Monday, 14 May 2018

Crushing Safer Solutions For Profit

Sometimes, you really have to wonder if the whole tobacco thing with governments is just a big sham and that they really do secretly want smokers to continue smoking for the tax revenue.

Yes it sounds very much like a conspiracy theory, but how else do you explain heroically mendacious policies such as this from Korea?
Manufacturers of heat-not-burn (HNB) cigarettes, or heated tobacco products, will be required to put graphic warnings about health risks associated with smoking including cancer, similar to warnings all other cigarette manufacturers currently use. Such products will have to use graphic images of cancer-ridden organs, a much strengthened standard than the current image of a needle, which many have criticized as "unclear and ineffective."
Cancer-ridden organs? Has there been even one case anywhere in the world of cancer caused specifically by heated tobacco? No, of course not. But the lumpen-headed shitgibbons are going to plaster sick images all over the packaging anyway without even a cursory nod to reality.
The government plan seeks to dispel the conventional notion that such products are less harmful and therefore should remain exempt from stringent health policy.
Erm, it's not a 'conventional notion' that needs to be dispelled, for the simple reason that it is 100% true.

Just last week, for example, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) published a report on the emissions from HnB products, here is what they came up with.
We show that nicotine yield is comparable to typical combustible cigarettes, and observe substantially reduced levels of aldehydes (approximately 80–95%) and VOCs (approximately 97–99%). Emissions of TPM and nicotine were found to be inconsistent during the smoking procedure. Our study confirms that levels of major carcinogens are markedly reduced in the emissions of the analyzed HNB product in relation to the conventional tobacco cigarettes and that monitoring these emissions using standardized machine smoking procedures generates reliable and reproducible data which provide a useful basis to assess exposure and human health risks.
It seems the only thing that should be corrected in this 'conventional notion' is not that HnB is just "less harmful", but that it is "fuck-my-boots, off-the-launchpad and into the stratosphere less harmful". 80-99% is not just a statistical rounding, it is an abacus-shattering reduction! One which should induce in those who claim they want to save smokers' lives - because that's what they pretend it's all about - multiple orgasms of jubilation. Especially since the uptake in Korea is quite astonishing.

Korea Tobacco recently released its latest financial results, and their conventional tobacco sales make for grim reading, as do sales for all cigarettes in South Korea.

Click to enlarge

Cigarette sales plunged by a massive 10.7% (it was 14.4% the previous quarter) and HnB now accounts for a significant share of the market.
Data from the Ministry of Strategy and Finance showed about 230 million non-HNB cigarette packs were sold in January, while about 20 million HNB packs were sold, accounting for 8 percent of the market, almost a three-fold increase compared to 3 percent seven months earlier. 
So here you have millions of Korean smokers cascading away from tobacco and onto something up to 99% less harmful and their reaction is to slap gory warnings on the products - totally unjustified by the science so far - to deter smokers from switching. Instead they'd rather preserve a blatantly untrue perception that HnB is no different to normal cigarettes.

It's becoming a common theme isn't it? The same story is being played out in Japan where the government has initiated strategies to 'tackle' HnB which has had a dramatic effect on cigarette sales there too, if anything more markedly than in Korea.


The National Institute of Public Health (Japan) is one of over 20 independent organisations to have reported that HnB is massively less harmful than smoking ...
“The concentration levels of hazardous compounds in the mainstream smoke of IQOS are much lower than those in conventional combustion cigarettes."
But - as in South Korea - this is being studiously ignored by the Japanese government, which is formulating regulations to ban it in public places.

Meanwhile Sweden is now openly attacking snus - despite boasting by far the lowest smoking prevalence in the developed world because of it - and even came up with some cock and bull story about how parental leave is responsible for their low smoking rates while arguing for the EU ban on snus to be maintained.

And, of course, there are still battles going on globally over e-cigs, with India currently moving to ban them entirely, just after Singapore and Thailand criminalised not just vaping, but also possession of vaping equipment. Yes, you can now be jailed in many jurisdictions for using an e-cig whilst their governments still profit from tobacco being sold widely.

What on Earth is going on?

Well, considering science is being roundly ignored throughout the world, you have to consider two scenarios. Firstly, maybe government really are addicted to the cash that smoking generates and reduced risk products are causing immense problems for their budgets. In other words, their policy would seem to be "keep smoking, we need the money".

