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Wednesday
Mar012017

Enemies of choice

"Off to Canberra today to help make smoking obsolete!" Attila Danko, President, New Nicotine Alliance Australia, February 14, 2017

2016 concluded with an excellent article by harm reduction expert Carl Phillips on his blog Anti-THR Lies and Related Topics.

The title, 'The year tobacco control officially came to own e-cigarettes', says it all but I urge you to read it and draw your own conclusions.

Not only does it reflect many of my own views, it confirms (intentionally or not) my belief that vaping advocates are increasingly pawns in the long march towards a nicotine-free world.

Worse, some aren't pawns at all. They are enthusiastic soldiers in the war on tobacco who are more than happy to throw smokers under the bus if it suits their agenda.

I don't know if Carl shares that view but, like me, he's been an interested and occasionally quizzical observer as vapers and their representative bodies have climbed into bed with tobacco control in the hope that e-cigarettes will be excluded from the regulation tsunami that awaits any product that is associated, even tenuously, with smoking.

Sadly the people who should have read 'The year tobacco control officially came to own e-cigarettes' almost certainly didn't because it's not what they want to hear.

In fact, not only are some vaping activists beginning to mimic many anti-smoking campaigners, it would seem that dancing to the tune of tobacco control is now de rigueur for many vapers who are terrified of alienating their perceived allies in public health.

The reason this is noteworthy is that choice is anathema for most public health campaigners. They claim to know what's best for smokers (and the population generally) and their target is a 'smoke free' society in which smoking has either been prohibited or relegated to the underbelly of society, out of sight and out of mind.

To achieve that they will support or promote almost any policy – smoking bans, punitive taxation, standardised packaging, legally-binding" smoking cessation targets – that 'helps' smokers quit.

Much has been written about the EU's revised Tobacco Products Directive – including the bans on ten packs and smaller pouches of rolling tobacco (the ban on menthol-flavoured tobacco is still to come) – and the primary impact is on choice.

TPD2 is having a similar impact on vapers – who are being denied larger bottles of e-liquids, for example – but the idea that it might have been better to form a broad coalition dedicated to defending and promoting consumer choice rather than harm reduction escaped most vaping advocates.

Instead they hoped that anti-smoking groups like ASH would ride to the rescue, and what happened? Nothing. Zero. Zilch. ASH stood by and let TPD2 go ahead complete with restrictions on nicotine concentrations and reduced volumes for cartridges, tanks and nicotine liquid containers.

Plain packaging can also be expected to reduce choice. Some brands may disappear completely and the chances of new brands appearing must be slim to say the least.

But who cares? The mindset of tobacco control is that the only smokers who matter are those who want to quit. If you enjoy smoking and don't want to stop you're effectively invisible.

Your views are considered worthless – hence the refusal of anyone in public health to comment on 'The Pleasure of Smoking' report, a silence shared by almost every vaping advocate (with the exception of Dick Puddlecote), even though it contains some interesting insights about the attitudes of confirmed smokers to e-cigarettes that are both positive and negative.

As Dr Neil McKeganey, director of the Centre for Substance Use Research, put it last week:

“It's the predominant view of smoking that the health consequences of it are so catastrophic that why on earth would one continue to do it, therefore what’s the point of even asking anyone who is doing it why they’re doing it, because they’re so irrational that they’re not going to tell you anything that approximates to rational thought.”

Sadly it's not just governments, public health campaigners and the World Health Organisation whose goal is a 'smoke-free' society and the eradication of choice for those who enjoy smoking.

Some vaping activists are equally committed to a Utopian smoke-free future in which two billion smokers switch to e-cigarettes. A billion lives will be saved and we'll all live happily ever after.

Two weeks ago Dr Attila Danko, president of the New Nicotine Alliance Australia, posted the following comment on Facebook:

"Off to Canberra today to help make smoking obsolete!"

Let me repeat that. A leading pro-vaping advocate declared that he was going to "help make smoking obsolete".

