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Anti-prohibition news from over the world

Collected live from our allies' blogs.
Note: All opinions expressed below are those of the authors only, not necessarily TICAP's.

Tobacco Control Has Nothing To Do With Health

Published on 2017-12-13 13:51:15.
Website: Frank Davis


Taking Liberties has a picture showing the latest Tobacco Control “plain packaging” scheme: I’m not in the least bit surprised. I was considering exactly this possibility a year or two ago: you deface not just the product packaging, but also … Continue reading →

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Kick out the killjoys

Published on 2017-12-13 11:25:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Newsnight recently asked me if I'd like to say something for their two minute Viewsnight slot. I decided to talk about health panics and the need to defund the nanny state. Here it is...


I was also talking about Killjoys on the Tom Woods podcast this week. You can listen to it here.

Don't forget that you can download the book for free. There's a link in the sidebar of soundness to the right.

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Austria cancels smoking ban

Published on 2017-12-12 13:05:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The good news just keeps on coming...

Austria stubs out looming smoking ban in name of 'freedom'
Austria’s far-right Freedom party has announced that a planned ban on smoking in all bars and restaurants that was due to come into force in 2018 will be scrapped.

Party chief Heinz-Christian Strache said the reversal was agreed in ongoing talks to form a coalition with the conservative People’s party (OVP) following elections in October.

“I am proud of this excellent solution in the interests of non-smokers, smokers and restaurant owners,” Strache, who had made the move a key campaign pledge, said on social media.

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The Life Of The Party

Published on 2017-12-12 11:44:05.
Website: Frank Davis


Hat tip Smoking Lamp for what looks like good news: VIENNA, Dec 11 (Reuters) – While much of the West has barred smoking in restaurants and bars, Austria’s planned ban has gone up in smoke. The small, affluent country is … Continue reading →

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The Disgusting, Illiberal, Interfering, Busybody, Antismoking Habit

Published on 2017-12-11 12:26:51.
Website: Frank Davis


A few days ago I came across an article by Rob Lyons on Spiked – Advocacy research: what a filthy habit -, the last paragraph of which declared: Anti-smoking is hypochondria-by-proxy, an obsessive compulsive disorder whose sufferers demand that the … Continue reading →

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Bye Bye Johnny

Published on 2017-12-10 10:33:46.
Website: Frank Davis


Commenter Igrowmyown drew attention yesterday to the death aged 74 of French rock star Johnny Hallyday, wondering at the lack of any mention of his lifetime smoking habit. I can’t say that I was ever a fan of his. He … Continue reading →

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A Healthy Dose Of Common Sense

Published on 2017-12-09 18:34:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


Today I was in Puddlecoteville town centre for some Christmas shopping. Mrs P went into New Look in the shopping mall for some vouchers and - as men do - I hung around outside instead. Sat on a bench outside the shop I took a quick vape on my 18mg 50/50 Lime Zest at 8.9 watts (so no big clouds). Just as I did so a security guard - as wide as he was tall - waddled over to me; the conversation went exactly like this:

"'Ere, fella, you can't do that in here"
"Oh right, so you've changed policy then? Is that why the two vape shops have gone? You kicked them out?
"Well, they left"

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Growth, Climax, Decay, Collapse

Published on 2017-12-09 12:32:13.
Website: Frank Davis


I was thinking this morning about the various new political organisations that have appeared over the past 70 years or so (i.e. over my lifetime). The UN, the EU, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Oxfam, and the like come to … Continue reading →

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Laughing at Aseem Malhotra

Published on 2017-12-09 10:36:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The British Dietetic Association has published a list of the Top Five Celeb Diets to Avoid in 2018 and it is no great surprise to see Aseem Malhotra's ridiculous Pioppi Diet make the cut.

...the authors may well be the only people in the history of the planet who have been to Italy and come back with a diet named after an Italian village that excludes pasta, rice and bread – but includes coconuts – perhaps because they have a low carb agenda. The suggestion that this Italian village should be associated with recipes for cauliflower base pizza and rice substitute made from grated cauliflower or anything made using coconut oil is ridiculous. It also uses potentially dangerous expressions like "clean meat" and encourages people to starve themselves for 24 hours at a time every week... The traditional Mediterranean diet is a healthy choice but this had been hijacked here. Fasting may help weight loss but the only reason their other advice is likely to help people lose weight is because it involves eating less food and calories.

