Freezing my eggs ‘helped me after rape’

picture of Winnie at a red carpet event

At the age of 29, Winnie Li was living in London and enjoying a successful career as a film producer, working with film stars like Daniel Craig.

She had been to the Oscars where a film she had helped to produce had been nominated.

But in 2008, this all came to a halt. One Saturday afternoon, while hiking in Northern Ireland, she was raped.

She says it is something she will never forget and the emotional impact stays with her.

She told the BBC: “It was awful. It went from one day, being the person I’d always been, to the next – I felt like I was gutted like a fish, unable to feel any joy or hope.

“My insides were torn out. I was a shell of the person I’d been before.”

Her perpetrator – a 15-year-old stranger to whom she had been giving directions – was caught.

Winnie then lived in a constant state of anxiety as she waited for the trial.

She told the BBC: “I wasn’t feeling emotions. I was just in shock for months.”

Winnie suffered severe depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. She was too scared to go out and had frequent panic attacks.

She said: “I went from being a well-adjusted 29-year-old to feeling like I couldn’t function anymore.”

This experience affected her dating life.

“All my other friends were continuing on with their careers, personal lives, getting married and having kids.

“And I just wasn’t there – I was on a completely different trajectory.”

Last year, she found herself single, aged 37.

She said: “I was at that age where people warn you about your fertility dropping off and I wasn’t anywhere further on the path to being a mother.”

It was this realisation that led her to the decision to freeze her eggs.

She had two rounds of egg freezing. And though doctors managed to harvest some viable eggs, there were not enough for her to consider them a viable insurance plan.

She said: “A lot of women describe freezing eggs as an empowering thing. In some ways it’s not. I spent thousands of pounds.”

She says she cannot afford a third round.

Winnie added: “It’s not necessarily given me hope but it’s given me a sense of an option to see if those eggs can become a child.”

“I’ll always know I have at least done the best I could in this situation.”

Winnie has written a novel, Dark Chapter, inspired by her experience of being raped and the journey to recovery.

She is also working on a doctorate at the London School of Economics, exploring how social media is allowing rape survivors to tell their stories.

“I learn every day from other women how difficult it is for them to put their lives back together.

“But I’m hoping by sharing these stories, we can understand how we can start to heal from this kind of trauma.”

AutoNation names Iserman COO, executive vice president of sales

AutoNation Inc. named Lance Iserman COO and executive vice president of sales, effective June 1, the nation’s largest dealership group said late Wednesday, two weeks after former COO Bill Berman abruptly resigned.

Iserman, who has worked at AutoNation for more than 15 years, is currently president of the western region, overseeing the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., retailer’s 81 stores and 110 franchises in the region, a statement said.

Steve Kwak, 44, will replace Iserman, 52, as western region market president after serving on the western region management team for 12 years.

CEO Mike Jackson said AutoNation had “quite a number” of internal and external candidates for the COO and sales boss positions, but Iserman was “clearly the best choice and therefore the decision.”

Berman resigned May 15.

Split duties

Iserman will split Berman’s previous responsibilities with Scott Arnold, who was named executive vice president of customer care and brand extension.

“We had come to the conclusion,” Jackson said, “that with all the aspirations we have to grow the business through brand extension, to split the position” between two executive vice presidents: customer care and sales.

Executing AutoNation’s brand extension plans for parts, accessories and collision will be Arnold’s responsibility, Jackson said. Iserman will oversee the brand extension strategy for AutoNation USA, the company’s used-vehicle stores.

COO is typically seen as the No. 2 post. When asked about the succession plan for CEO, Jackson said: “We’re in an excellent position if you look at this list of executive vice presidents that we have. There are many on there to be considered in succession planning when the time comes.”


He identified 11 executives with a combined average of 15 years of service, including executives such as Arnold, Iserman, Chief Marketing Officer Marc Cannon and CFO Cheryl Miller.

“If I put it all together, 90 percent came from internal succession planning,” Jackson said. He added that the company would also consider candidates from outside the company.

