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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.

The Emergent Individual

Published on 2017-01-17 13:07:01.
Website: Frank Davis

I’ve got three books on the go at the moment. I dip in and out of them. The first is Illiberal Reformers, the second Liberal Fascism, and the third is Officious (H/T Dick Puddlecote). Actually it’s four, with the Underdog … Continue reading →

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"A Big Shift Towards The Idea Of Harm Reduction"

Published on 2017-01-17 12:20:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote

With all the Christmas shenanigans going on, this positive short film (11 minutes-ish) from the Speccie kinda crept under my radar last month, but is definitely worth a watch.

Now, I've been rightly critical of TV Doc Sarah Jarvis before, but she is pretty sound when asked the question "Can businesses help us to be more healthy?", as are Sam Bowman of the ASI (from whom I pinched the blog title) and Chris Snowdon, as you'd expect.

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Snooker and the smoking ban

Published on 2017-01-17 11:43:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Back in 2009, the BBC's Mark Easton tried to spin the mass closure of pubs in the wake of the smoking ban with an article titled 'Pubs aren't dying - they are evolving'. And so they were - evolving into flats, coffee shops and derelict ruins.

Britain has seen the biggest collapse in pub numbers for a century since it went 'smoke-free', but this can never be admitted by the BBC. Easton blamed 'publicans who are unable or unwilling to adapt to the 21st Century trading environment'. This is a common refrain from apologists for the ban. They portray landlords as being at fault for not turning their pubs into sandwich bars, crèches and community centres when all their customers really want is to drink, smoke and socialise.

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Brazilian heart miracle revised

Published on 2017-01-17 11:06:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Last month I wrote about the claim in Tobacco Control magazine that a smoking ban in Sao Paulo, Brazil had reduced the heart attack rate. Using the figures provided by the study's authors, I showed that the supposed decline was not obvious to the naked eye, to say the least.

This is their data on hospital admissions for myocardial infarction, with the smoking ban indicated by the red line...

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Liberal Fascism

Published on 2017-01-16 12:29:03.
Website: Frank Davis

I never used to be political. For much of my life, politics didn’t affect me. It was something I took note of, but it was something which seldom had much of an impact on me. I’m someone who has wanted … Continue reading →

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That's Your Problem, Not Ours

Published on 2017-01-15 19:54:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote

There has always been a suspicion that the real reason that the tobacco control industry tends to dislike vaping is simply because it looks, to the uneducated, like smoking.

They can never say that, of course, because it's akin to claiming that water should be treated as a controlled substance because it looks like vodka. As a result, we have seen some quite desperate contrived arguments as to why e-cigs should be distrusted, mostly centred around the sector of society that tobacco controllers most like to exploit; children.

However, this week saw an article published by the University of Chicago which is the closest yet to admitting that, yes, the fact that vaping looks like smoking really is the reason many want the devices banned.

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Klaus, Kissinger, and Kim Kardashian

Published on 2017-01-15 13:17:21.
Website: Frank Davis

Vaclav Klaus on Brexit: I greeted the outcome of the last year´s British referendum with great joy because I do believe that its outcome has opened a new chapter in the European history. I am convinced that Europe needed it … Continue reading →

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Crazy World

Published on 2017-01-14 15:09:56.
Website: Frank Davis

Breitbart: The political and business elite, who attend the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, are beginning to admit their push for globalisation and open borders contributed to the worldwide populist backlash and the rejection of the mass integration project. … Continue reading →

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Dry January: spending £30 to make £1

Published on 2017-01-14 10:09:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

The neo-temperance movement wants to turn January into a secular Lent for hypochondriacs. Now, if you want to stop drinking for a month, that's up to you, but I strongly object to having my tax money spent on the Dry January project, particularly since Cancer Research UK runs an identical campaign without state-funding (the 'Dryathalon').

And I object further when the government uses my money to pay for the fund-raising activities of the soon-to-be-defunct pressure group Alcohol Concern.

When Dry January was set up by Alcohol Concern in 2013, it was moderately successful and raised £38,000. Public Health England has since decided to throw our hard-earned money at it, giving Alcohol Concern £500,000 to spend on the 2015 event and £1,000,000 for last year.

