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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 "whole systems approach" to obesity is anti-scientific garbage

Published on 2020-10-30 13:06:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Wibble

Dolly Theis has written a three part article about what the government should do about obesity, as if it's any of their business. Dolly is a well meaning Conservative who has fallen in with a bad crowd as a result of doing a PhD in 'public health'. I was on a Spectator panel with her recently discussing the nanny state, along with Steve Brine and Joanna Williams (you can watch it here).  Theis's thesis is that successive governments have failed to reduce obesity because of poor implementation and evaluation. She makes the improbable claim that 700 anti-obesity policies have been proposed in Britain in the last thirty years.  

[The government] currently proposes obesity policies in a way that does not readily lead to implementation, which is likely to be why it does not then implement its own policies. Could you imagine the same happening in business? No, you couldn’t imagine that because it just wouldn’t happen.

 There's a simple explanation for that. Businesses respond to what people want whereas the government responds to fanatical single-issue pressure groups and half-witted academics. The policies they propose are, by and large, unworkable, ineffective and go against what people want. Sometimes they encounter equally clueless politicians, such as the aforementioned Steve Brine, who embrace these bad policies because it makes them feel important. That's where the problems begin.
 For example, banning 'junk food' advertising and forcing calorie counts in the out-of-home sector sound like great ideas to illiberal politicians until it is explained to them that there is no legal definition of 'junk food' and that many restaurants change their menus on a daily basis.  When the costs and unintended consequences of such policies are laid out, politicians have no choice but to do a U-turn or water down them down. They should really think through the implications before they announce them, but they naively think that the likes of Action on Sugar are experts on policy.  

In some cases, policies are reproposed in a laughably short amount of time. For example, Chapter 2 of Childhood obesity: A plan for action was published in 2018 under Theresa May. It contained a number of policies, including a 9pm watershed on unhealthy food and drink advertising, and committed to legislating mandatory calorie labelling in the out of home sector.

Consultations were conducted. Individuals and organisations submitted their evidence, reflections and advice. Then poof! Two years later, instead of having implemented the policies, the Government, now under Boris Johnson, publishes another obesity strategy containing those exact same policies and another consultation process.

They say madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Well, hello

Full article

President For Life

Published on 2020-10-29 18:02:36.
Website: Frank Davis


I will be very glad when the US election is over next week. I feel sure Trump will win. In fact I can’t see how he can not win. The mainstream media are saying Biden will win, but they said … Continue reading →

Full article

Vulture prohibitionists

Published on 2020-10-28 13:20:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist



The emergence of COVID-19 towards the start of the year was always going to go one of two ways for the 'public health' establishment.  One possibility was that westerners would see what a genuine public health problem looked like and ask why they were handing over billions of pounds to people who knew little or nothing about infectious disease and who were more interested in political virtue-signalling and trivial lifestyle regulation. The other possibility was that the lifestyle regulators of 'public health' would watch in awe as governments stripped people of their civil liberties and conclude that they could be more draconian than they thought. As you would expect, the 'public health' racket has been busy working towards the second of these outcomes. After the initial shock of the pandemic subsided, they started talking about how obesity is the real pandemic and smoking kills more people than COVID-19, etc. Richard Horton, the Marxist loon who edits the Lancet, claimed that COVID-19 wasn't a pandemic at all, rather it was a 'syndemic' and that the real problem was the 'non-communicable diseases' that can lead to underlying health conditions. Conveniently, this meant that Horton et al. could get back to controlling people's lifestyles rather than tackling the virus.
 The 'public health' establishment has spent decades trying to conflate the risks from self-regarding actions with the risks from infectious diseases. JK Rowling neatly mocked this stupidity in a single sentence earlier this year.

