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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.

The Best Laid Plans

Published on 2018-05-27 11:59:33.
Website: Frank Davis

These days, I tend to see smoking bans as something that first started in the UK on 1 July 2007. But actually there have been smoking bans gradually being rolled out in the UK for many decades. I can’t remember … Continue reading →

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Reporting Restrictions

Published on 2018-05-26 10:46:42.
Website: Frank Davis

I’ve mentioned Tommy Robinson a couple of times before. First time was a year ago, when I listened to him talking to James Delingpole. Second time was when I listened to him talking to Alex Jones, He is, I think, … Continue reading →

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In praise of non-communicable diseases

Published on 2018-05-25 11:02:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

The WHO has been holding yet another conference this week. Apparently there's an epidemic going on. No, not that outbreak of Ebola in Africa, but an epidemic of 'non-communicable diseases' (NCDs) and WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says he is going to put a stop to it.

Director General of WHO @DrTedros on NCDs "No country is immune to NCDs...Let's bring our heads of states and governments to the next high-level meeting on NCDs, seek their political support and stop this epidemic" @Jeremy_Hunt #WHA71 #NCDs pic.twitter.com/CBt3Xgel2B— Sam Doherty (@samdoherty23) May 22, 2018

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Freedom-Lovers and Freedom-Haters

Published on 2018-05-25 10:11:28.
Website: Frank Davis

A few days ago Junican drew attention to a debate about political correctness, that featured Jordan Peterson, Stephen Fry, and a couple of other people I’d never heard of. And the resolution under debate was: Be it resolved, what you … Continue reading →

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From Enthusiasm To Zealotry

Published on 2018-05-24 10:07:06.
Website: Frank Davis

I get enthusiastic about ideas. When, on 15 February 2013, a small asteroid exploded over Chelyabinsk, and on the same day the larger asteroid 2012 DA14 passed within 28,000 km of the Earth, and NASA immediately declared that the two … Continue reading →

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E-cigarettes to be re-classified as tobacco?

Published on 2018-05-24 09:54:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

In March, a question was asked of the European Commission which suggested that the World Customs Organisation (WCO) was looking to reclassify e-cigarettes as tobacco products:

In November 2016 the Member States unanimously decided to classify e-liquids as Chemical Products in the Harmonised System of tariff nomenclature (HS).

The World Customs Organisation Review Sub-Committee (WCO RSC) has recently started to discuss potential changes to the HS for implementation in 2022 (HS 2022). Among the options discussed was classification under the heading ‘Tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes’.

The main criterion for customs classification is consideration of the physical characteristics of the product concerned.

1. Why does the Commission intend to support the WCO RSC proposal to reclassify e-liquids under the Tobacco chapter?

2. How does it justify the classification of e-liquids not containing any tobacco as tobacco products?
I can find no record of an answer but on 16th May the World Customs Organisation published a document in which it discusses shifting e-cigarettes and vape fluid out of the chemicals category (Chapter 38) and into the tobacco category (Chapter 24). The document isn't freely available online yet, although it has been published on the WCO's member website and has been distributed by the International Chamber of Commerce to its members. I quote the most relevant sections below.

It seems that the WCO has been prompted by the vape-hating Australian government and the World Health Organisation. US health agencies already classify e-cigarettes as tobacco for propaganda purposes and the EU implicitly does the same by regulating them under the Tobacco Products Directive. But they are not defined as such for the purposes of international trade and if the World Customs Organisation changed the classification, it would have several far-reaching repercussions.

Firstly, some countries use the WCO's classification as the legal basis for applying excise on tobacco products. In all Gulf Cooperation Council states, for example, goods in Chapter 24 are subject to a 100 per cent selective (excise) tax in addition to their import tariff.

Secondly, Chapter 24 is normally left out of trade deals, because the 'public health' lobby has successfully lobbied for a tobacco carve out. This means no cuts to tariffs on tobacco and, if e-cigarettes are included, it will mean no cuts to tariffs on vape products - and no protection from such tariffs in future trade deals.

