Plain packs plain expensive

The big guns are lining up on Ireland.

Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain have all lodged objections to Ireland’s proposed cigarette “plain packaging” laws.

The tobacco companies are priming their legal teams to bring Ireland to court if the laws are enacted.

So let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of the plain packaging argument -

Against…

There is zero proof that plain packaging will have any effect.  The only studies done here basically just asked children if they liked pretty colours, which is worse than meaningless.  In Australia, where they have had “plain packs” for some time, the only people to benefit are the back street traders.  Smoking rates remained virtually unaffected.

We are off the Christmas Card list of a fair chunk of the EU.

If the tobacco companies take the case to court [and they have every indication of doing so] then the cost to the Irish taxpayer [smokers and non-smokers] will be enormous.  If the companies win, then the likelihood is that the taxpayer will have to foot the bill not only for the court but also pay billions in compensation.

Confidence in Ireland as a trading base will be severely corroded, not just in the tobacco industry but also in the confectionery, food and drink industries who also potentially could lose their branding rights.

There will be severe adverse effects on the retail industry.

For…

It will satisfy the wet dreams of a tiny handful of fascist zealots who will stop at nothing in their hatred for smokers and tobacco.

And that’s all.  This proposal will not have any effect on smoking rates amongst adults or children, but it will cost us dearly.  It is just part of a religious crusade based on blind hatred and zero logic.

It is time to put a halt to this insanity.

Confessions of an addict

I have a confession to make.

For forty and a bit odd years I smoked a pipe.

I confess that last week I was tempted to try an electronic cigarette.

Just once.

Now I am a crack addict.

I drink drain cleaner for breakfast and spend the rest of the day smoking, snorting, injecting and shoving things up my backside.

My wife has left me and I have sold the dog into prostitution, to feed my €500 a day addictions.

Why did no one tell me that electronic cigarettes were a gateway to harder drugs?

Crack addict

The evils of the Electronic Cigarette

For years they have been bullying, cajoling and lying in their efforts to stop people smoking.

When their efforts met with little success they invented "second hand smoking" in order to get the non-smoking public on their side.

Then along came the electronic cigarette.

Now you would imagine they would have embraced the e-cig with open arms as here at last was a means to get people away from the evils of the cigarette.  It didn't contain all those thousands of carcinogens that they claimed are in cigarettes; it doesn't produce any smoke or smell and people were taking to it in their droves.  Around the world hundreds of thousands of people were forsaking cigarettes for the electronic version.  Surely anyone who truly believed that cigarettes are the big demon would welcome the e-cigarette?

The World Health Organization stepped up its war on "Big Tobacco", calling for stiff regulation of electronic cigarettes as well as bans on indoor use, advertising and sales to minors.

Several things strike me about this report.

"[…..] the UN health agency also voiced concern at the concentration of the market in the hands of transnational tobacco companies."

Now what is this?  E-cigarettes are evil because they are in the hands of tobacco companies?  Setting aside the fact that the vast majority of e-cig companies have nothing to do with the tobacco companies, what is their logic?  Is it that tobacco companies can only produce evil?  It is produced by a tobacco company ergo it has to be bad?

In the report, the WHO said there are 466 brands of e-cigarettes and the industry represents "an evolving frontier filled with promise and threat for tobacco control".

OK, they acknowledge there is promise, but where is the threat?

But the devices are controversial. Because they are so new there is a lack of long-term scientific evidence to support their safety and some fear they could be "gateway" products to nicotine addiction and tobacco smoking.

This is the argument that is frequently trotted out – "there is insufficient research".  E-cigarettes have been around for some years now, and you can be absolutely sure that the Anti-Smoker brigade have already carried out extensive tests.  Their problem is though that they won't have found any of their "thousands of carcinogenic chemicals".  If they can't find anything bad to say, then just keep quiet and pretend the tests were never done, because you can stake your life that if they had found anything harmful it would have been shouted from the rooftops.

What they will have discovered in their tests is that the electronic cigarette is nothing more than a better alternative to the patches, gum and inhalers produced by their friends in Big Pharma.

It has never been about health.  It has never been about getting people to quit smoking.

It has always been about scaring people into attempting to quit by using Big Pharma's useless products.

Tobacco can save your life

I almost feel sorry for the World Health Organisation.

For years they have been obsessed with tobacco.  It is the world's greatest killer… millions dying every day… it must be eradicated and wiped off the face of the planet…  blah blah blah.

Then along comes Ebola.

Now Ebola is grist to the mill for the WHO and their pals in Big Pharma.  They can start bandying words like "outbreak" and "pandemic" to get the world really worried.  After all, Ebola is almost a byword for a deadly plague, so it's a simple matter to whip the world up into a frenzy and to start spending billions on vaccines.

The only small problem is that there is no vaccine.

There is hope however for all Big Pharma shareholders.  There is a potential vaccine on the horizon which just needs a few further tests and tweaks.  Get that little baby rolling and Big Pharma will have one of its greatest bonanzas yet.

The big problem though is that that vaccine is derived from the tobacco plant.  Is it good, or is it evil?  Will they have to force people to wear nicotine patches after each inoculation?  Will the vaccine be banned under the EU's Tobacco Products Directive?  Will hypodermics have to carry a health warning [“While saving your life, this product can kill you”]?

What sweet irony.