Thursday, 28 January 2016

Capewell, Ireland, Their Pharma Friends And Vape Bans

You may recall that in December we found out Martin McKee and the Chief Morality Officer Sally Davies had conspired to try to stop Public Health England from seeking filmed opinions about e-cigs, from tobacco controllers, presumably because they knew that many would be positive.

For those ideologically opposed to vaping this is something which had to be crushed, Sally Davies particularly didn't want it to see the light of day, as I mentioned at the time.
Stating to McKee that she had contacted the organisation and "was clear that [PHE] should not go ahead", she then - incredibly - asked if McKee could enlist the help of the Faculty of Public Health to deter PHE from continuing with the idea. McKee, of course, was quite happy to do so and called on now-President of the FPH, John Middleton, to assist.
Now, we know that FPH are absurdly opposed to e-cigs as their former Chairman shared that info one wild and wacky, tired and emotional Saturday night back in September 2014. So it wasn't much of  surprise that his replacement, Middleton, would be more than happy to be a health-be-damned merchant of doubt too.

However, the December FOI also mentioned someone else who is very eager to create as much fear and confusion about e-cigs as possible.
John Middleton, Robin Ireland and I have been doing almost non stop media interviews (and of course the blogs and tweets are having a field day, photoshopping my face onto all sorts of things...) 
OK, stop sniggering about the photoshop bit for a moment and consider that reference to Robin Ireland. If you don't know him, he is prime propagandist at the Health Equalities Group which has a Twitter timeline that Chairman Mao would be proud of for its incessant barking of junk science on everything from e-cigs to 7Up. Robin himself is no slouch in that respect either, I can recommend you following both to observe their screaming insanity on a daily basis.

Well, Argvargen has been looking into Robin Ireland's organisation and found some very interesting info.
The Health Equalities Group comprises Hearts of Mersey, HM Partnerships and Healthy Stadia, which are wholly owned subsidiaries of the umbrella “charity”, as well as Food Active, which runs the truly pathetic GULPnow campaign. It is run by Robin Ireland, and lo and behold, one of the trustees is none other than the hashtag-haiku-tweeting phenomenon that is Simon “Capslock” Capewell. HoM/HEG is partly funded by the taxpayer, via tasty grants from a number of the North West Directors of Public Health. (Getting very cosy this, isn’t it!)
Simon Capewell, did he say? Trustee of Health Equalities Group? Who is also on the board of the FPH who McKee enlisted to try to get positive opinions of e-cigs silenced? Say it ain't so!

Argvargen continues ...
It is also happy to take “kind contributions” from Pfizer:
Yes, you know, the makers of nicotine patches and gum. In fact, Argvargen's investigations show that organisations under the control of Robin Ireland regularly receive cash from pharmaceutical companies, and not restricted to Pfizer either. Do go have a read.

What particularly struck me though was the mention of Healthy Stadia and how they are funded.
In 2005/6 Heart of Mersey put in a bid for with the EU’s DG SANCO for another sack of taxpayers’ cash for their Healthy Stadia project. DG SANCO didn’t have any sacks, so they sent a truckload. €532,000 to be precise. 
So what do vapers & smokers have to fear from Healthy Stadia? Put simply, they actively, aggressively and successfully encourage football, rugby, cricket and other clubs to ban smoking and vaping in any indoor or outdoor part of their sports stadia and surrounding areas. That’s right – if you’re planning on visiting Euro2016 this summer, you won’t even be allowed to vape in the concourse outside the stadia. and it’s all thanks to the shitpuffins at Healthy Stadia. It’s a horrendous policy that divides rather than unites sports communities and exemplifies the unscientific, fanatical and frankly inhuman creatures that dominate the public health industry today.
You see, some will know that I am a cricket and rugby fan so am acutely aware of how this group's badgering of sports venues has resulted in such fascist illiberal bans. So much so that in 2014 I enlisted the help of a fellow jewel robber to ask what Healthy Stadia had done to encourage outdoor vaping bans in particular. Their spokesman, Matthew Philpott, was adamant that they only "consulted" the clubs as to their policy.
We have not carried out consultation with fans concerning use of e-cigarettes at stadia, only with individual clubs and governing bodies.  
I should also state that we have not been instrumental in directing UK clubs to ban e-cigarettes – we have simply conducted consultation on their current policies regarding this matter.
Follow up questions asking for evidence of the material they sent to the clubs concerned was ignored, so I contacted a few clubs to ask exactly what Healthy Stadia had sent them. You won't be surprised to learn that it didn't correlate with Philpott's innocent explanation.
The advice they gave us was that e-cigs still normalised smoking and guided us to our Council Public Health views which was not to encourage. 
Advice? Erm, I thought it was just consultation.

It all becomes clear when you read, via Argvargen, how Healthy Stadia has been funded.
And what do you know? Robin’s Healthy Stadia is also funded by patch floggers. Yes indeed ladies and gentlemen. Vape-free stadiums, brought to you in association with and thanks to funding from the makers of Nicoderm

So here we have an organisation which is strapped for cash, taking money from a pharmaceutical company which makes nicotine replacement therapy, and advising sports venues - bypassing fans altogether - to cease the practice of vaping in all areas inside and outside. Seems legit, eh?

Now, considering the huge conflict of interest taking pharmaceutical money and then advocating bans on e-cigs in stadia represents, do you think they should be advertising that they enjoyed "success in engaging, informing and influencing North West MPs and MEP in relation to a number of tobacco control issues including the Tobacco Products Directive"? Do you think they should be shouting out how brilliant they think proposed Welsh vaping bans are? Additionally, don't you find it hilarious that HEG trustee Simon Capewell was one of the authors of a smear article in the BMJ based solely on lamely questioning the conflicts of interest in one study out of hundreds referenced by PHE's positive report on e-cigs?

And considering Robin Ireland appears to be desperate for funding and eager therefore for pharma cash, isn't it absurd that he should be consorting with the proven liar McKee to spread doubt and fears about e-cigs, let alone actively encouraging their being banned?

Incredibly, these people have the gall to accuse tobacco, drinks, food and soda companies of being corrupt. It truly beggars belief, doesn't it?

H/T Argvargen, see his articles here and here.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Why Should Vapers Be Nice To Liars?

I've been quite angry the past couple of days and assumed it was because I've just spent a weekend drinking in Germany in the study of a writer with a great line in splenetic outbursts of invective and an impressive armoury. But then I realised it wasn't that at all, it's through reading stuff like this.

This is in reply to someone who pointed out the stupidity of a Baroness claiming that nicotine has been banned, yes banned, despite being a constituent of aubergines, potatoes, tomatoes etc.

