Tobacco Control peddling conspiracy theories

Some good news – Tasmanian legislation to raise the age of smoking from 18 to 21 has gone down, in flames, in the Tasmanian Parliament.

During debate in the upper house on Tuesday, Mr Dean pointed out to his colleagues that all the nation’s major health organisations had backed the T21 bill, including the Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Cancer Council.

The bill was voted down 11 votes to 3.

There are only 15 members in the Tasmanian upper house.

This redefining adults to be children is a very popular notion with nanny staters at some margins. Somehow they never want to raise the voting age to 21 or the age of consent to 21. I think sensible people realise that this is a bad idea and, quite rightly, the Tasmanian upper house comprehensively rejected the proposal.

But … the public health lobby aren’t used to set backs and rather than admit that they had a dumb idea, they went for a conspiracy theory explanation.

So this appeared at the Tobacco Control blog.  To be clear:

Tobacco Control is an international peer-reviewed journal covering the nature and consequences of tobacco use worldwide; tobacco’s effects on population health, the economy, the environment, and society; efforts to prevent and control the global tobacco epidemic through population-level education and policy changes; the ethical dimensions of tobacco control policies; and the activities of the tobacco industry and its allies.

The journal is essential reading for everyone with an interest in tobacco control, including public health professionals, researchers, policy makers and educators.

To be fair – perhaps their blog isn’t peer reviewed.

This is how Tobacco Control describe the set back:

An innovative legislative reform in Tasmania, Australia has been defeated, after what appears to be tobacco industry interference via third parties, with support from vaping lobby groups.

Evidence?

Both retailer organisations and vaping advocacy groups campaigned vociferously against T21, the latter under the guise of “harm reduction”. Advocates also organised meetings and events with members of parliament. During the debate on the T21 bill, some MPs used tobacco industry-favoured language such as  “freedom of choice” and “unintended consequences”, and claimed the supposed ineffectiveness of policy measures.

Shocking! Those MPs were obviously bought off.

But wait … the same blog posts also boasts:

Tasmania is one of the few places in the world where the tobacco industry is not permitted by law to “tell lies” about the health effects of tobacco, nor legislation, under Sections 74 and 74AA of the Public Health Act 1997.

I went and had a look at those sections of the Act.

A manufacturer, supplier or retailer of any smoking product must not provide to any person information regarding any legislation or enactment of any jurisdiction relating to any smoking product or smoking that is false.

So retailer organisations were able to campaign against the proposal without providing information that was false?

Anyway, the Tobacco Control blog also contains this gem:

Tasmania has a long history of fighting political barriers, including crony capitalism and corruption in relation to big tobacco interference in its affairs. One Tasmanian government was brought down by British Tobacco (now British American Tobacco) through a bribery scandal in the 1970s.

That is a huge call. You’d think a story like that would be common knowledge.

So I clicked on the link and hunted down an ungated version of the paper. For background, the author of the blog post and the author of the conference paper setting out the evidence is the same person (so you’d think she would know what it was she had found).

This is the bottom line:

A key politician, Kevin Lyons MHA, who held the balance of power in the Tasmanian government, was known to have been paid a substantial sum by British Tobacco for his memoirs, which were never published. This politician brought down a Liberal government that had attempted to prosecute British Tobacco executives, had resumed land previously allocated to the company for a national park, and was about to impose a tobacco tax. Clearly the company had good reason to hope for the demise of the Bethune Liberal Government. This raises the question of whether or not British Tobacco was implicated in the downfall of a government in Tasmania. The answer to this may never be known. A police enquiry at the time cleared Kevin Lyons of wrongdoing. Most of the key senior tobacco executives and politicians involved in these events are now dead, no Royal Commission was held and, therefore, any hope of discovering more than that which is already on the public record is unlikely.

Notice the statement of fact:

One Tasmanian government was brought down by British Tobacco (now British American Tobacco) through a bribery scandal in the 1970s.

when investigated, is the conspiracy theory:

This raises the question of whether or not British Tobacco was implicated in the downfall of a government in Tasmania.

As the author concedes in the original article – there is zero evidence to substantiate the claim.

As I keep saying – you have to check every statement made by the public health lobby.

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41 Responses to Tobacco Control peddling conspiracy theories

  1. a happy little debunker says:

    As a Tasmanian (occasional) smoker – I am not averse to mandating a lawful age to smoke.
    Extending that age (over time) with a view to ultimately illegalising smoking seems a harmless way to improving a populations health.

    We don’t give our population the legal right to buy & use heroin!

  2. spangled drongo says:

    What is it about the modern world that doesn’t realise that tobacco is the best drug available.

    Smokers of yore were usually the most law abiding, productive people who dropped dead just before they were due to collect the pension. Rum didn’t win the west, tobacco did. I never knew a smoker to over indulge and then rush off and commit a crime.

    If only we still had a population like that.

  3. Sinclair Davidson says:

    I am not averse to mandating a lawful age to smoke.