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So Many Questions About Glantz

Published on 2017-12-08 12:03:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


So ...

Following swiftly on from Chapman being excoriated in the Aussie parliament, let's talk about Mad Stan the aircraft mechanic. Because he's in a bit of a pickle, it seems.
A former UC San Francisco doctoral researcher Wednesday filed a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment by a prominent tobacco control activist and tenured UCSF professor Stanton Glantz that spanned nearly two years. The lawsuit also alleges that Glantz retaliated against his former mentee, Eunice Neeley, after she complained about him to the university’s administration by removing Neeley’s name from a research paper. Neeley accused Glantz of consistent inappropriate behavior that included staring at her body, making comments directed at Neeley referencing sex, making sexual remarks about other women to Neeley while at the workplace, and making racist remarks about Neeley, who is black. Pretty grubby stuff, huh? But this was the kicker for me.

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Does Australia Punish Those Who Mislead Government?

Published on 2017-12-07 22:40:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


Things have been busy in Puddlecoteville and surrounds, so I'm lagging behind somewhat.

Many will have already seen this, but just in case you haven't, here is Simon Chapman taken to the cleaners by Senator David Leyonhjelm under parliamentary privilege.


The central point the Senator was making is that Chapman was so woeful in his submission to the Australian Senate Inquiry into e-cigs that Public Health England took the unprecedented step of writing and correcting him.

The question is whether this was deliberate or not

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Stanton Glantz accused of sexual harassment

Published on 2017-12-07 11:29:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist



From the San Francisco Examiner...

A former UC San Francisco doctoral researcher Wednesday filed a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment by a prominent tobacco control activist and tenured UCSF professor Stanton Glantz that spanned nearly two years.

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Senator Leyonhjelm on Simon Chapman

Published on 2017-12-06 11:24:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Jurassic wowser Simon Chapman talked so much bollocks in Australia's recent e-cigarette inquiry that Public Health England sent a letter to the Senate to correct his 'series of factual errors' (see below if the link doesn't work).

This week, Senator David Leyonhjelm picked up the baton and delivered a speech that I think many readers of this blog will enjoy...





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First Major Action of Foundation for a "Smoke-Free World" Shows that It is Largely a Scam

Published on 2017-12-06 01:02:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary


I have already written about why I refused to participate in the activities of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, which I believe is essentially a front-group created by Philip Morris International (PMI) primarily to promote its business interests. I explained that if PMI were serious about creating a smoke-free world, it would stop aggressively marketing its deadly products throughout the world and stop opposing public health policies to reduce tobacco use.

The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World recently released a call for research proposals for preliminary projects that entail research to help the Foundation obtain the background information necessary for it to proceed effectively in its supposed mission to create a smoke-free world. By reviewing the call for proposals, we are now able to understand just how the Foundation is essentially a scam operation.

The Foundation calls for “scoping projects” to study strategies to reduce smoking. But nowhere in the five-page document does it mention anything about interventions to: (1) severely restrict or curtail cigarette advertising and marketing; (2) require plain packaging; (3) substantially increase cigarette taxes; (4) promote 100% smoke-free environments; and (5) heavily fund aggressive, state-of-the-art anti-smoking media campaigns.

In fact, the word “industry” appears only once, and it is not clear that marketing, taxation, clean indoor air, or counter-advertising are what the Foundation has in mind (especially since it groups “industry” with “farming”).

In contrast, the Foundation does want to support research on the role of genetics, physiology, individual choices and activities and environmental influences.

Frankly, this is all essentially a waste of time. We already know what interventions are most effective in reducing smoking rates. We don’t need more research to find out what works. What we need to do is to heavily fund programs to promote these tried and true policy strategies.

If the Foundation were serious about wanting to create a smoke-free world, then instead of wasting this money on research into topics like genetics and individual choices and activities, it would use its money to fund programs to implement – worldwide – policies and programs that we know are effective. These are: 1) severely restrict or curtail cigarette advertising and marketing; (2) require plain packaging; (3) substantially increase cigarette taxes; (4) promote 100% smoke-free environments; and (5) heavily fund aggressive, state-of-the-art anti-smoking media campaigns. It would also provide funding to create or supplement tobacco control infrastructure in countries throughout the world and to support the development of grassroots coalitions to promote policies to fight the tobacco industry.

