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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.

Last Orders with Claire Fox

Published on 2022-07-04 15:16:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


On the latest episode of the Last Orders podcast, we welcomed back Claire Fox (Baroness Fox). Her ladyship discussed smoking, gambling, Steve Bray and abortion. Tune in!


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15 lousy years

Published on 2022-07-02 07:00:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of England's smoking ban. I tweeted about it in the morning, noting that it marked the point at which everything started to go terribly wrong, and was pleased to see a good deal of agreement in the replies (alongside the usual people who don't like washing and think the world should revolve around them), so when Spiked asked me to expand on it, I wrote this... 


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Meet the British Medical Association

Published on 2022-07-01 09:50:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Aseem Malhotra, Croydon's part-time cardiologist, was given an award this week by the Chair of the British Medical Association (BMA). Malhotra, whose Twitter feed has been teeming with anti-vax dogwhistles for months, was - incredibly - honoured as a champion of preventive health.

Despite being handed the gong by the Chair of the BMA in front of the BMA logo, it turned to have nothing to do with the BMA, as the BMA was eager to point out. 


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Do three year olds recognise the McDonalds logo before they know their own name?

Published on 2022-06-30 11:01:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist



 I was at a sugar industry conference yesterday on a panel with somebody from Jamie Oliver's pressure group Biteback 2030. I'm afraid that some of the things he said made me laugh out loud, none more so than his claim that more three year olds recognise the McDonalds logo than know their own name.

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Frank from June 2019

Published on 2022-06-29 10:09:12.
Website: Frank Davis


The Pink Floyd comment raises a smile. Some years earlier Frank had been drinking in a pub in Bristol and had been lost in conversation with a guy at the bar. As time wore on, he remembered he was going … Continue reading →

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A swift half with Mark Schrad

Published on 2022-06-27 12:56:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I wrote a somewhat critical review of Mark Schrad's book Smashing the Liquor Machine a few months ago so I was delighted when he accepted my invitation to come on my little YouTube show to discuss it. Watch below...
      

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Minimum pricing continues to go wrong

Published on 2022-06-23 09:46:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


"Minimum pricing is one of the stronger policies the Scottish Government has come up with"
 Minimum pricing in Ireland has very predictably led to people driving to Northern Ireland to buy booze, as the Irish Times reports.... 


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What lockdown tells us about alcohol policy

Published on 2022-06-22 10:12:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist



I have a new study out today with the IEA looking at the extraordinary social experiment of lockdown and what it tells us about alcohol policy. According to contemporary 'public health' ideology, harmful drinking is the result of 'commercial determinants', especially advertising, affordability and availability. If you clamp down on those then alcohol consumption will decline, and if alcohol consumption declines then harmful drinking will decline because - as the influential epidemiologist Geoffrey Rose put it... ‘

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Alcohol consumption is at a historic low, temperance lobby demands action

Published on 2022-06-21 09:47:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Public Health Scotland has just published the alcohol consumption stats for 2021. With the country in lockdown for much of the year, consumption remained unusually low, but it was not zero and therefore not low enough for the temperance lobby. From the Scotsman... Scots still drinking too much as drop in alcohol intake stalls
ALCOHOL consumption in Scotland remains too high, amid calls to increase the minimum unit price.  Minimum pricing doesn't work. The evidence is in. Give it up. An average adult in Scotland drank the equivalent of around two bottles of wine per week in 2021, based on estimates from alcohol retail sales.

Consumption also appears to have stalled after previously falling to a historic low.

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Paul McCartney at 80

Published on 2022-06-19 10:41:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist



 It was Paul McCartney's 80th birthday yesterday and he'll be playing Glastonbury next week. I've written about his 52 year post-Beatles career and his desire to be ordinary for Quillette.  


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Debating with Debs

Published on 2022-06-11 14:16:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


I'm on holiday for a week so I will leave you with my debate with ASH's Deborah Arnott from yesterday. All three of the people on screen are ex-smokers but I get the impression that Debs is the only one who is still itching for a fag.



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A swift half with Joanna Williams

Published on 2022-06-10 13:29:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


It was great to talk to Joanna Williams yesterday about the silly Khan review and her new book about wokeism, the title of which I kept getting wrong but which you can buy here.



