The e-cig that tried to kill me! A true story

31/01/2016

I’d been led to believe that e-cigs were safer than conventional cigarettes. You got your dose of nicotine without all the nasty tar and gunk that comes in smoke. They were electronic gizmos, and we all love our gizmos, right? I was surprised that Apple hadn’t released an i-cigarette. So imagine my surprise when my e-cig came at me with a steak-knife, determined to cut out my lungs and crap on them!

Alas, my story isn’t quite that dramatic. But it could have come to a similar end.

I remember all those stories I’d read and heard, about various electronic devices burning people’s houses down. Xboxes were prone to it at a time – or was it Playstations? One or the other anway – perhaps both! Not satisfied with turning our children into crazed, prostitute-cheating irresponsible drivers through Grand Theft Auto and making old folk think they were super-fit geniuses with Wii-Fit and “brain-training” apps, now they were determined to burn down our houses!

I never thought it would happen to me. I didn’t buy dodgy devices that had “fallen off the back of a lorry”. But it wasn’t as simple as that. At the back of a drawer I found an old e-cig battery. I charged it up, connected it to some tasty blueberry e-liquid and puffed away. The battery went flat: I recharged it, and re-charged it again. I knew I ought to get some fresher batteries, so I ordered some online. But in the meantime, waiting for the new kit to arrive, I kept charging and vaping, charging and vaping…

… And that’s when it happened. I had the charger connected to a usb-plug, that has served me well with my smart-phone. But I could smell burning! Burning plastic! I looked round the room – no flames. But my spidey-sense said the e-cig charger! The e-cig charger! I quickly disconnected it and had a look. And my spidey-sense was right: the charger was hot and misshapen where it was going to melt. I had been maybe seconds away from a devastating electrical fire! Only my nose had stood between me and smoky, flamy, sparky death!

Of course it wasn’t the e-cig’s fault. Just as it isn’t King Kong’s fault when the gunner on a biplane shoots the giant ape and it falls onto your car! And, just as the commuter doesn’t quit driving after being crushed by a 10-ton gorilla, I’m not going to let Sparky the evil old battery put me off e-cigarettes. They are the safer option. And remember, conventional cigarettes have caused thousands of house fires!

I just need to learn the lesson – and you need to learn from my experience. E-cigs are not magic vapour machines powered by fairy-dust and ponies and bunnies. They run on electricity – the same stuff that tries to lightning-zap you in thunder-storms! When your e-cig battery gets old, retire it and buy a shiny new one! That way you won’t burn to death. I mean, what’s the point of trying to avoid lung cancer if you’re going to burst into flames?


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

25/11/2014

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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Free supermarket carrier bags in England about to be banned

04/06/2014

Bloody Daily Mail! They’re responsible!  Checkout their headline:

At last! Plastic bags are banished: Victory for Mail’s six-year campaign as Ministers force reluctant supermarkets to impose 5p charge

I understand the thinking: if carrier bags cot 10p, a number of customers will reuse old bags, cutting down on littering, perfectly fine bags being chucked in the bin ending up in landfill where it takes a billion years for the bags to decompose etc.  And it’s certainly an idea.  But a good idea? I HATE HATE!!! says Nooo!!!

I collect free carrier bags cos I have a dog and use bags to pick up her turds whn she craps.  From personal observation, I have seen the amount of dog shit being left on open ground.  True, some bags of shit get thrown up into trees, which must be a pita for the street cleaning folk etc.  But the cleaning people get paid for their work.  So, is this all part of a process to justify sacking cleaners?  If you read this blog often, you may have noticed my opinion on all the laws that get passed without good reas on.

I’m  not a user of e-cigs – I’ve tried them and I don’t like the taste.  But when I’m out and about in a large no-smoking area, the e-cig comes into its own: it has the “ritual” of smoking (holding the -e-cig, having a vape when the user feels like it) with no discernible health threat to owners.  And there’s also some evidence that e-cigs work helping smokers to quit where patches, chewing gum etc are useless.  Hard-core tobacco fiends have been able to cut down/quit the evil weed.

But no.  France, and now England have plans to ban the use of e-cigs in “public places”.  Their argument is two-fold: no-one knows the “long-term” side-effects of e-cigs, and their use somehow “normalise” smoking.  Complete bollocks of course.  Smoking is already normalised.  There are lots of cigarette smokers out there, who might be saved by e-cigs.  The harmful effects of smoking are all connected with the various tars and other substances in tobacco – not e-cigs.  The e-cigs deliver nicotine, which has no discernible effect on the “passive smoking” crowd (along with the pictures of the horrible internal organs used to decorate cigarette packs).  Smoking is here,get used to it.  And if they successfully help smokers too quit, all the better.  Nicotine addiction is hard to fight, anything available to help smokers to quit should be celebrated, not frowned on.

The JD Witherspoon chain of pubs has said e-cigs have been banned because “bar staff had found it difficult to distinguish e-cigarette users from real smokers”.  Of course, when a pub staff member is close-by, the appearance of the e-cigs, they fact they don’t produce any smoke or smell… FFS do Wetherspoon employ idiots?  Or is it just a poxy excuse?

I emailed the manager of my local Sainsburys, asking why the supermarket has decided to ban the use of e-cigs: all I got back was a pre-planned response that it hadn’t yet been proved that e-cigs are harmless and some kind of “gateway” product that will cause people  to “graduate” to tobacco, then probably crack and smack…

I said before that I can see a future where cigarette smoking has died off, with e-cig use being the norm amongst nicotine addicts.  But the puritanical state don’t like that.  If something is enjoyable, governments want to ban it before it becomes too popular. Hence the strict laws concerning o-called “legal highs”, hence bans on cannabis and, soon, e-cigs.  The bastards want us to do without of comforts, while they use e-cigs  and tobacco and who knows whatever other products that make one feel nice. We are the subjects of a puritanical-for-the-masses government. Insane.  So, how can we, the millions of Brits and billions around the world who smoke, challenge this?  Simply put: we can’t.  No party I’m aware of wants to abolish the nicotine laws.  So what we gonna do, mass civil disobedience?  Crowds of millions marching through London chanting: What do we want? Cigarettes! When do we want them?   Now!!

 


spider-smoke-rings-resized

 

 

+

The government’s stance is based on hygiene and on saving on all the emissions that come from manufacturing carrier bags.  I can buy expensive scented nappy (diaper) disposal bage, I can use paper from junk mail to somehow magic the smelly shit away…I dunno, maybe the Revolution will happen soon. Other dog  owners will let their mutts shit wherever (outside).  The government want me to use my magic powers to reverse this trend.  Bloody ridiculous.  I’m absolutely livid; I want to have a country of my own where I can smoke e-cigs and even real tobacco!   FFS!!!
I’m not too bad at writing. But there are obviously other things required that I don’t know crap about. Let’s crowd-source some cash (I don’t know shit about that either). We can buy or rent an island, live there (“This entire island is a designated smokingF zone. If you don’t like it, stop breathing. Or reveal yourself. The majority of people don’t smoke, but the smoking minority is a pretty big minority. Smoking is hard and cool, and you can’t get better than it!

BTW: interesting reading based on the pro-ban argument. The Daily Mail: France to ban e-cigarettes from public places and subject them to same controls as tobacco.
And:
E-cigarettes ‘help smokers to quit’
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Governments hate fun… and any questioning of the status quo

08/06/2013

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*?

09/03/2011

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!

01/02/2010

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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