Publishing Facts

Here we are again – 1 am and starting a post. But, on the smoking front, there has not been much activity. But I don’t much like always being in a position of responding to the claims, demands and press releases of the likes of ASH. I would rather attack them if possible.

For example, does the ‘advertising ban’ of tobacco products mean that the publication of ‘facts’ about tobacco products is banned? If that is true, then it is extremely odd that both current productions of TV programmes, and old and modern films constantly show people smoking. I am, at this moment, watching a ‘Columbo’. He has a cigar in his hand. At this moment, in the background, there is a person smoking a fag. But it is an old flic. Nevertheless, programmes like Coronation Street frequently show people smoking. If the advertising ban is intended to block all references to tobacco products, then people smoking in Coronation Street is a form of ‘advertisement’. But, if the authorities actually thought that idea to be true, then they would have banned Corry from showing anyone smoking years ago. Nor would any old flic be permitted, unless tobacco products and their use were edited out.

The question then arises as to ‘what constitutes an advertisement’? Perhaps it might be worth exploring the law banning tobacco product adverts precisely. Does the law state that Tobacco Manufacturers cannot take slots on TV, between programmes, to state facts about their products? Suppose that a manufacturer deliberately took out an advert saying that on no account should anyone buy or consume a certain tobacco product because it had been recalled due to impurities which had accidentally entered into the production of the product. Would such an advert be forbidden? Would such a statement be an advert at all? Or, suppose that a producer used the TV advertising system simply to tell people that the specification of a particular tobacco product had changed? Would that be an advert?

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There is a point to the above. The ‘slippery slope’ is becoming more and more apparent. It matters nothing that a particular individual, Arnott, claimed that there was no such thing. She is just a hired hand, employed to state whatever she is told to state. If she lies and cheats, it does not matter since no one is going to sue her for a million pounds compensation for lost social life resulting from her lies. In any case, such a person would lose because Arnott would claim that ‘Sir’ This, and ‘Doctor’ That, and ‘Professor’ The Other said so. The intrigue among the Zealots knows no bounds.

Here is an interesting question. If the drinks, sugar, salt industries combined and produced TV adverts stating facts about the care which they take to ensure the purity of their products, would the be ‘advertisements’? Remember that the adverts would not be orientated at ‘persuasion to purchase’, but merely to inform/educate. Also, if they got their heads together, all manufacturers of juices could get together and create adverts describing the processes that they use to produce their ‘pure’ products. If the add sugar, then they should clearly state why the do so. Such an explanation could be that the sugars counter and neutralise the acids, and, at the same time, neutralise the sugars. Yes, the product will taste sweet, but only because the acids have been neutralised.

I hope that readers will understand that I am just surmising or painting a picture which might or might not be true. But it is hard to see how or why the ‘authorities’ could or should ban factual statements.

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Thus, it appears to me that all the organisations which will suffer from the ‘slippery slope’ MUST get together and start advertising like mad to educate the public about the ‘purity’ of their products. Thus, the emphasis will move from the visualisation projected by the Zealots of ‘whole population’ danger, to individual choices.

Would TV stations like ITV refuse to run such adverts? I do not know. But if ALL the producers of the adverts, and other groups which could also slip down the slippery slope, got together and threatened not to advertise at all for a year, I think that ITV would capitulate pronto.

I don’t understand why these producers cannot see ‘the slippery slope’ and why they continue to allow themselves to be picked off one by one. Perhaps their publicity departments are too introspective. That is, that they can only conceive of belligerent activities in competition with other, similar manufacturers. Fools! They need, collectively, to defeat the Zealots. It is very easy to defeat the Zealots, if you have power. These companies have power. All they need to do is sue. Just sue. It does not matter if the lawsuit fails – sue anyway. Sue for defamation. Sue again and again. Keep on suing. Demand proof of harm. Demand proof that YOUR product is harmful. The thing is that it is not the manufacturer’s fault if an individual person, somewhere in the UK, gobbles Big Macs and chocolate biscuits and drinks ‘sugary drinks’. The combination is like being in the WW1 trenches, smoking, and inhaling mustard gas. All three must be present (or not), or, to be more exact, no one element is causal. The combination of the three (or more, such as genetics) is required, but not in every single individual case. Very occasionally, children under ten years old die from lung cancer. More ‘youngsters’ die from LC year by year as they age. The numbers are tiny (in the range of one to ten or so per an). But the important point is that it happens. And it happens to be true that the incidence of LC increases inexorably by age. You might equate the incidence to ‘tooth rot’. Some people seem to be protected against tooth rot, whereas other can brush and brush and brush, and yet their teeth still rot. “that’s life”, one might say.

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I have nothing against ‘Public Health’, but I object to Public Health being hijacked by Prohibitionists. Our esteemed politicians ought to have seen the difference years ago. There are only two legitimate anti-tobacco stances:

1) Ban all tobacco completely in any form, including growing the plants.

2) Ban the purchase of tobacco products before the age of 16, 18, 20, or whatever (although the ages quoted have no real significance).

Other than that, there is really nothing to say. It is surprising that Tobacco Control has extended so far. The construed effects are as nothing when compared to the effects of malaria. But our politicians have allowed themselves to be mesmerised. NO ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE SHOULD ALLOW HIMSELF TO BE USED AS AN INSTRUMENT OF PERSECUTION. Thus, those politicians who have perused anti-smoker policies are guilty of persecuting.

I like the idea of ‘persecuting‘ per se. In any given circumstance, whether it be tobacco or any other product, the persecution reveals itself. In the case of the enjoyment of tobacco, the persecution hits hardest upon the poorest of people. It hits the people who most gain solace from tobacco both emotionally and financially. It is cruel and viscous.

Thus it is clear that it is pointless arguing with the Zealots on their own terms. Change the terms. Refuse to accept ‘population-wide’ suppositions. Make individuals important. Ask what the words ‘our children’ mean. Whose children? When did ASH gain any sort of authority whatsoever to control children?

But that is not enough. Tobacco Control must be eliminated from schools. Schools do not exist to disseminate propaganda. Schools exist to teach FACTS. As has been sees in the McTear Case, not even ‘Tobacco caused LC” has been proven at all.

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So why is it that Tobacco Companies are so reluctant to take on and fight against the ‘advertising ban’? Specifically, why do they not defy the ban as regards spreading information which is not actually promotional?

 

 

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