We all know what I mean, I should hope. When I read about some local council planning to ban smoking (and the use of ecigs because they ‘look like’ smoking) within a given distance of the entry to the town hall, that is the feeling I get. That sinking feeling. Vaping Liz summarises it nicely here:
Her first sentences read:
I have been very depressed about the constant untruths spread by the anti-tobacco industry to undermine vaping. I’ve even stopped reading stuff with ANY negative content. It simply goes on, and on and on. Information about vaping is rolled out that simply isn’t TRUE! How can untrue information be spread as if it is the truth?
Make no mistake, vapers’ enemies are also the enemies of smokers. The group that have set out to persecute smokers is the anti tobacco industry.
I understand her feelings, and indeed, I know what that ‘sinking feeling’ is like. I must also say that I have to force myself to read what the likes of Arnott say. But then I ask myself: “Is this bather aimed at me?” Which is followed by: “Who is it aimed at?”
So as I read the blather, I am trying to read between the lines.
When Arnott or some quack professor pronounces on how ecigs MIGHT lead ‘the children’ into smoking cigarettes, I know that they know perfectly well that the such possibilities are remote. But they will point to dodgy ‘research’ which purports to show that a tiny number of schoolkids tried an ecig at some point and then started to smoke cigarettes. They pay no attention to the additional possibility that those schoolkids might well have started to smoke cigarettes regardless of trying an ecig. So who are they trying to influence?
I think that they have two (or possibly more) targets:
- Politicians, and,
- Public opinion.
Perhaps they should be the other way round.
I suppose that readers have heard of ‘The Overton Window’. You can read about it here:
A telling phrase in that description is this:
“…..an idea’s political viability depends mainly on whether it falls within the window, rather than on politicians’ individual preferences.” [My bold]
So, for a politician to countenance some course of action, he needs to believe that public opinion will at least accept that action. Margaret Thatcher misjudged (or was led astray) public opinion about the Poll Tax and suffered the penalty – dismissal by her ‘friends and colleagues’.
A perfect example of the Overton Window is the smoking ban. Around 1970, there was no chance whatsoever that such a ban would have been tolerated. No politician would have dared to promote it. It was way, way outside the Overton Window. So what had to happen? Public opinion had to be changed FIRST.
The Prohibitionists of the early part of the last century had not gone away. Remember that Prohibition was only repealed in 1933, six years before the start of WW2. At the same time as alcohol prohibition, many States also prohibited tobacco. Since Richard Doll did his ‘proof of concept’ study using lung cancer patients in hospitals around London around 1949, only four years after the end of WW2, it is obvious that the plans for such a study must have been laid down well before that time. There are three things that we must bear in mind about Doll, a) he was a communist in his youth, b) he was a Rockefeller student (funded by the Rockefeller Foundation), and c) he visited and studied in Germany before WW2.
We can reasonably conclude that the return of Prohibition was always on the cards, but that a new way of introducing it would have to be found. A way which would be impervious to claims that the new Prohibition did not work. That new way was HEALTH. The old way was religion/morality; the new way was health.
And it worked a treat. The World Health Organisation was set up in 1948, only three years after the end of WW2. Don’t tell me that, in the midst of the chaos and threats of WW2, politicians were interested in ‘World Health’. No, some people took advantage of the chaos and threats to dream up the WHO to pursue their agenda after the war.
All that is ancient history, but we must bear it in mind because it gives us a glimpse into the mindset of the Prohibitionists.
Public Opinion was of vital importance if politicians were to be persuaded to act. And so began the ‘long march through the institutions’.
The ‘science’ (studies etc) was only intended to support the blitz on public opinion. It could be distorted and exaggerated with impunity because nothing was EVER totally untrue. ‘May, Might and Could’ became WILL in newspaper articles and in the minds of the general public. Newspaper proprietors had been brought into the act at an early stage. I remember clearly a leader in the Daily Mirror which referred to smoking as ‘that filthy habit’.
But you might ask: “What on Earth motivates such people to make plans which will only have the desired effect after they are likely to be dead?” I honestly do not know. I can only muse. What persuaded Gates (microsoft founder and billionaire) to put millions of dollars into anti-tobacco propaganda? Perhaps it is much the same thing as very rich people paying for the erection of cathedrals in the past. Perhaps they have a ‘feeling’ akin to remorse, and seek for a way to do ‘penance’. What better way than to fund ‘worthwhile’ projects, such as anti-tobacco initiatives, in South Africa and Indonesia? After all, such initiatives will reduce ‘the burden of ill-health caused by tobacco companies’, will they not? Of course, Gates will only fund the ‘start up’ costs. After that, taxpayers will pay.
But what is even more astonishing is that these Machiavellian events are in plain view.
I like to think of the ‘danger’ of smoking as being something like dashing across the road during a gap in the traffic. You might misjudge the gap and get knocked over and killed. When you do that dash, you take a MASSIVE risk regarding the consequences, but you know that the actual risk of you misjudging is tiny. I remember some time ago driving into town and ‘witnessing’ someone being knocked down on a pedestrian crossing. I did not actually see the person be knocked down. Waiting in the stationery traffic, all I saw was a vehicle pass us on the outside, and the body of a person lying on the pedestrian crossing and people crowding around. Thus, I might reasonably conclude that using a pedestrian crossing is far more dangerous that dashing across the road during a gap in the traffic. And, I am probably right. I know that there is a risk in dashing across the road, but I expect no risk in using a pedestrian crossing.
