Obesity Control

H/T Harley for this 2010 NYT article.

When the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation decided in 1991 to take on Joe Camel, it became the nation’s largest private funding source for fighting smoking. The foundation spent $700 million to help knock the cartoon character out of advertisements, finance research and advocacy for higher cigarette taxes and smoke-free air laws and, ultimately, to aid in reducing the nation’s smoking rate almost by half.

But a few years ago, the Johnson foundation, based in Princeton, N.J., added another target to its mission, pledging to spend $500 million in five years to battle childhood obesity. As the antiobesity financing rose to $58 million last year, a new compilation from the foundation shows, the organization’s antismoking grants fell to $4 million.

The steep drop-off in private funds illustrates the competition under way for money as public health priorities shift. In the race for preventive health care dollars, from charities and from federal and state government sources, the tobacco warriors have become a big loser.

That’s great news for smokers. And a reason why the failure of California Proposition 29 earlier this year was probably a heavy blow for Stanton Glantz. Funds were drying up, and a new source of loot was needed.

But, oddly enough, 2004 was round about the time in the UK that Tobacco Control started muscling its way into Britain. That was the year I read that BMA President Sir Charles George had called for a smoking ban in public places.

Was there a connection? With funding from RWJF drying up, maybe the Tobacco Control Industry felt that it needed to diversify overseas, and find fresh pastures.

“Don’t forget tobacco,” pleaded a commentary this month in The New England Journal of Medicine.

One in five Americans still smokes.

But one in three is obese.

And competition for attention is growing between the two biggest issues in public health.

“I don’t see anybody else rushing into the vacuum,” says Dr. Steven A. Schroeder, former president of the Johnson foundation. “The sad thing is, smoking, despite all the harm it does, is left pretty much an orphan.”

In Britain they still got plenty of funding.

The decline in state funding to prevent smoking has distressed advocates. The 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement between 46 states and cigarette companies provided more than $200 billion through 2025. For a while it financed preventive programs like the “Truth” media campaign from the antismoking group American Legacy Foundation. But as states used money elsewhere, “Truth” spending declined, to a low of $35 million last year from $104 million in 2000…

State funding for antitobacco programs dropped to $567 million last year, from $717 million two years earlier, a 21 percent cut, according to an advocacy groups’ report titled “A Broken Promise to Our Children.”

But if all this is good news for smokers, it’s probably very bad news for tubby people, who I imagine are now being demonised just like smokers.

Today I was wondering what that’s like for them. And I was thinking that, if you’re a smoker, you can become a ex-smoker overnight, or you can conceal your smoking habit. But fat people can’t do either. Because, try as some of them might (and I’ve heard these stories many times) it’s very hard to shed the pounds. For some it seems to be well nigh impossible. The ‘obese’ are now being reviled, and there’s not much many of them can do about it.

I’m as thin as a rake. And I can eat all I want, and I won’t put on any weight. I can buy a packet of chocolate chip cookies, and eat the whole lot in a single afternoon, and my weight won’t increase. But the experience of many people seems to be the opposite: if they eat just one or two such cookies, it appears on the scales the very next morning. All of which leads me to think that people’s weight isn’t as simple as calories converting into fat, or vice versa. More likely, how thin or fat people are (or how tall or strong) is probably the outcome of a whole host of factors. And there isn’t a ‘right’ size. Or maybe, the size you happen to be is the right size for you.

Which makes the war on obesity (where what is ‘obese’ has a completely arbitrary definition anyway) even more obscene than the war on smoking. And why organisations like RWJF, which seem to be serially targeting minorites of one sort or other, must be closed down. They’re a cancer on society. Also via Harley:

3 ways RWJF violates ethics if not legal business practices

1) Lobbying by a tax exempt organization

RWJF, a tax exempt organization, has provided $446+ million to organizations and urged them to advocate for policy changes (lobby). Even as HHS inspector general has declared grants by tax exempt organizations used for lobbying is illegal.

2) RWJF makes a profit from alternative nicotine products promoted by smoking ban lobbyists

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation owns nearly a billion of dollars in Johnson & Johnson stock, (see p 7 hyperlink) J & J manufactures or owns Nicoderm, Nicotrol,Nicorette, Commit, etc. drugs which RWJF openly promotes once/while smoking bans are enacted. Furthermore, RWJF was started by Johnson & Johnson founderRobert Wood Johnson, so the separation between RWJF and J & J is virtually non-existent.

3) Promotes idea that taxpayer funds (Medicare, Medicaid) should be used to pay for the alternative drugs that RWJF profits from

This pamphlet by RWJF lobbyist American Lung Association (see last page of brochure) promotes the use of alternative nicotine products manufactured or owned by Johnson & Johnson, which as explained above, increases RWJFs financial assets. (see also IRS investigation of RWJF)

I got an email today, with a whole bunch of links to RWJF stories (which I haven’t had time to check out).