Thirdly, Chapter 24 is excluded from investor protection under most new trade deals. So if you want to start an e-cigarette business in Spain, for example, don't expect any protection when the government suddenly moves the goal posts, cracks down on vaping, confiscates your stock and forces your shop to close.

Finally, it will send a negative message to governments about e-cigarettes. There is already more than enough orchestrated confusion about the health effects of vaping without a major international organisation lumping them in with cigarettes.

The current system works fine. Technically, e-cigarette products are classified in Chapter 38 as:

3824.90: 'chemical products and preparations of the chemical or allied industries (including those consisting of mixtures of natural products), not elsewhere specified or included'.
The EU has two further categories to make it more specific:

3824.99.5600: 'Cartridges and refills, filled, for electronic cigarettes; preparations for use in cartridges and refills for electronic cigarettes

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We tried to warn you (part 94)

Published on 2018-05-24 08:21:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

From Australia...

Those lollies and chocolates invitingly on display at the supermarket checkout are entirely strategic.

Junk food has little to recommend it to the smarter parts of our brains, but to our impulsive side, taste is all that matters. We might strategically avoid the confectionary [sic] aisle, but we all have to pass through the checkout where our impulses can be overwhelmed by the lure of the sugar fix.

Decision psychology researcher Dr Stefan Bode says the checkout trick is just one of a multitude of “environmental cues” that food companies use to market their products, from packaging to lifestyle messages and popular culture.

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Action on Sugar's latest demands

Published on 2018-05-23 20:01:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Consensus Action on Salt, Sugar and Health - as Action on Sugar is now known - is a microscopic pressure group that basically consists of Graham 'Mad Dog' MacGregor and a couple of nutritionists. In 2016, they described the government's childhood obesity plan as 'pathetic' which was rather ungrateful given that the government had capitulated to many of their loony demands. Let's cast our minds back for a moment...

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Helen Dale's review of Killjoys

Published on 2018-05-23 16:44:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

I'm grateful to Helen Dale for writing a long and thoughtful review of my book Killjoys which she combined with the formidable David Leyonhelm's book Freedom's Salesman. Do have a read of it. Part one is here and part two is here.

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Prison World

Published on 2018-05-23 09:13:51.
Website: Frank Davis

I feel a strong kinship with prisoners in prison. They’re people who’ve been expelled from society. And so am I. The only real difference is that they live in closed prisons, and I live in an open prison. An open prison (open … Continue reading →

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Sugar Reduction Year One

Published on 2018-05-22 13:38:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Public Health England has just released its first report looking at the results of its madcap sugar reduction scheme. The idea is to reduce sugar content in most foods by 20 per cent by 2020. The first target was a five per cent reduction by 2017 but, as today's report shows, this has not happened.

It was never likely to happen. Instead, there has been a two per cent reduction across the eight categories that PHE is most interested in: biscuits, breakfast cereals, chocolate confectionery, ice cream/lollies, puddings, sweet spreads & sauces, sweet confectionery and yoghurts.

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"Strong and compelling evidence" that plain packaging failed

Published on 2018-05-22 08:36:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

The UK's 'public health' racket is upset that the Tobacco Manufacturers Association has spotted that smoking rates have been rising since plain packaging was introduced. Awkwardly, the figures come from an unimpeachable 'public health' source curated by their own activists. At the very least, they show that the smoking rate has been flat-lining since plain packaging became mandatory and the Tobacco Products Directive came into full effect.

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ASH's cash up for grabs

Published on 2018-05-21 10:29:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has been scrounging from the unwitting British taxpayer from the moment it was created in 1971. This year - for the first time ever - the government has put its contract out to tender. This means that another organisation could step in and grab ASH's cash, which currently amounts to £140,000 a year.

