Public Health England Cover Themselves to Repel Complaints about the New Advert: Some Observations on Ebola

Gosh, but these people are cunning!

I wonder how long ago work started on preparing the ground for the wonderful, new, ‘hard-hitting’, playing games with words, ‘stop the rot’ advert? One month, two months, three months, more? Some reasonably long time must have been allowed because there had to be time for the cover-up to be organised.

For Public Health England arranged for a sort of meta-study to be ‘created’ in advance. Here it is:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/smoking-progressive-decline-of-the-bodys-major-systems

“An expert review commissioned by Public Health England to coincide with the launch of the 2015 New Year smokefree ‘health harms’ campaign.”

says the intro. And what was this expert review?

The role of smoking in the progressive decline of the body’s major systems

And who was the ‘Expert’?

 Author: Dr Rachael Murray.
UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies.
Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Nottingham.

A  bloody academic who knows bugger all about ‘the body’s major systems’.

But do you see the cunningness? PHE scaremongering department pick up on a useful phrase in the English Language – ‘stop the rot’. Everyone knows how that useful phrase is used – it means ‘stop things getting any worse’. It can be used in umpteen different circumstances, such as a football team manager wanting to ‘stop the rot’ if his team is falling down the league table. But it suites the scaremongers better if the word ‘rot’ regains its nastiness in the sense of real rotting – like what corpses do. So they get this academic to trawl the studies looking for suitable correlations to back them up. If anyone complains, then it is not PHE’s fault. It is the fault of the academic, who can also claim that it is not her fault; it is the fault of the original researchers who did the studies. Neat, don’t you think? In other words, a complainant would have to be able to argue the toss about the strength of the studies.

“It describes how smoking causes deterioration and degeneration, in a process similar to rotting.”

says PHE about Murrey’s meta-data.

Needless to say, it does nothing of the sort. Here is a sample:

Cigarette smoking leads to increased fracture rates of the hip, spine, distal radius and other osteoporosis-related fractures, with reports that this increased risk across all bone sites is approximately 5% in women and 11% in men, with the greatest increases evident at the hip (31% for women, 40% for men) and at the lumbar spine (13% for women and 32% for men).”

Do you see the trick there? “Cigarette smoking leads to  means ’causes’, but reports only indicate increased risk. 

Looking at the figures in that sentence, what does an increased risk of 5% mean?

For such a figure to mean anything, there must be a base of non-smokers who suffer fractures. In this case, there must be, for example, 100 non-smokers who get such fractures. In this case, according to these figures, there would be 105 smokers who get such fractures. Thus, it is clear that smoking does not cause the fractures, otherwise there would be hardly any such fractures in non-smokers. The same applies to the other figures. hip fractures – 100 non-smokers and 131 smokers. Again, the non-smoker hip fractures show that smoking is not the cause. What is the cause? Almost always due to falling over and being old. Are smokers more likely to fall over? Not unlikely, if they also enjoy a wee dram fairly often.

As we have seen time and time again, it is not difficult to cherry pick studies, if the author is protected by the might of the Dept of Health.

But is the weakening of bones in old age a sign of the body ‘rotting’? Well, you could say that, if you want to use the word ‘rot’ in a sense in which it was never intended to be used. Readers will know that my wife has MS (has had since she was about 30 – now 73). I often, in jest, say to her that she is ‘rotting away’ if she gets a rash or something. If you want to say that bodies rot in old age, you can do, but that happens to all of us eventually, smoker or not.

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As a result of the low cunning of Public Health England’s surrender to the Tobacco Control Industry, it would not be possible to complain to the Advertising Standards Agency on the grounds of actual physical effects of smoking, even though the word ‘rot’ is inaccurate. In any case, we know from the recent complaints (did I say ‘recent’?) about the tumour adverts that the ASA has been corrupted by politics.

