Sunday, May 12, 2013

Daily Nicotine or How It Would Have Looked If DNS Issues hadn't cropped Up

Since my Daily Nicotine paper is down here is what would have been in today's issue.

Why are Britain’s Tories courting Michael Bloomberg?

Really? I never even knew Bloomberg and the Tories were an item until I read this article. I rather doubt whether David Cameron raises much of a blip in the United States. (If RMC and RTL are any evidence, though, the French public and some of the media seem to like him. They say he takes the ‘tough stances’ against welfare they would like to see in France.)
The article filled me with apprehension, especially when I read that Bloomberg likes London ‘because the city has so many health and safety regulations’.
The articles STATES that pregnant women WILL be tested for CO by midwives. The article suggests that NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) HAS ORDERED midwives to test pregnant women for CO as an indication of whether they are smoking or not. Of course, NICE has no such authority. The whole thing is just another example of Tobacco Control spin.
But the important thing is the comments. How can it be that there are so many mentally ill, emotionally-driven people in the world? So many people who cannot distinguish between REAL harm and IMAGINED harm.

All that taxpayer cash handed to obsessed single interest bully boys and doom-mongers, and the upshot is a decline of 3% in around a quarter of a century. Epic fail, huh?

Of course, if you look carefully at the figures, it isn't difficult to work out which European nations are performing the best.
Large declines occurred in Nordic countries, in Denmark (from 45% in 1990 to 20% in 2010), Iceland (from 30% to 14%), Sweden (from 26% to 14%), Norway (from 32% to 21%), and in the Netherlands (from 37% to 21%). 
That is, Nordic countries where smokeless tobacco and snus are widely available - and Holland which has one of the loosest smoking bans in Europe.

While I smoked, I was never aware of anyone who crashed their car because they were addicted to smoking, or killed their spouses because they were "blown" on cigarettes. I never heard of gangs of youth under the influence of tobacco, vomiting in the streets or attacking passers by. I did not read in the papers of folks overdosing on cigarettes. In my personal life, none of my children suffered low birth size, cot deaths or asthma, allergies, or lowered IQ's even though I would light up to feed them in the night, or if they stressed me out with messy rooms, or fussy eating. We lived in a big house, five kids and smoking Mom and Dad. None of our children smoke, although they tried it, all dumped it in their twenties. None of them, or us, committed any offence under the influence of smoking.

PUBS are closing at an alarming rate in Scotland with 147 calling time in the last six months, figures show.
Research by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) suggests six bars shut down every week.
Paul Waterson, chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said the dismal statistics showed the smoking ban, the recession and cheap supermarket booze had taken their toll on traditional watering holes.
He said: “The industry have never recovered from the smoking ban and have never had the same influx of people coming in.
A Royal College of Midwives source told the Sunday Times the guidance is "ill-judged", adding: "Midwives should not be seen to be policing pregnant women and enforcing CO monitoring."
The test will not be compulsory but midwives fear many mums-to-be will feel under pressure to take it.
Parenting expert Ellie Lee, of the University of Kent, said: "It's outrageous.
"If pregnant women think they need help with stopping smoking then that is fine, but it's not the place of midwives to start dictating to women what they do and don't do.
"The next thing will be blood tests on women to see how much they drink."

Plain packaging in an independent Scotland?

The health of the people is surely the highest purpose of government, so it is chilling to hear that the Coalition does not consider the prevention of ill health and premature mortality to be part of its role
I suppose that is what you would expect doctors to say, and as it happens I agree that a Conservative government would prioritise corporate interests over public health more than I would like. But as it happens, I don't happen to believe that plain packaging is a policy that has any particular merit – the evidence for it has been collated entirely by people employed specifically as tobacco control advocates and suffers disastrously from a lack of objectivity. Government sources know that most people start smoking before they can buy tobacco legally, indeed it is only a matter of years since the legal age of purchasing tobacco was raised, and smokers generally tell you that they were given cigarettes by friends before they could purchase legally.