One winter I caught drowning off my neighbour and then, would you believe it, I caught a car crash going round at my office. pic.twitter.com/nFcqyh1vFW

— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) April 17, 2020  The shameless opportunism of 'public health' wowsers is on full display in this week's Lancet where John Ionnidis and Prabhat Jha suggest exploiting COVID-19 to ban smoking.  Does the COVID-19 pandemic provide an opportunity to eliminate the tobacco industry?
Ionnidis has made himself unpopular in the scientific community this year by making some fairly wild claims about COVID-19's infection fatality rate (which he thinks is similar to that of bad flu - it isn't). Perhaps he thinks that a bit of prohibitionist tub-thumping will help him get back in their good books.
Tobacco use is the top modifiable global health problem,but the global tobacco market grows 3% annually. Most anti-tobacco measures to date target demand (eg, higher excise taxes). However, the endgame might require reducing supply. The 'endgame' should require informed adults choosing for themselves whether to smoke or not. That is the only outcome that is acceptable in a free society.
 The main counterarguments are financial (eg, economic damage or lost jobs) and defences of personal choice.  The rest of the article attempts to address the financial arguments but, tellingly, it does not return to the issue of personal choice. 
Most importantly, public health has little experience in enforcing major changes that disrupt markets.  What?! Disrupting markets is all they know. They explicitly focus on restricting advertising, availability and affordability - three of the main levers of competition. And they have plenty of experience of prohibition, as vapers and drinkers in many countries can tell you.
The ongoing societal response to COVID-19 offers a precedent for drastic action taken to eliminate the tobacco industry. COVID-19 is a natural experiment: expedient public health considerations have led to decisions being made that have important socioeconomic repercussions. The cumulative disease burden of COVID-19 is large but uncertain. However, if COVID-19 actions were deemed defensible, the risk–benefit ratio for actions to eliminate tobacco is far more favourable. Smoking is not an infectious disease and 'drastic action' is not required. Individuals can judge the 'risk-benefit ratio' of smoking for themselves.  
 Ionnidis and Jha's argument boils down to 'in for a penny, in for a pound'. They are arguing that lockdowns have caused such enormous economic devastation that the problems of tobacco prohibition will seem trivial by comparison. It is the same warped thinking that makes some people think that Britain has already ruined itself with its Covid response so it might as well have a No Deal Brexit for good measure.
 Even if all 100 million tobacco-related jobs were lost, this number is still much lower than the number of jobs lost by lockdown measures for COVID-19 worldwide What an incredibly stupid thing to say.
 Until now, only Bhutan has tried banning cigarettes, with mixed effects That's putting it very delicately. When researchers studies Bhutan's prohibition in 2011, they found...

'... a thriving black market and significant and increasing tobacco smuggling

Full article

Smoking during a pandemic

Published on 2020-10-26 15:40:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist



ASH are still pushing the idea that a million smokers quit in Britain in the early months of the pandemic. ASH's claims are often unreliable and this one is no different, and the real picture remains hazy. 

We know that tobacco duty revenues rose sharply during lockdown. Even in September, they were still 27% higher than they were in the same period last year. That could be entirely explained by people having less access to tobacco from the black and grey markets, but it doesn't immediately suggest that the number of smokers has rapidly declined.

Full article

Too Many News Sources To Tell One Big Lie

Published on 2020-10-25 17:34:11.
Website: Frank Davis


ZeroHedge: For the last four years the Russiagate coup has dogged Trump, as Obama, Clinton, Brennan, Clapper, Comey, Mueller and a myriad of lesser co-conspirators have propagated the Big Lie to cover-up their traitorous actions of trying to overthrow Trump. … Continue reading →

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Garbage in, garbage out - food advertising edition

Published on 2020-10-23 11:39:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


After the year we've had, I suspect a lot of people have had a bellyful of models from 'public health' which reflect nothing more than the assumptions of their authors (see yesterday's post, for example). But let's go once more in the breach

Ban on junk food ads before the 9pm watershed could stop 160,000 children becoming overweight or obese, study claims

Full article

3 November Will Just Be The Start

Published on 2020-10-22 21:10:30.
Website: Frank Davis


The US election is on 3 November, but it looks like that’s just going to be the start of it. Hillary Clinton has said that Joe Biden should not concede, under any circumstances. So Biden’s going to contest the result, even … Continue reading →

Full article

The bottomless incompetence of Public Health England

Published on 2020-10-22 15:13:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The UK currently requires travellers entering the UK to go into quarantine for 14 days, except for those coming from countries in the 'travel corridor'. 

Some other countries simply test people for SARS-Cov-2 when they land, so why don't we?

The answer is that Public Health England - for it is them again - reckon that testing upon arrival would only identify seven per cent of cases. 

