An ‘Outlandish’ Thought.

At the moment an outlandish idea keeps presenting itself: Keeps popping into my head. I have become increasingly cynical with regard to Tobacco Control and the Health Industry, but this idea seems to be a bit ‘beyond the pale.’ I dismiss it, only for it to present itself again. I have decided to post it in an attempt to purge it from my poor demented brain.

It goes like this…The Health Industry are trying to get young people to take up cigarette smoking.

The rational behind this being that they use publicity to highlight the dangers of cigarettes, therefore making them more attractive to thrill seeking youngsters. They emphasise that cigarettes are only for adults, again, making them more attractive. They hide them out of sight, and once again, an attraction. They have depicted tobacco as being ‘naughty’, something we should not do, and that society does not approve – “Wow! Let’s do it!” They have denormalized cigarette smoking, making it exotic and an act of rebellion.

 I have worked with teenagers for thirty odd years and all of the above reasons seem to me to be reasons for a large section of our teenage population to take up the habit.

I now apologise for posting this but I did really have to try to get rid of the idea. Let’s face it, the health industry are concerned about our health. We can see this through the efforts being made to stamp out e cigarettes. Even the pharmaceutical industry has weighed in to protect us from ourselves and we should be so ashamed of ourselves for even thinking it has to do with the millions in lost revenues – the same goes for government.  

We have to face it, the pharmaceutical industry have nothing to gain by keeping a large cohort of youngsters from starting smoking. The health industry have nothing to gain and governments have nothing to gain – have they?

And here I am presenting such a perverse, outlandish idea. 

So sorry!

HALIFAX – As the debate continues…..

I read this article with growing consternation. I am afraid that regulatory bodies world-wide are repeating the same tire mantra with no consideration for the consequences of suppressing e cigarette use. I wish, here to discuss a couple of issues mentioned repeatedly in the article. The  banning their use in public places because it will serve as a bad example to young people, and the second, that there is not enough evidence.


But what worries Strang and other health officials the most is the possibility of e-cigarettes, with their futuristic glow and candy-like flavours, getting youth hooked on nicotine and acting as a gateway to tobacco products.




“We don’t really know what the trajectory is for these products,” she says. “Let’s not make the mistake of having too lax a regulatory regime and then find out 10 years from now that we’ve this generation of young people for whom this has become a bridge to nicotine addiction or smoking.”


What we are witnessing here are public health officials trying to create legislation as a precaution against some future risk and not based on the existence of a risk to health endorsed by clear scientific evidence. They are purely hypothetical considerations and are therefore not valid, and, depending on the law in Canada, not legitimate. If the law in Canada does not emphasise that precautionary measures be based on science, there is a glaring weakness in Canadian law.


So it seems that everything boils down to evidence. Is there or is there no satisfactory evidence on which to base these decisions?


 There exists a mass of evidence on which to base any legislation with regard to e cigarettes and their use.[1]  However, when you investigate, all of it points in one direction and that is towards the advantages that e cigarettes hold over conventional ones.


The gateway argument is a point in hand where hypothesis has taken the place of research. Not only is there no evidence that e cigarettes are proving to be a lure for young people, the existing mass of evidence shows that e-cigarettes are a gateway out of smoking not an introduction to smoking. I have said a mass of evidence, yes, and it grows day by day.[2],[3],[4] The one example of research that has claimed a frightening increase in e cigarette use by young people is the CDC report[5]. Here though, exponents of gateway theory have had to stretch the findings well beyond breaking point. As an example, they use the word, ‘used’ when they should have said, ‘tried.’[6] A simple little trick. And here is another, and that is the claim made by some that this report shows a doubling of e cig use among the young – absolute rubbish to the point of downright lying.



The most hyped claim from the CDC data, that “use” doubled between 2011 and 2012, referred to only the “one puff ever in your life” statistic, despite the fact that the CDC defined “use” as  “one puff in 30 days.”  Relative measures, like “double,” are often used in propaganda to hide the fact that the absolute numbers are unimpressive.  Among high school students (some of whom are old enough to legally buy tobacco), the number who tried an e-cigarette in the last month was less than 3% and for middle school students it was 1%, though the numbers are often spun to imply that the larger figure also applies to the younger children.  The number who made a regular practice of vaping is obviously smaller still, though CDC did not attempt to determine that. (Carl Phillips)[7]


The argument that e cigarettes are not serving, or will serve, as a gateway to smoking is pure hypothesis and not based on any research findings so far. Not only that, it defies common sense. I would add here that one of the main reasons for young people trying cigarettes is the risk factor. If you want a young person to defy you, just tell them it is dangerous, that is just for adults and then as a final attraction, hide it away out of site [I have left this spelling mistake in as a lesson to other careless bloggers] and try to place it out of reach –  I doubt there is not a parent of a teenager anywhere who does not know the truth of this.


As for evidence for other aspects of e cigarettes and their use, have a read of the following…  (And this is just a taster)



And on, and on, and on, and on…………. No evidence? Phaw!

When the Word, “Using,” Becomes ‘“Trying.’”

