Clueless Global Thought Leaders

I’ve continued reading essays in the Tobacco Endgame today, and reflecting upon what I’ve read.

I think it’s a bit optimistic, even grandiose, of them to think in terms of ‘endgame’. It rather suggests that they think the game is more or less over, and they’ve as good as won, and it’s just a matter of rounding up the few remaining smokers before inaugurating their Fabled Smoke-free World. In reality, chess endgames are as frequently lost as they are won.

But they are confident in the vastly inflated opinion they have of themselves. Kenneth Warner of the University of Michigan refers at one point to “some of the world’s most brilliant tobacco control scholars,” and also even “visionaries” and “visionary organisations.” Not to be outdone, Mitch Zeller mentions “ a group of global thought leaders” who gathered to ponder over the endgame. You’d almost think that Tobacco Control was a sort of glittering Royal Society of towering intellects, with Stan Glantz, American Legacy Foundation Distinguished Professor of Tobacco Control at the University of California, as its Isaac Newton, and Robbie Proctor of Stanford University as its Robert Hooke and Debbie Arnott of ASH as its Marie Curie – brilliant visionary members of a scholarly organisation leading global thought, brilliantly.

But it gradually emerges from these essays that these brilliant and visionary scholars are a bit stuck. And the trouble basically is that after 50 years of brilliant and visionary success in fighting tobacco, they haven’t a clue what to do next. As Elizabeth A Smith of the University of California, San Francisco, puts it in the opening essay:

The need for an endgame comes from the recognition that we do not have to accept the industrial marketing of tobacco, and that current policies—successful as they have often been—will likely not make the tobacco problem disappear. Those policies were never intended to eliminate the tobacco industry; the best case scenario they offer involves endless skirmishes with the industry’s ongoing attempts to expand its markets and thwart regulation. Discussion of an endgame can inspire new visions of the possible.

These new visions will come with new challenges…

And that’s what these essays are all about: the search for new visions. The visionaries are looking for new visions. You’d have thought that one or two of these numerous scholarly visionaries would have at least a couple of visions they could rub together. Isn’t that how visionaries are?

There are a number of suggestions, including Robert Proctor’s advocacy of tobacco prohibition. There’s also the idea of gradually removing nicotine from tobacco. Introducing gradually decreasing quota restrictions on tobacco supplies.  Precluding the sale and supply of tobacco to individuals born after a certain year. And so on. I was a bit surprised that nobody was suggesting simply gassing all the smokers. Or perhaps they’re waiting for one of their many global thought leaders to suggest it.

There’s also a sense of growing discord in the Tobacco Control community – visionary scholars falling out with global thought leaders, so to speak – . As Lynn T Kozlowski of the University at Buffalo puts it:

…many experts hold different views on addiction as a target of intervention. Some consider tobacco-caused addiction as a tobacco-caused disease to be eliminated alongside the other diseases. Some consider tobacco-caused addiction as a much lower priority disease to be eliminated, and a subset of this group is prepared to employ addiction to tobacco (nicotine) as a tool to reduce other tobacco-caused disease. These varying attitudes towards ending, controlling or employing tobacco addiction to reduce damage from tobacco use constitute quite different approaches to tobacco control and cause conflict among those in tobacco control.

Not at all the right set of circumstances, or the right frame of mind, to be entering a tricky chess endgame.

It’s as if their army has lost its glittering field-marshals – the Dolls and Godbers – and the general staff were now squabbling among themselves like Alexander’s generals after his death.

Looking on from the opposing side, it’s my opinion that we are nowhere near any sort of endgame at all, and that the real battle has hardly begun. In fact, I might even evoke the spirit of John Paul Jones, when asked to surrender his ship:

I have not yet begun to fight!”

Tobacco Control continues to think that its singular enemy is “the industry”, by which they mean the tobacco companies. They have failed to notice that in recent years they have made a great many more enemies – to wit, the 1.5 billion smokers in the world that they have now set out to exclude, exile, demonise, and insult along with the tobacco companies.

There is no sign at all, in any of these essays, of any of these visionary scholars and global thought leaders actually considering what smokers might be thinking or planning or doing. In this respect, they are victims of their own prejudiced view of smokers as being less than fully human, and more or less dumb animals addicted to cigarettes, and incapable of independent thought or action.

But it’s my view that it will be these slowly gathering legions of angry smokers which will prove decisive in the coming years. And they have indeed not yet begun to fight. But Tobacco Control nevertheless remains fixated upon “the industry”, and locked into an obsolete paradigm.

Success has gone to their heads. And they have come to regard themselves as invincible. As a result, they have rashly over-extended themselves, and made far too many new enemies. And now, they’re looking for the secret weapon which will deliver the ‘knock-out punch’ that will bring ‘final victory’ and ‘the end of the endgame’.

I doubt they’ll ever find it. And I suspect that it’s going to be downhill all the way for them now.

About Frank Davis

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16 Responses to Clueless Global Thought Leaders

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    There success Frank lies only in their political power,its the socialist side of them and their party that has brought this about and a bunch of conservative liberals as I see it. The idea of a UN treaty that was suppose to be binding isnt really that binding. When we look at Greece,spain,Portugal and a hundred others the governments were forced to invoke a ban before they could get bailout funds and that was the threat used to get them to sign onto the FCTC treaty to begin with. Out and Out BLACKMALE!

    End game talk is likely a codex word for what the hell else can we do nothing is working at all!
    1 smoking rates are increasing globally
    2 the Blackmarkets are shredding the revenue man to pieces and the costs of enforcement add to that loss.
    3 as Youve shown pissed off smokers,but its not just them its everybody has been messed with by these Health Nazis
    4 No doubt the governments are tired of all the Lobbying constantly and never satisfied.
    Its governments that get tired of all the trash TC dumps and demands that will do them in!

    It simply cant continue,we see TC constantly making up some sort of new junk study to show that their bans work or their other trumped up social experiments they do on smokers works. We know its all junk science and we spend hours daily spreading and destroying their latest round of media blitzes……….In fact its because they have to create positive news about the bans that its actually a failure…………..

    These bans have historically only had a life of 10-15 years but thats before the Internet was here. Today we can fight their Bullshit as it hits the screen. It doesnt have time to settle into the mind of anyone before weve hit it. Being able to rapidly respond to all their latest claims is a weapon no other generation has had before.

    We will win in the end we always have. Its just they are likely destroying themselves more than anything we could do and we do a fine job destroying them.

    The END GAME is likely their ENDING………….No government is going to lose its GOLDEN GOOSE…….TOBACCO REVENUE!

  2. waltc says:

    Brilliantly written editorial, Frank, and I wish you could get it published in one of those papers or magazines you don’t read.

    Meanwhile, I veer off topic to post this find about a Boston endgame of another sort.

    This is an astonishingly good (and very long– keep scrolling and scrolling) account with stunning photos of the Watertown Waterloo, from which I pull this excerpt (about which I could further editorialize but won’t–, oh hell, I will. I.E. ponder why the guy had to go outside) but here’s why I’ve tentatively titled this “The Cigarette That Saved Boston.”

    “A resident in his 60s, believed to be called David Hanneberry, reportedly went outside to smoke and saw the tarpaulin cover of his boat was disturbed off the top.

    Checking to see what was wrong, he investigated and saw Dzhokhar Tsarnaev curled-up inside covered in blood.

    He then ‘freaked out’ and ran inside to call police…”

    http://tinyurl.com/d7foh7s

    • beobrigitte says:

      ….went outside to smoke and saw the tarpaulin cover of his boat was disturbed off the top.

      Funnily enough, the BBC News did not cover this bit…..

      • roobeedoo2 says:

        The Daily Mail initially reported that he stepped outside when the curfew lifted for ‘some fresh air’. And that he’s a hero. Can’t have a hero that smokes.

  3. George Speller says:

    “they are victims of their own prejudiced view” touches on one of my favourite themes; the Soviet wheat crop failed disastrously because Soviets could not bring themselves to believe in Darwinism for political reasons. The Nazis (the original ones, not TC) obviously couldn’t take Einstein’s theories into account and consequently failed to develop an atom bomb. Every group has its blind spot.

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    From Dick Puddlecoats blog…….lmao

    Breaking News++ Tobacco Control Discover That Consumers React To Price Increases!

    Posted: 19 Apr 2013 04:10 AM PDT
    Amazing stuff from Anna “gissa grant” Gilmore. Ground-breaking, in fact.

    The study also found that the market share of lower-priced cigarettes tended to grow over time. That suggests some consumers shifted to the cheaper smokes as the price of high-end products rose. So rather than being enticed to quit because of the price hike in their favourite cigarettes, they simply shifted brands.

    Ya’ don’t fucking say!

    D’you think she might have just discovered a thing called consumer economics? Next she’ll be working out – a first for tobacco control – that tax rises lead to an increase in the black market!

    Genius, isn’t she? A Nobel Prize surely awaits.

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    Pleasure center science…………Junk Science that just wont die

    Just a taste of beer might hook you, study says
    The flavor of beer, without any effect from alcohol, can trigger the release of dopamine.

    The study found that a beer’s flavor alone, without any effect from alcohol, can lead the brain to release dopamine, a chemical associated with pleasure and reward. It is also associated with drinking and drug abuse.

    Previous research suggests that sensory cues (smells and tastes) associated with drug intoxication can provoke dopamine transmission.

    Researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis set out to measure the dopamine response from the taste of beer. They tested 49 men who tasted their preferred beer and Gatorade. The liquids, which were sprayed into the men’s mouths, were delivered in a small amount — 15 milliliters over 15 minutes. This method enabled the men to taste the beer without causing a detectable blood-alcohol level.

