TICAP Logo

 
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.

Public Health England's great chess board

Published on 2019-08-22 10:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Yesterday, the Daily Mail reported the findings of a study which found that packaged food in the UK is healthier than it is in eleven other countries. This isn't very meaningful because the authors averaged out tens of thousands of very different products.

Useless though it may be, it's the kind of aggregate data that Public Health England is relying on in its reformulation efforts, so I wrote about it for the Telegraph...

Full article

Unexpected Honesty from Tobacco Control

Published on 2019-08-22 09:39:53.
Website: Frank Davis


Hat tip to Smoking Lamp for finding this piece of unexpected honesty from Dr Marewa Glover, an NZ Auckland-based tobacco researcher, during videoed submissions on a proposed law to ban smoking in cars: “In tobacco control over 35 years, we … Continue reading →

Full article

Close Down Public Health England

Published on 2019-08-21 09:53:52.
Website: Frank Davis


I liked this purely as a piece of English. It’s about Public Health England’s plans to ruin food by reformulating it. …At the heart of the reformulation delusion is an ignorance of market forces, a deep suspicion of industry and … Continue reading →

Full article

Does alcohol really cause breast cancer?

Published on 2019-08-21 08:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The anti-alcohol lobby got very excited in April when a Mendelian Randomisation (MR) study suggested that there are no overall health benefits from moderate drinking. Put very simply, MR takes account of genetic differences to see if an epidemiological association has been confounded by genes or other factors.

The authors of the study chose to look at people living in a specific area of China where two genes associated with teetotalism are very prevalent. They didn't explain how these genetic differences explain the J-Curve and - more importantly - they didn't explain what relevance their findings had to countries like the UK where these genes are rare. As I said at the time...

Full article

Inhospitable Hospitals

Published on 2019-08-20 10:10:44.
Website: Frank Davis


The natural world is full of individuals. No single tree is the same as any other tree. No single pebble is the same as any other pebble. No single river is the same as any other river. No single storm … Continue reading →

Full article

The madness of food reformulation

Published on 2019-08-20 08:35:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I've written about the government's food reformulation ruse for Spiked...

At the heart of the reformulation delusion is an ignorance of market forces, a deep suspicion of industry and a naive faith in the power of bureaucracy to remedy supposed market failures. One of David Cameron’s greatest mistakes as prime minister was creating Public Health England in 2013. This quango, which relieves the taxpayer of over £4 billion a year, was always going to attract ideologues and activists from the clown show that is ‘public health’ academia. These people are relatively harmless when confined to their echo-chamber conferences and rinky-dink journals, but are a menace when allowed off the leash. At Public Health England, they have real power and influence. It is telling that the only ‘stakeholders’ from civil society involved in the reformulation work are Action on Sugar and the Obesity Health Alliance, two mouthpieces of the fanatical Graham MacGregor, who flood the media with hysterical claims about the ‘shocking’ levels of various ingredients in normal, everyday food.

Full article

Buying Greenland

Published on 2019-08-19 10:40:02.
Website: Frank Davis


Donald Trump sure thinks big: Trump confirms he is considering attempt to buy Greenland President says bid would be ‘essentially a real estate deal’ Danish semi-autonomous territory has said it is not for sale It won’t be the first such … Continue reading →

Full article

Staying Alive

Published on 2019-08-18 09:24:35.
Website: Frank Davis


From Chris Snowdon: …These health lobby groups appear to be dismissive of the actual public – the choices that people make and the opinions they actually have. They see themselves as speaking in the name of public health, which they … Continue reading →

Full article

Cooking For Bureaucrats

Published on 2019-08-16 09:45:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist



The IEA has an important new report out today - Cooking for Bureaucrats - which looks at the government’s food reformulation scheme. With the noble exception of Laura Donnelly at the Telegraph, journalists have shown little interest in this deranged plan to remake the food supply to satisfy the loonies at Action on Sugar.

Full article

The Nanny State Index conference 2019

Published on 2019-08-15 05:39:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist



The new Nanny State Index was published in May, bigger and better than ever. Next month sees the Nanny State Index conference. It's in Brussels and free tickets are available to anyone who registers.

