E-cigs are good for you! And that’s official!


Okay okay, I admit the title of this post is a touch… kooky. But now I have your attention, here’s the real news about e-cigarettes. The British Office of National Statistics (ONS) have revealed that vaping is not a gateway to tobacco use. The vast majority of e-cig users are smokers or ex-smokers.

There are currently no known adverse effects from vaping.  And sexy people do it!!

There are currently no known adverse effects from vaping. And sexy people do it!! (pic from http://www.vapestick.co.uk)

A recent study by Columbia University claimed that e-cigs could act as a “gateway” not only to tobacco smoking but also to the use of illegal drugs! Nonsense, of course. The recent ONS report reveals that only 0.14% of non-smokers use e-cigarettes compared to 11.8% of smokers and 4.8% of ex-smokers in Great Britain. It says “e-cigarettes are used almost exclusively by smokers and ex-smokers.”

This follows the change in UK TV advertising rules that now allows ads to show people actually vaping. Anti-smoking bodies have claimed that e-cig use will “normalise” smoking. What a stupid argument. If anything “normalises” smoking, it is actual cigarette smoking, which by the way is not illegal no matter how loudly the anti-smokers howl. The only thing that vaping “normalises” is vaping. Which is not harmful, as the ONS report indicates. Just like the YouGov survey commissioned by the anti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) which found that “electronic cigarette use amongst never smokers
remains negligible. Less than 1 per cent of never smokers have ever tried electronic cigarettes
and virtually none continue to use them. Among former smokers, 11.8 per cent have tried
electronic cigarettes but only 4.7 per cent use them on a regular basis.”

It seems that e-cigs are not harmful, medically or socially. If a hitherto unknown danger is discovered, of course some kind of action will be taken by our legislation-happy government. But as things stand, everyone needs to lay off the vapers. All this crap about “normalisation of smoking” really pisses me off: when I asked Sainsburys why they have banned vaping in their stores, they said it was this “normalisation” business. Shoppers vaping on an e-cig pose no danger to other shoppers, vaping does not create an odour nor spread carcinogens. Shops and offices ban vaping simply because they don’t like the way it looks. This is the kind of prejudice we should be stamping out. Discrimination based on superficialities has no place in a civilised society.

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Governments hate fun… and any questioning of the status quo


When e-cigarettes came out, many hailed them as the solution to getting die-hard tobacco smokers off the evil weed (tobacco, not the other “evil” weed…). After all, it isn’t the nicotine in tobacco that kills smokers, it’s the assorted poisonous ingredients like arsenic, formaldehyde, nickel cadmium… I could go on, but there’s no point really. Suffice to say, the only “harmful” effect of nicotine is its addictiveness. The stuff that gives you cancers, heart problems and the rest of it is the other stuff in the tobacco.

So, the e-cigs are the solution, right? The ingredients of an e-cig are basically nicotine, water, and a touch of propylene glycol, (which helps vaporise the liquid nicotine). So, the e-cig provides the “ritual” of smoking (the cigarette prop, the inhalation and exhalation, and the nicotine) but none of the tars and other poisons that kill smokers – all good, right?

Well actually, no it’s not all good, according to the British Medical Association and associated OORDs* The BMA squeals that there have not been enough “rigorous, peer-reviewed studies”. French bodies are actually considering a ban on e-cig use in public places, even though there are no so-called “passive smoking” dangers. And there are even illogical claims that e-cigs might be a “gateway drug” which would lead youngsters on to try “the real thing”!

I believe that e-cigs are a wonderful invention and probably the solution to the tobacco problem. Occasionally I even imagine a future in which tobacco is banned and e-cig “vaping” (ie inhaling nicotine vapour) has taken its place. But too many ignorant puritans are opposed to that. Nicotine is enjoyable and addictive, therefore it’s evil and should be banned in spite of its general harmlessness. It’s like how the government “temporarily” bans “legal highs” like “Benzo Fury” and “NBOMe” while it looks for an excuse to make the ban permanent. They say this is done for the sake of public health, but that’s a lie. The authorities don’t want us to enjoy ourselves. They let us get pissed, but make sure we pay for it – through exorbitant taxation and hangovers. Equally, the government taxes tobacco to the hilt, hence the ridiculous price-tag on a pack of cigarettes. But if vaping became more popular, it could drop in price dramatically.

