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« Vapers, ever get the feeling you've been cheated? | Main | ASH want to ban smoking in ALL private vehicles, with or without children present »

Are vapers in denial about tobacco control?

Yesterday Deborah Arnott let slip that ASH want to extend the ban on smoking in cars carrying children to all private vehicles.

As someone commented on my post, it didn't take them long, did it?

Today Arnott confirmed that the endgame is not smoke free but vape and nicotine free too.

Invited by The Sun to contribute to a feature on e-cigarettes (Are e-cigs creating a new generation of smokers?), she said:

Vapers who just use the devices to cut down on smoking rather than quit need to know that while they continue to smoke, the health risks remain.

To fully reap the health benefits, smokers need to switch completely from smoking to vaping. And ultimately, if they can, stop vaping too.

As I've said many times, tobacco control is currently divided between those who want smokers to go cold turkey and quit all nicotine devices, and those who advocate ecigs as a stepping stone to quitting.

Despite their very public disagreements the long-term goal of both groups is, I believe, the same – a nicotine free world. Recreational use? Don't make me laugh. That's anathema to them.

With a handful of honourable exceptions (some members of Vapers In Power come to mind), many vapers are in denial. Incredibly they seem to believe that anti-smoking activists are allies and anyone who criticises their new found friends or casts doubt on their motives is a disruptive influence.

For the past few days I've been trying to understand why Carl Phillips is no longer working for the US-based Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA).

Carl's departure, which I wrote about here, didn't make sense until he issued this startling clue. Yesterday, writing on his blog, he commented:

In a bit of good news for readers, I realized that I have several posts that I have conceived or that are even mostly drafted that I had been suppressing when CASAA published this blog (either due to the legal problems that might arise from CASAA’s nonprofit status for discussing partisan politics, or because of CASAA’s aversion to disagreeing with anyone who is pro-ecig). I will be trickling those out, though not at the pace I kept up in the CASAA days.

CASAA’s aversion to disagreeing with anyone who is pro-ecig. That's quite a revelation. Except it isn't because the very same phenomenon exists in the UK.

The New Nicotine Alliance and other advocates of e-cigarettes appear to have a similar aversion.

If you are 'pro-ecig' it doesn't matter if you are 'anti-tobacco' (as one leading advocate proudly declares on her Twitter profile).

It doesn't matter if you support smoking bans, display bans, plain packaging, punitive taxation and all the rest.

So what if the anti-tobacco policies you support make life a little less tolerable for millions of smokers?

Endorsement of anti-smoking junk science? That's irrelevant too.

Everything is forgiven and forgotten if you're an advocate of ecigs. Even bloggers and commentators I respect have bought into this.

Evidence of this new 'alliance' can be seen on social media. There is now a cosy community in which vaping activists and tobacco control campaigners 'like' one others' tweets and engage in what can only be described as virtual group hugs long into the night.

It's the most hideous yet hilarious love-in and Carl Phillips didn't play the game. Instead he chose to occasionally highlight the hypocrisy of those who complain about junk science in relation to vaping yet ignore their own part in the promotion of dodgy dossiers on smoking.

On other occasions he publicly supported those of us who have questioned the long-term goals of the pro-ecig tobacco controllers, and I'm led to believe this caused some consternation within CASAA.

Well, I have news for them, and for all those vaping activists who have leapt into bed with tobacco control.

The endgame – as confirmed by the CEO of ASH – is not a smoke free world. The ultimate goal is to stop people vaping too.

Tobacco control – the destination is the same, the only difference is the route.

Update: Audrey Silk, founder of the smokers' rights group NYC Clash, has added a comment to my previous post about Carl. She wrote:

Carl has always stood behind the principles of the matter to lead him. If everyone got behind the principles rather than narrow self-interests we'd have a formidable army with the stronger case, rather than factions that unfathomably feel exaggerations and distortions (both camps) and sacrificial lambs (sorry, that's pretty much vapers alone) that at best leaves us all treading water in the throes of the antis' tsunami.

Addressing smokers who unaccountably saw Carl as one of the enemy because of his THR work, she added:

To my own camp I will point out that even before e-cigs came on the scene, Carl was exposing the secondhand smoke science, so I've been quite perplexed and disturbed by any hostilities directed at him - especially any accusations over his loyalties or ulterior motives. It has always been clear to me that his loyalty is to principle and his motives are to advance the issue facts guided by it. He has never deviated from that.

Audrey is another member of the awkward squad who puts principle before self interest. We should treasure them.

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Reader Comments (13)

The truth is vapers think they can win by bashing smokers. They won't and the more intellectual among them recognise this.

I'll just sit back and wait for the inevitable. It will happen and the downfall with be no-one's fault but their own.

However, they should be prepared for the backlash that will come their way. After talking to a miffed smoker at work who complained to help get vaping banned inside because (in her words) "I can't smoke at my desk so why should they vape? And it's not as if they're using them to quit. It's an alternative to smoking. It stinks, I shouldn't have to put up with it."