Far from being a throwaway line on social media, Danko repeated the sentiment in an article published two days later on the Nicotine Science and Policy Network website which has close links with some of the leading vaping advocates in the UK.

Headlined 'Momentum building to legalise nicotine for vaping in Australia', he wrote:

The idea of tobacco harm reduction and the huge public health benefits of making smoking obsolete are gaining traction. We have politicians now who are committed to pushing this forward and increasing numbers that are supportive.

To put this in perspective, Attila Danko enjoys an almost heroic status among some vapers. Two years ago at the Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw he gave a speech that was so passionate (or messianic, depending on your point of view) he received a standing ovation and ecstatic applause.

To be fair to him, he has been fighting a very difficult battle in a country that is far more hostile to vaping than the UK. It's understandable therefore that his emotions sometimes get the better of him.

Nevertheless I have a serious question and it's this. Does his crusade "to help make smoking obsolete" represent the New Nicotine Alliance worldwide or is it simply the war cry of an excitable campaigner carried away by the thrill of the moment?

I ask because those who 'liked' Danko's comment on Facebook included a trustee and two associates of the New Nicotine Alliance UK, plus Martin Dockrell, an anti-tobacco campaigner formerly employed by ASH who now works for Public Health England.

Whilst I admire and respect a lot of the work the NNA has done, I couldn't help feeling a bit nauseous when I read Danko's comment because it's hard to swallow if you believe that freedom of choice should apply to all consumers, including those who enjoy smoking tobacco and don't want to quit.

The NNA's refusal, when given the opportunity, to condemn hospital smoking bans – which is one of the cruellest examples of the genre because it targets the weak, the elderly and the infirm – is pretty sickening too.

Their policy of refusing to comment on smoking-related issues may be understandable and politically expedient now, but have they never heard of the slippery slope? Apparently not. Then again, check out their trustees and associates and see how many have links with tobacco control and public health.

What is becoming clear is that relatively few advocates of vaping are genuine champions of choice (as I know it) and those that are are slowly being sidelined in favour of activists like Attila Danko who wants to "help make smoking obsolete".

Last week in London Forest hosted a talk by Dr Neil McKeganey, director of the Centre for Substance Use Research in Glasgow and lead author of 'The Pleasure of Smoking: The Views of Confirmed Smokers'.

A few months ago Neil told me he had been criticised for conducting the study which was funded – very transparently – by Forest. I wasn't surprised. What did surprise me, a little, was that vapers were prominent among the dissenting voices.

Neil was told he would "lose credibility" if he worked with Forest. Affable man that he is, he replied that he had "no credibility to lose"!

I kept the information to myself but Neil mentioned it again at last week's event so I guess he's happy for it to be public knowledge. According to Dick Puddlecote:

I learned that he had received condemnation about embarking on [the report] from academics - which you'd expect, of course - but also from some vapers, which was disappointing. He was refreshingly unfazed, though, saying that the people criticising were "unimportant" and that if he was receiving criticism he felt that he was doing a good job.

As it happens the balloon debate that followed Neil's talk featured advocates for six nicotine 'devices' – pipe, cigar, cigarette, snus, heated tobacco and e-cigarette.

The subject of this light-hearted event was 'The Most Pleasurable Nicotine Delivery Device in the World' and the winner – surprise, surprise – was the cigarette.

Frankly, I didn't care which product won. The point was, all these products are pleasurable to someone. Some have mass appeal, others are more niche, but consumer choice is paramount.

I don't care if you smoke, vape, use snus or don't consume any nicotine product. That's your decision and I'll defend your freedom to choose all day long.

Unfortunately it's clear that many advocates of vaping, like tobacco control, support choice but only on terms that will benefit one group of consumers while discriminating against another.

Finally, let me demonstrate how the tobacco control industry is actively embracing e-cigarettes in its quest to force smokers to quit.

On Monday I was on BBC Three Counties radio discussing Public Health England's plan for a "tobacco free NHS". Also on the programme was Amanda Sandford of ASH.

