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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.

Straying Off The Reservation

Published on 2018-02-23 13:01:15.
Website: Frank Davis


I’m off on a bit of an intellectual adventure at the moment. I’m not usually very adventurous. I think the same way as everyone else, about almost everything. But sometimes I stray off the reservation, and wander off on my … Continue reading →

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Minimum pricing in Wales - the final PR push

Published on 2018-02-22 12:44:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I was on BBC Radio Wales this morning talking about minimum pricing (you can listen from 38 minutes in). This was prompted by the thrilling news that the people at Sheffield University who have spent the last ten year pushing minimum pricing are still in favour of it.

I gather that their latest government-commissioned report claims that 66 lives will be extended in Wales (population: 3 million) if drinkers respond to a 50p minimum price in the implausible ways that the Sheffield team assume. This is up from 53 in their previous report for reasons that are almost certainly not worth bothering with. Since there are around 1,500 alcohol-related deaths in Wales each year, it's doubtful whether such a small change can even be measured.

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Ageing

Published on 2018-02-22 11:49:07.
Website: Frank Davis


I spent all evening in the Smoky Drinky Bar last night, slowly drinking most of a bottle of Chardonnay, on what was my 70th birthday. As a result, today I feel like I’m about 80.

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Let's Talk About Cloud-Chasing

Published on 2018-02-21 18:30:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


While in Scotland a few weeks ago for the Glasgow School of Vape event, I met up with Dave Dorn, canny lad from the north east who formerly fronted the vaping online show, Vapour Trails TV. I mentioned that I had an article in my head that he wouldn't like - what with him being an avowed fan of cloud-chasing and something of a celebrity amongst those who like to use high-powered equipment (in fact, as we spoke he was approached by quite a few Scots clutching very specialist devices) about the practical problems that big clouds could present.

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70

Published on 2018-02-21 12:01:08.
Website: Frank Davis


I don’t usually pay any attention to birthdays of mine. It’s just some more water under the bridge. Another year passed. But this one’s different. It’s the biblical three score years and ten. I’m 70 today. And I feel that … Continue reading →

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Talking Killjoys

Published on 2018-02-20 16:58:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I did a podcast with Cameron English recently which has been uploaded here. It's always a pleasure to talk to Cameron. He lives in California, God help him. Mainly we talked about my book Killjoys and the corruption of the 'public health' movement. Have a listen.

By the way, I am aware that the comment facility seems to have disappeared from this blog for the time being. I haven't disabled it, so if you have any idea why it's gone and how I can get it back, let me know via e-mail (scroll to the bottom)

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Freezing Arctic Blast Looms

Published on 2018-02-20 12:29:11.
Website: Frank Davis


Maybe it’s because I’ve been piecing together a new theory of ice ages, but I seem to suddenly be noticing weather reports. Like this one: A ‘polar vortex’ is set to grip Britain with a freezing Arctic blast which could … Continue reading →

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Another neo-temperance flop

Published on 2018-02-19 11:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Remember the great 'public health' initiative of removing high strength beer and cider from shops in Suffolk? These are the 'cheap' drinks that are supposedly targeted by minimum pricing (this is a shameless lie). Minimum pricing is going to effectively remove these drinks from sale - why buy them when you can get the same number of units from vodka for the same price? - but outlets in Ipswich removed them from sale back in 2012.

How did this 'Reduce the Strength' (RtS) scheme go? Well, it must have gone well because the Local Government Association has a briefing document telling councils that they should do likewise:

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Strike Off All The Non-Practising Doctors

Published on 2018-02-19 11:25:11.
Website: Frank Davis


I was once a small boy, but I no longer call myself that. For years I’ve been mulling over what to do about the medical profession. Or at least the high ranks of the medical profession. People like Sally Davies, … Continue reading →

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Tobacco Tactics Announces 400 Tobacco Shills Due In Warsaw In June

Published on 2018-02-18 21:00:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


CRUK and PHE speaking at a 'tobacco industry front group' in 2017Only the other day I said that tobacco control had jumped the shark, but they just heroically leaped an even bigger one. Try not to laugh too much - because I think they are actually serious about this?

Many will remember us having fun with my page at the Tobacco Tactics website a few years ago. I was and am immensely proud to have been included (a screenshot of it is my Twitter banner) because if a bunch of routinely mendacious gutter-dwellers scratching around for pathetic smears see fit to fling a few at me, I must be doing something right.

