I was struck by this anecdotal paragraph in an uncommonly sensible piece over at CiF.
No, the problem is that there are simply some people – no, many people – who do not like the idea of people smoking at all, and the impression one gets that if it were not smoking which were the issue here, it would be something else with them, like eating chocolate, or masturbating**, or some other common but unedifying pleasure. I once asked a doctor at a party whether she would still seek to ban the habit even if there were an almost costless one-a-day pill one could take which would negate every single adverse side-effect. I was much struck by the speed with which she said "yes". I was going to ask "why?" but saw a look in her face which made me think better of it.This, I think, really isn't news to us here. If the conversation was reported correctly - which is hardly in doubt in the current condemnatory climate - the (obviously shallow) doctor concerned was far less concerned with health than she was the enjoyment of a product she, personally, finds distasteful. She would rather just ban it than see people happy, and with no possibility of harm.
I find that distinctly evil, but each to their own.
However, it reminded me of a quite appallingly irresponsible - and woefully inaccurate - article published by a San Fran anti-tobacco warrior last week on the subject of e-cigs.
E-cigs are only one of the latest tricks in pushing tobacco to people, and to subverting anti-tobacco education and restrictions.No. They were originally marketed as a way of getting people off of tobacco. In fact, they still would be if ignorant anti-smokers hadn't campaigned against such an idea.
I mean, why would an anti-smoker want people to stop smoking tobacco, eh?
These supposedly "safer" cigarettes undermine secondhand smoke regulations and make them harder to enforce.There's the ticket. E-cigs push people away from pharmaceutical products by helping them comply with anti-smoking initiatives without buying anything which provides the author with cash.
Sadly for him, he can't use tobacco control 101 and blame the tobacco industry. E-cigs not containing any tobacco; also being a thorn in the side of the tobacco industry; and being an invention of someone totally unrelated to the industry soundly destroys that line of attack.
Oh, hang on.
Every time the tobacco industry has presented a "safer" form of smoking, it has turned out to not be true.And there was me thinking e-cigs were invented by someone who wasn't happy at all with the tobacco industry. The idea that the tobacco industry are behind it all is a conspiracy theory up there with lizards at the north pole, and about as based in fact as The Silence.
We used to see this type of loon standing in High Streets, under a sandwich board, declaring that the end of the world was nigh due to some inconsequential ill he had inflated in his tiny mind to apocalyptic proportions. The police would sometimes pop into his newspaper article-papered shed to ensure he wasn't self-harming as he ranted and screamed about monsters in the cupboard and giant, industry-financed robotic, curare-armed maggots under his bed.
They'd mop his brow, say 'there, there' and warn him not to keep scaring Mrs Prunehat at number 23, or the man with the big needle might pop round again. Before walking away laughing and advising social services to increase the dose next time they called.
Now, governments respect such daft, hallucinatory twerps.
The characters in 'public health' are no different to their forebears of a century ago who saw nothing but immorality, devilry, hedonism and the ignorance of the word of God in anything pleasurable. They've just altered the way they describe themselves - from the "Christian Temperance Movement" to "Alcohol Concern" or "ASH", and their religion is now that of lucre under the highly deceptive public health banner.
Because they don't give a stuff about health. Nor - as is proved by the vacuous burblings of the above SF author - do they even give a nod to harm reduction either.
E-cigs are harmless and a fantastic aid to reducing tobacco intake, or even eliminating it entirely. But still these righteous hectors push indefatigably to ban them.
Yet again, we see this 'public health' lobby actively working to cause more death and disease when, if they were truly altruistic in their intentions, they would be welcoming the widely reported harm reduction potential of e-cigs.
There should be a warning tattooed on the forehead of every blinkered public health lobbyist along the same lines as those on tobacco products. Because it's true - "the public health industry kills".
It's never been about health, and even harm reduction is unacceptable to the newly-resurrected church of righteous abstinence.
** These evil people have been there, done that.
UPDATE: Along the same lines, Simon Cooke has written an excellent piece to kick off a series he is writing on "The Church of Public Health". Well worth a read.