In response to my argument that smoking is a comfort to many people, especially in a stressful environment like a hospital, Amanda argued that people didn't have to smoke because alternative nicotine products, including e-cigarettes and NRT, are available in hospitals.

Adopting the usual tobacco control mindset, she clearly hadn't read 'The Pleasure of Smoking' report. If she had she would have known there are many reasons why committed smokers – even those that have tried vaping – don't want to switch to e-cigarettes or any other nicotine device.

The reasons are stated very clearly in the report so I won't repeat them here. The point is, those perfectly legitimate reasons are being ignored not only by the likes of ASH but also by vapers, one of whom tweeted yesterday:

Yes, I always enjoy a cigarette in the hansom cab on my way to the magic lantern show. #WeHaveBetterTechNow

This was in response to my previous post (Why cigarettes are the real deal), a light-hearted summary of last week's balloon debate, but it sums up the attitude of some vapers.

In their opinion vaping is the future, smoking is the past – and some, like Attila Danko, want to make it history.

Having actually studied the views of confirmed smokers, Neil McKeganey takes a rather different view. "It's hard to imagine a time when there will be nobody smoking," he said last week.

And I agree with him. Yes, vaping is the future, but smoking is the future too.

Thanks to population growth worldwide there are more people smoking today than ever before in human history.

Even in the West, where smoking rates are in long-term decline, millions of adults continue to smoke because many of them enjoy it and they're not going to stop just because tobacco control campaigners and born again vapers dismiss their habit or make sneering comments about the product they consume.

As the name Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco suggests, Forest's primary purpose is to defend the interests of those who enjoy smoking tobacco. In practice however we try not to discriminate between different tobacco/nicotine products or consumers.

Whenever we're asked to defend the consumption of e-cigarettes, or criticise unnecessary or punitive regulations designed to restrict both their sale or use, we speak out.

Unfortunately tobacco control and some vaping advocates are increasingly singing from the same prohibitionist hymn sheet. There are exceptions, of course, and I would give an honourable mention to Judy Gibson, who runs the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations.

Judy was a contestant in our balloon debate and was a spirited advocate of e-cigarettes. Off stage she emphasised she supports freedom of choice for all and I didn't doubt her for a minute. I do question some aspects of the INNCO's agenda – which I will write about another time – but I suspect they are beyond her control. Kudos though to Judy for engaging with us last week and giving as good as she got.

Another honourable mention goes to Andrew Allison, who runs the Freedom Association's Freedom to Vape campaign. I've had my differences with the campaign (see Pro-vaping campaign leaves me speechless) but Andrew's review of last week's event (Fun in the Pleasure Zone), and the fact that he took the trouble to attend, suggests we're probably closer in outlook than I thought.

I stand by my earlier post but it was nevertheless encouraging to read:

The purpose of the evening was, as Simon Clark said, not to tell people what device they should use, if indeed they want to use any. It was about freedom to choose.

Indeed it was, which is why the absence of so many vaping advocates who might have been expected to be there spoke volumes.

Together with a handful of other vaping activists, Andrew and Judy strike me as genuine supporters of choice but they need to have a word with campaigners whose goal is "to help make smoking obsolete" because that, as we know, is the antithesis of choice.

Defend and promote choice for all consumers, including smokers, and you have a clear, distinct message. Pick and choose in the name of harm reduction and you're playing with fire (no pun intended).

Carl Phillips touched on this when he queried the benefit of the claim that e-cigarettes are "95 per cent less harmful than cigarettes". The gist of what Carl was saying, I think, is that if we believe everything tobacco control says about smoking, a product that is "95 per cent less harmful" than combustible cigarettes still represents a risk.

Put it like this. Even if you believe the worst estimates of deaths allegedly caused by 'passive' smoking, and the worst estimates of deaths caused by primary smoking, environmental tobacco smoke represents a relatively small risk in comparison. Despite that the alleged risks of 'passive' smoking have been used again and again to justify one of the most illiberal post Millennium laws we've seen in this country.

The battle cannot therefore be focussed on harm reduction alone. The heart and soul of this debate must be about choice and personal responsibility and if you're ambivalent about either concept the only logical step is to adopt the precautionary principle and support significant restrictions on the sale and consumption of any recreational product that is potentially harmful or addictive.

Turn your back on those who enjoy smoking and don't want to quit and you're no better than the tobacco control campaigners who seek to denormalise millions of consumers, or the politicians who implement – with very little evidence or debate – their increasingly restrictive ideas.

You are, in short, an enemy of choice.

In contrast, to demonstrate Forest's unambiguous support for choice, here's the press release we issued to the media in Ireland – where it's National No Smoking Day – earlier today.

Key to smoking cessation is education not coercion say campaigners

The smokers' group Forest Ireland has welcomed a call by Vape Business Ireland for the Department of Health and the HSE to publish information about vaping as an alternative to smoking on the quit.ie website.

Speaking on National No Smoking Day (1st March), Forest Ireland spokesman John Mallon said tobacco control policies should focus on education not coercion.

He said: "Smokers must be given as much information as possible about alternative nicotine products, including e-cigarettes.

"Vaping is popular because it mimics the act of smoking and enables smokers to cut down or quit smoking on their own terms.

"In contrast policies likes plain packaging are a deliberate attempt to denormalise not only the product but also the consumer and that's unacceptable."

He added: "The key to smoking cessation is education not coercion.

"Adults who enjoy smoking and don't want to stop should not be ostracised or demonised for their habit.

"Tobacco is a legal product and a significant minority of the population enjoy smoking and have no intention of giving up.

"Whatever the merits of alternative nicotine products like e-cigarettes, that choice must be respected."

Can you imagine tobacco control or any vaping organisation issuing a similar statement?

No, nor can I.

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Reader Comments (20)

Bravo Simon. This persecuted smoker thinks they can all stuff off except those honourable exceptions who are becoming too few to mention.

The vaping issue was never going to go any other way. They want the trade from tobacco companies. It is still about money and all three vultures - big vape, big public health, and big tobacco - are content to harrass, abuse, and use the very people all of these industries depend on - the smoker.

It's not about health. Those enemies of choice will get what they deserve. It is just a question of time.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 17:54 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

"Yes, I always enjoy a cigarette in the hansom cab on my way to the magic lantern show. #WeHaveBetterTechNow"

That was my tweet and I did intend it light-heartedly. For balance here's another which you may not have seen:

"If you don't want to keep smoking, keep smoking. If you do, switch to vaping. Either way, ignore public health idiots who confuse the two."

I'm one of the vaping advocates who really does support freedom of choice, as Puddlecote will happily confirm, and I'm right behind smokers who want to continue. I personally prefer vaping, but I'm not with those who want to end smoking.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 18:56 | Unregistered CommenterFergus Mason

Thanks, Fergus. Comments noted. Sorry for misinterpreting your tweet.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 19:14 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

Ugh. Should read, "If you don't want to STOP smoking, keep smoking."

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 19:28 | Unregistered CommenterFergus Mason

As much as they would love to claim to otherwise, the NNA is certainly Tobacco Control. This does not mean they are bad people or intentionally attacking smokers like ASH and the like. It means the NNA have one agenda: To promote their [righteous? moral?] cause over all others, even if it means willfully "throwing smokers under the bus" if it gets them what they want. Which it is clear that they have done consistently since their inception. The NNA is the enemy of free choice and the enemy of cigarette smokers particularly. I have no time nor love for them.

To be absolutely honest, I used to like vaping, but now thanks to the smug self-righteousness of vaping advocates telling us all how much better they are than those who use combustibles, the thought of being a vaper and counted among their flock makes me sick to my stomach. I have chosen to be a unclean heathen instead and my vaping kit has been stowed away.

Furthermore, do vapers who seek to make these huge clouds in public realise just how anti-social that is? This is far worse than cigarette smoke could ever be! I have lost count of the number of times inconsiderate vapers have vaped these massive, lingering clouds all over me when I'm eating at an outside table. When I complain, they laugh and continue to do it. They think it's funny. I would never do that as a smoker. I get up and move away from where people are eating out of consideration.

