Tuesday 14 March 2017

PHE "Delighted" At Exiling Vapers To The Outdoors

As Frank Davis will admirably never cease to remind you, when the smoking ban was applied in 2007, an ecstatic Debs Arnott of ASH let her mouth run away with her and boasted gleefully about how "smokers will be exiled to the outdoors".

It's no secret that I believe the ban to have been the most socially destructive and disgracefully illiberal piece of legislation I will ever see in my lifetime. The enforcing of dictatorial rules on private property was hideous enough, but the vile marginalisation of law-abiding citizens and the consequential extension of the idea that laws based solely on snobbery and prejudice are acceptable has been nauseating. These days, you just have to say you are not a fan of something, some wanker will petition the government to ban it and - thanks to the precedent of the smoking ban - politicians will discard all thoughts of personal liberty and seriously consider it. If you can convince people on the back of deliberately contrived junk science that a few wisps of smoke is on a par with letting off a hand grenade, you can install fascist rules on just about anything.

We are that stage now with Public Health England and vaping. On one of their faces PHE will say they are great fans of vaping as an alternative to smoking, for example I was at an event at the Guildhall in September where PHE's Kevin Fenton extolled the virtues of "citizen experts" to aid public health. He specifically singled out e-cigarettes as an example of why this concept was so admirable.

This "consumer-led phenomenon" may be lauded by Fenton and PHE, but it doesn't seem to extend to vapers being allowed to actually mix with the public. You see, in a blog last week, PHE's CEO Duncan Selbie exhibited the other of his organisation's faces by telling us how thrilled he is that vapers, too, are now "exiled to the outdoors".
We're delighted that Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust and Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust have risen to the challenge and, together with providing quitting advice and support for smokers, introduced completely tobacco-free estates on Wednesday 8 March. 
The hospitals have removed smoking shelters and replaced them with designated outdoor vaping points.
"Delighted", no less, that vapers have now not only been shoved outside despite no evidence whatsoever that e-cig vapour is harmful (while subtlely implying to the public that it is), but also now told to go and indulge in the habit well away from where decent people might see them. With no shelter from the elements, and not even allowed to use their e-cigs in their car while in the car park.

It's significant that PHE's 'support' of vaping in workplaces in July said absolutely nothing about the possibility of indoor vaping rooms. They said that vapers should be allowed to vape ... just not indoors. I'd also be prepared to bet a hefty sum that PHE's endorsement and support of vaping doesn't extend to allowing it in their own offices either.

So here we are, 10 years on from the smoking ban, and it is vapers being told that they should get used to being exiled to the outdoors, and - as if to hammer home the point - to use the same marginalisation pens that were originally designed for smokers.

And PHE, the Champion of e-cigs and vaping "citizen experts" is "delighted" about that, apparently. With friends like these, eh? 

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