    There is a lawful age to smoke – it’s 18.

  4. TBH says:

    I’m not a smoker but I am enjoying this little victory over the health fascists.

  5. Whalehunt Fun says:

    I support the voting age being increased to 65 for normals and 125 for anyone ever a member of the Greens, Guardian Readership, Exstinction Rebellion, Peta, etc. You know it makes sense.

  6. Whalehunt Fun says:

    We should give people the right to buy and use it. So long as they are socialists and are seeking a painless suicide there is nothing immoral about them using heroin.

  7. Mick Gold Coast QLD says:

    “There are only 15 members in the Tasmanian upper house”

    Eh? 15? Why?

    They don’t do anything – it’s a minor municipality south of Port Phillip Bay – and that is surely borne out by the dills having the time to peddle – oops – pedal this nonsense!

  8. a reader says:

    The same people trying to up this age are the same ones trying to bring down voting age and consent age. They’re also likely the ones on the beach pushing whales back into the water but at the same time advocating euthenasia

  9. Simple Simon says:

    Mick Gold Coast QLD says:
    April 6, 2021 at 4:01 pm

    borne out by the dills having the time to peddle – oops – pedal this nonsense!

    Um, you were right with the first spelling. Or, have I missed an extremely abstruse joke?

  10. TBH:

    I’m not a smoker but I am enjoying this little victory over the health fascists.

    Metoo.

  11. Professor Fred Lenin says:

    You are old enough to fight and die for your country at 18 ,but you are deemed not old enough to choose your life choices by older people you protected by laying down your life for them . Sounds like democracy , the thing paedoJo Bi Dens gang are destroying to protect from voter ID contamination .

  12. Mother Lode says:

    I am not a smoker so stand to lose nothing directly from such bans.

    But I don’t like the idea of looking at people around me who have been targeted by busy-bodies.

    Today it is smokers. Tomorrow drinkers. Next day people with lotto scratchies.

    Simple strategy. Each incremental change is calibrated to be ‘acceptable’ by many – and everyone who cavils is selfish, verging on sociopathic.

    They get their reform through and, after a few years, that becomes the new baseline. People forget the last campaign, and then they go for the next increment.

    They are playing a long game using people’s readiness to compromise so they themselves don’t have to.

  13. Mick Gold Coast QLD says:

    Simple Simon says at 4:15 pm:

    ” Mick Gold Coast QLD says:
    April 6, 2021 at 4:01 pm

    borne out by the dills having the time to peddle – oops – pedal this nonsense!

    Um, you were right with the first spelling. Or, have I missed an extremely abstruse joke?

    Lift your eyes upward, my son, to see the good professor’s opening line.

    My compliments to you for properly using a word as obscure as abstruse. 😁😁

  14. mundi says:

    Surprise surprise… they are funded by public grants.

  15. Mick Gold Coast QLD says:

    Ha! Now the professor has smote my impudent amusement by correcting seasonally adjusting his spelling.

    Harumphhh!

  16. Dinky says:

    with a view to ultimately illegalising smoking seems a harmless way to improving a populations health.

    Yes well America tried that sort of thing in the 1920’s. I don’t think it worked out to well.

  17. Kim says:

    Sinclair: is it true that you have received financial benefits from tobacco companies?

    [No. I wish it was true. The plain packaging work that I did must have been worth a lot of money. But alas. My employer forbids the receipt of tobacco funding and so I have received none. So all that value I created by proving that plain packaging had failed was done for free. Mind you, I got a lot of utility exposing that the government had lied to us about the policy. So there is that. Sinc]

  18. The nanny staters like to increase the age of smoking but when it comes to giving life-destroying hormones to young children they’re quite happy to do so at age six or seven.

    If governments want not to be hypocrites make legal sex change therapy age same as the legal smoking age and legal voting age.

  19. Simple Simon says:

    Bruce of Newcastle says:
    April 6, 2021 at 5:15 pm

    If governments want not to be hypocrites make legal sex change therapy age same as the legal smoking age and legal voting age.

    Are you suggesting that politicians and bureaucrats give the proverbial fig as to whether they are hypocrites? You are a better man than I.

  20. a happy little debunker says:

    There is a lawful age to smoke – it’s 18.

    And in 1997 (in Tasmania) … it was 16!

    Not a solid point of argument, when you blithely ignored the rest of my original comment.

  21. Simple Simon says:

    Mick Gold Coast QLD says:
    April 6, 2021 at 4:41 pm

    Ha! Now the professor has smote my impudent amusement by correcting seasonally adjusting his spelling.

    I see, said the blind man. 😃

  22. Sinclair Davidson says:

    … you blithely ignored the rest of my original comment.

    Yes – I did.

  23. H B Bear says:

    It’s a change from the CIA and The Great Man.

    Hard to think anybody would bother with the Tasmanian town council … err government.