-RWJF funds the American Lung Association

-Instructing lobbyist ALA to promote sales & use of products Nicoderm, Nicorette, Nicotrol, Commit, etc.

-and RWJF instructs American Lung Assoc. to lobby for smoking bans at same time.

ALZA manufactures Nicoderm

Johnson & Johnson owns ALZA

 Nicoderm, Nicorette, Nicotrol, Commit, etc. are manufactured or owned by Johnson & Johnson (PCH) (see attachments 4 & 5 for PCH / J & J merger data)

Back in my teens, I didn’t much like to strip off on beaches and swimming pools because I thought people would think I was too thin (and kick sand in my face like in the Charles Atlas ads on the back of DC comics). I used to quite often skip visits to the pool solely because of that. My guess is that it’s probably much the same for fat people, in a converse sense. And maybe they don’t go to beaches or pools. Maybe they don’t go anywhere much. And with a mounting public campaign against obesity, maybe big people are just staying home more and more, much like smokers. And suffering much the same estrangement.

A couple of days back I wrote about my personal experience in the wake of the 2007 UK smoking ban. I’m never going to be able to do the same with any anti-obesity campaign. So today I thought I’d ask my ‘large size’ readers whether they’d be up to write a guest blog post about what it’s like to be living as a large-sized person in an anti-obesity environment. Send me an email, or drop a comment below.

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47 Responses to Obesity Control

  1. chris says:

    I’m definitely “large sized’, but have never had much trouble because I’m tall and blessed with broad shoulders and look like an ex-footballer who’s let himself go, but no too much. Friends rib me for my “spare tire” and I’m sure I’m “obese” by the standards of the body fascists, but I experience little to no social or psychological trauma. About the worst thing is the continual shrinking of airline seats, etc.

    But I’m a guy. It’s really much worse for women. Here in the US, even fairly skinny women obsess that they are too fat in the thighs or buttocks and it really does cause them grief. I once heard an incredible statistic that 3/4 of African-American women are “obese” by someone’s standards. Not from where I’m sitting.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Yes, I think it’s much, much, much worse for women.

      Not sure why.

      • beobrigitte says:

        The answer to this is simple; overweight women are not only largely “rejected” by males (although some men do like “big” women), they are also constantly under attack to “look good” and have huge breasts – which translates into being an odd looking stick insect – from other females.

        We all are being bombarded with cookery programmes, calorie counters, “damage” done by being “fat” and – most entertaining of all – , SUCCESS WEIGHT LOSS STORIES in which it is omitted that these “successful” women require then surgery for the removal of excess skin. Any surgery in itself carries quite substantial risks.

        Talking about surgery; gastric bands etc. The risks involved in these procedures, too, is swept under the carpet.

        • Frank Davis says:

          The answer to this is simple; overweight women are not only largely “rejected” by males (although some men do like “big” women), they are also constantly under attack to “look good” and have huge breasts

          But the idea of what ‘looks good’ seems to change over time. Personally, as a man, I find huge breasts artificial and rather gross.

          Also, with more and more gyms seeming to spring up, rather a lot of men seem to be almost as interested in what they look like as any women ever was.

          It seems to me that it’s more because we live in a very superficial society, in which appearance is everything, and substance is nothing. Both the war on smoking and on obesity are essentially all about appearances. Everyone has to ‘look good’.

        • beobrigitte says:

          Also, with more and more gyms seeming to spring up, rather a lot of men seem to be almost as interested in what they look like as any women ever was.

          I have noticed that, too. I get the impression that we are to worship the looks of our bodies – it’s “health” being state dictated, of course!

          It seems to me that it’s more because we live in a very superficial society, in which appearance is everything, and substance is nothing.
          Both the war on smoking and on obesity are essentially all about appearances. Everyone has to ‘look good’.

          Isn’t this what is being reinforced constantly and nurtured? Sure, there are people both sexes out there who are just interested in a “good looking” body – right now their shallowness is being applauded. Anybody really interested in people is oblivious to size and will do his/her best to accommodate their habits as the company is what counts.
          In addition, I, personally, do not fear “passive obesity”, either.

    • Frank Davis says:

      About the worst thing is the continual shrinking of airline seats, etc.

      Is that because the seats actually are getting smaller, or because you’re getting bigger?

      • beobrigitte says:

        Funny you should mention this. I am convinced the seats are being made narrower these days.
        Perhaps it is a co-incidence; smokers are being made to feel guilty about smoking; obese people are being made to feel guilty about their weight. BOTH groups are also being told that they have “no control” over themselves and “need help” – even against their will!

      • chris says:

        Probably a little of both, LOL!

        • XX Either that, or it is an excuse to stuff more fair payers into the same piece of flying tube.XX

          I have just had a vision of a can of sausage meat and a catapult…Strange things that come into your mind before coffee.