Alternatively, the politicians really do think they are doing the right thing and are just appallingly advised. In which case, we have to look at which disgraceful people are advising them. Oh, hello there ideological tobacco controllers, speak of the Devil, eh?

I've said for years that nothing to do with tobacco control or 'public health' surrounding lifestyle choices has ever had anything to do with health. But to see such wilful ideological opposition by people who claim to be health lobbyists against solutions to problems which - to use their own parlance - are killing people, is absolutely vile.

Of course, you may have some other explanation for why these people are conspiring to prohibit far safer products despite overwhelming evidence that they could be harming the public. If so, I'd be very happy to hear it.

Otherwise, I can only hope that there is a higher being who will one day judge these callous bastards harshly for the carnage they are causing in order that they can keep their snouts in the trough. 



Thursday, 10 May 2018

Smokers As Cash Cows

I think this is the longest gap between blogs ever on this site but believe me I've had a lot going on. Puddlecote Inc is taking up a hell of a lot of my time but someone it is actually good. OK, I've been cursing the EU yet again for the dog's breakfast of GDPR (honestly, look it up, it's a stinker that will cost every consumer for absolutely no benefit whatsoever) but there is also something momentous we are working towards which will be a game-changer for the business.

Anyway, while I've been struggling for time, the Moose has been using his wisely and turned up something you might like to have a read about.
In October last year, Blackburn and Darwen council announced they were hiring a private company, Kingdom Environmental Services, to 'target litter louts and dog fouling' with £75 fines for offenders. 
I fired off an FOI request to B&D council and asked exactly what they had issued fines for in the last six months.
Now, as an aside, can I just say that this is excellent and more people should do it. Tony Blair once said that:
The truth is that the FOI Act isn’t used, for the most part, by ‘the people’. It’s used by journalists. For political leaders, it’s like saying to someone who is hitting you over the head with a stick, ‘Hey, try this instead’, and handing them a mallet.
But it should be used by the people. And, if you turn up what the Moose has turned up, that's when you hand the mallet to the press, which I hope he has done because the response he received was shocking.
These are the figures in full: 
Litter – black bag = 2
Litter – cigarette = 4113
Litter – food = 16
Dog fouling = 26
Litter – other = 110
Litter – printed material = 9
Smoke free = 151 
I confirmed with the council that 'Smoke Free' relates to the indoor public place and work vehicle smoking regulations. Apparently Kingdom are now enforcing those for the council too. 
If it was just about litter, if it was only about 'taking back the streets for law abiding citizens', why would Kingdom also be involved in enforcing smoking bans in indoor spaces and vehicles? 
No. In my opinion, it's not about litter and it probably not even about the fines. These people were brought on board as another weapon against smokers and smoking.
I wouldn't put it past them, would you?

Do go read the Moose's article. he makes a good point that demonising smokers has opened up opportunities for local and national politicians to make cash cows out of them. We are starting to see the same towards drinkers (with minimum alcohol pricing), people who like fizzy drinks (with the sugar tax) and I have no doubt whatsoever that sooner or later the government will start taxing kids' sweets and feel smug about it.

How did we get to this vile state of affairs? 'Public health' tax scroungers peddling fake fears to MPs, of course. Wholesale defunding of the troughers wasting our cash to dictate how we live cannot come soon enough. 



Monday, 30 April 2018

Banning Things People Want To Buy

Last week the Washington Examiner carried a very astute article by Tim Worstall. The main point he makes cannot be emphasised enough because it cuts right to the heart of why bansturbators are bansturbators.
Local mayor wants to ban McDonald's, therefore admits people want McDonald's
The thing is, the ban (in the form of adamantly denying planning permission) is just proof perfect that the mayor knows that his constituents actually want a McDonald’s. Banning something always is an acknowledgment that people want that thing. 
Consider what happens if they don’t want that item? No sane businessman tries to provide it, and the insane one who does try goes bust very quickly. The absence of consumer desire means that the thing doesn’t need to be banned. And the need to ban shows precisely the opposite: the existence of that consumer demand. 
There’s no reason at all to ban some consumer choice other than the knowledge that if it were available some would pick it. Given that this is obviously so, we liberals should be telling the progressives to go boil their heads. Really, why are you trying to ban something that people so obviously desire?
Why are they trying to ban something that people so obviously desire? Well, it's precisely because people desire it. That's it.