Although I fully support the rights of people to choose vaping over smoking, every time the vaping community gets hammered by new restrictions, which are nowhere close to those that smokers have suffered from, I tend to feel like they have deserved it due to their abandonment of tobacco users and siding with Tobacco Control. I truly wish things were different. It did not have to go this way.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 20:17 | Unregistered CommenterJalene

I think they still don't get that now TC is anti-nicotine as much as anti-tobacco. In Canada we're finally getting some vaping regulations, which is good in some small ways because it will be legal instead of the bizarre grey area we're in now, but....that may include banning flavours, and the way the legislation is written now, will impose a $500,000 fine and a two-year prison term if you have the temerity to suggest that vapes can be a stop-smoking aid or are in any way healthier than cigarettes, or suggest someone read studies on them. Way to go!

Then let's look at the 2018 tobacco control paper that's come out of Ottawa (national capitol). They're going to be going for banning smoking AND vaping in all multi-unit dwellings, even if you own the unit in question.

And yet, so many vapers are on the side of TC, and more than happy to throw us under the bus, apparently oblivious to the fact that they'll be right there with us.

I feel like I'm half-mad most of the time - Canada doesn't have anything like FOREST, and I sit here wondering if I can possibly be the only person who sees what's happening. I can't. But it sure feels like it.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 21:01 | Unregistered CommenterChanah See

Glad someone important has verbalised this at last. I have given up on my Vapingpoint blog. I've been farting against thunder for years trying to defend smokers!

Since 2011 vaping has changed. Vapers have changed. I have changed. I'm disappointed with the way things are going.I still promote vaping as a choice, but my enthusiasm is dying. And I couldn't be bothered with protest posts anymore.

I will only be satisfied when smokers get smoking rooms back and the smoking ban is re-assesed.

I am a smoker that vapes. I do think there are some others like me out there, with a primary loyalty to smokers.

Nice thought provoking post - thankyou.

And the Balloon Debate was SO uplifting!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 21:15 | Unregistered Commentervapingpoint

I cannot for the life of me understand how continual improvement of alternatives to smoking in a free market (which is what obsolescence implies) has anything to do with bans on smoking.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 21:23 | Unregistered CommenterAttila Danko

"The battle cannot therefore be focussed on harm reduction alone. The heart and soul of this debate must be about choice and personal responsibility...."

Actually, choice is the heart and soul of harm reduction, and personal responsibility (which implies personal autonomy) is part of that. The technical bits about lower risk options are secondary to that.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 21:26 | Unregistered CommenterCarl V Phillips

Oh, and the explanation for why switching to vaping has slowed is blindingly obvious: A large portion of the smokers who are inclined to switch have already done so. This is not a tough concept, despite all the screaming today that it must be because of anti-ecig propaganda. It was frankly surprising it had not slowed more already. It has to slow to a near-stop sometime.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 21:32 | Unregistered CommenterCarl V Phillips

Attila Danko There IS relevance."continual improvement of alternatives to smoking in a free market" whatever those alternatives are, if they substitute for smoking, will be put under tight regulation by Tobacco control ( what free market?).The ethics of the smoking bans are the rotten core. The idea that you can ban the act of smoking in privately owned buildings (pubs, hotels, clubs, social clubs, private nursing homes, etc) or on streets, in parks, in public open air places - even on the decks of ships! is the evil. Any perceived harms have been artificially induced via fear mongering and social engineering under the grip of a massively powerful anti smoking industry. That should terrify you. They will come for vapers too - well, they already are with lies and crooked science. The smoking bans control where you can vape already. Smokers will simply continue smoking, as they probably are doing now as a result of anti vaping fears already put about - and the new vaping bans piggy backing on the smoking bans. If you can't vape where you can't smoke, why bother to vape!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 23:43 | Unregistered Commentervapingpoint

