The Local Authority Ombudsman

I sent ‘the letter’ this afternoon. I suppose that it will arrive at the Councillor’s home address tomorrow seeing that it was sent first class. Perhaps he has a ‘researcher’ (aka wife, paid by the authority) who will read it. The researcher may pass the letter on to the esteemed councillor or not.

I’m not sure what to do. You see, despite the fact that I own an ecig, I am not a vaper. I have it ‘just in case’. I am far too old for it to make any difference whether I smoke or not. As far a Doll etc are concerned, my ‘risk factor’ for ‘smoking related diseases’ and premature death is now beyond 100%. I own the ecig ‘just in case’. I did think that owning the ecig was an ultimate protection when I bought it. I thought that the worst scenario would be that I might be forced to use the ecig when tobacco was finally prohibited, which I envisaged at the time (about three years ago) might well be imminent. What a fool I was! Too much money is involved for the imminent prohibition of tobacco. Far too much money. That objective is quite a long way off, and the Zealots have said so. In the EU, the objective at the moment is a 2% reduction in smoking prevalence over the next five years. Vast fortunes stand be be made on the back of ‘smoking cessation’ over the next several decades, so why make haste? Millions of smokers will die? So what? That was a lie in any case.

I should not be the one to be bothering about ecigs. More involved people should be doing it. But it is interesting to observe the comment from Fred in my last post. He suggested that it may be possible to involve the local authority ombudsman. I googled it and found that you can indeed complain to the ombudsman, although he would prefer that you exhaust the local complaints procedure first.

Fred suggested that the reasoning of ‘ban first and then find the justification later’ is cause enough to complain, because what the council spokesperson said was precisely that. The question is, “Does the Council have the authority to make decisions, in law, based upon such reasoning?” As I said in my letter to the councillor, this regulation seems to based upon nothing but spite and vindictiveness, and looks very like ‘workplace bullying’. Are female employees banned from wearing trousers? Thirty years ago, in the bank, that was the case. “Not dignified enough” was the claim.

——–

I suppose that the sensible thing to do is to wait and see whether or not the esteemed councillor replies. If he does not, I might become annoyed enough to go further. Fortunately, this is one of those situations where time is not of the essence. One can drag it out ‘ad inf’. It would be interesting to see what one of the MPs for this borough might think. My own MP would almost certainly be useless. She is Labour and of Asian origin. Neither of those should matter, but we have to think in real world terms. I cannot imagine a Muslim MP going out to bat on the side of an alcoholic.

——-

It isn’t very many months ago that Wigan Council took the same steps. There is an organisation called something like “Smokefree North West”. Like the North East, the North West is seen by Zealots as a prime target to be persecuted because we smoke a lot, comparatively speaking. Clearly, the Zealots want us to continue to do so, otherwise they would not be so anti-ecigs.

——

I could do with some expression of support, if I am to spend time and brain-ache on this matter. You see, there is something which is specific to smoking and vaping which is different from normal activities which might need regulation be the local authority. That is that these activities (smoking and vaping) do not take place ON local authority property; they may take place WITHIN such properties, but, essentially, take place IN THE ATMOSPHERE. Compare that with car parking and littering. Tobacco smoke may affect the atmosphere adversely, but vaping most certainly does not. Water vapour is everywhere (we would not survive without it in the atmosphere). ‘Flavours’ are everywhere. Nicotine in exhaled vapour from ecigs is minuscule, almost undetectable, dispersed, harmless and in no way addictive.

What seems obvious to me is that these bans are just a ‘try on’. They could easily be overturned by determined action by vapers.

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23 Responses to “The Local Authority Ombudsman”

  1. Dodderer Says:

    This is a great idea/action – as a gobby vapers,we make lots of noise and write to MPs/MEPs re the TPD but that’s in the future – the council/NHS Trust bans are happening now.

    As in all things,we need leaders – Clive Bates really led the opposition to the TPD.I’ve taken the liberty to post this blog in a vapers forum to get a reaction.I am also aware that Councillor Simon Cooke’s blog has been supportive of unrestricted vaping(though Bradford has not yet been affected yet, I believe).

    The actions of councils/NHS Trusts seems to be organised via

    http://www.smokefreeaction.org.uk/about.html

    who agreed their approach to ecigs at a meeting in June 2013

    http://t.co/M0SaGq4Orx and http://t.co/iGlZHLaknC

    (sorry – a lot to wade through – SFAC stuuf is at end of Part 1 and start of Part 2)

    Our moral high ground is being undermined – Maggie understood the threat!

