Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Black Market Denial

Tobacco Control are a strange beast. They seem totally incapable of thinking the way a NORMAL person thinks. Their solution to everything they think consumers should not be enjoying is to seek to ban it. If they can't ban it, then their second preference is to try and hike the price.

Today, I was drawn by this tweet

The implication of this tweet is that increasing the price of tobacco as high as possible means that the 'kidz' will simply be unable to afford the tobacco. It makes you wonder if these people were ever kids themselves at any time in their lives because if a kid really wants to try something, they will find a way.

Thanks to Tobacco Control, it is Christmas 365 days a year for the smugglers/criminal gangs. With a pack of 20 cigarettes around £10 (in the UK at least), Tobacco Control have opened up a whole new market in illicit tobacco. The fact that packs of 10 are no longer legally sold in the UK anymore due to the TPD has simply exacerbated this fact.

I no longer smoke (I switched to Vaping over 6 years ago), but even I know of numerous places where I can buy smuggled or illicit cigarettes. If I can find them so easily, do Tobacco Control really think that your average 'young person' cannot also work out where to purchase illicit cigarettes ?

The thing is, if folk are buying illicit tobacco from criminal/smuggling gangs, then children can also do the same. Because it is illicit in the first place, such gangs will have no qualms whatsoever about who they are selling that illicit tobacco to. The bottom line to those gangs is simply to make as much money as they possibly can. In fact, illicit tobacco is such a profitable business these days that many criminals have switched from pushing drugs and now sell illicit tobacco instead.

Much illicit tobacco that can be found on the black market is genuine enough. It is simply sourced from other countries where the taxes are lower (or non-existent) and smuggled into the UK. Indeed, there is so much of it flooding into the UK in this way that Customs are very much fighting a losing battle to stop the tide. For every horde of illicit tobacco they do actually find (and seize), you can bet your bottom dollar on the fact that there are hundreds more around the country (or even the locality) that they have not detected. When the smuggling happens on such a scale, the smugglers can easily absorb the occasional loss or seizure of their stock. It is exactly the same mindset that drug traffickers use.

Then of course, you also have the 'home grown' tobacco. That is, counterfeit tobacco that may well have been manufactured within the UK and bulked up with all manner of 'nasties' to make the final product. For these types of operation, they have no qualms at all about hygiene or Health & Safety in their 'manufacturing' process because, as an illegal operation in the first place, they are not bound by such considerations.

Counterfeit tobacco can also be found with ease all over the UK. Yes, occasionally stock is seized by the Police or Customs, but as with smuggled tobacco there is plenty more where that came from so they can easily absorb the occasional seizure of stock.

Also, thanks to Tobacco Control exaggerating the effects of smoking (especially 2nd hand smoke), many people expect that Tobacco will kill them eventually anyway so why would they bother worrying about anything nasty being in counterfeit cigarettes ?

Don't believe me ?   Ask yourself how many newspaper headlines you have read in 2017 alone whereby people have died from taking a contaminated batch of drugs they have purchased in a nightclub or at a festival. That alone should tell you that when people want a product badly enough, then they will naturally take risks on that product when they know it is being bought from an illegal source - especially if the price is good.

Tobacco Control KNOW they are fuelling the black market by constantly pushing for the hiking of prices for tobacco, but they choose to ignore that. Then they simply exacerbate the problem by trying to ban the safer alternatives like snus or vaping. But then, as long as the money keeps flowing into their coffers to keep the gravy train going .....

It has NEVER been about Health, has it ?

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Media Misinformation

It is quite staggering the amount of media misinformation that can be found even through incidental reading these days. This should come as no surprise to smokers and vapers who are well used to the amount of clickbait spouting downright lies that has been fed to the mainstream MSM by the tax-sponging public health 'charities' and organisations to justify their continued funding.

