From the sublime to the ridiculous, but daft with a point to make. While writing this next bit, it was hot enough in London to fry an egg on the head of the hyperventilating anti-tobacco harm reduction zealot. So with a wave of banning frenzy underway in the States and with pending heatstroke to blame, I mused on what might be….
Following on from their successful lobbying to have smokers executed and vapers sent to the new Elon Musk penal colony on Mars, public health activists have now turned their attention to a new impending crisis.
Research indicates that old age causes nearly 60% of deaths in the USA and a similar percentage across Europe. Professor Brainstorm from the Institute of Institutes has discovered that repeated exposure to old people can cause depression, nausea, irritability and a tendency to shout. This passive ageing could, Brainstorm believes, “Cause many thousands of deaths every year”.
Leading campaigners have described it as a public health crisis hidden in plain sight. A hard-hitting editorial in the respected American Journal of Evidence headlined “Why We Must Iron Out The Wrinklies” highlighted the scandal of “These people who endanger the physical, mental, and above all economic health of the industrialised world by inflicting their ageing behaviour on the general population”. There is particular concern about ageing in the workplace: recently a Californian psychologist was awarded compensation for an industrial injury when she fell over a 70 -year old. The tribunal agreed that “These people are always in the way, clumsy and irritatingly slow”.
Action Against Ageing (AAA) has advice for employers on how to provide a “Wrinkle-free environment”. For example, they recommend that all old people could be isolated in specially set aside rooms as far away as possible from their normal place of work and at the top of a steep flight of steps. These rooms should be marked with a warning sign and ventilated by a strong draft. In the light of anti-smoking and anti-vaping legislation, many firms could convert their old smoking rooms at little extra cost. The more extremist elements of AAA propose a ‘no platform’ policy for anybody over 65 waiting for a train and compulsory skydiving test for the elderly over the mid-Atlantic to safeguard the vulnerable young on the ground, especially as it has been scientifically proven that being young is a gateway to becoming old. After all, as an AAA spokesperson said, “Somebody must think about the children”, on which note the new USA president, 12 year-old Chuck Whitehouse has pledged to “Make America Young Again”.
OK. I’ve cooled down now, but not chilled enough to ignore the conduct of the What the Hell Organisation, the WHO, as they persist in their sterling efforts to ensure that more smokers die than necessary by refusing to endorse tobacco harm reduction through the use of safer nicotine products. Their only focus is on ‘cessation’, refusing in the process to acknowledge in any way that it is hugely more beneficial for people to switch away from smoking to vaping and other non-smoking options even if they don’t give up nicotine altogether. Unless of course you are fixated on the hopeless and damaging ambition of ‘A Nicotine-Free World. We Can Do It’. Their 109-page report is littered with regrets and disappointments at how so little progress has been made in many areas of global tobacco control. Even when they can trumpet where policies are in place, there is still a chasm between the political promises of an anti-tobacco policy and active delivery on the ground that makes a tangible and sustainable difference. And one of the main reasons for lack of delivery is lack of cash, especially in poorer countries, who are often fighting a long list of much higher public health priorities like infectious diseases, inadequate public sanitation, the effects of global warming on the environment and so on. And then along comes a game-changing innovation that can help cut smoking-related disease across the world without any costs to government and…well, you know the rest…except of course to point out that if there was a global uptake of safer nicotine products making a serious difference to tobacco-related disease numbers, the WHO tobacco control complex would lose much power, status, funding and jobs too, no doubt.
Some good news on the tobacco harm reduction front. Stanton Glanz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research (sic) at the University of California in San Francisco told the media he was "Shocked and depressed" by the decision of his colleague Dr Mark Rubinstein to leave UCSF for Juul as its Medical Director. The cohort of apoplectics claim this is straight out of the Big Tobacco Playbook, as if BT was the only industry to weave its evil magic and drag people over to the dark side. Former FDA boss Scott Gottlieb is now in the clutches of Big Pharma and you would lose count of the number of senior government defence officials who moved on to fat wallets courtesy of defence contractors.
And here is a rare example of bad e-cigarette science actually exposed. Not totally satisfactory but does at least get across the point that you can’t trust all the ‘bad news’ about vaping. URL is interesting and suggests a late editorial change as it probably referred to the allegations against the evidence-offending individual highlighted in the article.
The FDA is spending a staggering $60m on anti-vaping ads aimed at teens. And this despite the complete and utter lack of evidence that using ads to try and convince young people not to do stuff has an iota of impact. And using social media to ‘get down with the kids’ doesn’t make it any more effective. Which takes us back to the video at the top. Enjoy.