    • junican Says:

      It seems to be clear that the restrictions on ecig use are being introduced an a pre-planned basis. I have read a part of the links that you provided. There is quite a lot of stuff about court judgements which deny the claims that products which contain nicotine are ‘de facto’ medicinal. The obvious limitation of such claims is that a tobacco cigarette would have to be classed as medicinal.
      Undermining your moral high ground is what the Zealots are trying every trick in the book to do. Getting a few local authorities to ban them, and the seeing if there is any come-back is part of the method. “See – nobody complained” is the cry that goes up. It is all organised to the last detail.

  2. liammbryan Says:

    I’d certainly like to offer you my support. I’m a vaper and I’m heartened to hear your views. I’m not sure we’ll be hearing back from your councillor anytime soon, hope I’m wrong though. I will await further developments with interest.

  3. Robert Innes Says:

    I have posted your response on Vapers Network on Facebook – support will be coming. Go to the fb page to see progress. Might be slow to start with as people are at work.

  4. Debs Says:

    YQ MP is actually ‘for’ ecigs. Wrote to Local Public Health,she came back and gave not tested,some have exploded,no regulations etc as to why they had done this.Still leaves a bad taste when I know they haven’t looked at any of the studies I sent.

    • junican Says:

      Hello Debs.
      By YQ, I assume that you mean Ms Quereshi? I take it that it was you who wrote to the Public Health People?
      My daughter is a teacher. She told me yesterday that one of her colleagues has had her house burn down. All her property destroyed. It seems that the source was a clothes drier. ‘Ipso facto’, therefore all clothes driers are dangerous and should be banned?

      I think that it is pointless writing to the people who are behind the decision-making process as compared with the actual decision-makers. You have a better chance of getting the real reasons from the decision-makers than the others – if you get anything at all!

      • Debs Says:

        Yes,it was me that contacted PH. They must have had some input into the decision and I wanted to know where they are coming from.

        Yes Ms Quereshi visited a local vape shop on the run up to the TPD and forwarded an email to Ms Elison on my behalf.She has a favourable look on what ecigs can achieve.

        I will also be putting in a complaint.Thank you for the info you have provided here,i need to get a bit of info before doing it first 😉

  5. E-Cigs & The Local Authority Ombudsman | Bo... Says:

    […] I’m not sure what to do. You see, despite the fact that I own an ecig, I am not a vaper. I have it ‘just in case’. I am far too old for it to make any difference whether I smoke or not. As far a Doll etc are concerned, my ‘risk factor’ for ‘smoking related diseases’ and premature death is now beyond 100%. I own the ecig ‘just in case’. I did think that owning the ecig was an ultimate protection when I bought it. I thought that the worst scenario would be that I might be forced to use the ecig when tobacco was finally prohibited, which I envisaged at the time (about three years ago) might well be imminent. What a fool I was! Too much money is involved for the imminent prohibition of tobacco. Far too much money. That objective is quite a long way off, and the Zealots have said so. In the EU, the objective at the moment is a 2% reduction in smoking prevalence over the next five years. Vast fortunes stand be be made on the back of ‘smoking cessation’ over the next several decades, so why make haste? Millions of smokers will die? So what? That was a lie in any case.  […]

  6. garyk30 Says:

    The only reason I would have an e-cig is for when service is way slow in a restaurant that is ‘no smoking’.

    No waiters around, fire up your e-cig and in seconds you will have a waiter and a manager at your table.

    Then, while grinning evilly at the old cranks at the next tables that were coughing and waving their hands, stub it out in the palm of your hand. :0

  7. garyk30 Says:

    “a 2% reduction in smoking prevalence over the next five years.”

    That is almost a given.
    Tho the number of smokers may stay the same, population growth will lower their % of the total population by about that much.

    • garyk30 Says:

      That is what has happened in the USA over the last 50 years.

      % of adults that smoked went from about 40% to about 20%.

      Number of smokers stayed about 48 million; but, total population doubled over that time.

      Funny fact:
      The number of ex-smokers went from 16 million to about 48 million.

      The TC ranting and raving caused a VAST increase in the number of folks that tried smoking; even tho they did not keep the habit.

