The Bullies In Tobacco Control

Dick Puddlecote highlights the tortured logic of Tobacco Control/Public Health in the Lancet as it claims that its “sin taxes” are progressive rather than regressive:

There is no case whatsoever economically, or health-wise, for stating that sin taxes are progressive. So why are ‘public health’ campaigners making up daft fantasies over this – which no-one believes for a minute – when they have never felt the need before?

Well, perhaps they can sense that the public just doesn’t buy their shit anymore.

It is pretty well established in the minds of the public that the poor suffer from these taxes. In the past ‘public health’ got away with it because people would say “well poor people shouldn’t smoke/drink/eat fast food” etc if they are short on cash. But taxes are so incredibly high now – especially on tobacco – that the public are increasingly seeing them as an injustice. A form of bullying of those least able to afford a comfortable life.

Another form of bullying is highlighted in a long comment by Rose on prison smoking bans, which is well worth reading in its entirety.  In the Isle of Man:

“Many prisoners appeared to be intensively and creatively engaged in circumventing the smoking ban.

“We saw this happening in full view of staff and were satisfied it was a wide spread and long standing occurrence.”

Prisoners were also found to be using lint from tumble dryers and pubic hair to make their homemade cigarettes.

“They boiled up nicotine patches, soaked fruit peel or other substances in it and then rolled cigarettes from the resulting ‘tobacco’ in pages from dictionaries and bibles held together with toothpaste. Lights were obtained from kettle elements and electrical wiring.”

The propensity of prisoners to manufacture their own cigarettes would seem to vindicate the late Lauren Colby, who wrote: “The active ingredient in smoke is… smoke.” After all, if nicotine is the ‘active ingredient’ of tobacco, shouldn’t nicotine patches be as effective as cigarettes? Clearly not, if prisoners will go to extraordinary lengths to manufacture something they can smoke.

Or perhaps it’s that nicotine is only one of several ‘active ingredients’, with nicotine as one active ingredient, and ‘smoke’ as another. In a time when all sorts of new ways of smoking are being invented, the requisite ‘active ingredients’ may eventually be accurately identified as the new technologies evolve and become more refined. Since the vapour in e-cigarettes doesn’t contain any ‘smoke’, but many people claim to prefer them over traditional tobacco products, it would seem that smokers and vapers have a shared need to inhale something, and a patch or piece of gum will not suffice. Furthermore, it would seem that smokers need to inhale some sort of hot vapour or smoke. The physical composition of the experience may be as important as the chemical composition.

Like all bullies, the bullies in Tobacco Control fix upon the weakest and most vulnerable social groups. The poor are one such group. And prisoners are another such group.

One might add that hospital patients are another weak and vulnerable social group. And also patients in psychiatric institutions. And elderly people in care homes. For in all these places, the bullies in Tobacco Control are now well established. And they seem to have been well established there for many years, long before their bullying practices were extended to the entire population.

Where else do we see large scale bullying? I think there’s a strong case to be made that the EU is a bully state, and this is why more and more people want to escape it. The EU bullies its smaller and weaker states (e.g. Greece).

Also David Cameron’s Conservative government established something called a “nudge unit” (an idea he seems to have got from Barack Obama):

Nudge theory is an attempt to resolve a classic Conservative dilemma: since they believe in the small state and low taxation, should the Conservatives just leave us to our bad habits, and accept the undesirable social consequences that will follow, or use the levers of state to try to improve our behaviour?

Cameron’s Nudge Unit was, of course, just another bunch of bullies. The only thing that was remarkable about it was that it was a bunch of bullies ensconced in the heart of government. And if Cameron established a bullying Nudge Unit in the heart of his government, it was probably because David Cameron was himself a bully.

Where else are there opportunities for bullying? What other weak and vulnerable social groups are there? One obvious one is: children. Children are the easiest people of all to bully. And I now find myself wondering, in our strange new era of rampant paedophilia, whether paedophilia may simply be another form of bullying. The paedophile is perhaps just yet another kind of bully in a world that is already chock full of bullies. The paedophile maybe only likes children, and actively seeks them out, precisely because they are the easiest to bully.

But it appears that it is always necessary for bullies of every kind to feel morally justified in their bullying. They need to feel that the pain that inflict on others is for their own good. As long as bullies can find some sort of moral justification for their activities, they can continue to inflict pain and suffering with a clear conscience. And that’s why they need to explain in the Lancet why their punitive “sin taxes” are “progressive”.

The same is probably true of any other sort of criminal conduct. The criminal must believe that his crime is morally justified before he can carry it out. If he is a thief, he must tell himself that he is justly redistributing wealth. If he is a murderer, he must believe that his victim deserves to die. And so on.

About Frank Davis

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10 Responses to The Bullies In Tobacco Control

  1. Rose says:

    Tobacco Control using the power of unwitting governments to bully and further impoverish those who, to this day, still rely on tobacco as a folk remedy to stave off the worst effects of Pellagra.

    I was looking, last year for an English translation of – Introduction of tobacco in popular medicine of the country in treatment of pellagra in the preceding century
    VASILEV D, VULKOV I.
    1958

    When I came across this modern article from Jamaica asking for Pellagrins , not to be criminalised for smoking but “for the minister of health to institute a rapid public education programme; in the proper use of niacin against pellagra.” In 2014 !

    “As proof, my grandmother was born on the 27th of August, 1898 and died on the 28th of February, 1988. Along with others her age and older in the adjacent communities, she started smoking tobacco, in her early 20s when she started to have children. Apart from pellagra — the disturbing symptoms of which they controlled by smoking tobacco — all these people lived healthy lives and respectively died in their old age without being affected by cancer and the other conditions that are wrongfully blamed on tobacco smoking.

