to find out that he is about to die from nothing”.
That statement seems to be jocular, and it is, but it has a grain of truth. A person does everything which is correct – no smoking, no drinking, no excessive eating, but his body still exhibits the characteristics of ageing. Why? Why does he not attain a state of permanent middle-age? There was a programme on Sky in the pub tonight looking at the attainments of John Lowe, the darter. Do not snigger. He is one of the few people who actually attained the miracle of a nine dart finish to a 501 challenge. His throws were: 180 (leaving 321), 180 (leaving 141); treble 17 (51), leaving 90; treble 18 (54), leaving 36; double 18. He hit the double first dart.
I don’t know whether or not John Lowe still alive.
There is a MASSIVE ERROR in the thinking of The Tobacco Control Industry which is that everyone who does not smoke will live forever, and will be spritely, able to work, NOT suffer from diseases such as Altzeimers, Parkinsons, Prostatism, etc.
I recently met the son of a friend of mine. My friend married an American after his wife died. He met the lady on a cruise. He went to live in the USA. His son told me that his Dad is suffering from Altzeimers. His Dad is about 80 years old. He does not recognise people. He does not know what to do.
The PESTILENCE is not diseases any more. It is The Tobacco Control Industry. It is that Industry which has produced the PESTILENCE of any number of control INDUSTRIES which suck on the public teat.
Tobacco Control is an international organisation, just like the Tobacco Industry. It has offices all over the place, headquarters here and there, groups of ‘company directors’, a huge marketing budget, and, perhaps more that anything, it is a monopoly. And it is an unregulated monopoly.
When you see that fact, you can begin to understand how it is that TC is getting away with murder. People who read Michael Siegel’s blog and Carl Philips’s blog will know how easily the interpretation of ecig studies by the Charlatans (like Glantz and Chapman) can be pulled to pieces. Both Siegel and Philips, by the way, are fully signed up to tobacco smoking harm, but, because they do not conform to the creed of TC, they have been excommunicated. The point which arises is: “If rogues like Glantz and Chapman are distorting statistics about ecigs to support their creed, why should we not assume that they have always distorted statistics to support their creed? Since TC is unregulated, and always has been, why should we not assume that these people have formed a cabal to plan their ‘studies’ to support greater and greater outrageous claims about the health effects of smoking tobacco?
In fact, I would go further. TC is blatantly protecting its monopoly from scrutiny: witness the exclusion of the press and others from COP6 in Moscow. We could go even further. We could say that the people who set up the FCTC knew full well that they were setting up a very lucrative Empire – a world wide Empire; that they would be unopposed by anyone with power; that they could use ‘guilt by association’ as a weapon against individual governments; that individual MPs (or equivalent) throughout the world could be ‘bought’ by promises of increase income (via tobacco taxes) and reduced costs (via health care savings) and increased votes (via public opinion polls); that tobacco companies were bloated cash cows, to be milked again and again, provided that they were not slaughtered. What is there not to like?
It also follows from the lack of regulation of the TC monopoly industry that laws such as PP can be passed with little or no evidence or discussion. MPs delude themselves (or are deliberately deluded) into believing that PP is aimed at ‘preventing’ youths from taking up smoking, when it is in fact an attack on tobacco companies. Or is it? Will not the effect be to concentrate the manufacture of tobacco products into the hands of a smaller and smaller group of enormously big tobacco companies world wide? Where are the monopoly laws which might prevent such a result? What makes thing even worse is that, within days of PP being passed, the Chairman of anti-smoker self-appointed, unofficial anti-smoker committee, Paul Burstow, more or less admitted that he did not expect PP to work in ‘preventing’ youths from smoking. Dick Puddlecote reveals all here:
The potential benefits to public health can be fully realised only if the levy is used to fund tobacco control action, which is designed to increase the rate of quitting tobacco use over and above what might otherwise be expected as a result of price rises.
If the programme of research proposed in this Bill were carried out, it would show that the recurring cost of tobacco control activity at every level – local, regional and national – could be met from the proceeds of the levy.
Burstow is stupid. He seems not to realise that a GENERAL levy on ALL tobacco products will inevitably result in the cost being passed on to smokers. But not all smokers. Only smokers in the UK will have prices increased. Thus, illicit imports will be guaranteed to increase.