    Positron emission tomography scans showed significantly more dopamine activity after tasting the beer than after tasting the sports drink.

    “We believe this is the first experiment in humans to show that the taste of an alcoholic drink alone, without any intoxicating effect from the alcohol, can elicit this dopamine activity in the brain’s reward centers,” says David Kareken, a senior author of the study.

    The dopamine response was most pronounced in the men with a family history of alcoholism.

    This result suggests the release of dopamine in response to such alcohol-related cues may be an inherited risk factor for alcoholism, adds Kareken, a professor in the IU School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology.

    Another finding was that men reported a greater craving for beer after tasting it. There were no similar responses after tasting the Gatorade, even though many said the sports drink tasted better.

    Kareken, the deputy director of the Indiana Alcohol Research Center, says the research is continuing.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/04/20/taste-beer-dopamine-brain/2092413/

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      pseudo-scientific links lobby

      Every day there seems to be a new study making a link between food, chemicals or lifestyle and ill-health. None of them has any link with reality.

      http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/13287

    • Rose says:

      Gatorade

      “It was created following a request from Florida Gators football head coach Ray Graves to aid athletes by acting as a hydrating replacement for body fluids lost during physical exertion in hot weather. The earliest versions of the beverage consisted of a mixture of water, sodium, sugar, potassium, phosphate, and lemon juice.

      A year after its commercial introduction, S-VC tested multiple variations of the original Gatorade recipe, finally settling on more palatable variants in lemon-lime and orange flavors.

      This reformulation also removed the sweetener cyclamate-which was banned by the FDA in 1969-replacing it with additional fructose”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gatorade

      water, sodium, sugar, potassium, phosphate, and lemon juice

      Beer and Nutrition

      Water 327.4g*
      Calories 153*
      Alcohol 13.9g*
      Protein 1.6g*
      Carbohydrate 12.6g*
      Calcium 14mg
      Magnesium 21mg
      Phosphorous 50mg
      Potassium 96mg
      Sodium 14mg
      Niacin 2mg
      Folate 21mcg

      *Include ales, lagers, porters, premium beers and stouts.
      http://beer.about.com/od/beernutrition/a/beernutrition_2.htm

      You can see why people would enjoy the beer.
      Ignoring the alcohol content, people do seem to prefer things that are good for them.
      I’m sure that using the same test, Gatorade would have been preferred over a glass of water.

    • nisakiman says:

      Aaaah, so that’s why I like beer! And there was I thinking that I liked it because it got me pissed…

  6. beobrigitte says:

    I think it’s a bit optimistic, even grandiose, of them to think in terms of ‘endgame’.

    Perhaps this fictitious “endgame” is supposed to unite tobacco control et al , meaning, that et al has to conform with tobacco control’s ideas.

    Not to be outdone, Mitch Zeller mentions “ a group of global thought leaders“ who gathered to ponder over the endgame.

    Competition amongst anti-smokers is fierce and competitiveness appears to be their other “god”.

    You’d almost think that Tobacco Control was a sort of glittering Royal Society of towering intellects, with Stan Glantz, American Legacy Foundation Distinguished Professor of Tobacco Control at the University of California, as its Isaac Newton

    In which case; just don’t change the laws of physics just yet.

    They are a bit stuck, aren’t they?
    The need for an endgame comes from the recognition that we do not have to accept the industrial marketing of tobacco, and that current policies—successful as they have often been—will likely not make the tobacco problem disappear. Those policies were never intended to eliminate the tobacco industry; the best case scenario they offer involves endless skirmishes with the industry’s ongoing attempts to expand its markets and thwart regulation. Discussion of an endgame can inspire new visions of the possible.

    These new visions will come with new challenges…

    Basically they are becoming aware that their argumentation is overused and shallow. These “new visions” naturally will involve more of tax payers monies for – this time unified – junk research that is then to be spread via the media (Debbie’s job), whilst REAL problems go unheard.

    I was a bit surprised that nobody was suggesting simply gassing all the smokers. Or perhaps they’re waiting for one of their many global thought leaders to suggest it.

    A much better way would be handing out TOBACCO and CIGARETTES. Doesn’t tobacco control claim that “SMOKING KILLS”? Or, is this A LIE?
    What about the “baby-boomer” generation approaching PENSION AGE? EVERY government dreads this…. And, indeed, this is quite a lively generation!

    Looking on from the opposing side, it’s my opinion that we are nowhere near any sort of endgame at all, and that the real battle has hardly begun. In fact, I might even evoke the spirit of John Paul Jones, when asked to surrender his ship:

    “I have not yet begun to fight!”

    This reminds me; Governments these days considering giving in to tobacco control’s lobby work these days better remember this. When is the next election? I cannot wait to put my cross in box which states that I just voted for UKIP. And UKIP best NOT peddle back on the smoking ban amendment issue!

  7. Pingback: The Tobacco Control Cult | Frank Davis

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