    My grandmother grew her own tobacco and did what is called chain smoking with her chalk pipe. Apart from pellagra, she had never been ill and had never gone to a doctor and or physician throughout her 90 years, with the exception of getting the necessary immunisation shots.”

    “Therefore, with pellagra as the cause of the smoking of tobacco and niacin as the only antidote against pellagra, it is necessary for the minister of health to institute a rapid public education programme; in the proper use of niacin against pellagra.

    This process is the light to destroy the darkness of making criminals of the victims of pellagra by criminalising the smoking of tobacco that cannot cure pellagra.

    The minister would be doing the correct thing to control and help eradicate the disease so as to prevent the smoking of tobacco and whatsoever danger to health it caused in the mixture with the more and most deadly substances. ”

    Dr Basil R Simms is a biochemist and business consultant.
    http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/More-on-carbon-monoxide-and-tobacco-smoking_17349090

    And he is right.

    P. Lorillard Company
    Tobacco-Cigarettes-Cigars
    Middletown Branch
    OHIO

    Nicotinic acid – 1941 (p.2)
    “We find that the smoke from ordinary Ripple cigarettes contains the anti-pellagra vitamin or nicotinic acid in fairly substantial amounts. However, the quantity is probably too low for a man to rely upon this source alone for his nicotinic acid requirement. At least to do so he would find it necessary to smoke an unreasonable number”
    https://www.industrydocumentslibrary.ucsf.edu/docs/#id=gywc0066

    The prisoners instinctively know it too, which is why they burn the nicotine from the nicotine patches. Not that I am suggesting that modern prison foods.leave prisoners borderline pellagrins, though it used to in America.

    We all love a bit of sublingual vitamin B3, whether it’s in tobacco or coffee or beer and It may be that vaping heats up the nicotine enough to oxidize it, who knows? But it does seem to be very successful.

  2. waltc says:

    The millions of people in public housing–poor, old, disabled, with no place else to turn for shelter (the reason public housing was invented)–are being bullied bigtime by the new HUD smoking ban, more so than by taxes. Quit or be homeless.

  3. beobrigitte says:

    Also David Cameron’s Conservative government established something called a “nudge unit” (an idea he seems to have got from Barack Obama):

    Nudge theory is an attempt to resolve a classic Conservative dilemma: since they believe in the small state and low taxation, should the Conservatives just leave us to our bad habits, and accept the undesirable social consequences that will follow, or use the levers of state to try to improve our behaviour?
    I’m not sure he got the idea from Barack Obama, the anti-smokers seem the most likely one who told Barack that adults just can’t be treated as such. Everything else we all are being “nudged” into follows the anti-smoker blueprint that worked so well because politicians at best are average-abled people who predominantly are obsessed with money and “manhood”and “success” (whatever the latter one may be).

    The paedophile maybe only likes children, and actively seeks them out, precisely because they are the easiest to bully.

    But it appears that it is always necessary for bullies of every kind to feel morally justified in their bullying. They need to feel that the pain that inflict on others is for their own good.
    The comparison of paedophelics to state bullying is a good one. In both cases a small person faces serious harm done to them on non-compliance: “Do-as-being-told-or-else”.
    “Stop-smoking-in-your-home-or-you-will-be-homeless” etc. etc.

    Fear mongering works only briefly. Then people have nothing to fear but fear itself. Their backs are up against a wall. That’s when trouble starts for the fearful fearmongers.

  4. Smoking Lamp says:

    The antismokers are now looking to expand outdoor smoking bans to beaches in Massachusetts. This article at the Boston Globe has two perspectives on pro and one con. It also has an informal poll. Hopefully some can comment against this intrusion on liberty and show their opinion on the poll: “Should all communities ban smoking on their public beaches?” https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/globelocal/2018/08/02/should-all-communities-ban-smoking-their-public-beaches/TbIsspAs5P3IHU44gheoAM/story.html#comments

  5. Smoking Lamp says:

    And for all those that believe tobacco control won’t seek to ban vaping too: “Chinese tobacco regulators call for ban on e-cigarettes” at http://www.ecns.cn/news/society/2018-08-03/detail-ifywsspt3617497.shtml

  6. Smoking Lamp says:

    One recent tobacco control initiative involves raising the smoking age from 18 to 21. In Maine which just adopted that age restriction, one radio station found that 81% of persons polled disagreed with the new law. One commented: “Politicians forget that 18-year olds can vote, can join the military and can vote them out of office.” http://q961.com/listeners-not-thrilled-with-maines-smoking-age/

  7. Rose says:

    Love Island smokers
    ASH had them edited out, the Metro put them back in.

    “While it may have appeared as though non of the Class of ’18 islanders smoked, they were actually given a designated smoking area and cameras weren’t allowed near.”
    https://metro.co.uk/2018/08/01/smokes-love-island-2018-7786311/

    So much for Denorm, once again ASH perfectly demonstrates the Streisand Effect.

    “The Streisand effect is a phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet. It is an example of psychological reactance, wherein once people are aware that some information is being kept from them, their motivation to access and spread it is increased”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect

    As just demonstrated by me.

  8. My favourite memory of an out and out bully next to a bonfire, one I will remember for many years. The amount of trials the “normal” people gave her just shows what they think of bullies also. 2.29 minutes in. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKSXIOXGqw4

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