Sacrificial Lambs

I have been an e cigarette user – a vaper – for over three years. I was totally flabbergasted at the ease at which I stopped smoking. So much so, I was horrified when I discovered that so many advocates against smoking were rejecting e-cigarettes and the concept of harm reduction out of hand. The shock was soon replaced by anger, and that was the start of my efforts to get the message out that there was an escape from the deadly trap of cigarette smoking. And now, after three years, that horror, that anger has been complemented by sadness –  I am still horrified, still angry, and also feel so very, very sad.

It is simply a fact of life that some people are prepared to sacrifice others to advance their careers, or add to the power they already wield: There are some who see themselves and the ideals they hold as being so very correct, that anything which does not fit into this view of how the world should be is deemed wholly unacceptable. And, there are cases where some or all of the above holds true to some degree or other. But there is a ‘side’ which is, the case of e – cigarettes (hereafter referred to as vaporizers & vaping),  governed by truth, honesty and scientific fact, and a desire for that truth to be known for the sake of the wellbeing of other people. This is very, very different to the zealotry displayed by opponents of vaping.

Yes, very different: The difference can be demonstrated thus…

A definition given for, ‘zealot,’ is sometimes,” a ​person who has very ​strong opinions about something, and ​tries to make other ​people have them too.” You might argue here, on the basis of this definition, that there is no difference between advocacy for vaping and that advocacy against, but there is more to the meaning of the word. A word may carry more than one type of meaning: It will have its denotation; its dictionary definition and that is as far as many understand, at least at a conscious level, when they use or encounter a word. However, many words carry more than just their definitive meanings; their connotations, and the connotations of a word can actually be more important than its denotation. The connotations of a word can convey powerful emotive elements, and, ‘zealot,’ is one word which falls heavily into this category. The word itself comes from, ‘zeal,’ which is a fairly positive term, however, from about the 1630’s onward, the connotations shifted to that of, ‘a fanatical enthusiast.’ and the negativity of the word has progressed from that point. But again, this takes us no further forward in establishing that the vaping fraternity is any different to their opposite numbers. However, now, there is a new element to be considered – ‘fanatical.’

Once again there is more than one definition. You have, ‘fan’ or ‘enthusiast,’ but we also find another very different meaning; ” ​…holding ​extreme beliefs that may ​lead to ​unreasonable or violent behaviour,” and it is this second definition that I wish to examine with regard to the vaping conflict.

I believe that the behaviour of many of the opponents of vaping is totally unreasonable, and that also, by virtue of the consequences of this zealotry, violent. If one can establish this, then one can also establish that a large proportion of the opponents of the use of vaporizers are truly ‘zealots’ in the modern sense carrying the full load of its awful connotations:  That they are truly followers of an extreme dogma which is totally unreasonable and one which leads to real harm.

So what is this dogma to which the zealot adheres? I would describe it as a programme designed to demonise and criminalise the act of smoking; a programme which is so extreme that it has taken on a moral dimension which, through both truth and lies, manipulates its adherents to see the act of smoking as: not just disgusting; not just harmful; not just unnatural, but, in some ways, as an act of evil. … but vaping is not smoking. Vaping is an activity which replaces smoking… Sorry… to the zealot, vaping looks like smoking, and therefore, it is smoking…

The anti-smoking zealot belongs to, or accepts the teachings, albeit blindly, of a church whose dogma is based on an initial truth, which, as time passed, was corrupted. It was not enough when after the discovery that people were falling ill and dying prematurely as a result of cigarette smoking, to simply educate the public as to this danger. This body adopted strategies straight out of the ‘war manual’ of the very people they had set out to defeat, the tobacco companies. (Or did they copy? Was it actually the other way round? Was the Tobacco Control Dirty Tricks Brigade at it even before the Tobacco Papers revelation?) I ask this because of what I read into a document containing the oft quoted statement by tobacco company officials…

Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the “body of fact” that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.

