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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.

Five reasons to legalise cannabis

Published on 2018-08-16 11:24:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


On June 30th, the IEA and Volteface hosted an event in London to talk about cannabis legalisation. Six speakers from different fields gave a brief summary of their reasons for wanting prohibition to end. Here they are...

Andrew Boff, London Assembly Member (Conservative):



Richard Hurley, features editor at the British Medical Journal:



Neil Woods, Law Enforcement Action Partnership and author of Drug Wars:



Liz McCulloch, head of policy at Volteface:

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A Global Power Struggle

Published on 2018-08-16 10:28:44.
Website: Frank Davis


A couple of weeks back I drew attention to a chilling tweet by ex-CIA director John Brennan in which he described Trump as “a temporary aberration”. And yesterday, unsurprisingly, Trump revoked Brennan’s security clearance. This brought another tweet from Brennan: … Continue reading →

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A strange argument about obesity

Published on 2018-08-15 13:03:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


George Monbiot has written an unfathomable article for the Guardian in which he blames the food industry for making people eat too much while admitting that people eat less than they used to.

I've written about it for Spectator Health.

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Keeping Up Appearances

Published on 2018-08-15 11:00:06.
Website: Frank Davis


I read somewhere recently that when Martin Luther King was shot dead in Memphis in 1968, he was out on his hotel balcony smoking a cigarette, and afterwards somebody removed the cigarette in order to “preserve his image as a … Continue reading →

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The #COP8 Stitch-Up Is Afoot

Published on 2018-08-14 19:28:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


Here we go. Strap yourselves in for the latest biennial anti-truth tobacco conference otherwise known as the FCTC's 'Conference of the Parties' (COP).

You can read about the previous two such as Moscow 2014 where the FCTC's Margaret Chan had tea with Putin instead of tackling Ebola, while thugs manhandled journalists out of the event at the COP6 tag here. You can also read articles on the 2016 shebang in New Delhi where - coincidentally - journalists were also manhandled out of the event, while Indian farmers were hounded away from the venue for the sin of holding a peaceful protest which may have upset the sensibilities of COP delegates intent on the serious of business of banning e-cigs, during a lethal smog cloud hanging over the city at the COP7 tag here.

Regular readers will know that I attended the event in India and I have flights booked for Geneva where COP8 will take place in October, so I was interested to see that the FCTC finally released their guidance - late - to the parties (member nations) on how to handle e-cigs.

You can read it here and, at first, it seems pretty unremarkable. However, it features a major dog whistle by describing the results of a survey conducted on the regulatory policies of countries that have ratified the FCTC and agreed to abide by its recommendations. Instead of listing the policies of all parties, it merely points out the ones which have banned e-cigs, subtlely signalling what the FCTC's particular preference is. On the plus side, it does highlight how low Australia has sunk to be classified in the same category as some of the worst abusers of human rights in the world.

Look at Australia, proudly standing shoulder to shoulder with these fine, upstanding countries which have banned #ecigs #COP8 https://t.co/qp7bYspyZs pic.twitter.com/RldgPCDZnD— Dick Puddlecote (@Dick_Puddlecote) August 8, 2018
The Aussie government must be so proud.

Further down the document, though, we come to the truly sinister part, as I also tweeted this week.

At #COP8, unelected UN organisation @FCTCofficial will be getting "independent" advice on #ecigs from unelected UN organisation @IARCWHO. You know, the ones who say everything causes cancer and there is no safe level of bacon https://t.co/qp7bYspyZs #NotAboutHealth pic.twitter.com/87FnvFxlgB— Dick Puddlecote (@Dick_Puddlecote) August 10, 2018
It's not just the sickening nepotism of a UN body asking for "independent" advice from another UN body, but also that the IARC's reputation as a serious purveyor of balanced research is widely questioned, as described by risk expert Geoffrey Kabat in June (do go read the whole article here).
[W]hen IARC’s assessments have been criticized by researchers on substantive grounds, rather than addressing the issues in question, the Agency has typically responded by dismissing the criticisms by 1) pointing to alleged conflicts-of-interest of its critics and 2) making sweeping assertions regarding the transparency and scientific rigor of its evaluation process and the monographs themselves. In other words, the Agency has shown no willingness to examine, and possibly learn from, the identification of serious errors and improprieties in IARC’s evaluations pointed out by respected scientists.So it appears that the UN's IARC is equally as resistant to external scrutiny from those who disagree with its pre-conceived plans as its sister organisation, the FCTC. A good fit, don't you think?

