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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.

ASH claims that over a million people have quit smoking

Published on 2020-07-15 10:03:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The clowns at ASH have upped the ante. In May, they claimed that 300,000 people quit smoking because of COVID-19 fears. That was based on wild extrapolations from tiny survey figures.

They have now raised that to over a million. Do they think we were born yesterday?

The BBC fell for it, naturally. As I explain in the thread below, there is no credible evidence for it whatsoever. Will there be a comeuppance for ASH when the figure is comprehensively debunked in time? Almost certainly not.

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Suppressed Anger

Published on 2020-07-14 15:06:55.
Website: Frank Davis


On the Forest webinar yesterday somebody made the point that with the current UK lockdown everybody is now experiencing what smokers have been experiencing for the past 13 years: all pubs and restaurants and cafes have been closed to them. … Continue reading →

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Did plain packaging work?

Published on 2020-07-13 09:49:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


We haven't heard much about plain packaging for a while. I assumed that ASH et al. were happy to let everybody forget about this damp squib while they moved onto the next thing. A study published John Britton and his team of anti-smoking zealots in 2018 had to concede that the policy hadn't had the promised effect on tobacco sales:

Conclusions The implementation of standardized packaging legislation in the United Kingdom, which included minimum pack sizes of 20, was associated with significant increases overall in the price of manufactured cigarettes, but no clear deviation in the ongoing downward trend in total volume of cigarette sales.

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Even in a plague year, the idiots are winning

Published on 2020-07-13 08:21:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


When the COVID-19 outbreak began, I expressed cautious optimism that a genuine public health epidemic would put the nanny state crusade that masquerades as a 'public health' movement back in its box for a while.

That seems less and less likely. In Britain, the government has been only too happy to blame obesity for the relatively high death toll and its preparation for the second wave amounts to telling people to lose weight. The Childhood Obesity Strategy has been dusted down for laws to make us do this.

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Why There’s Not Going To Be A Civil War

Published on 2020-07-12 15:49:44.
Website: Frank Davis


I was disturbed to hear from Steve Turley a couple of days ago that “American exurbs are preparing for civil war.” And he wasn’t the only person foreseeing civil war. So were Michael Savage and Alex Jones, and no doubt … Continue reading →

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Two Good Things

Published on 2020-07-10 15:44:43.
Website: Frank Davis


Good to see Laurence Fox actually drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette. … Also good to hear a non-smoker who doesn’t like what’s being done to smokers. The shameful history of the anti-smoking crusade Jacob Grier doesn’t like cigarettes. … Continue reading →

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The Moral Maze, gambling and The Rediscovery of Tobacco

Published on 2020-07-09 09:27:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I was on The Moral Maze last night talking about gambling. It wasn't a bad discussion. I was on at round 24 minutes in.

I've also written a review of Jacob Grier's book The Rediscovery of Tobacco for Spiked.

Jacob Grier doesn’t like cigarettes. He doesn’t smoke cigarettes. He advises people against smoking cigarettes. And yet he believes that adults should be allowed to smoke cigarettes without being harassed, demonised, over-taxed and thrown out of every building in America, including, in some cases, their own home. This view, which was once so uncontroversial as to go without saying, makes him virtually a libertarian provocateur today. In The Rediscovery of Tobacco, Grier explains how this cultural revolution happened.

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Singer and Klein

Published on 2020-07-08 18:49:13.
Website: Frank Davis


A couple of things I came across today. The late physicist Fred Singer on second-hand smoke: According to David Biello and John Pavlus in Scientific American, Singer was best known for his denial of the health risks of passive smoking.[60] … Continue reading →

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The NHS is not the envy of the world

Published on 2020-07-07 16:50:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Brits were encouraged to clap for the NHS on Sunday in what the government hopes will become an annual show of devotion to a below-par health system. I hope it doesn't become a Thing. It would be embarrassing if foreigners found out about it, as I explain in The Critic today...

As the years roll on, it is possible that somebody might notice that the British are paying more than average for a below-average health service, but it is more likely that new excuses and scapegoats will be found. The public are already being primed to blame themselves for the NHS’s failings. If only we weren’t so fat and lazy, goes the message, the system would work. This is the logical conclusion to the thinking – made explicit during lockdown – that it is the public’s duty to protect the NHS rather than the other way round.

