One suggestion, above all, encapsulates exactly what is happening.
"[W]e think there is a bit of suspicion and jealousy because the e-cigarette movement did not emanate from medicine or public health, hence public health never felt it had “ownership” of the initiative."Ain't that the truth?
If E-cigs had been developed by the pharmaceutical companies and promoted by their marketing department - also known as the tobacco control industry - do you seriously think we'd be seeing so much scaremongery from anti-smokers? Of course not.
If they were a pharma product, tobacco controllers would have already been camped out at Westminster demanding they be available on the NHS; that doctors should be paid for recommending them like already happens with proven health risk Champix; and people like Martin McKee would be tweeting about how bloody marvellous they are.
Unfortunately, e-cigs were not imagined by Big Pharma, but instead a pesky Chinese guy. And we know, don't we, how racist the tobacco control industry is when it comes to the Chinese.
There are , therefore, reputations at stake. And tobacco control are shitting themselves, as this video (via Grandad) proves conclusively.
Discussing the phenomenon of e-cigs, Kathleen O'Meara squirms and slithers through an interview by throwing out every piece of entrenched tobacco control garbage she can think up in the short time afforded to her.
Following on from Clive Bates pointing out that "an industry has developed in the public health community of creating a lot of fear and panic about this", O'Meara simply proves that he is correct by doing exactly that.
Looking distinctly uncomfortable throughout, her first approach is - predictably - to invoke big bad tobacco. Apparently, e-cigs are "undoubtedly" good for health but because the tobacco companies are getting involved, it must automatically mean they're actually something evil.
Hardly surprising, since this is her usual tactic for avoiding discussing anything useful on harm reduction unless it's made by pharmaceutical chums.
To top off the evening, Kathleen O'Meara of the Irish Cancer Society marched in 'after' the speakers had finished. The woman didn't have the courtesy to get there on time, I thought. But no. She actually came in, took the microphone on the floor and gave a tirade of her own before picking up her handbag and marching out again.
Not falling for baseless smears, the refreshingly astute Irish compère dismisses that as irrelevant and pushes her again for a proper answer.
Perhaps perplexed as to how this tired and pathetic tactic - aka Tobacco Control 101 - didn't instantly close down the debate, O'Meara was briefly knocked out of her stride (see the stumble and glance to the heavens at 10:35 in the vid). Regaining calculated pretence of authority, she flips over to marketing earlier than she'd hoped, and then some.
"They're marketed like cigarettes were!", "they sidestep our wonderful smoking bans!", "they look like smoking!". The usual desperate crap, before scraping the barrel by going against one of tobacco control's historical heroes.
"This is nicotine! Nicotine is what has smokers, smoke"
I've no doubt she will have knowledge of the late Michael Russell, who is arguably the founder of the nicotine replacement therapy industry O'Meara and her cronies now shill for. In 1976, his paper in the BMJ was recognised as ground-breaking for its advocacy of harm reduction.
Comparisons of nicotine concentrations in dependent users of dry nasal snuff, moist oral snuff and cigarette smokers showed remarkably similar levels, pointing to the controlling influence of nicotine. This led Russell to become an early advocate of harm reduction, since it was apparent that it was the tar, not the nicotine, that killed smokers, and it was possible to satisfy users' desire to take nicotine with non-combustible tar-free products.
Russell is rightly regarded as the father of effective treatment to help smokers quit. He took an early interest in nicotine chewing gum, which had been developed in Sweden by his friend Ove Ferno, and was instrumental in persuading a vacillating pharmaceutical company to go ahead with it.
Yes. That nicotine that "has smokers, smoke" is the base for every NRT product her organisation has been relentlessly promoting as quite brilliant for smokers for decades, yet now it's evil and must be blocked.
So, in effect, O'Meara is perfectly OK with nicotine provided by pharmaceutical companies, but not by anyone else. Especially those slitty-eyed bastard Chinese.
Which led nicely into the other petrified vested interest in the studio, Darragh O'Loughlin of the Irish Pharmacy Union. Looking as awkward as a teen in his first office job, complete with ill-fitting suit, Darragh blathered on about "safe and effective" NRT (yes, really!), and how only medical regulation is acceptable for e-cigs.
"You want a monopoly", countered RTÉ's host. Twice.
No, not all, replied Darragh - looking for all the world like a Rottweiler had just clamped its jaws around his love plums, so uncomfortable was he at being figured out so effortlessly - they're being bought by people who don't want to quit smoking, that's his problem. Followed swiftly by an idiotic assertion that harm reduction is no good because tobacco is the only substance known to man where dose doesn't make the poison. And, do you know what? I actually think that was the only part of his spiel he actually believes, the bovine tart.
Darragh's testimony is cursorily and accurately described as "special pleading from the pharmaceutical industry" by Bates while he and O'Meara shift uneasily in their seats and unsuccessfully attempt to still appear superior, smug and dismissive. It didn't work. It's clear to all viewers that their contrived arguments suck and they are simply fearful of their house of cards falling down and paper-cutting their ill-gotten salaries.
But there is still one last futile attempt by Darragh to rescue the situation, so he talks about Bates's "friends in the tobacco industry" and we've then come full circle. Starting off with an irrelevant point from O'Meara to try to stifle debate, and finishing in the same, shoddy, pathetic, unhelpful, disingenuous, corrupt, spineless and tawdry way.
And this is the tobacco control industry's problem with e-cigs. As the interviewer thanks his studio guests, they look like gangsters who've not made their hit and are fearful of being whacked by an angry mob boss while they sleep. "Look Ma, we're on top of the world!", except that they're not any more, they're just scared people floundering and making themselves look more and more stupid week on week ... while e-cigs surge on, creating new people to dislike them every day.
If they weren't such unspeakably compromised vandals, I could almost feel some pity.