  2. Junican says:

    Vaguely connected to this subject is the statement by the former Deputy Heath Sec, Milton, that the UK had to obey the dictats of the WHO because we signed the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The reality, however, with Treaties, is that signatories need only comply with the terms of the treaty for as long as they wish to. They can just cease to comply whenever they wish. There are no legal obligations whatsoever. For example, suppose that you and I have a dispute over who is responsible for maintaining a garden fence. We could enter into a ‘treaty’ whereby I will do necessary repairs in year 1 and you will do the repairs in year 2, and alternately thereafter. But I (or you) could say, “Sod this for a game of soldiers. I’ll do my bit this year, but not thereafter” Thus, as far as I am concerned, the ‘treaty’ has terminated. You can ‘go to war’ over the fence if you wish to, but the ‘treaty’ no longer exists when I do not conform to the terms. Thus, the persecution of smokers only continues because Cameron, Milliband and Clegg want it to. The decision has nothing to do with the WHO.
    All the propaganda about fatties is just a lever which can be applied to the food industry. What amazes me is that these various industries have not got their heads together and formed a group – tobacco, alcohol, food, pop, plus other threatened organisations. On the economics, these organisations provide goods, employment and tax income – the prohibitionists do none of these things. Why is it so difficult for Government to understand that?
    I was thinking about the problem of changing our political system (which stinks). Which party shall I vote for at the next general election (or indeed, any election)? The only sensible answer, if we want to change the system, is none. Do not vote at all. If enough people stopped voting, then the point would arrive where the career politicians would have so little public support that their ‘government’ would, de facto, become a dictatorship. In other words, rather than a dictatorship being directly imposed, the dictatorship would be seen to have been indirectly imposed – which is the situation in the EU, the UN and the WHO. Which is why those organisations need to be eradicated and replaced with genuine, accountable agencies with no dictatorial authority.

    • Junican, Doesn’t the FCTC go only as far as something like the Spanish or Dutch model – ensuring a sufficient supply of non-smoking bars and resaurants. I didn’t think it required total indoor non-residential smoking bans?

    • Frank Davis says:

      The only sensible answer, if we want to change the system, is none. Do not vote at all. If enough people stopped voting, then the point would arrive where the career politicians would have so little public support that their ‘government’ would, de facto, become a dictatorship

      Which is why I’ll carry on voting. But vote for Anybody Else than the current crop of no-goods.

    • jaxthefirst says:

      “What amazes me is that these various industries have not got their heads together and formed a group – tobacco, alcohol, food, pop, plus other threatened organisations.”

      You and me both, Junican. I’ve made frequent comments on drinkers’ blogs pointing out that they are most likely next (although I have to say that anti-obesity is putting up rather more of a fight for the “top health threat” slot than I anticipated – I’m almost impressed!), and pointing out, too, that drinkers on their own just can’t fight a bunch of well-organised and well-funded Prohibitionists, for the simple reason that any arguments they put up will always be brushed aside with the old “Well, you would say that, wouldn’t you? You’re a drinker!” Which, whether it’s fair or not, does tend to make the public see any objections as biased and somewhat hypocritical. It’s one of the reasons why in the wake of increasing grass-roots objection to the smoking ban from smokers themselves (and, these days, growing numbers of non-smokers), the Tobacco Control Industry is desperate to try and convince everyone that any person who objects to their dictats and demands must be in the pay of the tobacco industry.

      I’ve said many times that the only way to stop the onward progress of alcohol restrictions and the demonisation of boozers, is for non-smoking drinkers to join forces with the smokers (particularly non-drinking ones), and that in order to do so, they have to cast off the shackles of the mentality which separates the two and which sees one activity as somehow “less sinful” than the other – even if this means swallowing their pride, admitting that they were wrong not to protest on behalf of smokers before the ban, and making moves to build some significant bridges in assisting smokers in their own fight. But these moves have to come from the drinkers, not the smokers, firstly, because they are the ones whose mindsets need to change (we can’t do that for them), and secondly, because they are the ones who are being newly-targeted, not us. In essence, they need us a lot more than we need them. We have been fighting our own corner, unsupported, for the last five years at least, and we’re used to it. Drinkers, on the other hand, are new recruits, inexperienced, naïve and easy prey for the practised tactics of the Health lobby. And it needs to happen soon, whilst they still have some liberties and freedoms to fight for – it’s always an easier task to protect a freedom that you have than it is to regain one you’ve lost. Ask any military tactician. Or any smoker!