This has been presented as evidence of the base dishonesty of the, ‘wicked, lying’ tobacco companies – but hang on a minute! “…Body of Fact,” is in inverted commas, so, to ‘cast doubt’ on something you perceive to be less than factual is wrong?  The little snippets one encounters on these few pages tend to further, at least as far as I am concerned, a growing suspicion that the tobacco companies might not be as black as they were being painted, in that they were no different to any other industry where profit for the shareholder was the aim, and the only aim, and this was being done through normal industry process: Consider the ethics of the food industry; pharmaceuticals; petro-chemical industry; Scientific Research; Get the idea?  And Tobacco Control were not exactly being knights in shining armour either.

So who were ‘the congregations’ listening to? What was being issued from the pulpits of Tobacco Control?  What was this, “body of fact?”  We begin to get an insight if we look at some of the comments which have been made by leading tobacco controllers.

What about the role of science?  simon chapman

. Well, according to Simon Chapman, well known Tobacco Control person, “a solid evidence base is only one element of effective advocacy.” He would appear to think that evidence, scientific and otherwise, is subservient to economic, ideological and anecdotal arguments. Added to this, it is his opinion, that politicians are more interested in anecdote and ‘folklore.’   Oh dear! I have just copied the above – let me see – Ah! To create the zealot, nurture him, feed him a regular diet of subjective, emotive gobbledegook. But, it should have a scientific base – and if one does not exist, invent it.
Dileep Bal

Invent it?

That is correct. Dileep Bal was one of the key tobacco operatives within the California Department of Health: He was, in my words, paymaster. Bal scoffed at the idea that one should wait for ‘science’ to establish something. No, he advocated that Public Health go on a rampage, making pronouncements about, in this case, second hand smoke, and if ‘science’ could back it up, fine, if not, so what. He says, “Public policy must be propped up by science but must not be a handmaiden of the science, …Most scientists will say you need a randomized controlled trial level of proof to do a community intervention. That’s horse feathers. We tried twenty-five things—twelve worked and we renewed those. Empirical trial and error is the oldest scientific device and we used it to distinction.” Add to this his boast, “. We created the science, we did the interventions and then all the scientists came in behind us and analyzed what we did.”

And of course with the billions of dollars behind Public Health finding the right scientists and research organizations to create the facts to back up the interventions was not any problem in the slightest.

Does it not all sound so very, very familiar?

baptist

Zealots worldwide lapped up a story from the ‘prophet,’ Dr Chung Shan-shan, assistant professor of biology at the Baptist University in Hong Kong. There was no study presented before the headline, A Million Times More Harmful than Outdoor Air: Hong Kong Study Raises E – Cigarette Cancer Alarm.   

Needless to say, the study… sorry, at the time of writing there was no study… the press report was absolute garbage: Zealot fodder. Despite being totally rubbished by Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos, the headline and story had done what was intended and vaping was further devalued in the public (and political) eye. Dr Farsalinos ends his comment saying,

There are only two possibilities: either the scientists have no idea about what they are talking about, or they are deliberately misinforming the public and the regulators. Even worse, they are creating panic to vapers (the vast majority of whom are former smokers), with the risk of making them relapse to smoking. This is a typical case of gross misinformation and extremely poor science. Literally, a public health disgrace… The reporters of this “study” (not authors, because there is no published study) need to immediately apologize to the public for creating this story out of nothing.

Tobacco Control are continuing to use the same, dishonest, warped strategies which they developed in their war against smoking and smokers, and, what is increasingly appearing, at least to me, to be a fairy tale threat of danger from second hand smoke.

I now refer back to an earlier comment. I stated that the zealot adhered to extreme beliefs, that they are unreasonable. I think that anyone who follows people like: Chapman and Bal, Glantz, McKee, Silly Sally Davies, and who believe the content of their sermons is unreasoning; anyone who believes that vapour is more poisonous than outdoor air and repeats this nonsense and ridicules and attempts to side-line any who do not go along with this dogma  is being unthinking – but the definition requires another ingredient: violence.

Smoking does make people ill – whether it causes cancer or not, I do not know. I cannot tell because of the mess of lies and the deceit, the selfish motivations of those who promote this idea – that they are base liars is not in question.

It is mooted that a billion people will suffer and die prematurely as a result of cigarette smoking. I am sure that this is a gross exaggeration, but some will and if even one person dies from the habit and that person has had the choice or / and the ability to move away from the habit, then violence has been done to that individual by those who took that choice away – the Tobacco Controllers and the zealots who they created.