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Reproducing Global Warming

Published on 2017-01-13 15:45:55.
Website: Frank Davis

A month or so back, in Strange Journey I described an experiment that I’d conducted with my orbital simulation model, where I’d dropped a ball bearing on the surface of the rotating Earth, and watched it roll (or rather, bounce) … Continue reading →

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E-Cigarettes May Cause Kids to Break into Homes and Turn to a Life of Street Crime, Physician Warns

Published on 2017-01-13 00:33:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary

An emergency medicine physician has warned that e-cigarettes may lead to kids breaking into homes and turning to a life of street crime in order to feed their addictions to serious drugs.

In a Huffington Post column, he claims that due to e-cigarette experimentation: "teenagers — and even younger children — are getting addicted early, which could lead to smoking, and e-cigs can easily become a gateway to trying and developing an addiction to more serious drugs. Addiction correlates to crime. People need to feed their habit, they break into homes to steal things to resell, they commit robberies on the streets, all to get money to feed their addiction."

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Recycled dental scaremongering

Published on 2017-01-11 20:18:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

 From the Guardian...

Child 'sugar scourge': thousands having teeth removed in hospital
Experts say annual figures for England obtained by LGA show need for tougher curbs on sugar in children’s diets
More than 40,000 children and young people a year are having rotten teeth removed in hospital in further evidence of what doctors call the “costly scourge of sugar”.
New NHS figures obtained by the Local Government Association (LGA) show that 40,800 under-18s in England had at least one tooth taken out last year under general anaesthetic because of decay. Performing the procedures cost £35.6m.

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Bullshit inflation: sugar edition

Published on 2017-01-10 21:26:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

A couple of items to catalogue in the are-you-sure-this-ain't-a-spoof? file. Firstly, a wonderful new website called Secondhand Sugars (they are insistent about the trademark).

Sugars can be harmful to children as early as in the womb. Secondhand Sugars™ are the sugars found in foods and beverages that babies in utero, infants, and children are exposed to involuntarily. The risks include obesity and related diseases like diabetes as well as cognitive and learning problems. Just as we protect children from dangerous secondhand smoke, we should prevent children from being exposed to secondhand sugars.

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Tennessee Department of Health: E-Cigarettes Create the Threat of Date Rape, Cause Popcorn Lung, and are as Addictive as Heroin

Published on 2017-01-10 15:56:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary

According to a new warningissued by the Tennessee Department of Health (TDOH), use of electronic cigarettes puts youth at risk of date rape. Date rape is just one of numerous devastating consequences that the Tennessee Department of Health is linking to electronic cigarette use, including “popcorn lung” (i.e., bronchiolitis obliterans) and addiction to nicotine that is just as strong as heroin addiction.

According to a “Public Health Advisory” issued by the TDOH:
“ENDS can be delivery systems for incapacitating agents such as gamma butyrolactone, GBL, more commonly known as the date rape drug. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Association, victims of date rape drugs are frequently not aware of ingesting the drug, which is a central nervous system depressant and may cause drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, loss of inhibition, memory loss and visual disturbance. High doses will cause unconsciousness, seizures, severe respiratory distress, coma and death. Due to induced memory loss, a victim may not be aware of an attack until many hours after it occurred.”
The Tennessee Department of Health also warns that e-cigarette use may cause “popcorn lung,” stating: “The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has warned about the association of inhaling diacetyl with a debilitating condition known as bronchiolitis obliterans (also known as popcorn lung).”
The Department also warns that e-cigarette use is as addictive as heroin: “People should remember that the primary ingredient of ENDS devices is nicotine, an addictive drug that

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Officious: The Rise Of The Busybody State - A Review

Published on 2017-01-09 19:03:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote

 It's a while since I've done a review here, but there's a recently-released book I think you might enjoy as much as I did.

During my trip to The Battle of Ideas in October I was particularly drawn to a panel discussing The Busybody State featuring Josie Appleton of the Manifesto Club. I was hoping to buy her book, Officious: Rise of the Busybody State while I was there but had to mark time till the December launch, but it was worth the wait.

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Winner of the 2016 Lie of the Year Award

Published on 2017-01-09 11:40:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary

Today, I am pleased to announce the winner of the 2016 Lie of the Year Award. This award is given to the health agency or organization which has lied most egregiously to the public about smoking and/or vaping in 2016.

The nominees were: the American Thoracic Society, the University of Louisville, Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital, the Arizona Department of Health Services, the Surgeon General of the United States, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the Alaska Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Published on 2017-01-08 10:30:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote

The tobacco control industry, in its relentless pursuit of factual impurity, has just released a junk study which accuses vape shops of using the Pokemon Go game to attract kids to using e-cigs. Yes, as with everything they do it's quite obviously bullshit and designed to panic the gullible by way of screaming "children" as much as possible. 

