Now, it's true that - as we have seen with the recent Westminster smoking in cars consultation - the views of the public are generally sidelined in favour of those offered by quangos and fake charities funded by the government to lobby for illiberal legislation. That is even after the questions have been blatantly engineered to deter 'incorrect' answers (see here).
Here's a cut-out-and-keep guide to how it works.
However, it's still worth putting in the effort and responding to them in my opinion. The huge level of responses arguing against the MHRA's plan to ban e-cigs in 2010 arguably forced them to postpone their stupidity, while the consultation on plain packaging attracted the largest response in UK government history which could have played a part in hindering them for the last two years.
I've offered pointers a few times in the past (see here, here, here and here for example) about how to let the professional politicians and career bansturbators know that we're not happy. So how about having a pop at the Scottish one too, eh?
The document is in Word format and is downloadable here. You then simply type in your responses, save the file somewhere you can find it, and email it to email@example.com. Many are yes/no answers, but there are a few comments boxes where you can let rip. Here are some ideas from me.
1. Should the minimum age of sale for e-cigarette devices, refills (e-liquids) be set at 18?The question could be re-worded to ask "should harm reduction only be allowed for adults", but that's just my inner libertarian talking. This would appear to be a slam dunk for the tobacco control industry due to the appallingly dangerous nature - in their view - of nicotine. Pharmaceutical nicotine-containing alternatives to smoking are available to anyone from 12 upwards whether their parents have given permission or not, but hey, that's just how anti-smokers roll. See my article of six years ago about The Wrong Suppliers.
2. Should age of sale regulations apply to:
a. only e-cigarette devices and refills (e-liquids) that contain nicotine or are capable of containing nicotine, or
b. all devices / refills (e-liquids) regardless of whether they contain or are capable of containing nicotine?Is nicotine the 'problem' or is the motivation behind this 'consultation' just an irrational hatred of e-cigs in general? I think we can tell from this question, can't we?
5. Should a restriction be in place for other e-cigarette accessories?Yes, great idea. Let's ban under 18 year olds from buying batteries, small glass containers and metals in tubular form just to satisfy the craziness of the absurd extremists in tobacco control.
6. If you answered “yes” to question 5, which products should have restrictions applied to them?In Scotland, where the public sector is as bloated as it can possibly get, this is an exciting question. Can you just imagine the level of taxes they can waste detailing each and every different permutation of metal, glass and coil which has to be banned from a market of thousands of products?
7. Should the Scottish Government introduce legislation to make it an offence to proxy purchase e-cigarettes?Scenario: Mum is horrified to learn her kid has started smoking. She hears from many friends who have quit that e-cigs are fantastic. She buys one for her son/daughter. She's now a criminal.
8. Should young people and adult non-smokers be protected from any form of advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes?Non-smokers in Scotland need protecting from adverts? When did they turn into spineless jellyfish?
9. In addition to the regulations that will be introduced by the Tobacco Products Directive do you believe that the Scottish Government should take further steps to regulate domestic advertising and promotion of e-cigarettes?A yes/no answer but I think we're getting an idea of what the government up there will do regardless of what the public say, doncha think? The corrupt shenanigans of the EU TPD are not draconian enough, so they're inviting their state-funded pals to suggest options for gold-plating.
12. Are you aware of any information or evidence that you think the Scottish Government should consider in relation to regulating domestic adverting in relation to impacts on children and adults (including smokers and non-smokers)?Err, yes. There has already been a comprehensive consultation on e-cig advertising by the ASA. It reported here and e-cig ads are allowed. Hey Scotland, you didn't win that independence referendum so why not save taxpayer cash and abide by the results? Anything else is just duplicating process and wasting your electorate's money.
14. Do you agree that retailers selling e-cigarettes and refills should be required to register on the Scottish Tobacco Retailers Register?Are they tobacco? No. So of bloody course they shouldn't be included in a register intended for sellers of tobacco. Jeez.
17. Do you believe that the Scottish Government should take action on the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public spaces?Not unless the intent is to highlight how you lied about why the smoking ban was necessary.
19. If you answered, ‘no’ to Question 17, please give reasons for your answer.The only reason the smoking ban was smuggled past dim politicians was because of the pretend harm to others from 'secondhand smoke'. Have you proof that others are harmed by secondhand vapour? No? Keep your nose out then.
20. Are you aware of any evidence, relevant to the used of e-cigarettes in enclosed spaces, that you think the Scottish Government should consider?Oh look! An invitation to every tobacco control clown in the country to cite lunatics like Mad Mechanic Stan Glantz. Vapers, you know the reputable science very well, lob it all in the box under question 20.
21. Do you agree that it should be an offence for an adult to smoke in a vehicle carrying someone under the age of 18?No, because it introduces dangerous precedents as detailed here. Not that politicians give a toss about such fripperies as property rights these days.
26. Do you agree that there should be an exemption for vehicles which are also people’s homes?Oh boy, this will be interesting. We've been told over and over that they have no interest in legislating about smoking in homes. Yet here is a hint that it's exactly what they want to do, or else it would be off the table.
29. Should national legislation be introduced to make it an offence to smoke or allow smoking on NHS grounds?You have a smoking ban indoors already so you must mean car parks, fields and in the front of the building near the bus stops. There were witch-finders in the middle ages who were less insane than you.
31. If you support national legislation, what exemptions, if any, should apply (for example, grounds of mental health facilities and / or facilities where there are long-stay patients)?So let's get this straight. People have mental health problems - which we are told should be taken seriously - that require them to be detained against their will, but now the extremist obsession with tobacco means you think it a caring thing to do to impose the might of the state against their smoking? What a nasty bunch of fascists the Scottish government is.
35. Do you think more action needs to be taken to make children’s outdoor areas tobacco free?It's outdoors, where's the possibility of harm to kids? Go on, just one single study, I double dare you.
36. If you answered ‘yes’ to Question 35, what action do you think is required:There is no option to comment further if you answered 'no'.
37. If you think action is required to make children’s outdoor areas tobacco-free, what outdoor areas should that apply to?Is there any outdoor area not available to children? The possibilities are endless for tobacco control lunatics.
38. Do you agree that retailers selling e-cigarettes, refills and tobacco should be required by law to challenge the age of anyone they believe to be under the age of 25?Err, I thought it was just under 18s. We're not talking crystal meth here.
48. What lead-in time should be allowed prior to implementation of these measures and how should the public be informed?The lead-in time should be 250 years and the public should be informed by smoke signals and carrier pigeon.
If you've found anything in the above you'd like to have your say on, remember that you are free to answer all the questions or just one, and you don't have to live in Scotland. Many of you have a couple of days off, so why not download the form here and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh yeah, and copy me in at email@example.com as I have always enjoyed reading your contributions.