It also means that we can see what ASH is supposed to be doing with its ill-gotten gains. Despite being a lobby group, it is not supposed to use the money for lobbying. Indeed, it is now strictly prohibited from using the money for lobbying or campaigning. Instead, it does things like 'help ensure that positive policy developments are encouraged' which is, of course, totally different.

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Open season on gambling

Published on 2018-05-18 11:09:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

I ended my piece for Spiked yesterday by saying:

Is this the slippery slope I see before me? .. Yesterday, FOBTs were a uniquely evil gambling product that allowed people to spend £100 in 20 seconds. Today, it has been noticed that you can bet 10 times that amount in half the time on your mobile phone. At 7am this morning, the government had bravely decided to rid Britain of the greatest cause of problem gambling the country had ever seen. By 10am, expectations were being managed and we were hearing the same slogans that always follow nanny-state announcements. They are the same slogans we heard two weeks ago when minimum pricing was introduced in Scotland and the same slogans we heard a month earlier when the sugar tax began: ‘No silver bullet

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FOBTs stopped

Published on 2018-05-17 20:00:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

You may have noticed that the government announced that it is going to make regulate fixed-odds betting terminals into the dust today. I put out a comment on behalf of the IEA, saying...

“Today’s announcement shows that you can get anything banned in this country if you whine for long enough. Make no mistake, reducing the stake to £2 amounts to a ban. The machines will be taken out of bookmakers and players will move online where are no limits on stakes or prizes. Hundreds of bookmakers will close, thousands of jobs will be lost and the horse-racing industry will lose millions of pounds in subsidies. Taxpayers will then have to fork out £400 million to fill the gap in the treasury’s balance sheet.

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Bloomberg's war on shoppers

Published on 2018-05-17 07:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

After a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages was introduced in Britain last month, campaigners wasted no time in calling for it to be extended to milkshakes, coffee and all food products that contain added sugar. The World Health Organisation recommends that sugary drinks be taxed at twenty per cent, claiming that this ‘can lead to a reduction in consumption of around 20%, thus preventing obesity and diabetes’ although there is no evidence that obesity rates have been affected by such taxes to date. WHO also recommends higher taxes on alcohol as one of its ‘best buys’ and supports ‘taxation of target foods’, by which it means food that is high in sugar, salt and fat. It claims that ‘food taxation’ has shown ‘promising results’ in countries such as Hungary.

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Sin taxes are regressive and don't work - Mike Bloomberg

Published on 2018-05-16 10:01:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Mike Bloomberg is on a mission this year to tax us out of life's simple pleasures. He has his billionaire fingers in a lot of pies. In addition to his pressure group Vital Strategies, he has recently set up the Task Force on Fiscal Policy for Health with the likes of Nicola Sturgeon and Margaret Chan on the board and has founded something called STOP (Stop Tobacco Organizations and Products) with a further $20 million. His finger prints were all over last month's special edition of the Lancet which was devoted to sin taxes and he continues to spend a king's ransom lobbying for soda taxes in the USA and elsewhere.  

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Australia: world leader in tobacco control

Published on 2018-05-15 13:07:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

I wrote yesterday about the early indications that plain packaging has not only failed in Britain but has been counter-productive. Meanwhile in Australia, the home of plain packaging, the government is desperately trying to contain the booming black market in tobacco that its policies have created.

Last week it created a new Tobacco Taskforce to deal with an illicit trade that is officially estimated to supply 864 tonnes of Aussie smokers each year. 

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Crushing Safer Solutions For Profit

Published on 2018-05-14 19:48:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote

Sometimes, you really have to wonder if the whole tobacco thing with governments is just a big sham and that they really do secretly want smokers to continue smoking for the tax revenue.