      • junican Says:

        As you say, it would be impossible to separate the effects of the actions of TC from the general ‘noise’ regarding why 2% over five years might have decided to quit tobacco. But they’ll make the claims anyway.

  8. beobrigitte Says:

    I’m not sure what to do. You see, despite the fact that I own an ecig, I am not a vaper. I have it ‘just in case’.

    I almost walked into this “unsure-what-to-do” trap. Then I did remember that I was dismayed when very few non-smokers spoke up for the smokers when in private they were/are providing ashtrays.
    Even if I didn’t own and use an e-cig – as well as smoking – I think it is not the time to keep quiet.

    Vast fortunes stand be be made on the back of ‘smoking cessation’ over the next several decades, so why make haste? Millions of smokers will die? So what? That was a lie in any case.
    Isn’t the “huge” smoking cessation market the driving force for tobacco control to quietly change the word “smoking” into “nicotine”, thus opening the flood gate for the most outlandish claims?
    I used to think that people were vaping in order to stop smoking. I learned that this is not always the case; some people have just replaced tobacco with e-liquid, either completely (in this case, they have stopped smoking) or partially. Like me. Surely a pharmacy is not the right place for the sale of e-cigs!
    And WHY should e-cigs be banned? We had no say when the smoking ban was dictated; it was because of this oh-so-dangerous-passive-smoke.
    There is no such thing when vaping!

    I am wondering if the Bolton Councillor addressed has seen this:
    http://cfrankdavis.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/true-if-seen-on-tv/

    The day any government kicks tobacco control back underneath the stone it crawled from is the day we finally can sort the places we used to and will be again, enjoy.
    In my view it would comfortable smoker/non-smoker rooms. Some people really hate the smell of tobacco smoke – I can’t see why they should not have a comfortable room to have their beer in.
    The vapers? Well, I don’t think there is a need for creating a separate room for vapers! Vapers can use either room.
    However, there might be space for a little glass cubicle, next to the men’s toilet door.
    The door to this cubicle will be CLEARLY labelled: Anti-smokers only; no smoking/no vaping.

    • junican Says:

      I can’t help but feel that an awful lot of smokers are converting to ecigs for cost reasons. If they get the same pleasure from ecigs as they do from tobacco, then they would be very pleased. I have seen many statements from vapers about how much money they are saving. I don’t trust any of TC’s studies. Do they ask if the vapers decided to stop smoking for cost reasons?
      And why should not smokers take up ecigs for use in places where smoking is banned? TC talk about it as though it is evil. “Getting round smoking bans” is one of their cries. So what’s wrong with that?
      There is only one real solution to smoking bans and that is that people who own businesses should be the ones to decide, especially since SHS harm has been shown to be a myth.

      • beobrigitte Says:

        I can’t help but feel that an awful lot of smokers are converting to ecigs for cost reasons.

        I do most certainly notice that e-liquid is much cheaper than tobacco here!!! It is quite a satisfactory feeling depriving tobacco control&friends of cash to persecute me/invade MY property.
        But then, if I didn’t like vaping, I would scout the “fell-of-a-back-of-a-lorry” market for tobacco supply. Much to my surprise I am not.
        I would have thought tobacco control would love me!! Smoking a fraction (about 1/10) of what I smoked for 44 years would make them PROUD of their bull-erm-“nudging”.

        Oh, well, they don’t and they aren’t. Perhaps they do not like the idea of people being in control of which flavour and which nicotine content they buy to consume.
        Perhaps they HATE people being in control of their choice?

  9. Tony Says:

    This could be important.
    NY Clash launch legal challenge to NY e-cig ban:
    http://jredheadgirl.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/nyc-e-cig-ban-legal-fund.html#comment-form
    http://www.nycclash.com/E-CigLegalFund.html

  10. Lagoon Says:

    Do it for the giggles. Your letter will likely be ignored but follow their complaints procedure to the letter them follow up with the ombudsman and the buggers will really start to squirm. They can provide no proper justification for this ban. What happens if I’m having an asthma attack on the premises and I’m not allowed to inhale?

    I took a mobile phone company to the ombudsman after they rejected a claim. They were very fair and pleasant to deal with. Got me the cash value of a brand new IPhone to replace the crappy old one.

  11. cherie79 Says:

    I took an insurance co. to the ombudsman when they refused to pay after my husband died. They were great to deal with and eventually I won my case, it did take three years but there was quite a lot of money in involved. I have nothing but praise for them.

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