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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.

A poor advertisement for government intervention

Published on 2020-02-21 10:46:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The Health Foundation has a blog post up by Adam Briggs, a 'public health doctor' who campaigned for the sugar levy and did the modelling which claimed the sugar levy would work (he was then, inevitably, hired to evaluate the sugar levy). Briggs says that market failures can potentially justify government intervention in smoking, drinking, diet and so on.

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The Lancet admits that sin taxes are regressive

Published on 2020-02-20 11:25:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The Lancet has teamed up with the WHO and UNICEF to publish a long and boring article about the threats to children's health. It identifies three major global hazards for the government to tackle.

From the press release:

The report, A Future for the World’s Children?, finds that the health and future of every child and adolescent worldwide is under immediate threat from ecological degradation, climate change and exploitative marketing practices that push heavily processed fast food, sugary drinks, alcohol and tobacco at children.

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Your Guess Is As Good As Mine

Published on 2020-02-20 10:32:59.
Website: Frank Davis


I suppose that the new coronavirus epidemic is the main news item these days. But I seem to know less and less about it. And more and more it’s a matter of guessing. What’s happening in China? According to some … Continue reading →

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Is the nanny state here to stay?

Published on 2020-02-19 13:50:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


This week, I was on the Bad Boy of Science vidcast (or whatever you call these things) talking about the nanny state (of course), the BBC and VAR. Check it out....


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Junk study on vaping and heart attacks retracted

Published on 2020-02-19 11:57:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist



Stanton Glantz has finally had his study on vaping/heart attacks retracted. It is hard to imagine that this his first retraction but given the gutter standards of the field he works in, it may be.

Brad Rodu and others have been calling for the Journal of the American Heart Association to retract this piece of junk for months. The study claimed that vaping increased the risk of heart attack among a group of ex-smokers. Ex-smokers are more likely to have a heart attack than nonsmokers and those who switch to e-cigarettes may be more prone than others for various reasons (eg. they may have been heavier smokers than those who quit cold turkey). Any association could easily be due to residual confounding.

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Nothing Crazy Happening

Published on 2020-02-19 11:04:02.
Website: Frank Davis


Reported as “crazy” and “weird”: #1 Armies Of Locusts – As I detailed the other day, swarms of locusts the size of major cities have been devouring entire farms in Africa in as little as 30 seconds.  These swarms have also been … Continue reading →

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Coronavirus is a boon, says 'public health' expert

Published on 2020-02-18 17:38:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Australia is a nanny state basket case. We've known that for a while, but there could be no better illustration of how the 'public health' movement has been debased and corrupted by puritanical fanatics than this tweet from an Aussie 'public health' 'expert'...



Mr Swanson is a dietitian who wormed his way into the 'public health' racket by being an rabid anti-smoking campaigner in the 1980s. That got him into a career at various health agencies, including the National Heart Foundation and the Health Education Council. He currently rejoices in the title of CEO of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health where he campaigns against e-cigarettes.

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I Don’t See Any Climate Change Happening

Published on 2020-02-18 11:32:36.
Website: Frank Davis


Ashamed of being human: UK Professor: Only Way to Save Planet Is to ‘Let Humans Become Extinct’ It’s always a professor somewhere or other, isn’t it? What’s the matter with the universities? Giving birth to a child is “the worst … Continue reading →

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Off-Air with Mike Graham

Published on 2020-02-17 16:44:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I did a half hour interview with TalkRadio's Mike Graham today. We discussed the BBC, cancel culture and various other topics.

And here it is...


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Shame on so much Pointless Shame

Published on 2020-02-17 11:33:10.
Website: Frank Davis


What is the matter with these people? “I have white advantage. Educational advantage. Straight advantage. Male advantage… I’m not ashamed of those advantages; I’m ashamed of not knowing I had them,” Welby said. Well, I’ve got all the same advantages. And … Continue reading →

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The Stuff Of Nightmares

Published on 2020-02-16 12:12:48.
Website: Frank Davis


Yesterday on Drudge: BREAKING: Mike Bloomberg ‘wants Hillary Clinton as his running mate’, sources close to his campaign tell Drudge It’s the stuff of nightmares: together they’d make a virulently antismoking presidency. As mayor Bloomberg banned smoking in NYC, purely … Continue reading →

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The miserable failure of Thailand's anti-alcohol laws

Published on 2020-02-14 09:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Thailand is one of the 'public health' industry's posterboys: an early adopter of graphic warnings and heavy temperance legislation, as well as being a fierce opponent of vaping.

In 2008, the country passed a slew of 'evidence-based' anti-alcohol measures to tackle a perceived epidemic of underage drinking. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Act (2008) raised the drinking age from 18 to 20, banned the sale of alcohol in places frequented by youth and banned all alcohol advertising.

It was a dream come true for the neo-temperance lobby and included some of the WHO's 'best buys'.

