Friday 3 May 2024

Tobacco and Vapes Bill committee: day two


On Wednesday I gave you some representative quotes from the hand-picked 'experts' who were asked to speak to the Tobacco and Vapes Bill committee. With every MP on the committee in favour of tobacco prohibition, it turned into something of a circle jerk. On day two, there was an equally solid consensus, as the transcript shows...

Chris Whitty (chief medical officer for England): "I think I speak on behalf of all the chief medical officers when I say we enormously welcome the Bill, which I think the overwhelming majority of doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers fully support. It is an extraordinarily important public health measure."

Francis Atherton (chief medical officer for Wales): "To echo what Sir Chris has said, it is rare to achieve such a high degree of consensus across the medical community as there is around this Bill."

Gregor Ian Smith (chief medical officer for Scotland): "I would reiterate every word that Sir Frank has just said. The consensus across the medical profession, as far as I can see, is absolute."

Michael McBride (chief medical officer in Northern Ireland): "I would echo all that has been said. To add to Sir Gregor’s point about the weight of professional opinion, in Northern Ireland we also have the weight of a huge majority of the public. They are hugely supportive of the smoke-free generation and of measures on displays, point of sale and flavours of vapes."

Stephen Powis (national medical director of NHS England): "Seventy-eight years ago, Parliament passed the National Health Service Act 1946, which led to the formation of the NHS on 5 July 1948. In my view, the legislation that you are considering here today is one of the most important—possibly the most important—pieces of legislation since the passage of that Act."

Kate Brintworth (chief midwifery officer for NHS England): "... all the chief nursing and midwifery officers across the four countries are united in support of the Bill, as our medical colleagues are, because we see the damage wrought across families and generations. We are 100% behind it."

Kamila Hawthorne (a GP in south Wales): "I see a smoke-free generation as the logical next step, and I really think we have to take it."

Steve Turner (president of the College of Paediatrics and Child Health): "...we believe this Bill is splendid. We would be happy for the version that we have seen to be approved unamended."

Sanjay Agrawal (Royal College of Physicians): "The RCP supports the Bill. It is really well balanced. As a clinician in the medical profession, I, along with the RCP, which represents at least 30 different medical specialties, support the Bill. We know it will prevent ill health for future generations and reduce poverty and disparity."

Tim Mitchell (president of the Royal College of Surgeons): "We as a college fully support the Bill and, as my colleague said, we very much hope that it will pass through smoothly and get on to the statute book."

Mark Rowland (chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation): "... this Government should be applauded for introducing this progressive, bold and far-sighted piece of legislation."

Dr Laura Squire (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency): "... anything that introduces more controls over consumer vapes has to be a good thing."

Ann McNeill (King’s College London): "I welcome the Bill... It is really important, moving forward, that the Bill is in the context of a comprehensive tobacco control strategy".

Robert West (Diet Sage communist): "...there is widespread support for what some in years gone past might have seen as quite a draconian Bill that phases out smoking. That is testimony to how far we have come with the policies we have adopted, with credit to successive Governments".

The Bloomberg-funded quackademic Anna Gilmore also appeared alongside two of her colleagues. None of them explicitly paid homage to the generational ban because they were too busy talking about how ghastly capitalism is and attacking vaping. Mary Kelly Foy, vice-chair of ASH's APPG, went off topic by asking them if they support a levy on the tobacco industry (a favourite ASH policy) which of course they did.

The overall standard of discussion was beyond woeful. Both Hawthorne and Turner falsely told the committee that vaping can cause popcorn lung. At one point, Andrea Leadsom started spouting some nonsense about nicotine-addicted babies. Anna Gilmore claimed that nicotine "rewires the brain". Ann McNeill pushed back a little on some of this, but it mostly went unchallenged because the committee had gone out of its way to avoid hearing from anyone who wasn't a full-on prohibitionist/nutter.

Only David Lawson (director of Inter Scientific Ltd.) came out of it with any credit. Although he did not oppose the generational ban, he did point out that the problems the committee had with vaping could be dealt with by enforcing the many laws that already exist. Naturally, he was the only witness to get the 'who funds you?' treatment.


Don't stop clapping


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