Thursday 28 December 2017

Review of the year - 2017

So that was 2017. I didn't quite live up to the heights of 2016 but it still provided some memorable moments. From the perspective of personal liberty, it was pretty dire, but things picked up nicely in December.

If you want to know why I'm looking forward to 2018, read my Spiked article. In the meantime, here are some of the highlights and lowlights of 2017.


The new year got off to the usual start with some sugar scaremongering. Apparently, British kids are eating 11 grams of sugar for breakfast. 44 calories. Imagine that! Public Health England suggested some 'healthier' breakfasts which actually have more calories but sound more exotic so that's okay.

The next day we were told that drinks with no calories were no better for weight loss than drinks with lots of calories. Yeah, right.

Meanwhile, the Food Standards Agency and European Commission kicked off a scare about brown toast and roast potatoes. How we laughed. Little did we know that the EU would pass legislation to deal with this anti-scientific panic before the year was out.

The UK Temperance Alliance t/a the Institute of Alcohol Studies complained to IPSO after the Times described them as an anti-alcohol group. Amusingly, and rightly, their complaint was rejected.

Stanton Glantz claimed - contrary to all evidence - that e-cigarettes are creating a new generation of smokers.

The IEA published Obesity and the Public Purse.


The BBC produced some propaganda for outdoor smoking bans that was so blatant it had to be edited, albeit after everybody had seen it.

The neo-temperance lobby lied about A & E admissions and so did this anti-obesity crusader. The usual people continued to lie about vaping.

A typo in a press release made the media believe that half a beer a week constituted heavy drinking, thereby revealing the dismal state of health reporting. And Scotland's sockpuppet state went into overdrive (see here for another example).

The IEA published A Rational Approach to Alcohol Taxation.


As yet another study showed that moderate drinking is good for health, the usual suspects responded with their trademark whataboutery.

Official statistics confirmed that problem gambling has not risen in the UK for as long as it has been measured. Undaunted, and not for the first time, the media claimed that rates had risen.

Irn-Bru announced plans to remove sugar from its flagship brand. Its customers were unimpressed.

The IEA published Cheap as Chips: Is a healthy diet affordable?


In an attempt to keep the money rolling into their racket, the 'public health' lobby claimed that every pound put into their trough saved the taxpayer £14. You won't be surprised to hear that this is untrue.

Mark Petticrew published the first of several pisspoor articles claiming that the alcohol industry does things that it doesn't. It's all part of a 'Big Alcohol = Big Tobacco' narrative that became central to the temperance lobby's efforts in 2017.

Vice produced an amusing documentary about e-cigarettes in which Stanton Glantz looked rather foolish. Another video revealed how important money is to him.

The mayor of London suggested banning smoking in beer gardens and was smacked down by both the government and the Labour party. 

E-mails released to me under the Freedom of Information Act revealed the cosy love-in between Public Health England and the temperance lobby.

While Lucozade customers go apeshit about their favourite drink being ruined in the name of 'public health', Action on Sugar complain about sugar in jam.


The curse of plain packaging strikes again when the French government admits that sales of cigarettes rose after it introduced the policy.

The thirdhand smoke hoax is briefly resurrected.

While Australian wowsers call for tobacco-style regulation of gambling and British idiots promote graphic warnings for food, the National Obesity Forum calls for a ban on eating 'junk food' on public transport. No slippery slip there, then.

The Tobacco Products Directive comes into force and acts as a handy reminder to smokers and vapers of why they voted for Brexit.

The 2017 Nanny State Index is published.


The month starts awkwardly for anti-smoking fanatics when the Australian government admits that the smoking rate failed to decline between 2013 and 2016. The situation is very different in vape-friendly Britain.

Some junk science is published in the Lancet claiming that banning smoking in psychiatric hospitals (prisons) reduced the number of violent assaults.

The lunatic British Medical Association calls for graphic warnings on sweets.

The Czech Republic introduces a smoking ban, with the usual consequences for the hospitality industry.


'Public health' zealots greet the tenth anniversary of the UK smoking ban with the same lies and quackery that were used to convince politicians to introduce it in the first place.

Dirty tricks are employed by wowsers in Australian to perpetuate the prohibition of e-cigarettes.

Busybodies in London fine a six year old girl £150 for selling lemonade.

People notice that chocolate bars are shrinking but fail to understand why.

Two months after 'standardised packaging' came into force, Trading Standards find the first counterfeit plain packaged cigarettes in Britain.

One of the funniest/worst junk studies of the year was published. I never got round to writing about it, but check out the abstract here. The conclusion is the cherry on the cake.


Yet more evidence shows that teetotalism is a health hazard while people continue to lie about problem gambling.

Stanton Glantz publishes a truly bizarre study trying to link 'Big Tobacco' to the ineffectiveness of nicotine replacement therapy.

The IEA publishes Smoking and the Public Purse.


A few weeks after ASH's Deborah Arnott publishes an article titled 'I don't predict a riot', in which she claims it is a myth that smoking bans causes prison riots, riots break out in British prisons in protest at the introduction of smoking bans. Plans to extend smoking bans to all UK prisons by the end of the month are quietly shelved.

Mark Petticrew continues to publish junk to turn people against the booze industry.

A couple more smoking ban miracles are published, both as worthless as the rest.

Australia's epidemic of black market tobacco becomes so extreme that only a handful of fanatics deny it.

Aseem Malhotra is described as 'completely mad' by his old mates at Action on Sugar.


The global temperance lobby meets in Sydney for a week of extreme wowserism.

In the first of many good news stories in the last months of 2017, Jamie Oliver's chain of 'Italian' restaurants posts a net loss of £12.3 million.

Politicians in Chicago repeal their soda tax just weeks after introducing it as a result of massive public resistance. Delightfully, the failed experiment costs Michael Bloomberg millions of dollars.

The story of how the figures were fiddled to lower the drinking guidelines is finally told.


A study by the doyenne of smoking ban miracles, Jill Pell, reveals the pitiful state of 'public health' quackery.

The UK Supreme Court rules that the 'public health' carve out means that minimum pricing is legal.

A rare bit of good news from Brussels as a few freedom-hating pressure groups lose their taxpayer handouts.

Public Health England respond to my exposé of the drinking guidelines scandal and I respond to them.

The IEA publishes my book, Killjoys and the report Vaping Solutions.


Simon Chapman getting pwned in the Aussie Senate is a sign that this month is going to be something special. Sure enough, Stanton Glantz is then accused of sexual harassment, racism and academic misconduct, and McDonalds-hating filmmaker Morgan Spurlock confesses to sexual harassment.

Aseem Malhotra's ridiculous book makes it into the British Dietetic Association's list of worst diets. He tries to defend himself at Spectator Health but gets beasted by someone who knows what they're talking about.

There is joy in heaven when Austria cancels its plans to ban smoking in bars in 2018. And, as if the month couldn't get any better, the UK Supreme Court rules that the smoking ban doesn't apply to public places.

That's all folks. Thanks for continuing to read this blog. See you next year.

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