I have an electronic cigarette.
I don't use it very often as for one thing it doesn't taste like pipe tobacco and another is that it lacks the ritual and feel of pipe smoking. And before anyone suggests I try an electronic pipe – I have. I bought one but it was rather heavy and chunky, it still didn't taste like my favourite pipe tobacco and it broke.
I watched an item on RTE the other night. They discussed the subject of e-cigarettes and did a reasonably balanced report.
Now the "problem" with e-cigarettes is that they work. There are hundreds of thousands of people using them either as a cigarette substitute or to quit altogether. Apparently they are extremely effective in this regard. So you would imagine that the Anti-Smoker industry would be jumping for joy and embracing the e-cigarette industry wholeheartedly? You'd be wrong.
There are a couple of problems with e-cigarettes as far as the Anti-Smoker industry is concerned. Firstly they are cutting heavily into the profits of Big Pharma and the sales of nicotine patches and the like. Big Pharma doesn't like this and has sent the message out to its minions to attack e-cigarettes at every opportunity. The second reason is that Anti-Smoker has spent millions [of our money and Big Pharma’s] introducing laws to force people to do things their way and they are frankly quite pissed off that not only are people circumventing those laws but are actually taking an independent route.
So how are they attacking the e-cigarette? I watched the programme with interest.
"We don't know what's in them".
Actually, we do. And you can be damn sure that Big Pharma has done numerous laboratory tests trying to find the elusive "it's bad for your health factor" but can't find anything to scream about.
"They need to be regulated"
They are covered by numerous regulations already.
"They contain Nicotine which is a highly addictive substance"
So do nicotine patches, gum and inhalers [the clue is in the name].
"They are produced by the tobacco industry"
In actual fact they are not. The vast majority are produced by companies who are completely independent of the tobacco industry. And so what, even if they were? Why would that make any difference?
"They make the smoking laws harder to enforce"
Tough fucking shit.
"They are being marketed in the same way as cigarettes were"
Good grief! So what? They are being marketed in the same way as any product is marketed – advertising to try to induce people to use their product. That is a pathetic excuse.
"They re-normalise smoking"
Hah! Here is a big kicker. The Anti-Smoker industry is now openly admitting that their aims have nothing to do with health, but to target the smoker him [or her] self. Turn smokers into a vilified under-class, reviled and abused by non-smokers to force them to quit whether they want to or not.
Have a look at the programme. I think Clive Bates manages to shatter any of the pathetic arguments and prejudices put forward by Kathleen O'Meara who comes across as the very epitome of an Anti-Smoker Nazi.
I have to thank O'Meara for the great laugh towards the end though –
She met a woman who gave up 60 cigarettes a day to go onto using e-cigarettes, and who is now worried that the e-cigarettes might induce her to go back to normal cigarettes.
The ultimate argument for a ban?