This is based on a PHE model which has a rather substantial flaw, as a report out today shows. 


Full article

The Great Covid Divide

Published on 2020-10-22 10:00:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I've written for the Sun about people who have no skin in the game itching for a second lockdown. 

Being furloughed during the sunniest spring on record was more agreeable to those who had a large garden than to those who were stuck in a tower block with an abusive partner.

The lockdown greatly exacerbated equalities in housing, employment and personal circumstances.

White collar managers on Zoom meetings were waited on by delivery drivers, shop assistants and other blue collar workers for whom lockdown never happened.

Full article

SCHEER report on vaping pretends it's still 2011

Published on 2020-10-21 09:08:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Last month, the EU’s Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) published a preliminary opinion on electronic cigarettes which assesses the risks associated with vaping products and is designed to alert the European Commission to the “potential need for legislative amendments” to the Tobacco Products Directive. Reading it is like taking a step back in time, or being in Australia.

The authors of the SCHEER report appear to be biased against e-cigarettes and harm reduction. The report reheats several arguments, such as the ‘gateway effect’ and the ‘renormalisation’ hypothesis, which are now a decade old and have been contradicted by real world evidence. While it downplays strong evidence showing that e-cigarettes have been a gateway from smoking for millions of people, it amplifies speculation about hypothetical risks. When the authors are unable to find adequate evidence for anti-vaping claims, they quote from organisations which share the same prejudice. Much of the evidence is treated selectively and some of the conclusions made about the strength of evidence are baffling.   

Full article

Douglas Murray Never Noticed

Published on 2020-10-20 16:04:32.
Website: Frank Davis


I was watching Douglas Murray complaining about Covid lockdowns and masks and social distancing and all the rest of it, and how immensely socially destructive it all was, and how unnecessary it was. As I listened, I was thinking: This … Continue reading →

Full article

The Great Barrington conspiracy

Published on 2020-10-20 15:18:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Some people have got it into their heads that the Great Barrington Declaration (calling for a sort of herd immunity approach to Covid) is a plot by shady vested interests. Alas, they can't identify the vested interests and it's difficult to see who could benefit from it.

I've written about it for The Critic. No paywall, read it all.


Full article

Laurence Fox Reclaim Party

Published on 2020-10-18 15:09:01.
Website: Frank Davis


Not sure what to make of this. Laurence Fox has started a new political party. It’s called the Reclaim Party. He got into the news a while back for his appearance on Question Time. I didn’t see it because I … Continue reading →

Full article

E-cigarettes: the Cochrane Review

Published on 2020-10-16 12:00:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


A new Cochrane Review of e-cigarettes was published this week. Cochrane Reviews focus on randomised controlled trials, which are generally seen as the gold standard of scientific evidence. You don't see many of them in 'tobacco control', but they are possible when it comes to smoking cessation.
The previous Cochrane Review could only find two high quality RCTs. The new review found four, with nicotine replacement therapy and/or nicotine-free e-cigarettes used by the control group. It concludes:
There was moderate-certainty evidence, again limited by imprecision, that quit rates were higher in people randomized to nicotine EC than to non-nicotine EC (RR 1.71, 95% CI 1.00 to 2.92; I2 = 0%; 3 studies, 802 participants). In absolute terms, this might again lead to an additional four successful quitters per 100 (95% CI 0 to 12).

Full article

Lockdown junkies

Published on 2020-10-14 14:40:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I've written for the Telegraph about the knee-jerk demands for another lockdown... 

I have no doubt that quarantining the entire population is an effective way of reducing the number of infections. Amputating your leg is an effective way of getting rid of a verruca. The question is whether a second national lockdown (sorry, circuit breaker) is a proportionate and necessary response that will do more good than harm. Lockdowns have never been a feature of the NHS’s pandemic response plans, and were never seriously considered until the Wuhan police started welding people’s doors shut. 

