Dr Neil McKeganey‘s talk:
Among noteworthy various things he said:
“When I moved from the arena of research on illegal drugs to legal drugs, I had not imagined the stranglehold that the Public Health perspective would have on the research which was actually being carried out – a stranglehold which almost structures thought as well as speech, so it becomes unsayable to say certain things about tobacco and about smoking. And I was staggered at how the academic public health community, of which I was a member, had so meekly absorbed the paradigm of Tobacco Control, to the point where they could not ever utter any statements or conceive of alternative ways of exploring smoking behaviour. And that struck me as something one has to challenge…”
Of his research,
“[It] has been regarded as somewhat controversial, to the point that the media would not even cover it.”
On objections to his research, which involved asking smokers what they thought about smoking:
“…[it is] the predominant view of smoking that the health consequences of it are so catastrophic that why on earth would one continue to do it, therefore what’s the point of even asking anyone who is doing it why they’re doing it, because they’re so irrational that they’re not going to tell you anything that approximates to rational thought.”
I thought this was a very valuable insight into the Tobacco Control mindset. They think it’s crazy for anyone to smoke, but I suspect that they only think that because they have uncritically accepted all the antismoking research findings (and probably equally uncritically accept all the UN IPCC climate research findings as well: they unquestioningly accept whatever scientists tell them). And there’s no point in asking crazy people who smoke why they do it, because they’re obviously crazy.
I must say that I have a similar view of people in Tobacco Control: I think they’re all crazy.
“Isn’t that strange? I was writing something the other day, and I was thinking that: on what basis could you exclude people from social gatherings? You couldn’t do it by way of gender. You couldn’t do it by way of sexual preference. You couldn’t do it by race or religion or culture. But you darn well can do it by smoking. And whatever one thinks about that, isn’t it extraordinary that this level of excluding people which we would frown upon in almost any other other area of people’s lives has been embraced in relation to this behaviour. That in a sense shows you just how powerful the Tobacco Control public health perspective has become.”
This won him a round of deserved applause. Smokers are socially excluded in ways that have become impossible, or would be loudly condemned, with other social groups. And here was someone in the academic community who had recognised this curious anomaly. It’s an anomaly that has led me to the conclusion that most Social Justice Warriors are hypocrites: they’ll stand up for gays and lesbians and blacks and women, but they’re completely silent about smokers.
In other matters, from Audrey Silk:
So far we’ve determined that at least three people in the Trump administration have problems with Tobacco Control:
Vice President Mike Pence (wrote an Op-Ed in 2001denigrating them),
HHS Secretary Tom Price (voted against FDA control) and,
I found but never reported here,
Press Secretary Sean Spicer (tried to protect smoking areas when he was in college).
Also, in a round-about way, Trump’s son-in-law and a senior adviser, Jared Kushner, owns the NY-based Observer newspaper whose editors’ denounced HUD’s smoking ban.
We can now add Senior Policy Adviser Stephen Miller to the list.
While at Trinity College at Duke University he had his own column. In 2007 he wrote: “…the anti-smoking crusade is nearly impervious to truth or reason.” And that’s just for starters.
It’s looking fairly promising.
And finally, a snapshot from my Twitter feed today. Clearly Trump survived the witches’ incantations. But another did not survive, executed for the crime of listening to pop music: