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My Twitter joust with Juul's Peter Beckett

I’ve been embroiled in a rather weird Twitter spat, not of my instigation.

A few weeks ago I was told that someone called Peter Beckett had responded to one of my tweets (congratulating former Forest spokesman Brian Monteith on his election to the European Parliament) with this:

I hadn’t seen it because I don’t follow Peter and at that time his tweets were protected.

The name Peter Beckett rang a bell however and I eventually remembered who he was. We’d met when I was in Geneva for COP8 last year.

He worked for the e-cigarette company Juul but we barely spoke so he made very little impression on me.

Anyway, here he was, having a little dig at Forest, so I replied:

Owing to the protected status of his tweets it was difficult to fully engage because I had to rely on one of his followers sending me screen shots of his replies.

Consequently our exchange quickly fizzled out and I thought no more about it until yesterday when, out of the blue, he had another go at me.

This time it was in response to my tweeting a link to an excellent article by Claire Fox. (Claire, as you know, has been elected to the European Parliament as a member of the Brexit party and the article was about her first day in Brussels. I urge you to read it.)

I was unaware that Peter is a lobbyist in Brussels so my comment was not directed at him but he decided that it was and tweeted:

This time I saw it because his tweets are no longer protected so I immediately replied:

I didn't know if I had struck a nerve but several hours passed before I discovered he had unfollowed me!

And there was another twist. When I mentioned this on Twitter he replied:

He then tweeted:

To which I responded:

So there we have it. I barely know the guy. I don’t follow him on Twitter (although he follows me) yet on two separate occasions he has described Forest as “cigarette lobbyists” and accused me personally of being a “smug apologist for deadly cigarettes”.

Did I mention he works for the e-cigarette company Juul, 35 per cent of which is owned by the cigarette manufacturer Altria?

But that’s OK because Peter has never advocated smoking.

At least we have one thing in common.

Update: Peter has responded to my post by telling me 'we've met several times over a number of years. The first was I think four years ago ...'

I genuinely don't remember. Sorry.

Update: He’s unfollowed me again.

Update: And now his tweets are protected (again) which is why you can’t see them properly in the post above!

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Reader Comments (3)

The repetitions of "you're funded by the tobacco industry!" are always amusing. As if *anyone else* would provide funding for advocates that aren't tobacco prohibitionists aside from wealthy eccentrics. Perhaps that should be made more clear to the simpletons who think ill of anyone remotely involved with or related to the industry.

We've fallen quite far when possessing one of the most generic liberal principles (freedom to make informed choice for risky behaviors) is consistently misconstrued as shilling for a corporation because it involves demon Tobacco. This is why vaping and smoking advocates are often split. Meanwhile the nannies (more like bullies, honestly) soldier on and use this division to attack both groups.

They are prohibitionists, Mr. Clark. Sad to say your reason and logic will likely not penetrate their thick skulls. If you don't hate tobacco and cigarettes and want them gone, you are a cigarette "peddler", "apologist", "lobbyist". Liberty and bodily autonomy? Only for tobacco industry shills. Unless you vape, but wait, non-smokers should never vape or use any tobacco product! Adults can freely choose to drink alcohol and drive cars and participate in risky sports and athletic ventures, but not tobacco!

And quick sidenote, but I really wish "Forest USA" existed...

Sunday, June 16, 2019 at 10:44 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Lovelace

Peter Beckett works for Juul. Of course he is going to attack those in favour of smokers rights and choice because that won't push the customer to his business.

I wonder if St Peter of vapes knows how much of a massive hypocrite he is. I can't wait for the day when publc health stooges are hounding his tweets and calling him a lobbyist for Big Vape as the war against vapng becomes as sinister as it is against smoking.

People in glass houses should not throw stones.

Thanks btw for the heads up. Juul is yet another one of those righteous vaping products that should be avoided like the plague. If vaping, buy from friends and allies, not haters and bullies.

Sunday, June 16, 2019 at 13:46 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

Heh, Ever feel like you've "fallen down the rabbit hole" Simon? :>

When Dave Kuneman and I exposed the "Great Helena Heart Miracle" 15 years ago (See: the Antismokers couldn't really hit us on the substance of our work so they pulled that "Tobacco Industry" card on us. They labeled David as "A Tobacco Industry Researcher"!

What justification did they have? Well, Dave had worked for a while twenty years earlier as a soda-flavoring chemist at 7-Up soda company. At one point back in the 70s or 80s Altria (Philip Morris) tried to diversify by buying and selling various non-tobacco companies. 7-Up was briefly one of those companies.

So poor ol' Dave, flavoring soda pop twenty years in his past was labeled a "Tobacco Industry Researcher" and the Antis tried to throw our study out on those grounds when they couldn't find any others.

When I wrote "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains" (actually several years before the Helena/Dave flap) I knew I'd be attacked on that front even though I had NO such connections. So I did an "end run" around the attackers in the first two sentences of the book:

"I am not now, nor have I ever, been a member of the Communist Party. I am also not now, nor have I ever, been affiliated with Big Tobacco or their stocks, nor do I have any plans to be."

The attacks still came of course... but all they did was open the doorway for me to share that opening and other material.

Keep on fighting Simon!


Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 15:25 | Unregistered CommenterMichael J. McFadden

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