Wednesday 14 August 2013

Can you see what it is yet?

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, some people still refuse to accept that there is any link between the campaigns against tobacco and alcohol, or that the tactics of one are being used as an example to be followed by the other. But, as Chris Snowdon reports here, the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies – an anti-tobacco pressure group masquerading as a scientific research institution – is to rebrand itself as the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies. Clear enough for you now, is it?


  1. To which the obvious answer is, so what?

    Just because the prohibitionists are ignorant enough to conflate two very different products, it doesn't mean we have to follow their lead.

  2. If the enemy decide to lump the two together, there isn't a lot you can do about it. And Prohibitionism is an attitude of mind - it isn't product-specific. Much of the same also applies to many food products.

  3. A much more irritating habit in my view is when those that wish to (perfectly legitimately) promote the legalisation of certain currently illegal drugs, do so by denigrating alcohol by comparison. Talk about handing ammo to the oppo.

    See Professor David Nutt and his utterly ridiculous "alcohol is more harmful than heroin" claim for a profound example.

  4. Entirely agreed on that one - "alcohol is far worse" is one of the best ways of alienating potential supporters imaginable.

  5. The problem is that these, mainly taxpayer funded, quangos care not a jot for what the public may think and report only to the various 'health' committees of the HoC and are supported by the DoH. They smother them in cherry picked 'reports' and unverifiable data to which the likes of the BMA, RCP and every other political organisation agrees, add in a few 'surveys' from the likes of YouGov and the poor old MP's are left with little option. The media simply requote without question and bobs your uncle.

    Anybody against doesn't have a look in as they will be branded 'addicts' and dismissed. Drink companies will be ignored (only interested in profits) as have tobacco companies. It's quite simple really. In case you hadn't noticed the template already proved successful.

    To these morons, 'smoking 'n drinking' are as 'sex 'n violence' used to be - one word.

  6. The early temperance movement put the 2 together and were anti both the booze and the fags. In fact at one point they were anti tea but decided to pragmatically accept tea drinking as a less harmful substitute.

    I’ve developed an interest in the temperance movement of late, and it is surprising how little history is available from contemporary sources like the internet and a cheap book on amazon. I’ve actually found myself in actual libraries again. It’s quite fascinating and painting a picture of puritans as joyless is as lazy a stereotype as lager drinkers being yobbos, sherry drinkers being elderly spinsters or real ale drinkers being bearded twats. Many were people shocked by events they witnessed in an age that was counter intuitively more puritanical and licentious than our own who rationally concluded an uneducated and illiterate working class needed protecting from themselves. What with it being too dangerous to actually educate them. Do that and they might have a problem with the wider inequities.

    But the central theme remains in the modern puritan movement, that of by harming yourself you harm others and society. That man is not an island and a drunk harms his family, his employer and society in general.

    In one sense if CAMRA truly cared out “responsible” drinking more than giving it lip service in order to have a stick to beat Tesco with they would take on alcohol concern more vigorously, whilst donating to organisations that help alcoholics recover.

    As for alcohol being worse than heroin, more people die of alcohol related liver failure than the effects of drug addiction but then most adults drink and don’t shoot up, so it’s a matter of stats.

  7. I think it's simpler than that. It's deeply Religious. To enter the kingdom of Heaven we must not just be 'whole and clean' but have all converted to this belief. One detractor would spoil it for the rest. The vehicle, today, is 'health'.

    We've always readily adapted to that in the Anglo world, several times throughout history. Another example is seeing people torture themselves on treadmills in the gym. I liken it to medieval Monks touring the country flagellating themselves for our sins.

    These people will continue, as ruthlessly as they're let.

  8. Before the movement adopted a strict policy of total abstention, many temperance campaigners took the view that "moderation is true temperance".

  9. "I regard the anti-liquor crusade as merely the beginning of a much larger movement ... If I had my way I would not only close up the saloons and the race-tracks. I would close all tobacco shops, confectionary stores, delicatessen shops, and other places where gastronomic deviltries are purveyed - all low theatres and bathing beaches.

    I would forbid the selling of gambling devices such as playing cards, dice, checkers and chess sets; I would forbid the holding of socialistic, anarchistic, and atheistic meetings; I would abolish the sale of tea and coffee, and I would forbid the making or sale of pastry, pie, cake and such like trash."

    Herman Trent, 1919.

  10. Cookie: Yes, the old 'worse than heroin' argument is another from the tobacco template. By their reasoning, that means juggling a chainsaw is far less dangerous than smoking a cigarette or drinking more than 21 units per week because there are no recorded deaths from juggling chainsaws (I guess). ;)

  11. "many temperance campaigners took the view that "moderation is true temperance".

    Yep! same as the old anti smoking line from the early 90's "We're not asking for a complete ban just more non smoking areas"

    No, course not (to both).

  12. "Some people still refuse to accept that there is any link between the campaigns against tobacco and alcohol."

    A false premise to make a rhetorical point. I certainly don't know of anyone who holds such a view. CAMRA definitely doesn't; I attended a workshop at the AGM in Cardiff in 2008 that made the connection very clearly.

    Dick P: is it news that killjoys existed in 1919?

  13. Nope. But it's scary that after nearly a century the same kind of discredited selfish morons are now lauded as public health champions.

    Similarly, it's very disappointing that the same divide and conquer politics - pitting opponents of one vice against those of another - still work. To the detriment of all.

    If you support anti-tobacco policies, you have no axe to grind when exactly the same people come after alcohol.


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