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Government-approved chocolate fails to sell

Published on 2020-02-13 11:25:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


We barely knew thee
This is becoming a familiar story.

In December 2016, the confectionery company Nestlé announced... 

Nestlé’s groundbreaking material science makes less sugar taste just as good

Full article

BBC re-edits minimum pricing story

Published on 2020-02-11 08:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist



In early December, the BBC outdid itself by reporting statistics that showed a rise in alcohol-related deaths in Scotland under the headline 'Alcohol death rates dropping in Scotland' and linking this supposed decline to minimum pricing.

Full article

A rare honest film about vaping

Published on 2020-02-10 12:29:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


And the truth shall set you free
I was abroad at the end of last week and missed ITV Tonight running a hatchet job on e-cigarettes featuring Stanton Glantz. I believe Channel 4's Dispatches is in the process of making a similar documentary.

There is only one angle the media are interested in when covering tobacco and e-cigarette stories and it involves 'Big Tobacco', conspiracy theories and fear-mongering. A rare exception is the film below from the Economist, a magazine that has generally covered the vaping issue responsibly and honestly. It gives the facts about the so-called EVALI outbreak and the supposed 'epidemic' of underage e-cigarette use. It even discusses snus and the new, baseless panic about nicotine damaging the brain.

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Hawaii to raise the smoking age to 100 - or is it?

Published on 2020-02-06 16:23:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


When, last February, I commented on reports that Hawaii was considering raising the smoking age to 100 (yes, you read that right), I said it was the stuff of satire and was doubtful that it would happen.

But it has. And they included vape products for good measure...

HB 2540: This bill would progressively ban the sale of cigarettes and e-cigarettes by periodically raising the minimum age of purchase. The bill proposes raising the minimum age to purchase these products to 30 years of age by 2021, 40 years of age by 2022, 50 years of age by 2023, until finally 100 years of age by 2025. The bill passed out of the House Health Committee on Tuesday.

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Alcohol is new tobacco for the WHO

Published on 2020-02-05 09:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


It is now seventeen years since the World Health Organisation adopted the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control dedicating to denormalising and ultimately eradicating tobacco use around the world. It was the WHO's first treaty and, despite the earnest claims of those who insisted that there was no slippery slope, it was never going to be the last.

The WHO is currently sharpening its knives for a global war on alcohol, as this recent document makes clear...

Alcohol remains the only psychoactive and dependence-producing substance with a significant impact on global population health that is not controlled at the international level by legally-binding regulatory instruments.

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To ban or not to ban?

Published on 2020-02-04 10:56:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Tim Worstall has written a nice little essay about paternalism for the IEA. In To Ban or Not To Ban?, he looks at everything from chlorinated chicken and climate change to gambling and the green belt.

When is the government justified in restricting freedom? It is not enough that some people might prefer the new arrangements. Tim rightly notes that costs to third parties could justify state coercion and taxation, but he finds the evidence of such costs is often lacking in practice. Much of the time, demands to clamp down on other people's behaviour are motivated by paternalism or self-interest.

Full article

Ten times Remainers went insane

Published on 2020-02-03 10:21:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I've written about the ten maddest Remainer moments for Spiked. It's pretty funny if I do say so myself; it's hard to go wrong with such strong source material.

Do have a read.

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New podcast with Geoff Norcott

Published on 2020-01-30 15:37:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


It's another podcast, folks, but I promise it's a really good one because it's with Geoff Norcott. We talk about a range of things. The nanny state comes up quite a bit, as you might expect, but we also discuss issues like the Labour leadership contest.

Do have a listen...

iTunes: http://bit.ly/GeoffNorcottPodcast

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Why do we get fat?

Published on 2020-01-29 18:00:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The video of me, Rob Lyons, Anthony 'Angry Chef' Warner and Helen West talking at the Battle of Ideas about obesity is now online. Why do we get fat? It's complicated.



I never got round to reviewing Anthony's latest book, The Truth About Fat, but it is really good. Definitely recommended.

Full article

Alcohol sales after minimum pricing - the saga continues

Published on 2020-01-28 14:59:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Another NHS evaluation of minimum pricing (MUP) was published today. You can probably guess the general conclusion from the fact that it was the first item on BBC Politics Live, ahead of the big story about Huawei. The Beeb seems obsessed with promoting minimum pricing at the moment.

Just watch this garbage...

Alcohol sales fall in Scotland after price increases: Extend this to other parts to the UK?

Full article

Last Orders with Dominic Frisby

Published on 2020-01-28 11:05:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


More podcastery for you. The new episode of Last Orders has landed, in which we are joined by Dominic Frisby to discuss Prohibition, fake news and taxation. Dominic has recently published a book about the latter. It's called Daylight Robbery, a reference to the window tax which, as you will hear on the podcast, lasted a lot longer than you might think.

It appears that the IEA's office was once a victim of it...