There will be a keynote speech at 9am followed by three panel discussions and a lunch. Needless to say, I will be there. Join us if you can.

Full article

Burning injustice tackled

Published on 2019-08-14 09:51:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


This advert has just been banned in the UK after three cranks complained. See if you can work out why.



The answer, such as it is, can be found here. Thank you, Theresa May.

Full article

Panorama on gambling - wrong again

Published on 2019-08-12 10:08:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


It looks like Panorama is going to have yet another pop at gambling tonight. Having dealt with fixed odds betting terminals, it now reports that people can bet much larger sums of money online - as I repeatedly pointed out when I was virtually the lone voice opposing the anti-FOBT crusade.

A BBC article promoting the show ('Addicted to Gambling') says...

High stakes betting machines have been banned from the High Street, but there are no legal limits for online games. That means customers can lose thousands of pounds in just a few minutes.

Full article

The smoking ban miracle revisited

Published on 2019-08-09 09:28:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Remember this, from 2013?

The number of children admitted to hospital with symptoms of asthma has fallen since the ban on smoking in enclosed public places came into effect, a study has found.  Research shows there was a 12.3% fall in admissions in the first year after the law was introduced in July 2007, and these have continued to drop in subsequent years, suggesting that any benefits of the legislation have been sustained.
The claim was a lie and the study was junk science, as I showed at the time. Stanton Glantz was one of the authors. Nuff said.

Full article

Last Orders with Julia Hartley-Brewer

Published on 2019-08-07 13:41:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist



There’s a new episode of the Last Orders podcast out. Our special guest is Julia Hartley-Brewer and we discuss cannabis legalisation, tobacco prohibition and the collapse of AG Barr’s shares since the company degraded Irn-Bru.

It’s a good one

Full article

Canada's cannabis experiment

Published on 2019-07-31 07:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist



I was on field trip in Ontario last month with several MPs and charities to check out the legal cannabis market that has been in operation since October. The event was organised by the splendid drug reform group Volte Face and filmed by a BBC crew whose documentary went online yesterday.

Full article

Laffer Curve spotted in Estonia and Latvia

Published on 2019-07-30 09:53:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Estonia came third in this year's Nanny State Index, rising up the table by twelve places. This was largely thanks to its huge alcohol tax rises in the last two years, but these were accompanied by unintended, but hardly unpredictable consequences, as I explained at the time...

Estonia’s taxes on beer, wine and spirits have been higher than the EU average for years and have risen sharply since the first Nanny State Index was published. Between 2016 and 2018, spirits duty rose by 30 per cent, wine duty rose by 50 per cent and beer duty doubled. This has led to a textbook illustration of the Laffer Curve as Estonians travel to neighbouring Latvia for their booze shopping and Finns – who have long made the trip to Estonia for theirs – go elsewhere. The government expected alcohol revenues to rise from €251 million in 2016 to €276 million in 2017. In fact, the tax rise caused revenues to fall to €229 million and had a devastating impact on small shops in poor regions close to Latvian border which relied on alcohol sales.

Full article

Economic illiteracy in 'public health'

Published on 2019-07-29 13:22:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Anna Gilmore can turn any academic discipline into junk, none more so than economics. As Carl Phillips remarked some years ago...

It is not entirely clear whether she is in the subset of liars who know they are disseminating disinformation or the subset who claim to be experts but simply have no idea what they are doing.  My assessment, based on her previous foray into economics (see my analysis of it) is that while she seems to be intentionally misleading about epidemiology, in economics she probably never read so much as a first-semester textbook before writing her unintentional comedy.

Full article

The idiocy of food reformulation

Published on 2019-07-24 20:46:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Apparently, it is asking too much of people on a diet to refrain from eating chocolate bars.

From the Telegraph...

Cadbury's has launched a diet Dairy Milk chocolate bar in the first recipe change since 1905, with lower sugar Jelly Babies and Oreos to follow.