Let us remind ourselves of what happened during Prohibition in the USA. ‘Bathtub gin’ was a common phenomenon. Quality Control disappeared. Thousands of people were poisoned. No one stopped drinking alcohol. It took a long time before Government realised that Prohibition was causing greater problems than legality.
Does the same apply to tobacco hatred today? I think so, but it is more subtle.
I am convinced that the reason that I smoke tobacco is because it is beneficial to me personally. It may not be beneficial to other people. For me, as I write this post, it allows me to pause and think. Whether or not it actually helps me to think clearly, I do not know. Perhaps smoking just calms the mind.
But there is a serious philosophical question which has not been seriously addressed as far as I know. Do tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, heroin, etc affect the mind? I doubt it. What they affect is emotions. Our emotions are animalistic. Cats and dogs have emotions, and so do we. Drugs affect our emotions, but not out minds. Emotions affect the way that we think, but indirectly. We have the power to dismiss emotions when we think about problems. Smoking helps us to do so.
It seems to me that alcohol has a different affect. It reduces calmness and encourages ‘wildness’. ‘Wildness’ can be very amusing.
We could go into the ‘relative risks’ scenario of ‘wildness’ V ‘calming’ when a person drinks and smokes, but we are not academics and do not have funding, nor, in the funding environment is there any prospect of anyone being funded to find data which conflict with the MONOPOLY.
There is an interesting idea. Suppose that tobacco companies produced adverts which did not promote smoking but extolled the purity of the ingredients? The reason that I mention this is that there seems to be no regulatory control over the quality of the tobacco in cigs. That is odd. It sort of looks like ‘bathtub gin’. What I am sure about is the use of ‘expanded tobacco’ in cigs. Remember that ‘weight’ is not a factor in the duty imposed upon cigs.
WHAT A MESS!!
Is there an answer?
Well, of course there is. The most advantageous answer would have been smokers demonstrating in the streets to stop the rip-off of tobacco duty. Weird, is it not, that a few people, demonstrating in the streets, brought down the Poll Tax and brought down Thatcher, and yet millions of smokers are flagellating themselves rather than sticking up for themselves.
I hope that I live long enough to see the day that our Universities are split from commerce and control. They are supposed to be seats of learning. They are not supposed to be political.
Dick Puddlecote (see sidebar) tweeted that Jane Ellison said ‘Addiction to nicotine, we consider harmful’. He linked to this video:
If is of a meeting of the ‘Delegated Legislation Committee’. I think that it must have been a formality since there were only about half-a-dozen people there and it lasted for only sixteen minutes. Ellison described the new regulations for ecigs and Berger (?) responded. One one comment was made from the floor.
It looks as if Vapers should be well-pleased. It looks as it the spectre of harsh regulation of ecigs in the UK has been shelved for at least five years. It looks as if NICE will have to eat its words when it said that ecigs would definitely be regulated as medicines from 2016. That is not going to happen. The new regulations merely ban the sale of ecigs to minors (under 18s) and forbid proxy buying (although how that would be enforced is another thing).
It took some finding, but you can see the actual draft regulations here:
[The Nicotine Inhaling Products (Age of Sale and Proxy Purchasing) Regulations 2015]
Even though proxy buying (over 17s buying ecig stuff for under 18s) is forbidden, there is provision for access of under 18s to ‘Nicotine Inhaling Products’, although that might be via a prescription from a doctor and might or might not include ecigs as opposed to Big Pharma nicotine inhalers. It is not perfectly clear.
I have said on numerous occasions that vapers must hold on to ‘the high moral ground’ at all costs, and it seems to have paid off. They did what they were told. They stopped or cut down on combustible fags and moved to ecigs.
It seems that even ASH (the creature of the Royal College of Physicians) recommended light regulation (in fact, I seem to have heard Ellison mention ASH as recommending light touch regulation for the time being, though why a lobby group should carry any weight I do not know).
There was even mention (I think) of the idea that regulation should not stand in the way of further development of ecigs or the growth of business in that sector.