Full article

Public Health England's sugar reduction fiasco

Published on 2020-10-13 13:07:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


When it should have been preparing for outbreaks of infectious disease, Public Health England's big 'world leading' initiative was getting the food industry to reduce the sugar, fat, salt and calorie content of food by arbitrary amounts so the British public would lose weight without even knowing they were on a diet.  Known as 'health by stealth', the scheme assumes that people blindly consume the same diet every week without paying attention to flavour. It is a textbook example of simplistic thinking by out-of-touch bureaucrats. As Adam Smith said of the 'man of system'...
He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chess-board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might chuse to impress upon it.  PHE buys into the dogma of the economically illiterate 'public health' lobby who think that consumers do whatever industry wants them to. And so it set food companies a target of reducing sugar in most processed products by 2020. The abolition of PHE was announced in July but the quango will stagger on like a zombie until the spring. Last week, it published a 'progress report' on the sugar programme. There has not been much progress.
 The sales weighted averages show that:


Full article

The surprisingly controversial benefits of moderate drinking

Published on 2020-10-13 10:09:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist



I've written a long read for Spectator USA about moderate drinking, the J-Curve and alcohol guidelines. 

The benefits of moderate drinking are an inconvenience to those who want to send a clear and simple message to the public (‘don’t drink’) as well as to those who want to introduce restrictive, tobacco-style legislation for alcohol. If alcohol can be part of a healthy lifestyle, it is difficult to demonize. Thus, for the new breed of temperance campaigner, it would be better if there were ‘no safe level’ of alcohol consumption.  Everything you need to know in one place. Have a read.

Full article

Pubs and coronavirus - what does the evidence say?

Published on 2020-10-12 10:58:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer, was lobbying MPs to close pubs in the North of England with a dodgy dossier that supposedly showed that a third of COVID-19 infections took place in pubs. Tellingly, he hasn't made this evidence public, but screenshots taken of one of his slides suggests that it is tenuous post hoc ergo propter hoc stuff. I wrote the following about the evidence on pubs and the coronavirus on Friday. You can download it as a briefing here.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic requires governments to balance health risks against social and economic wellbeing. The hospitality industry is Britain’s third biggest employer and has an annual turnover of £130 billion. It was effectively shut down for over three months during the lockdown from March 2020 at great expense to the industry and to HM Treasury. This briefing discusses the arguments for a further shutdown and the likely unintended consequences.

1. Flawed claims about infections in the hospitality sector

Full article

A conversation with Tim Martin of Wetherspoons

Published on 2020-10-09 16:09:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I spoke to Tim Martin, the chairman of JD Wetherspoon, this morning about the state of the pub trade as more government mandated shutdowns loom. Check it out.




Full article

Scotland's war on alcohol (and COVID-19)

Published on 2020-10-08 10:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Nicola Sturgeon seems to think that alcohol consumption is the main cause of COVID-19. I've written about it for the Spectator:  

Who knows where the Scottish government’s war on drinking ends and its war on Covid-19 begins, but it is not difficult to see an element of Presbyterian zeal in Sturgeon’s latest crackdown. In Scotland, where temperance groups are funded by the state, minimum pricing for alcohol has been in force since 2018 and the SNP had alcohol advertising in its sights before the coronavirus intervened. Several countries, including South Africa and India, took advantage of lockdown to experiment with prohibition in the spring. It would be no great surprise if Sturgeon didn’t view a sixteen day ‘circuit breaker’ as an opportunity to sober the Scots up a bit.


Full article

The coronavirus bait and switch

Published on 2020-10-06 12:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


An interesting sociological study was published today looking at the way norms around the COVID-19 pandemic have changed. The initial justification for lockdowns was to flatten the curve and prevent healthcare systems being overwhelmed. This soon morphed into a policy of trying to prevent anyone dying from this one specific cause of death at all costs.
 

In scrutinizing the criticisms of Swedish ‘exceptionalism’ (Palm 2020) as expressed by health professionals, scientists, and mass media representatives, we detect a significant divergence between officially proclaimed norms (which we call ‘norm texts’) and the underlying norm concepts that have emerged in the course of the crisis.


Full article

Polemics out in paperback

Published on 2020-10-02 15:20:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I turned my e-book Polemics into a paperback recently but have been waiting to see the finished product before recommending it too warmly. I had some copies delivered today and the print quality is top drawer. 

 


It's priced at £7.99 so get on Amazon and order a copy. It includes 42 articles from 2010 and 2020, all improved and some previously unpublished.