      But it seems that 40 years of anti-smoking propaganda has taken its toll. Most of the readers of drinkers’ blogs and articles continue to cling stubbornly to anti-smoking’s mantra that smoking is somehow “different” from other so-called unhealthy activities and that tobacco remains “different” from other enjoyable but unapproved-of products. Only a few weeks ago, discussing this very issue with a non-smoking drinker, she uttered what she thought was the failsafe “fact” which would protect her own chosen vice from going the same way as mine: “But there’s no such thing as Passive Drinking …” The answer, of course, is to point out that (a) there’s actually no such thing as Passive Smoking, (b) that nevertheless the public has been convinced that there is, and (c) that if they can convince the public that one thing exists when it actually doesn’t, then there’s nothing to stop them convincing the public that another thing exists when it actually doesn’t. But in explaining these three simple steps to Virtual Prohibition, one comes up against a brick wall at point (a), such is the level of brainwashing to which most people have been subjected for the last few decades. Most other target groups – and I’ll guess overweight people are no less naïve than non-smoking drinkers – simply cannot understand that it can ever happen to them, simply because it never has. Yet. Maybe it’s a bit along the lines of Frank’s last post where he cited Simon Clark’s comments about “freedom” at the Tory conference and where he (Frank) stated, quite rightly in my view, that non-smokers, even those with the best of intentions, just don’t (perhaps can’t) “get it” – in the same way as white people, no matter how much they may object in principle to it, cannot ever really understand the insidious nature of racism.

      One can only hope that one day, someone within one of these new target groups will suddenly see the connection and notice the similarities between anti-smoking’s tactics and those of their own would-be persecutors, and recognise that they have made their own bed by supporting Tobacco Control, whether by voicing active agreement or simply by their silence, and will recognise, too, that the only way not to have to lie on this particular bed is to go back and re-make it again from scratch. And, that, I’m afraid, involves tackling it right back from where it began – with anti-smoking and the smoking ban.

      • Frank Davis says:

        It’s surprising how quickly drinkers have forgotten that, not so long ago, drink was demonised just as much as smoking is now.

        Back in the 1950s my mother used to recount tales of numerous relatives (going back several generations) who had drunk themselves to death, or spent their entire fortune on booze, or become incurable alcoholics, or all three. Drinking alcohol was a terrible vice that could (and did) wreck lives and families. My mother would implore me, using her special imploring look, to be careful not to go the way of our alcoholic ancestors.

        At the same time, my grandfather would drink just one small bottle of Pale Ale at lunchtime. Just one. One day my mother told me that he also kept a bottle of vodka in the cupboard with his Pale Ale bottles, and that one day she’d seen him – with her very own eyes – topping up his glass of Pale Ale with vodka. Having heard all the awful stories of our family’s losing war with the bottle, I thought it probably wasn’t going to be long before Grandpop succumbed as well.

        However nobody batted an eyelid that Grandpop also smoked 20 or 30 cigarettes a day.

        I think now that the 1950s saw the very tail end of (or maybe the final reverberations of) an intense, scaremongering, anti-alcohol crusade that had brought Prohibition in the USA, and also very strong campaigning against alcohol in Britain.

        After the 1950s, I never heard of it again. My mother would enjoy a few drinks, much like anyone else – perhaps because my father always kept a well-stocked bar (in defiance, I came to think later, of the earlier prohibitionists).

        But it’s all coming back now. Drinkers won’t know what hit them.

        • jaxthefirst says:

          “But it’s all coming back now. Drinkers won’t know what hit them.”

          Unless they start listening to those people who have been there much more recently than your grandparents’ generation, of course. If they do that, they’ll know exactly what’s around the corner and how to counter it when it comes. But if they don’t …

        • prog says:

          Indeed – alcohol is and always has been the main target. And it’s very definitely not about health.

  3. harleyrider1978 says:

    Frank this is one weve all seen before but its worthy of a repost with todays blog entry and lets the obese know they are the new smokers all the way to banning them from public places!

    Mississippi Legislature
    2008 Regular Session
    House Bill 282
    House Calendar | Senate Calendar | Main Menu
    Additional Information | All Versions

    Current Bill Text: |

    Description: Food establishments; prohibit from serving food to any person who is obese.

    Background Information:
    Disposition: Active
    Deadline: General Bill/Constitutional Amendment
    Revenue: No
    Vote type required: Majority
    Effective date: July 1, 2008

    History of Actions:
    1 01/25 (H) Referred To Public Health and Human Services;Judiciary B

    —– Additional Information —–

    House Committee: Public Health and Human Services*, Judiciary B

    Principal Author: Mayhall
    Additional Authors: Read, Shows

    Title: AN ACT TO PROHIBIT CERTAIN FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS FROM SERVING FOOD TO ANY PERSON WHO IS OBESE, BASED ON CRITERIA PRESCRIBED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH; TO DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT TO PREPARE WRITTEN MATERIALS THAT DESCRIBE AND EXPLAIN THE CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING WHETHER A PERSON IS OBESE AND TO PROVIDE THOSE MATERIALS TO THE FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS; TO DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT TO MONITOR THE FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS FOR COMPLIANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

    Of course it didnt pass but it was done by a few politicians to show just how far these progressives would be willing to go with the anti-obesity agenda. I personally talked to Mayhill the bills author. Seems he and Haley Barbour the then Gov wanted to make a statment and put these anti-obesity regressives in their place with tha above bill……It did make national news for quite awhile in 08!