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One Day

Published on 2020-07-07 14:18:42.
Website: Frank Davis


They never stop, do they? Taking Liberties: Lib Dem peer bidding to extend smoking ban to outside areas thanks ASH for its “assistance” People like MP Mark Pritchard and Baroness Northover never stop working to completely exclude smokers from society. They … Continue reading →

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24 hour liberty people

Published on 2020-07-07 10:03:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist



The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance & Australian Libertarian Society have put together a wonderfully ambitious 24 hour digital liberty conference which will be held this weekend.

I'll be on a panel at 11 am (UK time) and there are plenty of other speakers you will have heard of. They include Dave Rubin, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Bryan Caplan, Dan Hannan, Eric Crampton, Kate Andrews, Nick Gillespie, Eamonn Butler and Brendan O'Neill.

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Who is John Stuart Mill?

Published on 2020-07-04 11:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


As you might have guessed if you've read Killjoys, one of my heroes is John Stuart Mill. In the IEA's School of Thought series, I talked to Syed Kamal about why his philosophy is important and urgently needs to be revived.





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Boris, obesity and the nanny state

Published on 2020-07-03 08:37:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I've written about Boris Johnson's alleged death bed conversion to nanny statism for Spiked, with some background about the 'anti-obesity' policies that have been hanging around Whitehall for five years.

According to the Telegraph, Johnson has a range of measures in mind, including ‘wider use of bariatric surgery’ and ‘increasing access to exercise and healthy eating schemes’. More worryingly, there is talk of ‘banning price promotions such as “buy one, get one free” offers’. Advertising could be restricted and there is talk of a new law to ‘force restaurants, cafés and takeaways to label the calorie content of their food’.

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The truth about tobacco taxes from a surprising source

Published on 2020-07-02 08:56:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Thanks to exorbitant taxes, a pack of twenty cigarettes costs around $35 (£18) in New Zealand. Not quite as ludicrously expensive as in Australia, but enough to have caused an epidemic of robberies from shops.

A PhD student at New Zealand's University of Canterbury, Ben Wamamili, has proposed hiking the price to $50. I assume he has his heart set on getting into the 'public health' racket and thought this would be a good way of making his mark. 

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Let's get back to something approaching normal

Published on 2020-07-01 15:10:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


By the time the pubs reopen on July 4th, Britain will have been under various forms of lockdown for fifteen weeks. In his address to the nation on March 23rd - now more than three months ago - Boris Johnson’s sole justification for locking down was to ‘protect the NHS’. There can be no doubt that this has been achieved, albeit at enormous cost to our economy, children and sanity.


Covid-related deaths in English hospitals have fallen from a peak of over 800 a day on 8th April to less than sixty a day in recent weeks. A third of English hospitals reported no Covid-related deaths last week. The number of ‘excess deaths’ in England and Wales is now below average for this time of year.

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The shamelessly corrupt W.H.O.

Published on 2020-07-01 08:47:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


From the Herald...

WHO praises Scotland's 'promising' minimum alcohol pricing
The World Health Organisation has praised "robust evidence" for minimum unit pricing on alcohol, but said it must be tied to inflation for the benefits to last. 
In a report analysing the links between alcohol pricing and health, the agency said MUP is reduces health inequalities because it "effectively targets the cheap, high-strength products that drive these inequalities"

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Polemics - out now!

Published on 2020-06-30 10:17:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist



I've spent a bit of my lockdown compiling an anthology of old articles and essays for an e-book. It's called Polemics and it is now available. (You'd think somebody would have already published a book by that name, but apparently not.)

It contains 42 articles published online between 2010 and 2020. Ten of them first appeared as blog posts here. The rest appeared on various websites, not all of which still exist. One of them was never published at all. All have been touched up and improved, often substantially. And I've given each of them an introduction.

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Last Orders with Konstantin Kisin

Published on 2020-06-29 12:17:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


There's a new Last Orders podcast out and it's a good one. This time we're joined by the comedian and Triggernometry host Konstantin Kisin to talk about internet censorship, cancelling, lockdown and the Black Lives Matter protests.

Listen below or on your usual device.


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Australia delays nicotine ban after backlash from vapers

Published on 2020-06-26 09:22:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Following on from Wednesday's post about the once-in-a-lifetime stockpiling by Australian vapers as they prepare for a ban on personal imports of vape juice, I'm pleased to report some good news...

Greg Hunt has delayed the introduction of a ban on imports of liquid nicotine for vaping by six months, after his unilateral decision prompted widespread backlash on the Coalition backbench.