I guess the bottom line is that essentially vapers are ex-smokers. The fact that they’ve taken up something to replace smoking makes them no different from someone who takes up a new hobby to replace their smoking activity. And ex-smokers, by and large (with a few exceptions, who it’s good to see on here) don’t seem to be able to stop themselves from becoming precisely the kind of hand-waving, nose-wrinkling, anti-smoker that so many of them swore they’d never become before they gave up. So it’s perhaps predictable that so many ex-smoking vapers would, sooner or later, align themselves with Tobacco Control in exactly the same way as ex-smoking marathon-runners or train-spotters or stamp-collectors all seem to do. Which must surely be yet another good – possibly the best – reason not to make the switch, even if you’re inclined to try. Who wants to end up like that?

Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 1:46 | Unregistered CommenterMisty

"Let me repeat that. A leading pro-vaping advocate declared that he was going to 'help make smoking obsolete'."

Moreover, that was the best thing he could think to say about vaping. The phrase "you're doing it wrong" comes to mind.

It is indeed distressing that so many vaping aficionados refuse to live in a world in which smoking and vaping are recreational pursuits that can coexist perfectly well. It's all down, as so many other things, to unwarranted self-importance. "Everyone should stop doing the thing I quit doing and switch to the thing I enjoy now."

The whole idea that the manifest destiny of vaping is to destroy cigarette smoking is, in itself, an acceptance of tobacco control dogma. Because you're saying that smoking, something you enjoyed a great deal up until fairly recently, is now so abhorrent that it should be eradicated entirely.

Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 3:54 | Unregistered CommenterNate

Attila. I have smoked almost all of my life and I am very happy with my life. It is not your place to decide that I should have what you consider to be better alternatives.

You may want to help create a world to make tobacco obsolete but smokers don't. You don't support the free market at all or you would not be working towards a future where my choice, and that of people like me, is no more.

Christ, who do you people think you are? Leave us alone.

Incidentally, if vaping use is falling it is because ecigs are crap. If anything becomes obsolete in future it is they.

Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 10:49 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

You can't beat the aroma of a fine tobacco.

Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 16:40 | Unregistered CommenterTimothy Goodacre

The Bestes Frau In The World's people have a saying: "It is not good to eat cherries with the Devil". The English equivalent is probably "he who sups with the Devil needs a long spoon". That's what comes to mind whenever I hear some of the comments from the more frothy mouthed anti-smoker vaping contingent (maybe vermouth flavour e-liquid wasn't such a good idea, guys, all tha wormwood...?).
Those like Mr. Danko sound exactly like those High Priests of the Holy Weed, those self righteous hash addicts, who post about tobacco ruining a good joint and how, if one insists on using nasty tobacco in a joint, one should toast it to remove all that dangerous nicotine.

Good post Simon, it isn't about health nor addiction but choice and the freedom to make that choice.
@Pat Nurse, the nation called while you were out & demanded you restart the T&Cig blog!

Friday, March 3, 2017 at 0:27 | Unregistered CommenterThe Blocked Dwarf

Spot on blog!!!

IMO this tweet of INNCO explains it all: "#WHODGquestion Representing major safer nicotine consumer orgs from 20 countries.Will we be granted legitimate stakeholder status? @WHOCOP8"

Applying for observer status by INNCO at the FCTC-COP (and thus endorsing the FCTC smoking inquisition with your signature and track record, both required with an application) was an idea of the NNA-family presented at the last GFN; it was voted upon and dismissed by a rather large majority of the vaping advocates present.

Later on the GFN I made my presentation on "throwing smokers under the bus", to bad they 'lost' the video footage for those who missed it.

Every critical comment on that INNCO agenda is met with cheer aggression by the NNA-board and trustees.

Excluding dissident voices, building echo chambers, dismissing majority votes, misrepresenting facts, aggressing... in order to push their minority agenda; we did see that all before, didn't we? Tobacco controllers always will be tobacco controllers, even if they are pro-vaping tobacco controllers.