These people have to be fought and the battle will not be won until those disparate forces: the smokers and organisations who support smokers; the vapers and those organisations who support vapers; non-smoking individuals who can see through the haze; Public Health Officials who wish to distance themselves from the extreme elements of Tobacco Control – the battle will not be won until those disparate forces find  and hold common ground, and take the fight to those who oppose choice, and  do so with honesty and integrity, but in such a way that their  message is not just ‘dull science,’ but that is hard hitting and attractive and newsworthy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Infographic demonstrating how our agencies fall victim to regulatory capture, OR, They REALLY NEED us to fall ill and die prematurely through smoking.

The infographic was sent to me by a medical professional who does not wish to be identified. It is so clear that it really does not need anything else. It has been argued that infographics can be misleading – Not this time.

Recent events – in Canada, in Wales, in fact all over the world bear witness to the corruption which exists in the shady world of Tobacco Control.

Even if you are not a smoker you will know / care about someone who does. I am very much afraid that the powers that be wish to remove that person from you just as soon as they have milked every last cent they can from their existence in order to gain some profit and / or advantage for himself / herself.

Now, the infographic followed by two or three interesting links.

 

 

Reg Capture Image

Reg Capture Legend

Canada, Australia, Wales, USA, EU and others… It is not really about health, is it?
http://brainyfurball.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/margaret-chan-of-world-health.html
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200405/cmselect/cmhealth/42/42.pdf
http://necsi.edu/research/economics/capture/RegCap.pdf
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3999539/
http://www.cwu.edu/~tenerelt/handout%20-%20regulatory%20capture.pdf
http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/NewsEvents/ucm436783.htm
Yes, it is about money and power.
http://www.ecigarette-politics.com/the-20-prevalence-rule.html

Having Fun with Wikipedia

With just a few minor changes in terminology, the description of regulation and control of e cigarettes fits in neatly with that of the Spanish Inquisition as it is presented in the introduction to the topic on Wikipedia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Inquisition

The regulation, control and inquisition of electronic cigarettes officially known in the EU as, the ‘Tobacco Products Directive, Article 20’, and in the USA, ’Substantial Equivalence,’ under the auspice of the FDA, was established in the early 21st century by the European Union and Government of the United States of America. It was intended to maintain public health orthodoxy in the kingdoms and to supplement the ‘medieval’ FCTC which was under World health Organisation control. It became the most substantive of the different manifestations of the wider anti-tobacco inquisition along with other individual national inquisitions.
The Inquisition was originally intended in large part to ensure the orthodoxy of those who converted from tobacco cigarette smoking. This regulation of the lives of the newly converted was intensified after Tobacco Control decrees issued in 2013 / 2014 ordering the smoking public to quit using only recognised NRT, or face the risks of continued smoking.
Various motives have been proposed for the decision to found the Inquisition such as increasing political authority, weakening opposition, suppressing conversions, profiting from tax revenues and profits generated through tobacco and drug industry sales, reducing social tensions, and protecting the kingdom from the danger of a fifth column.
The body was under the direct control of the World Health Organisation and was not definitively abolished until 2230 AD, after a period of huge population decline due to massive, increased tobacco consumption the previous century.
The E Cigarette Inquisition is often cited in literature and history as an example of Public Health intolerance and repression. Modern historians have tended to question earlier and possibly exaggerated accounts concerning the severity of the Inquisition. Although records are incomplete, estimates of the number of persons who have died as a result of the Inquisition range from hundreds of millions up into the billions.

E cigarettes and the Washing of Hands

E cigarettes and the Washing of Hands

By Just a Vaper: “Just a Vaper” is the name chosen by the author because, like most vaping advocates, he is not funded by anyone in any industry. He is, like the name says, just a vaper.

Just a Vaper is not Brainyfurball, though Brainyfurball wishes very much he had thought of this first.

*******

In the mid-1800’s, a physician named Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis noticed that there seemed to be a relationship between the handling bodies of people who had died of disease and mortality rates due to puerperal fever in women that had just given birth in a women’s hospital. In 1847, he suggested strongly that all doctors and nurses wash their hands after handling someone who died of any disease before tending to living patients. The doctors refused (thinking his theory was ridiculous), but the nurses couldn’t refuse. The result was that the mortality rate of women who had just given birth at this hospital decreased from 10% to 1-2%. The doctors were still not convinced (or maybe they were just not comfortable with being told they had to wash their hands) and began a campaign to discredit him, forcing him to leave the country.

