cigarette pack Okay they lie - and it works, up to a point. Then it gets so silly that people just take the piss. cigarette pack

I know tobacco control lie. Some years back tobacco control in New Zealand needed to stop this business of people switching from manufactured cigarettes to roll your own, so they claim to have set up a study to prove that people could produce two rollups from 1gr of tobacco, using 8mm filters.

To do this they got 26 volunteers, all of whom they claim achieved this astonishing feat. So they advised the NZ government to tax rolling tobacco so that 10gr cost the same as a pack of 20 cigarettes (01).

It's a study that can be easily replicated so, as I don't roll by hand, I gave three friends a 12.5gr pouch of tobacco and a bunch of 8mm filters and asked them to note how many cigarettes they rolled. I didn't tell them why I wanted this information, all I asked is they roll as many as they could and let me have the number.

They're all experienced hand rollers and not one of them came close to 25 cigarettes, the most economical came to 18 cigarettes and the guy who rolls a nice, well packed cigarette managed 14. When I explained the background to them, their response was that 0.5gr is simply not enough tobacco to roll anything worthwhile, certainly not with an 8mm filter.

(For those of us who use rollers, the amount of tobacco needed to roll a cigarette using an 8mm filter is 0.94 gr (02), so you might get 13 cigarettes from a 12.5 gr pouch).

However that New Zealand "study" wasn't published to be replicated or scrutinised; it was produced for one reason - to give their politicians the fodder to increase the tax on hand rolling tobacco.

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On the other hand, there's another study that was conducted within the EU. Same principle - to increase the tax on rolling tobacco from the equivalent of 1gr of tobacco equal to one manufactured cigarette to 0.75gr. This time they claim to have asked smokers throughout the EU how much tobacco they use with an 8mm filter (03).

It's a transparent load of balderdash, however their conclusion is 0.75gr is needed to roll a cigarette using an 8mm filter. So if you take their respective findings at face value, then Europeans need 50% more tobacco to do exactly the same thing as their New Zealand counterparts.

That's total crap, but only us who roll know that - and our voice doesn't count. I doubt one single politician has any idea of the nuances of rolling, so they listen to their "experts" and do as they're told; hike the price.

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However there's another study that says cigarette filters don't do anything and should be done away with (04). That contradicts another study that claims unfiltered cigarettes are lethal (05). And all this within a five months of each "study".

So if you're sort of thinking they're lying, then you're 100% bang on the money. One of their number has recently admitted that's precisely what they've been doing for years - and even they are surprised at how pathetically gullible politicians and the general public are (06).

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Okay so they've got a clear run at this; FCTC bans any dissent and any newspaper that criticises them loses those highly lucrative anti-smoking adverts. However they're increasingly making every effort to outdo each other with ludicrous claims. This time it's the University of California, San Francisco about kids of smokers getting irregular heartbeats in later life (07). The report is so pathetic that even Daily Mail readers savage it (check out the "best rated" comments).

I do not believe many people outside the smoking community are aware the UCSF is home to Stanton Glantz and his "Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education". His faculty draws on the talents of seventy or so very expensive "specialists" to come up with the astonishing concept of "third hand smoke" as well as "popcorn lungs" they alone have discovered in people who vape (08).

Smokers have grown accustomed to having their intelligence insulted with ridiculous claims presented in such a way that an average lay person may find them credible. But there is a point where they quit giving the benefit of the doubt and simply laugh and ridicule. That can become contagious as more people simply dismiss anything from tobacco control.

Tobacco control relies heavily on the apathy of the majority. Once that turns to cynicism, ridicule or outright loathing, they lose the moral high ground. They become yet another object of disdain, like the politicians they use to enact repressive laws with no basis in fact.

So do - pretty please - keep it up tobacco control!

(By comparison to UCSF, the "British Smoke Free Action Coalition" has 300 "members" (09) that help chew through the £200 million they receive from taxpayers each year.

Smoking Scot
November 2019.
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