Now, I don't know a lot about the game myself but a fellow jewel robber does. Here is a guest post from Pokemon Go-playing Neil Robinson to explain how their alarmism is not only utter nonsense, but also shows that they understand even less about the app than I do ... and that's really saying something! 

Over to Neil.

July of 2016 saw a social revolution unlike anything that has been seen previously. Large swathes of the population were spontaneously getting off their sofa’s and engaging in exercise, many walking several miles each day. Disparate groups were forming in public places exchanging happy and excited conversation; a real sense of burgeoning community was to be felt in the air.

Were these Remain protesters? Was this the start of the inevitable overthrow of the patriarchy? Were the masses seizing the means of production?

No, we were all playing Pokémon Go.

And I do mean all. In its first month after launch, it was getting 45 million daily players whilst still being rolled out worldwide. By August 1st, it had reached 100 million downloads, and was earning $10 million a day through in-app purchases.

So why the hell is this on Dick Puddlecote's blog you ask? Because even tobacco controllers can't miss that sort of hype. Cue the inevitable “study”.

“Electronic cigarette retailers use Pokémon Go to market products” extol the authors with breathless excitement. Unfortunately, the rest of the pitch is garbled nonsense, Joe Camel and unfounded accusations.

The gist of the paper is that those evil peddlers of death, vape companies, are latching on to this childrens' game to market their 'deadly' wares to kids in an attempt to hook the next generation, despite the fact that their own source of demographics (a Forbes article!) shows that a full 78% of players are over the age of 18.

An important element of gameplay in Pokémon Go are things called Pokéstops, where gamers can visit the physical location chosen by the games creators, Niantec, collect free in-game goodies such as extra pokéballs for catching more Pokémon, health potions etc. You also stand a much better chance of catching a Pokémon near each pokéstop, so its common to find players hanging around near them waiting for yet another Pidgey, Rattata or Weedle (gotta catch ‘em all!).

Each pokéstop is chosen because the location has an element of significance about it, be it a church, a monument or statue, or even if its a pub, they’re all commonly chosen by Niantec to act as pokéstops. To activate these pokéstops and get your free goodies, you must be within range of it, which is a circle of approximately 100m. This means that should a pokéstop happen to be on a pub, a vape shop, or as in my local area on the Masonic Temple, you don't have to go inside to catch the wee beastie.

If you own a vape shop, you can't just decide that it’s going become a pokéstop – it’s not going to happen (there was a period of 10 days back in July when Niantec did accept suggestions, but they were quickly swamped and withdrew it). So its not like evil vape shop owners are deliberately placing “child friendly” pokéstops in their shops, Niantec has always and will always be the final arbiter of where they appear. If there's one near a vape shop, its entirely down to luck.

The average player is a white, female 25 year old earning over $90,000 a year, yet these happy clowns try every trick in the book to make it sound apocalyptic:
This game-based promotional strategy could increase tobacco marketing exposure among adolescents and young adult non-users, increasing their risk for future initiation.  Further research is warranted to determine whether non-tobacco users visit vape shops and/or initiate e-cigarette use after being exposed to these advertisements via game playing, and whether current e-cigarette users increase use as a result of game play. If I were a vape shop owner and hordes of rich 25 year old women started hanging around my shop, I think I’d try and get some inside, wouldn't you?
several vape shops and online retailers have incorporated Pokémon Go as part of promotions on Twitter, linking game performance with discounts on their products (eg, “

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New FDA Rule is Wrong on the Law: Smoking Cessation Claims are Not Inherently Therapeutic Claims Because Smoking is Not a Disease

Published on 2017-01-06 21:58:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary

On Monday, the FDA will issue a new rule whose intent is to clarify the conditions under which electronic cigarettes will be regulated as drugs instead of as tobacco products. Essentially, this amounts to a rule regarding what claims electronic cigarette companies are allowed to make (since few, if any, of these companies can afford the expenses associated with preparing a new drug application).

As the FDA explains, by statute there are two claims that would make an electronic cigarette subject to regulation as a drug under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act:

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First Longitudinal Study to Examine Progression from Vaping to Smoking among Young People Finds No Effect of Vaping

Published on 2017-01-06 11:09:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary

The first longitudinal study that examines progression from vaping to smoking among young people has been published in the journal Addictive Behaviors. The study followed college freshmen at Virginia Commonwealth University for one year to examine whether vaping at baseline was associated with the progression from never smoking to ever and/or current smoking at follow-up.