I left a comment at Simon Clark’s place ‘Taking Liberties’:

I trust that you have a complaint already on the way to Advertising Standards signed by about 4,000 Forest supporters? If not, then I would readily append my signature to such a complaint.
Grounds of complaint:
1. The advert shows how to roll a cigarette which will instruct children.
2. The advert shows a person enjoying tobacco, which promotes tobacco.
3. The ad shows a person smoking in a playground, which promotes the idea of smoking in places where children are present.
4. The ad is factually incorrect – the rotting flesh ought to have been dried and shredded before any attempt to roll it into a cigarette was attempted. The shredding should have been not more that 1 millimetre in width, if it is to truly depict rolling tobacco.
5. The depiction of the act of smoking the rolled cigarette is impossible since it would be impossible to light such a cigarette due to the dampness of the rotting flesh.
6. The advert glamorises cannibalism.

Need I go further?

But complaining is pointless. By the time that the complaint is dealt with, the advert’s run will be over and done with. It’s just a January thing, innit?

By the way, today an ecig advert appeared! Perhaps the ecig industry has not missed a trick after all! But would it not be fun if the PHE adverts were immediately followed by ecig adverts!?

I don’t suppose that it would be permissible for the ecig advertisers to say, “Wanna stop the rot…?” Although I don’t see why not. After all, it is hardly a health claim, is it?

====

Here is a list of the ailments caused by ‘rot’ induced by smoking:

Osteoporosis.

Fractures/[lack of] bone repair.

Rheumatoid arthritis.

Soft tissue [damage].

Dementia.

Cognitive impairment.

Oral cancers.

Periodontitis and tooth loss.

Dental caries.

Age-related macular degeneration.

Cataract.

Other eye conditions.

Plus loads of other conditions slipped into each segment.

But, as I said earlier, non-smokers are ‘rotting’ almost as much as smokers. If enjoying tobacco, alcohol, chocolate, steak, etc means that I ‘rot’ a little more quickly than non-smoking miseries, then I shall gladly accept the risks.

===

Meanwhile, in the hallowed halls of the WHO, the Powers-That-Be continue to stumble about trying to avoid the problem of Ebola. The New York Times has had investigators looking at what has been happening in West Africa. The history of the outbreak is not pretty. Here is the report:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/30/health/how-ebola-roared-back.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=1

While the WHO was having jollies in Moscow, and excluding The People from its fun, whole families – grandparents, parents, children, aunts and uncles – were being wiped out. Operatives on the ground complained about delays, lack of money and resources.

And the slaughter goes on.

 

 

 

 

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4 Responses to “Public Health England Cover Themselves to Repel Complaints about the New Advert: Some Observations on Ebola”

  1. garyk30 Says:

    “In this case, there must be, for example, 100 non-smokers who get such fractures. In this case, according to these figures, there would be 105 smokers who get such fractures.

    Thus, it is clear that smoking does not cause the fractures, otherwise there would be hardly any such fractures in non-smokers.”

    Also, how do they tell which of the 105 were ’caused’ by smoking.

    Since all fractures look alike, one is left with determining ‘Probility’.

    100/105 = 95%

    If a smoker gets such a fracture, there is a 95% probability the fracture was ’caused’ by something other than smoking.

    100/131 = 76% probability something else was the problem.

    The using of ‘risk’ for ’cause’ is indeed a deliberate falsehood.

    • junican Says:

      So how to promulgate the fraudulent nature of the data? That is the problem. The fraud cannot go on for ever, can it?

  2. prog Says:

    Ripping their studies apart using easy to understand and honest reasoning is a good tactic. That said, it’s far easier to deceive people than to convince them they’re being deceived (not sure who said that).

    • junican Says:

      It is not so much about ripping the studies. It is more about the studies being concerned with minor differences. Taking matters to the extreme, for example, would it make sense to ban swimming in the sea on the grounds that there is a statistical calculation that more people drown in the sea as compared with the municipal baths.
      Smoking bans depend upon a totalitarian reality, which is that everyone suffers. Well, possibly, but the probability is that one would have to be, say, 150 years old before any significant effect from SHS or ecigs occurred.

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