You know that feeling you get when someone asks you a question and you're sure you know the answer but can't quite grasp it? Or, and maybe this is specific to scientists, when you're looking at a load of data and you just know there's something in there but you can't quite make it out?
The feeling that there is an answer being dangled in front of your nose, but you're blindfolded and you can't see it nor can you catch it.
Sometimes that feeling is wrong. Sometimes it turns out you were just seeing patterns in the noise, like the images that seem to appear on a fuzzy TV screen. It happens. Once I spent ages meddling with a batch of mass-spectrometer data and came out with a dead straight line. Fortunately I realised before I showed anyone else that all those manipulations had ended with me plotting one variable against another and there was no real data in there any more! I could have been in charge of a climate science lab by now if hadn't put that graph in the shredder.
The trouble with scientists is that we can't help putting data together and looking for patterns. We can't help it. So we'll keep looking for the elusive connections until either we find it or we are satisfied that there isn't one. Unfortunately, a lot of scientists these days seem to think they must find the connection at all costs even if none exist. They usually get contracts with ASH and the Pharmers.
So, does the connection exist?
There seems, on the surface, no sense or logic behind hiding tobacco displays and demanding plain packaging. If they can't be seen anyway, they could have flashing LEDs all over them for all anyone sensible would care. They could have dayglo packaging adorned with nude images of the purchaser's choice. Nobody but the smoker will see them anyway. They're all behind the screen.
Put that together with the hysteria from the taxman about smugling and about counterfeit tobacco. Counterfeiters go to incredible lengths to make packaging that looks just like the real article, as SBC points out here. Now, when there was a big problem with fake banknotes, the banknotes were enhanced with UV-glowing strips and fancy patterns that were hard to copy. With credit and bank cards, they had holograms and later microchips added. Every time there is a counterfeiting issue the logical approach is followed - make it harder to copy.
Yet with tobacco, the response to counterfeiting is a) make the packaging really easy to copy and b) hide the packets so the general public don't know what the real ones look like and will therefore find it impossible to spot fakes.
If the goal is health improvement, why make it much easier for the fakers to sell dodgy and eventually, dangerous fake tobacco?
Everyone knows now that patches and gum have a 98% failure rate for those who are trying to stop smoking, but Electrofag has proved a success for those who don't actually want to stop but who want to cut out the actual smoke part. Yet the medics push the useless alternative and demonise the effective one. Then there are things like snus, which pose little to no health risk to the user and no 'secondary' risk, even imaginary, to anyone at all. Those are banned. Smoking tobacco is not.
By now, the whole world has heard of the suicide pills, Champix and Zyban. Next there will be an injection to stop you smoking. How? It's explained well by the first commenter on Dick Puddlecote's article but to put it in layman's terms, it claims to block the 'nicotine receptors' in the brain.
The problem is, as the scientists involved must surely know, there is no such thing as a 'nicotine receptor'. Nicotine, like caffeine, bonds to things loosely called 'pleasure receptors'. This is what makes you feel good when you have a smoke, or a coffee, or a cream cake, or whatever it is that makes you, personally, happy. It doesn't need to be an external stimulus. Some people activate those receptors by jogging or trainspotting or driving fast cars or getting a promotion. Whatever floats your boat, it's biochemically much the same thing.
So what Champix does, and what that injection will do, is not 'block nicotine receptors'. They block your ability to enjoy anything at all. Coffee. Tea. Promotion. That rare outing by a Deltic or getting the window seat right behind a GWR Hall class. Driving with the top down. Those films that come with a free box of tissues. Beer. Knitting. Throwing darts at pictures of politicians. Anything at all.
Therefore you are very likely to get depressed because nothing is enjoyable any more. In the name of improving your health they want you to kill yourself. Oh, they know it. It's not as if these neurological researchers are ignorant of what they intend.
So what data do we have? Smokers are banned from everywhere and the noose is tightening. Smokers must make use of ineffective products but must not use effective products if they want an alternative to smoking. The price is hiked to the point where more and more people can't afford not to buy from Man with a Van. It continues to rise until the only thing in most people's price range is the dodgy stuff. Which might be okay now but which will start to be cut with dried grass or horseshit as the price goes up further. Try to bring in legally-bought tobacco from the EU and you're treated like criminal. Medications range from the useless to the deadly but those are the only options available. The options with potential to be highly effective are demonised and discarded.
Does that sound as if it has anything to do with health? To me it sounds more like systematic persecution and eradication.
Then look at booze. Banned in increasing numbers of public places. I'm not talking about public drunkenness, I'm talking about a single bottle of standard beer. The price is increasing which will encourage bootlegging and counterfeiting. Dodgy bottles of wine are already appearing with increasing frequency. The 'units per week' was a made-up number but it's not only being treated as if it was passed down from God but the limit is gradually decreasing. Now you are to believe that even a sniff of alcohol will give you cancer. Passive drinking is already here. Drink more than the made-up number per week and you have a 'problem'. Every court case involving violence seems to be linked to drink.
It's the same thing. Nothing to do with health at all. Why cure when you can simply eradicate?
The same pattern is in the obesity scare, the salt scare, all of it. Is it just a pattern in random fuzz? It looks clearer every day. It looks to me as if someone's decided that the best way to save the NHS is to kill anyone who isn't in perfect health.
As someone who's read a fair bit of history, it looks very much like something that was once referred to as 'Aryan'
I just can't be certain yet.