Thursday 17 July 2014

Dogs bark, cows moo, ASH lies

Even by ASH's standards, this is staggeringly dishonest...

Huge drop in Australian smoking rates attributed to standardised packs
New figures released by the Australian government have shown adult smoking rates have fallen by a massive 15%. Before the measure was introduced in December 2012, daily smoking prevalence stood at 15.1% and has now fallen to 12.8%. Standardised packaging is the only new policy intervention over this time period and is therefore the most likely reason for the significant fall in smoking prevalence.

If the smoking rate has really fallen from 15.1% to 12.8% in the year and a half since plain packaging came in, that would be good prima facie evidence that the policy is working. Smoking rates in Australia have been falling since the 1970s, but a decline of 2.3 percentage points would be two or three times greater than the annual decline.

Impressive stuff, then, and ASH's Deborah Arnott is excited:
Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of health charity ASH said:"The UK government is currently consulting on standardised packaging before deciding whether to proceed and has asked for new and emerging evidence. Well here it is and it demonstrates a massive decline in smoking prevalence in Australia following introduction of standardised packaging. This is exactly the strong and convincing evidence the tobacco industry said was needed."

There's only one problem. She's lying. Almost incredibly, the date ASH describes as being "before the measure was introduced" was not November 2012 (the month before plain packaging came in). It is not 2012 at all. It is not even 2011. The date they are referring to is 2010, more than two years before plain packaging was introduced.

ASH even gives the reference to the Australian report in its press release so that anyone can check it. I urge you to do so. It very clearly shows a steady and gradual downward trend in smoking rates going back to 1993. There is no increase in the rate of decline in 2013 and no effect from plain packaging. The rate has not "fallen by a massive 15%" since plain packaging came in, as ASH claims, and there has not been "a massive decline in smoking prevalence in Australia following introduction of standardised packaging". 

The data show that the smoking rate has been falling by 0.4-0.9 percentage points every year for twenty years and has continued to do so since plain packaging came in. There has not been a "huge drop" in smoking rates since the policy was enacted. There has been, at best, a mundane and totally predictable continuation of the secular decline.

The report that ASH uses as its sole reference says that "daily smoking declined significantly between 2010 and 2013 (from 15.1% to 12.8%)". This is a three year period. There is no mention of a three year period in the ASH propaganda. Their trick is pathetically simple. They are taking a three year gradual decline and pretending that it is a one year "huge" decline. There is nothing more to it than that. It is a piece of transparent mischief that a child could see through.

Use whatever term you want - "spinning", "bending the facts", "twisting the truth" - but ASH are doing what they have been doing for years. They are - quite simply - lying, and they are using the crudest of tricks to do so.

Credit to the British media for doing due diligence on this trash and not reporting it. The same cannot be said for the Sydney Morning Herald which has reported it as fact and included a quote from the parasitic sociologist Simon Chapman that does the unthinkable by making ASH look almost honest. I advise you to sit down before reading it...

"It's almost like finding a vaccine that works very well against lung cancer," said Simon Chapman, a professor in public health at the University of Sydney.
These people are truly amongst the greatest and most brazen charlatans of our time.


JohnB said...

From the same SMH article.

The intent of antismokers is to socially-engineer an antismoking world, typically through inflammatory propaganda. This just today from Mike Daube, a prominent antismoking activist in Australia that has been with the current antismoking crusade from the outset – mid-1960s.

" I think we are now going to beat that, and once we’re below 10 per cent I think we will see an even faster decline as smoking essentially becomes an abnormal behaviour," Professor Daube said.

That’s the antismoking goal. To “abnormalize” smoking. To turn smokers, engaged in an “abnormal” act, into a “leper” class contaminating the “clean” ones and not fit for the public place.

Unknown said...

Thanks, for your comments about our Australian ANTZ....... Shared Back Downunder on our Aussie Vapers facebook page

Unknown said...

From the sydney morning herald

Geoff Neideck of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, which conducts the survey every two to three years, said the results were continued a longer trend, which has seen smoking rates halved since 1991.

The plain-packaging laws should be seen in the context of changing attitudes and cultural practices, he said.

-is it me or geoff here calling bullshit on Chappers in a terribly polite way

JohnB said...

Good job, Chris.

Even the smoking rates appearing in the “National Drug Strategy Household Survey” look seriously suspect.

Consider the 2010 rate: For age 14+ = 15.1%; for age 18+ = 15.9%:

How does this stack up in terms of Australian estimated consumption of tobacco products?

For example, the total of All Tobacco Products in Cigarette/Cigarette Equivalents for 2010-11 was 24,725,000,000 (higher estimate & including contraband).

From this report
we get that “The average number of cigarettes smoked per week has decreased from 111 cigarettes in 2010 to 96 cigarettes in 2013.”

111 cigarettes per week over a year = 5772.

If we divide 24,725,000,000 by 5772 = 4,283,610 (no. of smokers). That’s way, way higher than any estimate conjured by antismokers.

The issue then is what percentage of the adult population the 4+million constitutes. To get the 14+ and 18+ denominators, we need births for the last 17 years (2010 back) which can be got here:

Ages 1-13 (1998-2010) is 3,485,300;
Ages 1-17 (1994-2010) is 4,505,200.

The Australian population in 2010 was estimated at 22,200,000.

Therefore, 22,200,000-3,485,300 gives us ages 14+ = 18,714,700; 22,200,000-4,505,200 gives us ages 18+ = 17,694,800.

So, we have our denominators. For 2010

No. of smokers / 14+ population = 4,283,610 / 18,714,700 = 0.2288 (22.9%);
No. of smokers / 18+ population = 4,283,610 / 17,694,800 = 0.2421 (24.2%).

So, that’s 22.9% and 24.2% compared to 15.1% and 15.9%. Even discounting the contraband contribution, those are very large discrepancies.

The consumption data (cigarettes/equivalents) is not available for 2011, 2012, 2013. But it would be expected that the percentage of smokers in 2013, based on overall consumption data, would come in way higher than the indicated 12.8% (14+) or 13.3% (18+) from the household survey data.

Dick Puddlecote said...

What's more, if you look at the supporting tables, there has been a 36% increase in the number of 12-17 year olds smoking since 2010! ASH are very quiet about that for some reason.

Ivan D said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ivan D said...

Arnott is being paid to lie using money people thought that they were donating to cancer research. This great wrong is the direct responsibility of Harpal Kumar of CRUK.

Jonathan Bagley said...

ON today's ASH news page, there is no news, only a link to "correction", which doesn't lead to a correction, but to the Press release page. Have you caused panic in the esteemed charity's HQ, Chris?

JohnB said...

Researchers demonstrate health risks posed by ‘third hand’ tobacco smoke

JohnB said...

Cigarette smoking Brazilian man may be world’s oldest person at 126 years old: