Saturday, 6 October 2012

Supreme Court hearing for tobacco display ban, Scotland

The latest hearings in the appeal of Imperial Tobacco against the tobacco display ban will be heard next month at the Supreme Court in London. ASH Scotland describes the scene thus:
The UK Supreme Court has set a date to hear the legal challenge by Imperial Tobacco against the Scottish Government’s legislation to ban unstaffed tobacco vending machines and tobacco displays at point of sale. In response Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, said: 
'These public health measures were passed overwhelmingly by our democratically elected Parliament and have twice been upheld by the Scottish courts. 
This is part of a growing international problem. We have heard from partner organisations from Australia to Uruguay that, having lost the battles over scientific evidence and public support, tobacco companies are resorting to delaying valid public health measures in the courts. 
Tobacco kills half of its long-term consumers and Imperial Tobacco should accept the public, political and legal judgements that it cannot be treated like an ordinary product.
I am looking for the Supreme Court to rule against Imperial Tobacco and clear the way for Scotland to implement these important public health measures.' 
She seems to be making a fuss because the courts are being used exactly the way they should be designed to be used: for a company to challenge what it perceives as unfair legislation. But in the eyes of tobacco control a tobacco company that uses the courts in this way is somehow perverse and unreasonable. Her reasoning that tobacco cannot be seen like an 'ordinary product' misses the point that campaigns against other products will gain strength if this one prospers, as we see in the latest embarrassing escapade in the campaign to denormalise alcohol.

She clearly expects a court victory, but one is tempted to conclude that she requires a vote against the tobacco companies in principle, rather than on the legal case presented. That would certainly not be a conclusion that reflected the purpose of the courts: victory should be on legal grounds, not on the basis of whether either side represents tobacco interests.


What!! said...

Belinda, just a note on the “ventilation” issue.

To appreciate how we’ve gotten to the current situation of bans, we need to understand some antismoking history. The Godber Blueprint is a rich source of such history and how antismoking “storylines” have shifted over time.

A typical trick of the antismoking fanatics is to remove tobacco smoke from any coherent context and make it seem not only different from other typical sources of smoke but incredibly different to anything known on earth and “dangerously” so. One of the most perverse claims is that there is “no safe level” of tobacco smoke. Reference will be made to the Surgeon-General’s Reports (2006, 2010) where it is claimed that there is “no risk-free level” or “no safe level” of tobacco smoke. Firstly, the two claims mean different things, the former doesn’t particularly mean anything and the latter is deranged. It must be noted that the Office of the SG is not a regulatory authority. It has been publicly committed to the “smokefree world” since the 1980s. Its reports are ideologically compromised. It can claim whatever it wants, however far-fetched, because it is not bound by its claims; no one is compelled, through regulation, to pay any attention to any of its claims. Secondly, the twisted idea of “no safe level” of tobacco smoke did not originate with the SG as a conclusion to “evidence”. It has been circulating amongst the fanatics for some time. One of the earliest uses was in 1992 (see Godber/WHO Blueprint). Its use became “necessary” to solve a “problem”.


What!! said...

The antismoking goal is very simple – get smoking banned in more and more places, from indoors to outdoors. It therefore begins with this “banning” conclusion. The fanatics then try to figure out how to distort, contort, and torture information to provide the semblance of a storyline, an “argument”, leading to the required conclusion of “and, therefore, bans are warranted”. In the first step to get indoor bans, the fanatics “argued” that it would take very expensive ventilation equipment to reduce indoor SHS to an “acceptable level” (unspecified). The fanatics surmised that people wouldn’t go to such expense to accommodate their smoking patrons and, therefore, would ban smoking. However, it turned out that there were those willing to invest in such equipment and it wasn’t so expensive. So, the fanatics had to do what they regularly do: They had to quickly change the “argument”, i.e., shift the goalposts. And with each shift does the “argument” become more absurd. Now they argued that typical ventilation equipment could not reduce SHS to an “acceptable” level because they (e.g., James Repace) estimated that it would take tornado-like air exchange rates to reduce SHS to an “acceptable” level. Since this was “impractical”, smoking should be banned. Some might think I’m making this up (because it sounds made up). But I assure you it wasn’t me who made it up. Some links (p.2) (p.5). (Godber Blueprint)

The only greater absurdity is that people actually believed this trash. The fanatics took over the board of ASHRAE and issued a statement that air filtration cannot remove all remnants of SHS and, because there’s no safe level of SHS (even barely detectable traces of a few remnants), air filtration is not a solution. Smoking must be banned (Godber/WHO Blueprint). So even the idea of “acceptable level” has disappeared, replaced with “no safe level”.

When the fanatics were chasing indoor bans, they had no problem with the outdoors. They wanted smokers out of the indoors, forced to smoke outdoors. They had no problem with this. Until, of course, having made some progress with indoor bans, they got to considering outdoor bans. Now the delusional idea of “no safe level” is being invoked for the outdoors as well. Again, mind-boggling is that people lap up this crèche-level nonsense. With every step in its eradication program, it promotes greater mental dysfunction amongst the gullible.

Belinda said...

Thank you! I'll check those links.

What!! said...