The FCTC seems to want to find out if e-cigs cause cancer, so they have chosen a fellow unelected organisation which they can fully trust to come out with the result they seek. This is because the IARC is set up so it, quite literally, can find cancer in just about everything.
According to IARC “a cancer ‘hazard’ is an agent that is capable of causing cancer under some circumstances [emphasis added], while a cancer ‘risk’ is an estimate of the carcinogenic effects expected from exposure to a cancer hazard.” Here, “exposure” refers to actual human exposure levels. The Agency justifies the focus on hazard by arguing that, “even when risks are very low at current exposure levels, [

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Cultural Murder

Published on 2018-08-14 09:43:46.
Website: Frank Davis


The smoking ban was an act of cultural murder. In England, on 1 July 2007, they murdered an old, friendly, convivial culture. And now friendship and conviviality have gone. And they’ve been gradually murdering friendship and conviviality all over the … Continue reading →

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The Lamps Are Going Out All Over Europe

Published on 2018-08-13 09:31:39.
Website: Frank Davis


 “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.” (Sir Edward Grey 1914) Express: RETAILERS are braced for a rush on halogen lightbulbs before a European Union ban comes into force. … Continue reading →

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Trying (and Failing) to Understand Rousseau

Published on 2018-08-12 12:43:20.
Website: Frank Davis


My attention was drawn in an email from RdM to a book about socialism by Igor Shafarevich.  In his foreword to the book, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote: The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its … Continue reading →

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A very Canadian booze revolution

Published on 2018-08-09 10:10:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Doug Ford, the brother of the late, great Rob Ford, is now the Premier of Ontario and has set about a populist revolution by cutting the minimum price of beer from $1.25 to $1.00. This represents a near abolition of minimum pricing for beer since it is difficult to manufacture and sell a beer for $1.00, let alone for less than that.

And as if that weren't enough to drive the temperance lobby to despair...

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The FDA Blatantly Hands E-Cig Market To Big Pharma

Published on 2018-08-06 17:22:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


Around about this time last year, the FDA's Scott Gottlieb made a public statement about e-cigs that many vapers thought was a new dawn in how reduced risk products would be treated in the US.

You may remember that I thought it was just a cleverly-worded hill of beans.
The FDA's announcement relents on some e-cig rules but only on the proviso that it might make vaping more attractive to smokers who will be deprived, by force, of nicotine from their combustible cigarettes. That is nothing more than vile coercion and should have no place in a land that claims to be free.  I cannot possibly cheer the FDA's overall plan and I don't think there is anything particularly concrete to be happy about yet anyway. Smokers are being thrown under a bus but apart from that everything else is up in the air and subject to change.Despite many vapers rejoicing at this "huge" announcement, and describing it as "momentous",  a "reprieve", with some even saying they had "every confidence" in Gottlieb, it stunk to high heaven in my book. The emphasis seemed to be more on pointlessly reducing nicotine in regular cigarettes rather than promoting e-cigs.

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Kellogg's do a Lucozade with Coco Pops

Published on 2018-08-04 08:00:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Kellogg's Coco Pops have been reformulated with 30 per cent less sugar but - bizarrely - with only one fewer calorie per bowl. Isn't this supposed to be about obesity?

If Twitter is any guide, the consumer response has been overwhelmingly negative. The Telegraph reports on this latest round of Public Health England's reformulation fiasco, with a quote from yours truly:

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Alcohol advice and the noble lie

Published on 2018-08-03 10:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


This, from by Julian Baggini in the Guardian, is rather good....

Want the truth about alcohol? You won’t hear it from the government 
.. For some time, studies repeatedly produced graphs with a J-shaped curve, showing both abstinence and excessive consumption associated with the worst health outcomes, with moderate drinkers enjoying the best health. It was only in January 2016 that the Department of Health revised its guidelines and claimed the best evidence now suggested that there was no “safe” level of alcohol consumption and every glass increased cancer and heart disease risk.

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Alcohol and dementia - more dishonest reporting from the BBC

Published on 2018-08-02 13:31:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


A study was published in the British Medical Journal today showing that moderate to moderately heavy drinkers have a lower risk of dementia than teetotallers. As always happens when epidemiology finds benefits from drinking, there has been a rush to cast doubt on the findings by talking about 'sick quitters', confounding variables, recall bias etc. These are valid caveats to make, but they are mostly generic criticisms that apply to all observational epidemiology. And yet these points are only raised when a study shows benefits from alcohol consumption. They are almost never raised when risks are reported.

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The Twisted Language Of 'Public Health'

Published on 2018-08-01 18:43:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


There are somewhat encouraging signs that the 'public health' racket community see their house of cards as being a bit shaky recently. Hardly surprising considering the huge porkies that are the foundations for their policy demands, but interesting nonetheless.