But beware. These regulations do not directly confront the EUSSR anti-ecig demands, but they do indicate an intention not to conform to ecig industry decimation.
Of course, the anti-smoker hatred will continue, but it stands to reason that the funding must diminish and the pressure must ease. I was thinking about that earlier. It makes sense for Customs to examine cars which have been over to Belgium in case they are packed with tobacco products. Cars can hold a lot of stuff. But it does not make sense for Customs to do the same with travellers who are individuals using aircraft. The reason is that the weight restrictions on aircraft minimise the possibility of possibly illegal imports of tobacco products. What saving in duty will be gained by Customs officers being employed, at great cost, to confiscate, say, 20 sleeves of cigs, if they can justify it? Never, in all the years that I have been going to Mallorca, and bringing back cigs for my own consumption, have I ever been stopped or seen anyone else be stopped in the baggage collection hall. In fact, I do not remember ever seeing a Customs Officer in the hall.
I had an acquaintance who holidayed in in the Canary Islands, which are not subject to EU rules and have little duty, if any, on cigs. He always brought back several sleeves and was never stopped. I would imagine that the same applies to any country, such as Cambodia, where cigs are as cheap as they can be – the cost of checking every passenger is not worth the putative saving.
Overall, it seems that Vapers are reasonably safe for the time being in the UK. The reason that they are safe is that these regulations have been passed. They are important because the burden of proof of harm from ecigs has been passed to those who denigrate them.
Coincidence of Interests
A few decades ago, the fledgling Tobacco Control and Tobacco Companies were implacable enemies.
There seems to be some sort of ‘law’ which, over a period of time, coalesces these implacabilities and produces some sort of consensus.
I am speaking about the antipathy to ecigs, and the use of pure tobacco leaf. Both Tobacco Control (the charlatans) and the Tobacco Industry have reason to oppose ecigs. From the Tobacco Control point of view, ecigs conflict with the Big Pharma products which they are pushing, and which they are being paid to push (corruption rules, OK?); from the Tobacco Industry point of view, they want a monopoly of their mass produced products.
But there is also the coincidence of interests of politicians. Politicians can ‘flip flop’. We are seeing that now.
Tobacco companies have an interest in helping to curb the manufacture and distribution of cigs by anyone other than themselves. Tobacco Control has ensured that only ‘approved’ tobacco product manufacturers can exist. Their interests coincide.
Except that PP has destroyed the market. There cannot be reasonable competition. Thus, the only competition must come from illicit cigs.
I still think that Tobacco Companies failed miserably when they failed to grasp the nettle. They should have told the Australian government that they would stop supplying Australia with fags if PP was enforced. The Government would therefore have to organise a supply or lose the revenue. That would have illustrated the two-faced attitude of government and concentrated the minds of legislators.
It seems to me that the answer to creeping prohibition is ‘bring it on’. That involves not disputing. It is difficult. For example, in the UK, Forest should stop allowing itself to be used by the broadcasters. It should be a simple lobby group to represent the interests of smokers as best it can. Nothing is served by it being Media fodder. This idea is reinforced by recent revelations that trainee journalists are being encouraged not to permit ‘airtime’ to ‘people who dispute anthropogenic global warming’.
Forest has tried its best to counter anti-smoker legislation, but has never had the power and support to do so effectively. Better that it should retire. As with all persecution throughout time, only the persistence of a practice defeats the persecutors. Forest is in a catch 22 situation. It would be better if it refused to be drawn into ‘lose-lose’ situation.
Concentrate on politicians, Mr Forest, and deny access to you from the Media. REFUSE to be used.
The coincidence of interests is quite a new thing. The coincidence of interests between Big Tobacco, Big Pharma, Big Tobacco Control and Big Politics is hard to ignore.
I think that it is worth having another go at the statistics – once last time for now. The reason is, a) because there is little to talk about at the moment, and, b) that it is worth considering whether or not the stats which I described are important.
Let me take an example to illustrate what I mean.