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Send in the clowns - Javed Khan's tobacco review

Published on 2022-06-09 16:19:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Javed Khan published his 'independent review of tobacco control' today and it is far madder than anyone expected. It's titled 'Making smoking obsolete', but it is full of supply-side interventions, including incremental prohibition. He doesn't seem to realise that products become obsolete when demand dries up, not supply.
 Khan has consulted with the worst extremists in the 'public health' industry and grabbed every half-baked idea that has ever been proposed, including raising the smoking age every year, painting cigarettes green and putting individual health warnings on them, banning films which show people using tobacco from being broadcast before 9pm and have warnings flash up on screen when they do, banning people who live in social housing from smoking in their own home, banning smoking outside and hiking the price of a pack of cigarettes up to around £20.  There's also lots of stuff about looting smokers and giving the cash to people in 'public health'. In fact, that is the first item on his agenda. This has ASH's fingerprints all over it. See if you can spot the difference between Khan's plan and the plan put out by ASH's puppet All-Party group last year. There isn't one.


In a way, it's good that he's given a voice to the mentalists because the public will finally realise that they are dealing with swivel-eyed prohibitionists. On the other hand, it leaves the government in a bit of a bind because they will be expected to act on at least some of the recommendations. I don't think they anticipated Khan to go native so quickly and so completely. There's fun to be had in the appendix of the report in which Khan hears from focus groups made up of actual smokers and discovers that they are quite happy and just want to be left alone. 
Attitudes to smoking

There is a notable lack of drive or even inclination to quit smoking among many. 

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Raising the smoking age and other bad ideas

Published on 2022-06-08 15:47:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Rumour has it that the 'independent review of tobacco control' will recommend raising the age at which people can buy tobacco to 21, just as ASH have been demanding.
I've written about this for Cap-X... 

An independent audit of tobacco control would be more appropriate. Anti-smoking campaigners pop up every few years with their stern faces to tell us that they have got a new evidence-based policy which the Government must act upon. The Government then dithers until the pressure builds enough for it to capitulate, the policy is introduced and we never hear about it again. The last one was plain packaging, which was portrayed as something of a panacea at the time (one of its more excitable advocates described it as a vaccine for lung cancer), but when the dust settled it turned out to have no effect on cigarette sales. Randomised controlled trials have since shown that it was never likely to work.

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Minimum pricing in the mud

Published on 2022-06-07 06:58:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The latest report in the official minimum pricing evaluation was published by Public Health Scotland this morning. Today's report looks at perhaps the most important aspect of the policy - whether it helped people who drink at harmful levels.  Several of the authors, including Petra Meier and John Holmes, were behind the Sheffield University modelling that led to the policy being implemented in the first place. This gave them a conflict of interest which, in my view, should have disqualified them from being on the evaluation team. Having said the policy was going to work, they have a clear incentive for making it look like it worked.
But whatever their incentive, they haven't been able to make a silk purse out of this pig's ear. The Scottish Government are going to put a brave face on it, but the report tells a story of failure.
 There is no clear evidence that MUP led to an overall reduction in alcohol consumption among people drinking at harmful levels or those with alcohol dependence, although some individuals did report reducing their consumption. There is also no clear evidence that MUP led to a change in the severity of alcohol dependence symptoms among those presenting for treatment.
So much for minimum pricing being a policy that "exquisitely targets the heaviest drinkers".

People drinking at harmful levels who struggled to afford the higher prices arising from MUP coped by using, and often intensifying, strategies they were familiar with from previous periods when alcohol was unaffordable for them. These strategies typically included obtaining extra money, while reducing alcohol consumption was a last resort.


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Debunked: CO2 & "climate change"

Published on 2022-06-06 22:52:00.
Website: Clearing The Air


 Debunked:


"global warming" is NOT tied to C02 levels....IE. cannot be blamed on human activity....therefore taxing humans (or worse yet changing human behavior (IE. banning use of fossil fuels), for CO2; which is at an all time low; is a scam that serves no purpose other than enriching politicians

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More evidence that graphic warnings (and plain packaging) don't work

Published on 2022-06-06 09:49:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


An interesting study looking at graphic warnings on cigarette packs was published last week.   It's a randomised controlled trial in which 357 smokers aged 21 to 65 years from San Diego County, California, who were not actively planning to quit smoking, were sent their usual brand of cigarettes for a month and were then split into three groups for the next three months when they were sent either standard packs, packs with graphic warnings or plain packs (i.e. with no brand imagery but also no graphic warnings). Their smoking and other behaviour was monitored daily. In practice, both the graphic warning packs and the plain packs were plain. All corporate colours and logos were removed from both (see image at the bottom of this blog post). In effect, it is an RCT about plain packs as we know them.

