The Brussels Declaration website
Latest News

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.

Other Views

Published on 2020-05-31 12:04:33.
Website: Frank Davis

Stuff I’ve been reading. Simon Clark: I’m not sure why I get so annoyed. There is just something about some vaping activists that leaves me cold. ‬ ‪For example, the cult-like insistence that if only smokers had access to e-cigarettes … Continue reading →

Full article

Distinct Voices

Published on 2020-05-30 13:23:10.
Website: Frank Davis

Continuing with the media: Sir David Attenborough has said the coronavirus pandemic has swept the problem of climate change from the front pages. The broadcaster and naturalist, who celebrated his 94th birthday in May, said the outbreak has made the issue feel as if it … Continue reading →

Full article

Trump defunds the WHO - not a moment too soon

Published on 2020-05-30 11:01:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Looking good!
The World Health Organisation has had a lot of heat on it recently, never more so than today, after Donald Trump announced that he was pulling the USA out of it and diverting its $400 million to more worthy causes.

Anyone expecting to hear a response from the WHO on its Twitter feed will be disappointed. Instead, it has gone off on a mad one about smoking.

Full article

Last Orders with Matt Ridley

Published on 2020-05-30 09:29:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

There's a new episode of the Last Orders podcast out with Matt Ridley in which we talk about innovation, the lockdown and prohibition. Give it a listen.

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

Old Media and New Media

Published on 2020-05-29 11:35:33.
Website: Frank Davis

I’ve spent much of the last week or so watching Joe Rogan talking to Graham Hancock and Randall Carlson about the brief reglaciation of the Younger Dryas at the end of the last ice age. It’s something I’m very interested … Continue reading →

Full article

Prohibition and the Pandemic - the video

Published on 2020-05-29 08:55:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

The video of last week's IEA webinar about the revival of prohibition under lockdown is now online. Check it out.

I've written about this for Spiked and I wrote about South Africa's prohibition of alcohol specifically for News 24

Full article

The rewriting of lockdown history

Published on 2020-05-28 10:22:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

The history of the UK's coronavirus response is being rapidly rewritten as the arse-covering begins ahead of the inevitable enquiry. This was exemplified in a Sunday Times article at the weekend which portrayed the 'herd immunity' strategy as a political response and the subsequent lockdown as a triumph for science.

However, as I argue in this article for The Critic, this is pretty much the opposite of what happened.
Now in its tenth week, Britain’s lockdown has been around long enough for it to develop its own founding myth. The folklore goes something like this: 

Once upon a time there was a wicked and reckless government. When a deadly new disease reached its shores, the government decided to let nature take its course. The politicians believed that there was no point trying to stop the virus. They thought it should be allowed to run rampant until the population had achieved herd immunity.

Full article

Blue Morning Sky

Published on 2020-05-28 09:22:48.
Website: Frank Davis

I still don’t really know what I came down with back in January. And I’m not sure that the doctors know either. “Heart failure,” they suggested. If so, I never noticed it. And don’t really believe it. All I know … Continue reading →

Full article

Fergus's coronavirus conundrum

Published on 2020-05-23 16:48:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Fergus Walsh
I've been chuckling about this all day so I had to share it with you.

Fergus Walsh, the BBC's medical correspondent, has written about how he was 'gobsmacked' to repeatedly test positive for the coronavirus antibody (meaning, obviously, that he has had the virus).

Imperial College London are testing these finger-prick home antibody tests for accuracy and ease of use. One of the team there calculated that my repeated positive tests made it incredibly unlikely that I was continually producing a false result. In other words, it seems I have definitely had coronavirus.

Full article

CO2 matters because it’s not understood

Published on 2020-05-23 13:24:35.
Website: Frank Davis

Thinking about this If you look at the World Health Organisation’s list of health threats, number one is climate change. Pandemics were down in third place, behind ‘non-communicable diseases’ such as diabetes and obesity. …it seems rather bizarre, and a … Continue reading →

Full article

Prohibition and the pandemic

Published on 2020-05-22 09:52:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Governments around the world have been gold-plating their lockdowns with prohibition. I've written about it for Spiked...

Here are some fun statistics for you. Last month, a quarter of the world’s population lived under alcohol prohibition. More than a fifth lived in a country where the sale of cigarettes was illegal and an even greater proportion still live in countries where the sale of e-cigarette fluid is prohibited.