He continued telling anyone who would listen (and more that would not) about his theory for 18 years. At this point, enough doctors were able to get together and agree that his obsession was a sign of mental illness and they were able to have him committed to an asylum, where he died 2 weeks later of sepsis (likely from the beatings he received from the guards as asylums were not really good when it came to patient rights at the time). But one of the people that had listened was Louis Pasteur. Starting from Semmelweis’ work, he continued his studies, eventually coming up with his Germ Theory of Disease based on his study of puerperal fever (the same one that Semmelweis noted was killing one in ten new mothers). Joseph Lister, acting on Pasteur’s theory instituted the practice of hand washing in hospitals and the practice caught on from there. I wonder how long this practice would have taken to develop if Dr. Semmelweis, who died with his contemporaries (including his wife) thinking he was insane and sending him to die in an asylum, had not pushed to get his idea out there?

The reason I was thinking of this is because I believe there is a type of consumer product that has the potential to get smokers to quit without harming others, but there is a strong movement to ban them (or restrict them to the point where they are no longer available) by the World Health Organization; public health departments; some of the pharmaceutical companies, and well intentioned (but completely misguided) organizations that want every smoker to quit (organizations that see no difference between nicotine and tobacco) – the electronic cigarette. It’s not for everyone, but for the people who use it, it helps them to cut down and quit better than anything else on the market today. Dr. Semmelweis’ work and theories ran against conventional medicine in his day and was not only suppressed, but his career was ruined by others in his field, eventually culminating in his death by their actions because they didn’t like his message. 150 years later, I really hope the medical community doesn’t do to e-cigarettes what their predecessors did with Dr. Semmelweis and his work through their campaign, a campaign that caused many new mothers to die prematurely because of bull-headedness.

PhD in The Art of being Unclear?

A recent study, entitled, Effects of in-vivo and advert observation of e cigarette vaping and smoking desire and urge in young adult smokers. purports to support the view that watching someone smoking or vaping increases their desire to do the same, whereas, seeing someone drink a glass of water, does not have the same effect.  http://www.srnt.org/SRNT_2015_Abstracts_WEB.pdf

Well I never!

The researchers claim that they directly tested the impact of observing e-cigarette use by in-vivo and advert exposure in young adult smokers.

They did nothing of the kind!

They then build on the above mistake (fabrication) to reach the following conclusion… “Results from Study 1 showed that observing water drinking did not affect participants’ smoking desire or urge ratings. However, observing both e-cigarette vaping and regular cigarette smoking significantly increased combustible smoking desire and urge (ps<0.05) with observation of e-cigarette vaping also increasing e-cigarette desire (p<.01). In Study 2, viewing the e-cigarette advert increased ratings of desire and urge to use a combustible cigarette and an e-cigarette (ps<0.05) but this was not the case for the water advert. Further, these increases in smoking urge were significant for both positive and negative reinforcement effects. In sum, this research is the first to our knowledge to examine direct observer effects of e-cigarette use which may act as a cue to increase desire for both combustible and e-cigarettes. The results may have implications for product regulation and marketing. Results expand the debate about e-cigarettes to include effects on persons exposed either in person or by advertisement to product use.”

So did the researchers directly test the impact of observing e-cigarette use by in-vivo and advert exposure in young adult smokers? I am very much afraid that they did not. 

Let me digress slightly: I am not a scientist, doctor, advocate, or anything like it. Indeed I have only a modest education by comparison to the PhD’s who litter (pun intended) the document where I found the above.  So how is it that a few minutes thought reveals to me a glaring weakness in the study which has supposedly gone unnoticed by the ‘experts?’ It, I think, has not, and if it has not, the research here is a downright lie.

First of all the researchers were: Andrea King, Lia Smith, Daniel Fridberg, Dingcai Cao, Patrick McNamara, Hannah Resnick, Norvel Brown, belonging to one of the following: University of Chicago, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience; University of Chicago; Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience and / or University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Health Systems Science – Wow! Impressive!

