Public Health’s Useful Idiot

“Big Vape is copying Big Tobacco’s playbook” says Liza Gross in her recent article on The Verge. This isn’t the first time, nor I suspect will it be the last time, that a media outlet tries to conjure up images of a faceless, and evil industry by conflating the tobacco and vaping industries.

Even if a representative of the vaping industry is interviewed (which is rare), the journalistic hack tries to subtly (or not so subtle in some cases) taint the piece with the usual “shill” claims.

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Ideology Beats Science

It seems that the shrieking from tobacco control about the Smoke-Free Foundation is still going. I am not particularly surprised by the near-constant wailing. It has, however, taken on a particularly curious note with the activist magazine Tobacco Control now flat refusing to publish any “industry-funded” papers; something it’s refused to do since 2013.

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Hello, My Name Is…

Every so often, something so bizarre pops up that I end up just taking a few minutes to absorb just how utterly bonkers it is before either bursting out laughing or face-planting my desk.

In this instance, I didn’t do either. First, a little history. Most of you know Clive Bates. Once a week, he runs a search on PubMed on everything THR related. It’s then bundled up in a nifty e-mail that he sends to a nicotine consumer group which I’m in.

Most of the entries have his comments, usually coupled with an excerpt from either the abstract of a paper or the conclusion. This one caught my eye out of the 32 results in Clive’s e-mail. (Clive’s comments in red)

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No Such Thing As The Slippery Slope

Remember when anti-smoking campaigners just wanted no smoking zones in restaurants? Or how smoking was banned on flights – for various reasons, the overriding one being “public health” – the biggest lie ever told?

Over the years, puritanical anti-smokers have insisted on the ever-increasing prohibition on where smokers can enjoy their legal habit. Culminating, of course, in the 2006/2007 nationwide smoking bans in all public places.

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Still Screaming

It’s been about a month since the announcement of a lot of cash being spent (transparently mind, unlike tobacco control) to further support research into harm reduction products which caused quite a stir within the tobacco control industry. Much to mine, and several others, delight.

As far as it is understood, Phillip Morris – who right now is trying to cosy up to public health (and failing miserably – take note vapers) – are going to be shovelling a rather large amount of cash into this initiative. Rather large equating to approximately 80M US Greenback.

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Vaping as a Stick

I’m sure I don’t need to remind you, but vaping isn’t a stick to go around beating smokers with. It isn’t purely a cessation tool, though most alphabet organisations would love you to believe that.

Sure, most vapers view vaping as a way off tobacco and bully for them. Some view it as a cessation method; ‘cos they wanted to stop smoking and nothing else worked for them. Again, bully for them. Vaping is, by and large, a flexible and thoroughly enjoyable pastime.

Thing is, most in public health, and tobacco control in particular, will never see vaping as anything but a cessation tool, or a threat to their funding. They would love to have vapers work with them to “end the tobacco epidemic“, and while yes, beating public health around the head with a stack of evidence to get them to back off has had a remarkable effect; after all the UK is the most forward-looking on ecigs, it is far from being perfect. Mostly, public health and tobacco control should just fuck off, and leave us alone.

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The Gateway: Reloaded

Just recently, the “gateway theory” has been doing the rounds yet again. I stumbled across this paper that claims the gateway theory is in fact, real and undeniable.

As usual, the researchers are making wild claims about cause and effect, but there’s one key problem with this paper, in that it is the outcome of focus groups:

It is a form of qualitative research consisting of interviews in which a group of people are asked about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes towards a product, service, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging.

 

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