A new version of the classic bar containing 30 per cent less sugar will go on sale on Wednesday as part of industry efforts to respond to the obesity crisis.
That's the obesity crisis. The thing that Public Health England is strong-arming the food industry into mass product reformulation to tackle.

Full article

Tobacco prohibition

Published on 2019-07-24 09:41:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Judge Magazine, 1920
It took Theresa May to resign as prime minister for us to discover what lies behind that inscrutable mask. For three years, political pundits wondered what she really believes in. In the dying days of her administration, we found out - and it is not pretty.

In recent weeks, Mrs May has put forward a string of policies designed to tie the hands of her successors and secure some sort of ‘legacy’. Some of them, such as the net zero carbon target and the creation of an ‘Office for Tackling Injustices’, are expensive gestures. Others, such as a tax on milkshakes and a ban on young people driving after dark, reveal two of Theresa May’s biggest flaws: casual authoritarianism and a penchant for simplistic solutions. It is a nasty combination.

Full article

'Public health' vs. individual liberty - the debate

Published on 2019-07-23 14:10:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Dolly Theis is doing a PhD in 'public health' which suggests that she might waste her life working in that racket. I try to talk her out of it in this podcast. Check it out.

The blurb...

John Stuart Mill articulated the Harm Principle in On Liberty, where he argued that "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others."

So would he have backed the nanny state? Eating sugary food, drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes are legal activities. But politicians still use the law to discourage them. They raise their price, prohibit or limit their advertisement, restrict where they can be sold and consumed, and sometimes ban them outright.

Full article

Claim that Vaping Causes Heart Attacks is Completely Debunked

Published on 2019-07-21 17:18:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco and Alcohol News Analysis and Commentary


A study published last month in the Journal of the American Heart Association electronic cigarette use concluded that vaping is a cause of heart attacks, raising the risk of having a heart attack about two-fold. One of the co-authors publicized the study on his blog under the title "More evidence that e-cigs cause heart attacks."

This was a cross-sectional study using data from the baseline survey of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study collected in 2013-2014. The investigators examined the relationship between respondents reporting that they ever had a heart attack and that they currently vaped. They found that people who vape were more likely to report ever having had a heart attack in the past.

Full article

Based Solely on Quotes from Anti-Tobacco Groups, Big Tobacco Tells America's 3 Million Nonsmoking Vapers They Would Be Healthier Going Back to Smoking

Published on 2019-07-17 00:48:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco and Alcohol News Analysis and Commentary


The tobacco industry is taking advantage of a rare and unprecedented marketing opportunity being offered to it by none other than the anti-tobacco movement. Based solely on statements made by tobacco control organizations, Big Tobacco (@BigTobaccoUS) is urging America's 12 million vapers (3 million of whom do not use cigarettes at all) to return exclusively to smoking in order to protect their health.

Cleverly, Big Tobacco is not making any statements of its own. It is simply relying on statements already made by anti-tobacco groups. For example, Big Tobacco stated: "Most public health experts agree that vaping is dangerous and you're better off if you keep smoking. We share their opinions."

Full article

The chickens come home to roost at AG Barr

Published on 2019-07-16 17:49:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Before the sugar tax was introduced, someone on Twitter bet me that AG Barr’s share price would be higher in April 2019 than it was in April 2018 (when the tax came into effect).

I didn’t bet against him, but he was right. Fair play. The makers of Irn Bru have done a good job of keeping up investors’ confidence by increasing dividends and putting out good news stories like this....

Irn-Bru maker AG Barr has reported a rise in sales and profits after shrugging off the new sugar tax, the March cold snap and CO2 shortage. The Cumbernauld-based firm reported a 4% rise in underlying pre-tax profits to £18.2m for the six months to 28 July after sales climbed 5.5% to £129.8m. 

Full article

New Organization Forms to Confront the Epidemic of Popcorn Lung

Published on 2019-07-15 00:43:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco and Alcohol News Analysis and Commentary


Prompted by the statements of anti-tobacco groups throughout the country claiming that vaping causes popcorn lung, a new organization was launched this past Thursday to confront this new and alarming epidemic among young people. The organization is called the American Popcorn Lung Association (APLA) and it has a Twitter feed (@LungPopcorn).

