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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.

Snowball Earth

Published on 2018-05-20 09:41:30.
Website: Frank Davis


Life goes on. Given my current interest in ice ages, I naturally took a lot of interest in Youtube’s Snowball Earth, when some 700 million years ago there was ice covering the entire planet. According to Wikipedia: Global temperature fell so … Continue reading →

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Open season on gambling

Published on 2018-05-18 11:09:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I ended my piece for Spiked yesterday by saying:

Is this the slippery slope I see before me? .. Yesterday, FOBTs were a uniquely evil gambling product that allowed people to spend £100 in 20 seconds. Today, it has been noticed that you can bet 10 times that amount in half the time on your mobile phone. At 7am this morning, the government had bravely decided to rid Britain of the greatest cause of problem gambling the country had ever seen. By 10am, expectations were being managed and we were hearing the same slogans that always follow nanny-state announcements. They are the same slogans we heard two weeks ago when minimum pricing was introduced in Scotland and the same slogans we heard a month earlier when the sugar tax began: ‘No silver bullet

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Grief

Published on 2018-05-18 09:41:54.
Website: Frank Davis


I got an email late last night, which I reproduce, complete with the email address (missyaimuk@yahoo.co.uk): Hi Frank, it’s Aimee, Kevin’s daughter. Kevin passed away this morning with my sister and myself at his bedside. The sun was shining and the … Continue reading →

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FOBTs stopped

Published on 2018-05-17 20:00:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


You may have noticed that the government announced that it is going to make regulate fixed-odds betting terminals into the dust today. I put out a comment on behalf of the IEA, saying...

“Today’s announcement shows that you can get anything banned in this country if you whine for long enough. Make no mistake, reducing the stake to £2 amounts to a ban. The machines will be taken out of bookmakers and players will move online where are no limits on stakes or prizes. Hundreds of bookmakers will close, thousands of jobs will be lost and the horse-racing industry will lose millions of pounds in subsidies. Taxpayers will then have to fork out £400 million to fill the gap in the treasury’s balance sheet.

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Hot Air

Published on 2018-05-17 10:52:51.
Website: Frank Davis


I’ve gotten a lot more interested in global warming/climate change over the past four months. I was gradually losing interest in it up until then, because it all seemed a bit passé. Is anyone much interested in it these days? … Continue reading →

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Bloomberg's war on shoppers

Published on 2018-05-17 07:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist



After a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages was introduced in Britain last month, campaigners wasted no time in calling for it to be extended to milkshakes, coffee and all food products that contain added sugar. The World Health Organisation recommends that sugary drinks be taxed at twenty per cent, claiming that this ‘can lead to a reduction in consumption of around 20%, thus preventing obesity and diabetes’ although there is no evidence that obesity rates have been affected by such taxes to date. WHO also recommends higher taxes on alcohol as one of its ‘best buys’ and supports ‘taxation of target foods’, by which it means food that is high in sugar, salt and fat. It claims that ‘food taxation’ has shown ‘promising results’ in countries such as Hungary.

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Demonising The Competition

Published on 2018-05-16 11:23:37.
Website: Frank Davis


Dmitri draws our attention to third-hand smoke: Harmful cigarette smoke residue may be lurking in rooms where no one has ever lit up, researchers report. In a new study, scientists from Drexel University in Philadelphia found that in an empty, … Continue reading →

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Sin taxes are regressive and don't work - Mike Bloomberg

Published on 2018-05-16 10:01:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Mike Bloomberg is on a mission this year to tax us out of life's simple pleasures. He has his billionaire fingers in a lot of pies. In addition to his pressure group Vital Strategies, he has recently set up the Task Force on Fiscal Policy for Health with the likes of Nicola Sturgeon and Margaret Chan on the board and has founded something called STOP (Stop Tobacco Organizations and Products) with a further $20 million. His finger prints were all over last month's special edition of the Lancet which was devoted to sin taxes and he continues to spend a king's ransom lobbying for soda taxes in the USA and elsewhere.  

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Australia: world leader in tobacco control

Published on 2018-05-15 13:07:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I wrote yesterday about the early indications that plain packaging has not only failed in Britain but has been counter-productive. Meanwhile in Australia, the home of plain packaging, the government is desperately trying to contain the booming black market in tobacco that its policies have created.

Last week it created a new Tobacco Taskforce to deal with an illicit trade that is officially estimated to supply 864 tonnes of Aussie smokers each year. 