In other words, these are all the programs that the Foundation fails to mention at all in its call for proposals.

Sometimes, what you don’t say is more important than what you do say. That is certainly the case here. The Foundation says nothing about the most effective interventions to reduce smoking, while focusing almost exclusively on areas that have little to no relevance.

You might argue that the Foundation can’t fund programs to promote bans on cigarette marketing, high cigarette taxes, plain packaging, and aggressive anti-smoking media campaigns that attack the industry because it is funded by the tobacco industry. Well

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Utter Waste Of Public Money

Published on 2017-12-03 20:18:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


Just a quick one this. Let's lay to rest an inane argument that keeps repeating itself in ignorant comments sections and social media and has done for years.

On Friday, Mark Pawsey MP wrote an article on Con Home to say that vaping should be supported by government. As I was reading it, I just knew that someone would react like this ... and in fact three did in the comments.
"If this is the best thing you have to occupy your thought processes then I feel sorry for you. Its a trivial matter, compared to many big issues where the country is so obviously doing badly." "All-Parliamentary Group for e-cigarettes? You couldn't make it up." "complete and utter waste of public money wasting time on stuff like this"Now, these dismissive arguments have cropped up for years when anyone discusses relaxing restrictions or de-regulating on lifestyle issues. For example, in 2010 when David Nuttall presented a ten minute rule bill on amending the smoking ban, the coverage was besieged by those who said he was wasting parliamentary time.

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Who will check the fact-checkers?

Published on 2017-12-02 14:10:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


In the post-truth world in which we supposedly live, the rise of professional fact-checkers is welcome. The BBC's More or Less is the pick of the bunch, but it's only 30 minutes on Radio 4 for a few months each year. Online, Full Fact does a great job of picking apart the numbers of the day. 

Channel 4's FactCheck is less impressive but it can be useful when it isn't buckling to political activists (as it did last week when it changed the headline and website address of this article).

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Plain Failure

Published on 2017-12-01 10:37:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


Longer term readers here will remember the fiasco of the plain packs campaign in the UK. The often fraudulent abuses of process, democracy and common decency were quite shocking and this article would turn into a mini-book if they were all listed here. But here is a reminder of a few highlights:

Attempting to rig the consultation; producing literature containing bald-faced lies to MPs; enthusiastically encouraging corrupt multiple signatures; and attempting to influence government to exclude any consultation responses they disagreed with and then trying to hide the evidence. Along with inviting two zealous supporters of plain packaging to review the evidence, including a far-left lunatic who simply despises marketing of any product, before producing an impact assessment document which the Regulatory Policy Committee rightly considered shoddy. This without mentioning shovelling taxpayer cash to vested interests to lobby government with, making demonstrably false claims, and blatantly misrepresenting the results of their own research.

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Torturing the data the Australian way

Published on 2017-12-01 07:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Today is the fifth anniversary of plain packaging in Australia. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll be aware that it was a flop. I've written an article for City AM picking at the scab of this policy because it is important to audit 'public health' measures to see if they fulfil the promises that their advocates make for them. They rarely do.

No one has does more to expose the junk science used to justify plain packaging in Australia than the economist Sinclair Davidson. He has made a short video showing the various tactics used to torture the data. It's well worth a watch...

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Bescherung im Spendenshop

Published on 2017-11-29 22:34:39.
Website: Netzwerk Rauchen e.V.


Zwei weitere Produkte als Dankeschön Im Netzwerk-Rauchen-Spendenshop gibt es nicht nur seit Kurzem den zweiten Ekelbilder-Sammelband. Pünktlich zur Weihnachtszeit können Sie nun zwei weitere Produkte als Dank für eine kleine Spende erhalten.

Das Poster Flussblick macht sich gut an der Wand. Das Bild zeigt ein Freizeitgelände, auf dem alles erlaubt ist – außer Rauchen, Radfahren, Grillen, Fußballspielen, Skaten, Hunden, Dicken, Essen, Trinken ... Noch ein buntes Werk, aber immer mehr auch graue Realität.

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Tobacco Control Is Eating Itself

Published on 2017-11-29 20:36:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


Any tobacco controller worth their inflated and unnecessary salary will tell you that tobacco companies cannot be trusted because they used to tell lies ... about 30 to 60 years ago.