Apparently, to succeed (more on that later) vapers should desist from pointing out uncomfortable things like facts to people who clearly have an agenda, and instead simply toe the line. And if you do decide to quote facts, you should be prepared to be "dismissed", know your place Goddamit! Because, you see, vapers should - all of them - have a strategy.

The most disturbing thing about all this, of course, is the subtle shift of language by snobby moralistic anti-enjoyment freaks. It used to be that they despised smoking, so much so that they liberally lobbed out nicotine on the NHS, even to kids without parents' permission and whether they smoked or not. But now, apparently, nicotine is the big baddie because, erm, e-cigs.

Now they have made that decision, vapers are supposed to follow the rules and structure their arguments around what makes 'public health' lunatics feel comfortable.

I'm sorry, but screw that!

We are dealing with some of the most shameless and disgusting liars the world has ever been unlucky enough to accommodate. Just in the past few days we've seen anti-vaping junk science create damaging headline after damaging headline despite the 'research' behind them being entirely false and therefore criminally corrupt. Some just keep coming back long after the lies have been put to bed by people with proper integrity.

These aren't mistakes, it is what tobacco control has done for decades. They are the biggest liars on the planet and they are fully aware of what they are doing, what's more they don't care. These people should not be respected and treated with kid gloves, they should be reviled and in an ideal world they belong in prison.

Now, I should say that I like Joe even though I disagree with him on many issues (he still believes the secondhand smoke myth is backed by real science instead of the screaming junk that tobacco control are now proving is their stock-in-trade with e-cigs, for example), but on this issue he seems to have completely misread what vapers are all about.

It's true there are e-cig advocates whose task it is to engage with the liars of tobacco control and get them onside. Indeed they should listen and be polite, but the only reason they are even being entertained by a mendacious industry which routinely ignores anyone, anything, or any research which disagrees with their pre-conceived policy goals is because the immense power of the enthusiastic vaping community forced it to happen.

You see, way back in 2010 e-cigs were set to be banned within 21 days for no reason at all, but the huge weight of responses from vapers headed it off. As I said at the time, they would have loved to have done exactly that but the more people vape, the more problems blinkered prohibitionists have passing totally unjustified laws.
As user numbers swell, government's enforcers in Whitehall are going to find it increasingly difficult to cut off vapers from an alternative to tobacco which offers massive harm reduction potential, without showing themselves up as vested interest stooges (if they haven't already, natch).
Scroll on to 2016 and almost 3 million vapers are difficult to ignore. It's a welcome development, no doubt, but why all vapers should all of a sudden respect the people who tried unsuccessfully to crush vaping and who now still spread lies is baffling.

I really don't know where Joe gets the idea that being nice to them now and having a "strategy" is a good idea when the progress made so far is down to an inadvertent and unorganised twin track approach. Some vapers - the ones who can resist smacking them in the gob - are prepared to sit round a table with people who have in the past advocated e-cigs being banned; being subjected to medical regulation; and who still think the TPD is a great idea. But why should regular vapers stop pointing out the cant and hypocrisy?

So what's Joe's definition of "succeed"? Many vapers have all they need and it wouldn't matter a fig if vaping was banned tomorrow (as it is in Australia where, oddly enough, there are still vapers). So what Joe is effectively saying is that vapers should be nice to tobacco control liars for the good of smokers who might perhaps switch in the future? Erm, why?

Why should they put up with the incessant crap from a disingenuous core of cretinous blowhards when it is supposed to be tobacco control's job to get smokers to quit, not vapers'? It is the tobacco control industry which is actively working against that happening, so it's quite right they should be excoriated for it. Vapers don't need a "strategy" to help people they don't know switch to a safer alternative, tobacco controllers do. That's what they get paid for, for crying out loud.

It's wrong to reward failure, and being nice to a tobacco control liar is basically giving them a green light to be worse. Tobacco control might like to be left alone and 'public health' might be uncomfortable having their ignorant opinions trashed, but why the hell should citizen vapers - many of whom have been accused of being in the pay of corporations, and all of whom have been dismissed as "anecdotes" to be ignored - be nice to incorrigible liars?

I just don't get that at all.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Crazy Of The Week

As part of a not-even-occasional series, the impromptu Crazy of the Week award goes to ... {drum roll} ... Dr. Michael F. Pesko of Cornell University!

Via the Cornell Chronicle:
Flavor variety is an important component in young smokers’ decisions to switch to e-cigarettes, new research from Weill Cornell Medicine indicates. 
That's a good thing, right? Smokers switching to far safer e-cigs, I mean. Well, apparently not, according to Dr Mick.
The study, published Jan. 20 in Addiction, found that young adult smokers were significantly more likely than adult smokers ages 25 and older to choose e-cigarettes available in an array of flavors. Currently, there are no prohibitions on e-cigarette flavors, which include fruit, candy and dessert – additives that may be especially appealing to teens. Limiting flavors, therefore, may be an effective way to prevent young smokers from becoming “vapers,” while not significantly reducing the use of e-cigarettes among adults trying to quit smoking, suggested lead author Dr. Michael F. Pesko.
Yes, it seems he - a doctor, so be slightly afraid - actually wants to stop young smokers switching to vaping instead! Now, I've seen some ignorant choddery about vaping in my time but that takes the entire biscuit factory.

E-cigs, don't you just love 'em, eh? Exposing stupidity and vacuous 'public health' groupthink for a decade and counting.

H/T Deputy Chief Jewel Robber Sarah

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Did Martin McKee Lie In The BMJ?

Following on from yesterday's article concerning Martin McKee's conspiracy theory - the stupidity of which, by the way, was illustrated brilliantly by David Sweanor in the comments here - it's worth expanding more on another revelation I touched upon from AT's FOI.

You see, last year The Lancet published an anonymously-authored editorial which questioned PHE's judgement, claiming that the organisation had "fallen short", had not taken into account conflicts of interest of certain researchers, and was relying on "flimsy evidence" when citing the 95% statistic. It was widely assumed that McKee and/or Simon Capewell may have written the article and this was hinted at by some of McKee's peers in tobacco control.

As a result, McKee and Capewell wrote a response on the BMJ website to vehemently deny they had anything to do with it.
McNeill and colleagues state that responses to “our earlier accusations and inaccuracies have been published”. The references they cite imply that we were authors of a Lancet editorial that also criticised their report.[1] For the avoidance of doubt, we were not and the Guardian, which initially reported this, has now issued a correction.[2]
Indeed, the Guardian did issue a retraction.
This article was amended on 30 August 2015. An earlier version incorrectly stated that Prof Capewell was an author of the Lancet editorial.
And their retraction is correct, because thanks to the Freedom of Information Act we now know that it was Martin McKee who wrote it.