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Stamp Collecting

Published on 2018-05-15 11:43:47.
Website: Frank Davis


I’m becoming a stamp collector. When I was about 10 years old I had a small stamp collection. I think I had about 5 stamps.  But I soon got bored with it, and I stopped collecting stamps. My brother was … Continue reading →

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Crushing Safer Solutions For Profit

Published on 2018-05-14 19:48:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


Sometimes, you really have to wonder if the whole tobacco thing with governments is just a big sham and that they really do secretly want smokers to continue smoking for the tax revenue.

Yes it sounds very much like a conspiracy theory, but how else do you explain heroically mendacious policies such as this from Korea?
Manufacturers of heat-not-burn (HNB) cigarettes, or heated tobacco products, will be required to put graphic warnings about health risks associated with smoking including cancer, similar to warnings all other cigarette manufacturers currently use. Such products will have to use graphic images of cancer-ridden organs, a much strengthened standard than the current image of a needle, which many have criticized as "unclear and ineffective."Cancer-ridden organs? Has there been even one case anywhere in the world of cancer caused specifically by heated tobacco? No, of course not. But the lumpen-headed shitgibbons are going to plaster sick images all over the packaging anyway without even a cursory nod to reality.

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Plain packaging failing in the UK

Published on 2018-05-14 10:45:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


It's time for the 'public health' lobby to wheel out the 'no silver bullet' excuses and hope that everybody's forgotten what a game changer plain packaging was supposed to be...

The Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (TMA) today reveals data and exclusive new polling which shows how plain packaging is failing in the UK on the first anniversary after its controversial introduction.

The Smoking Toolkit Study has found that on a three month rolling average, from December 2017 to March 2018, smoking rates in England were higher than for the same time last year before plain packaging was fully introduced.

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Insider spills the beans on fixed-odds betting terminals campaign

Published on 2018-05-14 08:39:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


A remarkable article appeared in the Telegraph last week by Adrian Parkinson who, until recently, was one of the leading figures in Derek Webb's campaign against fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

Adrian Parkinson on the left in happier (?) timesUsing Webb's fortune, Stop The FOBTs AKA the Campaign for Fairer Gambling have used a combination of big spending and intimidation to get their point across. Their point isn't very strong. FOBTs account for just 14 per cent of gambling spend in Britain, there has been no rise in problem gambling since they emerged in the early 2000s, and the claim that FOBTs are the 'crack cocaine of gambling' has never been supported by evidence.

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RIP Tessa Jowell, freedom fighter

Published on 2018-05-13 12:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Tessa Jowell (1947-2018)
It's hard to believe now but there was a time when it seemed as if the nanny state was being rolled back. In 2005, the Licensing Act came into force and the Gambling Act was passed. This was the high watermark of Labour liberalism. Within a year, it had gone into reverse and every year since has been worse than the one before. But for one brief moment, it seemed as if the government believed in personal freedom and Tessa Jowell, who died yesterday, was at the centre of it.

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Two interviews, 100% sound views

Published on 2018-05-13 09:35:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I did a couple of interviews recently with Conservative organisations. You might be interested, who knows?

If you like the written word, here's me with Ben Kelly at Conservatives For Liberty.

David Cameron was the absolute worst for this stuff. If you look at his record, he makes Gordon Brown look like Ayn Rand. After opposing the tobacco display ban in opposition, his party introduced it almost as soon as it took office. He introduced plain packaging at a time when no other government apart from Australia was showing much interest in it. He introduced the sugar tax. He set up Public Health England, which was only ever going to be a giant nanny state lobby group. He wanted to introduce minimum pricing and was only stopped because of Cabinet opposition.

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Wiping out diabetes in three years?

Published on 2018-05-11 11:08:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


From the front page of the Daily Express today...

Diabetes WAR: Sugar tax on foot [sic] top [sic] WIPE OUT diabetes as top doctors develop radical plan

A COALITION of international health experts have proposed a tax on sugary foods to reverse Britain’s obesity and Type 2 diabetes epidemics.
Who are these health experts? Step forward Aseem Malhotra, Robert Lustig and Grant Schofield. The first two names may be familiar to you. Malhotra currently bills himself as an honorary consultant cardiologist so I assume that he has stopped practising and is now a full time diet entrepreneur. You can read what I thought of his first book here. His next book is due out in 2019 and promises to be an 'insight into medical corruption' so that should be fun.

