Why you should care

I have just added a new little badge to the side.

Support the Plain Packs -Plain Stupid campaign

So why should you care about plain packs?  You're a non-smoker so it doesn't affect you?  Or you are just not bothered what your smokes come in?

This plain packs move affects everyone.   If you smoke, drink or eat any food whatsoever, it affects you.

How?

Plain packs are the wet dream of the health fascists.  They have come up with the idea that packaging cigarettes in identical drab boxes covered in lurid images of diseased bodies is somehow going to "nudge" people into a "healthier lifestyle".  So far, Australia is the only country to try this experiment and it has failed abysmally.  The only effect they can report on is a marginal increase in calls to a quit-line.  The real story is that smoking rates are virtually unchanged, but there has been a massive increase in counterfeit cigarettes leading to a huge drop in tax revenue.  So there is a good reason for non-smokers to worry – Revenue are going to have to try to make up that tax shortfall and that will hit everyone.

Probably the biggest reason why everyone should be concerned is the Slippery Slope.

If the Tobacco Lobby get their way on this one then all the various other lobby groups will wade in on the coattails.  Already there have been calls for all drinks [including your favourite wine] to be plastered with images of diseased livers and for large "health warnings" to be placed on food.  Do you really want to live in that drab humourless colourless world where you are constantly nagged from every shelf in the supermarket?  If plain packaging for cigarettes comes in, then so will the rest.  That is a cast-iron guarantee.

But what about the chiiiildren?

What about them?  There is no proof whatsoever that any child starts smoking because he or she is attracted to the packaging.  Kids start smoking because they are offered one by a pal, or they sneak a few out of their parents' packs.  It has absolutely nothing to do with packaging.  And anyway this move has nothing to do with children and everything to do with stigmatising a large minority of people for no reason other than to satisfy a few health fascists and to bolster the ego of an obsessed Minister for Health.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

 

Getting up their noses

Apparently that Anti-Smoker crowd ASH in the UK don't have a sense of humour?

This is strange as most of the "facts" they spout are a joke.

They love their bit of Photoshopping with their pictures of kids in cars peering through a thick fog of what's supposed to be cigarette smoke, or babies apparently sucking great swathes of smoke up their nostrils.

So you would imagine they would approve of the following?

ASH talking e-cigarettes

ASH talking plain packaging

The ASH deterrent

The Witches of ASH

Sadly, they are not amused.

They want all those nice pictures removed and presumably cast out to the rain and wind along with all the smokers?

Naturally they want to abuse the law to further their aims.

Sauce for the goose, huh?

Take a deep breath

I have an electronic cigarette.

I don't use it very often as for one thing it doesn't taste like pipe tobacco and another is that it lacks the ritual and feel of pipe smoking.  And before anyone suggests I try an electronic pipe – I have.  I bought one but it was rather heavy and chunky, it still didn't taste like my favourite pipe tobacco and it broke.

I watched an item on RTE the other night.  They discussed the subject of e-cigarettes and did a reasonably balanced report.

Now the "problem" with e-cigarettes is that they work.  There are hundreds of thousands of people using them either as a cigarette substitute or to quit altogether.  Apparently they are extremely effective in this regard.  So you would imagine that the Anti-Smoker industry would be jumping for joy and embracing the e-cigarette industry wholeheartedly?  You'd be wrong.

There are a couple of problems with e-cigarettes as far as the Anti-Smoker industry is concerned.  Firstly they are cutting heavily into the profits of Big Pharma and the sales of nicotine patches and the like.  Big Pharma doesn't like this and has sent the message out to its minions to attack e-cigarettes at every opportunity.  The second reason is that Anti-Smoker has spent millions [of our money and Big Pharma's] introducing laws to force people to do things their way and they are frankly quite pissed off that not only are people circumventing those laws but are actually taking an independent route.

So how are they attacking the e-cigarette?  I watched the programme with interest.

"We don't know what's in them".

Actually, we do.  And you can be damn sure that Big Pharma has done numerous laboratory tests trying to find the elusive "it's bad for your health factor" but can't find anything to scream about.

"They need to be regulated"

They are covered by numerous regulations already.

"They contain Nicotine which is a highly addictive substance"

So do nicotine patches, gum and inhalers [the clue is in the name].

"They are produced by the tobacco industry"

In actual fact they are not.  The vast majority are produced by companies who are completely independent of the tobacco industry.  And so what, even if they were?  Why would that make any difference?

"They make the smoking laws harder to enforce"

Tough fucking shit.

"They are being marketed in the same way as cigarettes were"

Good grief!  So what?  They are being marketed in the same way as any product is marketed – advertising to try to induce people to use their product.  That is a pathetic excuse.

"They re-normalise smoking"

Hah!  Here is a big kicker.  The Anti-Smoker industry is now openly admitting that their aims have nothing to do with health, but to target the smoker him [or her] self.  Turn smokers into a vilified under-class, reviled and abused by non-smokers to force them to quit whether they want to or not. 

Have a look at the programme.  I think Clive Bates manages to shatter any of the pathetic arguments and prejudices put forward by Kathleen O'Meara who comes across as the very epitome of an Anti-Smoker Nazi.