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The sugar conspiracy debunked

Published on 2018-02-16 12:06:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


There's been a lot of 'Big Whatever is the new Big Tobacco' rhetoric recently. It's all part of following the anti-smoking playbook which, oddly enough, involves accusing the food/alcohol/soda/gambling industry of following the tobacco industry playbook. It's all so meta, but it's an effective public relations exercise because ad hominem attacks work (read this fascinating study for proof).

The list of businesses that are accused of using 'tobacco industry tactics' is almost endless. Just in the last week, we have seen the booze industry, the baby food industry, the agrochemical industry, the food industry and Facebook all accused of using these mysterious tactics.

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Childhood obesity figures are worthless

Published on 2018-02-15 10:02:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


No news story about obesity in Britain is complete without the factoid about one in three children being overweight or obese. This statistic can easily be found on the Office for National Statistics website, but understanding the methodology behind it requires a little more digging.

I have hesitated to write about this for some time because I thought I must be missing something. I couldn't believe that such important statistics could be estimated in such a ridiculous way.

But they are, and the scale of child obesity in this country has been grossly inflated as a result. Read my article at Spectator Health and all will be explained.

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The WHO Has Finally Lost It

Published on 2018-02-14 20:08:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


It's long been a tactic of fraudulent, debate-phobic, anti-smoking organisations to react to a threat to their propaganda by simply pointing a Neanderthal finger and grunting "ug, Big Tobacco". It's just far easier than ​defending their extremist quackery with reasoned argument, just as their stock-in-trade junk science is easier than actually doing the proper stuff.

The problem for them, though, is that methods which worked to dupe a gullible public with smoking don't help achieve the same confidence trick for the plethora of reduced risk products increasingly coming to the market, and they are too stupid to realise that. So it puts them in a position of often being left with impotent arguments which, quite frankly, make them look extremely silly.

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John Stuart Mill spins in his grave

Published on 2018-02-12 12:38:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Robert H. Frank offered an unusual justification for clamping down on smokers in the New York Times last month. As it touches on some of the themes in Killjoys I want to discuss it.

One the main points in Killjoys is that paternalists are always looking for ways to disguise their paternalism. Even in these puritanical times, it is still not socially acceptable to ask the government to interfere in someone's private life just because you don't like what they're doing.

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Low alcohol drinks lead to more alcohol being drunk, claim cranks

Published on 2018-02-08 12:33:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist



In September 2016, a 'public health' academic named Milica Vasiljevic published a study in Tobacco Control claiming that e-cigarette advertising made children start smoking. This was a heroic over-interpretation of the meagre findings from her survey, but it went down well with the hard of thinking...

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Going Places

Published on 2018-02-07 18:37:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


If you follow me on Twitter, you'll have noticed that I've been doing some travelling of late.

This weekend me and my 16 year old boy flew to Rome for the England 6 Nations rugby match at the Stadio Olimpico. It was a whistle stop affair, arriving late Saturday and leaving early Monday, and considering my son had never been there before it was an effort fitting sightseeing in before the 4pm kick off on the Sunday. A fantastic weekend but incredibly draining.

Now, the reason I'm writing about this is that, yet again, being in another country was very revealing as to the amount of freedom we have lost in the UK. I have spoken about it before with regards to Prague, but the state-imposed shackles fell away with every minute spent in Rome too.

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Public Health England

Published on 2018-02-06 12:45:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Public Health England have issued some mostly sensible advice about e-cigarettes in the hope of scotching some of the myths and junk science that has been pouring out of California for the last five years.

Dick and Clarky point out that PHE couldn't resist inserting some anti-smoking authoritarianism into their e-cigarette report. It is also somewhat amusing that they are calling for e-cigarettes to be given out by the NHS on prescription a day after it was announced that the only medically approved e-cigarette has been withdrawn from the market.

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Can We Have Our Money Back, PHE?

Published on 2018-02-06 10:26:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


Public Health England swallows £4.5bn of our taxes each year. It spends it on such frivolity as telling us when the sun is coming out, bending science to pretend we're all drinking too much, and embarking on campaigns that are arguably dangerous, as this video shows.