Yes it sounds very much like a conspiracy theory, but how else do you explain heroically mendacious policies such as this from Korea?
Manufacturers of heat-not-burn (HNB) cigarettes, or heated tobacco products, will be required to put graphic warnings about health risks associated with smoking including cancer, similar to warnings all other cigarette manufacturers currently use. Such products will have to use graphic images of cancer-ridden organs, a much strengthened standard than the current image of a needle, which many have criticized as "unclear and ineffective."Cancer-ridden organs? Has there been even one case anywhere in the world of cancer caused specifically by heated tobacco? No, of course not. But the lumpen-headed shitgibbons are going to plaster sick images all over the packaging anyway without even a cursory nod to reality.

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Plain packaging failing in the UK

Published on 2018-05-14 10:45:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

It's time for the 'public health' lobby to wheel out the 'no silver bullet' excuses and hope that everybody's forgotten what a game changer plain packaging was supposed to be...

The Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (TMA) today reveals data and exclusive new polling which shows how plain packaging is failing in the UK on the first anniversary after its controversial introduction.

The Smoking Toolkit Study has found that on a three month rolling average, from December 2017 to March 2018, smoking rates in England were higher than for the same time last year before plain packaging was fully introduced.

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Insider spills the beans on fixed-odds betting terminals campaign

Published on 2018-05-14 08:39:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

A remarkable article appeared in the Telegraph last week by Adrian Parkinson who, until recently, was one of the leading figures in Derek Webb's campaign against fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

Adrian Parkinson on the left in happier (?) timesUsing Webb's fortune, Stop The FOBTs AKA the Campaign for Fairer Gambling have used a combination of big spending and intimidation to get their point across. Their point isn't very strong. FOBTs account for just 14 per cent of gambling spend in Britain, there has been no rise in problem gambling since they emerged in the early 2000s, and the claim that FOBTs are the 'crack cocaine of gambling' has never been supported by evidence.

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RIP Tessa Jowell, freedom fighter

Published on 2018-05-13 12:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Tessa Jowell (1947-2018)
It's hard to believe now but there was a time when it seemed as if the nanny state was being rolled back. In 2005, the Licensing Act came into force and the Gambling Act was passed. This was the high watermark of Labour liberalism. Within a year, it had gone into reverse and every year since has been worse than the one before. But for one brief moment, it seemed as if the government believed in personal freedom and Tessa Jowell, who died yesterday, was at the centre of it.

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Two interviews, 100% sound views

Published on 2018-05-13 09:35:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

I did a couple of interviews recently with Conservative organisations. You might be interested, who knows?

If you like the written word, here's me with Ben Kelly at Conservatives For Liberty.

David Cameron was the absolute worst for this stuff. If you look at his record, he makes Gordon Brown look like Ayn Rand. After opposing the tobacco display ban in opposition, his party introduced it almost as soon as it took office. He introduced plain packaging at a time when no other government apart from Australia was showing much interest in it. He introduced the sugar tax. He set up Public Health England, which was only ever going to be a giant nanny state lobby group. He wanted to introduce minimum pricing and was only stopped because of Cabinet opposition.

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Wiping out diabetes in three years?

Published on 2018-05-11 11:08:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

From the front page of the Daily Express today...

Diabetes WAR: Sugar tax on foot [sic] top [sic] WIPE OUT diabetes as top doctors develop radical plan

A COALITION of international health experts have proposed a tax on sugary foods to reverse Britain’s obesity and Type 2 diabetes epidemics.
Who are these health experts? Step forward Aseem Malhotra, Robert Lustig and Grant Schofield. The first two names may be familiar to you. Malhotra currently bills himself as an honorary consultant cardiologist so I assume that he has stopped practising and is now a full time diet entrepreneur. You can read what I thought of his first book here. His next book is due out in 2019 and promises to be an 'insight into medical corruption' so that should be fun.