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    If we add up how many enemies these progressives have made

    add smokers and obese together……..quite a chilling number of victims and allies combined ehh!

  5. waltc says:

    If this link is still good, it’ll show you how as US smoking rates went down, obesity went up in direct inverse proportion. This, you could say, is the almost literal “elephant in the room.”

    If link doesn’t work here’s the first and last entries:
    1983: 30% smoked 58% were classified as overweight and 15% as obese
    2006 22% smoked 83% were overweight and 39% were obese.

    http://sev.prnewswire.com/health-care-hospitals/20060309/NYTH08909032006-1.html

    IOW, I believe obesity has been caused by TC.

    • jaxthefirst says:

      Precisely. It’s the biggest thorn in Tobacco Control’s side that the vast majority of people put on weight virtually the second they stop smoking, and not just a “few pounds” either, as the antis would have us believe – as the evidence of our own eyes will tell us.

      Ditto SIDS – there was a similarly shocking correlation between the greatest and swiftest rise in the UK of the number of cot deaths and the sharpest and most dramatic decline in the number of people smoking – a trend which only stopped when – hey presto! – the number of people giving up smoking started to plateau out. Coincidence in either case? I don’t think so.

      But, like the drinkers I mention in my comment above, overweight people remain oblivious to this, surely most obvious, cause for their extra poundage, even when they themselves have given up smoking and ballooned to several stones heavier than their original weight. There are still some chubsters out there who feel that they can look down on slender, lithe smokers and wheeze smugly: “Well, at least I don’t smoke.” They, like drinkers, are going to have to lose that particular attitude and start eating humble pie (as opposed to just eating pie – ha! ha!) and join forces with the smokers if they are to avoid the State-sponsored prejudice which awaits them.

      But until they do this then as far as I’m concerned, the overweight, along with non-smoking drinkers and vapers, are on their own on this one. Just like we were, thanks to them.

    • Klaus K says:

      @ waltc – You are not the only one who believe this, but of course: The anti-smoking lobby and their sponsors (the big pharmaceuticals) are not too pleased with being confronted with the fact that they have kickstarted a new, and bigger “public health problem”:

      http://www.unc.edu/~mnoguchi/Hubbard_SmokingPaper.pdf

      http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/148/9/821.long

      http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB4549/index1.html

      Quitting smoking doubles your risk for getting diabetes type 2:

      http://edition.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/01/04/diabetes.smoking.risks/index.html

      … so Johnson, Pfizer etc. can bully smokers to quit & push them on to Nicorette / Champix first – and then sell them diabetes medicine afterwards … What a business model

      • beobrigitte says:

        … so Johnson, Pfizer etc. can bully smokers to quit & push them on to Nicorette / Champix first

        This would explain:

        http://blog.rursus.de/2012/09/pharmariese-pfizer-spendet-2-8-millionen-dollar-an-anti-raucher-organisationen-die-gegen-elektrische-zigaretten-auftreten/

        Pfizer donates 2.8 million dollar to anti-smoking organisations who veto against e-cigarettes.

        I wondered, why……

        • Klaus K says:

          No more wondering, right? ;) The so-called Big Pharma is keeping their competitors out of business: E-cigarettes and also the Swedish snus. They want you to stop smoking with their own thing: Nicorette. Big Pharma companies have also lobbied the smoking bans through the governments. They have paid the “charities” huge amonuts to act as their frontgroups. They are in fact the real (but hidden) enemy, since most of the “science” since 1991 – of passive smoking & higher cigarette taxes – was paid by them (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – majority owner of Johnson & Johnson & Nicorette). The smoking ban was not possible without the huge financial support of Johnson, while Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis officially joined the wagon with WHO in 1999:

          http://who.int/inf-pr-1999/en/pr99-04.html (Pharmacia = Pfizer)

          It should be noted that these companies also sell other medicine, like antidepressants and diabetes medicine as noted earlier. Both have had a huge run-ups after the smoking bans … so Big Pharma is doing great. They love recession & bans :)

  6. XX But a few years ago, the Johnson foundation, based in Princeton, N.J., added another target to its mission, pledging to spend $500 million in five years to battle childhood obesity. XX

    Good piece of evidence when dissabusing the anti-everything-nazis that their theory that “the slippery slope” does not exist, is a load of bullshit.

  7. Margo says:

    Very interesting posts. Why is it harder for ‘obese’ women? That’s a ‘feminist history’ question and easily answered: because historically men are valued mainly for what they achieve, while women are valued mainly for what they look like. Obviously, there are exceptions, but this is generally the rule.
    I’ve always felt that both the obesity and the alcohol ‘epidemics’ have been directly caused by TC.