  24. H B Bear says:

    Good to see a new troll on board. The usual crew were becoming very lacklustre.

  25. Professor Fred Lenin says:

    H B Bear Tasmanian Town Council I like it ,others I call , the Canberra Town Coucil and the Northern Territory Shire Council . Well they do perform a bit like that ,very big frogs in very small ponds.

  26. Leigh Lowe says:

    OK.
    So the proposal is that a 20 year old could not decide whether to have a ciggy, but a 13 year old could commence treatment to change their gender?

  27. Jannie says:

    Its time to make everything illegal. Then the government can tell us exactly what is permissible and legislate accordingly. That will reduce the huge amount of unnecessary legislation and make it easier to administer for the bureaucracy, and of course it will be less confusing for the police.

  28. Dot says:

    Before I die, I wish to covertly spread heaps of tobacco, Jimson weed, Datura, salvia divornum and cannibis sativa & indica absolutely everywhere. Maybe even opium poppies and coca. Mushrooms. Hmmmm…..

    Waterways. Farmland. National parks. State forests. Botanic gardens.

    I want to make it impossible for drug and tobacco control to work.

    Maybe a 3D printed gun and a still in every house for good measure.

    What are they gonna do, arrest me when I’m 75 and dying of cancer for a crime I haven’t committed yet?

  29. luke73 says:

    The budget would be truly f**ked if all the smokers stopped smoking, Australia has some of the highest tobacco taxes in the world.

    I been working out at Penrith lately, solid working class area and a lot of punters (who can’t really afford it) smoke, the Fed Govt. is smashing some of those least able to afford it, yeh I know they could quit, but seems to me smoking brings a little joy and relaxation into some otherwise tough, hard lives.

  30. Tel says:

    Are you suggesting that politicians and bureaucrats give the proverbial fig as to whether they are hypocrites?

    Like most of politics, only after getting caught and publicized does it start to bother them. Even that doesn’t bother them as much as it used to … but the negative optics bothers them a little bit.

  31. BorisG says:

    You are old enough to fight and die for your country at 18

    Always my thought when I travel to the US. I believe it is was a conservative initiative to restrict the sale of tobacco and alcohol to 21 in the US.

  32. Tim Neilson says:

    “Tobacco Control” is a dishonest name.
    Tobacco is a plant. It doesn’t need to be controlled. This is just more people control.

  33. Tim Neilson says:

    Extending that age (over time) with a view to ultimately illegalising smoking seems a harmless way to improving a populations health.

    What if people don’t want their health to be improved?

    We don’t give our population the legal right to buy & use heroin!

    Get back to me on that one when when nicotine addicts start committing violent crimes to fund their habit.

  34. BorisG says:

    We don’t give our population the legal right to buy & use heroin!

    while some libertarians think this policy is wrong too, at least if we ban some things, they need to be extremely selective, or we end up banning different products every week. Today tobacco, tomorrow strong spirits, sugary drinks, salty foods etc etc.

    Smoking does not harm anyone but the smoker and adults (from 18 at most) should have that choice.

  35. BorisG says:

    In the US you can marry at 18 but no Champaign at the wedding. Yeh, right. A nation of hypocrites.

  36. John_R says:

    Has anyone considered the massive rise in domestic violence that has accompanied the massive tax hikes on tobacco and the pseudo-scientific propaganda printed on the “plain packs”?

  37. Angus Black says:

    I can’t say i give a damn about smoking one way or the other – assuming you don’t feel free to pollute the atmosphere of a public space I’m using.

    Voting, by contrast, should be restricted to those who’ve earned a private sector income on which they’ve actually paid tax for at least 20 – no make it 30 – years longer than the period over which they’ve accepted welfare payments.

    Voting should be a privilege for those who’ve demonstrated they understand both rights and obligations.

  38. Mango Man says:

    The only sensible approach to tobacco and alcohol and gambling and other addictive forms of gratification is to tax them in line with the health imposts. Cancer wards, dialysis, and so on should be funded directly by the necessary level of tax.

  39. STJOHNOFGRAFTON says:

    Bob Newhart’s skit on how tobacco came to the western world is portentious. See it here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XDxAzVEbN4.

    Meanwhile, in another world: On the planet Xenos: People who can light a fag underwater are considered desperate enough to ‘smoke’ and are allowed to do so.

  40. Kneel says:

    “…tax them in line with the health imposts.”

    Odd, isn’t it, how we view addiction depending on the substance involved:

    Caffeine: “Don’t talk to him until he’s had at least two cups of coffee!”
    Nicotine: “Filthy habit, you should give it up.”
    Alcohol: “It’s not your fault, you’re sick.”
    Heroin et al: “Filthy druggo!”

    So your idea won’t fly, I’m afraid… a shame, really. I mean, stoners I know would happily pay 10 times what cigarettes cost for the same amount of “known strength” pot were it legal, and many police resources would be freed if drug addiction was a medical rather than legal problem.

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