These startling figures are mostly due to the vast population of India, where an existing ban on vape juice was accompanied by full prohibition of alcohol and cigarettes when it went into lockdown on 24 March. After 40 days and 40 long nights, the ban was rescinded in much of the country two weeks ago, but ‘emergency’ alcohol prohibition remains in place in South Africa, the Philippines, Greenland, Panama, Zimbabwe, most of Argentina, and parts of Thailand and Mexico. Peru, Malaysia and Mexico have all banned brewing, with the latter suffering from a severe beer drought. Drinkers in Delhi, the Indian capital, now face a 70 per cent tax on alcohol, supposedly to discourage long queues at liquor stores.

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

Nanny state pressure groups on the make

Published on 2020-05-21 09:12:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Last month I wrote about the plight of 'public health' groups being overshadowed by a genuine public health problem...

If you’ve spent your career believing that drinking, smoking and obesity are the real epidemics, a potentially fatal virus forcing billions of people into hiding could make you question your priorities. But if the nanny state lobby was disoriented at first, it has quickly learnt to adapt.
And so it has. With the Prime Minister reputed to be in the mood to fight the war on obesity with renewed vigour, the anti-smoking and anti-drinking lobbies sniff an opportunity.

Full article

Prohibition webinars

Published on 2020-05-19 11:46:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

You can never have too many webinars, can you? So here's one my colleague Kristian and I did yesterday for Oxford University's Conservative Association.

Done a webbie with @OUConservatives yesterday.@cjsnowdon on (what passes for) Public Health, me on alternative models of healthcare. https://t.co/nQIKIN91ht— Kristian Niemietz thinks billionaires should exist (@K_Niemietz) May 19, 2020 

Full article

The failings of Public Health England and the WHO

Published on 2020-05-18 10:07:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Having spent years saying Public Health England should be closed down and the WHO should be defunded, it's pleasing to see so many people coming round to my point of view. All it took was for these organisations to get a bit of scrutiny.

There's a damning article in the Economist this week about PHE... 

The pandemic has exposed flaws in Public Health England
After the pandemic, the government is likely to rethink the executive agency’s role

Full article

Boris Johnson's war on obesity

Published on 2020-05-18 09:26:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Boris Johnson is reputed to be launching a war on obesity, both his and other people's, when this is all over. The Times covered this gossip on its front page last week, perhaps feeling vindicated for publishing so many anti-sugar editorials over the years.

More cynically, this looks like an attempt to shift the blame for the government's handling of COVID-19: "Don't blame us, blame the fatties." This doesn't stack up as an excuse, however, as I wrote in an article for the Spectator.

Full article

Prohibition produces the usual results in South Africa

Published on 2020-05-17 10:04:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

The BBC has made a short video about South Africa's lockdown ban on alcohol and tobacco. Aside from making the dubious claim that the prohibition was based on logic and reason, it gives an accurate picture of what's been happening. It is the usual story of crime, corruption, tax loss and financial ruin.

Full article

Has anybody heard from Public Health England?

Published on 2020-05-15 06:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

I had an article in the Yorkshire Post this week. It's not payywalled so do have a read of it.

Has anybody heard from Public Health England recently? When the agency was set up in 2013, its ‘primary duty’ was ‘to protect the public from infectious diseases and other environmental hazards’ and yet the fight against coronavirus has been led by the Department of Health and the NHS.

While the Chief Medical Officer and his deputy have become household names, the head of PHE (can you name him?) has been nowhere to be seen. The quango’s main contributions to date have been hindering the roll out of testing with its overly centralised bureaucracy and assuring the public that it is ‘very unlikely that people receiving care in a care home or the community will become infected’.

Full article

Clive Bates on the banter hypothesis

Published on 2020-05-14 16:16:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

I've just been watching Clive Bates talking to Brent Stafford on Regulator Watch. Clive is always good value and he has some interesting thoughts on the theory that smoking/nicotine reduces COVID-19 risk. He also mentions this recent study which found - comprehensively - that smoking significantly reduces the risk of Parkinson's Disease.

Check it out.

Full article

Smoking and COVID-19 - what's new?