"Popcorn lung" is a serious, progressive lung disease that is technically known as bronchiolitis obliterans. The disease results in obstruction of the smallest airways in the lung. The disease is irreversible and can be fatal. A lung transplant is the only definitive treatment. The most common cause of popcorn lung is inflammation following a lung transplant. But it has also been associated with exposure to toxic fumes, especially with extremely high exposure to the chemical diacetyl, which occurred in a group of popcorn factory workers (hence the name popcorn lung).

Popcorn lung is a very rare disease. Smoking is not recognized as a cause of popcorn lung and the disease is not observed in smokers (in the absence of other risk factors such as lung transplant).

The Rest of the Story

Despite the presence of electronic cigarettes on the U.S. market for 13 years and despite the fact that there are literally millions of vapers, there has never been a confirmed case of popcorn lung occurring in a vaper. The annual incidence of popcorn lung among electronic cigarette users between 2007 and 2018 was 0.0 per 100,000. The current prevalence of popcorn lung among current (past month) vapers (as of the end of 2018) was 0.0%.

Despite the complete absence of a single case of popcorn lung having been caused by vaping, the American Popcorn Lung Association is hard at work trying to discourage smokers from trying to quit smoking using e-cigarettes because of what it says is the severe risk of developing popcorn lung from vaping.

When asked to defend its statement that vaping can cause popcorn lung--even though there has never been such a case and even though smoking itself is not a cause of popcorn lung--a spokesperson for the American Popcorn Lung Association told The Rest of the Story that there is solid evidence that vaping causes popcorn lung because e-cigarette aerosol has been found to contain small amounts of diacetyl, 750 times lower than what is present in cigarette smoke, which is not a cause of popcorn lung.

The spokesperson referred me to multiple statements of anti-tobacco organizations and some physicians, including statements by, or quotes from researchers or staff at, the following:

the American Lung Association;the United States Surgeon General; the Harvard Medical School; the University of North Carolina School of Medicine;the University of Virginia Health System;the Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health; the Beaumont Health System;the Center on Addiction; the Cranston (RI) Substance Abuse Task Force; andthe Philadelphia Science Leadership Academy. Despite the absence of even a single case of popcorn lung in a vaper, APLA insisted that vaping has been demonstrated to cause popcorn lung, citing the current website of the American Lung Association, which contains an article whose headline states: "Popcorn Lung: A Dangerous Risk of Flavored E-Cigarettes."

APLA also pointed to a statement of Dr. Jonathan Winickoff, a physician and researcher at Harvard Medical School, who was quoted as stating: "Vaping can cause something called bronchiolitis obliterans, or popcorn lung."

In addition, APLA pointed to a University of North Carolina School of Medicine statement by Dr. Adam Goldstein that leaves no room for doubt: "Yes, vaping can cause popcorn lung. The first thing to understand is that vape juice flavorings are not designed to be inhaled; they’re designed to be eaten. So these flavorings, when inhaled at higher temperatures, can be toxic to the lungs and cause damage, including the possibility of popcorn lung."

APLA also cited what is perhaps the most definitive statement about the link between vaping and popcorn lung, made by a Rhode Island substance abuse prevention advocate: "The one thing we do know for sure in terms of long-term effects is that those who vape long term develop popcorn lung. Popcorn lung was first seen in popcorn plant workers who developed it from the chemicals in the butter flavor of popcorn. Popcorn lung is irreversible. Once you get it, there is no treatment to reverse it. Earlier diagnosis is better, but the longer you’re vaping

Full article

"Big Tobacco Lies. So Does Juul." ... And So Does Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights

Published on 2019-07-14 15:23:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco and Alcohol News Analysis and Commentary


A July 11 column by the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation (ANRF) is entitled "Big Tobacco Lies. So Does Juul." A large image shows a graduating college student with the quote: "We were literally going to be the first generation not addicted to nicotine. And then they made it taste like cotton candy and everyone is vaping and ADDICTED to nicotine."

