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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.

Money for old rope with Jolyon Maugham

Published on 2017-10-20 11:44:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Anti-Brexit campaigner Jolyon Maugham has been getting thousands of retweets with what he claims are secret government forecasts of what will happen if Britain leaves the EU without a deal and has to 'fall back' on WTO rules.

So a wee bird has dropped into my inbox what a major newspaper has described as a report from HM Treasury. THREAD— Jo Maugham QC (@JolyonMaugham) October 19, 2017
Maugham doesn't provide a link to the 'major newspaper' but the document he is talking about is probably the one referred to by the Independent and others back in March. Maugham has said that the document was produced 'shortly before the referendum'. It is almost certainly an early draft of the Treasury's notorious 'Project Fear' report that was published 18 months ago and is available online to anyone who wants to read it.

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Physician, Heal Thyself

Published on 2017-10-20 11:29:53.
Website: Frank Davis


I had the thought this morning, not for the first time, that antismoking (and perhaps healthism in general) is a disease of the medical profession which has now reached pandemic proportions. And it was a disease that was very difficult … Continue reading →

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Mugabe: WHO Role Model Of The Month

Published on 2017-10-19 17:33:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


Only last month we saw a WHO regional director holding up North Korea as a global beacon in 'progressive' health policy by banning e-cigs. However, I think this month they have topped even that.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday appointed President Robert Mugabe as a global health ambassador for Africa to help governments tackle chronic diseases such as diabetes, stroke, cancer and heart disease.  Mugabe, Africa's oldest ruler at 93, will work with national and local politicians to highlight the heavy economic and health burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), United Nations health agency said. WHO director-general Tedros Ad-hanom Ghebreyesus said Mugabe's appointment would enable governments to "strengthen our response together" to these "major public health challenges". NCDs and injuries are responsible for 43 million deaths each year, according to the WHO - almost 80 percent of all deaths worldwide - but the much of the premature death and disability they cause could be prevented with lifestyle-targeted measures. Mugabe's role will be to encourage policies aimed at reducing peoples' exposure to the main risk factors - tobacco and alcohol use, unhealthy diets and lack of exercise.Calling Mugabe a "respected Statesman", the article describes how he is "passionate" about NCDs, presumably because he wants people to live for as long as possible. Which is quite ironic considering he massacred over 20,000 people in the 1980s. Francis Maude had this to say in 2000 following a visit to Zimbabwe.

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The Coming Chair-Free World

Published on 2017-10-19 11:32:42.
Website: Frank Davis


I rather had the feeling yesterday, when I’d finished writing my latest post, that the last paragraph in it would have readers rolling their eyeballs skyward, and muttering to themselves, “Frank’s really jumped the shark this time. Nobody’s going to … Continue reading →

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Standers And Sitters

Published on 2017-10-18 10:45:34.
Website: Frank Davis


I was wondering this morning how smoking bans might have been introduced without using top-down legislative control. It might have been quite easy. You could have just allowed pubs and restaurants to go ‘smoke-free’ if they wanted to. In Devon, … Continue reading →

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The Political Hit Parade

Published on 2017-10-17 11:48:10.
Website: Frank Davis


A couple of days ago I wrote that the smoking issue was the Number One political issue in my life, and had been for the past 10 years and more. That puts me pretty much out on my own (present … Continue reading →

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Jamie Oliver's sugar tax 'success'

Published on 2017-10-17 10:05:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The evidence that taxing sugary drinks has any effect on obesity is - to put it mildly - poor. The great success story is supposed to be Mexico but we now know that per capita consumption of sugary drinks was essentially the same after that tax was introduced (in 2014) as it was before.

The other success story is supposed to be Berkeley, California, where sugary drink sales fell by 9.6 per cent after a soda tax was introduced in March 2015. But as I mentioned last week, you only have to read the study to see what really happened. Sales fell by 0.8 fluid ounces per transaction in Berkeley but they rose by 0.7 fluid ounces per transaction in neighbouring areas. People simply went out of town to do their shopping.