That email to the CMO was dated the 21st August, and the following week - on the 29th - The Lancet editorial was published. There were no other articles at The Lancet that week on the subject of e-cigs written by McKee.

So therefore we must surely assume that McKee lied about his involvement in the anonymous Lancet editorial, and he did so on the pages of the BMJ.

This is astounding stuff! For a professor of 'public health' to deliberately lie in his profession's most prominent journal should surely call into question any integrity he claims to possess. Yet there he is admonishing his peers for accusing him of writing something which he admits he did to Dame Sally.

There must also be questions over The Lancet allowing McKee to publish that article anonymously, so sidestepping the journal's requirements for declaring conflicts of interest. Because, as I have said before, McKee has a huge conflict of interest which should be declared whenever he writes about the subject of e-cigs. As far as I know McKee doesn't work for The Lancet, so why is he being afforded space to publish his insanely biased views without being named as the author?

So it would appear that we now know McKee lied in the BMJ; that The Lancet allowed him to attack PHE anonymously as an editorial despite not being on their staff; and that this prevented scrutiny of McKee's conflicts of interest.

What's more, a few days later on the 4th September, McKee was then able to write about how he "read with interest" his own Lancet editorial, responding to critical comments as if he hadn't written it. And what's more more, his response to criticism complains about PHE failing to carry perceived conflicts of interest from the David Nutt study through to their final review, whilst he was himself hiding his own by writing anonymously in The Lancet.

In most professions this would be career-ending stuff - I mean how can you trust a man who is prepared to go to such great lengths to hide his involvement in smear campaigns and, it would seem, blatantly lie to colleagues - but it's 'public health' we're talking about so they'll probably just give him another gong to go with his CBE.

H/T AT via email

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

PHE Hypnotised By Big Tobacco, Claims McKee In Private Emails To The CMO

If you thought conspiracy theories like chemtrails, the New World Order, faked moon landings or 9/11 being a government plot were daft, wait till you get a load of this!

You may remember that last month a resourceful fellow jewel robber - via FOI requests - caught Martin McKee and Chief Morality Officer Sally 'Backbone' Davies conspiring to stop the gathering of personal viewpoints on e-cigarettes from tobacco controllers by employing the Faculty of Public Health to undermine their colleagues at Public Health England.

Well, our jewel robbing friend has dug further and now found that three days after the ground-breaking PHE report on e-cigs was published, McKee was telling Davies that the key 95% figure was a tobacco industry plot. No, really!

According to McKee, "only you [Davies], me, Tony Delamothe, Simon Capewell and Simon Chapman know we have found that the 95% figure that Duncan [Selbie] made so prominent in his foreword and Kevin [Fenton] has been announcing to the world was originally created by BAT.".

Yep, you read that right. McKee appears to be implying that PHE has been captured by the tobacco industry and is merely spreading their propaganda without actually doing any research of their own.

This is a quite extraordinary claim. Yes it is tobacco control 101 that if you have no argument you simply hurl ad homs around and pretend the tobacco industry is behind it, as a former colleague explains here.
If you take part in secondhand smoke policy training in the tobacco control movement, chances are that you will be taught that all opposition to smoking bans is orchestrated by the tobacco industry, that anyone who challenges the science connecting secondhand smoke exposure and severe health effects is a paid lackey of Big Tobacco, and that any group which disseminates information challenging these health effects is a tobacco industry front group. Consequently, the a chief strategy of tobacco control is to smear the opposition by accusing them of being tobacco industry moles. And in no situation should one say anything positive about an opponent, even if true. 
How do I know this? 
Because for many years, I was one of the main trainers of tobacco control advocates in the United States. And this is what I taught, because this was what I was led to believe. I attended many conferences and trainings and this is precisely what I was taught. I accepted it for the truth, and passed it along to others.
However, here we have precisely this approach being directed at McKee's own side. Fellow 'public health' professionals are being accused of being duped by BAT without there being a shred of evidence behind his theory.

On the contrary, there is plenty of research which backs up the idea that e-cigs are at least 95% less harmful than tobacco - for example here, here and here - but absolutely nothing to correlate with the claim made by McKee in his private email to the CMO.

Now, if McKee truly believed that PHE had been hoodwinked, you'd think his 'scientific' credentials would motivate him to prove otherwise, wouldn't you, as Clive Bates pointed out in November.
Given the Lancet and BMJ are the giants of UK medical publishing,  might we have expected them to take a scientific perspective and look into whether the 95% claim is actually realistic?   They didn’t bother with this at all. 
In fact, there has been an interesting debate about whether this figure is right or not and if it has been expressed with the proper nuances, but not in the BMJ or Lancet.
But still McKee, Capewell, Chapman et al have steadfastly not attempted anything of the sort. Their approach seems to consist only of slinging a load of mud around and hoping some of it sticks.

So where does this leave the likes of those researchers maligned by McKee? Apparently, all those who have submitted studies on e-cigs which agree with or exceed PHE's conservative 95% estimate have not performed their own research, but instead just regurgitated tobacco industry marketing according to McKee.

I did tell you the conspiracy theory was daft, didn't I? have you ever heard anything as bonkers as that?

Most notably, what will former government adviser David Nutt be thinking about what McKee has been telling the CMO? You see, Nutt has already been smeared by McKee in a BMJ article and also an anonymously-authored Lancet editorial which McKee admits in this latest FOI that he was responsible for writing.
It is worth reading the paper on which PHE has based its latest advice carefully. Nutt and colleagues describe how the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, which Nutt founded in 2010, convened an international expert panel to consider the “relative importance of different types of harm related to the use of nicotine-containing products”. During a two-day workshop in July, 2013, the panel met in London to review the context of perceived harms from nicotine products, the range of products (including “electronic nicotine delivery system products”), and the criteria of harms. The group scored the products for harm, and weightings were applied to the results. Based on the opinions of this group, cigarettes were ranked as the most harmful nicotine product with a score of 99·6. E-cigarettes were estimated to have only 4% of the maximum relative harm. It is this result that yields the “95% less harmful” figure reported last week.
So, considering McKee was adamant in August last year that the 95% figure was "originally created by BAT", he is presumably dismissing Nutt's research entirely and implying that he is a tobacco industry stooge. I don't know about you, but if I were David Nutt I'd want to have a word with McKee about that kind of claim, preferably via a solicitor specialising in defamation.

In the meantime - as David Nutt himself has suggested - we still await some kind of study from McKee "to repeat the analysis" and disprove the 95% statistic, or in fact anything more substantive than just throwing crap around and impotently crying "tobacco industry" to Sally Davies with a nudge and a wink.