This is true of every so-called 'public health' campaign that has ever been embarked upon. The smoking ban was not about health, it was simply because intolerant people didn't like others who smoke. The desperate wriggling by health zealots to pretend passive smoking is a thing - most recently outside for which there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever - is regularly betrayed by cheerleaders of the ban gloating about how smokers now have to stand outside and talking about how they never have to wash their clothes again. It was a pre-meditated attack on other people driven by anti-social snobbery.

Entire highly-paid 'public health' movements have grown up around pandering to the irrational prejudices of a hideous minority of pompous, curtain-twitching finger-waggers. The sugar tax isn't about health, because it will have zero effect just like it has had zero effect anywhere else in the world. It is about a bunch of elitist snobs insisting the state stop others from enjoying drinks that they personally don't like. In any other area of government policy, it would be shocking to propose regulations which punish the poor, but the sugar tax will do precisely that and politicians are crowing about how good it will be at doing it. In fact, it is a proudly-trumpeted feature of the policy.

Likewise minimum alcohol pricing which directly targets drinks the less well off tend to drink. The rich will be completely unaffected either because they don't drink those 'common' drinks or because the impact on their disposable income is negligible.

Can you imagine an MP proudly announcing a policy to absolve the rich from taxes and putting the burden exclusively on the poor? He would be drummed out of polite society in very short order - yets that is exactly what 'public health' advocates on a daily basis.

In the case of vaping, it's even worse. Health campaigners care more about banning far safer e-cigs than they do about smokers deriving improved health benefits. They would actually prefer that smokers die than allow something to be sold that millions of people would like to buy.

In pursuit of securing the approval of some of the most vile and disgusting in society, politicians are clambering over themselves to ban products for the sole reason that a majority of people want to buy them, as Timmy describes.
It’s that very insistence on not allowing us to make the choice which proves, perfectly, that those denying us think we actually want what they’re not going to let us have.
There can be nothing more vile than that.

And, I'm sorry, I'm not buying this idea that 'public health' does this because it is a well-meaning but flawed movement. They know exactly what they are doing. We see it in the deliberately manipulated junk science; the press released scare stories which bear no resemblance to the research they have conducted; the blatant denial of truth; and the frenzied assaults on anyone who might dare to offer a differing opinion.

There is no public clamour for 'public health' initiatives. They are driven solely by those employed in that industry in order that they can profit from banning things that the vast majority of the public have proved they want to buy because they vote with their wallets and purses. If the 'public health' movement was confident that its messages were robust, it would simply deliver information to the public and the products they deem to be unacceptable would slowly wither and die. They don't because they know that the risks are so minimal that the public will make a calculation - as they have always done - between the enjoyment they derive from buying the products and the risks .. and would probably go on buying them.

Hence why 'public health' must obfuscate, lie, manipulate data and research, silence dissent and - most importantly - never engage with the public. 'Public health' is not only a huge drain on the productive part of the world's economy, but is also a net negative to society in general by causing division and obliterating the public's enjoyment of life by banning things simply because the public wants to consume them.

Of course, those in 'public health' might disagree but there is a perfect test to decide if they are correct. Let's defund the bloody lot of them and see if the public makes up the shortfall. See, just like a 'public health' ban is not required if people really don't want to buy something, so funding is completely unnecessary if the public properly valued 'public health'.

Go to it, politicians, believe me you'll be popular if you do. Just think of those majorities you could benefit from. 



Thursday, 26 April 2018

Secretary Of State For Health Says Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

You may have watched this already, but the Science and Technology Committee of the House of Commons held a further session on e-cigs the other day. You can see the whole thing here.

Chaired by Norman Lamb, a former Minister of State, it was investigating the role of not just vaping but other harm reduction avenues. There were many revealing moments which tie in with my regular refrain that new nicotine products are scaring the living daylights out of the establishment because they simply cannot work out which way to turn. As disruptive technologies go, this new suite of nicotine products - for which e-cigs has been the catalyst - is causing entrenched and turgid civil servants a whole host of problems and they keep being tripped up.