Fields tried to fire Hinrichs before being ousted from Ford

DETROIT — Days before his May 19 ouster as CEO of Ford Motor Co., Mark Fields was proposing to fire his top lieutenant, Joe Hinrichs, in an effort to relieve some of the pressure he was facing from a skeptical board of directors, Automotive News has learned.

Fields intended to get approval from the board for his decision to fire Hinrichs during the week of May 14, sources said.

Fields’ plan backfired, however, when the board decided instead to part ways with him and communications chief Ray Day, following a Friday, May 19, meeting. Instead of a pink slip, Hinrichs was given a promotion to the newly created position of president of global operations, in charge of Ford’s global product development; manufacturing and labor affairs, among other things.

Jim Hackett, the former head of furniture maker Steelcase and chairman of Ford Smart Mobility, was named Ford’s new CEO as part of a wide-ranging management shakeup.

FROM OUR ARCHIVES:Who’s who at Ford

Hinrichs was conspicuously missing in a round of retention bonuses the company paid out to top executives on Wednesday, May 17, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

But Hinrichs was added to the list the following week, getting a $5 million stock bonus.

Fields faced increased scrutiny during meetings with Ford’s board of directors ahead of the company’s annual shareholders meeting on May 11. The board had grown impatient with Fields’ strategy for the future and irritated with the automaker’s sluggish stock price, which had fallen nearly 40 percent since he took over in July 2014.

Fields believed he could deflect pressure from himself and pacify the board by ousting Hinrichs, the sources said.

Fields did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Ford said in a statement, “Joe is a critical part of our leadership team for taking the company forward, as he knows Ford inside and out and has led many parts of our business. We do not comment on rumor or speculation.”

Hinrichs, 50, had been president of the Americas since December 2012. Since he took over, the company earned about $38 billion in North America, which represented 92 percent of its total pretax profits during that period.

He also oversaw the successful redesign of Ford’s best-selling vehicle, its profit-generating F-series pickup.

However, U.S. sales are down 5.1 percent through April, more than double the industry decline as the industry plateaus. The automaker has lost four-tenths of a percentage point of market share during that same stretch.

Part of that sales decline is due to a planned drop in fleet sales. Ford had front-loaded fleet sales at the beginning of last year, so this year’s comparisons are much lower.

In April, Ford reported first-quarter net income of $1.6 billion, down $900 million from a year earlier.

G4S rejoins FTSE 100 as Debenhams drops out of FTSE 250

G4S personnel at Wimbledon 2015

In the latest reshuffle of the FTSE share market indexes, security company G4S is rejoining the FTSE 100.

But department store Debenhams has lost its spot in the broader FTSE 250, alongside online electrical retailer, AO World.

Debenhams is in the process of implementing an investment programme which involves closing some of its stores and warehouses temporarily.

The changes to the indexes will take effect on 19 June.

Property company, Segro will also join the FTSE 100, while Hikma Pharmaceuticals and Intu Properties will be demoted.

Joining the FTSE 250 are thread manufacturer Coats Group and turnaround specialists Melrose Industries.

On Wednesday Melrose announced a £144m bonus package to be shared between four of its top executives and further bonuses for a wider group of senior managers.

Also moving into the FTSE 250 are: IT services company FDM Group; hedge fund Pershing Square Holdings; fertiliser company Sirius Minerals; and the Georgian TBC Bank Group.

Leaving the FTSE 250 along with Debenhams and AO World are: the intellectual property group, Allied Minds; investment specialist, BH Macro; engineering business Keller; and private equity firm SVG Capital.

The make up of the FTSE 100 and 250 indexes is reviewed on a quarterly basis.

As the market value of companies change, they can drop in or out of the indexes which are adjusted four times a year.

Android Pay expands to Canada

Android Pay launched in Canada on Wednesday, with support for a number of major banks at launch, and additional banks to be added soon. The Android Pay debut in Canada was teased at Google’s I/O developer conference keynote earlier this month, and reported as imminent last week by MobileSyrup.

The launch today includes support for Visa and MasterCard credit, as well as Interac debit cards (starting June 5) from leading national banks BMO, CIBC and Scotiabank, as well as from smaller regional and specialist institutions like ATB Financial, PC Financial, Desjardins, Banque Nationale and ATB Financial. Android devices running version 4.4 of the OS or higher will be able to add cards from these banks and make mobile payments at compatible, tap-enabled terminals – which are actually very prevalent in Canada.

