On the same subject, there was an interesting bait and switch style move inflicted on another of the speakers that evening, Emily Barley of Conservatives for Liberty.
Y'see, she managed to get a perfectly sensible piece on the silliness of plain packaging into left wing site Shout Out UK at the weekend. However, nestled amongst the links added by the site's sub-editor was this pile of utter tripe about e-cigs designed, it would seem, to appear as if it was something Emily would agree with.
First of all, how can we say that something which contains as much as 48mg/ml of nicotine is harmless? I’ve observed that there is a tendency to believe that nicotine is addictive, but ‘that’s it.’ Well, sorry to disappoint, but it’s a psychoactive substance that binds to the adrenal medulla in our brains, increases our adrenaline flow, which in turn raises blood pressure, plus the heart and respiration rate. For somebody with heart issues, this could be fatal. For a healthy individual, this could cause heart problems in the long term.
It seems rather strange to me that people find it normal to not be able to control themselves; when they don't find it unusual to get withdrawal symptoms or experience irritability without the nicotine. Which is what you get from e-cigarettes. It can even be said that they cause a more intense addiction because one can smoke them practically anywhere – there are no bans or restrains, so it’s not hard to spot someone ‘vaping’ intensely every 5 minutes on a bus.
The World Health Organization has already called for stricter regulation of the product’s sales, more research and a ban on the use of e-cigarettes in public areas (due to recent research on potential risks of second-hand smoke to foetuses and children) – these issues will be discussed at the next UN meeting in October. Perhaps we will soon realise that no form of smoking is as glamorous as it seems and that there are better ways to quit than to substitute one type of cigarette for another.Now, I queried this link with Emily by e-mail and she replied that "I think e-cigs are an excellent example of the market responding to people's desire for less harmful products. No need for government to get its big boots on!". So what that link was doing there in a piece extolling the virtues of liberty and condemning kneejerk anti-smoking fuckwittery is anyone's guess. Mine would be that Shout Out UK's anger at having to appear impartial was so great that they had to try to sabotage the piece somehow.
Still, while the snotty-nosed Shout Out children played their puerile games, Emily got her point across very well indeed. So well done her.
[W]hen it comes to ‘public health’ and freedom of choice, the slippery slope is real. All the things that well-meaning public health campaigners judge to be unhealthy are in the firing line. Unfortunately for us, the principle of control has been established.
As you can see from our infographic (click to enlarge), it’s only a very small step from tobacco to alcohol and sugar. Bans on advertising, high taxation and plain packaging first for tobacco, and then for alcohol and high sugar foods.
Don’t like the idea of fatty livers plastered all over your favourite bottle of wine? Or chocolate bars doubling in price through tax? Reckon Coco Pops are perfectly formed as they are, and shouldn’t have their composition changed by government decree? Think that actually, California might have the right idea on cannabis?
Then it’s time to stand firm on freedom of choice. Plain packaging will open the floodgates to these other controls, and I don't think that’s good for any of us.Like the tobacco control industry, those on the left do try their best to nobble reasoned debate, don't they? It may explain why so many in public health are overwhelmingly of a leftish persuasion, I dunno.
If you're thirsty for more about the Stop The Nonsense event, Emily features in this condensed 12 minute résumé of the evening so do go have a watch.