Published on 2020-05-14 10:18:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Forgive me for boasting, but I reached a personal milestone last month when an article of mine was classified as fake news by Facebook. The article discussed some of the many studies that have emerged in the last two months showing smokers to be significantly under-represented in the coronavirus wards of Europe, America and China. Those who stumble across on it on Facebook are now warned that it is ‘misleading’.

Admittedly, the headline was ‘Smoke fags, save lives’ and I did call on doctors to start prescribing Lucky Strikes. Perhaps I overstepped the line when I called for the British public to clap for cigarettes every Thursday evening. But surely the intelligent reader could tell these comments were tongue-in-cheek?

Full article

Alcohol consumption in the lockdown

Published on 2020-05-13 09:58:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Cards on the table, folks. I don't know what's happened to per capita alcohol consumption during lockdown. Aside from the drinks industry and possibly HMRC, I doubt anyone has much of an idea.

The media keeps repeating the line that alcohol sales in the off-trade rose by 31 per cent at the start of lockdown, with the implication that alcohol consumption has soared. This is wrong, of course. Not only were people stockpiling it to consume over several weeks, but sales in the on-trade have fallen by 100 per cent.

Full article

Reforming Public Health England

Published on 2020-05-12 11:09:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

The IEA's Definite Article show is a live interview every Monday at 6pm in which someone discusses an article they have written.

This week it was me talking about this article about public health funding. In the interview I give my thoughts about the recent changes to the lockdown laws, such as they are, and explain what I would do to Public Health England if I got the chance.

Full article

The WHO: Nice work if you can get it

Published on 2020-05-11 16:13:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

From the Australian Taxpayers Alliance

Full article

Myths about public health spending

Published on 2020-05-07 16:38:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

I've got a paper out with the IEA today about public health spending. It starts with a discussion about whether cuts in public health spending left the UK unable cope with COVID-19. You can read more about that, plus some views on Public Health England, in an article I've written for the Spectator...

No country can prepare perfectly for a new viral pandemic, but Britain’s public health system has fallen conspicuously short. Why? The stock answer from many is ‘under-funding’ – but the NHS budget has continued to rise since 2010, albeit not at the unsustainable pace seen during the New Labour splurge.

Full article

Have 300,000 smokers quit because of COVID-19?

Published on 2020-05-06 10:11:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

On Monday, I mentioned the claim from Action on Smoking and Health that 300,000 smokers have quit as a result of coronavirus fears. I said that it seemed unlikely that such a figure could be confidently derived from a survey of 1,000 people.

Simon Clark has got hold of the YouGov survey and my suspicions have been confirmed. As he explains...

Full article

The dog that didn't bark

Published on 2020-05-06 09:50:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Here's a novelty. In this study, non-smoking is listed as a co-morbidity.

Why? Because it is a study of coronavirus patients in the New York City area and the last study from NYC showed that non-smokers were more likely to be hospitalised with COVID-19 than smokers.

Full article

Liberty versus the lockdown

Published on 2020-05-05 15:51:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

I've written a short briefing paper about the UK lockdown for the IEA, explaining what you're allowed to do (not much) and the risks of any of these massive restrictions on civil liberties being retained a minute longer than they need to be.

I have been dismayed by the government's eagerness to extend the lockdown for a second time despite its having achieved its original objectives. On this, it seems to be responding more to public opinion than to its scientific strategy. Nothing wrong with that in a democracy except that public opinion has been formed by the government's daily insistence that the only way of tackling the virus is by staying at home.

Full article

Deadly agency nominated for award

Published on 2020-05-05 11:16:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Having written about the 'public health' racket for well over a decade, I am not easily shocked by lies and corruption, but some stories still have the capacity to knock me for six.

Yesterday, Peter A. Briss of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was nominated for a Service to America medal in the Science and Environment category. He is a finalist, and may yet win it, because he supposedly...

Identified the chemical compound in vaping products that caused life-threatening lung injuries among young adults, communicating the danger to public health and saving lives. 
In a staggering rewriting of history, we are told that the source of the disease was a 'mystery' until the CDC got to the bottom of it in November 2019:
All of these individuals vaped, inhaling an aerosol via an e-cigarette or other device, but it was a mystery to medical professionals why they suddenly were getting sick with what they would later call E-Cigarette or Vaping Use-Associated Lung Injury.

At the helm of the response was Dr. Peter Briss and a large Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team that, alongside federal and state scientists, conducted hundreds of labor-intensive studies and tests searching for clues. Within months, they discovered direct evidence that a chemical compound, vitamin E acetate, used in some vaping products, was the likely culprit in the disease. Since this discovery in November 2019, emergency room visits and deaths have decreased sharply.
And what was this discovery?
The team had a breakthrough in November 2019 when they found vitamin E acetate in vaping products containing THC, the active agent in marijuana, and, crucially, in the lungs of sick patients. Vitamin E acetate is an oily substance that was being added to THC products, and it was interfering with normal lung function in otherwise healthy people.
Indeed it was, but if the CDC discovered this in November, how could it be that a non-scientist like me, watching from the other side of the Atlantic, was writing this in early September?
The most likely culprit is Vitamin E acetate, an additive that has been used as a thickening agent on the black market since late last year. Vitamin E acetate is not safe to inhale and has been linked to lipoid pneumonia, which can be fatal. Whatever the killer chemical turns out to be, it is not nicotine.
The answer is that it was already common knowledge to anybody who was paying attention. The New York State Department of Health identified Vitamin E acetate as the problem in August.

"Our laboratory was the first to identify vitamin E acetate in vaporizer fluids recovered from pulmonary injury patients, which we promptly reported to officials of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and public health officials from numerous states via conference call and via e-mail on August 19, 2019," said David C. Spink, Ph.D., Chief of the Laboratory of Organic Analytical Chemistry at Wadsworth and corresponding author of the study.

 "Based on our work, the New York State Department of Health issued a press release on September 5, 2019 indicating that vitamin E acetate was a key focus of the Department's investigation of potential causes of vaping-associated pulmonary illnesses."
On 24 September, journalists at Leafly had discovered everything that needed to be known about the 'epidemic'. If awards are going to be dished out, there should be a Pulitzer Prize for this article telling the full story of how Vitamin E acetate got into the THC black market.

What was the CDC doing while all of this was going on? They were doing their best to shield the truth from the American public, telling them in so many words that conventional nicotine vaping was deadly. As I wrote in September...
The CDC has been the worst offender, using weasel words such as ‘e-cigarette product use’ and ‘vaping or e-cigarette use’ to describe the behavior which led to the recent deaths. When asked in a press conference how a product that has been around for a decade could suddenly cause an acute epidemic, the CDC’s Brian King suggested that the problem had been around the whole time but was only becoming visible thanks to ‘increased diligence’. He put the blame squarely on conventional e-cigarettes, saying: ’We do know that e-cigarettes do not emit a harmless aerosol. They can include a variety of potential harmful ingredients, including ingredients that are harmful in terms of pulmonary illness

Full article

Smoking and COVID-19: evidence update

Published on 2020-05-04 11:45:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


A UK study in Lancet Infectious Diseases found that smokers were half as likely to test positive for the coronavirus. The unadjusted odds ratio was 0.59. After adjustments it was 0.49. This is important because it suggests that smokers are under-represented in coronavirus wards because they are less likely to contract the disease in the first place (and not necessarily because they are less likely to develop severe symptoms). A French prevalence study published last month suggested the same thing.

Full article

Something, something, COVID-19

Published on 2020-05-03 10:33:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Over on Twitter I have been curating a list of people using COVID-19 as justification for doing things they have always wanted to do. It's quite a long list.

A particularly tenuous effort appeared in the Sunday Times today:

Covid-19 crisis sparks new call in Scotland for tobacco levy

The 'new call' comes from ASH Scotland, a state-funded pressure group that has been campaigning for a tobacco levy for years.

Full article

The gambling industry's own goal

Published on 2020-05-01 14:44:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

In a self-defeating move of epic proportions, the Betting and Gaming Council - which represents 90 per cent of the UK gambling industry - announced this week that its members are pulling all TV and radio advertising for the duration of the lockdown.

This appears to have been a response to nagging from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm, formerly known as the APPG on FOBTs, who have warned about an epidemic of problem gambling as a result of people being stuck at home. There is no evidence that this has occurred. Online gambling revenue has fallen by 30 per cent

Full article

© 2020, The International Coalition Against Prohibition