Full article

Last Orders with James Delingpole

Published on 2020-10-01 12:02:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


There's a new episode of Last Orders out. This month our guest is James Delingpole (who has his own excellent podcast that you should check out). We discuss the prospect of a second lockdown and whether it's a good idea for Laurence Fox to set up an anti-woke political party.

Listen here.


Full article

The thing about Sweden and coronavirus

Published on 2020-09-30 11:44:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


If you speak of the Swedish approach to COVID-19 without disparagement, a horde of mid-wits will descend on you to explain that, actually, Sweden has had a large number of Covid-related deaths compared to its immediate neighbours.

And so, if you show mortality figures like this...


 Someone will respond with this...

 Note that the way the data is displayed in the second graph disguises the fact that, at the time of writing, the death rate is slightly lower in Sweden than in its neighbours and the rate is falling in Sweden but rising in its neighbours. That is not a trivial point, but it is not the point of this blog post.
The point is that you don't need to compare Sweden to any country to make the crucial observation about lockdown. Lockdowns were introduced because it was believed that they were the only way to prevent cases spiralling out of control, leading to most of the population being infected, health services being overwhelmed and 0.5% to 1% of the population dying of the disease. 
This was not an unreasonable prediction. The coronavirus is highly infectious and is several times more lethal than flu. Case numbers were growing exponentially in March, as were deaths.
When academics adapted Neil Ferguson's model to Sweden, it predicted 96,000 deaths by the end of June. Ferguson himself said on 25 April that “I think we’re going to see their daily deaths increase day by day. It is clearly a decision for the Swedish government whether they wish to tolerate that.”

In fact, the daily number of deaths peaked on 17 April, barely a week after they peaked in Britain, and the cumulative total currently stands at less than 6,000. When a prediction is so far off, it should command attention, particularly when similar predictions have led to cataclysmic policy decisions elsewhere. Let's remember how the Swedish approach was reported at the time...

Full article

The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws

Published on 2020-09-29 13:58:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


In an article for CapX, I argue that the government is increasingly being seen a jailer rather than a friend. I can see the wheels falling off before long. Consent is slipping away. 

Bien pensants scoffed at the idea of ‘lockdown fatigue’ because there was no hard evidence that it existed. How could there be? We were in uncharted territory. But, to greatly paraphrase Orwell, only an intellectual could believe that locking people up for months while their jobs evaporate won’t make them lose patience and flout the rules. People went into lockdown more out of fear of the virus than fear of punishment.   

Full article

Kick Out to Help Out has been a fiasco

Published on 2020-09-28 08:58:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Last Wednesday, I wrote about the new 10pm 'kick out to help out' rule and suggested that it was about signalling more than anything else. There is no evidence that closing pubs early will help – only five per cent of new cases arise in hospitality venues and the policy may simply encourage more house parties – but it might remind the public that the virus is still out there.

As symbolic measures go, it is an expensive one. The full cost to pubs and restaurants will only be known when the bankruptcy and unemployment figures are published, but one publican claims that the new closing time could halve takings. In restaurants, it will mean seating everybody by 8.30pm. After a three-and-a-half-month lockdown, the hospitality industry is so fragile that many of its businesses only need the slightest push to go over the brink.


Full article

The earnings of smokers - a basic causation problem

Published on 2020-09-26 11:57:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Action on Smoking and Health have spent the last ten years claiming that smoking costs the British economy £13 billion a year. When this figure was conjured up with the help of Policy Exchange in 2010, it was - conveniently - slightly higher than the UK's annual tax revenue from tobacco. ASH immediately used their Big Number to demand higher taxes on Pigouvian grounds, but Pigouvian taxes require externalities and a closer look at their methodology showed that most of the £13 billion consisted of internalised costs, principally lost productivity/lost income. Yesterday, ASH were a pushing a new figure of £14 billion as the annual cost of smoking in lost income alone.  A new analysis by Landman Economics for health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) finds that the collective impact of joblessness and lower earnings for smokers amounts to £14.1bn a year. Over 300,000 smokers over 21 are economically inactive each year, forfeiting £6.9bn in lost earnings, while the 5.05 million in employment earn £7.2bn less than non-smokers. Working smokers have weekly earnings that are on average 6.8 per cent lower than non-smokers; equivalent to £1,424 per smoker. You have probably spotted the problem straight away. On average, smokers earn less than nonsmokers because smoking has become a disproportionately working class activity (it was not always thus). But there isn't a causal relationship between smoking cigarettes and earning less money. (Incidentally, even if there were such a relationship, it would be a personal trade-off and none of the government's business).  People who eat lobster and caviar earn more, on average, than people who don't, but they won't earn less if they decide to stop eating them, nor will you earn more if you start. The report by Landman Economics - the one-man band of a former left-wing think tank employee - only controls for age, education and gender. That doesn't scratch the surface of the differences between the kind of person who smokes in 2020 and the kind of person who doesn't. 