I would encourage cigarette smokers to give e-cigs a try-out (I’ve tried the disposable nicolites and they’re not bad – a bit of an aftertaste, but they’re cheaper than their tobacco rivals, and if the market increases as projected the price could fall even more) – while you obviously have to take any manufacturers’ claims with a pinch of salt, it’s clear e-cigs are nowhere near as toxic as regular cigarettes, and they pose absolutely no threat to other people – so the idea of banning vaping in public places is illogical to anyone except a puritan.

Please, please, PLEASE – check out both sides of the argument before you make a judgement on this. And if you’re a non-smoker, ask yourself: if these e-cigs pose me no dangers, and they don’t pose real danger to the user, why would I want them banned? This arguments is about more than e-cigs: it’s about the freedom to do what you like to your own body. You might not like tattoos or body piercing – does that mean we should make tattoos and nipple-rings illegal? Please, give this some serious, genuine thought. If someone’s vaping in a train station, posing no danger to you and yours. is it fair to make it a crime?

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UK shops to sell cigarettes in plain packaging… whose stupid idea was *that*?


It was UK health secretary Andrew Lansley’s idea, apparently. He has announced his intention over the next 5 years to reduce the number of smokers in Britain by a greater number than was reduced in the past 5 years. And he has identified cigarettes’ allegedly gaudy, inviting packaging as a chief reason why people take up the habit in the first place. He has also announced a “consultation” into the idea of banning cigarette displays entirely, so tobacco products will have to be sold from “under the counter”.

Obviously, Lansley is a massive tit. Plain packaging and discreet under-the-counter sales will make cigarettes seem very illicit… and we all know what teenagers in general think of illicit activities. I predict that these measures will not reduce the number of smokers at all. Maybe it’ll even increase the number of smokers. Which is, of course, no bad thing for a political party that counts amongst its members the very tobacco barons the government claims it wants to destroy.

The other day I was waiting in the queue for the tobacco counter at my local Sainsbury’s, and I was struck by the current packaging of cigarettes. Every single pack has emblazoned across its front in bold letters sentences like SMOKING KILLS and SMOKING WILL TURN YOUR UNBORN CHILD INTO A STUMP-HEADED MUTANT. If that hasn’t reduced the number of smokers by the “desired” amount, what in hell makes Lansley think his stupid idea will do any better? The answer, of course, is stupidity. And hypocrisy. We must never forget the hypocrisy factor when trying to figure out our Con-Dem government’s motives.

Incidentally, that same Guardian story says that 21.2% of adults in Britain are smokers. It’s a minority, for sure, but it’s one heck of a big minority. Who the hell do the government think they are, messing with more than 8 million people’s right to choose what they do? Plus the government makes a lot of money by taxing tobacco products. What are they going to do if we all stop smoking – increase the tax on road fuel (which, incidentally, is far more harmful to the general population’s health than a damn cigarette)? These pin-headed ministers really do need to think these things through…

Cigarette displays like this may soon be outlawed if the UK govt gets its way

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You are now entering the United Kingdom: No Smoking!


Monday 1 February 2010

Unbelievable! First the British government banned smoking inside… now they want to ban smoking outside!

To be precise: they want to ban people smoking outside the entrances to public buildings. The health secretary Andy Burnham favours such a ban to prevent non-smokers having to walk through clouds of smoke. This is part of a wider attempt by Burnham to “improve public health”. According to the Guardian:

He will set out four principles where he says intervention is justified: where it protects the health of children, where a person’s choice affects the choices of others, where barriers need to be removed to allow people to behave healthily, and where the environment can be shaped to offer healthier lifestyles.