The Rest of the Story

The headline should more appropriately say: "Big Tobacco Lies. So Does Juul. And So Does the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation."

ANRF is lying here because they are implying that Juul created cotton candy-flavored e-cigarettes which have attracted youth and gotten large numbers of them addicted to nicotine. However, there's just one problem with that assertion ...

Full article

American Lung Association Inadvertently Reveals the Truth About Many Vaping Opponents

Published on 2019-07-13 19:12:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco and Alcohol News Analysis and Commentary


An article published recently by the American Lung Association claims that vaping causes popcorn lung and COPD. There is no evidence to support either of these assertions. In fact, I'm not aware of a single case of either popcorn lung or COPD that has ever been diagnosed in a vaper without a history of cigarette smoking. Even active smoking itself is not associated with popcorn lung, and cigarette smoke contains about 750 times the amount of diacetyl (the putative cause of popcorn lung) than e-cigarette aerosol. So the American Lung Association is lying about the health risks of vaping.

Full article

Last Orders with Timandra Harkness

Published on 2019-07-11 10:35:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


There's a new Last Orders podcast available. This month our special guest was the performer, author and radio presenter Timandra Harkness. We had fun discussing San Francisco, Spice (the drug) and sin taxes.

Check it out.

Full article

Sugar taxes still don't work

Published on 2019-07-09 09:05:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist



Adam Briggs did some of the modelling for the sugar levy back in the day and is an advocate of the policy. The 'public health' racket being what it is, he has since been put on the team tasked by the government with evaluating it.

In the meantime, he has written a response to Boris Johnson's criticisms of sin taxes for the Telegraph

Full article

Triggernometry interview

Published on 2019-07-08 08:32:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Since Eurosport started covering all the snooker tournaments, I probably spend more hours watching Triggernometry than I do the BBC. And so I was delighted to go on the show to discuss drugs, sugar, smoking, obesity and advertising with Francis and Konstantin. Click on the link below to watch it on Youtube.



And click here for Triggernometry's excellent back catalogue.

Full article

The year of the milkshake

Published on 2019-07-04 09:04:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I wrote a piece for the Telegraph about Boris Johnson's opposition to a milkshake tax...

Insofar as sin taxes encourage behavioural change, they encourage people of modest means to cut expenditure in other parts of the household budget. There’s an old Russian joke in which a boy asks his father if he will drink less now that vodka is so expensive. "No, my son," he says. "You will eat less."

Tax receipts from alcohol, tobacco, gambling and sugary drinks rake in £24 billion a year. This is a colossal sum of money that far exceeds the associated costs to the NHS and is difficult to justify in a free society. Of all the tax cuts that have been proposed during the Tory leadership contest, the most progressive – in the true sense of the word – would be to slash sin taxes.

Full article

Boris says no to a milkshake tax and calls for a review of other sin taxes

Published on 2019-07-02 23:22:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Britain has had a nanny statist as prime minister for the last thirteen years (I'll give Blair a pass for his early years). Could it be that we are finally going to get a PM who stands up to the killjoys?

There are signs from the bookies' favourite, Boris Johnson, that we might...

Boris Johnson today declares war on ‘sin taxes’ on sugary and fatty foods – as he warns they hit the poorest with higher bills.
The Tory leadership frontrunner will promise to review Theresa May’s flagship sugar tax on fizzy drinks if he reaches No10, and insists it will not be extended to milkshakes.

Full article

The 'public health' budget hasn't been cut enough

Published on 2019-07-01 06:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Earlier this year, the Local Government Chronicle asked me to write a response to an article by Jo Bibby complaining about cuts to the 'public health' budget. I don't know whether they ever ran it (it's not online), but here is her article followed by my reply.

Jo Bibby: Keeping us healthy is not just a job for the NHS

For years the British public have been told that staying healthy is entirely their responsibility – so much so that they are starting to believe it.

Full article

© 2019, The International Coalition Against Prohibition