Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Vapid Anti-Vapers; Vapid Government; Vapid EU

You may have read here often that the incessant state-funded campaigns against smoking - and state-funded assaults on any other enjoyable legal product for that matter - have absolutely nothing to do with health. Well, it seems The Times is now coming to the same conclusion.

In a superb editorial yesterday, the newspaper excoriated the coalition of the stupid, insane and corrupt lined up against e-cigs.
The big tobacco companies, the health regulators and governments have not agreed on much. They have, however, formed an unhealthy alliance to prevent the spread of e-cigarettes.
They forgot to mention pharmaceutical industries which lobby for legislation to protect their limp and pitifully unsuccessful products too, but we'll forgive the writer that considering the rest was a forthright condemnation of the vested interest-riddled, weepy willow shitsacks who dream up fantasy panics to agitate against vaping.
Tobacco (and more so pharmaceutical - DP) companies are worried that their revenues are going up in smoke. Health regulators worry that inhaling nicotine vapour might be a gateway to smoking tobacco. Governments rely on the taxes that tobacco provides. The evidence against this alliance is now overwhelming.
Indeed it is, as I mentioned just last week.
[NCSCT] 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
Which makes The Times editorial's denouement pretty much perfect.
The case against e-cigarettes is wrong in the abstract. Nicotine is a legal drug and so is the ingestion of its vapour. The task of government is to provide good information and to help people to cease activities that are damaging to them. If people then want to use e-cigarettes, they should be allowed to. 
They are proving themselves to be successful in helping people to stop smoking while respecting individual freedom. Public Health England is right. Vaping should be encouraged and the lobbyists seen off.

As an aside, the editorial was entitled "Vapid Anti-Vapers" which is inadvertently humorous considering the prior witterings of a certain loathsome Aussie rust-jointed walking carcass you may have heard of.

Back atcha, Chappers, you decrepit fruitfuck, you.

So we in the UK seem to be presented with a bit of a disjointed situation. The government's prime 'public health' advisers, PHE, are in favour of encouraging e-cig use; the government's boots-on-the-ground local service providers, NCSCT - entrusted with taxpayer funding to deliver the government's apparent objective of reducing smoking prevalence - are in favour of encouraging e-cig use; and an established and globally-respected news outlet is also now in favour of encouraging e-cig use.
E-cigarettes should be welcomed as a good way to stop smoking
Indeed, even the Prime Minister himself has said the same!
"I think we do need to be guided by the experts. We should look at the report from Public Health England but it is promising the see that over all, one million people are estimated to have used e-cigarettes to help them quite or have replaced smoking with e-cigarettes completely. 
"So I think we should be making clear that this is a very legitimate path for many people to improve their health and the health of the nation."
Well why isn't the government "guided by the experts" then? Why is the government position still dedicated to forcing smokers to "stop using nicotine completely" and of the ignorant opinion that "addiction to nicotine, we would consider harmful"?

In fact, why - as again highlighted by The Times - is the government actively working at EU level to kneecap e-cigs and effectively ensure that the financial attraction vaping offers is wiped out?
Electronic cigarettes are set to soar in price under plans by Brussels to tax them at the same punitive rate as tobacco. 
Vaping will be brought into line with cigarettes and cigars as the EU tries to help governments to raise more money.
Raise more money? Fancy that!
Experts say that a tax rise will damage public health because higher prices will discourage smokers from switching to vaping. A report published yesterday shows that in Britain about 20,000 smokers a year give up because of e-cigarettes — as many as quit through all other stop-smoking aids combined. 
However, ambassadors from all 28 EU countries have agreed to take the first steps towards imposing higher duty, quietly telling the European Commission to come up with plans by next year to reclassify e-cigarettes as tobacco products for tax purposes.
All of them? Including the UK? Well yes, it does mean that.

The UK ambassador to the EU is Ivan Rogers - appointed by the UK government to collude with other unelected EU ambassadors on issues such as this one - and there he is agreeing with all other member states that e-cigs have to be included in the Tobacco Tax Directive and nobbled. In order to raise more money for the government and bow down to tobacco control's best mates in big industry, the UK government seems happy to abandon their stated position of encouraging smokers to quit and instead vandalise a route which has proved successful for many tens of thousands of people.

As with anything to do with the EU, the public have no say.

I'd say the UK government - if it is taking David Cameron's words in parliament seriously - should indeed be guided by the evidence just as PHE, NCSCT and The Times have been. But - and I get rather tired of keep pointing this out - it's never been about health, so they are doing the polar opposite. And there's not much sign that they will be guided by what The Times rightly describes as "overwhelming" evidence in the future either, especially when they can continually bypass democracy by scurrying off to the EU and demanding more stupidity.

He's not wrong. Can we leave yet?

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