The general consensus seems to be that it's a storm in a teacup, and what has it to do with bloody vapers anyway?
Not quite how their regulator sees it ...
1. Make the health and protection of the public your prime concern
1.1 The interests of the public are paramount: put them before your own interests and those of any colleague or organisation... but then public health is about regulating others, isn't it? Regulations on their own behaviour can obviously be ignored at will.
Besides, e-cigs are a silly idea anyway.
@Johnrashton47 Return soon! I appreciate your opinions - even if blunt, they're honest & realistic, (bloody Ecigs are a daft idea).
— Isitaboutabike? (@Isitaboutabike) September 16, 2014
Of course. You should either quit. Or die. Or "grow a backbone", in fact.
But doesn't this say quite a lot about the modern 'public health' industry and its arrogant abandonment of empathy, as I've referred to before?
Lots of things are daft ideas to people who don't do them. Recreational fell running and an obsession with cycling, for example. I think TV soaps are pretty daft, and knitting, and water features, and tattoos, and Premiership football, and voting Labour, and wasting a day playing golf amongst a long list of things. I also think placing health above absolutely everything else in life is pretty daft, and view those whose lives are taken over by it as daft in themselves.
The difference is whether you think they're daft but shrug your shoulders and put it down to the marvellous diversity of human behaviour, or whether you think what you don't like is daft and do everything in your power to stop someone else doing it.
I'm in the former category while 'public health' is firmly in the latter. But even if I carried a superiority complex and was antagonistic enough to want to impose my preferences on everyone else in society, I don't believe I could do so without at least investigating what pleasure others take from their chosen activities.
It seems, however, the modern public health movement doesn't even want to do that! It's their way or the prohibition way, and anyone who disagrees can righteously be ignored and/or dismissed as 'daft'.
This is the big disconnect we seem to face from these people. The ones who have never smoked can't understand the pleasure that smoking can bring, nor can they ever understand why smokers who want to quit would prefer to use something which recreates the same habitual action rather than a clinical patch or unnatural tasting gum. The ones who despise alcohol see people merry or drunk and don't understand why some move from childhood squash to enjoying the mood-altering properties of beer and spirits. The ones who enthuse about vegetable smoothies and qinoa salads don't understand - and often profess to feeling physically sick - that others enjoy a hefty piece of minced cow in a sesame seed bun topped with special sauce.
But instead of trying to understand, they pretend that the enjoyment of others isn't possible simply because they don't enjoy it themselves. The hatred thrown at smokers, and now vapers, has been fostered as a result of this total disconnect. I don't smoke so I don't think you should. I think e-cigs are a silly idea (not to mention a silly word), so I'm going to regulate e-cigs to stop you vaping. Fast food doesn't float my boat, so I think the destruction of vastly popular restaurants would be pretty neat. I don't include Coca-Cola in my shopping list, so a 100% tax on fizzy drinks is just fine and dandy.
Nor will the effects of their hatred register, and Ashton is most definitely guilty of that. I think the reaction of his public health buddies proves that his defence will likely be that he was provoked into being an arsehole on Twitter on the 6th September, because it would never occur to him that calling others "addicts" for enjoying something which he, personally, doesn't enjoy is a vindictive, inflammatory and ignorant insult.
I am currently receiving a lot if abuse from e cigarette addicts.Tells you all you want to know.
— John Ashton (@Johnrashton47) September 3, 2014
He wouldn't care one jot about Lorien Jollye's experience as a result of his previous 'work'.
I am 36 now. This means, that for 2/3rds of my life, I was a ‘dirty smoker’. Something that society was at pains to remind me about on a daily basis, with my freedom to smoke being restricted more and more. I am sure I was not the only smoker to feel utterly sickened to read news articles condemning adoptive parents for smoking, that they should be prevented from giving love and security to a vulnerable child, all because they enjoyed a cigarette. As a parent, this strikes a bit of fear into you. Will they condemn parents that smoke? Will they one day say my children should be taken away from me cos I go into the garden to have a ciggy?