It is a fact that, after WW2, there was a gradual but substantial increase in the import of oranges. At the same time, there was a gradual but substantial increase in the number of divorces. The patterns were a near perfect fit. Did the increase in the import of oranges cause the increase in divorces, or was it the other way round? Or were they coincidences? I feel sure that few people would consider that correlation to be other than coincidence. HOWEVER, it is possible that it was not coincidence, and that there was indeed a relationship between imports of oranges and divorces. the relationship could be indirect. For example, it way well be that increasing wealth might fuel both the increase in orange imports and divorces. FURTHER RESEARCH IS REQUIRED! Such research might take place in countries other than the UK, and might also consider the import of bananas and coconuts, to see if there was any connection.
But suppose that there had never been any correlation between the import of oranges and divorces? Suppose that divorces had increased despite no increase in the import of oranges? In its simple way, that would be a good example of the NULL hypothesis, meaning that the starting point of a study would be “That the increase in divorces has nothing to do with the import of oranges”. The study would try to disprove that NULL hypothesis. And it would, since there would have been no increase in the import of oranges.
Now, which would you be more inclined to accept as true, given that there was no increase in the import of oranges, but there had been an increase in divorces? Would you accept the NULL hypothesis or determine to stick with the idea that the import of oranges CAUSED the increase in divorces (or vice versa)?
No one of sound mind would continue to accept that the import of oranges is connected to divorces, but you cannot totally rule it out. Connected, of course, to the idea that you cannot prove a negative.
The significance of the above is that studies which produce evidence that a NULL hypothesis is correct far outweigh any studies which deign to show a correlation. For example, the Enstrom and Kabat study showed that people who were non-smokers and lived with smokers did not suffer more LCs than non-smokers who lived with non-smokers. The WHO study conducted by Boffetta did not show a correlation in similar circumstances concerning heart problems. Both of those studies were huge and used ‘correct’ methodologies. Both found NULL, or insignificant (meaning not worth bothering about), correlations. Both of those studies were ignored by Tobacco Control.
The point is that big studies which produce a NULL result are far more important that studies which produce a result either for or against. The reason is that it is far more difficult for a NULL result to appear when compared with plus or minus in various degrees.
I’m finding it a bit difficult to explain what I mean. Suffice to say this:
I am sure that it is possible to show that a golf ball, striking the head of person, can kill that person. But, in real life, how often do such deaths occur? Should golf be banned because such deaths might occur?
I have a reason for this blathering.
A commenter on my last post legitimately produced a calculation of LC death incidence per individual in the UK population, which showed that LC death incidence had reduced, over the whole population of the UK over the last 30 years or so. Well, OK, but…. So what? It is lung cancer DEATHS which are important, and the incidence is not a function of the size of the population, which might well be increased by the import of lots of young people. Diagnosis and treatment also affect deaths.
In the figures that I quoted yesterday, the only variant of any importance is the male/female distribution. I could do the calculations, but what is the point? Even female smoking smoking has fallen from around 50% in 1970 to around 16% in 2000. Or so they say.
You get an impression that tobacco control measures are precise because they say so, such as the expectations of PP. The reality is that tobacco control is a blunt instrument. It is a bludgeon.
Why have tobacco companies acceded so readily in Australia? I think that they are part of the experiment.
A short post tonight. I have been entertaining myself. One of the blogs which I read provided a link to a Utube video which was funny. That link provided several more links on different subjects, all jolly amusing.
A little light relief from the never-ending plague of puritanical nagging. But I did get something positive from theses viewings. Almost all of the funnies involved young people, and there was no sign of misery. Frankly, most of them were pretty laid back. This confirms my impressions of OUR youth gained from years of going to Mallorca and watching the antics of the young guys and girls there. There is nothing wrong with them. They enjoy themselves, drink, smoke, laugh, dance, with very, very little trouble or significant drunkenness.
So, tonight, I have little time for much musing.
But I did find time to look back in my saved documents and found some statistics from the ONS (Office of National Statistics) which I had saved. they related to mortality statistics from 1980 and 1990.
Persons reading this ought really to read my last post called ‘Mortality statistics: Do facts matter (second attempt)’, but, as a reminder, here is the table that I published:
Year…….Total deaths………..Cancers……………Lung cancers.
You can see at a glance that total deaths fell in each subsequent year in the table, apart form 2013. You can also see that deaths from all cancers rose and deaths from lung cancers (almost all trachea, bronchus and lung) rose slowly but steadily.
