Bad Week For Tobacco Control

It’s been a bad week for the righteous warriors of Tobacco Control.

First there was Dick Puddlecote, taking a pot shot at Dr Vivienne Nathanson:

Vivienne Nathanson of the BMA lied on BBC radio. No, really, quite comprehensively in fact.

It’s very easily refuted, though. Because, y’see, she’s head of science and ethics at the BMA, silly! So she couldn’t possibly tell any porkies, could she? And also she’s…

a woman who is not willing to stand by and watch man’s inhumanity to man; a woman who walks on the larger stage to try and make the world a better place.

Case closed, huh!

And then there’s Simon Clark sniffing dirty tricks in the Plain Packs Protect campaign. Seems that, when encouraging people to sign up for the campaign, somebody somewhere told people:

“You can only vote once on each petition, but I would seriously doubt that there will be cross checking between charity petitions so it may be worth signing all of them to get your money’s worth!”

What’s wrong with that? It was no less a figure than London mayor Boris Johnson who encouraged Londoners to “Vote early and vote often!” at the last mayoral elections which returned him to office (no doubt because his supporters took his advice).

Nevertheless, Deborah Arnott FRCP (Hon) described it as “inappropriate and ill-advised” in an email that was unaccountably only sent on the very day that the consultation ended.

Point is that, when you’re fighting something as evil and mendacious as Big Tobacco, you can’t play by Queensbury Rules. The aims of Tobacco Control are pure and noble, and if they have to bend the rules a bit, and tell a few fibs, then they’re pure and noble fibs, told in a good cause, and with a straight face.

So nothing to write home about there either.

And finally there’s John Dalli, the Maltese EU Health Commissioner and antismoking zealot who resigned earlier this week. It seems that some Maltese businessman, a friend of Dalli’s, went to the Swedish Match Company, which sells snus (which are banned everywhere in Europe, except Sweden), and told them that if they coughed up 60 million euros – 10 million up front -, they could have the bans lifted.

Swedish daily Aftonbladet reported that the businessman had asked Swedish Match for 10 million euros in advance and another 50 million once the legislation was changed.

“That’s the kind of sums we are talking about,” Swedish Match spokesman Patrik Hildingsson told Reuters.

A Swedish Match employee met the businessman in Malta after he had sought contact, Hildingsson said.

“The Maltese businessman expressed to us very clearly that he was speaking on behalf of Dalli. He had a manner and information that made us wary,” Hildingsson said.

“He said it was, in principle, political suicide to lift the ban and therefore he wanted money for it, simply put, since the career (of the EU commissioner) would be over afterwards.”

Swedish Match declined the offer and informed the Commission of what had happened, Hildingsson said.

Isn’t that just typical of the underhand methods of Big Tobacco (of which the Swedish Match Company is part, obviously) to go and immediately snitch to teacher? The offer was clearly just an opening bid, and could have been reasonably expected to have been reduced to €20 million or so over the course of negotiations. A lot of people would have to be bought to push through changes in legislation like this. And now they’re not going to get anything.

Anyway, Dalli was given no choice by EU President Manuel Barroso:

During the four o’clock Barroso-Dalli meeting of yesterday (October 16), Barroso asked Dalli to resign, otherwise he threatened that he would dismiss him….

… Dalli asked from Jose Barroso 24 hours to consult with his lawyer and his family. Barroso refused categorically and told him, “you have three quarters of an hour as at 17:00 pm I will issue a press release. You have either to resign or I will dismiss you by five o’clock”.

Call that justice? One hour to pack your bags?

The Maltese Prime Minister, Dr Lawrence Gonzi, (no relation of Carlo Ponzireacted angrily to suggestions that Barroso never wanted Dalli in the EU Commission, despite Dalli’s impeccable record of complete honesty and devoted public service:

The outburst, when it came, was sparked off by a question suggesting that Jose Barroso, the Commission president, had not wanted John Dalli on his team when Malta nominated him, and would have preferred to keep Joe Borg who had been a relative success as Commissioner for Fisheries.

