COLUMNIST Mandy Wiener has written an opinion piece for News24 entitled: ‘The case for lifting the cigarette ban’ Her central thesis is that the ‘prohibition on smoking tobacco merely drives the practice underground’. While Wiener appears to grasp some of the health arguments being touted by the Dept of Health, she appears to be in plain denial of the consequences:
“We understand that research globally shows that those with underlying conditions are more likely to be susceptible to Covid-19.”
“The working premise is that this also applies to current smokers. It is therefore safe to assume that government has implemented the ban to stop people from smoking so it reduces their risk if they contract the virus.”
It is highly irresponsible for a columnist to be advocating a return to smoking tobacco as usual during a global respiratory disease epidemic, in other words a pandemic of respiratory illness.
Wiener then further states “According to the WHO, ‘Smokers are likely to be more vulnerable to Covid-19 as the act of smoking means that fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes) are in contact with lips which increases the possibility of transmission of virus from hand to mouth. Smokers may also already have lung disease or reduced lung capacity which would greatly increase risk of serious illness.”
The insinuation is that smokers simply need to stop sharing their fags. Instead of drawing rational conclusions from her observations, she casts doubt and proceeds to make an irrational case for the lifting of the ban.
For starters, it must strike readers as a tad too convenient for Wiener to assert at the beginning of her piece that she has ‘no personal investment in this matter’. The claim is rather disingenuous since it is predicated upon the supposed independence she enjoys from her publishers and the tobacco industry. Two claims which are demonstrably false.
Wiener’s column is published in a Naspers-controlled News24 media outlet, one heavily invested in by the self-same Tobacco Industry, if not outright controlled by those with extensive tobacco-related investments.
Medialternatives has previously covered the manner in which apartheid financiers Rupert Beleggings Pty Ltd, the real brains trust behind Naspers, and the ultimate control behind a cartel actively involved within South Africa’s media, is also involved in capture of our justice system.
Readers however may be unaware of the manner in which the Rupert dynasty rose to fame and fortune via its stake in the tobacco industry. Orchestrating the outright purchase of Rothmans International in 1953. The biography of Anton Rupert, written be Ebbe Dommisse and Willie Esterhuyse covers the meteoric rise of the ‘Rembrandt Tobacco Corporation’, devoting an entire chapter to what they term ‘the birth of a masterpiece’.
The corporation founded in 1946 initially focused on tobacco and alcohol but later became the saviour of apartheid financial institutions.
A launchpad for the careers of prominent National Party members including Chris Stals, and Nico Diederichs. Dan O’Meara’s book Volkskapitalisme asserts that the Broederbond connection was vitally important to the early development of Rembrandt, as too it was in the formation of Naspers. The Hertzog’s were instrumental in the creation of both Naspers and Rembrandt. Two corporations which rose alongside the National Party itself, and whose founder-in-chief was none other than J B M Hertzog. The book further details various intrigues involving cousins Dirk and Albert Hertzog, Owen Horward and Anton Rupert.
It may be demonstrated, that the Tobacco industry, the same industry behind second-hand smoking and apartheid, is also behind climate change denial. A fact documented by science historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway in their book Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. Oreskes and Conway write that a handful of politically conservative scientists, with strong ties to particular industries, have “played a disproportionate role in debates about controversial questions”. The authors write that this has resulted in “deliberate obfuscation” of the issues which has had an influence on public opinion and policy-making.
It is not all that surprising that the selfsame industry is behind science denial and censorship in the Coronovirus Pandemic.
The Tencent WeChat system for instance has been accused of censoring Coronovirus Content in China. Naspers exercises minority control of Tencent via its 73% control of subsidiary Prosus, a company which in turn owns 31% of Tencent.
Citizen Lab, an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the University of Toronto, has released an analysis, showing censorship around the coronavirus on WeChat and YY — a Chinese livestreaming app similar to Twitch. The lab found that ‘both platforms began blacklisting terms related to the virus as early as the last week of December 2019, when Chinese health officials first reported an unknown pathogen spreading through the country’s hospitals.’
The self-same supposed rational gatekeepers have previously resorted to Anti-Vax propaganda. Most recently targeting philanthropist Bill Gates in the aptly named Gatesgate in which News24 editors were forced to publish lengthy retractions.
There is no evidence Bill Gates has ever advocated vaccine trials in Africa. He has instead donated much needed drug assistance to various institutions whilst funded various philanthropic initiatives which will hopefully bring post-trial Covid-19 vaccines within the reach of consumers.
British American Tobacco (BAT) part owned by Rupert’s Reinet Investments, claims it is working on a potential Covid-19 vaccine using its biotechnology subsidiary Kentucky BioProcessing (KBP). It is claim met by a great deal of scepticism and suspicion.
There is also no evidence that Tobacco assists in recovery from Respiratory disease, quite the contrary. Tobacco has been shown to cause cancer and cardio-respiratory illness.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week made a second revision on its stance about the risks of Covid-19 and nicotine, saying that cigarettes also increase the chances of catching the disease.
“People who smoke cigarettes may be at increased risk of infection with the virus that causes Covid-19, and may have worse outcomes from Covid-19,”