He wants to cut the number of people in Britain who smoke to 10% of the population. Another move he is considering is banning “distinctive wrapping” from cigarette packets and insisting they are sold in plain brown packets instead. He also wants to ban cigarette vending machines and launch a renewed crackdown on the sale of blackmarket tobacco.

He claims this isn’t “nanny-statism” – but I think this is something worse. It’s a direct attack on individual rights in the same of some vague notion of “the public good”. Okay, he isn’t proposing banning smoking in private premises. Yet. But I can see that coming. He’s already said intervention is justified to protect children’s health. So how long will it be before he bans parents from smoking in their own homes “to protect the children”? He’s already got backing for a ban on smoking in cars containing children from the UK Faculty of Public Health and doctors’ leader Professor Steve Field, who called it “a form of child abuse”. This emotive language is designed to inflame public opinion – after all, who doesn’t want to stop child abuse?

No doubt some of you will say I’m spouting nonsense, that he is not eroding our individual rights. But I don’t see how you can even doubt it. Ten years ago no one would have believed that smoking would be banned in all pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants. Yet here we are. Now he’s pushing the ban a little further; and he’s got sock-puppets like Prof Field saying parents who smoke near their children are as bad as pedophiles. In a few more years, if he gets the publicity campaign right, more people will find themselves agreeing with Field – and of course he’ll get the publicity right, that’s what the Labour government are especially good at. And then he’ll make smoking illegal. Mark my words!

Some of you will say: “So what? Smoking’s a filthy habit. You should give up, for the children’s good if not your own.” Well, when I hear the phrase “for the children”, I want to reach for my ciggies. Leave me alone, health Nazis!

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Gordon Brown pushes for cannabis reclassification


So get this: prime minister Gordon Brown wants cannabis to be reclassified as Class B again, even though his “experts” have advised him not to do it. What an ass!

Cannabis was a Class B drug in the UK for years, legally considered on a par with amphetamines for God’s sake! But in 2004, the government saw sense and reclassified it as Class C, the same as tranquillizers like Valium.

Unfortunately, some idiots in high places (no pun intended!) started to spread the story that “new”, “extra strong” strains of cannabis, for instance skunk, made users turn into schizophrenics. And other idiots, in the government, fell for the propaganda!

Brown called for an investigation into these claims. And now, even though his inquiry has concluded that the schizophrenia-link is bullshit, he’s determined to press ahead with the reclassification.

Some pro-prohibition voices have always criticized the declassification to Class C, on the grounds that people were confused by the law – apparently some people thought that dope had been legalized. Well, making cannabis Class B again is just going to confuse the issue more. And it will make the penalties for possession severe, when even the most harsh observers would agree that possession of cannabis is an honest-to-goodness victimless crime.

Oh, if you don’t agree with the government’s experts who have ruled out a link between cannabis use and schizophrenia, check out this study from psychiatrysource.com – its authors note that schizophrenics are more likely to smoke (tobacco or dope), but deny that smoking in any way causes schizophrenia. Schizophrenics just like smoking.

The government’s willingness to ignore its experts proves that its plan to reclassify cannabis as Class B is driven by political considerations, not medical reasons.  The government’s entire drugs policy is political, not medical, legal or societal.


Chief Constable says: “Legalize Drugs!!”


Richard Brunstrom, the Chief Constable of North Wales, delivers a report today to his Police Authority, describing the current UK drug laws as “immoral” and recommending that all drugs be legalized.

His report says that illegal drugs are cheaper and more plentiful than ever, and that drug-related crime is also at an all-time high. It goes on: “If policy on drugs is in future to be pragmatic not moralistic, driven by ethics not dogma, then the current prohibitionist stance will have to be swept away as both unworkable and immoral, to be replaced with an evidence-based unified system (specifically including tobacco and alcohol) aimed at minimisation of harms to society.” He finds it especially hypocritical that tobacco and alcohol are not classified as “dangerous drugs”.


Prime Minister Gordon Brown – ready to announce the legalization of all drugs?

