Thursday 28 February 2013

Ban everything

Smoking in cars is back in the news thanks to the tireless efforts of state-funded prohibitionists. One such is Mr Martin Dockrell of fake charity ASH...

Martin Dockrell, director of policy and research at the campaign group Action on Smoking and Health, said: "The minister can count on our support and the majority of the public. A ban on smoking in cars is the right thing to do."

This is all to be done on the basis that we must THINK OF THE CHILDREN—because the government cares more about people's children than their parents do.

There are some who suspect that banning smoking in cars when children are present is the thin of the wedge and will lead to a ban on smoking in cars when grown adults have made the conscious decision to hitch a lift with a smoker.

Of course that would be fallacious slippery-slope rhetoric and would never happen, would it Martin?

"We need to think about whether this should just be aimed at children. Older adults are vulnerable too."

These salami slice tactics are so tiresome, predictable and irrational. The idea seems to be that people have a right to smoke, but that nonsmokers do not have a right to be around smokers even if they want to. Nanny knows best.

You will fondly recall the BMA's arch-propagandist Vivienne Nathanson lying through her teeth about secondhand smoke in cars being 23 times being more concentrated than secondhand smoke in bars (listen to the clip at Dick's place). She was back to her old tricks today on Radio 4 calling for the prohibition of e-cigarettes. You can listen to her at 48 minutes in here (the item starts five minutes earlier if you want to listen to the whole thing.)

Nathanson admits there is no evidence of harm, but claims that people using them on aeroplanes encourages smokers to light up real cigarettes. I would be amazed if this is not a bald-faced lie. She is a disgrace to the medical profession.

And finally, there's this from the Daily Mail.

Caffeine is so dangerous that it should be regulated like alcohol and cigarettes, warns leading expert

The Mail has a pretty broad definition of what a 'leading expert' is, but this particular guy is the editor of the peer-reviewed Journal of Caffeine Research so he couldn't possibly be a crank with a  axe to grind (cough). I recommend reading the whole article as it is a textbook example of a tabloid moral panic.

Even more worrying, he says that caffeine is also frequently used as a diluent (cutting agent) in illicit drugs.

You wouldn't want a bit of caffeine in your illicit drugs now, would you? It might very slightly raise the heart beat.

There is also evidence that children who drink caffeine are more likely to use alcohol, drugs and smoke in the future.

Ah, the old gateway theory. And so it continues, forever and ever without end.


Anonymous said...

"There is also evidence that children who drink caffeine are more likely to use alcohol, drugs and smoke in the future."

This kind of junk is annoying and it is to be found in ever increasing amounts throughout science. If there is evidence that caffeine at say, age 12, results in kids smoking kaja, how has this evidence been gathered. I assume post-hoc because you cannot ask coffee-drinking kids at age 12 whether they will start using crack at age 21. So we ask young people of 21: Did you drink coffee at age 12? And to gain some variance, we ask, was it very much, much, not so much, less than much or not so much... This provides the evidence that makes "scientists" fly, no, that rather lets imaginations of some that call themselves "scientists" fly. I call this kind of studies "nonsense-studies", researchers conducting such studies find the results that they want to find and I bet the results crumble under the first reliability analysis that comes their way, like the study that showed a relationship between "sneezing" and facebook use. I crumbled when someone came along and asked: What variables did you control for...

nisakiman said...

Ah, the old gateway theory. And so it continues, forever and ever without end.

Ah, but it's a tried and tested method.

Marijuana inevitably leads to abject heroin addiction, beer inevitably leads to lying in a gutter clutching a bottle of meths, and now the modern day variants; e-cigs will lead to the ultimate sin of smoking tobacco and coffee will lead to bloody everything that the self-righteous disapprove of.

What really gives me pause for thought is not so much that these nutters are spouting such utter tosh (there have always been attention-seekers with their lunatic pet theories), but the fact that the media are giving them air-time. Aren't there enough real news items to fill the pages? Have journalists totally given up on assessing credibility and checking facts? It seems that they will print any old rubbish these days. The more far-fetched, the better.

Years ago when I bought a Sunday Paper, I would always pick up a Sunday Sport as well. It was the original 'Daily Mash', and was invariably entertaining in its outrageousness, but it's got to the point now where all the media outlets are vying for the spot that the 'Sunday Sport' once occupied.

Are they really disseminating this stuff in naive good faith, or is there something more sinister happening that they are party to? I do wonder sometimes...

Jonathan Bagley said...

Notice that ASH always says, "banning smoking in cars." They never mention children. Their aim is to get smoking banned in cars whether or not children are present.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Nisakiman: "Ah, but it's a tried and tested method."

If you drink, you will move on to a doner kebab! ;)

nisakiman said...

Gawd, DP, and I bet they will be horsemeat doner kebabs, too.