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Problem gambling figures misrepresented yet again

Published on 2017-10-16 10:59:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Back in May, I wondered why Phillip Blond had suddenly taken an interest in fixed odds betting terminals. It now transpires that his think tank, Respublica, had been commissioned by the Campaign for Fairer Gambling to write a report about them. It was published today and you won't be surprised to hear that it supports Derek Webb's longstanding goal to reduce the stakes to an unplayable £2.

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One Single Complaint

Published on 2017-10-16 10:14:56.
Website: Frank Davis


Hat tip Nisakiman: If it’s your health the St. Paul City Council is worried about, then they apparently will have to take under consideration banning, at your gas station, Air Heads Xtremes Sweetly Sour Candy Rainbow Berry. We can’t get those … Continue reading →

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Drafting An ASA E-Cigs Consultation Response

Published on 2017-10-15 15:59:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


Tomorrow sees the deadline for a consultation by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about regulations placed on ads for e-cigs.

The ASA claim this has come about due to products becoming more reliable, but it's fair to say that their rules have been pretty much overtaken by events. What with the Tobacco Control Plan recently putting emphasis on e-cigs being part of the government's future strategy, and with Stoptober prominently featuring vapers in their ads, the rules as they are currently laid out are quite absurd.  Reason being that the CAP & BCAP rules both prohibit claims which are demonstrably true.

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Signage And The Anti-Vaping Status Quo

Published on 2017-10-12 20:07:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


In July, the government released its Tobacco Control Plan (TCP). It claimed to be supportive of e-cigarettes, including this part about vaping in public.
Public Health England has produced guidance for employers and organisations looking to introduce policies around e-cigarettes and vaping in public and recommend such policies to be evidence-based. PHE recommends that e-cigarette use is not covered by smokefree legislation and should not routinely be included in the requirements of an organisation’s smokefree policy.As vaping bans sweep up and down the country without a whimper of objection from 'supportive' tobacco control groups we could mention, it doesn't appear that many employers or businesses are taking much notice of the TCP. In fact, it doesn't even appear that NHS Trusts have bothered to read it either, here's a telling picture of two ghastly goons from Chesterfield unveiling their retarded policy to the media earlier this month.

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Nudge and liberty

Published on 2017-10-12 10:20:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The behavioural economist Richard Thaler won the Nobel Prize this week. I was on the Moral Maze with Thaler back in 2010 and it was obvious that we were the only two people out of the eight on the show who had read his book. This wouldn't have mattered except that the show was all about nudging and Thaler had to listen to his ideas being totally misrepresented. I remember him saying to one panellist, 'you could not be wronger'.

People have been getting nudge wrong ever since and Thaler occasionally corrects them...

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A great day in Chicago

Published on 2017-10-11 09:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


In what is undoubtedly the feelgood story of the week, officials in Cook County, Illinois overwhelmingly voted to repeal their hated soda tax after just two months. Cook County is the home of Chicago, America's third largest city, so this is kind of a big deal, even if the UK media chooses to ignore it.

I've written about it here for Spectator Health, so do pop over and read my article, but let's take a moment here to savour the defeat of that evil old fossil Michael Bloomberg who has been bankrolling soda tax campaigns all around America (and beyond). He's not short of money but even a billionaire must smart from pouring millions of dollars down the drain, as he has in Chicago.

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Fake obesity news

Published on 2017-10-10 15:58:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


There are more worthless obesity predictions on the front page of The Guardian today...

In 2014, a third of men and women in the US were obese (34%). By 2025 that is predicted to be 41%. 
Really? Because in 2007 we were told that the obesity rate would have reached 41% two years ago...

More than three quarters of American adults will be overweight by 2015, a survey has found. A further 41 per cent will be obese if people continue to gain weight at the current rate, according to the study by Johns Hopkins University.

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A one-man anti-gambling torpedo

Published on 2017-10-10 10:18:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The Financial Times published an interview with Derek Webb recently. Webb is the multi-millionaire inventor of Three Card Poker who has put a small fortune into the Campaign for Fairer Gambling, an organisation he formed to attack fixed-odds betting terminals in betting shops.

He clearly feels that he has the wind in his sails because he's eyeing up his next target...

He adds he may broaden CFG’s focus to target online gambling next. “I want to fight where I can win,” says Mr Webb.
I'm told that he expressed a similar intention to go after the internet next at the Conservative conference last week.
Webb's growing addiction to attacking non-casino gambling sectors will come as no surprise to students of the slippery slope, but few people seem to understand just what a whirlwind of destruction he is unleashing.
Webb wants to reduce the stake on FOBTs to £2, knowing that this will make the machines unplayable for most punters

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Another Irrelevant E-Cigarette Summit

Published on 2017-10-09 18:24:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote



Towards the end of proceedings on Friday 17th November, Sarah Jakes of the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) will speak to the fifth E-Cigarette Summit at the Royal Society and describe vaping consumers as "true experts in this field", but note quite rightly that "yet often their voices are missing from the debate".  It couldn't be a more timely speech, because for the whole day that precedes it there will be no consumers involved whatsoever.

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It's 10 years since George Monbiot said 'Bring on the recession'

Published on 2017-10-09 10:51:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Ten years ago today, George Monbiot wrote an article for the Guardian titled 'In this age of diamond saucepans, only a recession makes sense'. Columnists don't write their own headlines, but when he reproduced it on his own website, Monbiot gave it an even less ambiguous title: 'Bring on the recession'.

Three weeks earlier, Lehman Brothers had filed for bankruptcy and there had been a run on the Northern Rock bank. These were the early rumblings of a financial crisis that would engulf most of the world in 2008. The British economy went into recession in the second quarter of 2008 and remained there until mid-2009.

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Deliberately giving someone HIV downgraded to a misdemeanor in California

Published on 2017-10-08 11:39:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


It's a common refrain among those who want liberalisation of the drug laws to say that drug use is a public health issue, not a criminal issue. Here's Shirley Cramer of the Royal Society for Public Health, for example...

"The time has come for a new approach, where we recognise that drug use is a health issue, not a criminal justice issue, and that those who misuse drugs are in need of treatment and support – not criminals in need of punishment.”

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My Response to an Invitation to Consult for the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World

Published on 2017-10-06 16:39:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary


Below is my response to an invitation to consult for the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, funded by Philip Morris International:

Unfortunately, I will not be able to consult or play any advisory role on this project. Since Philip Morris International (PMI) continues to aggressively market cigarettes internationally and to aggressively fight public health efforts to reduce tobacco use, this is just not a project that I can participate in as a public health practitioner. PMI cannot be sincere in its intention to establish a smoke-free world when it continues to aggressively lobby aga

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The Global Alcohol Policy Conference 2017

Published on 2017-10-06 11:51:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The Global Alcohol Policy Alliance (GAPA) has been having its conference in Australia this week. You may recall that GAPA is the latest incarnation of the gospel temperance movement which has found a way to gorge itself on taxpayers' money by integrating with the 'public health' racket.

One advantage of being a 'policy alliance' is that you don't have to pretend your conference is about science. Instead you can focus on political activism, which is what most of the academics in the field are really interested in anyway. Sessions at this year's event include...

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Who's Standing Up To Stop Vaping Being Used As A Tool Of Coercion?

Published on 2017-10-05 20:18:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


For years, many smokers have expressed concern about e-cigs to me. They are obviously quite happy for others to exercise their choice to vape, but they are worried that e-cigs - if accepted by the authorities - will be used as a tool to bully them into quitting smoking. I have always said that these fears are far-fetched, and I certainly would never agree with the idea of any organisation being so crass.

In the UK, acceptance of vaping is arguably more advanced than anywhere else in the world, but it is still true that it is only spoken about by 'public health' in terms of smoking cessation. Yes, there are a very few who understand that long term vaping is fine, but they are just admirable outliers. Remember that this is the official government line on vaping, as expressed in July's Tobacco Control Plan.