But unlike Jalene I did not turn my back on vaping; I did turn my back on vaping advocates acting as the new tobacco control. That makes much more sense to me. Vaping empowered me to turn my back on the original tobacco control and it still does so including the new vaping tobacco control. "The thought of being a vaper and counted among their flock" indeed a big turn-off; but who do they represent anyhow, not the grass root movement, that's for sure; so their flock is insignificantly small (as of all tobacco controllers).

So my new year's resolution after a decade of vaping was I will smoke a nice cigar on occations, which will be my medicine not to turn into what I swore I would never become.

And it strengthens me to know I'm not the only one. My catchphrase as a vaping advocate was: "We are vaponimous. We are legion". That’s the flock I belong to, and to whom a lot of pushy HR-advocates have turned their backs to.

"Just a thought?"

Friday, March 3, 2017 at 10:13 | Unregistered CommenterLuc Van Daele

Interestingly there are parts of Public Health/Nanny state that diligently impose freedom of choice to individuals when it suits them. The UK care home industry are fully aware of this when it comes down to dealing with the Care Quality Commission who explicitly argue that the freedom of choice for residents should take priority. For example meal choices, times of mealtimes and other daily rituals that to use the CQC "freedom of choice" mantra differentiates between living in an institution (prison/hospital) and living in your home. Freedom of choice for care home residents to decide how they live their lives is seen as an important mechanism for instilling self respect. As a smoker for over 30 years who 4 years ago switched to vaping, which incidentally I do enjoy, I can't help but reflect that insofar as pleasure is concerned I doubt that many smokers would have ever considered vaping as an alternative if tax rates on tobacco weren't so high or if the TC crusade against smokers hadn't imposed the indoor smoking ban etc. Vapers the world over I suspect haven't embraced vaping because of the additional pleasure over smoking it provides them, but for one primary reason only, namely to circumvent the restrictions on freedom of choice sadly imposed on them by TC legislation e.g. forced to pay 87% tax on tobacco or forced to stand outside in the rain. Sure vaping may have benefits over smoking for many, but let's not be under any illusions that pleasure is the prime motivation. If you smoked you were bullied into submission and treated as worthless subjects with no self respect. It would be a shame if converts to vaping then became the bullies, but how often have we heard that the abused becomes the abuser?

Friday, March 3, 2017 at 12:16 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Hall

I always said that ecigs - or vape sticks - are the bastard child of the Tobacco Industry and Tobacco Control.

Without the Tobacco Industry they would not exist because to become vapers, they first needed to be the apologetic and self hating smokers, a guilt trip feeling forced upon them by tobacco control and it's insane restrictions. These are the former "good" smokers when TC began to separate us off.

Without the bullying of tobacco control they would not have quit and turned to something else, without smoking bans, there would be no need for an alternative.

It was obvious the NNA was an enemy to smokers. After all, what sort of "new nicotine alliance" welcomes all nicotine users except the the dirty, filthy pathetic smoker they are so desperate to distance themselves from.

It is just another smokerphobic anti-tobacco group happy to beat up smokers to win favour for their stupid toys.

To win, the NNA should have recognised smokers as members, we should have worked together as one to beat all anti-smoker and anti-vaper controllers and fight against the insane regulations that affect us all.

However, the NNA, I suspect, like many vaping orgs, didn't want to fight with us because they wanted approval from tobacco control and permission to carry on enjoying their product of choice which they hoped Tobacco Control would help in pushing smokers over to their market.

When they were smokers, they shafted us time and again. Now they're still at but with added smugness.

Friday, March 3, 2017 at 13:32 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

The blocked Dwarf : @Pat Nurse, the nation called while you were out & demanded you restart the T&Cig blog!

Sadly I cannot answer that call. There are those who say what I feel but much better, like Simon in this post, for example.

T&C had its day. It was for me to get my head around why I myself and other smokers were being attacked so unreasonably.

I get it now. They just hate us. Hate is something that cannot be reasoned with via Tea and Cigs or any other blog, for that matter.

Friday, March 3, 2017 at 16:58 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

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