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Smokers As Cash Cows

Published on 2018-05-10 21:06:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


I think this is the longest gap between blogs ever on this site but believe me I've had a lot going on. Puddlecote Inc is taking up a hell of a lot of my time but someone it is actually good. OK, I've been cursing the EU yet again for the dog's breakfast of GDPR (honestly, look it up, it's a stinker that will cost every consumer for absolutely no benefit whatsoever) but there is also something momentous we are working towards which will be a game-changer for the business.

Anyway, while I've been struggling for time, the Moose has been using his wisely and turned up something you might like to have a read about.

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A shameless racket

Published on 2018-05-09 07:22:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Every public health minister goes native within a few weeks of taking up the job and Steve Brine has been no exception. His Twitter profile picture shows him with ASH's chief prohibitionist Deborah Arnott grinning over his shoulder. It is apt.


Yesterday, he announced that he would be commissioning a review into minimum pricing. The Scottish government has already commissioned its own evaluation, with the usual suspects from Sheffield and Stirling lined up to cash in on their previous efforts lobbying for the policy.

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E-Cigarette Opponents Still Making Up False "Facts" to Demonize Vaping

Published on 2018-05-08 12:03:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary


We're well into 2018 and there is now substantial research on the health effects of vaping as well as a decade of experience with large numbers of vapers, yet e-cigarette opponents are still making up false claims to buttress their demonization of vaping.

In an article by Jia Tolentino published yesterday in the New Yorker, a Harvard professor was quoted as claiming that: "vaping can cause something called bronchiolitis obliterans, or popcorn lung."

He also stated that Juul is "a massive public-health disaster," likened e-cigarettes to “bioterrorism,” and "predicted that, eventually, a state’s attorney general would sue Juul 'for willfully designing and pushing a product that will cause harm to the children of the United States.'"

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Nanny State Index: nicotine supplement

Published on 2018-05-08 09:54:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


This week saw the publication of a supplement to the Nanny State Index which shows how 30 European countries compare on tobacco harm reduction. It looks at the taxation and regulation of e-cigarettes, snus and heat-not-burn tobacco.

You can download the Nicotine Supplement here. The UK does well thanks to its relatively liberal approach to vaping. Ireland, the Czech Republic, Germany and the Netherlands also look good for the same reason.

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It begins

Published on 2018-05-06 09:54:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Amazon Pantry seems like a good shout for drinkers who are living in the Scottish nanny state...

On the day the new legislation came into force north of the Border, we were able to purchase two boxes of drink for considerably less than it would now cost in Scotland. Our order from online shopping giant Amazon was dispatched from Doncaster in South Yorkshire, therefore avoiding the minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol.
Other England-based booze delivery companies are available, of course.

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Censoring Twitter in the name of health

Published on 2018-05-04 08:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


This video about tobacco companies using Twitter is laugh-out-loud funny.

A world-first study has uncovered concerns that big tobacco companies are exploiting Twitter to regain the public's trust. @AngieAsimus #7News pic.twitter.com/JVgBiTv8hV— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) May 3, 2018
The punchline is when the journalist feels obliged to end the item by reminding us that smoking is, like, really bad. In Australia, as in Britain, even news stories have to double as health information films. This only serves to highlight the total dominance of the anti-smoking lobby in the media.

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Weigh to go!

Published on 2018-05-03 13:45:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist



There's a story in The Times today about proposals to measure and weigh every child in every UK school once a year and force the teachers to make the 'obese' kids lose weight. I am all in favour of this, as I explain at Spectator Health. Do have a read.

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Australia's tobacco black market grows again

Published on 2018-05-02 11:42:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


As reported in The Australian, the illicit trade Down Under is big and getting bigger, despite it being a remote island continent.

The nation’s 2.4 million smokers are turning to illegal and even ­unhealthier cigarettes to avoid crushing increases in tobacco tax, costing the federal government almost $2 billion in lost revenue.

Between 2016 and 2017, tobacco consumption fell 6.1 per cent but the share supplied in the black market climbed to a record 15 per cent from 14 per cent a year earlier, according to a KPMG study.

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Minimum pricing on Sky News

Published on 2018-05-02 11:07:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I was on Sky News yesterday talking about minimum pricing. Here's a bit of what I said...

The @iealondon’s @cjsnowdon on @theSNP’s regressive minimum alcohol pricing: “Alcohol-related death in Scotland is twice that of England already, why is that? This is clearly nothing to do with price, it’s all sorts of complex and difficult social and economic problems.” pic.twitter.com/0s55b6qggQ— Darren Grimes (@darrengrimes_) May 1, 2018

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Minimum pricing begins

Published on 2018-04-30 23:01:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist



There have only really been two major changes in alcohol policy in the UK in the last twenty years. The first was in 2005 when the licensing laws were liberalised. The 'public health' lobby claimed that it would be a disaster, leading to more violence, more alcohol being drunk and more alcohol-related deaths. It didn't. By any reasonable, it was a success.