Full article

Driving the economy off a cliff

Published on 2020-09-26 09:31:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist



 I've got an article in this week's Spectator about the unbelievably bad state of the British economy and its public finances.  

Future generations will be bewildered that a prosperous country threw its economy off a cliff in a failed attempt to suppress a disease that kills less than 1 per cent of those infected, most of them in their eighties and nineties.  You can read it here.

It doesn't have to be this way. There is an alternative.

Full article

Talking drinking guidelines and related issues

Published on 2020-09-25 09:01:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I was chatting to the guys at the Consumer Choice Center about a few nanny state issues recently. Top of the agenda was the US review of the drinking guidelines which looks to have been captured by temperance interests, just as it was in the UK. Full interview below.



Full article

Little Hitlers

Published on 2020-09-23 15:56:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist



 Josie Appleton is always worth reading and she's written an excellent report for FOREST about the anti-smoking authoritarianism of local council busybodies. She made Freedom of Information requests to over 200 councils and found a range of smoking bans for staff and residents, including:

49 councils ban cigarette breaks entirely, even if workers clock off 113 councils currently ban smoking outside council buildings with some requiring employees to leave the site entirely or stand up to 50 metres from a council building to light up 29% of councils who replied had some form of ban on smoking outdoors.

Ipswich Council says that it is not enough to stand outside a council car to smoke - you have to move away from the car.  Leeds Council says:  ‘Leeds City Council employees are role models for our local communities. Employees who are visibly smoking whilst carrying out their duties are not demonstrating behaviour that encourages local communities to stop smoking.’
There is much more of this kind of thing but, as in Josie's fabulous book Officious, the report is at its best when it explains what it all says about the authorities and what they think of us.
 The new restrictions on outdoor smoking are no longer even nominally justified by concrete health risks posed by smokers to other people. Instead, they are part of a new political and moral framework, a smokefree ideology, that is taking hold at all levels of the state structure, particularly regional governments and local authorities. This programme is seeking an end to the sight and presence of smoking in public spaces, not only as a public health goal but as a political and moral good and a means of social transformation. Smokefree beaches, parks, homes and workplaces are being pursued by a state structure strapped for funding and bereft of social or moral ideals. To go smokefree becomes a way in which state authorities can make a positive statement about the improvement of public spaces or of social conditions locally. ‘Smokefree’ becomes the stand-in public good, the stand-in way in which state bodies might claim to have a vision or to affect improvements in society.


Full article

The WHO Doubles Down On Its Incompetence

Published on 2020-05-29 17:13:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


You'd think, wouldn't you, that after the damning political and media criticism the World Health Organisation has rightly been subjected to over fucking up the health of every nation on Earth - with their pitiful and incompetent response to the Coronavirus - that they would have learned a lesson on getting their priorities right.

Well, it seems not. This week, they were celebrating the "defeat" of e-cigarettes in Finland, as if this is in any way a good thing.

Full article

It's That Man Again!

Published on 2020-05-21 19:57:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


So, the menthol tobacco ban - mandated by the EU's Tobacco Products Directive from 2014 - came in this week and many smokers will have been completely unaware of it until Wednesday when they found that their usual smokes are never to be seen again.

However, one thing we did see again was the British tobacco control industry's only supporter amongst retail tobacconists. Not surprising since just about every anti-smoking initiative could have the potential - even if it is not designed, which is arguable - to put corner shops and newsagents out of business.

Meet - once again - John McClurey, an anti-smoking newsagent who has had years to stop selling cigarettes in his shop but seemingly without success.

Full article

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