Dog in the Manger — 10 Comments

  1. One thing all those campaigning for hash to be legalized should bear in mind: It will, by dint of the laws regarding herbal ‘tobacco’, automatically incur the same level of duty tobacco now does. Which would mean the HMRC suddenly get really serious about stopping the growing or importing any non-duty paid hash….and it will also have to come in packets covered with Pathologist-Porn because smoke is smoke and DEADLY.

  2. A few thoughts. Sorry about the length.

    The various prohibitions of last century and particularly the medical/pharmaceutical role in them, suggests to me that the tobacco companies around the turn of the 20th century would have been worried for their future. If they admitted any medical benefit of smoking then the ‘medical industrial complex’ would either have taken control of them or they would have been condemned as snake oil salesmen.

    So perhaps they reckoned their best option was to talk about enjoyment and limit any health claims to brand x being more soothing than brand y. And as far as I can tell, that is exactly the line they took together with a policy of appeasement.

    Of course the anti-smoking industry has always maintained that tobacco companies lied to the public for decades. I’ve been unable to find any evidence for this whatsoever. The nearest I’ve seen is the claim that saying “More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette” (a line from a 1950s advert) was lying. It may have been a little advertising hype and it may have implied that because doctors smoked then cigarettes couldn’t be so bad. But lots of doctors did smoke and many still do.

    The only record I’ve found of a tobacco industry communique to the public on smoking and health was a full page advert in ‘The Times newspaper ‘ (not sure which one) in the 1950s. Entitled ‘A frank statement to smokers’ they acknowledged that some medics had claimed evidence of harm. And so the tobacco companies wanted to reassure their customers that they would get their scientists to look into these claims.

    It seems that soon after that, their lawyers advised them not to make any public comments. Instead keeping their powder dry for potential court cases.

    Until that is they decided to throw their customers under the bus with the MSA. Ever since which, at least in the US, they’ve embraced every anti-smoking claim under the sun no matter how absurd.

  3. O/T but I thought it might be of vague interest to you Nasaki, as I assume you’ll be tackling the Refugee Crisis at somepoint. Also my few experiences with Greeks had led me to feel that Greece was a slightly more racist/xenophobic place than even the UK.
    However i have just had an email from my African (ie he’s black and from Kenya) adopted brother:

    “I am back in Nairobi after a six months stint work in Greece helping with the European Refugee/Migrants crisis. You had me right- I was almost next door to where you live. It was an awesome experience working in Greece. Though seriously out numbered (I was the only African in the group), I worked alongside some of the most remarkable people ever. Greeks are awesome and passionate. I worked in the lovely Island of Chios as the Operations Manager for a ******* program.”

    Amusing how he refers to Greece being ‘next door’ to the UK but what struck me the most about his email was the fact he was born a poor black African in a mud hut, literally I believe. If he were a teenager now he might conceivably be on a dingy heading towards the Land Flowing With Milk & Honey In Accordance With Regulation (EC) No 178/2002, Regulation (EC) No 852/2004, Regulation (EC) No 853/2004, Regulation (EC) No 854/2004. The only reason I can see why he and his now adult sons have made a success of their lives in Kenya is down to education. Maybe the solution to the Migrant Crisis (as opposed to the Refugee Crisis) lies therein? Just a thought.

  4. I’m not sure about that. I think that because the (illegal) supply lines are well established, if they legalise it they will probably want to tax it at a level where it is more attractive to get it via official sources than on the black market, at least initially, so as to strangle the illicit market. However, if they do that, I can see the organisations currently importing dope just moving over to the equally profitable illicit tobacco market. You’re probably right about the hyperbole on the packaging, though.

  5. Yes, you’re right. The tobacco companies were no more dishonest than the makers of ‘DAZ’, who claimed that “Daz washes whitest!” I think what the antis are referring to when they talk about the TobComs ‘lying to the public’ is where the tobacco companies quite rightly disputed the claims that ‘Smoking Gives You Cancer’. The ANTZ take it as an article of faith that this is incontrovertible fact, the very foundation stone of their ideology. So anyone who casts doubt on that statement is ‘lying to the public, and not to be trusted’. But of course, as we here know, the ‘smoking gives you cancer’ meme is not graven in stone, it is not incontrovertible fact. It is merely epidemiological correlation, a theory, and has yet to be proven.
    I’m pretty appalled with the way the tobacco companies just rolled over and allowed themselves to be marginalised the way they did, but they were probably taking the advice of their bean-counters, who figured that if they kept a low profile, the profits would still keep rolling in. And they were right.

  6. This is a rather odd aspect of the Greeks, BD. When you talk to many Greeks, you do get the distinct impression that they are fundamentally racist in their attitudes, but having lived here for a while, I’ve come to the conclusion that their apparent ‘racism’ is merely a total disregard for Political Correctness when they speak. They call a spade a spade (pun intended, sorry!). Because I’ve seen the way Greeks react and interact with black Africans (we used to have a lot of mostly Nigerians flogging pirated DVDs and CDs on the streets – still do, but not so many since the refugee crisis ramped up). And there was never, that I could ascertain, any trace of ‘racism’ directed at them. The Greeks for the most part treated them with respect and as equals, often having a joke with them as they looked through the proffered merchandise. They may well have private opinions that we might consider ‘racist’, but if they do, those opinions don’t seem to manifest themselves in day-to-day life. A good friend of mine who owns a café restaurant would sometimes have a moan about ‘Blacks’ and ‘Jews’, but I remember when on one occasion he had a black English customer (with his white wife) in the restaurant, and one of the Brit expats living there (who really was a racist in every sense of the word) started mouthing off about ‘the nigger’ sitting in the restaurant, my friend threw him out and told him never to come back, telling me afterwards what a nice bloke this black English guy was, and how he wasn’t going to stand for his good customers being insulted. So make of that what you will.

  7. I don’t think the tobacco companies ever commented on smoking vs lung cancer or anything else in public. They saved their evidence and energy for the courts. The press never reported on any of this except to copy out anti-smoking press releases to the effect that ‘Big Tobacco’ had managed to get off on a technicality.
    There were some people who openly disagreed but they were dismissed as shills etc. See Doll’s (unfounded) accusations against Eyssenk in the McTear vs ITL case.

  8. Yes, I don’t have any inside knowledge but I’m pretty certain, it is:

    They never made any public statement but did maintain that view in court. From the McTear vs ITL court case (2005 although this text was probably from a few years earlier):

    “ITL’s position before the House of Commons Health Committee…We agree that smoking may be a cause of disease. We recognise that other scientists and public health authorities have formed the judgment that smoking is a cause of certain diseases. This has been the consistent public health message for decades. We agree that there should be one consistent public health message. This is why, whatever our views on these complex issues, Imperial does not challenge the public health message. It has not done so for almost forty years and intends, in the future, to continue its policy of not challenging the public health message that smoking causes these diseases.”

    OK that’s just one company but the TMA had agreed, decades earlier, to present a united front. Which they did until the big 4 US companies betrayed the others and their customers by signing up to the corrupt MSA in 1998.