Better, however, to look at the percentages (proportions):
Year…….Total deaths………..Cancers……………Lung cancers.
The ‘cancers’ column is the percentage of total deaths which were from cancer, and the ‘lung cancers’ column is the percentage of total deaths which were specifically from lung cancer (almost all ‘trachea, bronchus and lung’).
The period involved is fourteen years, which is a substantial period of time. Smoking prevalence fell substantially from 1970 onwards. After 30 years, the result of this collapse in smoking in England and Wales, ought to have been a reduction in the incidence of lung cancers. But it is clear that it has not happened.
Here is the interesting thing. I can add to those tables the figures from 1980 and 1990:
Year…….Total deaths………..Cancers……………Lung cancers.
Again, it is more instructive to use the percentages:
Year…….Total deaths………..Cancers……………Lung cancers.
So now we see a period of 34 years. During that period of time, smoking prevalence has fallen steadily from about 70% in males and 50% in females to some 20% in males and some 15% in females. And yet, over that long period of time, no diminution of lung cancer deaths, as a proportion of total deaths, has occurred.
There is a very big contradiction exposed here (even if simplistically). The Doll ‘Doctors Study’ made an extraordinary claim, which was that heavy smokers were around fifteen times more likely to die from LC than non-smokers. That is a massive, massive difference. If the effect of smoking is so absolutely awful, then at least some diminution of LC should have occurred. It certainly ought not to have increased, no matter how slight the increase might be.
There is a stench. the stench could be that the Doctors Study was manipulated, along with other similar studies conducted around the same time by the prohibitionists and eugenicists whose activities were interrupted by WW2, and who subsequently morphed into ‘sustainability’ (including population control). That could be true. But what I think is more likely is that smoking, especially in wartime conditions and heavily polluted atmospheric conditions, took the blame. Since the smoking ban, many pubs have closed. As a smoker, I blame the smoking ban, but I was already aware, before the ban, that my local was not doing the business that it used to. The smoking ban tipped many pubs over the edge of insolvency. Smoking might be similar, in the sense of being ‘the last straw’. That might be the case if a person’s lungs had been badly damaged by sulphuric acid in the air and smoking raised the risk beyond what the body could cope with. That is a common phenomenon and arises all the time. Flood defences, for example, are built to withstand invasion of water to a certain extent. When the invasion is greater, the defences cannot cope, and often collapse.
We do not have the resources to conduct detailed epidemiological studies to explain the continuing prevalence of LC taking into consideration the huge fall in smoking prevalence. Tobacco Companies have. Regardless of the demonisation, those companies should instigate studies into the phenomenon of the lack of diminution of LC. If the BMJ editor refuses to publish the results of a genuine study, then all hell should result in the scientific community. But do not hold your breath.
And so to bed.
A couple of years ago, I did some investigating about the trend in cancer, and particularly lung cancer, deaths in England and Wales. I extracted figures from 2000, 2006 and 2011 and compared the totals. Here is the result from that post:
Year…….Total deaths………..Cancers……………Lung cancers.
NB. The ‘Lung Cancers’ in the right hand column are deaths specifically in ‘trachea, bronchus and lung’ and do not include more specific sites, but are by far the most likely sites.
You can see immediately a few facts:
In those specific years, total deaths declined in number each year. (I have not cherry-picked those years. 2000 is turn of century, 2011 was latest available figures, and 2006 is a mid-point) However, in those years, cancer deaths as a whole increased. LC deaths remained fairly steady, although it is clear at a glance that LC deaths were increasing as a proportion of all deaths.
Before we go any further, I have to say that these stats are very simplistic. But they are not designed to be otherwise. They are intended merely to indicate general trends without drawing any special conclusion. They merely pose some questions.
A couple of days ago, I decided to update the above table. There is a significant delay in the publication of national statistics, so that, for example, 2014 stats will not be published until October 2015. But I was able to get 2013 stats. I can thus update the above table as follows:
Year…….Total deaths………..Cancers……………Lung cancers.
Again, we see cancer deaths (including LCs) creeping upwards, but to get a clearer picture, it is better to use percentages (proportions).