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Obesity is falling in the USA but you'd never guess

Published on 2017-10-05 16:16:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


New obesity statistics were released for the USA a few weeks ago. They got a lot of coverage, such as...

United States of Obesity: CDC map reveals at least 20% of EVERY state is clinically overweight
The odd thing was that all the coverage focused on individual states and didn't discuss trends over time. When I looked at the original source from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, I saw why. Nowhere does it provide the figure for the whole country.

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Czech the facts

Published on 2017-10-05 09:41:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


When the Nanny State Index (which I edit) was published a few months ago, the Czech Republic came at the bottom the league. It is the freest country in the EU for smoking, drinking, vaping and eating food, and this freedom does not seem to do the Czechs any harm. One of the findings from the Index was that there is no correlation between nanny state scores and life expectancy. Despite the Czech Republic's relative lack of lifestyle regulation, its citizens are not noticeably unhealthy; ten out of the 28 EU countries have lower life expectancies.

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Common Sense Spotted In Canada

Published on 2017-10-04 18:24:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


A mayoral candidate in Edmonton, Canada, doesn't seem to be adhering to the dumb politician script. In fact, he's talking sense.
Edmonton mayoral candidate Don Koziak says the city should revisit the "failed experiment" to ban smoking inside public spaces. "I think it's probably a suicidal type of position because everybody wants to be seen as righteous, but I think reasonable voters can see the benefit to a reasonable bylaw that allows for all of the citizens of Edmonton to enjoy what they want to enjoy," Koziak said in an interview Thursday.Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone could do exactly that, enjoy what they want to enjoy? But, as he says, it is a natural instinct of humans to want to be seen as righteous and the gullible amongst us tend to believe that smoking bans are actually about health, sadly.
"I think that the smoking ban was an experiment, and we've tried it, and there's still people smoking," he added. "And I find it frustrating when I see people outside in the dead of winter, trying to keep warm, because we've decided that we can't accommodate them."Well, "we" didn't decide we couldn't accommodate them, a ghastly clique of political wooden-tops and state-funded grant-gobblers did that, the public were excluded entirely as were any industry voices with the clout to counteract the lies. That's, therefore, a big fat "they" who decided that comprehensive bans were the only way.
In the interview, Koziak said he doesn't smoke cigarettes but enjoys the occasional cigar. He has a degree in civil engineering, which helps him view the issue from a technical viewpoint, he said. "It's really a ventilation problem. It's an engineering problem, not a social ills thing," he said. "The total ban on indoor smoking is not supported by sound engineering logic. I mean, we can ventilate a room."Not if you're a tobacco control careerist, you can't. According to them (or, more accurately, a raving lunatic called James Repace) only catastrophic weather conditions can possibly clear a bar of secondhand smoke, it's a classic of anti-smoking junk science. They only disagree about whether it would take a tornado to do it or a hurricane. I'm not making this up, by the way.
The city should consult with mechanical engineers, Koziak said, to determine the level of ventilation required to mitigate the smoke in some indoor areas. Business owners who are prepared to spend the money could be certified to allow smoking in designated areas, he said. That would allow some restaurants, bars and patios to accommodate smoking clients.Well yes, considering vicious and dictatorial anti-smoking lunatics are a minority of the public, this looks to be a sensible solution acceptable to all, eh? It's not mandatory, after all.
He said he finds it "horrible" that smokers aren't accommodated at the new Rogers Place arena downtown, and also suggested that smoking could be permitted in the top 10 rows of seats in the stands at Commonwealth Stadium.Here is the Commonwealth Stadium, I'd say that only suggesting the top 10 tiers is being extremely cautious. There has never been any science, even of the junk kind, to say that secondhand smoke is remotely harmful outdoors, and the stadium has a shit load of outdoors.


In fact the stadium has no discernible indoors whatsoever.
[He said] "There is a football game on Saturday. There's going to be

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More Vile Lunchbox Snooping In Yorkshire

Published on 2017-10-02 18:51:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


Some cynical types hinted in the comments under my last article about a Bradford School's ban on sausage rolls - which really ground my gears if you hadn't noticed - may have had more to do with the pork than health.