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Smokers As Cash Cows

Published on 2018-05-10 21:06:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote

I think this is the longest gap between blogs ever on this site but believe me I've had a lot going on. Puddlecote Inc is taking up a hell of a lot of my time but someone it is actually good. OK, I've been cursing the EU yet again for the dog's breakfast of GDPR (honestly, look it up, it's a stinker that will cost every consumer for absolutely no benefit whatsoever) but there is also something momentous we are working towards which will be a game-changer for the business.

Anyway, while I've been struggling for time, the Moose has been using his wisely and turned up something you might like to have a read about.

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A shameless racket

Published on 2018-05-09 07:22:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Every public health minister goes native within a few weeks of taking up the job and Steve Brine has been no exception. His Twitter profile picture shows him with ASH's chief prohibitionist Deborah Arnott grinning over his shoulder. It is apt.

Yesterday, he announced that he would be commissioning a review into minimum pricing. The Scottish government has already commissioned its own evaluation, with the usual suspects from Sheffield and Stirling lined up to cash in on their previous efforts lobbying for the policy.

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E-Cigarette Opponents Still Making Up False "Facts" to Demonize Vaping

Published on 2018-05-08 12:03:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary

We're well into 2018 and there is now substantial research on the health effects of vaping as well as a decade of experience with large numbers of vapers, yet e-cigarette opponents are still making up false claims to buttress their demonization of vaping.

In an article by Jia Tolentino published yesterday in the New Yorker, a Harvard professor was quoted as claiming that: "vaping can cause something called bronchiolitis obliterans, or popcorn lung."

He also stated that Juul is "a massive public-health disaster," likened e-cigarettes to “bioterrorism,” and "predicted that, eventually, a state’s attorney general would sue Juul 'for willfully designing and pushing a product that will cause harm to the children of the United States.'"

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Nanny State Index: nicotine supplement

Published on 2018-05-08 09:54:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

This week saw the publication of a supplement to the Nanny State Index which shows how 30 European countries compare on tobacco harm reduction. It looks at the taxation and regulation of e-cigarettes, snus and heat-not-burn tobacco.

You can download the Nicotine Supplement here. The UK does well thanks to its relatively liberal approach to vaping. Ireland, the Czech Republic, Germany and the Netherlands also look good for the same reason.

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It begins

Published on 2018-05-06 09:54:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Amazon Pantry seems like a good shout for drinkers who are living in the Scottish nanny state...

On the day the new legislation came into force north of the Border, we were able to purchase two boxes of drink for considerably less than it would now cost in Scotland. Our order from online shopping giant Amazon was dispatched from Doncaster in South Yorkshire, therefore avoiding the minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol.
Other England-based booze delivery companies are available, of course.

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Censoring Twitter in the name of health

Published on 2018-05-04 08:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

This video about tobacco companies using Twitter is laugh-out-loud funny.

A world-first study has uncovered concerns that big tobacco companies are exploiting Twitter to regain the public's trust. @AngieAsimus #7News pic.twitter.com/JVgBiTv8hV— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) May 3, 2018
The punchline is when the journalist feels obliged to end the item by reminding us that smoking is, like, really bad. In Australia, as in Britain, even news stories have to double as health information films. This only serves to highlight the total dominance of the anti-smoking lobby in the media.

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Weigh to go!

Published on 2018-05-03 13:45:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

There's a story in The Times today about proposals to measure and weigh every child in every UK school once a year and force the teachers to make the 'obese' kids lose weight. I am all in favour of this, as I explain at Spectator Health. Do have a read.

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Australia's tobacco black market grows again

Published on 2018-05-02 11:42:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

As reported in The Australian, the illicit trade Down Under is big and getting bigger, despite it being a remote island continent.

The nation’s 2.4 million smokers are turning to illegal and even ­unhealthier cigarettes to avoid crushing increases in tobacco tax, costing the federal government almost $2 billion in lost revenue.

Between 2016 and 2017, tobacco consumption fell 6.1 per cent but the share supplied in the black market climbed to a record 15 per cent from 14 per cent a year earlier, according to a KPMG study.

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