Here, for example, is John Newton of Public Health England having to admit that snus - a product which his government funders fought to ensure remained prohibited in the EU at the ECJ - is the reason that Sweden has a lower smoking prevalence rate than the UK. By a country mile, by the way.


How embarrassing is that? Sweden is better at preventing people from smoking because "they have snus". Erm, which our government is determined stays banned. Isn't our government terribly committed to stopping people smoking? I'm sure I've heard the fuckers saying that quite a lot.

So why strive to stop snus being sold in this country? I've heard the arguments that we don't have a culture of it here, but does that mean the UK shouldn't even try? When did "if it just saves one life it's worth it" cease to be applicable in 'public health' circles? It seems to work very well for them when they want to ban something for some bullshit reason. Is it because the ratchet only turns one way, perhaps?

This was also very telling from Steve Brine - the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health - at Tuesday's hearing.


Got that? "Generally hospitals do not allow vaping however there is no legislation to enforce that". It seems that in trying to give an excuse to the committee as to why his department is so schizophrenic over vaping, with a nudge and a wink he has said vapers are free to ignore the pathetic rules. So a mischievous blogger, if there was such a thing, might suggest that he has implicitly implied that smokers are quite welcome to ignore bans on smoking in hospital grounds too.

The alternative, of course, would be that he would prefer the rules to be observed by everyone, including vapers. It's a tangled web, isn't it, once one tries to justify policies that simply don't add up to a coherent strategy?

The problem for Brine is that he has one set of taxpayer-funded people at Public Health England saying that e-cigs should be widely encouraged and even sold in hospitals, while another set of state-funded people under the DoH's control - the NHS - is busily installing bans on vaping.

So the department is funding highly-paid employees to issue guidance that vaping should be allowed, while simultaneously funding other highly-paid employees to completely ignore the guidance. We are paying for people to produce reports that other people we pay for will put through the shredder.

It truly beggars belief that anyone can think this is a decent way of spending our money.

He later went on to say that the NHS trusts ignoring the exhortations from PHE were "not short on guidance", as if they should probably be adhering to it, but at the same time defending their right to treat the guidance with contempt.

But then, I don't think Steve Brine is much of a fan of e-cigs anyway and appeared to be at the committee under sufferance. "I get a lot of criticism for not being a cheerleader for e-cigarettes, I don't think I should be", he said, seemingly completely forgetting that his department's Tobacco Control Plan - which he boasted about pushing through as soon as he was appointed - specifically talked about the importance of reduced risk products like e-cigs.

If he is not going to be a cheerleader for his own Tobacco Control Plan, then who the hell else is supposed to be bloody doing it?

And how about this, from the foreword of said plan, signed by Steve Brine himself?
For its part, the government will provide leadership and guidance on the most effective interventions, ensure that the new legislation is implemented well and that organisations with national responsibilities are joined up and effective. I know that this ambition cannot be achieved without a collaborative effort.
Erm, where's the leadership in saying that you can't really do much about one organisation saying one thing and another completely ignoring it? Doesn't sound like leadership to me, and certainly isn't a "collaborative effort".

Look, I don't think government should have any say in whether people smoke or not, they should just provide information and leave it up to the public to make their own decisions.

But if we have a government that wants to insert itself into every aspect of our lives, it could at least make some effort of being joined-up about it and get actions at NHS trusts which reflect the guidance they are given. We pay a shit load of money for them to do exactly this, it's laughable that Brine says
he has no power to make them. 

But, in the meantime, if you want to, just smoke on hospital grounds. As the Secretary of State says, there is absolutely nothing to stop you. 



Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Screw Bar Workers, What About Middle Class Diners?