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Illiterate 'public health' bozos

Published on 2022-06-02 12:43:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The tweet below comes from Wakefield's director of public health who is paid at least £124,000 per annum

Research has predicted that restricting advertising of unhealthy food and drinks could reduce childhood obesity by two thirds (NIHR: how LAs can reduce obesity). Needless to say it’s our poorest children that have the greatest exposure. Could do better.

— Anna Hartley (@annaghartley) June 1, 2022


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New Zealand becomes a target market for tobacco smugglers

Published on 2022-06-01 10:39:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


 A couple of islands in the middle of nowhere with a population of five million people will not be the first choice of tobacco smugglers, but New Zealand has finally made itself a target market.


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The imaginary government U-turn on gambling

Published on 2022-05-31 10:36:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


In the dishonest campaign against fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs), the final trick played by anti-gambling activists was to pretend that there had been a 'delay' and a 'U-turn'.
 In May 2018, when the government announced that it would be cutting the maximum stake on these machines from £100 to £2, as campaigners had demanded, no date was given. Three months later, it was reported that the government intended to enforce the change from April 2020. That may or may not have been true, but when the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, formally announced the policy in the October Budget Statement, it clearly stated that it would begin in October 2019. If the earlier reports were true, the government had brought the date forward by six months. As Huw Merrimen MP (who supported the stake reduction) wrote at the time... 


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Cigarette packets

Published on 2022-05-30 14:58:01.
Website: Frank Davis


During the clearing of Frank’s flat I came across a number of cigarette packets that he had designed and made himself. One still with its Marlboro contents. The photograph tells part of the tale.  He had been outraged by tobacco … Continue reading →

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Alcohol policy - theory versus facts

Published on 2022-05-30 10:33:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


In 2018, Finland relaxed some of its alcohol laws. Notably, it allowed grocery shops to sell alcohol of up to 5.5% ABV. Previously, it had been limited to 4.7% ABV, with stronger beers only available from the state-owned off licences.

This might seem a minor change but it allowed commercial shops to sell standard Finnish beer, which has an average alcohol content of 5.2%.

According to 'public health' ideology, this would be the start of Finns going to hell in a handcart: 

Due to fierce price competition between grocery stores, medium-strength beer has been available for much lower prices in them than in the state stores, while stronger beer only available in state stores has been minimally affected by price competition. Therefore, the reform was not only expected to affect consumption through greater physical availability but also through lowering prices.

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Last Orders with Patrick Flynn

Published on 2022-05-30 09:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


There's a new episode of Last Orders out in which we discuss J**** O*****, partygate and Ricky Gervais. Enjoy!


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A swift half with Julian Jessop

Published on 2022-05-27 10:03:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


There's a new episode of the Swift Half online. This week I talk to economist Julian Jessop about inflation.



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The European Commission wants to hear from you

Published on 2022-05-26 12:42:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The European Commission is asking for feedback on its Tobacco Products Directive (TPD). The call for evidence closes on 17 June 2022 and is intended to "assess to what extent the framework has fulfilled its goals and whether it is able to support a ‘Tobacco-Free Generation’ by 2040". A new TPD is likely to be proposed and brought into law in the next few years.
Anti-vaping lobbyists will be pushing for a ban on e-cigarette flavours, many of them with the help of Mike Bloomberg's $160 million slush fund. These backdoor prohibitionists see it as the best way to wreck the market because politicians don't understand how important flavours are ('tobacco' flavour, which apparently doesn't count as a flavour, is horrible in my opinion and isn't used by most vapers). The TPD exempts e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products (HTPs) from the ban on 'characterising flavours' unless the Commission can demonstrate that there has been "a substantial change of circumstances".
You can interpret that as you like - and the Commission probably will - but a Commission review published last year concluded that there has not been a substantial change of circumstances with regards to e-cigarettes, although the race is closer when it comes to heated tobacco.
The TPD sets out criteria for a ‘substantial change of circumstances’ and calls for the Commission to withdraw certain regulatory exemptions once those conditions are met (a flavour ban for product categories other than cigarettes and RYO tobacco, labelling exemptions). The Commission followed the market shares closely and no product category reached the threshold that would mandate the Commission to trigger this clause in the reporting period. The closest to the threshold are HTPs. Therefore, assessing the current criteria should be considered.
All the feedback is online to read. It's good to see that most of it is calling on the EU to leave vapers alone. For example: 