Of course, the Police Authority isn’t going to take up his recommendations. And it won’t find sympathy in the government either. At this year’s Labour Party Conference, prime minister Gordon Brown announced that the “war on drugs” was going to step up a gear, and declared: “We will send out a clear message that drugs are never going to be decriminalised.”

But there is sympathy for Brunstrom’s position in the Labour Party. Former Home Secretary John Reid has admitted that prohibition of drugs doesn’t work, and Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell agrees, saying that “it drives the activity underground.”

The Chief Constable is to urge the Police Authority to raise these issues with Westminster and the Welsh Assembly. And, although the authority are extremely unlikely to seriously consider his recommendations, such a high-ranking police officer lending his voice to these arguments gives them a prominence that’s hard to ignore.

He can’t be dismissed as eccentric or a “kook”. John Reid and Tessa Jowell, both government ministers, have voiced similar opinions. And the former Chief Inspector of Prisons, Lord Rambotham – and Scotland’s drug czar, Tom Wood – are also more or less on his side. And these are people who can’t just be ignored. Legalization of drugs has been dismissed for years as a crazy idea. Now, the powers that be have to admit that it isn’t such a mad idea after all.

A plug for DrugSense – sounds like a bunch of nice people…


Because I have an interest in drugs (“interest”?  Hee hee!) I have subscribed to a news service that emails me articles that have been written on the subject.  A recent article was about a drugs education outfit called “DrugSense”.  They sound okay, so I’m going to give them a free plug here by reproducing their message:

Education vs. Indoctrination

Education: ed.u.ca.tion [ej-oo-key-shuhn] – noun. The act or process
of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of
reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others
intellectually for mature life.

Indoctrination: in.doc.tri.nate [in-dok-truh-neyt] – verb (used with
object), – nat.ed, -nat.ing. To instruct in a doctrine, principle,
ideology, etc., esp. to imbue with a specific partisan or biased
belief or point of view. [Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)]


As so many folks, young and old, prepare for another school year,
DrugSense feels that it would be useful to start the fall by reminding
people of the difference between education and indoctrination.  At
DrugSense, our main goal is to educate the press, public, and policy-
makers about the ravages, costs, and failures of drug prohibition, as
well to inform them of alternative policy approaches. The following
comes from the DrugSense Mission Statement (

“We exist to provide accurate information relevant to drug policy in
order to heighten awareness of the extreme damage being caused to our
nation and the world by our current flawed and failed ‘War on Drugs.’
We aim to inform the public of the existence of rational alternatives
to the drug war, and to help organize citizens to bring about needed

To further these objectives, and in recognition of the critical role
played by the media and the public, we:

a. Call attention to factual errors and excesses of policy as reported
by the working press and broadcast news organizations.

b. Promote debate and discussion by encouraging citizens to
communicate their views directly to the media and the public.

c. Provide on-line and technical support for a wide range of reform
organizations, large and small, including but not limited to free
email chat lists, news information feeds, and web site creation and
support. Please see our site map for a list of the organizations we
support. (http://www.drugpolicycentral.com/)

d. Create and maintain a growing, easily searched, library of news and
opinion as a research and educational tool.

We believe that public policy has nothing to fear from the truth.
Effective policies require a clear understanding of their results.”

How does this “education” differ from “indoctrination”? To put it
simply, we are not ideologues, or radicals, or even legalizers.
Rather, we are pragmatists who believe “that a public well informed
about the death, disease and social blight produced by current U.S.
drug policy must inevitably seek to reform it”. And our opponents? A
quick look at the Dictionary.com definition for “indoctrination”
pretty much says it all.

So as the school year starts up, please help us move away from failed
drug policies stemming from fear and misinformation and towards
evidence-based approaches based on science, reason and compassion.

DONATE TODAY by clicking http://drugsense.org/support.php, it’s fast,
easy, and tax deductible!

I like the distinction DrugSense draw between education and indoctrination.  Maybe they’re worth checking out?

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