The one area, though, where they have appeared vaguely sensible has always been with e-cigs, but today they have shown that they haven't the first clue about smokers and vapers at all. Via the BBC:

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Plain packaging in France: another non-event

Published on 2018-02-05 12:57:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Back in 2013, there was a flurry of studies published in the likes of Tobacco Control claiming a dramatic and immediate impact from plain packaging (which had been introduced at the end of 2012). One of them claimed that smokers were more likely to think about quitting if their packs were 'plain'. Another one claimed that there was a rise in the number of calls to quit-lines after plain packaging was introduced.

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Public health versus 'public health'

Published on 2018-02-02 10:44:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Regular readers will know that I put the term 'public health' in speech marks when referring to the morally bankrupt crusade for lifestyle regulation that has co-opted the name.

I explained the distinction between public health and 'public health' in Killjoys:

The case for government action on public health issues is strongest when there is a threat to health that can only be countered by collective action. Collective action does not necessarily mean government action, but if the term ‘public health’ meant anything in Mill’s day, it meant tackling health risks in the shared environment which cannot be controlled by the individual, such as air pollution, or those involving people (or animals) who carry infectious diseases. Factories pumping coal smoke into a congested city and travellers coming home with Ebola pose a clear risk of unavoidable harm to others and are therefore a potential justification for coercion under the harm principle. It is not the scale of the risk nor the number of people affected that turns a health problem into a public health problem. It is the lack of consent from those who are put at risk and their inability to reduce the risk without collective action.

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The consequences of PHE's calorie propaganda

Published on 2018-02-01 11:32:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


When Public Health England started lying about nutrition and setting fictitious limits on snacks and meals, I mentioned an obvious unintended consequence:

People will not come to any harm if they restrict their alcohol consumption to 14 units a week. They will come to harm if they consume 1,600 calories a day. This is totally unscientific and highly irresponsible advice (think of the anorexics, for example). PHE are no longer pretending to be a source of accurate advice. They are in the business of nudging, manipulation and deliberate deceit.

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ASH's Snus Flip Flop

Published on 2018-01-31 18:58:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


Following the revelation last week that the UK Government - despite claiming it wished to "maximise the availability of safer alternatives to smoking" in its Tobacco Control Plan in July - had defended the EU's ridiculous and damaging ban on snus at the European Court of Justice, I wondered if they had received any input from their favourite state-funded political lobby group, ASH.

It's well known that crass ignorance from ASH during David Simpson's tenure (see Snowdon's trawl though history here) was the prime motivator behind the ban in the UK and, subsequently, a ban across the EU in 1992.

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Two steps back for tobacco harm reduction

Published on 2018-01-31 11:17:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Last week the FDA was advised to keep it a secret that iQOS is safer than smoking, and the European Court of Justice was advised to keep snus illegal. I've written an article for Spectator Health about the anti-science, freedom-hating prohibitionists responsible.

There seems to be a principal-agent problem when new nicotine products are assessed by people who are steeped in ‘public health’ dogma, especially when those products contain tobacco. Bates argues that ‘panel members have strong ‘virtue signalling’ incentives to oppose tobacco industry innovation, even if highly beneficial to people at greatest risk. They can enter the room, turn up the pedantry dial to maximum, sit back and relax, lob in the odd insincere question and vote down the claims, all the time faking an appearance of trying to do the right thing.’

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What does Islam teach its followers? (muslims)

Published on 2018-01-30 15:47:00.
Website: Clearing The Air


Islam teaches some really nasty, nasty stuff


Here's a way for readers to see how "peaceful" Islam is from the comfort of their own home and learn it's sinister truth www.Quran.com (official Quran domain in Saudi Arabia)
The way to use that website www.Quran.com is to search for the verse you want, here's a couple examples of verses I recommend, just copy each set of verse numbers below into the "search" bar at www.Quran.com

8:39 "fight til all religion is for allah" IE. until all people are Muslim

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The anti-drink lobby's war on reality: Geordie Shore edition

Published on 2018-01-30 11:35:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Some more puritanism dressed up as academia for you, this time from Alcohol and Alcoholism...

Alcohol Content in the ‘Hyper-Reality’ MTV Show ‘Geordie Shore’
Three tax-spongers from the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Research (UKCTAS) watched an entire series of the Newcastle-based reality show Geordie Shore and were - as the stars of this show might say - 'proper radge' to find numerous depictions of alcohol use.