(See: Spindle TR, et al. Electronic cigarette use and uptake of cigarette smoking: A longitudinal examination of U.S. college students. Addictive Behaviors 2017; 67:66-72.)

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The anti-science of the diet drink scare

Published on 2017-01-05 19:06:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

First e-cigarettes, now diet drinks. It's not the unhealthy part of the product that the puritans have a problem with, it's the existence of the product. I fully expect to see a crusade against non-alcoholic beer if anyone ever starts drinking it.

I wrote about the recent claims that diet drinks are making the 'global obesity crisis' worse for Spectator Health...

The idea that zero-calorie products are a cause of obesity is absurd on its face and is unsupported by the evidence. It is not merely junk science, it is anti-science in that it implies that obesity is not caused by a surplus of energy but by some magical process involving bubbles and tin cans. It is front-page news because it is sensational, and it is sensational because it is not true.

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Physician Says that Youth Vaping Leads to Crack Cocaine Addiction

Published on 2017-01-05 13:30:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary

In an article published on New Year's Eve in the Philadelphia Inquirer, a physician from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine tackles what should have been a very simple question: "Are e-cigarettes any safer for my child than tobacco?"

The actual answer, based on the scientific evidence, is unequivocally "Yes." However, that's not her answer.

The Rest of the Story

Instead of simply acknowledging that e-cigarettes are indeed safer than smoking tobacco, the physician gives a five-paragraph answer in which she never actually answers the question. If anything, her dire warnings about the unknown risks of e-cigarettes seems to suggest that her answer is "No."

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No Evidence 'Public Health' Aids Public Health

Published on 2017-01-04 20:49:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote

Following swiftly on from the tobacco controllers who believe lying about the benefits of reduced risk products is a fine and ethical idea, comes this remarkable article in the Guardian.

Brace yourselves, because this one is through the looking glass with Alice and the fucking Mad Hatter!
No evidence sugar-free soft drinks aid weight loss – study Soft drinks made with artificial sweeteners, such as diet colas, do not help people lose weight and may be as big a part of the obesity problem as the full-sugar versions, academics have said.That's right, drinks which contain no sugar and no calories are just as bad as ones which do, apparently. So, I presume we can now forget all that ridiculous panicking about sugar, can't we? I mean, they've been telling us the stuff is death personified for the past year or two, but if a drink with no sugar in it at all is on a par then surely there's absolutely bugger all to worry about, no?

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You Can't Identify Potential Benefits of E-Cigarettes if You Only Look for the Risks: The Flaw in Current E-Cigarette Research

Published on 2017-01-03 16:25:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary

A new paper published online ahead of print in the journal Preventive Medicine finds that telling smokers that vaping is safer than smoking may lead them to try vaping. In the study, smokers randomized into groups that were either told that cigarettes contain many more toxic chemicals than e-cigarettes or that cigarettes and e-cigarettes contain an equal number of toxic chemicals. The smokers were then asked whether and how that might alter their interest in changing their smoking and/or vaping behavior.

The paper reports that 328 of the 1,164 smokers (28.2%) would likely be dual users of e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes after being told information about the relative hazards of smoking compared to vaping. Smokers who were told that e-cigarettes contain fewer harmful chemicals than vaping were much more likely to indicate an interest in dual use.

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New year, same old sugar panic

Published on 2017-01-03 14:48:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Stop it
From the BBC (and everywhere else)...

Kids devouring too much 'breakfast sugar' warning
Children are packing in so much sugar at breakfast that half their daily allowance has already been eaten before school, Public Health England says.
There is no such thing as a sugar allowance. Rationing was abolished in the early 1950s. What we have is a recommendation - a recommendation that was arbitrarily and unscientifically halved recently because - I suspect - people were getting close to meeting it.

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Bullshit Bingo With The Cult Of Tobacco Control

Published on 2017-01-02 19:16:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote

I've often accused the tobacco control industry of being packed full of self-enriching plankton who variously lie, produce junk science, pretend rules of physics and economics don't exist, and who do so because they are not even remotely interested in improving public health. We see examples of the aforementioned character flaws almost on a daily basis, but it's very rare we find an item which includes every single one of them.