Here’s another example of “shifting the goalposts” over time.
There was a presentation in the 1980s (see Godber Blueprint) at one of the World Conferences concerning the “cost of smoking” to the health system. There were no studies to that point. The presenter, who was partial to antismoking, concluded that smokers were not an additional cost. He also pointed out that these sorts of studies are highly arguable in that they rely on so many questionable assumptions. Obviously, the fanatics didn’t receive this presentation too well and simply disregarded it. For decades, they have been proclaiming that smoking/smokers are a burden to the health system, even though study after study over that time indicate that it is not true.
Through this fraudulent claim, the fanatics convinced governments to hike tobacco taxes to “cover” the extra medical services. Governments are only too happy to oblige; it means more money in the coffers. And the fanatics always insist that they should be given a cut of the extra taxes to continue “educating” the public, keeping them in comfortable employment. In the last decade, tobacco taxes have been hiked many times into the realm of compounded extortion. So inflated are the taxes that it’s impossible to hide the charade any longer. And it is the poor that typically bear the brunt of these extortionate taxes.
Consider a recent “cost analysis” appearing in an Australian government publication. Net health costs of tobacco-use was estimated at $318,400,000 (p.51). The net revenue from tobacco sales was $6,700,000,000 (p.22). The revenue from tobacco is 21 TIMES the extra cost of treating smokers. Even the extent of this “extra medical cost” is arguable, but we’ll leave that for another time. The difference is obscene. (Note, too, that there is not any subtraction of forgone pensions in very old age).$File/mono64.pdf
Governments and the fanatics that advised them aren’t going to come out and admit that they’ve severely overcharged smokers to the point of robbery and that the tax on tobacco should be considerably reduced. Given that the fantasy that smokers cost the health system can no longer be maintained, the fanatics do what they do regularly – they change the “argument” (storyline), i.e., shift the goalposts. NOW they argue, smokers [way] more than cover their additional health costs, but there are “other costs”. And the above report concocts around $32,000,000,000 of “other costs”. There isn’t time to consider how all these “other costs” are entirely arguable. However, the absurdity of the claims attracted some rare criticism. Further, these “extra costs”, however questionable, are not costs incurred by government and therefore have no relevance to cost-balancing exercises.
Shifting the “storyline” or goalposts – lying - keeps the ideological fanatics happy (and they usually call for additional funding to help “educate” the public). And the government is happy because it can claim that it needs to extort even more taxes from smokers. This sort of conduct in other industries – attracting funds on the basis of fraudulent, self-serving claims – would be referred to as a scam or a racket.

Here’s a UK version of “embellished costs”:

What!! said...

Here’s the 1992 reference to “no safe level” (from Godber Blueprint)

Working Papers in Support of the 8th World Conference on Tobacco or Health: Building a Tobacco-Free World. March 30 - April 3, 1992
Buenos Aires, Argentina

The scientific evidence linking ETS to death and disease is clear and overwhelming : There is no safe level of exposure for the carcinogens found in tobacco smoke. Victims of ETS are called involuntary smokers or passive smokers . The only way to protect people from the dangers of ETS is to keep tobacco smoke out of our indoor air . The prevention of involuntary exposure to ETS should be a priority for tobacco control advocates worldwide. (p.79)

So they’re referring to “clear and overwhelming” evidence nearly a year before the [fraudulent] EPA Report (1992/3) on ETS. They’re also making the fraudulent claim of “no safe level of exposure for the carcinogens found in tobacco smoke”.

Furthermore, smoking bans ultimately have nothing to do with protecting nonsmokers from SHS “danger”. The title of the conference says it all - BUILDING A TOBACCO-FREE WORLD. That’s a moralizing, social-engineering, eradication-of-tobacco-use intent.

What!! said...

From the same working papers (1992) – see Godber Blueprint.

"It's a Ventilation Problem "
The tobacco industry loves to find other villains . This argument tries to imply that even if tobacco smoke is annoying, the real culprit is inadequate ventilation. Advocates should not be misled by this diversion; the best solution to the problems of ETS is to remove it at its source .

Argument: If you want to ensure that indoor air is really dean, shouldn't you remove all pollutants from the air? Isn't the real problem a lack of adequate ventilation?
* Ventilation systems are designed to conserve energy, not preserve clean indoor air. Even an expensive ventilation system that provided for six air changes a day would be overwhelmed by the ETS from a typical distribution of smokers. To provide enough ventilation to keep ETS to a safe level would cost US$30,000 per smoker .
* It makes a lot more sense to remove the source of the pollution than to try to clean it up afterward .


Belinda said...

Modern systems don't call themselves just 'ventilation', they are air management technology and do claim to clean the air as well, e.g. Air Manager,

Belinda said...

New technology might show up this medieval nonsense for what it is. Thanks very much for the links, What!!

What!! said...

There will be a cost to install these new systems. That cost is not the cost of accommodating smokers. It is the cost of accommodating antismoking fanaticism. It is fanatics that have manufactured a monumental danger of nothing (SHS).

Belinda said...

I think all these comments belong here:, or a related post (this one relates to the tobacco display ban. You are right. They are making a fuss about tobacco 'pollution' but failing to address background pollution, in the pretence that tobacco smoke trumps all of them, all in pursuit of the denormalisation of smoking.