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Banning Things People Want To Buy

Published on 2018-04-30 18:59:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


Last week the Washington Examiner carried a very astute article by Tim Worstall. The main point he makes cannot be emphasised enough because it cuts right to the heart of why bansturbators are bansturbators.
Local mayor wants to ban McDonald's, therefore admits people want McDonald'sThe thing is, the ban (in the form of adamantly denying planning permission) is just proof perfect that the mayor knows that his constituents actually want a McDonald’s. Banning something always is an acknowledgment that people want that thing. Consider what happens if they don’t want that item? No sane businessman tries to provide it, and the insane one who does try goes bust very quickly. The absence of consumer desire means that the thing doesn’t need to be banned. And the need to ban shows precisely the opposite: the existence of that consumer demand. There’s no reason at all to ban some consumer choice other than the knowledge that if it were available some would pick it. Given that this is obviously so, we liberals should be telling the progressives to go boil their heads. Really, why are you trying to ban something that people so obviously desire?Why are they trying to ban something that people so obviously desire? Well, it's precisely because people desire it. That's it.

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Killjoys and the counter-culture

Published on 2018-04-30 08:55:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


When I was in Edinburgh recently, BBC Scotland asked me to do a long form interview about Killjoys for their Sunday morning radio show. The host is Bill Whiteford and he had done his homework. It was good to have a chance to talk about ideas at greater length than you normally get on the radio. There are not enough programmes like this nowadays which is, perhaps, why so many people have turned to podcast.

When I asked Bill beforehand whether he had enjoyed the book he said, 'Well, it's, er, counter-cultural'. And I supposed it is, especially in Scotland at the moment. We discussed John Stuart Mill, 'public health', campus censorship and the role of think tanks, amongst other things.

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Fanatics cannot be appeased

Published on 2018-04-27 10:49:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I ended yesterday's post by saying...

I doubt that there is any economic lever - short of rationing - the government could pull to reduce obesity rates, but even if they found a way of reducing the rate from the current 26 per cent to, say, 24 per cent, do you think that would be enough for them? Would 20 per cent? 15 per cent? Of course not. We are now set on a path of government intervention into one of the most personal parts of our lifestyles that will go on forever unless we stand up for ourselves. 

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Secretary Of State For Health Says Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

Published on 2018-04-26 20:05:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


You may have watched this already, but the Science and Technology Committee of the House of Commons held a further session on e-cigs the other day. You can see the whole thing here.

Chaired by Norman Lamb, a former Minister of State, it was investigating the role of not just vaping but other harm reduction avenues. There were many revealing moments which tie in with my regular refrain that new nicotine products are scaring the living daylights out of the establishment because they simply cannot work out which way to turn. As disruptive technologies go, this new suite of nicotine products - for which e-cigs has been the catalyst - is causing entrenched and turgid civil servants a whole host of problems and they keep being tripped up.

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The deranged war on food

Published on 2018-04-26 09:43:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The obesity panic is reaching fever pitch this week as the result of a carefully planned, three-pronged attack consisting of Jamie Oliver's #adenough campaign, the BBC's Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall polemic and a (still unpublished) list of demands sent by opposition politicians to Theresa May.

The Times has published an incredible editorial supporting virtually any idea the zealots come up with, sight unseen. When it comes to the invisible childhood obesity 'epidemic', the newspaper is a full on Corbynista...

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Screw Bar Workers, What About Middle Class Diners?

Published on 2018-04-25 20:39:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


Remember that there smoking ban that was all about protecting bar workers from the terrors of secondhand smoke? Well apparently now it's more about protecting middle class pub diners from being slightly inconvenienced. But then we kinda knew that all along, didn't we?
Smoking ban to be extended to outdoor areas where food served The Government is to extend the ban on smoking where food is served to include outdoor areas.Fine Gael Senators have tabled a private members motion calling on the Minister for Health Simon Harris to change legislation or issue directions via a statutory instrument to address the gap in current legislation. The initiative was spearheaded by former minister for health James Reilly, who has said it should no longer be acceptable for people to smoke where others are eating.Personally, I don't know why they don't eat inside if they're that bothered. They were given every fucking indoor space in Ireland in 2004. It seemed quite important to them back then.

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