H/T AT via email

Friday, 15 January 2016

Mad Stan And His Agnotology

"There's your Minister of Science; honor-bound to expand the frontiers of knowledge, except that he's also chief Defender of the Faith!" - George Taylor, Planet of the Apes, 1968
On Wednesday, Clive Bates alerted us to the imminent publication of a piss poor review of e-cig studies by Mad Stan the wobble-bottomed aircraft engineer. Entitled Who will be duped by error-strewn ‘meta-analysis’ of e-cigarette studies? (since updated), Bates mused in the article as to which medical journal would be naively credulous enough to publish such a load of scientifically-illiterate garbage which had been floating around for a while, thereby strongly suggesting it had been rejected elsewhere.

Well, the gullible journal turned out to be The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, and it may not have been such a good idea on their part. Because being up to Mad Stan's usual standard - as in absolute codswallop - the meta-analysis was immediately ripped to shreds. Here are some rave reviews from his colleagues in tobacco control.
“Publication of this study represents a major failure of the peer review system in this journal.” 
"Its conclusions are at best tentative and at worst incorrect" 
“This review is grossly misleading in my opinion" 
“This review is not scientific"
Now, I'll stick to the point here and not muse as to how many of those detractors have cited Mad Stan's science-phobic policy-driven wibble in the past and probably still would when it comes to tobacco, but instead wonder how such a world-class crank is still taken seriously by anyone at all considering he produces 'research' which is about as reliable and trustworthy as a knitted condom.

This is because, you see, Glantz the aeronautic spanner-monkey is still - incredibly - a bit of a God in tobacco control industry circles and one which many will not be able to touch. He is the go-to man for e-cigs advice according to the WHO - his previous review of e-cigs was heavily relied upon by the WHO when recommending vaping bans everywhere in 2014 - and therefore ASH will have a difficult time if they criticise him considering their prominent role in the WHO's Framework Convention Alliance.

Yet all he does these days - in fact all he has ever done - is produce garbage to prove a pre-conceived policy recommendation, and he's not afraid to corrupt evidence and misreport genuine researchers in the process.

Just a thought, but it's easy to conclude that e-cigs don't help smokers to quit when you deliberately exclude smokers who have successfully quit using e-cigs, and it's difficult to see how this is supposed to be remotely considered 'science' or even believable research that The Lancet should be publishing.

But then tobacco control has long since departed from having anything to do with science, it is in fact anti-science and its journals are increasingly also of the same mindset. It's a cult to which you are either within or without. Glantz is one of the cult leaders so is duty-bound to promote whatever quasi-religious anti-nicotine hegemony that his colleagues wish him to, and at the moment in the US it just happens to be an ignorant and quite absurd dislike for e-cigs based on no reasonable foundation whatsoever.

Therefore he lies. He is the Defender of the Shonky Faith and also the chosen one, installed by the WHO as Minister of Dodgy Science.

Now, in the very recent past we have seen quite a lot of this anti-science from 'public health'. On e-cigs especially they have become the "merchants of doubt" they have long-accused the tobacco industry of being.

A merchant of doubt explains merchants of doubt
From deliberately misrepresenting their own studies and refusing to apologise when they get found out, through making up demonstrably false assertions to what Glantz is doing here, purposely perverting evidence to suit an agenda designed to blur the truth and to create confusion. The Chief Morality Officer has done precisely the same with alcohol guidelines and abandoned science in favour of a religious approach to drinking.

So it was quite timely that the BBC recently came up with a word for such deliberate misinformation, ironically from a career tobacco control buddy.
How do people or companies with vested interests spread ignorance and obfuscate knowledge?
Proctor had found that the cigarette industry did not want consumers to know the harms of its product, and it spent billions obscuring the facts of the health effects of smoking. This search led him to create a word for the study of deliberate propagation of ignorance: agnotology. 
“We live in a world of radical ignorance, and the marvel is that any kind of truth cuts through the noise,” says Proctor. Even though knowledge is ‘accessible’, it does not mean it is accessed, he warns. 
Proctor found that ignorance spreads when firstly, many people do not understand a concept or fact and secondly, when special interest groups – like a commercial firm or a political group – then work hard to create confusion about an issue.
How ironic is it that someone still banging on about the behaviour of tobacco companies in the 1960s can so brilliantly encapsulate the actions of tobacco control doubt-spreaders in 2016?

The tobacco industry have long since abandoned any pretence that their product is harmless, but some in tobacco control are employing exactly the same doubt creation methods now towards e-cigs! They have become everything they have spent decades condemning. They propagate ignorance; they obscure truth in the noise of purposely-created media headlines based on junk science; and they deliberately create confusion.

When science is handed over to the Defender of the Tobacco Control Faith, when headlines are created by an aircraft engineer who is quite willing to lie and undermine colleagues, when medical journals are so gullible as to publish quite risible bullshit, and when the world's health overseer actually trusts pretend scientists over sound objective evidence, they have spectacularly abandoned the moral high ground.

Or, as one of their own repeatedly points out ...
I don't recall any previous tobacco-related public information campaign as dishonest and deceptive as this one since the tobacco industry itself battled to undermine the public's appreciation of the health hazards of smoking.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

An Update On That Non-Existent Slippery Slope

"The “domino theory” i.e. that once a measure has been applied to tobacco it will be applied to other products is patently false." - Deborah Arnott, Feb 2012
"Look, if the slope is slippery, it's the most unslippery slippery dip I've ever seen in my life." - Simon Chapman, Aug 2012
What prompted those condescending quotes of denial was the idea that if we don't stand up to tobacco control industry fascists, sooner or later we'll have to suffer overweening hyperbole like this when ordering a bottle of wine.

'WARNING! Alcohol can cause death, poisoning, cancer and addiction'
So I thought today might be a good time to have a look at how "unslippery" that slippery slope is being recently. You know, to see how "patently false" the domino theory is.
'Put cigarette-style health warnings on fizzy drinks,' urge health chiefs
Last night Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, said: 'The results of this study are promising, suggesting that health warning labels could have a role in the battle against poor diet and obesity. 
'As a society we are consuming too much sugar and in addition to a sugar tax any measure which is effective in reducing purchases, and ultimately consumption of sugary drinks should be welcomed. 
'Given the success that health warnings have had in other areas, such as smoking, it is right that we should adopt similar measures that may be effective in encouraging people to change their behaviour.' 
This follows just a few days after another bunch of tax spongers demanded the same for bottles of wine, using the Chief Morality Officer's evidence-free alcohol 'guidelines' as the justification.
Graphic cigarette-style warnings urged for alcohol
Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: “People have the right to know what they’re putting into their bodies so they can make informed choices. The next step is to make sure the new guidelines are clearly communicated to the public. 
“One way to help inform customers would be to have compulsory health warnings on all alcohol products.”
Yes, just guidelines, remember, (even though the CMO's own report called them limits) because they are not going to be used as a tool for scaremongery and coercion, oh no.