The reason for my admission that I am not a scientist is so that I can get away with what follows, or, if you can cheat to get the results you want, so can I. Except for the fact that I admit to cheating and explain in detail what the cheat is.

The cheat is that I will base everything on an assumption, but that assumption gives the lie to the idea that this research directly tested the impact of observing e-cigarette use. As pointed out, all of the researchers belong under the same umbrella organisations, the Universities of Chicago & Illinois and my assumption is that the research took place within the premises of these esteemed seats of learning.  If I am correct, everything they claim goes absolutely pear-shaped as a result. How can that be?

It is very, very, very simple.

Take a look at this UIC page , http://www.uic.edu/uic/about/tobacco-free/index.shtml and this one https://humanresources.uchicago.edu/fpg/policies/600/p603.shtml  (Note the last paragraph about the hospitals’ policy.)  So the poor smokers participating in the research were not allowed to smoke or vape prior to the experiment – how long I wonder?  They finally are admitted to the building and are already thinking about their next smoke / vape. The big moment arrives and they are seated, and next to them are two glasses of water. The researcher drinks from his/her glass, ‘so what! The subject wants a vape / smoke not a drink of water. You see, the desire has already been created – even before setting foot in the room.  What happens with the cigarettes and the e cigarettes is a complete irrelevance. Given the opportunity to have a cigarette or vape will be pounced upon by the poor deprived subject whether he / she observe someone else doing it or not – the whole experiment is a complete and utter farce. Equally, when shown images of someone doing something which you already desperately want will obviously demonstrate some reaction,  and the same would happen with water if you were thirsty enough.

A smoker or vaper’s desires are not dictated by the actions of others or by what he / she sees going on around them. Being deprived of something though does increase desire, and being reminded of it simply brings to the surface feeling which have been repressed.

The one and only thing this research establishes is that smoking and vaping bans increase the desire to indulge in the activity which then shows in the subject’s response.

And psychologists, you know, the ones with the qualifications, failed to realise this?  No chance!

The Physician and the Snake

A little prose/poetry story dedicated to the World Health Organisation

A quiet moment and he drummed his fingers on his desk. Another year had turned: Another year of the pain he had shared so willingly – shared so secretly. Another year had turned, and still the snake on the staff stayed his hand. The doctor failed to understand the snake’s demand, to cure the sick, to do no harm, but also keep silence: To give advice when he, the doctor, knew it wrong to hand out lies, prescribing only second best. Gums and patches, and the rest – all failed. He drummed and drummed his fingers on the desk

A year had passed since that evening when that crowd had gathered on the excited street below, and, looking down, he remembered how the jostling and the clamour grew. ‘We have something new.’ They cried. ‘Look Doctor, we have something new.’ And each and every one held up a light. ‘We no longer have to fight.’ They cried. ‘Look! We no longer have to fight.’

The snake had also heard and had slithered down from off its stick. And shocked, the doctor saw the venom drip from hidden fangs, and from the window backed away. ‘Cure the sick and do no harm,’ the creature hissed. ‘Those outside, they won’t be missed. Give out only lies and second best, and if that fails, well, prescribe some rest. But be warned, dear doctor; say nothing of what you saw tonight. Say nothing of that awful blinding light that burns me to my very soul. Say nothing.

And thus the doctor, on the snakes command, stayed silent and said nothing of what he’d seen. Yet, in bed at night, he’d dream that in his hand there was a light which cured the sick, but on awakening all he had was a snake curled round a wooden stick.

Two by Two (Poem)

Where the chameleon eats its own words
And slyly glances at the weasel and the mouse
Who look on with envy, but learn the lesson well
And an arc of lies is built, high on that hill
Then two by two it is filled.
See, here they come, weasels, mice, ferrets, lizards, moles and last of all,
Slowly, two snails sharing a single shell.

And when a scientist eats his own words
And looks towards the rest
Who see the table; filled with deceits
Who, after the feast
Can retreat to the safety of the arc of lies
They climb the hill
Two by two
See, here they come, weasels, mice, ferrets, lizards, moles and last of all,
Slowly, two snails sharing a single shell.