During the tenth month of the year, the NHS runs an anti-smoking campaign called Stoptober.

For the past few years the smoking community in the UK has written essays against the demonisation of tobacco under the hashtag #octabber, ‘tab’ being British slang for ‘cigarette’.

Although Octabber might not be running this year — I am using the tag for my own reference — plenty of us are unhappy with the endless denormalisation and demonisation of smokers in Britain and elsewhere.

Tactics

Non-smokers are probably unaware of all the anti-smoking campaigns that take place under the banner of ‘public health’ — financed by smokers through sin tax on their pack of 18 (no longer 20 for many manufacturers). Never mind that only a fifth of Britons smoke today. The fight here for Tobacco Control, as elsewhere in the West, must continue until no one smokes.

Dick Puddlecote succinctly described how it worked in 2014 — ‘How Stoptober Really Views Smokers’:

The UK’s first state-funded anti-smoking organisation ASH (motto: “denormalising you with your money since 1972”) claim that they “do not attack smokers or condemn smoking”. It’s a debatable point, but the huge tax sponging industry they have spawned don’t seem to share the same mission statement, it appears.

https://churchmousec.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/174a6-stoptober.png?w=376&h=157

My three aunts — two nurses and one personal assistant (executive secretary, for my US readers) — smoked 20 a day. All stopped when they retired. Two are still alive and one died a few years ago, a great grandmother who outlived her non-smoking husband. They all had children. All the children are healthy. Half of them are grandparents. All have led responsible lives.

More from Dick Puddlecote:

I’m sure you’re very reassured that {cough} highly-respected politicians believe ‘professionals’ who post like this on Twitter are model citizens and should be shovelled skiploads of your hard-earned cash.

He ended his post with another 2014 tweet from the NHS’s #Stoptober:

Remember, if you’re doing Stoptober, everyone is behind you! And this time it isn’t because your breath smells like Fireman Sam’s jockstrap.

Rather crude, wouldn’t you say?

However, people will always smoke.

Attack on vaping

Countless numbers of ex-smokers around the world have taken up vaping.

Some of these people wanted to stop smoking cigarettes. Vaping gives them the same inhaling experience and they can often enjoy a few puffs in places where tobacco smoking is prohibited.

Not surprisingly, vaping has been gaining in popularity.

However, vaping has been under attack by health ministries around the world. A China Daily Hong Kong article from October 13, 2015 states that Brazil banned e-cigarettes in 2009, although they are still readily available on the black market. Canada followed suit in the same year but restricted the ban to e-cigarettes containing nicotine. In 2013, Spain banned vaping devices from public places.

The China Daily article describes the popularity of e-cigarettes among young people. In the United States, vaping among high school students increased exponentially between 2013 and 2014. The US National Youth Tobacco Survey data showed that, in 2013, approximately 660,000 secondary school students vaped. In 2014, their number increased to 2 million. Among middle school students a similar increase occurred; there were 450,000 young vapers in 2014 versus 120,000 in 2013.

In Britain — as in France — health ministries wish to minimise vaping altogether and not just for young people. Never mind that thousands of adults have been able to stop or switch from cigarettes to vaping, which, as the name implies, involves vapour not smoke.

In the UK, the government is openly against vaping. For their efforts, vapers are under attack, as Christopher Snowdon wrote recently in The Spectator. With an indoor ban to come in Wales, he writes (emphases mine):

Banning vaping indoors is such a criminally stupid and negligent idea that even the prohibitionists at Action on Smoking and Health are opposed to it. The unintended consequences are utterly predictable. Once people who have switched from smoking to vaping are thrown outside, they may come to the conclusion that they might as well smoke. Meanwhile, smokers who might switch to vaping have one less incentive to do so. The negative effect on health is plain to see, even if we ignore the glaring fact that none of this is the government’s business.

Also:

Vapers have every right to be outraged by this evidence-free attack on a habit that is not only harmless to bystanders but positively beneficial to them personally as erstwhile smokers. This is the important point to remember about so-called ‘e-cigarette campaigners’. They used to be smokers. You know how some ex-smokers can seem a little self-righteous and pleased with themselves? Vapers have taken that sense of triumph and channelled it into promoting – or, at least, protecting – the product that helped them quit.

Vapers did the notionally correct thing, obeying Public Health, only to find themselves on the wrong side now:

As smokers, vapers spent years being taxed, demonised and kicked into the street. Anti-smoking campaigners would never put it in such blunt terms, but their objective is to make smokers’ lives so miserable that they decide to quit smoking. Vapers did quit smoking, often to their own surprise. They did exactly what was asked of them, but instead of being embraced by their old tormentors, they found themselves with another battle to fight.

Our media and medical communities are full of warnings about the ‘dangers’ of e-cigarettes. Whilst Britain’s ASH might side with vapers, however, the daddy of Tobacco Control, Stanton Glantz

has helped bring about the banning of not only the use, but also the possession, of e-cigarettes on his campus in San Francisco.

Many smokers and vapers predicted this backlash a few years ago. It was only a matter of time.

It’s odd that ex-smokers inhaling vapour can cause such ill feeling. Under such restrictions, we should not be surprised if they take up tobacco again.

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