The woman, like billions of other smokers, doesn't like nor sees the point of vaping. She says she's going to quit smoking as she always told herself she would at a certain age.

As exsmokers, and now vapers shaft us, they should be prepared to be shafted back. It will happen.

They are choosing the wrong friends but it's hard to get through to idiots and closed minded zealots.

Audrey is right of course. She always is.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 13:58 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Keep in mind that I am also willing to call out junk claims that are on "our side" of those issues also.

This post reminded me of an observation: Probably the most controversy I created within "our team" was calling out as junk the Nutt et al. "study" in which a group of people just made up (literally) some numbers for various risks from tobacco products and published them as if they had any validity. Well, actually the funny thing is that no one other than the authors was annoyed when I first did this. Calling out junk science is apparently acceptable behavior when it is not in the newspaper yet. But various people did go batshit when I pointed out that PHE based their claim that e-cigarettes are 5% as harmful as smoking on (those) junk numbers.

What is really nuts about that reaction is that I pointed not just that the number is junk, but that it is too high a point estimate: If vaping were really so harmful that it was 5% as harmful as smoking, that is still quite a lot of risk. A theme in this post is that while many of us would insist that someone has a right to choose to take either one of those risks and not be punished for it, there are those who would say 5% of the risk from smoking is still enough to demand punishment and bans to push them on toward abstinence. Indeed, they have already done that in some US fights.

But one thing I did not mention in the recent round of criticizing the Nutt et al. junk (someone would have to dig back to my original extensive peer review of the paper) is what exactly that is 5% of. The claimed harm that the group made up for smoking included the usual fiction that there is a financial externality imposed by smoking and the usual exaggerations of the effects of ETS. Even worse, and contributing even more to their claimed level of harm from smoking, they included the financial costs to the consumer and such things as their loss of social life. That is, they blamed the effects of their own anti-smoking efforts (taxes, pub bans, etc.) on smoking itself. Then they added up all those numbers (using some made-up and never disclosed conversion rates).

Put another way, when they succeed in imposing those taxes and restrictions on vaping, the supposed relative harm from vaping would increase. Next year they impose a huge tax on e-cigarettes. The year after that they lament that the poor vapers are impoverishing themselves by making that choice.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 15:43 | Unregistered CommenterCarl V Phillips

Good post - spot on!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 15:49 | Unregistered Commentervapingpoint

Most vapers reading this agree with you. The Tobacco Control Industry wants rid of vaping and ASH's aim was always to ban all smoking in cars. You are preaching to the converted.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 16:15 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Bagley

Yes, many vapers are in denial about tobacco control. Some bought the anti tobacco propaganda and believe they are morally superior because they quit smoking and vape instead. Of course the issue isn't smoking versus vaping, but rather liberty versus totalitarian control. As summed up in the name of this blog, tobacco control is all about 'Taking Liberties'.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 16:55 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

CASAA stands for Consumer Advocates for Smokefree Alternatives Association. The leaders are constantly telling vapers on facebook not to bash smokers or push the exaggerated "science" about smoking.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 18:20 | Unregistered Commentercastello

There are some lessons vaper advocates should learn. It's only recent history, so should not be too hard to locate and learn from.

Some characteristics of the Public Health industry apply especially well to the tobacco control sector, and should be more widely appreciated:

1. The Public Health industry as a whole want a core role in government, together with the money and power that come with it. This is their principal aim, and everything they say and do must be considered in this light. They want the right to completely control all consumer purchase decisions, with whatever system or laws or taxes required to enforce it, including outright prohibition, or prohibition by taxation.

2. They don't care how opponents are eliminated: any way is a good way. Their aim is a perfect generation, consuming perfectly, ruled by the perfect administrators.

Stalinist communism is the nearest relative to this.

3. Every statement they make should be assumed to be a lie, because almost all of the statements they make are - often in the guise of logical fallacies, but lies nevertheless. Unless something they say is incontrovertibly factual, it can be assumed to be some form of lie: the entire process is based on lies, because if truthful, it simply wouldn't work.

If you can't see where the lie is, then you need to start worrying, because that means it could be designed to work on you. These
people are the masters of propaganda, and they have the funding to produce the best in the world.

4. They cannot entertain the idea of leisure nicotine use: one of their aims is removal of any right to nicotine except via pharmaceuticals.

Another goal is destruction of the tobacco industry; but absolute elimination of people's right to choose is their main aim.

5. Their secondary goals lead to longevity at all costs. Apart from this being one of the more ridiculous aims it is possible to conceive of (even the Church may speak out against this - see Bishop Holloway's comment on this situation, for example*), the meaning of 'at all costs' ought to be considered.

It means exactly what it says.