All categories of alcohol were present in all episodes. ‘Any alcohol’ content occurred in 78%, ‘actual alcohol use’ in 30%, ‘inferred alcohol use’ in 72%, and all ‘other’ alcohol references occurred in 59% of all coding intervals (ACIs), respectively. Brand appearances occurred in 23% of ACIs. The most frequently observed alcohol brand was Smirnoff which appeared in 43% of all brand appearances. Episodes categorized as suitable for viewing by adolescents below the legal drinking age of 18 years comprised of 61% of all brand appearances. 

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Nick Cohen's dystopia

Published on 2018-01-28 13:17:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Nick Cohen has gone on a health kick and thinks that his midlife crisis should form the basis of public policy. Previous victims of this delusion include Sarah Vine, David Aaronovitch and, a few days ago, Jenni Russell. After Cohen gave up drinking last year, he wrote a factually inaccurate article calling for more temperance laws. He is now running a half marathon and has decided that the British population must forced to do more exercise.

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Junk alcohol research of the week

Published on 2018-01-26 17:42:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Sometimes the junk science that comes out of the ‘public health’ lobby is so bad you just have to laugh. Take this study, for example, published yesterday in the apparently reputable Journal of Hepatology. As reported by the Irish Times, it found that ‘alcohol consumption even at very low levels early in life may significantly increase the risk of alcoholic liver disease in men’. It was even suggested that drinking guidelines should be lowered to accommodate this emerging evidence.

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My Op-Ed in U.S. News & World Report on the National Academy of Sciences Report on E-Cigarettes

Published on 2018-01-26 02:17:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary


Here is the link to my op-ed on the National Academy of Sciences report.

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A Great Day For Bureaucratic Intransigence

Published on 2018-01-25 21:47:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


On Tuesday I wrote about how this was a big week for tobacco harm reduction. Also, it would appear, it was a big week for intransigent bureaucracy.

Reports from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) where the EU's ban on snus was being challenged were not just disappointing, but also quite astonishing! A number of tweets from Gerry Stimson, who was attending on behalf of the NNA, described how a succession of of bureaucrats outed themselves as being in denial about the evidence base behind snus and willing to blatantly lie to the court about it. Most surprising was that the UK government took it upon itself to actively oppose lifting the ban despite overwhelming evidence of the benefits snus could provide.

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WBUR Interview Regarding National Academy of Sciences E-Cigarette Report

Published on 2018-01-24 17:01:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary


Here is the link to an article on WBUR that includes edited excerpts from an interview I did regarding the new National Academy of Sciences report on electronic cigarettes.

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National Academy of Sciences Report on Electronic Cigarettes Confirms that Vaping is Much Safer than Smoking and Has No Known Long-Term Health Effects

Published on 2018-01-24 12:45:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary


My commentary on the conclusions and implications of the National Academy of Sciences report on electronic cigarettes was just accepted as an op-ed piece in U.S. News & World Report. I expect it to be published tomorrow. For this reason, I have had to take down the original commentary. However, below I have posted the parts of the original blog post that had to be cut from the op-ed because of length concerns. Also, I will post a link to the op-ed as soon as it appears.

The key findings of the report are:

1. "There is substantial evidence that except for nicotine, under typical conditions of use, exposure to potentially toxic substances from e-cigarettes is significantly lower compared with combustible tobacco cigarettes."

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A Big Week For Tobacco Harm Reduction

Published on 2018-01-23 19:31:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote


On both sides of the Atlantic, this week is looking to be one of the most important in the history of tobacco harm reduction (THR) so far.

Firstly, in a flurry of acronyms, tomorrow the US Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) will meet to consider Philip Morris International's (PMI) application for a Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP) classification for their iQos heated tobacco product. If approved, this could pave the way - if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agrees with the decision - for PMI to claim iQos is less harmful than smoking. This would be the first time the government has allowed a company to make such claims. This is irrelevant if PMI are not permitted to sell iQos, of course, so at the same time an application is pending for a Pre-Market Tobacco Application (PMTA) which would allow the products to be sold in America, theoretically from as early as February. But it all depends on what advice the TPSAC gives to the FDA and whether the FDA decides to go with it or not.

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