Behold, then, exactly such a thing with this study just released courtesy of four unrepentant moonhowlers from the University of North Carolina. It's a true classic of the genre.

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Jewel Robbing in 2016

Published on 2016-12-31 23:52:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote

It's been a successful albeit traumatic year for your humble host business-wise, and overall I've quite liked 2016 for having injected some much-required cynicism into public discourse and - just perhaps - made a few politicians realise that they can't just carry on the way they currently do.

Keeping all that mostly separate though, here's a rundown of what we've been talking about here in the past 12 months.


We started 2016 with Dr Stephen Stewart of the Royal College of Physicians making 10 deceptive claims about Minimum Alcohol Pricing, it was also the month that Silly Sally came out with new alcohol guidelines which were anti-scientific and clearly aimed at edging us towards prohibition .. despite what useful idiots might say. Shirley Kramer of the Royal Society of Public Health then advocated plain packaging for fizzy drinks. None of these were the big story of the a month which saw the obscene parasites in 'public health' explode into 2016 though, oh no. That was reserved for Martin McKee, who was caught by FOI with his pants down, privately conspiring with Silly Sally to undermine Public Health England's report on e-cigs and was then revealed to have lied to colleagues in the BMJ. In other areas of research this would be a career-ending revelation, but 'public health' loves liars, so it wasn't.

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Review of 2016: nanny state edition

Published on 2016-12-31 13:07:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

2016 was the most entertaining year I can remember. I doubt we shall see another one like it.

If 'post-truth' is the word of the year - and apparently it is - the nanny statists have been ahead of the curve for a long time and they excelled themselves again this year. Here are a few of the lowlights of 2016 in the world of so-called 'public health'...


An Australian surgeon takes the anti-sugar crusade to its logical conclusion by waging a war on fruit - ('it advertises itself by being brightly coloured, shiny, sweet and attracts the wild life'). This is not a spoof.

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How many smokers really want to quit?

Published on 2016-12-29 12:25:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Nanny state extremists are fond of claiming that 90 per cent of smokers want to quit. The odious Simon Chapman, for example, when campaigning for smokers to be licensed, wrote...

Some 90% of smokers regret having started smoking
And the Chief Executive of ASH Wales says...

'We know that the vast majority of people who smoke want to quit...'
Regular readers will not be surprised to hear that these claims are not wholly truthful. The latest edition of the Health Survey for England, published this month, gave smokers a number of statements, with which the following proportion agreed:

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The Much-Ignored Pleasure Of Smoking

Published on 2016-12-27 10:21:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote

There is a report out today from the Centre for Substance Use Research (CSUR) in Glasgow which should be compulsory reading for anyone and everyone in the tobacco control industry. Sadly, it will be largely ignored.

Entitled "The Pleasure of Smoking", the report canvasses the views of 583 'confirmed' smokers; that is, smokers who enjoy smoking and are mostly resistant to demands to quit. Lead author Neil McKegany explains why this research should be heeded in the Executive Summary.

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There's A New Idiot In Town

Published on 2016-12-24 19:20:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote

TwatIt may be Christmas Eve where the vast majority of the country has closed down for the holidays, but it seems there is still time for one last piece of cretinous, puritanical, ivory tower codswallop from the 'public health' community.

Via The Times:
Vaping should be banned in public places, Britain’s top family doctor says, signalling a backlash against the enthusiastic welcome of e-cigarettes by the medical establishment. Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, hit out at e-cigarettes as a “lifestyle choice”, insisting they must be confined to medically supervised attempts to quit smoking.It seems that, despite the events of 2016, these elitist morons still don't get it.

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Hear ye, hear ye!

Published on 2016-12-23 23:32:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Blogging will be light over the next week or so for obvious festive reasons, but there are a couple of podcasts you might be interested in.

The IEA has released its first ever podcast, with myself, Mark Littlewood, Kate Andrews, Steph Lis and Madeleine Grant discussing the events of 2016. The IEA podcast isn't on iTunes yet, but you can listen online.

I also had an enjoyable chat with James Delingpole for his podcast. If you don't subscribe to it, I recommend you do - and catch up with his interview with Gary Bell, in particular. The online link is to our interview is here.

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Insuring The Imaginary

Published on 2016-12-22 20:09:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote

I've occasionally shared with you, dear fellow jewel robbers, some of the crazier things that happen at  - or should I say are inflicted on - Puddlecote Inc (here and here for example), and I think you'll agree that this is up there in the top drawer.

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