Using the above figures, we can extract these proportions:
Year…….Total deaths………..Cancers……………Lung cancers.
We all know that smoking has been blamed for not only lung cancers but also other cancers, and a myriad of other diseases. Again, in terms of very general trends, let us look at smoking prevalence:
Males are the red line and females are the blue. The first graph is 35 – 59 and the second is 60+, but the difference hardly matters. What is important is the general trend in all age groups and both sexes for a reduction in smoking prevalence since 1970. The graphs end at 2000, but that hardly matters since we know that the downward trend continued.
What is important is that I think that we all know that Doll et al ‘Doctors Study’ predicted that there was a delay of about 30 years before smoking began to cause deaths. Once again, I shall my version of Doll’s graph:
Among the doctors in the study, the average age for smoking commencement was nineteen and a half – let’s call it 20. Note that, in the graph, almost nothing happened before the age of 40 (20 years later). At that point, there is almost nothing to observe which could not be explained for any number of reasons. Only around the age of 50 does any noticeable difference start to emerge, but even then, smoker deaths are only about 8% as compared with non-smoker deaths of around 2%. In other words, at that age, 92% of smokers were alive and 98% of non-smokers were alive. Thus, even at the age of 50, 30 years after starting smoking, not a lot of even the heaviest smoking doctors had pegged out. At the age of 60, the difference is getting greater. At that age, some 20% of the heaviest smokers had gone, as compared with some 8% of non-smokers. Reversing the argument – 80% of the heaviest smokers were still alive and 92% of non-smokers were still alive.
What I am saying is that the ‘delay factor’, for the majority of the smoking doctors, was actually far greater than 30 years.
However, here is the important thing. According the the prevalence graph for up to 59 year-olds, smoking dropped from 70% to 50% between 1970 and 1980. Thus, 20 to 34 years later (2000 to 2013), you should expect a reduction in LC deaths as a consequence of the negative ‘delayed effect’ (reduced smoking prevalence should mean a reduced prevalence of LC deaths 30, 40, 50 years later).
As we have seen above, no such reduction is observed.
But, again, I must emphasise that the above is hardly ‘scholarly’. On the other hand, Doll et al’s ‘Doctors Study’ is also hardly ‘scholarly’. Both are just ‘counting’. We have just had a solar eclipse. The reason that we knew when and where it would occur was the result of counting. Clearly, such counting is extremely clever. I would never be able to do it. But such counting is not even remotely as valuable as Faraday’s experiments with electricity and magnetism. Even today, no one really fully understands it.
The Zealots have tried to reduce the incidence of ‘smoking related diseases’ to counting. They have tried to equate ‘smoking related diseases’ to a type of astronomy, like solar eclipses, while avoiding the “Faraday” test – cause and effect.
I have been toying with the idea of investigating a more delicate breakdown of the statistics. For example, male and female smoking prevalence was different, and the LC figures were different. Yes, it would be interesting to compare the two sets of figures. But it involves a lot of work, and I am not sure that the effort is worth it in view of the overwhelming NOISE from Tobacco Control propaganda. I think that it may be that the only response in reality will have to be physical. That is, smuggling. I mean ‘proper’ smuggling and not the ‘crack down’ on legitimate small businesses importing a few kilograms of tobacco leaf legitimately and above board in accordance with EU trade agreements concerning ‘agricultural produce’.
I don’t understand.
It would be quite easy for Cameron et al to differentiate between what is important (such as the NHS) and what is not important (such as smoking on hospital grounds). No politician dares to attack the Zealots, even though that is precisely what we elect them to do.
I SHALL vote in the General Election. I SHALL vote for UKIP. Just as the Anglican Church and the Catholic Church are shadows of their former selves, so are the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Parties. As far as membership is concerned, they are fading to nothing. Thus, it is obvious that only special interest groups are keeping them alive.
Cameron may be Prime Minister, but who decided that he should be a candidate in the first place? Who promoted him? Who created the ‘stage’ whereupon he delivered his word-perfect, learned-line-by-line speech at the infamous Tory Conference?
The stink of corruption gets more noticeable every day, day after day.