As a result, industry as a whole is now routinely referred to as being "merchants of doubt". It has been a successful tactic because nowadays even the mundane - and generally ubiquitous in every political policy area - criss-cross of debate on legislative proposals is condemned by tobacco controllers as industry trying to lie. Here is a perfect example from Martin McKee in April this year.

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Live from Cardiff

Published on 2017-11-29 17:13:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


As the BBC rather unexpectedly reported, I attended the Welsh Assembly this morning to give evidence on minimum pricing.

A minimum price for alcohol in Wales could hit drinkers on low incomes and lead to some young people turning to drugs, a think-tank will tell AMs.
The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) will also claim it is "impossible" to predict how consumers will react.

The Welsh Assembly's health and social care committee is taking evidence on the proposed minimum 50p unit price.

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Banning fast food outlets in London

Published on 2017-11-28 12:52:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The major of London, Sadiq Khan, is the latest gullible chump to fall for an idiotic idea from 'public health' busybodies.

Fast-food takeaways will be banned from opening within 400 metres of schools in a bid to tackle the capital’s child obesity epidemic.

... [Khan] said: “Takeaway restaurants are a vibrant part of London life, but it’s important that they are not encouraging our children to make poor food choices.

“I am using all of my powers through my new London Plan to prevent new takeaways from being built just down the road from schools as part of a package of measures to tackle the ticking time bomb of childhood obesity and help us all lead healthier lives.”

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Tobacco Control Researcher Calls for Boycott of Journal, Apparently Because the Editor Supports E-Cigarettes for Harm Reduction

Published on 2017-11-27 18:21:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary


In a comment posted on Dr. Stan Glantz's blog yesterday, Dr. Thomas Eissenberg--a researcher studying electronic cigarettes at Virginia Commonwealth University--called for a boycott of the journal Addiction because of his claim that the editor of the journal exhibited bias in fast-tracking an article that reported low levels of aldehydes in e-cigarette aerosol.

Specifically, Dr. Eissenberg called for researchers to boycott the journal by not submitting articles to it and not reviewing for it "until it has published the means by which it will manage the apparent conflicts of conscience among its editorial staff...". Presumably, Dr. Eissenberg is referring to what he views as a significant conflict of interest of the journal's editor--Dr. Robert West--who he claims violated the peer review process in fast-tracking a 2015 article that defended e-cigarettes against the claim that they expose users to high levels of formaldehyde.

The situation is a bit complex, so let me try to summarize the background as best as I understand it:

In May 2015, Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos and colleagues published an article in Addiction which reported the results of an experiment showing that e-cigarettes only produce aldehydes (such as formaldehyde, a carcinogen) under dry puff conditions. A dry puff occurs when a vaping device overheats the e-liquid, resulting in an unpleasant taste. Most vapers will discontinue vaping when they experience a dry puff. Therefore, if aldehydes are present only under dry puff conditions, then they do not present a major health concern for vapers.

In September 2015, Dr. Eissenberg--along with Dr. Alan Shihadeh and Soha Talih--published a letter to the editor of Addiction in which they accused him of having a "conflict of conscience" that led to a lack of rigorous peer review and inappropriate fast-tracking of the Farsalinos et al. article. The authors' complaint was two-fold: (1) that the review period was only 11 days, which is uniquely brief for this journal; and (2) that the editor--Dr. West--has a significant conflict of interest because he was once quoted in a newspaper article as (according to Eissenberg et al.) stating that: "E-cigarettes are about as safe as you can get

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David Spiegelhater on the drinking guidelines

Published on 2017-11-27 12:10:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The statistician David Spiegelhalter gave a speech to the Public Health England conference in September. You can see it on Youtube. His main point is that the health lobby could do a much better job of communicating risk. In his polite and cheerful way, he gently alludes the fact that many in 'public health' do not want to communicate risk properly. Instead they want to communicate risk in a scary way because their objective is not to have an informed population. It is to have a compliant population.

(There are some exceptions. For example, doctors do not want to scare people off having X-Rays so the (very small) risk of having one is carefully explained in terms of absolute risk rather than relative risk. Cancer Research UK also explain the risk of eating processed meat in absolute terms because they are not yet ready to fight a war on sausages. Contrast this with the way the risk of getting cancer from drinking or breathing secondhand smoke are presented.)

