This year, the vast, taxpayer-funded shindig for tobacco control
Looks nice doesn't it? Obviously, the sun-drenched luxury of the place played no part in the decision to hold the conference there, as Simon Chapman explains...
There has never been a conference in the Middle East and with heavy smoking rates among men in particular, and generally immature tobacco control policies in place, a strong case weighed heavily in the voting for this weeks’ gathering.
Sure. It was those "immature" (read: tolerant) smoking policies that made the fearless crusaders nip over to the United Arab Emirates, presumably to lecture the locals about the dangers of shisha pipes.
However, tragically—and I am holding back the tears as I write this—things have gone a bit Pete Tong for dozens of delegates.
The three day conference started on the 17th and as I write, at least 38 registered delegates we know of [the conference website says 60 - CJS], many whose presentations had been accepted by the conference and some who were to chair sessions, are still waiting for their visas to be issued. These are from Bangladesh (29), Iraq, Tunisia, Nigeria and Syria. They have a combined experience of over 200 years in tobacco control.
That actually only works out at 5 years experience each, but never mind that. Imagine the anguish of these poor folk pining for their
Imagine no longer, for one of them has written to Simple Simon and he or she paints a picture of almost unbelievably sanctimonious entitlement.
“I am writing to you in a situation when I am waiting at a friend’s house, packed up all my bags and posters for presentation and checking email every 6 secs...
This is seriously awful when I have prepared my speech and I have not yet got the visa to fly. With my 12 years of professional career I got opportunities to lead a number of platforms on health and tobacco control. [lists his international experience]
However this experience has made my disappointment so terrific that I am truly faded [sic] up on choosing a country which doesn’t respect the professionals, experts and researchers who are leading people’s health and well-being issues in this region and worldwide."
Like the death of little Nell, it takes a heart of stone not to dissolve into tears of laughter. They should have gone to Moscow again.
I never knew the tobacco control movement could make me so happy.