I sometimes debate inwardly about whether 'public health' are fully aware that they lie every time their lips move, or whether the words just tumble out and coincidentally turn out to be proven embarrassingly wrong. Either way they are obviously undeserving of taxpayer cash and should be starved of it, in my opinion.

If you find any other examples like this of the slippery slope quite clearly not being a thing, and other consumer products definitely not being attacked by following the tobacco control template, do let me know won't you?

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

All Things Not Being Equal ...

Now we've always known The Conversation website to be something of a 'public health' poodle, but they've excelled themselves with their latest article on e-cigs. It is so incredibly piss poor that it doesn't surprise me that it took three people to write it ... there's simply too much stupid in there for it not to have been written by a committee.
E-cigarettes could now be prescribed by doctors as a way of giving up smoking, after regulators granted one such product a drug licence for the first time. This marks a significant point in the growing popularity of vaping, which has created a global market for e-cigarettes now worth over US$6 billion. Yet the technology remains highly controversial.
It's only controversial because hideous people with vested (or bigoted) interests have been talking up imaginary dangers and spreading junk science to promote illegitimate scare stories. Before their intervention no-one really cared much, it was a non-story. Just from the intro we can safely presume this article is going to be more of the same baseless rhetoric which created the 'controversy' out of evidence-free windbaggery and hot air from people who profess to care about health but clearly don't.
Proponents of e-cigarettes argue that they have helped increase the rate at which people are quitting smoking. But sceptics fear that vaping might make smoking a more socially acceptable habit again, that it could become popular among children who may then move on to conventional cigarettes,
Well it's clear that the proponents are correct then, especially amongst youth. Anyone who fears vaping will lead to smoking being popular among children and lead them to smoke is quite plainly nuts considering the exact opposite is happening worldwide, and quite dramatically too.

Source: US National Youth Tobacco Survey

That's the USA, where the effect of e-cigs couldn't be more stark, and in France it's been the same.

"A spectacular decrease in four years"
So straight away we have the three authors' agenda. They don't wish to look at incontrovertible evidence, just spread smears, rather like this.
and that it even poses a possible direct health risk due to the chemicals it involves.
This is yer common-or-garden anti-vaping tactic, point to some cherry-picked study - in this case an already-debunked one involving mice in a lab - and completely ignore that e-cigs have been around for over a decade now; have been used by millions of humans worldwide; yet have not offered up a single verifiable death anywhere when used as directed.

So now they have set out their agenda of doubt and misdirection, they then go on to create the straw man they intend to attack in the piece.
One important area identified for further research by academics, organisations and government is the nature and impact of the dual-use of electronic and conventional cigarettes. Instead of simply assuming that vaping is a way for all people to cut down on smoking for health reasons, we should consider that they may be complementary activities for some. Regular smokers are often subject to regulation and social pressure. For example, they may no longer be able to smoke in their workplace or in places where they meet with friends or family.
The assumption they want you to take away from that is that there is no possibility for smoking in any of those situations; that the rules are so strict that the only escape is to vape. This is quite simply not true, of course. I don't think the family or friends would stay that for long if they forbade anyone to go outside to smoke, likewise almost all companies allow smokers to go outside for a puff (it's sadly more likely that they would ban e-cigs but allow smoking breaks instead!). Rather than accept that in the absence of e-cigs these people would, indeed, go outside and smoke, the authors pretend that the act of using e-cigs in those situations is only competing with abstinence. Which is execrable garbage.

In those situations, e-cigs are not competing with abstinence in all but the most extreme of circumstances, they are replacing opportunities to smoke. Their entire argument falls apart on this point, which is why they pretend that reality doesn't exist and focus instead on a fantasy scenario which only exists in their own imagination.
So smokers now have the option to smoke regular cigarettes where they can and complement this with the use of e-cigarettes where it is not possible or appropriate to smoke tobacco.
How awful that smokers have options, eh? Yet they skimmed over the most important part as if it was a bug and not a vital feature of the huge popularity of e-cigs.
E-cigarette use, on the other hand, is often unregulated and provides both the nicotine fix associated with cigarette use and some of the social element.
This is why smokers are switching in their millions all over the world, because of exactly that. You'd think 'public health' would be pleased wouldn't you? But then, it's never been about health, so why would they?

It carries on in the same vein, always relying on that critical straw man they created.
If e-cigarettes were only adopted as substitutes and helped more people to quit smoking, they could increase the associated health and financial benefits that come with this by cutting tobacco use. But where e-cigarettes act as a complementary product, they could instead blunt regular anti-smoking regulation and keep more people smoking for longer.
But they are cutting tobacco use, every jurisdiction where e-cigs have not been banned shows exactly the same trajectory in smoking prevalence ... downward. For every time an e-cig is used where smoking is prohibited it removes the need to go outside and smoke, which is why these charlatans pretend that option isn't available when it quite clearly is.

This straw man riddles the piece from start to finish, it's like they were committed to proving their pretend theory before they started or something.
If the public is focused on the success stories of those who have used e-cigarettes and ceased smoking, they will underestimate the extent of complementary vaping.
It matters not if it is over or under-estimated if 'complementary vaping' is a net benefit by way of fewer fags being smoked, which is undoubtedly the case.
However, just because some people use e-cigarettes as a complement to tobacco doesn’t mean they don’t want to quit. Our research actually found that complementary users were more likely to be using another quitting method or product, such as nicotine gum or patches, in addition to e-cigarettes. This suggests that for some trying to quit, their progress may be hindered by e-cigarettes.
No it doesn't. It just proves that NRT can also be used in situations where "they may no longer be able to smoke in their workplace or in places where they meet with friends or family". Like e-cigs it replaces the opportunity to smoke with something else because NRT is also endorsed as a harm reduction aid by NICE. Yes, for 'complementary use' too!

If the authors cannot understand that the principle is the same, you have to wonder what their underlying motivation is. I suppose we can look forward for their next piece which will debate "instead of simply assuming that NRT is a way for all people to cut down on smoking for health reasons, we should consider that they may be complementary activities for some" and their extended reasons why patches and gum "instead blunt regular anti-smoking regulation and keep more people smoking for longer".

2016 is beginning to look like becoming a year of evidence-free health mendacity on a vast theatrical scale, and we're not even two weeks in!

Monday, 11 January 2016

The Relentless Failure Of Plain Packaging

Seemingly not listening to Debs Arnott's hilarious claim that "The “domino theory” i.e. that once a measure has been applied to tobacco it will be applied to other products is patently false", we have routinely seen other strands of 'public health' calling for plain packaging for anything from kids' treats, through fast food, alcohol and fizzy drinks, e-cigs natch, and even onto fossil fuels. That's how very 'unique' tobacco is, you see.

