The most pathetic aspect of the relentless smear campaign against the Public Health England report on e-cigarettes is that, rather than responding to the scientific evidence and positive public health messages contained within, the small group of fanatics who object to it (one of which even attempted to prevent it being produced), have focussed on an irrelevant funding issue from one of the researchers who contributed to a miniscule element of the overall report and its important public policy conclusions.
The sheer pettiness of this “shock revelation” by Mckee & Co is actually an admission that it was the only thing they could find to attack. Sadly, they succeeded in getting global coverage for their impotent complaint – aided and abetted by their chums’ medical journals and a media that delights in putting the boot into ecigs at any given opportunity. Sadder still is the fact that the PHE report is now often labelled “controversial”, and even (hilariously and wholly incorrectly on many levels) “tobacco funded”. The truth is that the only controversial thing about the report, is that it is so utterly balanced and (whatever your views on the 95% safer estimate, when it’s more likely to be 99% or more) evidence-based compared to the sea of junk science on ecigs that we are used to seeing from public health and tobacco control.
It’s truly illuminating that the most prominent and outspoken UK figures the attack on the PHE report – Martin Mckee, Simon Capewell and Robin Ireland – like to pretend that e-cigarette industry funding of a single piece of research in the distant past has in some way tainted an entire government department’s report. Of course we’re all aware, as Dick Puddlecote highlighted last week, that Mckee likes a good swivel-eyed conspiracy theory. And it’s always been a classic tactic of tobacco control to smear perfectly good scientific research with the “industry-funded” brush. Their hysterical knee-jerk reaction to the one minor piece of irrelevant “dirt” that they could dig up speaks volumes. Not least because it it is hypocrisy of the highest order.
“Exactly! What about Hearts of Mersey and Healthy Stadia” I hear you cry (well, I don’t, so I’m going to have to explain.
The Health Equalities Group comprises Hearts of Mersey, HM Partnerships and Healthy Stadia, which are wholly owned subsidiaries of the umbrella “charity”, as well as Food Active, which runs the truly pathetic GULPnow campaign. It is run by Robin Ireland, and low and behold, one of the trustees is none other than the hashtag-haiku-tweeting phenomenon that is Simon “Capslock” Capewell. HoM/HEG is partly funded by the taxpayer, via tasty grants from a number of the North West Directors of Public Health. (Getting very cosy this, isn’t it!)
It is also happy to take “kind contributions” from Pfizer:
I wonder if, in his position as trustee, the self-declared “exposer of industry funding” Professor Capewell might have taken Mr. Ireland aside, and said something along the lines of “This just isn’t cricket Robin – we can’t take cash from a company in the NRT business. It would be a conflict of interest and leave our fake charity open to accusations of being industry stooges. It’s bad enough that organisations such as ours are viewed by the public as tax-leeching illiberal prohibitionists, but “industry-funded tax-leeching illiberal prohibitionists” is a step too far.” It would appear that he did not, because another sack of cash arrived in 2012/13:
And as late as March 2014, they were still “collaborating on developing resources” with the global floggers of patch:
“So a “charity” got some Pfizer cash for anti-smoking programmes. Nothing new or shocking in that, despite the obvious hypocrisy,” I imagine you’re thinking. Indeed, and ’tis merely an amuse bouche, Dear Reader. To achieve real notoriety, you’d have to piss off not just the smokers, but vapers too.
In 2005/6 Heart of Mersey put in a bid for with the EU’s DG SANCO for another sack of taxpayers’ cash for their Healthy Stadia project. DG SANCO didn’t have any sacks, so they sent a truckload. €532,000 to be precise.
So what do vapers & smokers have to fear from Healthy Stadia? Put simply, they actively, aggressively and successfully encourage football, rugby, cricket and other clubs to ban smoking and vaping in any indoor or outdoor part of their sports stadia and surrounding areas. That’s right – if you’re planning on visiting Euro2016 this summer, you won’t even be allowed to vape in the concourse outside the stadia. And it’s all thanks to the shitpuffins at Healthy Stadia. It’s a horrendous policy that divides rather than unites sports communities and exemplifies the unscientific, fanatical and frankly inhuman creatures that dominate the public health industry today.
And what do you know? Robin’s Healthy Stadia is also funded by patch floggers. Yes indeed ladies and gentlemen. Vape-free stadiums, brought to you in association with and thanks to funding from the makers of Nicoderm:
I wouldn’t like to put words in Robin’s mouth about the enormous hypocrisy and massive conflict of interests that arise when you encourage and promote anti-vaping measures whist receiving funding from not one, but two global Nicotine Replacement Therapy giants, so I’ll let him dig his own hole with a piece on advocacy and funding. That Capewell can sit in the trustees’ chair while penning poisonous attacks on vaping and Public Health England’s report in medical journals and on social media is a disgrace.
Robin and Simon seem to think that they can reduce smoking rates in the North West (and everywhere else) by attacking vaping and getting more industry and taxpayer funding for their fake charities. However, the success of independent ecig manufacturers, vaping retailers and of course the success of tens of thousands of former smokers in the region suggests that ecigs are doing the job that HoM were supposed to do. Only they’re doing it much faster, much more effectively, with no moralising or hectoring from public health loons, and with no state funding or intervention. I suspects that’s the real reason that Mckee et al hate vapers. We’re too independent of these meddling fanatics by half.
Rather than giving in to demands that the taxpayer give these hypocrites more of their hard-earned readies, the swamps inhabited by the likes of HEG and Healthy Stadia cannot be drained by government soon enough.