Take, for example, this from Snowdon in City AM on Friday.
Whatever you think of “sin taxes” on things like alcohol, sugary drinks and tobacco, they are indisputably regressive. But not according to an editorial in the Lancet earlier this year. In an effort to promote more sin taxes, particularly on food and soft drinks, the medical journal suggested that such taxes benefit the poor and are progressive. Whichever way you look at them, these taxes clobber the poor. Public health campaigners don’t want to admit this, even to themselves, because they see themselves as champions of social justice.He's correct. There is no case whatsoever economically, or health-wise, for stating that sin taxes are progressive. So why are 'public health' campaigners making up daft fantasies over this - which no-one believes for a minute - when they have never felt the need before?

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"Whilst we cannot ban food..."

Published on 2018-08-01 15:25:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


News from the Democratic People's Republic of Scotland...

Food shoppers should be confronted with graphic images of tooth decay and bowel cancer on products such as confectionary [sic] and red meat to encourage them to make healthier choices, according to a psychologist hired to advise Food Standards Scotland.
Leave aside the blatant slippery slope. Ignore the relentless, patronising, miserable nannying. Forget the fact that Scotland has no authority to introduce mandatory food labelling.

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Free the weed

Published on 2018-07-31 08:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I had an article in Metro on Saturday about the need to legalise cannabis...

There are several compelling reasons for reform. Legalisation would allow the police to focus on more serious crime. Wiping out the black market would make it harder for children to get hold of the drug.

The government would raise significant tax revenue. In a recent report for the Institute of Economic Affairs, I estimated that around 255 tonnes of cannabis were consumed in Britain last year at a cost of £2.6billion.

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Jamie Oliver And Other People's Children

Published on 2018-07-30 19:47:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


Over the weekend, the Telegraph published an retch-inducing obsequious puff piece on Jamie Oliver which - inadvertently, I reckon - gave an astonishing insight into the dictatorial mind of the sanctimonious snob. It's behind a paywall but here are some hideous lowlights.
The night before I’m due to meet Jamie Oliver there are whispers from his headquarters of a big announcement. ‘All will become clear!’ they say. The next morning, news duly breaks that the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will ban junk-food advertising on the capital’s Tube and bus network, as well as the opening of hot-food takeaway shops within 400 metres of schools – the culmination of 28 months of close collaboration between Oliver and Khan. ‘It’s a mega day,’ Oliver tells me at Jamie HQHe is happy, apparently, because a clueless attention-seeking Mayor has proposed a pointless ban on advertising - which will have no effect whatsoever except to kill advertising revenue and reinforce the idea of censorship while reducing public choice - and stated that he is intending to all but eradicate new takeaways in the capital unless they are to open in a park or the river Thames, as you can see by clicking to enlarge the graphic below.

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Taxing the poor

Published on 2018-07-30 08:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I wrote an article for City AM on Friday about the regressive nature of sin taxes and the disingenuous attempts by the Lancet, WHO, Bloomberg etc. to deny this basic economic fact.

Whichever way you look at them, these taxes clobber the poor. Public health campaigners don’t want to admit this, even to themselves, because they see themselves as champions of social justice.

The cost to the average British family of the recently implemented sugar levy will be relatively trivial, but it would rise to £500 a year if the government introduced the kind of taxes that Bloomberg wants to see on food and drink.

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The fake news enquiry versus free speech

Published on 2018-07-28 14:48:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The DCMS Select Committee that is ostensibly investigating 'fake news' releases its interim report tomorrow. Dominic Cummings has already leaked the embargoed copy. The real agenda of the committee - which they barely bother to conceal - is to delegitimise the 2016 referendum on EU membership. The report quickly veers away from the nebulous concept of fake news to focus on political campaigning or, to be more specific, on the Leave campaign.

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Nudge, nudge, think, think

Published on 2018-07-27 09:29:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


At last month's THINK conference, I interviewed Raj Chande from the Behavioural Insights Team about 'nudging'. Tom Paine thought I gave him an easy ride but it wasn't supposed to be a head-to-head debate and, in any case, I am fairly ambivalent about behavioural economics.

Watch it below and see what you think...





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Sin taxes: stating the obvious

Published on 2018-07-25 09:14:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


There was a peculiar issue of the Lancet published earlier this year which claimed that 'sin taxes' are not regressive. I wrote about it for the Spectator at the time, but it required a more thorough rebuttal so I wrote something for the IEA's Current Controversies series. It was published today and you can download it for free here.


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A Perfect Population Level Experiment

Published on 2018-07-24 18:06:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


The NNA spotted a superb statistic on Friday at the government's Tobacco Control Debate. I don't know about you but I think this deserves more attention.
Yesterday in a debate on the government’s Tobacco Control Plan in the House of Commons, Sir Kevin Barron highlighted the gulf between the UK and Ireland, two countries with identical traditional tobacco control policies but with differing approaches to e-cigarettes. Between 2012 and 2016 smoking dropped by nearly a quarter in the UK . In Ireland, where e-cigarettes are viewed with suspicion, the smoking rate actually went up in this period. Here is the Hansard entry for it.

