Firstly an apology. It’s been far too long since I’ve posted on here – sorry! I’ve returned to find that every post has several thousand comments, so if you are looking for cheap designer handbags or Viagra, I’m your man 😉
Because of all the spam, I’ve changed some of the settings. I hope this doesn’t prevent any of lovely friends from posting – if it does, let me know via Facebook or Twitter.
Anyway, on to the matter in hand……….
I’ve given up smoking. Hurrah! Finally after 29 years, the tobacco is in the bin and I am not missing it one bit. My secret? E-cigarettes (or “vaping” to those in the know). Instead of burning tobacco leaves to get my nicotine (along with carbon monoxide, tar and numerous carcinogens) I’m inhaling nicotine contained in a non-toxic vapour instead. Apparently the vapour is the same stuff they use to make stage smoke in theatres. I am in danger of becoming a bit of a boring born-again vaper. So I’ll restrain myself to just saying that:
- its much cheaper than smoking (I’m saving £20 a week);
- its much healthier than smoking (scientists struggling to find any health impacts at all);
- its harmless to those around me (general scientific consensus on this);
- you can choose the flavour (I’m trying apple at the moment);
- my sense of smell and taste has returned;
- my lung capacity has returned;
- I can still go out for “smoke”, have a “smoke” break, have a “smoke” with a beer (indoors in some pubs) and best of all it feels like smoking (but nicer);
- its more convenient (charge the battery overnight, fill it up in the morning and its good to go all day);
- there are gadgets involved 🙂
As you can imagine I’ve been working Google pretty hard on the subject, and it turns out there’s a big debate going on between the vaping community and the health professionals. The heath professionals including the BMA argue that e-cigarettes could be a new exciting route into nicotine addiction for children; the doomsday scenario being a whole new generation of nicotine addicts vaping or moving on to traditional smoking (“analogue cigarettes” is the delightful term coined by the vapers). They seem to be fixed on every nicotine addict quitting and for nicotine use to die out altogether. So the argument from the health professionals is that e-cigarettes should be licensed as a medicine for treating nicotine addition, just like patches etc. Sadly, its not hard to predict the future if they get their way (plastic packets only available in chemists after medical advice with ridiculously low nicotine doses; massive increase in cost; destruction of an emerging industry; and many of the 1.3M vapers in the UK returning to smoking). One has to wonder (and the vaping community does) whether the interests of the government (tax revenue) and the big pharmaceutical companies (who make big profits from nicotine replacement products) are at play here. However, being a regulator myself, I just think that the BMA and their like just can help regulating things. For several decades millions of pounds have been thrown at the smoking problem (with little success) and they just can’t get out of the old mindset.
The inconvenient truth is that nicotine on its own isn’t actually that harmful at the doses found in vapour (or a cigarette), its the combustion products that kill people. Now, I’m not sure I swallow the line that nicotine is no more harmful than caffeine, but I’ve read a few academic articles and its very definitely much, much better to vape rather than smoke. Vaping is going to save many, many lives over the coming decades; but only if it is allowed to flourish and become established. The point constantly missed is that many smokers don’t really want to give up nicotine. I don’t. I just don’t want to die early.
The whole issue is being considered by the EU at the moment, and its getting scary. If you see a petition on the subject please take the time to get involved and if you (like me) oppose the over regulation of e-cigarettes put your name on a petition. You may just help save some lives.
There’s loads of fascinating stuff on the subject on the internet:
This article talks about nicotine addiction, smoking and vaping: http://www.eccauk.org/images/pdf/addiction.pdf
This article speculates on the motives of the BMA: http://www.spectator.co.uk/columnists/rod-liddle/9026811/the-bmas-bizarre-jihad-against-e-cigarettes/
This video by a lovely lady who goes by the tag “Caerulea Sea” really resonated with me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdBrBsegR6g
Anyway, I’ll let you know how I get on.