Sadly, it seems it's not that simple, there appears to be something very rotten in the county of Yorkshire.
A fed-up mother of four, whose children attend Westgate Primary, in Otley, says she is considering launching a petition urging the school to review its strict packed lunch policy The mother, who does not wish to be named, said: “The teaching assistants take at least half-an-hour inspecting children’s packed lunches in the morning while wearing rubber gloves.  “Kids as young as eight are being given the responsibility to ‘advise’ and tell on their friends if they have inappropriate items in their lunch. “If an item is removed it is bagged-up with the child’s name and given to parents at the end of the day.Teaching assistants acting like prison guards; young kids egged on to become snitches; confiscating perfectly legal and benign products? It's quite staggering and shows just what a cancer the rent-seeking 'public health' industry is to have driven our public sector institutions to such insanity over fripperies.

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Another Big Food conspiracy theory

Published on 2017-10-02 09:00:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


A few weeks ago I quoted a comment from Virginia Berridge about the 'public health' lobby's selective use of e-mails and memos to rewrite history...

The enthusiasm for online industry archives is an interesting phenomenon. We are seeing a new type of family history, a Whig history revived and a rediscovery of 'the document' whose main role is to play to the policy objectives of the anti-tobacco field.  

There has been a lot of this recently and it goes beyond tobacco. Last year, Stanton Glantz and his UCSF colleagues picked up an obscure, 50 year old evidence review and presented it as the central document proving that 'the sugar industry has distorted health science for more than 50 years'. More recently, we have seen Glantz (again) cherry-pick a tiny handful of documents to claim that the tobacco industry was somehow responsible for nicotine patches being ineffective. Mark Petticrew did a similarly shady job of riffling through some public documents from the alcohol industry last month, with a view to asserting that the booze industry denies the link between drinking and cancer.

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"Completely mad" - Action on Sugar on Aseem Malhotra

Published on 2017-09-29 16:00:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


How crazy do you have to be to get kicked out of Action on Sugar? Let's find out.

I'm grateful to Blair Spowart for sharing some e-mails between Action on Sugar and Public Health England which he received under the Freedom of Information Act. If you recall how closely PHE works with the UK Temperance Alliance (AKA Institute of Alcohol Studies) you won't be surprised to hear that PHE and Action on Sugar have a cosy relationship and exchange many e-mails. PHE appear to be using them as outriders for their sugar reformulation programme and, for reasons that have never been adequately explained, Action on Sugar - a pressure group - are invited to the meetings between PHE and the food industry.

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Martin McKee is wrong about the EU

Published on 2017-09-29 11:44:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


In the last 18 months, fat socialist toad Martin McKee has been too busy wetting his knickers about Brexit to fully concentrate on his vendetta against vapers, smokers and drinkers. Nothing focuses the mind like a gravy train coming to a halt.

If there is anyone in 'public health' who voted for Brexit, they've kept it quiet. The EU is a perfect fit for the nanny state racket. They are both unaccountable, undemocratic, elitist projects that enrich themselves on the money of their victims.

McKee has teamed up with the overtly political Lancet magazine ('journal' is too respectable a word for it these days) to make the case for a soft Brexit, ie. staying in the EU. I haven't read the article and have no intention of doing so, but I've seen the press release and that was enough.

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Psst! Come Here Little Boy, Lemme Look In Your Lunchbox

Published on 2017-09-28 20:25:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


A Bradford teacher, pictured todayConsidering the habit that the 'public health' movement has of dressing their puritannical snobbery up as some kind of concern for kids (which it isn't, kids are just a tool they use to further their rent-seeking agenda), there is nothing more vile than when their policies actively contribute to detracting from the enjoyment of childrens' lives.

Here is one such example, via the BBC.

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North Korea: Tobacco Control's Latest Role Model

Published on 2017-09-26 20:41:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


Remember this picture of WHO Director General Margaret Chan a few years ago?