Remember that there smoking ban that was all about protecting bar workers from the terrors of secondhand smoke? Well apparently now it's more about protecting middle class pub diners from being slightly inconvenienced. But then we kinda knew that all along, didn't we?
Smoking ban to be extended to outdoor areas where food served 
The Government is to extend the ban on smoking where food is served to include outdoor areas.
Fine Gael Senators have tabled a private members motion calling on the Minister for Health Simon Harris to change legislation or issue directions via a statutory instrument to address the gap in current legislation. 
The initiative was spearheaded by former minister for health James Reilly, who has said it should no longer be acceptable for people to smoke where others are eating.
Personally, I don't know why they don't eat inside if they're that bothered. They were given every fucking indoor space in Ireland in 2004. It seemed quite important to them back then.
An unintended consequence of the smoking ban has been the prevalence of smokers in the outdoor areas of bars, cafés and restaurants, Mr Reilly said.
It was quite obvious that this was the only possible consequence. In fact, it was a feature of the legislation, not a bug. Who's to blame for that you hideous prohibitionist fuckstick?
“Anyone spending their hard-earned money in a restaurant or café should be entitled to enjoy their meal in a smoke-free environment.”
Why? Do they own the business? Why are they 'entitled' to anything more than other customers who pay the same money for the same goods and services? Smoking outdoors is not harmful so it should be up to the business to decide, not a sweaty, gurning, obese dangle-belly politician with a pathological downer on smoking.

But the idea he should butt out of business decisions "horrifies" this particular odious walking heart attack.
Forest’s John Mallon told RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show that the market should decide if restaurant owners are willing to make this decision. 
However, former Minister for Health James Reilly, who is calling on the Government to extend the ban on smoking where food is served to include outdoor areas, said he was horrified at the suggestion that the market decide health policy. 
Mr Reilly said it was no longer acceptable for people to smoke where others were eating.
No it's not. Most people couldn't give two shits about it. Only vile bloviating pissbags care that much. And if their limp sensibilities are offended so much, perhaps they should go have lunch with Aunt Maud in the local day centre instead, a pub is really not the place for them, or shouldn't be anyway.

But this, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the pièce de résistance in the latest piece of anti-smoking lunacy dressed up as health concern.
Mr Reilly said he was not saying there shouldn’t be outdoor areas for smokers, just that the area should be separate from where food is being served. “This is a killer product.”
So it's only a killer product when there is food around? Do these cretins ever listen to themselves?

It's quite simply just yet another 'public health' attack on things that those 'common' people enjoy. It's a class war by the elite directed at those who they find a bit icky. Snobbery of the very worst kind, driven by a nasty overweight fascist who should look in the mirror occasionally and sort his own health out before passing bullying legislation against others. They never cared about bar workers, it was just a ruse. Now they care so little about them they are happy to see their employers go out of business so middle class snobs can enjoy their one two-for-a-tenner meal once every two months without being bothered by those frightful regulars who keep the pub afloat.

The Augean Stables had nothing on the amount of effluence swilling around 'public health' circles at the moment. It's going to be a Herculean task to rid the corridors of power of nasty dictatorial arse-wipes like Reilly. Where are the brave politicians who will stand up for the people and just say fuck off?

May God rot every one of these vile meddling bollock-chinned bastards. 



Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Tobacco Control's Retarded Understanding of Economics

Things have been hectic at Puddlecote Inc recently hence the lack of content here, but some of that busy-ness is down to something quite momentous which could be on the horizon. The drafts have been piling up but I'll get round to them sometime.

Starting with this. Oh boy!

Next time any tobacco controller tries to tell you they understand everything about how the world works - because they always claim to - simply point them at this hilarious nonsense.


This is in response to a crash in Altria shares following less than expected growth in the iQos HnB platform. Yes, growth, because sales are still on an upward trajectory, just less dramatic than was forecast.

Previous to this, sales of iQos in Japan have been phenomenal, wildly better than any tobacco control initiative in history. According to the Financial Times ...
Shipments of traditional cigarettes fell more than 7 per cent, following an 11.5 per cent decline in the first quarter of 2017, while shipments of alternative “heated units” rose to 6.4bn from 1.2bn in the same quarter last year. 
During the quarter, almost 9 per cent of Philip Morris’s worldwide revenues came from “reduced risk products”, compared with 1.8 per cent a year earlier, with much of this shift occurring in Japan.
This is quite simply unprecedented. The biggest sea change in shifting smokers away from lit tobacco in the world. Ever.

As CNBC reports, the correction to stock prices was just a market reaction to growth - yes growth - slowing.
Philip Morris International shares plummeted 16 percent in the company's worst day since it spun off from Altria in 2008, after PMI posted mixed first-quarter results and said growth of iQOS, its heat-not-burn tobacco product, slowed in Japan.
However, in the cult-like battle that tobacco control is waging against tobacco companies, this was a straw that had to be clutched. So the {cough} wise and knowledgeable 'experts' in the tobacco control industry duly did so, retweeting this hilariously ignorant article with knuckle-dragging enthusiasm.

