Thoughts on the electrofag

I had cause to spend some time last week in one of our major hospitals.

As I was constantly reminded by their hectoring little hidden loudspeakers, the grounds as well as the buildings are all declared a “non smoking area”.  I’m delighted to say that people completely ignored that and smokers were puffing away everywhere.  Not that I am delighted at the sight of people smoking, just at their attitude to the holier than thou hectoring.

Anyhows, as I knew I would be spending long periods in the building I brought along my electrofag, just in case I felt the urge.

I never used it.

I have a few problems with electrofags and I can’t see any way around them.  The first is the taste.  I enjoy my pipe for its flavour and aroma.  These are completely absent in the electrofags.  I have tried various flavours of liquid and none of them comes close to pipe tobacco.  They all just taste a little sticky and sweet.

Another small problem with them is this trick of pressing a button to get a puff out of them.  It makes me feel like I’m playing some kind of flute or something and just feels strange.  I suppose the upside to that is that I don’t have to fiddle around with lighters which in itself would be a massive bonus.

I don’t know whether it’s my imagination or not but I always seem to develop a bit of a sore throat after an electrofag session.  It does definitely leave me with a bit of an oily taste in my mouth and a slightly sickly stomach.

There was a programme on the other night on BBC where they “investigated” electrofags.  The item was full of the usual crap they pump out about cigarettes [kills half of all smokers, contains arsenic formaldehyde and cancer.  What?  Cancer is an ingredient in cigarettes?] and the presenter admitted at the outside that he was biased and full of preconceptions.  They did a small series of tests on lung capacity, carbon monoxide levels and compared smokers with electrofag users.  I noted with interest that they showed the electrofag user puffing into a spirometer, whereas the cigarette smoker was placed behind a screen!

Naturally their results showed that electrofags give off far fewer chemicals and that “second hand vapour" is non-existent, but that didn’t stop the presenter – he has a “gut feeling” that because cigarettes are so harmful there must be “hidden dangers lurking in e-cigarettes”.  I got the distinct feeling he was somewhat uncomfortable when it was pointed out to him that nicotine addiction was the same as caffeine addiction.  He didn’t want to hear that.

In his summary, the presenter lets rip with all his prejudices though.  He can’t help but feel that electrofags will “normalise the consumption of nicotine” [whatever that means].  He trots out an “example” [i.e. hearsay] of an eleven year old trying a vape.  He cites the BMA as being in favour of a ban in public places.  He says “we need to be very cautious about anything that makes it easier to consume an addictive substance like nicotine”.  [I presume then that he would want to ban instant coffee?].

I got the feeling that when he gave his thumbs up to the electrofag that it was with great reluctance and that he was mentally promising himself fifty lashes of the whip for uttering such a heresy.

One way or another though, I think I’ll stick with the pipe.

Ban the car and not the smoker

Ireland is one step closer to a ban on smoking near children in cars

and the Bully State rolls inexorably on.

I have a few points to make on this one.

The first and probably the most important is that it is another Nanny State law which is completely unnecessary.  Drivers smoking with children present is not a problem, because it rarely happens.  In an observational study carried out in 2012 by University College Dublin, out of 2,230 cars, eight adult passengers and just one child were observed as being exposed to a smoking adult driver [my emphasis].  The vast majority of drivers don’t smoke in front of a child passenger and even for the tiny minority who do, I can guarantee the windows were open.  So where is the problem?

It is unworkable.  How are the police supposed to know if I’m smoking in the car with a child in the back?  Most children aren’t visible to the casual observer unless the car is stationary and the observer is close to the car.  Therefore the only way this law can be enforced is to set up road-blocks to examine each and every car.  Even then the driver would have to have a cigarette lit and in their hand, where most drivers would stab the fag before the road-block and claim that any residual smell of smoke was from before the child was in the car.

A child in a car is being exposed to high levels of carcinogens anyway.  The very act of being in a vehicle being driven on the roads is a hazard to health, as the atmosphere is full of known carcinogens – exhaust fumes. 

I am going to make a little prediction here.

The Anti-Smokers know very well that the law in unenforceable, and I can guarantee that they will soon claim that the only way to enforce the ban is to ban all smoking in all cars whether there are children present or not.  This is just another step in their aim to make smoking virtually impossible anywhere.  Ideally they would like to ban smoking in homes as well, but they know that is impossible as it is unobservable, so they go for the next best thing which is a ban in private property which is visible.

My car is my property, not the state’s.  My Grandchildren are my concern, not the state’s.  If they think they can dictate how I behave in front of my Grandchildren, they can go suck on my exhaust pipe.

Flying the Australian flag

This is going beyond a joke.

Mike Daube [an Australian professional Bully Stateist] is over here giving the Irish mob a pep talk.

He is apparently praying for the Domino Effect.