As I write this blog, an article has just been shown on BBC Breakfast 'celebrating' 10 years of the smoking ban. It contains the usual contrived figures from the like of Deborah Arnott and Cancer Research UK stating that 10 years ago there were 10 million smokers and now there are only 8 million smokers - proving the success of their prohibitionist policies (according to them). Of course they make no mention of the fact that there are now 3 million Vapers in the UK since the smoking ban was introduced. Look at those figures I just quoted and tell me there is no correlation as to what is the REAL reason that smoking has reduced. In fact, the only person who acknowledged that ecigarettes had played any part in this reduction in smoking at all was Paul Cosford of Public Health England - and even he was claiming that the main benefit of ecigarettes was in cutting down smoking rates among the young. Furthermore, there were no voices of opposition consulted in the report. I am amazed that FOREST were not consulted at all in the report other than an acknowledgement of their recent Road To Ruin report about how many pubs have closed around the country.

Yesterday, I read an article in The Morning Advertiser (the pub trade magazine) which showed an incredible lack of understanding on what the law is around vaping in pubs. The article can be read here, but the part that really stood out is this

I do not know who advised The Morning Advertiser on the rules surrounding ecigarettes, but they are not very good at their jobs.

For those not sure of the current law, there is NO requirement for ecigarettes (or components) to be approved by the MHRA. All that is required is that all ecigarettes (and components) have to be compliant with the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) that came into force on 20th May 2017.

The MHRA are not involved at all in the control of ecigarettes unless that product range is making a medical/medicinal claim. For that to happen, the product has to go through a rigorous (and expensive) testing/approval program by the MHRA before it is put on the approved list. To date, there is only ONE product that has undergone this procedure (a product owned, ironically, by a tobacco company) and been successful. That product has still (to the best of my knowledge) been placed on the market. Vape products not making medicinal/medical claims are NOT required to go through this process.

Is it any wonder that pubs are so confused as to what the law is regarding vaping when their own trade organisations/publications cannot get their facts right in regard to the law ?

Another (unrelated) article that caught my attention appeared in the prohibitionist Labour-supporting Trinity Mirror rag known as Walesonline - which is the online version of the Welsh newspaper known as The Western Mail. The article in question focusses on the town of Tonypandy and is all about why the South Wales Valleys 'hubs' (i.e. shopping centres) have suffered such terminal decline and what can be done to revive them.

But apparently, the sure signs that such a hub is in trouble is


So, according to this sorry rag, if a shopping centre has ecigarette stores, then that is a sure sign that it is in trouble and in desperate need of revitalisation. Never mind that ecigarette stores enable smokers to make the choice to switch to a safer alternative of consuming nicotine, never mind that those same ecigarette stores have a far greater success rate (and bigger custom) than any of the government-run Stop Smoking Wales shops that can also be found in such places, and never mind that those ecigarette stores have helped deliver the biggest reduction in Welsh smoking rates that has ever been seen. Nope according to this rag, the appearance of ecigarette stores is a detrimental sign in any shopping community and are 'undesirable'. 'Undesirable' to whom exactly ?  If they were 'undesirable' they would not be flourishing.

Of the course, the same rag does NOT recognise that those same 'deprived', 'depressed' and 'failing' shopping hubs are ALL in Labour-controlled areas. That those places have ALWAYS been Labour-controlled areas. That those areas have been left to rot and decay by the (so called party of the working man) Labour party. Nope, Walesonline is a true red Labour supporting paper so the Labour party is NOT to blame for the decline, but that terrible scourge known as the ecigarette IS the cause.

Little wonder that same Labour party tried (unsuccessfully) to ban the use of ecigarettes in enclosed public spaces. It is also the same Labour party that brought in the smoking ban 10 years ago and started the long decline of these areas as one by one the bingo halls, the snooker halls, the working mens clubs and of course the pubs - all of which are social hubs which brought custom into these areas - closed down.

The article goes on to make many other excuses about why the retail businesses closed down, whilst the bigger names moved out for the more lucrative city centres like Cardiff, but completely fails (or more likely refuses) to acknowledge that first and foremost such places have always been SOCIAL hubs. Without the businesses which give that social aspect (i.e. the pubs, clubs, bingo/snooker halls), there is little to attract people to come to them. THAT is the fault of the smoking ban.

Like I stated at the beginning of this article, the misinformation from the MSM is quite simply unbelievable. It is no wonder that people are turning to other sources to find the REAL news.