So it's not surprising that someone has decided to study the effect of plain packaging on one of these other threatened products.
A new study by researchers in Europe has concluded that plain packaging for food products may reduce an individual’s purchase intent but could actually lead to increased consumption once a product is purchased or offered. These findings suggest that measures to reduce unhealthy food intake by introducing plain packaging could have “adverse effects”, with the researchers suggesting it is “critical” for further studies to be conducted to see if such regimes would be a viable or ill-advised strategy to combat obesity.
The researchers appear to be quite startled by this conclusion.
“At first sight, the current results sharply differ from those obtained in the smoking prevention literature, with exposure to plain pack of cigarettes reducing product appreciation and desire to smoke, and actual smoking overall. What is effective for preventing smoking may not necessarily be as effective for reducing food consumption."
Erm, it's not quite true that plain packs has been "effective for preventing smoking", now is it?

The researchers above are correct that highly-biased tobacco control industry execs found exposure to plain packs affected "perceived quality and satisfaction of cigarettes" and even hinted that smokers might consider quitting, however as the NHS pointed out at the time.
Importantly, it cannot tell us whether a change in packaging achieves the desired outcomes of an increase in actual quit rates or preventing people from starting smoking. 
Which is kinda important.
While people smoking the plain pack cigarettes were significantly more likely to have thought about quitting and place higher priority on quitting, their intention to quit smoking remained unchanged.
And that's quite significant because - two and a half years on - there has actually been an increase in tobacco consumption in Australia, as illustrated in the short two minute film below.

Now, I know what you're thinking. The food study involved plain white packs with no gory pictures, but they don't work on tobacco so that's a bit of a red herring. And besides, isn't it all about the children? Surely if they are less inclined to buy sweets they won't eat as many. Well, yes, that's exactly what Aussie tobacco controllers thought about plain packaging smokes, and look how that turned out.

So it seems the food study mirrors exactly the path of pitiful failure of plain packaging for tobacco. It looks like it promises so much, but eventually delivers absolutely bugger all except disappointment for bansturbators and a whole load of costly regulations and disruption for businesses.

Still, without a wild goose chase on which to expend their time and our taxes, state-funded vested interests would be sitting around flicking rubber bands and waiting for the inevitable cut to their unnecessary grants, now wouldn't they?

Plain packaging for any number of products offers a prime incentive for 'public health' tax-spongers to drag their loathsome carcasses around TV and radio spewing out fanciful theories and junk science for quite some time to come.

Who really cares if it actually works?

Friday, 8 January 2016

Just Guidelines? Yeah Right!

Well what a day of turgid gobshitery and joyless shroud-waving we have witnessed today over the Chief Morality Officer's new alcohol guidelines. I'd post about how deeply flawed they are but Snowdon has done so admirably already so pop over there and read all about it.

I must, however, comment on the blasé nature of many comments about the matter. Here is one and there are some spectacularly short-sighted ones under this tweet too.

This idea that these are just recommendations, and that's all, is incredibly naive. Have these people been sleeping for the past 30 or 40 years? When have guidelines ever remained guidelines without leading to more and more coercion?

40 years ago government guidelines on smoking were to not smoke but, if you must, take fewer puffs and leave a longer stub, now we have bans just about everywhere in a campaign of "denormalisation" of smokers. In many countries they are actually now speaking openly of the "endgame"; of prohibition. All because government were persuaded that the 'guidelines' were not being taken seriously.

With sugar, the guidelines had barely been altered downwards by the WHO before there were calls from 'public health' that the public isn't following them so we need a sugar tax and TV advertising bans on certain foods.

There used to be guidelines about what food kids should be given by their parents to take to school, now we have packed lunch inspections and unapproved food being confiscated, while many openly talk about mandatory school dinners because the 'guidelines' are not being adhered to.

These are just a few examples of many many others I could have chosen (add more in the comments as I'm sure you will know plenty of other examples). This is how health nags work, people, if you haven't noticed that where have you been?

Take all the above into account, and if you can still honestly believe that the hugely-funded Goliath of 'public health' is not going to be rubbing their hands with glee at the future possibilities after today, well, you're not very bright is the most charitable I can offer.

As a result of these 'guidelines' that we are apparently free not to follow - you know, they're just fuzzy-wuzzy friendly advice, that's all - a whole new door has been opened on alcohol nagging.

Soon there will be campaigns by the usual suspects to say that the guidelines are not being adhered to. It will not be because the public have taken note of the advice and chosen to ignore it, instead the legions of public health parasites will say that the 'guidelines' are just not working and something must be done about it; that big industry is blinding drinkers to the harms; and that - how convenient - there are now so many more people drinking over the recommended guidelines that government must crack down hard!

Research will be produced showing that x% of drinkers are exceeding the 'guidelines' and that therefore they must be brought into line with advertising bans; restrictions on availability; higher taxes; denormalisation campaigns and bans.

This isn't even conjecture because we've seen it all before. If you think these are just guidelines that can be ignored, and that that will be the end of the matter, you're either massively deluded or - like Suzi who tweeted above - a public health campaigner who is well aware of what is actually going on but just wants to quell the outrage a little before moving on to the 'next logical step'.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

A Whole New Level Of Denial

Regular visitors here will be aware that I've often remarked on the marvellous capacity of e-cigs to expose irrational hatred from condescending, anti-social, psychotic smoker-haters, as exhibited nicely by Duncan Bannatyne in 2010.

Of course, he didn't know exactly why he despised e-cigs back then because he knew absolutely nothing about them and probably still doesn't. He just despised them. I theorised as to why at the time.
I can now understand why they boil anti-smoker piss so much. After nearly three decades of fabricating a scare story to eliminate others enjoying a substance (nicotine) of which they personally disapprove, the righteous have next to nothing on the e-cig, and it must really - no, I mean really - grate. 
Having dreamed for years of that orgasmic final boot in the face of those they jealously hated for enjoying a benign pleasure, they can see a few wriggling free, still putting hand to mouth, and with the two fingers still defiantly up. 
Some have found that vaping is a way of ditching tobacco for good; anti-smokers would prefer to ban e-cigs to force them back to being smokers where they are easier to hit. As Bannatyne shows above, they're not really bothered about health, or the chiildren, or harm reduction - they just enjoy the hunt, the superiority, and the self-righteousness. 
E-cigs threaten to deprive them of that, all of it - after 30 years of intense obsessive effort - and the psychos don't like it one bit.
Since then, though, e-cigs have also exposed the cant, hypocrisy and methodological lying of many in the 'public health' and tobacco control trough-slurping industries too. The huge surge in e-cig popularity in the past five years has been matched only by the surge in ever more desperate - and almost proudly corrupt - junk science from researchers who care not a jot about health if it threatens their grants and/or salary and state-funded Merc.