Oh, and here is an interesting fact:
Joseph P. Overton (1960–2003)
Overton died at the age of 43 after a plane crash.
So we smokers and vapers must not despair, become despondent, depressed, or anything like that. I have come to terms with the smoking ban in the pub, not that I have ceased to resent it. In my local(s), I can stand marginally inside and outside in the porch. Only once or twice, has anyone complained to me. The most amusing one was a couple who wanted to wait in the porch for their taxi to turn up! I ‘laughed out-loud’ when the woman coughed and spluttered and made remarks.
What I like about the ‘Alt-right’ is that they are determined to ‘open the Overton Window’, and debate the un-debatable. Trump has done the same thing, and Brixit had made the un-debatable into fact. Did any ‘Remainer’ describe what value the UK has received from being in the EU? THEY DID NOT! Before I voted to Brexit, I waited and waited for the Remainers to tell me what benefits we Brits gained from the EU, but all they did was post frighteners. Had they told me that we have gained this, that and the other, I might have vote ‘Remain’. Thus, it was not the arguments of ‘Leave’ which persuaded me – it was the absence of arguments from ‘Remain’ which persuaded me.
I have a ‘feeling’ that we smokers and vapers have to let the hysteria play itself out. Arnott, ASH, etc created the smuggling problem. By that I do not mean LEGAL imports of agricultural products like dried tobacco plant leaves, nor do I mean the import of cigs by holiday makers. ‘Smuggling’ means organised criminal gangs. Those gangs cannot be stopped. They exist beneath the radar.They do not care if one of their many consignments is confiscated. What ASH ET AL do not realise is that their blandishments encourage the belief that Government persecutes.
And Government DOES persecute. Smoking Bans are persecution, and massive taxes are persecution. But who gave Government permission to persecute? In what party manifesto was persecution of smokers and vapers made evident?
And so I repeat – we smokers and vapers must wait for Public Opinion to change, and we must do everything that we can to encourage that change. We cannot force that change since we do not have the funds.
What vapers could do, to expedite change, would be to bring things to a head. It could be done with cooperation and determination. It would require a legal contest. Tobacco Control is terrified of such an event. It really is, which is the reason that ASH ET AL pay lip-service to the benefits of vaping. What they ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WANT is the question of vaping to go to court. Note that I say ‘Vaping’, and not machines or liquids. In the USA, the Prohibitionists have not condemned the practice of vaping, other than the likes of Glatnz. They have concentrated upon banning vaping by banning the machines and liquids.
But why would they do so since all the toxicological evidence is that the vapours from ecigs contain MASSIVELY less toxins? I do not know.
But are not such considerations the ‘food and drink’ of journalists? Why are journalists not examining these fundamental issues? Are they afraid?
I see my life like this. I shall continue to enjoy tobacco if I wish and am allowed to. At worst, I might have to imitate smoking via an ecig. That is the worst that can happen, and the prospect is not absolutely terrible. But it also true that I fear the executioner’s axe (which, in my case, would mean fines which denude my assets) because I have a hobby of growing tobacco plants.
‘The executioner’s axe’ is not inappropriate, since The Zealots just love ‘show trials’. They love to show pictures of celebs smoking and pillory them. Weird though it might seem, the celebs ALWAYS apologise. I suppose that they do so because they are fearful of not doing so in case it escalates. I greatly admire Kate Moss because she has never responded or apologised. I despise anyone who has apologised. It is hard to believe that any Brit admires such an apologist.
The likes of ASH ET AL do not have courage. They are slimy. But they can only succeed if lawmakers are equally slimy. I thought that Cameron was a sensible guy until he promoted the ‘plain packaging’ farce and the ‘sugar tax’. Only then did I realise just how slimy he and his cohorts were.
Is Theresa May not slimy? We do not know as yet, but we will soon find out. There is no rush to disengage from the EU. Article 50 is irrelevant. When the UK decides to disengage, it will do so. Article 50 has no relevance in fact. THE PEOPLE OF THE UK HAVE DECIDED. No construct of the EU is relevant. Why is it so difficult for people to understand that the referendum result replaces Article 50? All that is needed is a letter to the other EU member states saying that the UK has withdrawn from the Treaties. BUT the UK would like to continue to cooperate. The EU apparatus is no longer relevant since The People have decided that the EU apparatus no longer exists in UK law as of June, 2016.
So perhaps we should enjoy that ‘sinking feeling’ in the sure knowledge that the Zealots will go too far. They always have done and always will. Arnott and co know that, and they will bale out once they see the writing on the wall. It has always been so. For example, Cameron said the he would abide by the result of the referendum, but as soon as the result became apparent, he walked away.
Bastard! Brave heart? His resignation meant that he did not have to do what he promised to do. Is that treason?
My understanding of the word ‘Treason’ is the deliberate undermining of the the strength of The British People. Cameron, by resigning, did just that. He PROMISED, as Prime Minister, to implement the result of the referendum. But he resigned instead. He should be exiled at least as a traitor. It is clear that he regarded the UK as a province of the EU. Thus, it is clear that he regarded THE PEOPLE of the UK as just Europeans.
Such people are mentally ill. They really are mentally ill. Perhaps Theresa May is also mentally ill. We do not know.
I have gone on at some length about ‘That Sinking Feeling’, but perhaps we should be pleased that we have such feelings. The point is that we cannot be the only ones who have such feelings. There must be millions of people who, for one reason or another, have such feelings.
In other words, rational thought mean nothing to ASH ET AL. Only emotions matter.