DG of the WHO Margaret Chan, all of a flutter in Moscow 2014She was holding court with Vladimir Putin during the FCTC's bash in 2014 about the time the country was persecuting gays and shooting down passenger planes. She should have been in Manila doing something about the Ebola outbreak but decided taking tea with Putin, encouraging pointless plain packaging and trying to ban e-cigs globally was more important.

But consorting with dodgy countries is a bit of a thing for tobacco controllers. Who can forget this tweet by Chan's replacement before the COP7 meeting in India, congratulating Philippines dictator and advocate of mass murder (7,000 and counting), Rodrigo Duterte?

Congrats Philippines @FCTCofficial @ImPresDuterte Smoke-free Philippines awaits Duterte signature https://t.co/z8zytFsrIy via @sharethis— Vera daCosta e Silva (@vera_dacosta) October 10, 2016
I've written before about how the FCTC does very much love a dictatorship so, including countries like Zimbabwe and Turkmenistan which boast shameful human rights records; they also said Syria should prioritise plain packaging of cigarettes because it is presumably far more important than worrying about a horrific death at the hands of ISIS; and last year Guido published a picture of FCTC delegates all smiles on a Maldives beach treating delegates from North Korea and Burma amongst others.

However, this week they have excelled themselves. Jagdish Kaur, South-East Asia Regional Advisor to the World Health Organization - and persistently insane anti-vaping prohibitionist - says that not only should North Korea be accepted into their grand world tour of dictatorship's greatest hits, the rest of the free world should also take their lead!
Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) are being marketed to tobacco smokers for use in places where smoking is not allowed or as aids similar to pharmaceutical nicotine products to help cigarette smokers quit tobacco use. These are often flavored to make them more attractive for youth – ENDS use may lead young nonsmokers to take up tobacco products. Neither safety nor efficacy as a cessation aid of ENDS has been scientifically demonstrated. The adverse health effects of secondhand aerosol cannot be ruled out. Weak regulation of these products might contribute to the expansion of the ENDS market – in which tobacco companies have a substantial stake – potentially renormalizing smoking habits and negating years of intense tobacco control campaigning. The current situation calls for galvanizing policy makers to gear up to this challenge in the Southeast Asia Region (SEAR) where the high burden of tobacco use is compounded by large proportion of young vulnerable population and limited established tobacco cessation facilities. Banning ENDS in the SEAR seems to be the most plausible approach at present. In the SEAR, Timor-Leste, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and Thailand have taken the lead in banning these products. The other countries of the SEAR should follow suit.Where would the tobacco control industry be without these evil dictatorships, eh? It's lucky their PR gurus have never encountered one they didn't like, isn't it?

But then, anti-nicotine mouth-frothers are such fine, upstanding, decent people, don't you find?
Did you really say this...."You’ve got to make lepers of those that smoke

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Chickens coming home to roost

Published on 2017-09-26 09:32:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The chickens have come home to roost in Australia. After spending years dismissing the warning that banning cigarette branding and setting tobacco duty at ludicrous levels would lead to a surge in black market activity, politicians down under are having to face the music.

Recent months have seen stories like this:

Old Erowal Bay man charged over alleged tobacco smuggling
A 32-year-old Old Erowal Bay man has become the fifth individual to be arrested as part of an extensive Australian Border Force (ABF) investigation into a tobacco smuggling syndicate in Sydney.

... On June 8, ABF officers intercepted a container originating from Malaysia declared as boxes of paper cups, however officers will allege the boxes contained more than 4.5 million cigarettes.

And this...

Australian tobacco executive bashed and stabbed in attempted kidnap
The attempted kidnapping, bashing and stabbing of an international tobacco company manager outside his family home in Sydney suggests crime syndicates are hitting back at efforts to combat the booming illicit tobacco trade.

The attack appears to be an unprecedented escalation in the struggle between policing agencies and the syndicates driving the illicit tobacco trade. Evidence suggests the attack was linked to BAT's support of police inquiries.

Police and big tobacco companies believe the illegal trade is driven by the escalating cost of legal cigarettes, and is now worth more than $1 billion. Budget measures mean a legal pack of cigarettes will cost $40 by 2020, compared with as little as $10 for a smuggled packet.

