On Dick Puddlecote’s recommendation, I read this. I’ve added emphases in the following passages:
…The reality is that we have only recently left the opening phase when it comes to tobacco product use, and the tobacco control people discovered, “Hey, wait a minute, I don’t know how to play this game when my opponents are acting freely. I just memorized some opening scripts. Help!” In particular, they are discovering that their script — which goes: propagandize, vilify and punish all product users in any way you can think of, and assume you will get impunity for doing so — no longer works in the e-cigarette era.
This brings us back to Bates’s post, in which he catalogs the “endgame” proposals. Most of them consist of punishing tobacco product users even more, by forcing prices to rise or the quality of the products to be lowered. Bates points out both practical problems with these plans (black markets, and such) and the ethical dubiousness. By what right do the endgamers presume that imposing such force on free people is acceptable? We have no idea. They never say. Never. They just pretend that their tobacco control enterprise does not face major ethical challenges. They act as if they have divine mandate.
That brings up the Islamic State analogy. Bates invokes Islamic State’s anti-tobacco approach a couple of times. Now one might worry that bringing up the Islamic State in a political debate is 2015’s version of invoking Nazi Germany, which is almost guaranteed to hurt your credibility. But Bates pulls it off because it is a direct analogy. He points out that punishing people for choosing to use tobacco is exactly Islamic State’s approach, and it required horrifically harsh punishments, and yet they still could not make it work. Yet the endgamers are so out of touch with reality that they think this is a good approach. Indeed, Ruth Malone (editor of Tobacco Control) among others, took to Twitter to praise Islamic State for pursuing beheading-based anti-tobacco policies, and lamented when they backed off. When you start feeling all right about “this choice might kill you, so we must stop you from making it, even if we have to kill you ourselves to do so”, it is probably time to rethink your life’s work.
It goes on:
Tobacco control tactics consist primarily of punishing (i.e., intentionally hurting) people — via taxes, place restrictions, social vilification, imposed shame, etc. — despite the professed goal of helping those same people.
I added the emphases because I’ve said myself enough times that smoking bans and tax hikes are ways of punishing smokers, and it’s refreshing to see somebody else saying the same thing.
But, because the author is in Tobacco Harm Reduction, he goes on to suggest…
…encouraging everyone to use low-risk products so that the downsides are eliminated while everyone remains happy.
And this was where I parted company. Because Tobacco Harm Reduction supposes that there is something harmful about tobacco. And I increasingly think that tobacco is completely harmless. And is not only completely harmless, but has many benefits. Which is why people smoke.
Ten years of antismoking blitzkrieg haven’t had the effect of making me worry more and more about smoking (as it did with many of my former friends), but has instead had the effect of making me worry less and less.
There’s much the same effect with alcohol, sugar, salt, butter, and all the rest of it. I worry less about them too. The more these people shriek about the dangers of smoking, drinking, eating, the less I listen to them.
And once you know that these people are busily thinking up ways to demonise, exclude, and punish smokers – which is a terrible thing to do -, is there really any need to even bother to look at any of their ‘research’? Or, to put it another way, was it really necessary, after Auschwitz, to pay any attention whatsoever to Nazi racial theories, or set out to refute it, once you know where it led.
As far as I can see, nobody ever tried to refute Nazi racial theory, because it simply died a death after it became clear where it had led. Nobody continued to teach or argue for it. A few months ago, I did a web search for Nazi Racial Theory, and found… …nothing.
And I think exactly the same is going to happen to Tobacco Control. Once it becomes clear just what an enormous social, economic, and political crime they have committed in their witch hunt against the quarter of the world’s population who are smoke tobacco, Tobacco Control’s antismoking research (and its present impunity) will go the same way as the Nazis and their racial theory. They will vanish overnight.
There just needs to be an event that is the equivalent of the day when allied troops captured Dachau, and what had been hidden made headline news around the world, and prompted the authoring thereafter of countless memoirs of inmates’ experiences. It will be an event – a turning point – that will draw the world’s attention to something that has been going on under their noses for a very long time, and it will bring a long-overdue revulsion.