American Express and Tangerine support are “coming later this summer,” Google says. The noteworthy absentees from this list of supporting financial institutions are RBC and TD, which are the largest of Canada’s “Big Five” banks. Both RBC and TD do support Apple Pay, though, indicating a willingness to support mobile payment options. Spencer Spinnell, Google’s Director of Emerging Platforms, would only say at a launch event that it “expects banks will come on board over the next several quarters.”

Spinnell also noted at a launch event that the progress of Android Pay represents the result of a tremendous amount of work, since it means bringing together and satisfying a large number of stakeholders, from merchants, to financial institutions, to payment networks and to customers. Unlike Apple, Google doesn’t charge transaction fees to any parties involved for use of Android Pay (Apple charges banks).

Android Pay uses NFC tech to transfer tokenized payment information from the device to a merchant terminal. Like Apple Pay, which launched in Canada last year, Android Pay doesn’t pass on your actual original payment card details to a merchant, but instead generates a unique token to use for transactions. To use it, once you register your card you simply wake your device and tap it to a payment terminal. Also, once your cards are registered, if they’re lost or stolen, you can use Android Pay to remotely lock or wipe or disable your card.

Android Pay first launched in the U.S. in 2015, and has been rolling out to additional markets gradually since then, covering 12 in total. Other new markets coming online this year include Brazil, Russia, Spain and Taiwan, and Google will also be offering improved loyalty card integration on the merchant side. Android Pay also works in-app with a range of partners, including Uber, 1-800 Flowers and more.

Android Pay has had 1.5 million new registrations per moth on average in the U.S. alone, Spinnell said, which he argued is all the more impressive given the current state of the contactless payment system in America, which lags its equivalents in Canada, the UK and other countries. He said that one in three Canadians who own smartphones have used their device to pay for something, and noted that in Q4 2016, Canadian contactless payments rose 120 percent. Spinnell also noted that eight out of 10 Canadian retailers support NFC capability, making the market an ideal target for an expansion of Android Pay.

Basildon Council fined £150,000 for traveller family data breach

Basildon Council

A council has been fined £150,000 for publishing sensitive personal information about a traveller family on its website.

Basildon Council released details about the family’s disabilities, including mental health issues, in a planning application.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) says the authority failed to remove the personal data.

The council said it was taking legal advice and has 28 days to appeal.

Basildon Council breached the Data Protection Act when it published the information in planning application documents which it made publicly available online, the ICO said.

Its investigation found the authority received a written statement in support of a planning application for proposed works on green belt land on 16 July 2015.

The statement contained sensitive personal data relating to the traveller family who had lived on the site for several years.

The ICO said an inexperienced council officer did not notice the personal information, and there was no procedure in place for a second person to check it before it was published online.

The information was only removed on 4 September 2015 when the concerns came to light.

ICO enforcement manager Sally Anne Poole said: “This was a serious incident in which highly sensitive personal data, including medical information, was made publicly available.

“Planning applications in themselves can be controversial and emotive, so to include such sensitive information and leave it out there for all to see for several weeks is simply unacceptable.”

A Basildon Council spokesman said: “The council has been given 28 days in which to lodge an appeal against this decision. We are taking advice and considering our position.”

Disgraced surgeon Ian Paterson jailed for 15 years

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“He made no attempt to show remorse”: Patricia Welch, one of Paterson’s victims, reacts to his jailing

Breast surgeon Ian Paterson has been jailed for 15 years after carrying out unnecessary cancer operations.

Paterson, 59, was convicted over operations on nine women and one man, but there were hundreds of other victims.

He was found guilty of 17 counts of wounding with intent and three of unlawful wounding, after his trial.

Jurors at Nottingham Crown Court heard last month Paterson had exaggerated or invented the risk of cancer.

The NHS has paid almost £10m in compensation to his victims, while more than 600 private patients will pursue civil action against him later this year.