Dr Gonzi denied this and claimed this was all “speculation”, even daring to suggest to the media to keep away from “speculation”. (news update about the baseless speculation)

If that wasn’t enough, all this was followed by a Watergate-style break-in:

Brussels police have swept the offices of two major public health organisations for bugs following a break-in at a building in the rue de Tréves in which laptops and documents relating to their battles against the tobacco industry were stolen.

It is a convenient address for those involved in lobbying and monitoring the European political process, just five minutes walk from the Parliament building, and there are eight floors of well-equipped offices for burglars to investigate. But it appears they were interested only in those of the European Smoke Free Partnership and the European Public Health Alliance on the 5th and 1st floors. A third office – a company that has clients on the other side of the argument – was also entered, but nothing was taken.

The burglars struck within 48 hours of the resignation of the European health commissioner, John Dalli. On Wednesday, he revealed that he had been forced out by commission president José Manuel Barroso over a report by EU anti-fraud investigators accusing a fellow Maltese of attempting to sell influence over the commissioner to a Swedish tobacco company.

Amid the confusion and the denials of wrongdoing on all sides, one thing looks certain – the tough new tobacco products directive that Dalli wanted to launch this autumn will not go ahead on schedule. It may even be stymied for this parliament and pushed back beyond the next elections – or be dead in the water.

Anti-tobacco campaigners are convinced that they are looking at a dirty tricks campaign designed to strangle the new directive (TPD) at birth. But nobody beyond Barroso and a few others knows the strength of the evidence, because Olaf – the EU anti-fraud office – is refusing to release the report that led to Dalli’s downfall. It is now being passed to the Maltese judiciary…

“What we are witnessing is the biggest tobacco industry interference in public health policy at the European level. The backdrop to the burglary at our office is the political scene. We believe that is no coincidence,”

It’s already being dubbed Tobaccogate:

Antismoking campaigners believe the break-ins and the Dalli affair are linked to an alleged dirty tricks campaign by big tobacco to delay further curbs on the industry.

“For me, it’s 100 percent industry-commissioned,” Luk Joossens, a Belgian expert at a cancer-prevention organization, told EUobserver in reaction to the break-ins.

 Well, obviously! There were only a few days left to kill the Tobacco Directive. Cui Bono, as they say in U2.

the Tobacco Directive, which the tobacco industry considers a matter of life and death and wants at any cost to block, is due to go to the final stage of approval and enter into effect on Monday , October 22. Under the circumstances, if John Dalli resigns, the Tobacco Directive process will be delayed for at least two years, if not forgotten, to the great satisfaction of the tobacco industry.

Truth be told though, if Manuel Barroso only had a quarter of an hour to spare for John Dalli, it was probably because he’d been working days and nights to get the EU’s latest press release out the door.


Yes, this time it’s going to be a genuine one,  not a pretend one. Three cheers!

No,  don’t laugh.


About Frank Davis

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22 Responses to Bad Week For Tobacco Control

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    Well gawd only knows how deep the bribery strings go up the EU ladder! This may make Al Capones successful bribery operation in the 1920s and 30s small potatoes as judges,police,congressmen and mayors were bought off as simply a part of doing business! Then came Elliot Ness and the untouchables……………….Then came REPEAL!

  2. harleyrider1978 says:

    OT but you wouldnt believe me if I told ya!

    Something I saw today and took a picture of!

  3. jaxthefirst says:

    Forgive me for being a bit dim here, but why would a dedicated anti-tobacco campaigner want to get a “businessman friend” to negotiate a financial deal with a tobacco-product manufacturer to stymie a directive which, as an anti-smoking zealot, he must surely be desperate to push through? I can see how, swarming with anti-smokers as the EU is, any EU minister challenging (or blocking) the directive might indeed be risking political suicide, and I could understand if the minister in question was a pro-choice one. But given this man’s devoted anti-smoking stance, it seems unlikely that even the lure of some easy money would tempt him from his Chosen Path.

