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A tale of two interviews – vaping and cigarette butts

Tuesday morning, two interviews.

The first was a brief chat with Nick Ferrari on LBC. I was asked last night to talk about a report the Press Association was running overnight.

According to the PA:

A leading health professor has accused Public Health England (PHE) of ignoring mounting evidence on the harmful effects of e-cigarettes.

Martin McKee, professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said the UK was "out of step" with other parts of the world when it came to messages around the safety of vaping.

He said San Francisco had adopted a "sensible" policy in moving to ban e-cigarettes until their health effects are fully evaluated by the US government.

My reaction was to suggest that they contact vaping advocate Clive Bates, former director of ASH, or John Dunne, spokesman for the UK Vaping Industry Association, and I even gave LBC their numbers.

Maybe they weren't available but LBC came back and said they'd still like to go with me (which was flattering).

It was a very brief interview but I found myself in the unusual position of defending Public Health England.

Thirty minutes later I was on BBC Radio Suffolk having quite a heated discussion with the presenter about about cigarette litter.

According to the producer:

A local anti-litter campaigner went out over the weekend and collected 6000 butts in less than two hours on a path beside Ipswich Hospital so we are discussing this as to whether smokers should be more considerate of is the lack of provision of giving smokers no choice on where they dispose of their butts.

On air I acknowledged that smokers have some responsibility not to drop cigarette butts but I added that hospitals, and local councils, have a duty to provide cigarette bins and these are frequently not available because the authorities see it as encouraging people to smoke.

When I pointed out that the smoking ban had exacerbated the problem because it forced more smokers outside, he came back and said words to the effect that we weren't talking about the smoking ban because it was no longer an issue.

I had to point out, quite firmly, that in the context of cigarette litter smoking bans are clearly an issue and in this instance there has to be a direct correlation between the butts on the path beside Ipswich Hospital and the prohibition of smoking on the the hospital site.

The solution, I said, was a designated smoking shelter on site with cigarette bins so smokers can dispose of their butts without leaving a mess.

I'm not sure he was listening.

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Reader Comments (5)

Why won't councils or even government promote the use of pocket ashtrays? They promote a daily scare story aimed at smokers so it's not as if they couldn't. The truth is the more smokers are uneducated about dropping litter, the more they will annoy others, the more the hate campaign launched and managed by public health moves in a notch with wider public support.

I don't know in what circumstances one can defend the indefensible bullies in public hate aka health but I do know that every time I hear another vaping scare story - the same ones I first heard about smoking decades ago - the more I laugh out loud especially at those sanctimonious vapers who see vaping as pure and smoking as evil.

We smokers know there is a long way to go before vapers are treated as the same kind of thickos as they think smokers are but the day is coming and for sure we smokers won't help those who have been supporting our enemy in the hate and misinformation campaign against us.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 at 13:09 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

Nick Ferrari is a smokerphobic bully so you were never going to get a fair hearing from someone who thinks vulnerable patients should be dowsed in water, or worse, probably.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 at 13:11 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

Been interviewed several times by Nick Ferrari, Pat, and never had a problem with him that I can remember. I think he's quite liberal on most issues. The only factor on this occasion was time – it was very limited so I didn't get a chance to say much. Nick was very matter of fact and quite laid back.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 at 13:22 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

“Why won't councils or even government promote the use of pocket ashtrays?”

I think you answered your own question there, Pat! If more people used pocket ashtrays, then there would be less litter and fewer excuses to persecute smokers. It’s the same reason why organisations won’t provide ashtrays in outside smoking areas – because if the vast majority of smokers disposed of their spent cigarettes neatly in provided bins (as, in my experience, the vast majority of them would), then there’d be no excuse for them to do away with any outside areas or shelters that they might have provided, on the excuse that the place is so messy and unpleasant to clean up.

Oh, and just in case it was mentioned (which it often is), cigarette ends ARE biodegradable. I quite often put my shredded plain packs and cigarette ends in my compost bin and I’ve not yet had any un-composted cigarette filters come sneaking out the other end yet. They take the same amount of time to rot down as all the other household compost. I’m not sure that any unwanted e-cigarettes - made as they are mostly of plastic and metal - would be quite so easily biodegradable! I bet no vaper has stopped to think of that angle ...

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 1:58 | Unregistered CommenterMisty

Misty, I know cig ends are biodegradable but unfortunately the liars in the anti smoker industry have pushed the "truth" that they are made of plastic, they never biodegrade and every cig end since the first was ever smoked is now in the sea and being eaten by fish who then get eaten by humans who then, probably, get affected by 6th hand smoke.

Public health should write science fiction novels. They'd be best sellers. Trouble is when lies are pushed as truth to encourage attacks and discrimination on a targeted group, we know where it will end up.

Simon, nothing you can say will ever lead me to believe that Ferrari is impartial on this issue. He is a smokerphobic bully

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 12:33 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

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