Saturday, March 14, 2009

No fire, no smoke, no SHS & still a smoking hazard?

Smoking bans around the world have been promoted as essential to protect the public from the alleged hazards of secondhand smoke.

In Ontario, for example, smoking has been banned in public buildings, bars, restaurants, casinos, in cars with minors under the age of sixteen, etc. Anti-smoker radicals are promoting bans in multi-unit apartment buildings, encouraging employers not to hire people who choose to smoke on or off the job and even advocating bans outside in public parks.

Most anti-smoker groups have been encouraging the use of “alternate nicotine delivery systems”, like Nicoderm and Nicorettes, to help smokers “kick the habit.” This has been a big boost to the pharmaceutical industry as far as marketing their nicotine replacement products. They’ve got The Canadian Cancer Society, Physicians for a Smoke-free Canada, etc promoting pharmaceutical nicotine, so they’re saving millions on advertising and marketing.

That’s why the big drug companies are the biggest supporters, financially and otherwise, of smoke free policies such as smoking bans and punitive levels of tobacco taxation. Coercing smokers into quitting creates a demand for their smoking cessation line of products and the anti-smoker radicals provide them with free advertising.

So, the drug companies and anti-smoker fanatics must really be chagrined at the apparently growing popularity of the new kid on the block. The electronic cigarette, or "e-cig", allows the user to "go through the motions" of smoking without the potential risks associated with smoking tobacco.

And, according to the advertising, the e-cig can provide the smoker with the sensation of smoking, without offending the non-smokers in the crowd with the smell so many of them have come to dislike so intensely. It can provide the nicotine hit demanded by the average smoker, without the need to inhale the chemical additives in cigarette tobacco thought to cause chronic disease in smokers.

However, for many smokers the e-cig may not be a satisfactory alternative to the real thing. Some have complained about a definite and definitive lack of tobacco taste. But it appears that many are ready to give the e-cig a try.

I should note that I haven’t actually tried the e-cig yet. The $100.00 to $150.00 for the Starter Kit is a sizable cash expenditure for an old age pensioner; especially for an experiment which may or may not prove satisfactory. But, maybe I’ll get a chance to try it before it’s banned.

Yes, banned. Some anti-smoker cultists, it seems, have already made up their minds about the perils of the cigarette substitute. The World Health Organization (WHO), for example, has come out against the e-cig.

WHO is warning there’s no evidence to back up contentions that e-cigarettes are a safe substitute for smoking or a way to help smokers quit. They’re also concerned that "the product may undermine smoking prevention efforts because they look like the real thing and may lure nonsmokers, including children."

However, I suspect the real problem is that they don’t want anything cutting into the sales volume of their sponsors in the pharmaceutical industry.

Some have questioned the advisability of exposing people to the addictive qualities of nicotine. But, I’ve made the same argument myself regarding the patch, gum and nicotine inhalers. Assuming of course that nicotine is addictive, they may help you quit smoking, but the nicotine addiction would remain, leaving you dependent on the patch or gum. That’s greater cost and less satisfaction, and that’s a bad bargain.

And, some anti-smoker fanatics, naturally enough, have gone completely over the top in attacking the e-cig (and smokers who might choose to use them). For example, Serena Chen, a regional tobacco policy director of the American Lung Association is quoted in an article on The Ashtray Blog as saying: "I understand why people use the nicotine replacement aids. But I don't understand why people want to pretend that they're smoking."

Nicorettes good; e-cig bad. Because it looks like you’re smoking tobacco? To what does Ms. Chen object? There’s no smell to whine about, no SHS to feed her irrational fear and she doesn’t even have to concern herself with saving the smoker from himself (or herself).

I wonder if it would do any good to explain to Ms. Chen that most smokers don’t want to pretend they’re smoking, they want to smoke. And, yes most of us do understand the potential consequences of our actions.

Says Ms. Chen: "If you had a serial killer who liked to stab people, would you give him a rubber knife?"

Huh? Really, Ms. Chen, if a serial killer comes after me, I hope all he’s armed with is a rubber knife. It will certainly reduce my risk of bodily injury; the concept of reduced risk being one with which you should make yourself familiar.

Maybe when I have a few bucks to spare, I’ll give the e-cig a try and write a proper review. Until then I’ll take a fair amount of comfort in knowing some anti-smoker cultists have their knickers in a knot over the rising popularity of the electronic cigarette.


Michael J. McFadden said...

Rambler, I think their knickers are just PERMANENTLY knotted! LOL!

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Knotted Knickers"

Anonymous said...

Old Rambler, we know it's not really about health risks or smell. Antis just don't like to see people enjoying themselves (or thinking for themselves). If you went into a restaurant with a fake cigarette containing no nicotine whatsoever, someone would still complain, because they can't stand the thought of anyone not knuckling under to conformism.
The e-cigarette is a slap in the face to their "denormalization" program, even though it is no more intrusive than the patch or nico-gum. I would try the e-cigarette just for the sake of using it in non-smoking (I refuse to use their happy-face "smoke-free" euphemism) areas, but I continue to smoke unapologetically wherever it is permitted, and I have stopped being polite to people who are rude enough to harass me about it.

Unknown said...

Wow, great post! This was a very informative read.

This is ridiculous, you know. Electronic cigarettes contain water, nicotine, propylene glycol (which is a safe food additive which can be found in everything from ice cream to food coloring), and flavoring. Regular cigarettes contain over 4000 harmful chemicals and cancer-causing carcinogens, but the product they want to ban is the e-cigarette? My e-cigarette has saved my health and the health of those around me (since there's no second-hand smoke)! What a joke...

Here's a blog post that dispels some common myths about e-cigarettes:

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Green Smoke E-Cigarettes said...

The e-cigarette is a great alternative because it allows smokers to have the “experience” of smoking a cigarette, but with less nicotine, no tar, and none of the smell and icky butts left over. Some people are using them to quit smoking but even if someone has no intention on quitting, it's a much better alternative.

(LOL at Ms. Chen and the serial killer!)