    Was he trying a double-bluff, perhaps? Is that the point that I’m missing here? That he hoped that Swedish Match would take the bait, so that he could then hang them out to dry (and perhaps boost the public’s now-flagging interest in Tobacco Control’s accusations that anyone who disagrees with them is just a Big Tobacco stooge) by insinuating that they’d tried to bribe him of their own volition?

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Unless the curtains fixing to fall on tobacco control at the EU!

    • Frank Davis says:

      But given this man’s devoted anti-smoking stance, it seems unlikely that even the lure of some easy money would tempt him from his Chosen Path.

      It could be that Big Money was always his Chosen Path, and he was just looking for the right time to cash in his chips at the roulette table. And it’s a nice position to be in, to be able to bring in rules and regulations that screw industries like Swedish Match, unless they pay for it to not happen. It’s government as protection racket. And Tobacco Control has always been a protection racket.

      • nisakiman says:

        I’d say that given his form, he’d sell his mother into prostitution if the price was right.

        He doesn’t come across as a man of principle at all, and his anti-tobacco stance is most likely born of simple mean-mindedness. Some people (in fact I think most of the movers and shakers in TCI fall into this category) have as their driving force a desire to deny others of that which they disapprove. There’s no moral principle involved, just a desire for the gratification that wielding power over others provides. In a word, bullying. And most bullies can be bought.

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    Andrew Phillips 8:57am Oct 20

    “The EPA has been caught setting up human experiments where humans are placed in small enclosed rooms and forced to breathe diesel exhaust”.

    These are the same clowns whose rigged ETS report have all the smoking bans being enacted and people segregated, vilified, and property rights ignored in violation of the Nuremberg Protocol.

    Interestingly enough the Nazis used gassing trucks as a forerunner to the final solution. EPA Caught In Secret Human

    The EPA has been caught setting up human experiments where humans are placed in small enclosed rooms…

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Glantz did the same thing with non-smokers for his junk heart disease and shs study!

      Heres what the smoke free groups did to try and prove a connection to heart disease and second hand smoke….

      The “30 minute” experiments that the statement is based on have nothing at all to do with the exposures one might get on a park bench sitting next to a smoker or even with what one would normally get in any decently ventilated bar or restaurant.

      The exposures in the supportive experiments involve smoke concentrations at levels of 400% to 2,000% as high as what used to be measured in the middle of the smoking sections of pressurized airplanes!! (Which used to be held up as one of the worst smoking environments.)

      The experiments take nonsmokers who avoid smoke in all their daily home, social, and working life, force them to sign papers

      acknowledging the “danger” they are about to be put in, and then sealing them in smoke-choked chambers that nonsmokers would run screaming from if they weren’t being paid $100 to endure 30 minutes for science. . . . When the poor souls come stumbling out blood test measurement show small changes that could theoretically relate to heart disease.

      The changes are like ones other experimenters find when they feed subjects a bowl of corn flakes and milk…. but in the kooky world of antismoking research those results get twisted into representing an unusual and deadly threat.

      And remember: they only get those results in EXTREME conditions, nothing like normal restaurant/park or even decent bar/casino exposures. . . . The Antismokers today are lying just like Big Tobacco did back in the 1950s.
      Antismoking extremism needs to be put to rest. Smoking is unhealthy like a lot of other things, but the smoke from burning smokers at the stake smells a lot worse than Newports. . . .

      Cornflakes, White Bread Could Boost Heart Risk
      ‘High-glycemic’ carbs like these hamper blood vessel function, study shows.

      THURSDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) — Eating a diet rich in carbohydrates that boost blood sugar levels — foods such as cornflakes or white bread — may hamper the functioning of your blood vessels and raise your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, a new study suggests.….

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Low levels of exposure, including exposures to secondhand tobacco smoke, lead to a rapid and sharp increase in endothelial dysfunction and inflammation, which are implicated in acute cardiovascular
        events and thrombosis.”

        And when we move beyond fear mongering by half truths, we realize that a hearty thanksgiving dinner, results in identical effects almost universally.

        A big mac, walking from the heat into the cold and a number of other physical activities that require that body to regulate blood flow and heart rate, will also fall into this same category. It is simply your body’s natural defense mechanism working splendidly as it should.