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What is 'severe obesity'?

Published on 2018-07-24 10:26:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


From the BBC...

A record number of primary school children are leaving school severely obese, according to new figures from Public Health England. 
Data for 2016/17 shows one in 25 10 to 11 year olds were severely obese.

That's more than 22,000 children, and the highest level since records began.
This bears more than a passing resemblance to a story reported by the BBC (and everyone else) back in May...

One in 25 children in England aged 10 or 11 are severely obese, new analysis has found.

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Big Trouble In Little New Zealand

Published on 2018-07-23 20:48:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


Via Eric Crampton, we are seeing yet more evidence of how vaping has utterly confused policymakers all over the world.

E-cigs and other risk reduced nicotine products are - quite rightly - described as a 'disruptive' technology. Of course, the traditional use of that term generally means that it is disruptive to the current market, but considering the current market is dried tobacco leaves in paper tubes that governments tend to dislike, you'd think they'd be happy about that.

Well, in many jurisdictions it appears not, and if you look closely you can see why. As Crampton points out, the NZ Ministry of Health's latest Health and Independence Report is optimistic about e-cigs but it is worth noting that this is only because they were made de facto legal by a court case brought by the makers of iQos. All of a sudden, vaping was legal too. And with that judgement has come some very irritating problems if you are a government set in its ways and who only had dried leaves in a paper tube to regulate before.

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The Inner Level: a review

Published on 2018-07-23 08:47:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I wasn't going to read the sequel to The Spirit Level but Spiked asked me to review it, so I did. You can find my review of The Inner Level here.

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WTO Agrees That Plain Packaging Is A Failure, Allows It Anyway

Published on 2018-07-22 18:27:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


Late on parade with this due to business pressure, but Sinclair Davidson posted a very interesting article about the WTO's ruling on plain packaging a couple of weeks ago.

Davidson has consistently argued that plain packaging has had no impact on smoking in Australia and is an utter failure, despite the desperate spin being fabricated by the government over there.

Well, lo and behold, in the WTO's 800 page reasoning behind its judgement that plain packs are not contrary to global trade rules, they seem to agree.

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Victory Dairy Milk

Published on 2018-07-20 15:08:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Cadbury's have announced that it will be launching a new version of Dairy Milk with 30 per cent less sugar. This wouldn't normally be news but it is tied in with the government's madcap food reformulation scheme so it is.

I've written about it for the Speccie.

If Cadbury’s think that they can appease Public Health England by offering people choice, they don’t understand the ‘public health’ lobby at all. 
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Love Island Idiocy

Published on 2018-07-19 17:33:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


It's still a bit busy in Puddlecoteville, but things are clearing so I may be able to write more on issues I have wanted to for quite a while .. perhaps.

As a quickie, though, this is a gobsmacker.

How @UKCTAS research led to smoking being removed from #LoveIsland broadcasts - presentation from @UniofNottingham’s Alex Barker #UKCTAS pic.twitter.com/BAzMYfbM0N— Linda Bauld (@LindaBauld) July 17, 2018

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The Tobacco Control Plan debate

Published on 2018-07-19 16:28:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist



 
In the previous post, I mentioned the parliamentary debate on tobacco control that had been organised by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH). It took place this afternoon and was streamed online so I watched it. As you can see from the photo above, it was sparsely attended. What you can't see is that was dominated by members of the All Party Group on Smoking and Health, a sockpuppet in-house pressure group created by ASH in the 1970s of which ASH remains the secretariat.

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ASH are in charge

Published on 2018-07-19 10:01:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Public health minister Steve Brine tweeted yesterday about a parliamentary debate on the Tobacco Control Plan that is being held today.


This makes it sound as if it was the decision of Brine and his department to organise the debate but an e-mail circulated to MPs on July 4th tells a different story:

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Grandad's New Resource

Published on 2018-07-18 17:01:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


A few months ago I met with a city analyst who read your humble host's offerings and was keen to meet. We enjoyed a liquid lunch in Threadneedle Street but before going our separate ways, he asked if I could put him in contact with Grandad, of Head Rambles fame, as he was a regular visitor to Ireland.

It would appear that they did, indeed, get in touch and the link-up has produced something very useful. Today Grandad explains on his blog how this new project came into being. The result is a glorious website - based on an extensive investor report - which delves into the murky dealings of the tobacco control industry over decades.

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EU Wants To Tax Vaping, Don't Let Them

Published on 2018-07-12 11:00:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote



Via new vaping media source Vapetrotter (which you should bookmark, by the way), it won't surprise you to learn that a vast impenetrable bureaucracy which lives solely on the basis of tens of thousands of employees earning their living by doing nothing but regulating, wants to regulate e-cigs further than the absolute shit-shower they did with the TPD.

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