More Evidence of Crookedness in Tobacco Control

Chris Snowden at VGIF has a habit of finding ‘revelations’.

http://velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/the-missing-plain-packs-data.html

It seems that only one study has specifically enquired into the affect of plain packaging on youth smoking. You can access the whole thing, or simply read the digest, here:

http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/workingpapers.php?id=828

The study was undertaken by researchers at the Uni of Zurich, and found that PP had made no difference to youth smoking in Australia. Chantler invited the authors to London and they were interviewed by a couple of bods from the Health Dept. Although the study was considered, it was rejected because:

“The short time span doesn’t allow for extrapolation regarding even short term effect when there’s variability.” 

Nor was the study listed.

In a comment to Snowden’s post, Nisak pointed out that, had the study indicated some downturn in smoking among youths, then you can bet that it would have been in PRIME POSITION as PROOF that PP was working in Australia.

It seems that the study was financed by Philip Morris, and we know that TC exclude anything funded by tobacco companies, but, even so, as an ‘independent’ reviewer of the evidence, Chantler should not have been influenced by such considerations. After all, he could easily have had his own statisticians check the detailed figures. I have done similar things myself by searching for, and finding, deaths stats from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, etc and comparing lung cancer death figures with today’s figures. It takes time, but is not difficult – and I am no statistician.

I find it really weird that people like Chantler, who is supposed to be a paragon of virtue, turn out to be charlatans of the worst sort.  They do not misbehave for money, but for some other reason. Let us contemplate this (from my post of 5th April):

Guido Fawkes has dug out some interesting facts about Mr Chantler:

http://order-order.com/2014/04/03/smoked-chantlers-plain-package-parliamentary-pass-perk/

Just how neutral is Maria Miller’s smokescreen and plain package advocate Sir Cyril Chantler? Earlier he would have had us believe he is just a simple Consultant Paediatrician, yet he holds a Parliamentary staff pass from Baroness Cumberlege, the former Junior Health Minister, who in 1992 called for a complete phase out on the sale of cigarettes in the UK by 2020:

“The 25 phase-out would require sharp reductions in the numbers of young people who take up smokers “redoubling education efforts will go a long way to that end,” said Lady Cumberlege “Ultimately, I suppose some form of prescription dispensing could be envisioned to ‘accommodate’ the last aged addicted smokers in the realm,” she said.”

If you follow the ‘staff pass’ link, you find this:

Baroness Cumberlege.

Staff…………………….. Other relevant gainful occupation or benefit.

Sir Cyril Chantler…… Chairman, UCL Partners Academic Health Science Partnership; Non-executive Director, By the Bridge (fostering agency); Chairman, Clinical Audit Committee NHS England; Occasional inquiries or reviews on NHS matters.

So why do people like Chantler cheat?

I feel that it must be because they think that they are doing “God’s Work”. I mean in the sense that smoking tobacco is an evil aberration, which must be eradicated, and what must be done to eradicate it must be done. For this reason, I think that the Chantlers of this world have no qualms whatsoever in bending the facts. Their consciences are clear. ANYTHING that might militate against the evil of smoking tobacco, no matter how outrageous, is acceptable. Further, since the ‘lower classes’ are the principle culprits, then no mercy should be shown to them. They must be punished by high taxation and prohibitions.

Public Health is equivalent to Salvation. Save Your Souls be Following the True Path to Salvation from the Evil of Tobacco. (PS. This applies only to people of the ‘lower sort’. The ‘better sort’ need not bother)

———-

The crookedness of the Chantler report is clear for all to see.

BUT THAT DOES NOT MATTER! It was never intended to be anything but a political ploy. It is all part of a political game. PP was in the long grass until Labour sneaked amendments into a government bill in the Lords. Labour had a jolly good laugh at how they had put one over on the Tories. And so the Tories came back with a ploy of their own: change horses and support PP! Thus, the Tories called Labour’s bluff by, in effect, saying: “Right – are you going to do your duty as ‘Her Majesty’s Opposition’ and oppose PP?”

The only question which arises now is whether or not the CABINET have the guts to see it through and say that Labour has not done its duty by opposing PP! In reality, all they have to do is sit tight and refuse to introduce legislation. After all, despite the crookedness of the Chantler report, Chantler’s recommendation was far from adulatory. “It might just work” is what he said.

In a political sense, apart from the jostling and shenanigans among the silly political parties in Westminster, Cameron et al MUST be aware that further persecution of smokers MUST drive more of their natural supporters towards UKIP. Oddly enough, although I am not sure why it should be odd, the same applies to Labour.  But perhaps both parties have worked out that the transfers of allegiance will balance out. Fundamentally, both parties probably estimate that UKIP will not gain any seats in parliament, and therefore will not upset the balance of power. They probably estimate that the one thing to avoid AT ALL COSTS is to suggest that they are not in favour of THE CHILDREN.

========

The transparent crookedness of the Chantler report is symptomatic of a deeper malaise. The deeper malaise is revolves around the whole ‘science’ of epidemiology. There is far too much leeway for crooked practices. For example, has anyone ever ploughed through Doll’s data on the Doctors Study? Does anyone know for certain that the data was not ‘smoothed’? You see, Doll made special efforts to contact the doctors of people who died from LC to ensure that they did in fact die from LC, but he did not check that people who were reported to have died from some other ailment did NOT die from LC.

But it goes further. As we all know (!), there were horrendous smogs around the time that the Doctors Study was undertaken. Also, the UK had just emerged from a World War. Further, there was no known causal mechanism for smoking to cause lung cancer. The reason for the importance if this mechanism is that, in its absence, any sort of CROOKEDNESS is possible.

The more that I read an hear from the Holy Zealots about the Evil of Tobacco Smoking, the more I doubt the original ‘evidence’.

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2 Responses to “More Evidence of Crookedness in Tobacco Control”

  1. michaeljmcfadden Says:

    Junican, you wrote, “I feel that it must be because they think that they are doing “God’s Work”. I mean in the sense that smoking tobacco is an evil aberration, which must be eradicated, and what must be done to eradicate it must be done. For this reason, I think that the Chantlers of this world have no qualms whatsoever in bending the facts. Their consciences are clear. ANYTHING that might militate against the evil of smoking tobacco, no matter how outrageous, is acceptable. ”

    Very true. In my classifications in Brains Chantler would primarily fit in the category of The Idealist, though he might well have some element of The Moralist built in as well. They’re more dangerous than the simply Greedy, because the Greedy may temper their actions because of pangs of conscience. Idealists and Moralists are acting under the dictates of that conscience though, and thus see nothing at all wrong with what they’re doing — even when the collateral damage mounts up!

    – MJM

  2. Junican Says:

    Indeed, MjM. It is hard to think of a worse choice of investigator than a paediatrician, no matter how PRINCIPLED he might appear to be on the surface. In fact, his PRINCIPLES must militate against objectivity.
    Objectivity, even though the enquiry was about health consequences, would have demanded a person from another discipline, since there is no possibility that the colour of cig packets directly affect health.
    But all of this does not matter a damn when the whole thing is just a political ploy.

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