The court was told the defendant, of Altrincham, Greater Manchester, urged patients to undergo procedures for “obscure motives” that may have included a desire to “earn extra money”.

The trial heard accounts from 10 victims – representing a sample of those he treated – operated on between 1997 and 2011, at the privately-run Little Aston and Parkway hospitals in the West Midlands.

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Ian Paterson: How first-known victim’s surgery unfolded

Sentencing Paterson, who grew up in County Down, Northern Ireland, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker said: “In pursuit of your own… material rewards, you lost sight of what you were doing.

“Without any regard for the long-term effects, you deliberately preyed on their long-term fears.

“You can be a charming and charismatic individual but you deliberately used those characteristics to manipulate your patients.”

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A woman operated on four times by Ian Paterson said it left her feeling “violated”

Speaking at the sentencing victim John Ingram, who underwent an unnecessary double mastectomy, described Paterson as a criminal who committed grotesque, violent acts.

Another victim Carole Johnson, described him as a “monster”.

In a victim impact statement read out in court she said she felt “violated and vulnerable” and had “lost confidence” because of Paterson’s actions.

Pamela Jain, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said Paterson had repeatedly abused his victims’ trust for more than a decade.

What Ian Paterson cost the NHS


Total damages and defence costs

  • £9.49m Damages paid

  • £8.31m Legal costs

  • 256 NHS patients awarded compensation

  • 25 Still waiting for a payout

  • Source: Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust

    The specialist prosecutor said: “He knew the procedures were not needed but carried on regardless, inflicting unlawful wounds on his patients.

    “The impact of Paterson’s actions on his victims has been devastating, from the unnecessary distress of undergoing procedures they did not need, to the scars that will always serve as a physical reminder of what their doctor, Ian Paterson, did to them.”

    Complaints about Paterson had been made for years but managers at the NHS trust that employed him “preferred good news to true news”, a 2013 report said.

    Paterson, who was suspended by the General Medical Council after his arrest, was allowed to carry on operating on women for several years despite serious concerns raised about him by other staff, the report by lawyer Sir Ian Kennedy found.

    Ian Paterson's patients

    4,424 seen on the NHS


    patients given a mastectomy, including "cleavage-sparing" operations

  • 675 mastectomy patients have since died

  • 68 of his surviving patients have seen their cancer return

  • Source: Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust
    Getty Images

    Bosses at Heart of England NHS Trust had failed hundreds of breast cancer patients, it said.

    Sir Ian published his findings in December 2013 – more than three years before Paterson stood trial – although the jury was not told about his report.

    In the wake of his sentencing, the General Medical Council (GMC) said it was crucial such crimes were prevented from happening again.

    Charlie Massey, chief executive and registrar of the GMC, said Paterson’s crimes were “deeply shocking acts that betrayed patients’ trust”.

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    Debbie Douglas: “He has mutilated me”

    “It is absolutely right that questions are asked about how this happened and more crucially how the health system can prevent it from happening again,” he said.

    “As soon as we were made aware of these issues we took action to curb his practice and then suspend him, but his practice went unchecked for so long because some of those in the health system, managers but also his colleagues, had their concerns but failed to report them to us.”

    The court case centred on 10 patients who were treated at private hospitals operated by Spire Healthcare.

    Following the sentencing the firm said it was “truly sorry” for the distress caused to Paterson’s victims.

    “What Mr Paterson did in our hospitals, in other private hospitals and in the NHS absolutely should not have happened and the sentence handed down today reflects the gravity of the crimes he committed,” it said.

    China data protection tightened in new laws

    Strict new cyber-security legislation is not aimed at limiting foreign companies operating in the country, Chinese officials have said.

    The law, due to come into effect on 1 June, bans the collection and sale of users’ personal information.

    Firms will also have to store user data on servers inside China, and people will be given the right to have their information deleted.

    International business groups have appealed against its implementation.

    In a letter to the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) seen by the Reuters news agency, a group representing European business interests warned that it would lead to “great uncertainties and compliance risks”.

    The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China told the CAC that the law was “fraught with weaknesses” and called for its introduction to be delayed to “allow sufficient discussion”.