Stats life – welcome to the fictional world of tobacco control

The University of Bath's sleight of hand or deception would be unimportant if it wasn't for the fact that the case against smoking – and passive smoking in particular – relies to a large extent on epidemiological studies.
According to Wikipedia:
Epidemiology is the study (or the science of the study) of the patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in defined populations. It is the cornerstone [my emphasis] of public health, and informs policy decisions and evidence-based medicine by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive medicine. Epidemiologists help with study design, collection and statistical analysis of data [my emphasis].
Given this, you might expect publicly-funded tobacco control campaigners to demonstrate a rather better grasp of the data concerning their own website.
They say history repeats itself, and this is reminiscent of Prohibition in the 1920s. As a Wisconsinite I have been in many taverns and bars across the state, and I cannot believe how naive people are as to what  happens in real life.
Don't think for an instant I don't know which establishments I can go in to smoke and have a beer. The more north I go, the more prevalent these establishments are. So I can stop in and socialize. In the southern part of the state, sentries actually stand guard, which I find amusing.
And some people I immediately distrusted. Dr W, in whose house I once lived, and who was the first antismoker I ever encountered, profoundly shocked me one day by breaking out into a loud tirade against his errant eldest son (probably caught smoking), and stood bellowing in the hallway of his house against the “filthy, filthy, filthy” habit. I immediately concluded that he was a bit mad, and when a few years later I took up smoking, it was in part because there couldn’t be much wrong with it if a nutter like him thought that there was. Dr W gave me a permanent lifetime inoculation against antismoking. Because I witnessed the irrationality of it at first hand.
“Well it doesn’t cost anything to get it checked out. Especially if you have any trouble getting deep breaths” [Already there was no way she could take a deep breath, she was seconds from hyperventilating]. “I mean, the tuberculosis outbreak is certainly real. It’s all over the news. Anyone can catch that. Well, anyone who doesn’t smoke.” [Look up, eye contact time and try not to smirk at the panic in them] “Tuberculosis is a lot faster way to die than smoking.”
She left just as I was getting warmed up. Sometimes it’s just too easy. I have yet to hear whether she saw a doctor, she certainly isn’t out in the smoking patch with the rest of us so she hasn’t taken the easy option.
And just last month five U.S. senators wrote to the FDA asking that it restrict e-cigarettes’ sale, distribution and marketing to young adults even though the FDA hasn’t yet conducted research in regards to e-cigarettes’ safety.
And now California bill SB 648 is gaining momentum as it seeks to ban e-cigarettes in every location regular cigarettes are currently prohibited.
The motive behind it? Lawmakers say e-cigarette use encourages smoking of traditional cigarettes.
A question worth asking is if the FDA hasn’t yet done long-term research on e-cigarettes, then how can lawmakers anywhere make any conclusions — good or bad — regarding this product?
That raises troubling questions about such a nanny-like approach to employee health. Is it really your boss’ business if you’re gorging at buffets or running marathons? And doesn’t it invoke shades of Big Brother, to be constantly monitored for things like blood pressure or glucose levels?
“It’s a laudable goal to encourage employees to improve their health, but it’s not clear this is the best way to go about it,” says JoAnn Volk, a research professor at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute, who co-authored a recent white paper on wellness incentives.
There are also serious legal questions, too, about health-related rewards and penalties. While they’re allowed under health laws like HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996), that doesn’t mean companies couldn’t face potential action in the courts.
“You can’t penalize workers if they have a family history of a certain condition, or a particular genetic makeup,” says Volk. “There are also privacy issues, depending on who’s running the program and whether the information is being kept confidential. So there are a number of different legal hurdles that companies need to clear.”
There would have been more,but it's late and I'm tired.

My apologies to the lovely people from Bath (sarcasm) who visit my twitter paper every day for a much longer period of time than a normal user would.

I know you guys will miss my paper most of all.

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