    Another consequence: I’ve just fallen for a scam. E-CIGSBRAND.COM. They advertise (a pop-up) a ‘trial starter pack’ at £6.99. After you’ve ordered it, you discover from the small print that you are going to be continuously and regularly charged quite large amounts for ‘replacement filters’, and that if you cancel within 15 days you will be charged the ‘full price’ for your starter pack. This is made clearer on their main website, but it’s not mentioned in the pop-up ad. The firm’s UK phone number is ‘unobtainable’ and, according to the police, whom I’ve contacted and who are now investigating, their UK postal code is non-existent.
    So far, this firm has taken £6.99 from my bank account and sent me no goods.
    Why did I impulsively decide to try an e-cig? Well, I thought it might be a help in those situations where I wasn’t allowed to smoke.

    • Frank Davis says:

      That’s a ‘feminist history’ question and easily answered: because historically men are valued mainly for what they achieve, while women are valued mainly for what they look like

      I think it’s a bit more than that. Women are also profoundly valued as mothers, confidants, carers, and much more. And I came to believe that it was personality rather than appearance that mattered most (to me, at least). A woman can be dazzlingly good-looking, but if she’s got nothing to say, the attraction soon wears off. Well, that’s what I found…

      • Margo says:

        You’re a sensible, intelligent man, that’s why you’ve found that!
        You’re not a man who would sack a great TV newsreader or presenter because she was losing her ‘looks’.
        Yes, motherhood and caring have always been valued in women. The trouble for most women starts when the kids don’t need so much any more (age 5 or so) and the mother would like a decent career. That’s when she tends to find out about the ‘glass ceiling’ etc, etc. and that (depending on the job) the ‘beautiful’ women are getting more opportunities. Honestly, it’s true.

      • She also has to have an I.Q at LEAST trebble her shoe size. (Continental sizes at, on average 42/43)

    • jackiec06 says:

      Oh, Margo, so sorry you got cheated by this scum! Glad you contacted the police! Can your bank help you by reversing the charge since you haven’t received the product? There are lots of good e-cig vendors in the UK — if you’d like I could give you a couple of links to check out.

    • Walt says:

      If they took it from your bank account, close the account and open a new one. If they took it from your credit card, report it to the card company as fraud (you’ll get your 7 pounds back) cancel your card and get a new one. Don’t mess around with this. It might involve identity theft.

  8. Greg Burrows says:

    Junican you said we have no legal obligation to follow the WHO FCTC, as this treaty has been ratified ( formally approved and invested with legal authority) we are under a legal obligation to follow it, as plain packaging is now part of the treaty we are legally obliged to follow that as well, here is the WHO FCTC document.

    http://www.smoke-free.ca/plain-packaging/documents/2011/FCTC.pdf

    Sorry of the thread Frank.

  9. garyk30 says:

    Overweight and obesity are determined by using BMI’s.

    But, There is a sliding scale for how BMI’s are interpreted.

    For those under the age of 65, a ‘normal BMI’ is 18-24.9.

    For those over the age of 65, a ‘normal BMI’ is 23-29.9.

    I have not been able to find the precise BMI’s for overweight and obese for the over 65′s.

    If one considers how many people are over 65 and how many of them are classified as overweight/obese by using the under 65 scale; we find that, the size of the overweight/obese epidemic may be vastly over-stated.

    In 1998, the overweight/obese BMI standards were lowered and 30 million more Americans became overweight or obese overnight.
    In 1998, overnight, I went from normal BMI to overweight BMI with out gaining a pound.

    In 2008, I turned 65.
    In 2008, overnight, I went from overweight BMI to normal BMI without losing a pound.

    Sometimes there is magic in the air!!

    Just a bit more, there is also a diabetes epidemic going on.

    http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/08/08/among-diabetes-patients-obese-outlive-trim/

    People with Type 2 diabetes who are relatively trim may not live as long as people with the condition who carry extra weight, a new study finds.

    In the study, people with diabetes who were of normal weight at the time of their diagnosis were about twice as likely to die from any cause over a 10- to 30-year period than those who were overweight or obese at diagnosis.

    • Margo says:

      Oh God, is that true about the higher BMI for over-65s? I thought I was ‘normal’ and I’m not, then. Mine’s only 18 and I’m 70. I come from a family where the women get thinner and thinner as they age – all of them, whether they smoke or not. It’s the gradual loss of muscle that does it.
      I’ve got a friend whose family goes the opposite way and whose doctor has mentioned the word ‘obese’. I’d call her ‘comfortable and cuddly’. She’s lovely. She smokes and drinks as well. So, what’s going to be next on the list?

