Monday, 16 February 2015

Sally Davies; Professor of 'Health' Garbage!

Anyone who saw the recent 'interview' between Gavin Esler and Professor Dame Sally Davies on BBC television will understand my increased anger. Whilst the good professor stated that the upcoming ban on smoking in cars with children will not encompass vaping, she still found it necessary to take the usual sideswipe at e-cigarettes, suggesting that some e-liquids had been withdrawn from sale because they had caused chronic lung disease. This was a blatant lie. In fact, one e-juice vendor company withdrew a butterscotch-flavoured juice because it was found to contain traces of diacetyl, which has been linked to workers in factories who, having worked for long periods with diacetyl, had developed a condition known as 'popcorn lung'. No vapers were harmed in this scenario!

To me, this claim was not the worst. There were two other claims that outraged me, as they would, I am sure, anyone else who has a scientific mind - and that should include the Chief Medical Officer of Health, given that she advises the government on medical matters. Because I am an idle typist, I shall cut and paste here my complaint to the BBC, so I don't have to write it all out again:

Full Complaint: "I refer to a recent interview with Professor Dame Sally Davies (Chief Medical Officer of Health), where she made several false, misleading or untrue statements with regard to the government's imposition of a ban on smoking in cars with children. 1) She agreed with the presenter that smoking prevalence has dramatically decreased, yet went on to say that illnesses that have been attributed to 'second-hand' or 'passive' smoking are on the increase. Anyone of a scientific mind would realise that such cannot be the case unless a) the diseases are NOT caused by environmental tobacco smoke and b) some other causative factor must be to blame. 2) She declared that butterscotch flavouring had to be withdrawn because it causes chronic lung disease. This is simply not true. 3) She made the claim that smoke in a car was up to 11 times worse than in a pub when smoking was allowed. This is utterly meaningless in terms of what size of car, what size of pub, how many smokers used the pub, over what time -scale. Then she added that, as for opening the car windows, it's an unhealthy atmosphere. Did she refer here to the ingress of traffic fumes, or to reduction of the smokiness of the car? As a scientist, and an adviser on public health, she should know better than to make such sweeping and unscientific statements. 4) I cannot understand how such inaccuracies went unchallenged by an experienced interviewer; he could not have failed to notice them. Could he?!"

Today, I received a reply, in the form of a 'round robin'sent to all who registered a complaint:

"Thank you for sharing your concerns about an interview with the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, broadcast on the BBC News Channel.

The main point of the interview was to get Dame Sally's views on the upcoming ban on smoking in cars with children. At one point presenter Gavin Esler asked if the ban also covered 'vaping'. Dame Sally explained that it would not and she went on to express her concerns about the potential health impact of e-cigarettes:

"They put in flavourings - we don't know the impact of those. Butterscotch had to be withdrawn because people got chronic lung disease."

This was seemingly in reference to a story broadcast by the BBC last year, where we found that an e-cigarette liquid manufacturer had included a potentially dangerous butterscotch flavouring in one of its products. Experts said that the flavouring, diacetyl, had been shown to cause very serious lung conditions in the past.

So Dame Sally was correct in that there had been a case of butterscotch flavouring being withdrawn over health concerns, although we appreciate that you feel this point could have been explored further. During a live interview it’s not possible to question a guest over every point they raise and, in this case, the main point of discussion was the upcoming ban on traditional cigarettes.

Once again, thank you getting in touch."

With that whitewash, my complaint was dismissed.

No wonder I get angry!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Perhaps I Was Not Angry Enough! (Part One.)

It has been quite a while since I posted anything to this blog. It's not that I had nothing to say, but I was saying it elsewhere. That's wrong of me, for I have rarely been as angry as I am at the moment. And the reason for my anger? The same old rhetoric from 'Public Health' aka the Anti Nicotine and Tobacco Zealots (ANTZ), whose crusade against smoking has morphed into a crusade against the entire tobacco industry, the nascent but burgeoning e-cigarette industry, the smoker, the vaper, the free-thinker, the brewery industry, the distillery industry, the soft-drinks industry, the fast-food industry, the slow-food industry, .... In fact, the ANTZ have become the IDLE; that's the I Don't Like Ennything brigade (yes, I know, but a good many of them cannot spell either!). The only industry (apart from their own) that they appear to like, it seems, is the pharmaceuticals industry - the fount of so-called scientific funding that grants huge munificence in research grants to provide data that can be tortured into propaganda that can be used to coerce and bully politicians into instituting policies that ensure further profits for further research ..... It is a cycle that goes around like the galaxy, and the Black Hole at its centre attracts ever more fake charities, ever more civil servants, ever more unelected bureaucrats, ever more taxes, which then disappear from the Universe, never to be seen again by most human eyes. And that makes me angry. Not that it is MY money. In fact only a very, very small part of it is MY money. But I am angry that it is the money of billions of people like me, the LITTLE people, that is squandered, and I am angry that it is all done with trickery, fraud, dishonesty and lies by the people we are told are protecting us!

For those who don't already know, I used to smoke. I was told it wasn't good for me but I did it anyway. Then I was told that my habit was bankrupting the NHS, and I must pay extra taxes to offset the costs of medical care that I needed (actually didn't need) because I smoked. So I paid my dues and carried on smoking until I realised that I, and millions like me, were paying way more than our fair share. So I did the sensible thing, and quit smoking. All well and good, but I retained a liking for nicotine, the harmless plant extract that I am told was the only reason for smoking. The nicotine did me no harm, but the tar and gases from burning tobacco, I was told, were probably going to kill me at some point. Then I discovered that an electronic cigarette would allow me to continue to enjoy my nicotine in a way that was at least 99% safer than smoking tobacco, and for that reason alone I was prepared to give it a try. And then I discovered that the tax regime on this device was orders of magnitude more affordable, for I would not be penalised for the costs of treating the smoking-related diseases that I had never developed. This was a no-brainer! I stopped smoking, and began vaping - and I loved it, felt healthier, was wealthier, and no longer attracted criticism from family and friends for an anti-social, smelly, risky habit.

This was when I started to get angry. For I began to realise that the propaganda against smoking was a smokescreen (pun accidental but serendipitous!). It turned out that it was all about money and nothing to do with health! If I was not going to be a good little smoker, pay my inflated taxes, then die without drawing my pension, my quitting was likely to cost the Exchequer a vast fortune, especially if I were to live longer, draw more pension, need care into my old age, require treatment for age-related diseases (more expensive than that for smoking-related ones!). And that cannot be allowed, can it? So I began to see that it is essential to make up the shortfall that 2 million reformed smokers will cause, and that e-cigarettes will have to be taxed like tobacco products to balance the books - except that they are NOT tobacco products, they have NO proven risks, and there is thus no justification for taxing them like cigarettes. So I have watched the growing tide of anti-vaping propaganda swell into a tidal wave, while knowing that it was designed to keep as many smokers smoking for as long as possible, while hitting them with ever-increasing tax burdens yet simultaneously making vaping seem just as injurious to health in order to justify the same swingeing 'sin' tax in order to balance the Chancellor's books. And what makes it worse is that I see the 'public health' authorities being used to manipulate the public in order to bring this about!

That makes me VERY angry! Public Health should be about promoting, well, the health of the public. Not the fiscal health of an economy that is in crisis because of that black hole in the centre of the system.