Monday 2 September 2019

Ten years of the Velvet Glove blog

On 2 September 2009, I put the first post on the Velvet Glove, Iron Fist blog, saying:

This blog will look at issues surrounding tobacco, alcohol, food, liberty, health scares and anything else that takes my fancy. How often it gets updated, I don't know. How many people will ever read it, I can't say.

Ten years, 2,243 posts and 6.4 million page views later, I'm still here. I know the blogging scene isn't what it used to be. Most of the big bloggers from ten years ago have given up the game or been poached by the mainstream media. Twitter and Facebook are sufficient for many people.

Although I'm active on Twitter and write for various outlets, I still relish the ease, immediacy and editorial control of blogging here. Enough of you read it to make it worthwhile and it is a place where I can test ideas and pursue niche topics.

Looking back at my early posts, I see that the split between the US and and UK attitudes to vaping was already becoming evident, a precursor to the full blown moral panic seen in America this year. I am also reminded that the plain packaging campaign initially started out as a way to stop people being 'misled' by low tar cigarettes.

In the years since, this blog has covered smoking ban miracles, fake alcohol guidelines, minimum pricing, fixed-odds betting terminals, thirdhand smoke, the Tobacco Products Directive, the sugar levy, sock puppets, blatant scientific malpractice, snus, casinos, loony academics, Brexit, Aseem Malhotra, Stanton Glantz's #metoo allegations and so much more. It has outlasted three prime ministers, several Surgeon Generals, countless public health ministers, Alcohol Concern, the National Obesity Forum, Smokefree Southwest, the UK Health Forum, the Health Equalities Group and Jamie's Italian.

Whether you've been here from the beginning or started reading in recent years, I hope you've enjoyed it. I'll be here for as long as you are.

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