Just in the past couple of months, for example, we've seen baseless smear-jobs to undermine a favourable government review, along with appalling, easily-debunked junk-science-by-press-release designed specifically to create hysterical anti-vaping headlines all around the world.

This, remember, from the same people who have condemned 'Big Tobacco' for decades for misleading smokers, perverting science and putting personal gain over health. Their hypocrisy really is quite staggering, isn't it?

However, even I am now becoming amazed at how far these arrogant establishment liars are prepared to go to put a positive genie back in its bottle and get back to their comfortable state of smug, self-centred finger-wagging. The latest development - and the reason for the blatant mendacity being stepped up to a whole new level - is the recent approval by the MHRA of an e-cig which could, theoretically, be prescribed on the NHS.

This has caused a bit of a problem in Wales.
The path has been laid for e-cigarettes to be potentially made available on free prescription in Wales after a brand was granted a licence by a UK medicines body. 
The decision by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency on the e-Voke e-cigarette applies across the UK and includes Wales.
This is the same Wales where - despite not a shred of credible evidence in its favour - the assembly is still planning to impose bans on public use of e-cigs. Awkward, huh?

Well apparently not, because like a teen caught doing something they shouldn't, a weak excuse has been cobbled together.
But the Welsh Government says the Public Health Bill which would put the ban into law doesn’t prevent the use of e-cigarettes as an aid to stop smoking. 
A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: "The Bill proposes to restrict the use of e-cigarettes in certain enclosed public places because we are concerned about the risk they pose to children in terms of normalising smoking behaviours."
And what of these medically licensed e-cigs, what are they like?
[A spokeswoman for the MHRA] added: “The e-Voke is the second product that looks like a cigarette meeting the definition of an e-cigarette to receive a marketing authorisation"
Oh I see. So to stop the "risk they pose to children in terms of normalising smoking behaviours", Wales will now have a law which allows e-cigs "that look like a cigarette" but will ban those which look absolutely nothing like one. Those funny provincials, eh?

I'd say you couldn't make it up, but ignorant, vapid, ideological establishment bansturbators and their useful idiots are doing exactly that almost on a daily basis about e-cigs now.

By way of exhibit B, consider this from the weekend as well.
Dr Tim Ballard, the vice-chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, called for more research to be carried out before patients are told they can get e-cigarettes on the NHS. 
"Potentially, there may be a place for the prescription of e-Voke as part of a smoking cessation programme, but GPs would be very wary of prescribing them until there was clear evidence of their safety and of their efficacy in helping people to quit," Dr Ballard said.
This is stunning! For years those ranged against vaping have clutched at the straw of there being no medically-licensed e-cig as a reason why their use can't be trusted and why bans are justified, but now there is a medically-licensed e-cig - even an intangible one which isn't yet on the market - they don't like that either!

The entire point of MHRA approval is that evidence of safety and efficacy must be established before it is given a green light.
A spokeswoman for the MHRA [...] said the licence “means it is a product of acceptable quality and can be an effective aid to smoking cessation.”
So what we are now seeing, believe it or not, is entrenched ideologists in the medical establishment effectively implying that the MHRA is incompetent; that medical approval is no guarantee of safety; and appearing quite willing to throw the entire British medicinal classification regime under the bus to defend a stance opposed to vaping based on nothing but a whim and a smile.

I really don't know how much further these weird people can go with such astounding denial, my crystal ball is all burned out. Five years ago, I predicted a very optimistic scenario where anti-smokers would be shown up by e-cigs to be absurd for adhering to hatred and baseless belief systems rooted in bigotry. This, however, has gone beyond my wildest dreams, the medical establishment transparently and publicly illustrating that it doesn't give a llama's spit about its own integrity and collective competence on the back of dogma and rumour-mongering is entirely unexpected.

The only thing we can be absolutely sure of, again, is that it's never been about health.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Count The Minimum Alcohol Pricing Deceptions

The Adam Smith Institute's Sam Bowman recently appeared on Irish TV to bring a modicum of truth to the truly idiotic garbage being spouted about minimum alcohol pricing (MUP).

It was a fairly substantial slot so all the aspects could be explored, but as a result this allowed Sam's opponent - Dr Stephen Stewart of the Royal College of Physicians - adequate time to vomit out every half-truth, prejudice, misleading stat, lie and conspiracy wackiness in favour of MUP all in one neatly-packaged video item.

You can watch the whole thing here or below but shall we count the deceptions? Yes, I think we should, don't you?

Claim number 1 from Stewart.
"Does not affect pubs or restaurant prices of alcohol"
This is only true of what is currently planned, but minimum pricing for pubs is, indeed, set out by the Sheffield researchers as a future option. The doctor states in this piece that he has read the Sheffield paper in depth so he surely must know this (page 6 here).
Differential minimum pricing for on-trade and off-trade leads to more substantial reductions in consumption (30p off-trade together with an 80p on-trade minimum price -2.1% versus -0.6% for 30p only; 40p together with 100p -5.4% compared to -2.6% for 40p only). This is firstly because much of the consumption by younger and hazardous drinking groups (including those at increased risk of criminal offending due to high intake on a particular day) occurs in the on-trade. It is also because increasing prices of cheaper alcohol in the on-trade dampens down the behaviour switching effects when off-trade prices are increased.
Now, Stewart could make this argument if his profession aren't well known for demanding more and more restrictions towards total prohibition, but they are. In fact, they are extremely well-known for doing just that and will undoubtedly do so. When MUP fails - as it will most definitely do because it's a load of donkey cock - there will be calls, based on the Sheffield model, for "differential minimum pricing" which will target pubs too.

In the scenario above, 80p per unit would affect Wetherspoons pubs in the UK and 100p would affect many many pubs outside of London and the South East, you can fully expect the same would happen in Ireland.

Claim number 2:
"and only the very cheapest"
This claim displays either crashing ignorance of economic pricing or is a convenient lie.  MUP wouldn't affect only the very cheapest drinks, because the premium of a brand would necessitate rising prices right up the scale. If cheap booze is raised to a similar price as branded stuff, the branded stuff will increase in price to protect the differential. Minimum pricing would cost every responsible drinker more, and the poorest would naturally feel it in their pocket most because of the margins being more acute to those with less disposable income. This is economics and business 101.

Again, this is either a crashing ignorance of business and economics or a convenient lie.

