Saturday 8 June 2013

While I was out

I've just spend a week in Spain, the healthiest country in the EU—where a litre of premium lager costs less than a pound and smoking prevalence is well above the continental average. While I was away, the English speaking world's downward spiral towards a dictatorship of public health has continued. Here are some lowlights:—

Over in Ireland, where plain packaging for tobacco has recently been mooted, the utterly predictable has happened...

The official conference European Week Against Cancer said that the Irish are drinking 700 percent over recommended safe alcohol level to prevent cancer. Scholars at the conference have called for plain packaging for alcohol in the interest of public health.

Equally predictably, these tax sponging temperance nuts "scholars" also want a complete ban on alcohol advertising and sponsorship "which the Irish government has recently done for tobacco". Dick Puddlecote has more on that supposedly mythical slippery slope here and here.

Meanwhile in the Australian supernanny state, anti-gambling cranks want the government to tell you what you can and can't wear:

Football jumpers emblazoned with betting company logos and gambling advertisements at sporting grounds could be banned after a parliamentary committee raised concerns about the effect the punting culture is having on children.

Yes, it's all about the chiiiiiiildren.

The proposals raise questions as to whether the new rules will actually protect children from the "normalisation" of gambling culture.

Denormalisation and think-of-the-children rhetoric. Sound familiar?

A fortnight after Julia Gillard intervened to head off the public backlash at Tom Waterhouse and other spruikers of live odds, the joint select committee on gambling reform has asked whether regulation has gone far enough in insulating children.

The real question is whether enough is being done to insulate the rest of the world from the horrors of Australian lifestyle fascism.

Speaking of stupid antipodean ideas, in January 2012 I wrote an article about plain packaging in which I speculated on what the next piece of idiocy would be...

With plain packaging in place, the extremists have exhausted all of the options I listed in the final chapter of Velvet Glove, Iron Fist. What fresh lunacy will follow? Warnings on individual cigarettes?

Ho, ho. But, as ever in tobakko kontrol, life imitates satire:

A leading tobacco control researcher says the next step to encourage smokers to quit is to print warning labels on cigarettes.

Naturally, this chap has some "qualitative" research to turn this crackpot idea into "evidence-based policy".

The qualitative study surveyed 10 smokers and then preliminary sketches and mock-ups were presented. “We found it has a profound effect on smokers. They literally have the risk under their nose, day after day, week after week, with every cigarette. It really brings the hazard home.

“I have to say of all the times I’ve done these qualitative, focus testings, I’ve never had such a response that was so consistent across smokers.”

A qualitative study survey of ten smokers? And so the inevitable body of "overwhelming evidence" begins to take shape.

Future generations will look back in wonder at how so many fruitcakes and monomaniacs came to wield influence in the foul years of the early twenty-first century. Sack the lot of them, abolish their grants, bulldoze their workplaces and pour salt on the land so that nothing ever grows there again.


Brett_McS said...

You can have Gillard back after September.

Rursus said...

Tobacco Control _must_ propose further measures... every month... every year!
If they don't, they will lost the _reason of existence_.

nisakiman said...

It makes you wonder how us baby-boomers ever made it to adulthood, what with being exposed not only to tobacco and alcohol advertising everywhere, but also growing up in a veritable fug of second-hand tobacco smoke which we were subjected to almost 24/7. And of course, the miracle is that not only did we survive this terrible abuse at the hands of Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol, we seem to have positively thrived on it, turning out to be the healthiest, longest-lived generation ever.

I guess there must have been an unprecedented evolutionary step-change in mankind a couple of decades back, since we now seem to be so vulnerable to those things which had absolutely no detrimental effect on us in the recent past.

Children these days must be very fragile entities, that they must be shielded from so many things.

Anonymous said...

Julia Guillard is the worst of the lot. Her crazy carbon scheme is laughed at and she herself is held up to the ridicule she so richly deserves