Allies in these groups can be made temporarily, for strategic gains, if you can stand the smell. They will eventually get around to eliminating you too. If you're not clear about this, you probably shouldn't be a vaper advocate.

* "We sentence them to years of mournful inanition." For full quote please see the Ecig Politics quotes page.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 18:34 | Unregistered CommenterChris Price

If PHE want to ban all nicotine, will this include the natural grown tomato that we are all recommended to eat, along with the majority of vegetables and salads?

They are obviously so uneducated. Crazy and in it for the filthy lucre that they can reap from it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 23:23 | Unregistered CommenterHelen D

I thank you, Simon. And you too Pat Nurse.

To respond to your further comments, I've said for so long that consistency equals credibility. But it begins with the first step: application of principle. If one starts there then consistency can't help but follow which amasses credibility.

Keeping to the players at hand, Carl is a perfect example of that for the good. Steady as a rock. The benefit will always outweigh any costs (e.g. animosity).

Then there's the "consistency = credibility" for the bad. Those would be the anti-smoker advocates who have been consistent in crafting and promoting junk to advance their agenda. That makes them credible prohibitionists. Their road begins with the "principle" "by any means necessary" -- which is really no principle at all.

Why those who have aligned with them doubt their consistency/credibility model is beyond me. To me it's as simple as a child seeing the flame on in the stove and touching it anyway. There is only ONE outcome: you're going to get burned.

The anti-smoker guardians have proved who they are -- for the bad -- just like Carl, and you Simon, have proved who you are -- for the good. Failure to recognize the difference and act on it (proper alliances)

Those who have been lured in by them and have formed an alliance wave away their new partners' version of "consistency equals credibility."

Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 6:32 | Unregistered CommenterAudrey Silk

I've just seen this and I have to say, if they can vape inside I will smoke and smokers should too. The smoke and organic smell of aromatic tobacco smoke will be lost within the clouds of smelly vape. Bring it on.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 7:51 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Of course there are some vapers that are in denial when it comes to the true intentions of TC.....

Initially I was surprised to hear of Carl Phillip's departure from CASAA, but in hindsight, not so much..... Carl is simply too progressive and too consistent for them in my opinion.

A couple of times I posted links to articles/studies highlighting the potential of tobacco (as in real vaporized tobacco leaf) vapor technology on CASAA's Facebook page. The reaction that I received from some members was surprising and hostile. No one stood up to defend the idea of yet another alternative to smoking. I soon experienced a similar sentiment on other vaping-related discussion forums. Why wouldn't a group, or any group for that matter, about smoke-free alternatives be happy to discuss the potential of vaporized tobacco I wondered? Don't they want smokers to know about ALL of the (potential) options available to them? No. Not if said product or invention comes from a tobacco company. I quickly learned how politics can overwhelm and overshadow the original intended premise of helping (not by coercion) smokers become aware of their options. No one likes to be attacked, so I simply have ceased participating on certain vaping-related forums.

Carl (and others like him who respect freedom and choice for everyone, including smokers who choose to continue to smoke) deserves to be introduced to a wider audience.

Some so called harm reduction advocates out there choose to be selective in their endorsements. There is no such thing as selective freedom or selective harm reduction.

The anti tobacco sentiment amongst some factions of the vaping movement is obviously strong, even when it comes to new and novel inventions that harbor the potential to rival what is currently available on the market. Not only is that view inconsistent with freedom and choice, it fails to encompass the true potential (and meaning) of harm reduction itself.

....and of course, we all know that there are those who willfully and dutifully repeat the mantra about "deadly" 2nd hand smoke, even when confronted with 30 year epidemiological studies from reputable sources that have concluded otherwise.

I gave up posting and attempting to be a part of some of these groups and have instead chosen to spend my time listening and learning from some of the few consistent voices that we are fortunate enough to have like Audrey, Carl, and Simon.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 8:28 | Unregistered Commenterjredheadgirl

ASH have no right to ban smoking on private property. That includes your car with or without kids in it. Do not give these idiots any credence. Totally ignore all these stupid bans and smoke wherever you want. We will not have our right to smoke attacked by these anti libertarian zealots.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 15:13 | Unregistered CommenterTimothy Goodacre

Castillo. I've mention to casaa that despite the assurance they won't bash smokers they use the language of antis which is hugely offensive.

I despite the term smoke free. This has been deliberately designed to portray smokers as people who force themselves on others. There are so many negative connotations to that phrase when what they really mean is simply non smoking alternatives.

Why is it so difficult to understand. We smokers never did and still don't force our smoke on others and up until the last 10 years we willingly moved out and away following every drip by drip ban.

Smokers don't want to be free of smoke. We are not prisoners. Vapers and smokers must stop adopting and promoting the abusive and misleading language of antis and change the narrative to one that more accurately fits reality.

They may want a world without smokers but I cannot think of anything worse than a sterile, boring, characterless, tyrannical world without the charm and ambience of smoke.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 20:21 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

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