Wednesday 24 February 2016

Slaughtering Sacred Cows

Back in August, Public Health England (PHE) produced a ground-breaking report on e-cigs which sent chills down the spines of bigoted old tobacco control industry farts the world over.

After years of hating e-cigs because of blind prejudice and ignorance ...

... here was PHE supporting vapers who have switched from tobacco and putting facts and figures behind the multitude of positive personal accounts. The 95% (to 99%) stat scared the living daylights out of certain luddites - generally the ones who think via their oleaginous snobbery and talk out of their arse - so much that their only recourse was to spread doubt and promote as many junk science scare stories as possible.

Oh yeah, and lie in medical journals of course.

Well today, with the release of new guidance to UK Stop Smoking Services by the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT), another dagger has been thrust firmly into where their dinosaur hearts used to be before they sold them in favour of self-satisfied sneering, undeserved influence and pathetic conceit.

There are some golden quotes in this document, most notably in the first 20 pages. Every baseless piece of scaremongering bullshit has been calmly and wisely shot down. Do go read the whole thing, but here are my personal favourite highlights.
In order to prevent accidental poisoning of children, e-cigarettes and liquids should be stored away safely (just as you would with household cleaning products and medicines, including NRT products).
Yep, as simple as that. The attempts to portray e-liquid as some appalling household danger - despite other more lethal products being more freely available and causing orders of magnitude worse domestic threat - cut to the quick in one sentence. It should be obvious to the crusties who still remember when medicine cabinets were all the rage but, you know.
It’s not like a cigarette, which you would smoke from start to finish, with an e-cigarette you can sip on it once or twice, and then put it away.
Oh dear, that doesn't help the alarmists who like to talk about the huge levels of nicotine in e-cigs compared with a pack of fags, now does it?
It is unlikely that you will know, or be expected to know, everything about e-cigarettes
Much like most of the older generation of anti-smoking crusaders nurtured in the 1970s then ... who know the square root of fuck all about e-cigs but preach from their pulpit of pompous ignorance anyway.
Talk to experienced vapers, visit a reputable retailer and read posts on forums.
Don't block them on Twitter, dismiss their expertise, and call them anecdotes, astroturfers and trolls, do you mean? Wow! How refreshing, eh?
Be positive when speaking about e-cigarettes. When you say: “We can’t recommend e-cigarettes”, people hear: “E-cigarettes are no good”. Instead choose words that convey a positive message such as: “We can’t supply them, but we can certainly offer the extra support that will help you stop smoking if you buy your own e-cigarette”
So, saying "we just don't know, so best ban them" is not trendy anymore? Ooh that's gotta hurt.
Don’t be alarmed about recreational nicotine. This is a choice some people make, and it is not the business of stop smoking services to make judgements about this. We are not a ‘stop nicotine service’ and if we think getting people off their e-cigarette is a good use of our time, we are ignoring a far more important opportunity to help people quit and to stay off cigarettes.
So many sacred cows slain in just one small paragraph!

It's not the business of anyone to make judgements about recreational smoking either, but if someone visits a stop smoking service it's fair to assume they are making a choice to quit smoking. Where, however, did they indicate that they wanted to quit nicotine?

This not only slaughters the oft-repeated mantra - from sad purse-lipped, interfering curtain-twitchers everywhere - that vaping is merely replacing one addiction for another, it actually celebrates the practice. It also points out that recreational use of nicotine is nothing much to worry about, because it's not. This is now the position of government advisers PHE and also the state's network of Stop Smoking Services ... so why is the government's position still so backward as to publicly commit to a goal of "stop[ping] using nicotine completely" or to declare that "addiction to nicotine, we would consider harmful"?

Time for a change in policy, I'd say.
You can expect to pay around £20 for a good quality, and easy to use, refillable second generation starter kit. More advanced e-cigarettes for the adventurous or experienced user can range from £30 to several hundred pounds; although a decent third generation kit can be bought for about £70. As with other consumables, you will need to pay more for better quality products.
Well, in enlightened UK you can, obviously (kinda makes you wonder why dullards in the EU saw fit to impose a ban on all methods of advertising too, doesn't it?). But not in backward Australia where e-cig bedwetter Simon Chapman is King and e-cigs containing nicotine are banned for no reason at all. If you're an Aussie and want to quit smoking using e-cigs, you're screwed.

Talking of whom ...
Concurrent (dual) use of cigarettes and e-cigarettes has been associated with increased motivation to quit, and to a reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked.
If you listen carefully, you might just hear Simon "most vapers are dual users so they're bad" Chapman's head explode when he reads that.
Pregnant women are choosing to use e-cigarettes to help them stop smoking and they may also be useful as a means of reducing harm for those women unable or unwilling to quit abruptly ... if a pregnant woman has chosen to use an e-cigarette to quit or to reduce the number of cigarettes that she smokes, she should not be discouraged from doing so. 
Kapow! That's the guilt-ladelling - and therefore arguably harmful in its own right -  junk science on vaping in pregnancy sensibly ignored too.

But what about 'passive vaping'? That's a concern for selfish shrimp-dicks and effete buttercups, isn't it?
There are no identified harms for bystanders from e-cigarette vapour
Oops. Awkward.

Fear not though, doubt-fostering prohibitionist wankpuffins, because you still have the 'renormalisation' fantasy to cling to.
There have been concerns that e-cigarettes might renormalise smoking, that is, make cigarette smoking appear to be a normal activity. Whilst this is a valid concern we do not have any data to show that this is occurring. Indeed, available data points in the opposite direction because cigarette smoking prevalence among both adults and young people has continued to fall in England as e-cigarette use has increased; the same has occurred in the USA.
Or perhaps not. In your face Drakeford.

It's about at this point of reading the NCSCT document - if I were a tobacco control industry e-cig denier - I'd think seriously of throwing in the towel. The lies are busted, or at least so much ignored that further attempts at promoting them can only lead to marginalisation, loss of prestige and probably much-deserved ridicule. Coupled with PHE's report in summer 2015, it shows that the UK really does get it about vaping now.

Which reminds me of a telling quote from proven liar McKee in a recent FOI request.
DPHs in the NW are livid – there is a draft open letter circulating
Wait till they get a load of this guidance ... which applies to the "DPHs in the NW" too. Liverpool and Manchester could very well disappear into a furious black hole created by righteous anger whipped up by a local concentration of galaxy-class dense minds.

Brace yourself and order popcorn.


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