Claim number 3:
"alcohol is a very very price-sensitive commodity, and there's very good modelling from Sheffield about the impact this will have"
Well considering the Sheffield modelling is garbage and produced by incompetents, he's not on solid ground at all here. Because, you see, Sheffield used laughable assumptions which are not based on any evidence whatsoever.
The model assumes that minimum pricing will have more effect on the consumption patterns of heavy drinkers than on moderate drinkers because heavy drinkers are more price-sensitive. This is a convenient belief since it is heavy drinkers who cause and suffer the most alcohol-related harm, but can we really assume that someone with an alcohol dependency is more likely to be deterred by price rises than a more casual consumer? The SAPM model says that they are, and yet there is ample evidence to support the common sense view that heavy drinkers and alcoholics are less price-sensitive than the general population (eg. Gallet, 2007; Wagenaar, 2009). Indeed, research has shown that price elasticity for the heaviest drinkers is “not significantly different from zero” - they will, in other words, purchase alcohol at almost any cost (Purshouse, 2009; p. 76). 
So, who does Stewart believe MUP should be targeted at? During the piece he insists that the purpose is solely to address harmful consumption, but his claim only works if it is directed at all drinkers, heavy or otherwise. Did he give away a secret agenda or is he lying? You decide.

Claim number 4:
"We actually have real world evidence from British Columbia in Canada, we saw from that that if you increase the price of alcohol by 10%, you see a fall in consumption of 4.5% but most importantly you see a reduction in mortality by alcohol related causes by 32% in the first year."
This is a lie.
Alas, this is entirely inconsistent with the established facts. Official statistics show that the alcohol mortality rate in British Columbia rose from 26 per 100,000 persons to 28 per 100,000 persons between 2002 and 2008. As the graph below shows, neither mortality (solid line) nor per capita alcohol consumption (dotted line) fell during this period.  

Between 2002 and 2011, the number of deaths directly attributed to alcohol in British Columbia rose from 315 to 443 with the largest annual death rates occurring after the minimum price rises of 2006. Between 2006 and 2008, when further minimum price rises occurred, the number of deaths rose from 383 to a peak of 448. Moreover, the rate of hospitalisations for both alcohol-related ailments and acute intoxication both rose during this decade.
Claim number 5:
"That's not true [that if you are addicted to alcohol you will buy it whatever the price], because you will be limited by what money you have"
Yes, that financial restriction which has curtailed drug addiction for eternity. Aww bless, perhaps someone should tell him about black markets and drug-related crime?

Claim number 6:
"What we will see is a reduction in the concentration of alcohol in a bottle of wine, and that can only be a good thing"
This is actually as truthful as Stewart gets in the whole piece. Just the thought of wine manufacturers reducing their levels of alcohol - not to just heavy drinkers but to everyone - brings a satisfied smile to his face. It does, however, show him up for being disingenuous when he says that the measure is targeted at harmful drinkers. The alcohol content of drinks is dictated my market pressure - if a wine is unpopular the public won't buy it - so the overwhelmingly moderate-drinking public are obviously quite happy with the range of options currently available. Stewart doesn't like this and wants to interfere to reduce it by force of law ... for everyone.

Claim number 7:
"I don't think we should not introduce legislation because it's not going to work for everybody ... there is going to be no individual law that is going to be able to affect every single harmful drinker"
Yes there is, it's called ad valorem tax, currently applied to alcohol and the preferred option of the EU. Hence why it's the CJEU Advocate General's opinion that MUP is illegal. The presenter puts this very fact to Stewart which leads us to ...

Claim number 8:
"It's a lot easier for the drinks industry to get round those taxes" 
Again, Stewart betrays himself. If targeting harmful drinkers as he claims to be concerned with, isn't it more sensible to try to affect all of them, not just the less well-off? Stewart doesn't seem to care, but is more interested in attacking the drinks industry. He doesn't care that there are better alternatives for 'public health', nor that supermarkets will have their coffers filled by a pointless initiative, just wants to bash the poor and demonise an industry providing popular products. he expands gleefully on this by talking about restricting advertising and availability, which will - of course - not target any particular subset of drinkers, it will affect every drinker.

Claim number 9:
"What we currently have is a public health policy which is driven by the alcohol industry"
I can only assume that Sam had debunked his nonsense so effectively on the show (and here recently too) that he was in desperation mode. As Sam quite rightly says, "we already have some of the highest alcohol taxes in Europe, in fact in the world in Ireland; to pretend the industry is setting all the rules here is just not true".

Indeed. It's barking conspiracy theory nuttiness from a Chicken Little bellwipe who seems to have been frustrated that all his dodgy claims are not being taken seriously.

Claim number 10: 
"Currently we have a nanny industry in alcohol who are deciding the pricing, deciding the availability, and deciding exactly how they want to promote alcohol" 
Oh, this is interesting. We've seen this daft argument here recently haven't we folks? In December it was food snobs trying to pretend that industry were the nannies and not hideous people who wish to restrict our choices, now the same flawed stupidity is rolled out by anti-alcohol frother Stewart. As I mentioned at the time.
The problem that nanny statists have - because that is precisely what they are - is that industry really doesn't have to try hard to sell popular products to the public, because they are just that. Popular. Whereas nasty curtain-twitching prohibitionists are not very popular at all! No-one likes a nag, especially when they restrict choice and ban stuff we like by pestering and bullying politicians. 
Of course, if the cult of 'public health' truly believed that people are so easily swayed by a few ads, they would simply do the same themselves and we'd all dutifully fall into line, but they don't. And the reason being? Because they demand regulations, legislation and bans on the basis that - wait for it - education is not effective. No really, they do ... at the same time as pretending that education (adverts) from the [insert industry here] are somehow miraculously compelling! It would be funny if it wasn't so utterly pathetic. 
The upside of all this, of course, is that their attempting to change the meaning of terms like 'nanny' and 'nanny state' simply illustrate how hurtful and damaging the terms are to them.
In truth, the Irish state - like our own - imposes heavy regulations on pricing, availability and marketing of alcohol by way of taxation, licensing and advertising restrictions. Stewart can try to push this laughable sound bite if he likes but it is an absurd and contorted perversion of reality; it won't work; and no matter how much butthurt he feels at being described as a nanny, he is one and will always be thought of in that manner by the public. Sorry, but that's life.

So that's 10 daft claims in one article, with not one of them standing up to proper scrutiny.

The last word must be left to Sam, who summed up the whole not-about-health mendacity and wriggling succinctly.
"Really what Stephen [Stewart] is saying is that he's annoyed that he's not in charge. 
"He's annoyed that the alcohol industry has too much say and he wants doctors to have a say instead. I think that's not right, I think that we should let individuals make the decision for themselves how much they drink and what they drink."
Ain't that the truth!