Full article

Yes, sugar consumption has declined

Published on 2020-01-28 10:00:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


This tweet was doing the rounds last week, attracting the best part of 3,000 retweets and 10,000 likes.

Sugar consumption per person in 1850: 5 lbs
Sugar consumption per person in 2020: 175 lbs

This explains almost all disease.

People have turned into a fermenting, stagnant, toxic sugary soup that breeds cancer and disease.— Carnivore Aurelius © (@KetoAurelius) January 22, 2020 
The tweeter seems to have monetised his interest in the keto diet. It's unclear whether he's referring to the UK or the USA. Either way, his figures are wrong.

Full article

Déjà brew: 100 years on from prohibition

Published on 2020-01-28 09:03:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


With the 100th anniversary of the start of Prohibition two weeks ago, I did a podcast for the IEA talking about the lessons that have been learned and unlearned.

Do have a listen and get yourself subscribed to it if you haven't already.

I also wrote about the centenary for Spiked.

And see Full article

Australia's tobacco bootleggers

Published on 2020-01-27 11:43:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


In September, cigarette taxes will rise by 12.5% (plus VAT) in Australia for the eighth successive year. A pack of premium cigarettes will cost nearly $50.

The impact of these sky high prices on the smoking rate has been remarkably modest. Daily smoking prevalence has dipped from 14.5% in 2014-15 to 13.8% in 2017-18. This is less of a decline than many countries have managed without resorting to such extreme tactics, and is appreciably less than has been seen in countries which have allowed vaping to flourish (the sale of e-cig fluid is banned Down Under).

Full article

CDC is Concealing and Suppressing Information on Youth Marijuana Vaping to Over-hype Harms of E-Cigarettes

Published on 2020-01-26 19:44:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco and Alcohol News Analysis and Commentary


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is concealing and suppressing information on the number one cause of severe, vaping-related health harm to youths in order to deceive the public into thinking that e-cigarettes are at the top of the list.

In fact, the number one cause of severe, vaping-related health damage to youths is not electronic cigarettes, although you would not know that from reading the CDC's literature on youth vaping.

The Rest of the Story

The chief cause of substantial health harms to youth from vaping is actually not e-cigarettes. It is marijuana or THC vaping.

Full article

How the regulatory ratchet works

Published on 2020-01-23 12:13:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The temperance lobby’s reaction to today’s study showing no impact of minimum pricing on underage drinkers has been depressingly predictable.

For years, they used children as a pretext for minimum pricing, endlessly complaining about ‘pocket money prices’. Here is Alcohol Focus Scotland in 2013, for example;

Full article

More evidence that minimum pricing was a flop

Published on 2020-01-23 08:09:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The evaluations of minimum pricing, such as they are, keep on coming. The latest looks at the drinking habits of 13 to 17 years who 'reported that they were drinking before and after MUP was introduced'. Fifty of them, to be precise.

Here are the findings...

The study found that money and price changes were not perceived to be barriers to drinking by the children and young people interviewed.The price of alcohol was not seen as an important factor in their drinking behaviour, and overall they did not report changing what they drank, how much they drank or how they obtained their alcohol, in response to price alone.

Full article

The unsound Bristol Pound

Published on 2020-01-22 13:24:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


At the weekend it was reported that the Bristol Pound, a local currency that is worth the same as a normal pound, has fallen on hard times and may soon be taken our of circulation. In practice, this means that the government has stopped squandering taxpayers' money on it.

I looked at the financial accounts of the company that runs the scheme and was astonished by the amount of cash it has got through. Every Bristol Pound spent in every transaction since 2012 has cost around 33p in administration costs. The only people who have benefited from the project are the people who run it.

Full article

The World Health Organisation lies about vaping on an epic scale

Published on 2020-01-22 10:27:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The deadly coronavirus that has infected hundreds of people in China and has now spread to the USA is the biggest global public health threat we have seen for some years. Naturally, therefore, the World Health Organisation spent yesterday putting out a series of deranged tweets about vaping

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Tobacco Researcher Claims that Smoking May Be Safer than E-Cigarettes

Published on 2020-01-09 00:51:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco and Alcohol News Analysis and Commentary


Imagine if a tobacco company came out today and publicly claimed that smoking might very well be safer than using an e-cigarette. It would be a completely irresponsible statement and the company would rightly be vigorously criticized and attacked for asserting that its deadly products, which kill more than 400,000 people each year, are potentially safer than e-cigarettes, which do not contain tobacco, involve no combustion, and have been documented to have much lower levels of thousands of different chemicals compared to cigarettes.

In a strange an shocking irony, that exact claim was made today, but it came not from Big Tobacco but from a tobacco researcher. According to a press release issued by Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), one of its professors--who is a tobacco researcher and studies electronic cigarettes--claimed that smoking may actually be safer than vaping. The professor was quoted as stating:

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