Weekly suggested reading in Tobacco Harm Reduction – 8 June 2011

Must Reads

War on drugs a failure
A recent report compiled by the Global Commission on Drug Policy indicates that the war on drugs is a failure, and spurred a few articles this week. We include this because of the obvious parallels with the War on Tobacco.
Globe and Mail
The report itself:

As we’ve said before (https://smokles.wordpress.com/2010/10/24/u-s-drug-wars-all-from-the-left/) drug wars seem to be driven by the “left”. Here is some more commentary that agrees with this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stanton-peele/why-barack-obama-loves-th_b_870158.html

Amusing Enough Not to Miss

When you don’t have the facts, just invoke Jesus
“What would Jesus not do?” this headline asks. Why, use smokeless tobacco. Therefore neither should MLB players. We have to wonder (a) why churches have nothing better to do in an age of increasing desperation than condemn a very low risk social tradition, and (b) would Jesus go around making completely unsupportable assertions about what Jesus would do?
USA Today

Other THR

News about BAT’s planned inhaler(?) product
The BAT subsidiary Nicoventures will licence a nicotine aerosol product from Kind Consumer, a story that generated much press in the UK because a well-known investor bought into the latter. The still sketchy details were summarized in the Tobacco Reporter story: “will mimic the ‘psychological rituals and routines’ of smoking”; “will appeal to smokers who don’t want to quit”; “contained no tobacco, created no heat and delivered no smoke”. In addition it was reported they plan “to submit an application for marketing authorisation in the UK next year” which suggests they intend to legally position it as a substitute for pharma, though it sounds like functionally it will be a substitute for e-cigarettes.

India package graphics may steer smokeless users to cigarettes
The current plan (which may well change if the past is any indication) is to have horrifying photographic images of oral cancer packages of smokeless dip products (many of which contain tobacco, but are mostly not tobacco) while cigarettes will skew toward more matter-of-fact graphical warnings instead. (The horrifying images are often mis-identified as warnings, but they contain no information; they are just emotional violence.) India is particularly worried about oral cancer, which is quite common there; if only there was not so much propaganda, we might actually get decent estimates about how much is really caused by dip products.

Rodu comments on the similar effect of US warnings
Nothing new, but Brad Rodu offers a very nice summary of how the US warnings on smokeless tobacco are mostly lies. Also, the graphic he found of a warning sign is great!

FDA launches new self-referential page, “Health Fraud”
Bill Godshall reports on this, discovering FDA’s claim, “no tobacco products have been scientifically proven to reduce risk of tobacco-related disease, improve safety or cause less harm than other tobacco products.” Yes, that statement is indeed a deadly fraud, without even a shred of defensibility.
In related news, many actors continue to place their hopes for rational tobacco policy in the FDA.

Tobacco ‘sticks’ look like candy?
Apparently, tobacco control thinks that even toothpicks look like candy to a child. They really need to get out more.

Related Topics

BAT granted a court hearing to challenge Australia plain package law on IP grounds; is it a trap?
Many analysts have suggested that there is a clear violation of international treaties here. That brings up the interesting question: Could it be that tobacco control’s plan was for this to happen and provide an unimportant loss to demonstrate the power of Big Tobacco?

“Civil Liberties; Up in Smoke” released
This FOREST/Privacy International report explores “outright discrimination and persecution of smokers” and “encroachment into the home and family life of smokers”. Free download:
Review by Chris Snowdon:

Great short-form argument that tobacco control is not about health
One of the best one-page summaries we have seen (excluding from consideration those we have written ourselves — if we started giving ourselves awards like that we would be like tobacco control).

Siegel recounts the dishonest and immoral behavior of tobacco control
In two autobiographical posts, Michael Siegel provides examples and analysis of censorship, junk science, and efforts to perpetuate misinformation. It is a brutally effective condemnation.

Trying to impress the cool kids at the FCTC, Malaysia bans smoking in entire city
They want to attract more tourists to historical city of Malacca. It would be interesting to learn the net effect of this.

Iceland proposed severe tobacco sales restrictions
The proposed law would restrict sales to pharmacies and later require a medical prescription. Presumably this was written by the pharmacies lobby, though perhaps they just want to shut down that pesky tourism industry before it contributes to an economic recovery. On the other hand, they might have a better shot at this than most countries since Iceland is one of the few places where you cannot easily grow your own tobacco.

CDC grants intended to create QUANGO-style stealth government propagandizing
Jeff Stier explores how a new grant program pays local groups to advocate for government policies, including anti-menthol. While much of what is done under this grant is harmless and serves as tiny bits of desperately needed stimulus spending, the political element is disturbing.
There is concern that some of this money is funding anti-e-cigarette efforts in Boston.

Not clear if US “hard science” amendment is going anywhere
Last week we reported a US Congress committee’s adoption of a rule demanding that only “hard science” (which apparently includes compelling economic evidence) be used in making policies, a rule that seems aimed at protecting menthol and damaging use of antibiotics in animal factories. Most everyone seems to be waiting for the floor vote (we will keep you posted) though there has been a bit of protest. We link to CTFK’s protest, purely for its amusement value:
PR Newswire

Alberta rejects IDU harm reduction
And despite advice from public health officials in Alberta that indicate a safe injection house is needed, Health Minister says it is not on the radar.

Tobacco use by NJ South Asians
Actual study: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jo/2011/252675/

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