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Public Health England and the drinking guidelines scandal

Published on 2017-11-24 14:00:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


At the end of last month, I revealed the e-mails that show Public Health England telling the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group to change the methodology of their computer model despite the obvious reservations of the latter. The change in methodology had no sound scientific justification but it had the effect of lowering the model's implied drinking guidelines for men from around 21 units to around 13 units. The Chief Medical Officer subsequently announced that the male drinking guidelines would be reduced from 21 units to 14 units.

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Mandatory cycle helmets are a bad idea

Published on 2017-11-24 12:20:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The British government is considering importing another foolish idea from Australia. From The Times...

Cyclists could be made to wear helmets for the first time in a review of bike safety.

A government consultation in the new year will consider whether helmets and high-visibility vests should be mandatory on British roads, the transport minister Jesse Norman said.
There are several problems with this, as I said in Killjoys...

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Five reasons why mandatory food reformulation is a terrible idea

Published on 2017-11-23 11:32:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I've written a short briefing paper for Epicenter about why state-sanctioned food reformulation, as currently being practised by Public Health England, is a bad idea. You can download it here or read it below....

Health by stealth

The food industry is highly competitive and innovative. Its products are being constantly reviewed and reformulated to maintain or gain market share. As with other fast moving consumer goods, the vast majority of new food products are withdrawn from the market within a year while some leading brands have been popular for decades. Manufacturers are naturally reluctant to modify their most trusted brands, but are generally happy to create ‘spin-off’ products, such as low-sugar or organic alternatives.

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How The Grinches Rekindled Christmas

Published on 2017-11-21 18:17:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


When I first read this, I honestly believed it was some spoof April Fool article that someone had found from the spring and mistaken as fact.
SNP ministers are to consider a crackdown on Christmas treats as part of their "bold" plans to tackle Scotland's obesity epidemic. The move would see supermarket price promotions on festive favourites such as mince pies and selection boxes being banned north of the Border. Other seasonal treats which could fall foul of the legislation would include cakes, biscuits and chocolates, savoury party food and soft drinks.But no, this is apparently a real story!

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Nine Years Later ...

Published on 2017-11-17 16:38:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote



Today is the 9th anniversary of this blog.

Still proudly "tabloid guff" (© Ben Goldacre fan-boys 2009), there is less content here in recent years due to the increasing pressures of Puddlecote Inc yet daily page visits are still marginally increasing. For interest, there have been over 5 million of them from almost 3,500 articles here.

Many thanks to all fellow jewel robbers wh

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Plain packaging for alcohol (again)

Published on 2017-11-17 16:09:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The week's Lancet has an editorial about alcohol. It doesn't even bother to acknowledge the temperance lobby's victory in the minimum pricing court case. They are already moving on to the 'next logical step'.

Here are the closing sentences...

There is no excuse to ignore regulatory interventions for access, advertisements, and unit cost that are shown to reduce alcohol consumption. Like tobacco, the longer the delay in effective control, the more severe future interventions for alcohol will need to be. It is not unimaginable that bottles of Château Mouton Rothschild, which once bore the artwork of Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso, might one day be required to have plain packaging and images of oesophageal cancer or a cirrhotic liver.

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Europuppets defunded

Published on 2017-11-17 10:15:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


A few years ago I wrote a report called Europuppets about the EU's exceptional largesse towards 'civil society' organisations of which it approves. Quite a few of them are in the business of punishing consumers under the pretext of 'public health', including the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA).

Over the years, EPHA has lobbied for minimum pricing, taxes on food and the Tobacco Products Directive, so I was delighted to hear that the European Commission is going to stop funding it next year.

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Looking forward to minimum pricing

Published on 2017-11-16 15:18:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Now that the SNP are free to introduce minimum pricing, it's worth looking at what we're supposed to expect.

Back in 2009, when minimum pricing became a live issue, the Sheffield modellers predicted that a minimum price (of 40p in those days) would result in a drop in alcohol consumption of 2.7 per cent and a decline in alcohol-related deaths of 40 in the first year, rising to 210 per annum after ten years.

Given the 'public health' lobby's absolute obsession with this policy in the years since, we must assume that they regarded these as game-changing numbers. Imagine if alcohol consumption fell by 2.7 per cent! What a victory for health that would be.

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