The bashed BAT manager had been working closely with state and federal agencies investigating the illicit trade, which is a huge source of income for organised crime syndicates in Melbourne and Sydney.

And this...

The Australian Border Force (ABF) has reported that in its first two years of operations it has stopped more than 400 tonnes of illicit tobacco from reaching the black market in Australia.

The ABF estimated the total duty evaded on the illicit tobacco at more than $294 million.

In the same period it said more than 100 individuals had been charged with tobacco smuggling.

Assistant Commissioner at the ABF, Wayne Buchhorn pointed to the recent arrest of two Chinese nationals following the detection of more than 7.4 million cigarettes at the Sydney Container Examination Facility.

The pair had allegedly attempted to conceal the cigarettes inside table tops.

Mr Buchhorn said illicit tobacco could be sold at more than 60 times its offshore price.

“Illicit tobacco is an increasingly attractive market to organised criminal syndicates due to the lucrative profits that can be made in evaded tax,” Mr Buchhorn said.
 And, indeed, this...

An Australian Border Force official has been nabbed over an alleged international tobacco ring operating between Sydney and Dubai.

... The arrests follow dawn raids on Tuesday when more than 570 AFP officers swooped on homes and businesses across Sydney.

"Unfortunately, during this operation, we have uncovered some allegations of corrupt activity, which this syndicate exploited to try and get their drugs into the country," AFP Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said on Thursday. 

...this...

Tobacco smuggling ring busted in Sydney
Five men face serious criminal charges over their alleged roles in a tobacco smuggling ring after NSW Police seized 6.2 million cigarettes.

...this...

Illegal $9m tobacco crop destroyed in Vic
The destruction of a $9 million illegal tobacco crop in rural Victoria shows illicit growers they can't hide from the law, the Australian Taxation Office says.

The five-hectare crop was found at a property near Cobram on the NSW border in Victoria's north last week and subsequently destroyed.

The five tonne crop of tobacco leaves had an estimated street value of $9 million.

... It was the fourth operation of its kind this year and the ninth in Australia since last July, with almost $48 million worth of tobacco destroyed in that time.
...this...

Man charged after police find 4.8 million illegal cigarettes in Melbourne warehouse
A man has been charged with possessing 4.8 million illegally imported cigarettes with a street value of $2.5 million.

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers raided a warehouse at Dandenong, in outer south-east Melbourne on Wednesday, after receiving information from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.

ABF said they found more than 4.8 million cigarettes hidden among glass bottles, with a street value of $2.5 million.

...this...

Australian Border Force smash Adelaide, Melbourne tobacco smuggling syndicate

A SOUTH Australian woman has been arrested for allegedly importing more than nine tonnes of illicit tobacco into Melbourne and Adelaide.
...this...

ATO seizes illegal tobacco crop worth $5.8m
An illegal tobacco crop with a potential excise value of $5.8 million has been seized from a central Victorian property.

Fifteen acres of tobacco plants were seized at a property in Macorna, between Durham Ox and Kerang, following an ongoing investigation into illegally grown tobacco.

And this...

Australian Tax Office helps police uncover illegal tobacco crop worth over $11m near ACT border 
An illegal tobacco crop worth more than $11 million has been discovered during a search by police and tax office officials of a property just south of the ACT border.
As many as 92,000 tobacco plants and two tonnes of tobacco leaves, along with $15,000 in cash, a shotgun and ammunition, were discovered during the joint operation yesterday morning, after a tip of from a member of the public.

I could go on, but you get the picture. The 'industry scare stories' have become very real and the Aussie government has belatedly set up a senate inquiry to look at the matter.

If you like a bit of schadenfreude, this article from the Saturday Paper will be up your straße. The man leading the inquiry is the 'Liberal' MP Craig Kelly who describes himself as a 'fanatical nonsmoker'...


