I’ll begin by stating what used to be the obvious – I don’t mind if people smoke.
By which I don’t just mean I’m happy for friends and strangers to smoke in my house, my car or my place of work, and that I was happy about this before, during and after the period during which I smoked myself. I mean that their decision to smoke, or not, is theirs. And theirs alone.
It used to be an obvious statement. If you’ll allow me to drift into foreign for a moment, Laissez-faire was de rigeur. But not anymore.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few decades, you’ll have been made painfully aware of the ever-increasing cacophony of intolerance for personal lifestyle choices. Finger-pointing prodnosery and self-righteous faux outrage concerning what all of us used to (and most of us still do) consider perfectly acceptable preferences. Whether those choices be what we like to eat, drink or inhale, the relentless chorus of disapproving tuts, oh-no-you-don’ts and stop-that-right-now-or-elses has reached a crescendo.
And the message – whether we hear it from our friends, our colleagues, our governments or in the media, has the same single source: the choir of sour-faced, holier-than-thou tax-funded puritans and charlatans that gather under the “public health” umbrella. But you knew that already. So what’s my point?
Almost without exception, the anti-choice pro-ban crowd blame the “dark arts” of marketing & advertising for “promoting” drinking or smoking or enjoying a soft drink, or whatever their bête noir happens to be in any given week. They have convinced themselves that their fellow humans are mind-numbingly stupid. And that these inferior brains are therefore incapable of making rational decisions.
Yet this smoker made a rational decision:
And look! Another smoker, making another rational decision:
So, I think we can all agree that deciding that vaping is more harmful to one’s own health than smoking is, on balance, a poor decision. But it is rational: the newspapers are full of swivel-eyed Professors, Doctors and academics, who have spent the last few years as motormouth rent-a-quotes, busily scaring the shit out of people with tales of popcorn lung, poisonings, explosions, anti-freeze and (still the barrel-scraping leader in a field of scaremongering junk-science pronouncements), 10 times the cancer risk of smoking.
It’s entirely rational for a smoker or former smoker to read the relentless drivel in the media and come to the conclusion that vaping is indeed more harmful than smoking – after all, why would these “professional” people keep going on about it? So for the latest “scare someone back to smoking” debacle, Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I give you exhibits A and B:
When tobacco controllers, fueled by attention-seeking academics, want to put the boot into ecigs their narrative is swiftly gobbled up by a click-hungry media grateful for the scary headlines. It makes little difference that within hours of the latest drivel hitting the airwaves it gets ripped to shreds by experts and vapers alike – as we see for the diacetyl study here, here, and here. Not enough? More here.
It makes little difference because the damage has already been done, and another ten thousand or 100,000 smokers reassure themselves that vaping is bad news, and it’s better to stick with the devil they know. Who knows how many vapers have already been scared back to smoking? One day someone will calculate it, and history will judge those who opposed vaping with the venom they deserve. In the meantime, those who wish to destroy the market for reduced-harm products continue to take perverse delight in claiming that vaping isn’t as effective as people think. And the funding just keeps on rolling in.
So we have arrived at the nadir of the tobacco control industry’s sorry existence. We have reached a point where the prime driver of cigarette consumption in developed countries is not the traditional Scooby Doo villains – that is to say “evil” tobacco companies and their ads, which were banned years ago. Nor is it the childish curiosity of old, since the rates at which young adults are taking up smoking are at a historic low, besides which many young adults are doing what young adults do in Sweden when faced with two nicotine delivery options – they’re picking the safer one.
The prime driver of cigarette consumption right now is those despicable creatures in the public health and tobacco control industries, whose daily streams of scaremongering drivel cause those who might otherwise have switched to vaping to make the “rational” decision to keep, and even return to, smoking.
As I said, I don’t mind if people choose to smoke, and I don’t believe in coercing or forcing people to do otherwise. It’s their choice.
But Stan, Simon, Martin et al have made it their life’s mission to stop people smoking. They’ve made lucrative careers from demanding that smoking and smokers are put to the sword. It’s a delicious irony that they’ve become their own worst enemy.