    But the CAC said the law would come into force this week as planned.

    “The purpose is to safeguard [China’s] national cyber-space sovereignty and national security… rather than to restrict foreign enterprises,” it said in a statement on its website.

    “It does not restrict foreign companies or their technology and products entering the Chinese market, neither does it limit the orderly, free flow of data in accordance with the law.”

    The legislation comes in at the same time as tighter regulations .

    Companies that publish, share or edit news will need government-issued licences to operate, and senior staff must be approved by the authorities.

    Organisations that do not have a licence will not be allowed to post news or commentary about the government, economy, military, foreign affairs, and “other areas of public interest”.

    When those measures were announced, the CAC said they would “promote the healthy and orderly development of internet news”.

    Messaging app Telegram centrepiece of IS social media strategy

    Telegram messaging app is seen on a smart phone

    The Islamic State militant group (IS) is fighting on many fronts against those seeking to defeat it. One of those fronts is a digital one.

    IS puts media warfare on a par with its battle on the ground and often glorifies “media martyrs” – people who are killed while creating videos and other digital content for the group.

    Like many other such groups, IS has been an enthusiastic user of social media and the web, broadcasting propaganda about its successes and using it as a recruitment tool.

    Although a long-time user of social media, IS activities took a significant turn in September 2015 when the group’s official media outlets took to the messaging app Telegram. The move to the encrypted messaging service came after a long-running conflict with Twitter, which regularly shut down IS accounts, and some experimentation with less well-known platforms from which it was also expelled.

    The timing was significant because that was the moment when Telegram set up the “channel” feature, letting users broadcast to an unlimited number of other users – a tool that many online jihadists were quick to exploit.

    The move to Telegram did not go unnoticed and IS went underground in August 2016 after its official accounts were repeatedly suspended.

    But IS media operatives set up lots of separate channels that simply repeated or mirrored what appeared on the official channel.

    These channels simultaneously stream material produced by IS’s central media operation, including its self-styled news agency Amaq, and are described as being dedicated to distributing official IS news.

    The mirror channels, called the Nashir News Agency, have also regularly been suspended.

    To circumvent this, their administrators use a stealthy approach in which they set up a user or channel and allow it to build up a substantial following before suddenly switching it to the easily recognisable IS mirror brand.

    The channels continuously promote new join-up links for their proliferating replica versions, calling on IS supporters to distribute them further.

    Some channels, whose promotion on popular social media platforms is prohibited, are designed to maintain a lower profile to avoid suspension.

    This enables them to attract a significant number of followers but the channels are usually removed before this exceeds 1,000.

    Such numbers suffice to get IS’s message out for distribution by online supporters.

    Prominent pro-IS figures reliably stream the group’s propaganda alongside other content. But IS’s strong media branding renders the group’s material easily recognisable among other fare.

    Telegram does not allow comprehensive searches of public content, which means that the number of pro-jihad users cannot be accurately gauged.

    In mid-April, the Nashir agency published a poster congratulating itself on setting up 100 mirror accounts – and there are now said to be more than 130.

    This was shortly followed by a campaign to celebrate 12 months of Nashir agency’s operation. As part of the campaign, the outlet called for admirers and readers to send in articles and images praising its work, which they did in large numbers.

    These promotional campaigns appeared to be an effort to buoy morale among IS supporters who enjoy relative freedom to post material on Telegram.

    The BBC has asked Telegram to comment on IS-related activity on its service but has not received a reply.

    Telegram has advertised its daily efforts to take down pro-IS channels since December last year.

    In another recent move, Nashir agency has switched from just being a mouthpiece for IS to urging its followers on Telegram to spread content via Twitter and Facebook.

    It has advertised its own accounts on those platforms, which have repeatedly been suspended. It has also launched accounts on Instagram and set up English-language feeds for the first time.

    The outlet now posts IS material in Arabic and English translation via its main feeds – the latest step of an initiative to post in English that began after the Westminster attack on 22 March.

    These moves by Nashir agency to expand its reach have followed criticism by IS supporters on Telegram that pro-IS channels were preaching to the converted and should step up their efforts on other platforms.

