Asking "Is France right to ban smoking to ban smoking e-cigarettes in public places?" it prompted a delightfully smug comment from a Guardian contributor, no less.
31 May 2013 8:27pm
Well it's interesting. In 2011 I published an article on Cif - you can see it here - about e-cigarettes, specifically how and why they were becoming the target for anti-smoking campaigners, and some of the social and historical context of this.
From the very first comment I was told that this was just paranoid nonsense on my part, and if you have the strength to wade through the 800+ comments you'll see how that charge was made again and again, and how I tried to explain in my responses that there was a growing campaign to have them banned, and that this was consistent with a pattern in which apparently absurd anti-smoking demands gradually became mainstream (and we can see a similar pattern emerging with alcohol, by the way).
Look at this comment, for example, which amongst other things said "Is there any suggestion that anywhere in Europe is considering such a ban? Anything at all?".
So here we are, just two years later, and France is enacting a ban. I don't suppose that those who so dismissively sneered at that article will have the grace to admit they were wrong. But wrong they were and although it isn't very edifying to say 'I told you so', in this case - I told you so!
And let's be quite clear - this is nothing to do with public health. As I explained in that article, it is about a moral scapegoating of smoking and smokers.Couldn't have put it better myself.
This is concrete evidence of a slippery slope - the thing that anti-smokers say doesn't exist - coming true in a very short space of time, and a reminder that the tobacco control industry and its pharma backers is a disgraceful coalition which will never be satisfied.
Oh yeah, and further proof that it's never been about health. Of course.