I have to thank O'Meara for the great laugh towards the end though -

She met a woman who gave up 60 cigarettes a day to go onto using e-cigarettes, and who is now worried that the e-cigarettes might induce her to go back to normal cigarettes.

The ultimate argument for a ban?

 

Whitewash my arse

The head of the HSE’s national cancer control programme has described claims by the tobacco industry that increased cigarette prices lead to increased smuggling as “whitewash” and called for the Government to introduce further tax increases to discourage smoking.

*sigh*  Counter the obvious by claiming it's the Tobacco Industry.  Overlook the blindingly obvious fact that if people find a much cheaper alternative they will buy there instead.  A ten year old could tell you that increased taxes lead to increased smuggling.  But there again, chances are that ten year old is out there selling the imported stuff anyway.

“I am very, very keen on raising taxes as are the Irish Cancer Society. Smuggling is for the guards; taxes are a deterrent – it’s one of the most powerful deterrents,” Dr Susan O’Reilly said at the launch yesterday of a tobacco-free campus at St Luke’s Hospital in Rathgar in Dublin.

I am very, very keen on a massive rise in taxes on the salaries of HSE groups who make a living out of lobbying the gubmint.

“Tobacco companies are very strong at lobbying,” she said, adding that the arguments posed by them were that tax hikes on tobacco impacted Government revenues due to increased smuggling. “This is all just whitewash. We need taxes [to go] up,” Dr O’Reilly said.

What's wrong with tobacco companies lobbying?  Big Pharma and the Irish Cancer Society seem to have no problems with it?

“We have to think of tobacco dependence as a chronic relapsing disease rather than a lifestyle choice,” Dr O’Reilly said.

Why do we have to think that?  You can think what you like, but to me it's still a lifestyle choice.  You can call it a peanut butter sandwich if you like.

“It’s probably the only legal consumer product in the world that harms everyone who uses it and actually kills half the people who use it.”

Blah blah blah.  The same old clichés.  We do love our little sound bites, don't we?

Dr O’Reilly said the incidence of invasive cancer recorded in 2010 is expected to double by 2030. “A major driver of this is the ageing population but the other key driver is preventable causes such as smoking. We can’t stop people getting older but we certainly can support people to try and avoid smoking.”

At last – an obvious truth.  Yes, people are living longer and the incidence of cancers will rise as it's primarily a disease of the elderly.  Smoking rates on the other hand have been on the decline for decades.  Can anyone see an inverse relationship here?  And you're not "supporting" smokers – you're bullying and penalising them for indulging in a perfectly legitimate pastime.

From yesterday, smoking will not be permitted on the hospital grounds, car parks or gardens of St Luke’s.

Another caring institution proving it doesn't care a damn about it's patients.

These sanctimonious twats love their moment of glory in the limelight, don't they?

Shooting one’s self in the foot

I saw an interesting looking headline in the Irish Times.

"Society would benefit from a better understanding of what is and isn’t science"

Spot on, says I.

The sub-header was even better.

"A theory is distinguished by having both explanatory and predictive power"

At last, says I, someone is talking sense about science.  Let's see where he goes from here.

He started off on a strange ramble about the Giant's Causeway and Creationists, which confused me a little but a lot of what he says is bang on -

"In scientific use, theory means an explanation for some phenomena that has been well-substantiated through repeated experiment and observation. It must have both explanatory and predictive power, being capable of explaining a particular phenomenon and making testable predictions."

And

Science is a systematic method of inquiry that seeks to investigate various phenomena through empirical and measurable means, establishing new knowledge and correcting prior ideas.

A hallmark of science is its utter objectivity. It doesn’t care about your prejudices, political persuasions or religion; it is concerned only with evidence, and that which is asserted with only dubious evidence is suspect in the extreme.

You would never guess what's coming next?

Not only do people dispute evolution, many deny the existence of man-made global warming, despite incontrovertible evidence.

What the flaming fuck?

Here is a bloke claiming that a theory has to have "both explanatory and predictive power" and he then throws up Global Warming and claims "incontrovertible evidence"?  For a start, there are many theories as to the cause of climate change, but where is the clincher – where is the predictive power?  The so called Climate "Scientists" have so far failed abysmally in any attempt to predict anything. In fact they spend their time frantically adjusting their theories to fit the facts, and when they're not doing that, their adjusting facts to fit their theories.

He then even manages to bring in smoking claiming that "the scientific evidence was beyond dispute".  He derides cherry-picking of evidence, yet the whole smoking controversy is based solidly on cherry-picking.  And where is the predictive power?  Predictive power should state that under laboratory conditions, tobacco smoke should produce cancer in test animals, yet that has never happened despite their best efforts.  Predictive power should state that nations with the highest smoking rates have the highest cancer rates yet there is no relationship.

I don't know who this David Robert Grimes is.  He describes himself on his Twitter account as "Doctor of physics, Dabbling writer, occasional musician / actor. Full time Jedi Knight. Foppish hair."

Maybe he should concentrate on the acting?