    IS has sought to cultivate the commitment of virtual foot-soldiers by highlighting their importance in its war.

    Charlie Winter of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR) acknowledges the success IS has had with Telegram.

    He says the messaging service’s action against pro-IS channels “seems to be very haphazard”.

    Home Secretary Amber Rudd has also named Telegram among tech firms she wants to be tougher on pro-jihad users.

    Mr Winter adds that IS’s efforts to expose unsuspecting audiences to its propaganda on other, more popular platforms now meet with much less success.

    IS might regularly post content specifically designed for Twitter, but this attempt at “amplification” no longer goes well, he says.

    The group is still most successful on Telegram but its reliance on it could come at a cost, as supporters flock to the app instead of pushing the IS message to audiences elsewhere.

    BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on and .

    Investment groups tell investors to give up tobacco industry

    Man lighting up in front of stock market board

    Four international investment groups have called on investors to quit the tobacco industry.

    Axa, Calpers, Scor and AMP Capital have already sold or are selling their tobacco investments.

    The companies launched their appeal on the annual World No Tobacco Day (WNTD).

    Along with 50 other firms with investments totalling $3.8tn, they have pledged “to openly support the tobacco control measures being taken by governments around the world”.

    The reads: “We in the investment community are becoming increasingly aware of the important role we can play in helping to address the health and societal impacts of tobacco.

    “We strive within our own scope of action to support the ambition of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in line with our commitment to the positive role finance can play in sustainable development more broadly.”

    Last year, when Axa announced it was selling its tobacco investments, its chief executive Thomas Buberl told the BBC: “The business case is positive. It makes no sense for us to continue our investments within the tobacco industry. The human cost of tobacco is tragic – its economic cost is huge.”

    WNTD is one of eight official global public health campaigns marked by the WHO.

    Its explains: “Tobacco kills more than seven million people each year. More than six million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use, while around 890,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

    “Nearly 80% of the world’s more than one billion smokers live in low and middle-income countries.”

    In the developing world, tobacco markets are still growing, largely through ignorance of the dangers. revealed that only 38% of smokers knew that smoking caused coronary heart disease and only 27% knew that it caused strokes.

    WNTD is the only one of the WHO’s health campaigns that pits itself against a specific industry.

    The tobacco business remains a formidable adversary. It has been one of the best investments of the last decade, indeed possibly of the post-Second World War era.

    The shares in companies listed in the Bloomberg tobacco producers index have risen 351% since 2009, compared with just over 101% for the MSCI global index.

    Despite the growing aversion of the big investors, many believe there is more growth to come.

    Dan Caplinger, of the financial services company The Motley Fool, wrote in January: “As a new year begins, there are reasons to believe that 2017 could be a great year to invest in tobacco stocks.”

    He goes on to explain that mergers and a move into non-traditional tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes and, could boost share prices further.

    The success of the industry is all the more remarkable, bearing in mind the forces ranged against Big Tobacco.

    These include multinational agencies, lobby groups, governments and the global medical establishment, as well as the stark fact, as formulated by the WHO, that “tobacco kills up to half of its users”.

    The regulations are getting tighter, specifically in the way companies can advertise tobacco products. Even so, only 29 countries, representing just 12% of the world’s population, have completely banned all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

    For instance, the European Union’s Tobacco Products Directive forced tobacco companies to cover 65% of their packets with health warnings and clamped down on e-cigarette advertising.

    Companies such as Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco have fought back, complaining that they are being unlawfully deprived of the right to display their brands.

    But last month, they lost a High Court challenge in the UK against new plain packaging rules. These mean all cigarette packets must now look the same, with the same green colour, font, size, case and alignment of text on boxes.

    The move by investors against tobacco is part of a wider trend in so-called ethical investing, which seems to be gathering pace.

    The US-based Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (SRI) over the past two years, and a 14-fold increase since 1995.

    Its 2016 report says: “SRI investing continues to expand – now accounting for more than one out of every $5 under professional management in the United States.”

    The report is only talking about US-domiciled assets, but that’s still $8.72tn. Of that, $1.97tn is invested with specific instructions to avoid tobacco and alcohol.