His vision is that Ireland should "lead the world" in plain packaging and that as soon as Ireland implements the measure, all others will fall in line and impose their own laws.  He seems to overlook the fact that his country introduced their measures back in 2012, so why Ireland should suddenly become the "leader" is beyond me.

“I cannot think of anything that could be done to tackle tobacco more effectively than Ireland introducing this measure,” said Prof Daube of Curtain University in Perth, who chaired the Australian government’s committee that recommended plain packaging.

So banning smoking in the workplace and in a lot of open spaces, the banning of all advertising and displays, the stigmatisation, bullying and "denormalisation" of smokers and all the massive tax hikes were just a mistake or maybe just a warm-up to the real killer – the plain package?

“We showed it could be done, but we are a low-population country on the other side of the world.”

Population of Australia – 23 million.  Population of Ireland – 4 million.  Is our population bigger than his?

It was important the Government was not bullied out of proceeding by the “zombie arguments” of the tobacco industry, he told a meeting organised by the Irish Cancer Society in Dublin.

I love the use of the words "bullied" and "zombie arguments"?  Words that are used frequently to describe the Anti-Smoker mob?

Although it was early days to decide whether the Australian initiative has been a success, the early signs were encouraging, he said. Daily smoking rates were down from 15.1 per cent to 12.8 per cent in three years (compared to 21.5 per cent in Ireland).

I would hardly call two years "early days"?  Maybe it will be "early days" until such time as they fabricate some figures?  As it is, his decline in daily smoking rates are frankly just zombie figures as can be nicely illustrated with a small graph -

Smoking rates chart[Image robbed anonymously from Dick Puddlecote]

Prof Daube said the measure was no “silver bullet” but it was one of the most important elements of a comprehensive tobacco control policy. “Crucially, it has an impact on children and young people. It turns cigarette packs from glossy fashion accessories into something you don’t want to be seen with.”

"Silver bullet" it certainly isn't.  An irritatingly damp squib would be more on the mark.

I'm glad he mentions the cheeeeldren.  I would have been disappointed if he didn't.  He doesn't have much of an opinion of them though – kids only smoke so they can have a fashion accessory to flash around?  Maybe he should suggest they rob an empty packet and flash that around instead?  It would be a handy place too to store the fags they normally rob in ones and twos from their parents, siblings or friends?

Nine EU states have objected to the Irish proposal and the tobacco industry has complained plain packaging interferes with its intellectual property rights.

The ICS said yesterday its legal advice was that the measure curtailed, rather than eliminated, these rights, and that these had already been curtailed by previous health measures, such as the requirement for large warning notices on cigarette packs.

That really sums up the Anti-Smoker movement in a nutshell.  They ask for something small, such as a little warning or a ban on smoking in buses, and once they get their foot in the door they worm, lie and inveigle their way in further and further until they demand the entire package and a smoking ban everywhere.

These people really are a danger and a menace.

Plain packs plain expensive

The big guns are lining up on Ireland.

Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain have all lodged objections to Ireland’s proposed cigarette “plain packaging” laws.

The tobacco companies are priming their legal teams to bring Ireland to court if the laws are enacted.

So let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of the plain packaging argument -

Against…

There is zero proof that plain packaging will have any effect.  The only studies done here basically just asked children if they liked pretty colours, which is worse than meaningless.  In Australia, where they have had “plain packs” for some time, the only people to benefit are the back street traders.  Smoking rates remained virtually unaffected.

We are off the Christmas Card list of a fair chunk of the EU.

If the tobacco companies take the case to court [and they have every indication of doing so] then the cost to the Irish taxpayer [smokers and non-smokers] will be enormous.  If the companies win, then the likelihood is that the taxpayer will have to foot the bill not only for the court but also pay billions in compensation.

Confidence in Ireland as a trading base will be severely corroded, not just in the tobacco industry but also in the confectionery, food and drink industries who also potentially could lose their branding rights.

There will be severe adverse effects on the retail industry.

For…

It will satisfy the wet dreams of a tiny handful of fascist zealots who will stop at nothing in their hatred for smokers and tobacco.

And that’s all.  This proposal will not have any effect on smoking rates amongst adults or children, but it will cost us dearly.  It is just part of a religious crusade based on blind hatred and zero logic.

It is time to put a halt to this insanity.

Confessions of an addict

I have a confession to make.

For forty and a bit odd years I smoked a pipe.

I confess that last week I was tempted to try an electronic cigarette.

Just once.

Now I am a crack addict.

I drink drain cleaner for breakfast and spend the rest of the day smoking, snorting, injecting and shoving things up my backside.

My wife has left me and I have sold the dog into prostitution, to feed my €500 a day addictions.

Why did no one tell me that electronic cigarettes were a gateway to harder drugs?

Crack addict