There has been a bit of a commotion over this Billion Lives thing over the weekend.
I had little to add to the debate, but then under an article on Facts Do Matter I came across a response by Aaron Biebert, the director of the film. To say my gob was smacked was a slight understatement.
It seems that many pro-smoking advocates would like to hurt our film because they are delusional veterans of a lost war. Lost.
It's laughable to me that they are still fighting. It reminds me when they found Japanese soldiers on an island many years after WWII was done. They were still on alert, waiting for orders. They were still at war.
Let me set out my stall.
First of all, I am a reasonably intelligent person of mature years and I consider myself quite capable of making my own decisions about my own life and therefore resent in the strongest possible terms any attempt to force me down a path according to someone else's ideology. This applies to smoking, eating, drinking and any other aspect of my life that others may think unsuitable. I am not pro-smoking. I am not anti-smoking. I am not pro-vaping. I am not anti-vaping. I am pro free choice to make my own decisions about my health and my life. The Antis have declared war on me and I will fight them and their allies to the last man.
Secondly, I believe in science, and with regard to smoking or vaping there is no science. It is all surveys, statistics and epidemiology, none of which are science – they are mathematics and are wide open to bias and error.
The entire anti-smoking/anti-vaping movement is based on figures which are highly questionable to say the least. No one has ever actually proved that smoking causes cancer, and the so called "facts" around second hand smoke are more than questionable to say the least. As far as I am concerned smoking may, or may not be harmful. So are a lot of things in life. Second hand smoke is an outright fabrication designed specifically to turn non-smokers against smokers. Just read Frank Davis or Velvet Glove Iron Fist for some mathematical trickery!
The whole anti smoking movement has relied on tried and trusted propaganda methods, mainly the old adage "repeat a lie often enough and it will become the truth". So they trot out trite figures such as one in every two smokers will die, or 165,000 kids die of secondhand smoke every year, and these little headline-makers get trotted out on a regular basis without question. They are all bollox. They are figures that are plucked out of the air and are purely the result of fevered imaginations, wishful thinking and dubious statistics. Even the Billion Lives figure is a nonsensical piece of rubbish designed exclusively to grab headlines. It is absolute bullshit. It implies that if smoking were eradicated entirely that somehow, miraculously a billion people wouldn't die this century which is laughable. I can guarantee that every single person who reads this along with 99% of the world's population of seven billion will never see the year 2100, so where is the one billion lives now?
I have been very disappointed at the stuff I have read from vapers over the last few years. In the main, their rhetoric has been playing right into the hands of the Tobacco Control Industry. They scream about how much safer vaping is and how it is saving lives. Maybe vaping is safer and maybe it isn't – I don't care one way or another as it is irrelevant. My point is that smoking or vaping should be a free choice where no one has any right whatsoever to dictate terms. Maybe vapers have been trying to cozy up to Tobacco Control hoping for an easier ride, and maybe some are now realising that Tobacco Control doesn't give a damn about Tobacco – they care about Control.
I don't know what was going through Aaron Biebert's mind when he wrote the comment above. Does he really hold smokers in such contempt? Is he trying to score brownie points with Tobacco Control? He has certainly not convinced me that he is in any way an ally.
I haven't seen the film A Billion Lives but going by the trailer it is a massive disappointment. It should set out to debunk the lies and propaganda but by the looks of things it may debunk some but just repeat others. The title alone is enough to put me off at it is just another of the over dramatised myths.
I know the title comes from the WHO and The Lancet but that says nothing [neither is exactly famous for impartiality]. It is a wet dream headline designed to scare and dramatise, but it is still the result of very dodgy statistics and extrapolation and is ultimately a nonsense.
Aaron Biebert should be really careful. He should be fighting for the freedom of the individual, instead of which he is just fighting his own little vaping corner and it looks to me like he is losing.