But it was nastier than that. They ran adverts about horrible tobacco guzzling parents, so that all of society could hate me a little bit more, as the adverts on the tellybox had told them what an appalling mother I was.
The public at large already sneered at me, customers at my workplace would comment on my habit, tell me it would ruin my skin, age me or how it made me look ugly. Really personal stuff, and insulting too. I did not know these people, who were they to tell me that I was ugly because I smoked? I wish I were kidding, but I used to get these comments with relative frequency. If they could think of nothing particularly personal, they would settle with ‘Bad for you, that’ as though somehow I must just have missed the adverts, posters, flyers, billboards, comments etc and was happily thinking I was replacing one of my 5 a day with some tobacco leaves. So I was stupid, too.
To recap – I was stupid, ugly, will be ugly, a bad mother and society thought I stank.
Then when the smoking ban came into affect, by which time I had switched to rollies, I would stand at work and roll myself a ciggy before going outside for a break. I remember catching a woman looking at me as I fashioned a perfectly cylindrical tube of ‘I am going outside so you lot can stop clicking your damn fingers at me for service’ to see such a look of disgust on her face that it really took me back for a moment. I had never had a stranger look at me like that before. Pure unadulterated loathing for me rolling a ciggie. I probably could have chopped out a line of coke, or rolled up my sleeve to tap for a vein and not been looked at like I was just then.
Post the 2007 ban, things just got worse in terms of how ppl treated me. The adverts got more aggressive, the second hand smoke messages got more aggressive. So now rather than just being ugly, smelly, stupid and a bad parent I was also dangerous.
If you are not a vaper or smoker and are reading this, imagine for just one second, what that must be like? To spend 2/3rds of your life being treated like this, looked at in this way. Remember that poor woman who ignited her oxygen tube with a lighter? Seek it out – look at the comments and see what the public thinks of smokers. The vitriol and hatred is something to behold. A poor woman made a horrible mistake whilst still under the effects of a general anaesthetic and what did the public say? She deserved it. Why?
Because she was a smoker.In Ashton's world, this is perfectly acceptable. And in Ashton's world, when Lorien switched to e-cigs, she is still fair game, just as she is still fair game for all his public health colleagues with their equally closed minds.
They don't want to hear from Lorien, they actively move to ignore her. They think she's 'daft' and want her to just go away and leave them to their ivory tower, their inflated egos and their fat salaries derived from 'denormalising' others while purposely ignoring pleas to consider different viewpoints and insultingly dismissing all objections.
No, we've got it all wrong. Don't you see that Ashton is the victim here? He should be reinstated forthwith because people who enjoy nicotine should have no say; people who enjoy nicotine are just 'daft'. He's an innocent who was provoked by the temerity of people he quite clearly despises trying to challenge him.
There is a different way of looking at the role of a public health professional, of course ...
The public is highly diverse – including elements that are raucous, bawdy, profane, satirical, sarcastic, insulting and so on. To complain about them as a public health professional is like sailors complaining about the weather, or politicians complaining about the electorate. They are the subject of your profession – get used to them, and learn to engage without becoming pompous and aggressive. If you think you can defend your professional failings by finding examples of people being rude to you or about you, then you misunderstand your role. So please don’t try this as a defence, it will only bring you more shame and further opprobrium ... Public health is a gritty business, not about the provision of happy-clappy advice to a peasantry grateful for wisdom and awed by your status. If that is how you think, you’re in the wrong job.... but you won't hear anyone in 'public health' taking heed of it.
This is why I'm pretty certain that Ashton will be returned to his post after a summary whitewash by the Faculty of Public Health, the coordinated efforts of his hypocritical colleagues will make sure of that. You see, he's not an outlier or a loose cannon, he's firmly in the centre ground and not anything particularly unusual in his profession. He holds us in the same contempt as his peers routinely do.
Smoking stinks? Public health should look in the mirror someday and notice that their methods and attitude do too.