Full article

The great Australian nicotine airlift

Published on 2020-06-24 11:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The stupid Australian government is banning the importation of e-cigarette fluid on July 1st. This has led to a massive, Dunkirk-style effort by vapers to stock up for the rest of their lives.

One retailer in New Zealand had to stop taking orders earlier this week because it couldn't cope. I dare say they were others.

We're extremely sorry we had to take the site offline earlier than planned, and we're keenly aware how devastating this decision will be for those who thought they had more time and didn't make the cut-off. Frankly, we underestimated just how crazy things would get: over 10,000 people placed huge orders in the last 24 hours, and our number one priority has to be making sure that every single parcel gets shipped before the government's ludicrous deadline.

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Australia to ban e-cigarette imports

Published on 2020-06-19 13:54:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Just when you think that Australia's policy on vaping couldn't get any more stupid...

To reduce the risk to public health through addiction to nicotine and nicotine poisoning, the Australian Government intends to ask the Governor-General in Council to make regulations from 1 July 2020 prohibiting the importation of e-cigarettes containing vaporiser nicotine (nicotine liquids and salts) and nicotine-containing refills unless on prescription from a doctor.

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The Global Nicotine Forum starts today - free and online

Published on 2020-06-11 09:16:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


As mentioned in a previous post, the Global Nicotine Forum starts at 11am UK time today. I am told that well over a thousand people have registered.

Registration is here: https://gfn.events

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Alcohol sales after minimum pricing

Published on 2020-06-10 10:49:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I had a slight sense of déjà vu this morning when I saw this story...

Alcohol off-sales drop credited to minimum unit pricing
There has been a decline in alcohol consumption in Scotland's population, official data suggests. 
A report published by Public Health Scotland said there had been a reduction of between 4% and 5% in Scotland's shops in the year after minimum unit pricing was introduced.
Haven't we been here before? Ignore the reference to the recently formed Public Health Scotland. This is the MESAS evaluation again. 

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The inevitable face mask U-turn

Published on 2020-06-05 09:23:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Nothing was more inevitable than the British government making face masks compulsory - starting with public transport - but what a ride it has been. As with everything involving the coronavirus, we are just copying the rest of the world with a lag of a month or two

Everyone knew the government was only discouraging people from buying face masks because it wanted to make sure medics had a good supply of them. And everyone knew that face masks provided some protection against the virus because that's why medics use them.

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Smoking and COVID-19 update, plus a thought for future research

Published on 2020-06-04 10:44:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I'm finding it difficult to keep up with all the evidence on smoking and COVID-19. My last update was on 16 May so I suggest you follow Phil on Twitter if you want to get up to speed. He's catalogued 117 pieces of evidence so far in this heroic thread, most of which show smokers significantly under-represented among Covid patients/cases.

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Restricting the sale of high strength beer and cider doesn't work

Published on 2020-06-03 08:47:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


One of the pet projects of England's overpaid public health directors is getting shops to stop selling high strength beer and cider. Alcoholics and/or street drinkers are known to favour these products and so, in the stunted imagination of paternalists, it is assumed that there will be fewer alcoholics and street drinkers if they are removed from the market. It is exactly the same logic that lies behind minimum pricing.

More worldly people argue that these people will substitute other types of drink (or drugs) and that such policies will, at best, make them even poorer.

Nevertheless, many shopkeepers have gone along with these schemes and their local implementation has created some natural experiments.

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Alcohol prohibition relaxed in South Africa, tobacco prohibition continues

Published on 2020-06-02 08:33:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


People in South Africa were finally allowed to buy alcohol yesterday, and there was much rejoicing.

@cjsnowdon⁩ Thought you might like to see these well ordered celebrations as alcohol prohibition ends in Pretoria today. pic.twitter.com/b6zkc5l0m0— Martin Narey (@martinnarey) June 1, 2020

The government is maintaining the prohibition on tobacco, however. Its Covid-related excuses for doing so are threadbare and I suspect the state has simply seized an opportunity to experiment with 'endgame strategies', as tobacco prohibitionists euphemistically call them.

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The Global Forum on Nicotine goes online

Published on 2020-06-01 10:29:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The Global Forum on Nicotine is normally held in Warsaw in mid-June. I've been a number of times and it is great event with some excellent speakers discussing vaping and tobacco harm reduction.

This year, for obvious reasons, it is shifting online. It's free to access and open to all, so register here.



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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.

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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.



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The WHO Doubles Down On Its Incompetence

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


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

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

Full article

It's That Man Again!

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


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

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

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

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