  10. mikef317 says:

    Frank, OT, something I think you need to fix on your blogroll. Harley’s comments had a number of links to Clearing The Air. You have this but your link goes back to a single 2009 post.

    http://cleanairquality.blogspot.com/ should open the home page. There’s lots of good information on Robert Wood Johnson, and also indoor air ventilation. If you view the author’s profile, he has several other blogs. By the way, he’s a non-smoker.

    More on topic, like you, I’ve always eaten as much as I like whenever I like, and I’ve always been (depending on choice of words) either normal lite or skinny.

    I sometimes think half of America is on the latest weird diet. I’ve known “overweight” people who could probably tell you the number of calories in a single string bean. But diets never did them any good for any length of time. Body Mass Index is junk; there are lots of “obese” athletes earning millions of dollars a year for their physical attributes. Ditto male movie stars. I could see several hundred pounds causing medical issues, but (at a guess) 40 or 50 pounds (assuming a person cares) is more cosmetic than life threatening.

    Suppose I decided to GAIN weight. Could I? On holidays or special occasions, I MIGHT “stuff” myself, but mostly I eat a “comfortable” amount. But suppose, daily, I decided to eat more and more. I suspect I’d start vomiting (which I’d prefer to avoid). At very least, I think I’d soon find that I lacked the “will power” to gain weight. (Not that I’d try – I don’t consider my body “broke,” so I’m not inclined to “fix” it.)

    And maybe non-smokers who want to lose weight should take up cigarettes; there does appear to be an association between smoking and fewer pounds.

    A slight familiarity with the paintings of Peter Paul Rubens suggests that the modern “I’ve just spent three hours at the gym” body (unpolluted by tobacco, alcohol, or junk food) is some (eugenic?) ideal that SOME (crazy?) people want to impose on the entire human race.

    Sort of on topic (and I know this has been a problem in England) the U.S. government passed a law to insure that schools serve children “healthy” lunches. Not too surprisingly, the kids are more sensible than the legislature; many go hungry rather than eat what they’re offered.
    .

    http://overlawyered.com/2012/09/the-school-lunch-program-flop/

    Meanwhile, in New York City, Michael Bloomberg has decided that if you VISIT a hospital to see a sick friend or relative the food you can buy on premises (for your own consumption) must be “healthy.” (Smuggle in fish and chips to your friend / relative; I’m sure they’d appreciate it; and I suspect a good meal [as opposed to truly awful “hospital food”] would help their recovery.)

    http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/25/14093985-no-more-snickers-junk-food-may-be-banned-in-nyc-hospitals?lite (Comments are allowed; I haven’t read many.)

    • Frank Davis says:

      A slight familiarity with the paintings of Peter Paul Rubens

      Well, exactly!

      And Leonardo’s Mona Lisa wasn’t exactly eye-catching either (in my opinion).

      Same goes for movie stars. The glamour girls of the 20s and 30s all seem a bit dull to me. I find it a bit strange that it seems to have been only in the past 50 or 60 years that really beautiful women have made their appearance. Like, oh, Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Julie Christie, and more recently Jennifer Aniston, to name but a few. It seems there simply weren’t any beautiful women before 1950 or so.

      But this must be an illusion. Women are probably no more or less beautiful than ever. It’s simply that ideals of beauty are always changing (both in women and in men). Rubens’ fat ladies were what was regarded as beautiful in his time. And Mona Lisa in Leonardo’s. But if you looked like Jennifer Aniston or Julie Christie back then, your mother would probably wonder who would ever marry an ugly girl like you.

  11. mikef317 says:

    beobrigitte – I’m putting this here rather than above because that comment got convoluted.

    I spent my entire adolescence being very mad at Hugh Hefner. There was the ideal Playmate body – 36 / 24 / 36 (or was the first 38? and why would I want a playmate rather than an adult female?). At any rate, if I could get a 100 women and tape measure their bodies (no comment!) I’d find that their hips are an inch or two wider than their bust. Which is fine with me; that’s the way most women are built – 34 / 24 / 36.

    Silicon and plastic surgery not counted, women come in all shapes and sizes (as do men). Decades ago I read a good deal of science (which I accepted as science) about female “body image.” Much more than men, women have some ideal physical shape they THINK they should have – but never CAN have. (Basically, the ideal is simply something DIFFERENT from any particular woman’s specific body shape.)

    Men (and let any male reader object) are like puppies. Pat us on the head, tell us we’re good boys, toss us an occasional dog biscuit, and MAYBE (if you’re in the mood) allow us some intimate contact with your body, and TRUST ME, for most men, there will be no complaints about the lack of huge breasts.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Men (and let any male reader object) are like puppies. Pat us on the head, tell us we’re good boys, toss us an occasional dog biscuit, and MAYBE (if you’re in the mood) allow us some intimate contact with your body, and TRUST ME, for most men, there will be no complaints about the lack of huge breasts.

      The first question would be: do you expect to be treated like a pet?