Emerging products are key to decrease smoking prevalence in the EU. E-cigarettes are a significant harm reduction tool within the mix of emerging products. I used to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day and thanks to the e-cigarette, I have been tobacco free for the past 3 years. I do not think that my freedom of choice should be further restricted if the e-cigarette prevents me from smoking. I also think that flavours play a very important role to switch. I am mostly using fruit flavours and try to avoid tobacco or menthol flavours which reminds me of the time when I smoked combustible cigarettes. 

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Vaping is an "environmental disaster", say anti-vaping nuts

Published on 2022-05-25 08:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


The Lancet has published a letter from three French academics arguing for a clampdown on e-cigarettes on environmental grounds. The authors give the game away early on by saying the quiet part out loud...
With the vape market mainly owned by the tobacco industry, it is legitimate to question whether vaping is more eco-friendly than smoking... [my emphasis] Leaving aside the question of whether the vape market is mainly owned by the tobacco industry in reality (it isn't in the UK), the implication is that it would be illegitimate to "question whether vaping is more eco-friendly than smoking" if it was owned by someone else. Why? An environmental issue is an environmental issue, regardless of who makes the product.

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E-cigarette use costs $15 billion a year?!?

Published on 2022-05-24 09:19:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


Anti-vaping quackademics from California's Bay Area are at it again... E-Cigarette use costs US $15 billion per year, reports UCSF in first study of its kind 

Use of electronic cigarettes costs the United States $15 billion annually in health care expenditures — more than $2,000 per person a year — according to a study by researchers at the UC San Francisco School of Nursing

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A swift half with Johnny Kitson

Published on 2022-05-23 15:09:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist


There's an episode of The Swift Half that I forgot to mention on here at the time. It's with Johnny Kitson who is a superforecaster and an interesting man! Check it out.


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New Study Finds that Switching from Smoking to Vaping Reduces Heart Disease Risk by 34%

Published on 2022-05-11 23:19:00.
Website: The Rest of the Story: Tobacco and Alcohol News Analysis and Commentary


A new study published just days ago in the journal Circulation reported that adults who exclusively use electronic cigarettes experience a 34% reduction in their risk of heart disease. 

(See: Berlowitz JB, et al. E-cigarette use and risk of cardiovascular disease: A longitudinal analysis of the PATH study (2013-2019). Circulation 2022; DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.121.057369.)

The study used a longitudinal design, following approximately 32,000 adults over a six-year period from 2013 to 2019. E-cigarette use and tobacco cigarette use were assessed periodically, as was self-reported heart disease, including a heart attack, heart failure, or stroke. The study examined the risk of incident heart disease for smokers compared to exclusive e-cigarette users, dual users, and nonsmokers, while controlling for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, body mass index, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and family history of heart disease.

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Frank, April 2014

Published on 2022-04-28 10:07:12.
Website: Frank Davis


April 11, 2014 finds Frank reflecting on his Idle Theory: I’ve been angry today that the 40-year struggle to get the Idle Theory into the world is over. Who knows whether I succeeded or not? The next day: I was … Continue reading →

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Frank from November 2017

Published on 2022-03-29 11:54:01.
Website: Frank Davis


I’m responding to a request from RdM who asked if I could look through the diary around his November 14, 2017 flat earth versus spherical blog. I came across entries on November 11 – he wrote more than 5 pages … Continue reading →

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Frank from February 2020

Published on 2022-02-27 12:07:51.
Website: Frank Davis


This instalment of Frank’s diary/journal covers parts of February 24th and 25th 2020. He starts the page with comments on Rush Limbaugh and moves on to the smoking ban, his health, the Earth’s albedo and Glaciation, mentioning barrel-vaulted cathedrals in … Continue reading →

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