How stunning success in Japan which has dramatically reduced the sales of cigarettes can be described as "no-one wants" these products anymore is anyone's guess. But then, tobacco control has lived in its own wibbly-wobbly world of mendacious woo for so long that it must be difficult, after a while, for them to work out what is real and what is not. It's not like they're that bright to begin with, after all.

What is actually happening here is that the tobacco control industry is embarrassed that after decades of sucking on the taxpayer teat to the tune of hundreds billions of pounds, they have never once been able to produce results anywhere near as dramatic as this.

Graph pinched from this article, do go read it

And nor will they ever. Because they're morons who have completely abandoned any fig leaf that they are interested in helping smokers and improving public health. As we saw in Cape Town recently, they don't care what smokers do, they only care about bashing industry.

And if they have to support vacuous and incorrigibly retarded articles written by people who have about as much business savvy as a three year old, then that'll do for them, Tommy.

It's quite scary that governments listen to cretins like that, isn't it? 



Monday, 16 April 2018

Forget Your Customers At Your Peril

I've had a busy start to a busy Puddlecote Inc week, so am a bit late on this. Snowdon has already had his say but - as a former loyal customer of Lucozade for decades - I want to chip in something too.

Via The Grocer:
Lucozade Energy has lost £62.6m in value over the past year - the largest loss in the soft drinks category - as consumers turned away from the new lower-sugar formula. 
According to IRI figures, Energy’s value sales were down 18.6% to £273.6m, while volumes fell 18.9% to 162 million litres, after Lucozade changed the recipe last April to avoid the levy.
Good. I'm glad to have been one of those who abandoned them for their cowardly and contemptuous decision to shit on their best customers. I hope they go under.

Meanwhile their rivals are doing rather well.
Conversely, rival Red Bull added £20.5m to sales of its standard variant, taking its value to £279.6m and assuming the title of Britain’s bestselling energy drink.
Assuming the title of bestselling energy drink from ... Lucozade Energy! Forget about sugar, for a very pissed off former customer, could anything be sweeter than that?

Amusingly, the sales director in charge of this huge fall in, erm, sales is thrilled about losing nearly a fifth of revenue in the space of a year.
“We’re proud to have taken a leading stance and believe these steps have ­future-proofed our brands for our customers and their ­consumers,” said sales director Scott Meredith. 
Future-proofed the brand? It's just lost its top ranking spot. What kind of alternative world are these people living in?

The simple reason that Lucozade are - rightly - being deserted by swathes of their former happy customers is that Lucozade completely forgot the very first rule of business; that the customer is always right. Their customers, like me, enjoyed the product as it was. They changed it, not because customers were demanding it as their lame Twitter feed continually bleats, but because their CEO is a snivelling coward.
'Jamie Oliver was beating me up, so were other celebrities, NGOs and the media. They were demonising me as though sugar were the new tobacco,' says Peter Harding
Aww, poor thing. What was Don Jamie "two chins" Oliver doing to terrorise you, Peter? Firing pine nuts at you out of a carbine? Maybe you should go take charge of a jumble sale instead of a multi-million pound company, because the spidey business sense isn't that acute.
“Our retailers and suppliers have been really supportive,” he says, “because they recognised that we were motivated by doing right by the consumer, responding to the demand for more low-sugar and no-sugar drinks.”
And how is that demand working out for you right now, you cretin?
We’re 9pc of the UK soft drinks market. We’re probably not going to change the world ourselves but if we can demonstrate that it’s possible to make these changes and provide a lead for the rest of the food and drink industry and show that it can be done, then maybe other people will come with us.”
I think you're a little less than 9pc now, sunshine. And I hope you continue to fail so you can provide a lead for the rest of the food and drink industry not to be so spineless in the face of adversity as to abandon their core consumers.

Lucozade customers have had their say at the tills for their preferences being dismissed, now we can but hope shareholders will react accordingly to having their hopes of growth and increased dividends dashed on the altar of cowardice and stupidity.