      Silicon and plastic surgery not counted, women come in all shapes and sizes (as do men).

      We all sure do! And – at the age of 55 I am still happy with mine. Who needs big breasts or perfect thighs when you have a personality? (My bosses often state that I should show less of it as it makes their life into a continuous headache……….)

  12. garyk30 says:

    You can not have a perfect body.
    I guess there is a limit to what can be ‘photo-shopped’ enough?

    http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/09/27/who-knew-even-supermodels-use-body-doubles/?intcmp=features

    Who knew? Even supermodels use body doubles!!

    Indeed while we constantly hear about actors and actresses and their body doubles, it turns out even supermodels, who earn their living based solely on their perfect bodies and faces, often use doubles with even more flawless bodies and skin.

  13. harleyrider1978 says:

    RED ALERT

    Taxes Without Borders
    World Health Organization mulling global cigarette tax

    http://freebeacon.com/taxes-without-borders/

    Taxes Without Borders
    World Health Organization mulling global cigarette tax

    WHO
    BY: CJ Ciaramella
    September 27, 2012 5:00 am
    The World Health Organization (WHO) is considering a global excise tax of up to 70 percent on cigarettes at an upcoming November conference, raising concerns among free market tax policy analysts about fiscal sovereignty and bureaucratic mission creep.

    In draft guidelines published this September, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control indicated it may put a cigarette tax on the table at its November conference in Seoul, Korea.

    “First we had doctors without borders,” said David Williams, president of the Taxpayer Protection Alliance. “Now you could have taxes without borders. … This is a new frontier in taxes. If they’re successful with this, consumers and taxpayers should be concerned about what’s coming down the pipe.”

    Although WHO does not have any power to mandate taxes on sovereign nations, it is considering two proposals on cigarette taxes to present to member countries. The first would be an excise tax of up to 70 percent.

    “The concept was initially proposed by a working group set up by World Bank to explore innovative sources of financing health care and envisions a voluntary action by interested governments to adopt an additional tax levy as part of their regular tobacco excise on each pack of cigarettes consumed,” the WHO said in a January statement. “This would increase the effective excise tax rate on cigarettes towards the WHO recommended level of 70 percent of the retail price and, by generating substantial revenues, could ensure a sustainable revenue stream for financing international health.”

    The second proposal is a tiered earmark on packs of cigarettes: 5 cents for high-income countries, 3 cents for middle-income countries, and 1 cent for low-income countries.

    WHO has estimated that such a tax in 43 selected high-/middle-/low-income countries would generate $5.46 billion in tax revenue.

    “Cynically, the earmark tax is a smart move for the WHO because it’s tiered,” Williams said. “It’s a good way of buying votes in support. We see the same thing in the U.S. in the form of donor states and recipient states.”

    Whichever option the WHO ends up backing, “they’re both two big, bad ideas,” said Daniel Mitchell, a senior tax policy fellow at the Cato Institute. Free-market tax policy analysts such as Mitchell and Williams have long argued against such taxes on tobacco, saying they are regressive, ineffective, and counter-productive.

    Cigarette taxes hit low-income people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one third of Americans earning less than $15,000 per year are smokers, compared with only 11 percent of those earning more than $50,000 annually. Since cigarette taxes are fixed and not based on ability to pay, they necessarily consume a higher percentage of low incomes.

    Critics also argue such a tax increase will not generate more revenue, but push more sales to the black market and counterfeit cigarette producers.

    “It’s already huge problem,” Mitchell said. “In many countries, a substantial share of cigarettes are black market or counterfeit. They put it in a Marlboro packet, but it’s not a Marlboro cigarette. Obviously it’s a big thing for organized crime.”

    By some estimates, counterfeit cigarette factories in China churn out 400 billion cigarettes annually.

    The other concern is mission creep. Tobacco, Mitchell says, is easy to vilify, making it an attractive beachhead from which to launch future vice tax initiatives.

    WHO says the “global tobacco epidemic” kills nearly 6 million people each year; 600,000 of these are people exposed to second-hand smoke.”

    Update 10:20 A.M.: “The increase of the price of tobacco by national authorities through higher excise taxes is the single most effective way to encourage tobacco users to quit and prevent children from starting to smoke. In addition, it increases the revenue of governments without increasing illicit trade of tobacco,” said Tarik Jasarevic, a WHO spokesman.

    “During the Conference of the Parties (COP5) of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) from 12-17 November in Seoul, the Parties will discuss draft guidelines on Article 6 of the Framework Convention. While the outcome of the discussion cannot be foreseen, Article 6 talks about ‘Price and tax measures to reduce the demand for tobacco.’ It links taxation to the curbing of demand, but does not relate to fiscal benefits. Such fiscal benefits from taxation are not being discussed during COP5. Further, implementation of national tax policies remains the full sovereign right of the Parties.”

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