“I have grave concerns that we’re trying to attack this issue through taxation,” Kelly says. “Like many things we do in government, the unintended consequences can be worse than the problems we’re trying to overcome.”
The Gillard government introduced plain packaging in 2012 and dramatically escalated tobacco excise, implementing yearly rises of 12.5 per cent each September 1 for the next four years. The Turnbull government extended the annual excise hikes in this year’s budget until 2020.

But there is growing concern about the increasing availability of cheap, illegal cigarettes, and the possible impact on smoking rates.
No kidding.

“We’re creating all these law-enforcement issues and we’re basically going down the track of prohibition by price,” he tells The Saturday Paper.
By George, I think he's got it.

And yet the article contains so many of the same delusions and idiocies that have got Australia into this fix that it is difficult to see how they are going to find their way out. Firstly, there is the government's refusal to work with - and use the resources of - the people who know the most about tobacco...

The [tobacco] industry also wants to expand co-operation with law-enforcement agencies. But the degree to which that already occurs has attracted some criticism because of World Health Organisation guidelines that the tobacco industry not be allowed to influence governments.

Earlier this year, the three companies asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for permission to work together – normally a breach of competition law – to withhold their products from retailers found to also be selling cheap illegal tobacco.

But the ACCC refused, saying they could already do so individually without permission, and allowing collusion could be seen as giving them a “quasi-regulatory role”. It said such permission might be inconsistent with the WHO guidelines and “could create community perception of a partnership between the Australian government (and government agencies) and the tobacco industry”.
Then there is the pig-headed refusal of anti-smoking groups to accept simple facts...

In its submission to the tobacco inquiry, Cancer Council Australia says increasing excise is “the single most effective method available for reducing tobacco consumption, increasing attempts to quit and reducing smoking prevalence, thereby reducing death and disease caused by smoking”.
“Cancer Council Australia is not aware of any evidence suggesting that increases in excise in Australia have led to an increase in the size of Australia’s illicit tobacco market.”
There is, of course, masses of evidence to show that high taxes and excessive regulation drive activity in the shadow economy and there is specific evidence from KPMG about the Australian tobacco market which the anti-smoking lobby ignores based on nothing but an ad hominem...

The council rejects the findings of a 2016 annual report that the three big players commissioned from KPMG UK, which estimated the Australian federal government is missing out on $1.61 billion in tax each year. The health sector says the report is discredited because the tobacco industry funded it.
That's not quite how discrediting evidence works, is it? But shouting 'industry!' is like saying a magic word in the 'public health' racket. Say it and inconvenient facts disappear.

Finally, there is open contempt shown towards smokers by politicians...

Despite his concerns, Kelly acknowledges price should still play a role.
“You have to have some price pressure,” he says. “You have to have the strongest possible law enforcement. You’ve got to make lepers of those that smoke

Full article

Regulate In Haste, Repent At Leisure

Published on 2017-09-23 20:49:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


The last couple of days have been a story of regulators regulating for the hell of it instead of using their powers responsibly with the public in mind. Yesterday we saw Transport for London take a Thor-sized hammer to crack the peanut of procedural problems with Uber. I am very knowledgeable about this issue and - to be frank - it stinks of caving into vested interest lobbying pressure rather than their claim of improved safety. Their justification simply doesn't stack up, and even if it did, TfL's response is hysterical, I may be tempted to write about that another time.

But today saw an article in The Sun about e-cigs regulation which is staggering if true. ADVERTS by Cancer Research urging Brits to quit smoking are at the centre of a row over barmy Brussels rules that would ban them, The Sun can reveal. The leading cancer charity want to launch an advertising blitz next month as part of the annual “Stoptober” to urge smokers to “quit or switch” to using e-cigarettes. But charity sources say they were warned by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) that they will be breaking EU rules by promoting vaping e-cigs — despite research showing it is 95 per cent safer than traditional smoking.The author of the article is Harry Cole, formerly of Guido Fawkes's team. His sources are impeccable, so I'd expect his reporting to be accurate. It's interesting because there is currently an advertising campaign by the ASA itself on the tube network where the authority holds itself up as an arbiter of truth.

Full article

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