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Last night I attended a private event in London called ‘How long until smoking is history?’. Now, aside from my initial reaction to the question of the event which many of my regular readers should be able to guess, I was curious about the event.
Especially given who was behind it. The New Statesman ‘in association with Philip Morris International’.
On Monday, the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World released the findings of a global survey about smokers. Most surveys claim to seek a “better understanding” of the target audience – in this case, smokers – and this one is no different.
Arguably, the methodology behind this particular survey; the “Worldwide State of Smoking Survey”, appears to be very robust in its approach by researching existing surveys (such as the Eurobarometer, the Global Audit Tobacco Survey and the Global Youth Tobacco Survey, among others. In essence, looking at how other surveys are constructed and selecting the most relevant questions for inclusion in the “Worldwide State of Smoking Survey”.
Ever since I tried an early heat-not-burn device when I attended the Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) I have tried to keep an eye on the developing technology. At the end of the day, it’s really a simplistic concept. Instead of setting fire to loose-leaf tobacco wrapped in a slow-burning paper, it’s simply heated in a not too dissimilar way that an e-cig heats e-liquid.
It is that time of year where all roads lead to a large, taxpayer-funded shindig of tobacco control troughers, hangers-on, activists and prodnoses. This time, the World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) heads to Cape Town to discuss the latest “science”, policies, ideas and general authoritarian principles associated with tobacco control.
If like me, you call “bullshit” whenever a news article claims that “e-cigs are as bad as smoking”, you’ve probably been playing the same game of bullshit bingo as I have.
Trouble is, I never seem to win anything.
The latest headlines, generated by a dodgy press release naturally, to spread like wildfire is, of course, all about “toxic metals” found in the liquid and aerosol. Naturally, when I first saw the headline, I uttered the now infamous phrase: “I call bullshit”.
As noted in 2006, ahead of the free vote to ban smoking in public spaces:
It is essential that campaigners create the impression of inevitable success. Campaigning of this kind is literally a confidence trick: the appearance of confidence both creates confidence and demoralises the opposition.
They “knew” they were going to win, and thus were confident in securing the votes for their “next logical step” in the war on smokers.