        And that is the health risk?

        Junk Science is what its called! Normal reactions by the body to natural occurring events is what the smokefree insanity has been using to claim second hand smoke causes! Its all pure make believe!

        Mental Stress Induces Transient Endothelial Dysfunction in Humans

        Conclusions—These findings suggest that brief episodes of mental stress, similar to those encountered in everyday life, may cause transient (up to 4 hours) endothelial dysfunction in healthy young individuals. This might represent a mechanistic link between mental stress and atherogenesis.”

        Put anyone who is sufficiently scared by any substance, gas, animal, insect or whatever, in a sealed box with the subject of their distress and you have the result you want.

        Suddenly shouting Boo! behind the researcher will have a similar effect.

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    Armstrong says last few weeks ‘difficult’

    Lantz Armstrong says:

    “There’s 28 million people around the world living with this disease,” Armstrong said. “Thank you for your support.”

    Thats like only .003% of the total world population!

    • Paul Austin says:

      HarleyRider, Glantz Armstrong is toxic now. His anti buddies are slinking away & hiding their association with the arrogant ass. Now that he’s been outted as dope fiend fraud even his former donors are wanting all that sweet cash he’s wheedled out ‘o’ them:

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        It also turns out that the Texas voter approved Cancer research funds are being misapproriated and redirected in Texas as 9 scientists offer up their resignations last week. A certain legislator wants to make sure more of it is spent on ” PREVENTION”. We knew a long time ago when we heard Texas A&M would have to go smokefree or risk losing 175 million dollars in grants! Prevention is simply a codex word for funding tobacco control aka ACS!

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Meant to add Livefree also got a millions of dollars grant from the Texas cancer research funds!

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

    Is England the New Greece

    Tens of thousands rally in London against austerity

    • beobrigitte says:

      I, too, join these demonstrations until the government’s funding for the anti-smokers is cut to zero. Why would I agree to austerity measures when the government has cash to waste on this anti-smoking nonsense?

  7. Messalina says:

    Bad week for Tobacco Control.
    Best news I’ve heard in a long time! So I’m celebrating! Just in time for ‘Octabber’.

  8. prog says:

    ‘Antismoking campaigners believe the break-ins and the Dalli affair are linked to an alleged dirty tricks campaign by big tobacco to delay further curbs on the industry.’

    How the Hell can they suggest that the Dalli affair is part of a tobacco industry conspiracy? It was a tobacco company that blew the whistle by pointing out that it had been approached by Dalli’s pal demanding a 60 million euro bribe.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Its reverse pointing the finger,when your caught dead to rights blame the other guy! I wouldnt doubt those anti-smoking groups broke into their own spaces to try and deflect the finger from themselves and I wouldnt even doubt they come up with some type of blatant conspiracy theory to go along with their outlandish claims!

      • prog says:

        They’re digging a big hole for themselves. I know you’re the resident optimist Harley, but do you really reckon the tide is starting to turn? I’m feeling more hopeful. Nothing was going to be unravelled in the first few years post ban, but we’re seeing more and more negative responses in the media (e.g bans in cars). One thing’s for sure, if they lose the MSM it’ll be game over. Ask any politician (and TC is well and truly a political movement).

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          One has to remember the MSM doesnt play ball for nothing for very long. TC is pretty much busted here in the states. Especially in Kentucky where they had to use media earned airtime from previous block time buys. Then they had nothing left except for politicians of their leftist policies or rinos just to get a local ban thru. Hopkinsville being the latest and that was 6-6 with a leftist mayor breaking the tie. Bans passed with that slim a margin in kentucky generally dont last long say until the next election. But for sure what we have seen is TC pushing the envelope this last year in an all out effort to get as many bans passed as they could. Theyre mentor Obama may well lose this election and with that the TC propagators in the Federal govmnt who have been pushing it thru from the federal level onto the local levels by hook or by crook. Yes,I to feel the tide is turning and when it does it will happen quick,politicl changes do indeed happen overnite and its so comming!

      • Marie Engling says:

        That was my guess too. ;)

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