Nearly 2 million middle- and high-school kids used e-cigarettes in 2012. Well I never! And in the minds a large section of our society this translates as, ‘2 million youngsters started smoking e-cigarettes in 2012.’ Oh my God! And the article where I read this goes on to say,

Since fewer young people smoke traditional cigarettes than in the past, tobacco companies desperately need to find a way to create a new generation of nicotine addicts; e-cigarettes are starting to look like the answer. [1]

So not only, according to the above, are youngsters being drawn to e cigarettes in droves, but they are to be the next generation of nicotine addicts – What a load of drivel! But it looks good, and people tend to fall for the rhetoric. Much of this dross results from the reading, and misreading, of the CDC report, “E-cigarette use more than doubles among U.S. middle and high school students from 2011-2012 More than 75 percent of youth users smoke conventional cigarettes too.”[2]

 But take a closer look at what the article says and then at what the report tells us. It is not for me to instruct my reader (I will keep that in the singular for now) and tell her / him what to do, but do it anyway… Look at the words, “used,” and “started smoking.” Is that right?

 The word, used, when, as a verb, as above, has an interesting definition. Encarta puts it this way: “Indicates habitual action – used in the past tense to say that somebody habitually did something.” Well, there it is, by definition the article is saying that nearly 2 million school kids are, or were, habitual users. See how it works? Sneaky isn’t it? No, the article said nothing about habit – it did not have to, it was implicit in the word ‘used’ itself.  So, what does the CDC study actually tell us?

 It tells us that many young people TRIED an e cigarette. Perhaps just a little puff or two – This certainly DOES NOT render them habitual e cigarette users. There we have it, the word, ‘used,’ should have been, ‘tried.’ Indeed, this misuse of, ‘used,’ has become very trying.[3] (Read footnote)

 Since this has so adequately been covered by, Carl V. Phillips. I will move on.

 The CDC Report title adds that, “75% of youth e-cigarette smokers’ smoke conventional cigarettes too.” There is nothing unremarkable about that. It is just common-sense to believe that if a youngster is curious enough to try an e cigarette, they will also be curious enough to try a conventional one. But there is more to be said about this. It is also common–sense to believe, taking into consideration that many young, conventional cigarette smokers started at a very early age, and, keeping in mind that, ‘young,’ in the context of smoking means below the legal age limit, a great many of them will wish to get away from conventional cigarettes because they are users in the true sense of the word.  This would explain the 75% figure. So there is nothing ominous or threatening whatsoever in that statistic. Indeed, there has been a noticeable drop in conventional cigarette use which corresponds to the increase in e-cigarette use – Much the same has happened with the adult population.

There are other recent studies that refute the hysteria created by the CDC report.[4]

 This brings me to a much more disturbing issue. That the hype surrounding young people smoking is not designed to prevent young people from taking up the habit, but, it is designed to attract them. This is a horrible thought, but as I observe the antics of Tobacco Control and the drive to put a stop to e-cigarettes, the more this idea keeps nagging away at the back of my mind.

 It begins with this, “Being a regular smoker was associated with other risky behaviours, such as drinking alcohol, taking drugs and truancy”[5] So risky behaviour attracts. Tobacco Control does nothing but stress that smoking is ‘risky.’ They issue warnings, show graphic images, lobby for laws which hide the products from sight. Keep in mind that ‘risk’ is an attraction – are they so stupid that they cannot see this, or are they so clever that knowing this, they can promote ‘risk’ as a prevention tool so that the opposite effect will be achieved?

 This in itself is not enough to cause me to be suspicious, but when you couple it to Tobacco Control’s attitude to e-cigarettes – the suspicion grows.

 It grows when a device is invented which stop conventional tobacco use, and Tobacco Control then attempt to trample all over it. It grows when you consider the cosy relationships between the pharmaceutical industry, the tobacco companies, Tobacco Control and Government and the huge financial gains to be had by maintaining a large cohort of tobacco smokers. It grows with each sleight of hand. It grows with each lie. It grows when laws are created in defiance of peoples’ rights. It grows and grows with each illogical pronouncement made by Tobacco Control.

 But it cannot be, can it?

[3][]   Huh! I have just noticed that Carl Phillips spotted this and wrote about it before me. Ah well! It’s staying. Contrary to the claims, there is basically no evidence that children are using e-cigarettes.  What evidence exists is entirely about children trying e-cigarettes.  In particular, despite the misleading rhetoric they packaged it in the CDC’s recent survey data on children and e-cigarettes was restricted to trying an e-cigarette ever (perhaps as little as one puff) or trying one within the last 30 days (again, possibly just one puff)


[4]   The key findings of the ASH survey are that among adults current use of e-cigarettes has grown among smokers and ex-smokers since 2010 but remains at 0% among those who have never smoked. Among current smokers use of e-cigarettes has risen from 3% in 2010 to 11% in 2013. Ex-smokers report having used e-cigarettes to help a quit attempt (48%) and to prevent relapse to tobacco use (32%).

Among children, regular use of e-cigarettes is extremely rare. Children who had heard of e-cigarettes were asked about their use and knowledge of them. What little regular use that is reported is confined almost entirely to children who currently smoke or used to smoke.

• 1 in 10 16-18 year olds who had heard of e-cigarettes (1 in 20 among 11-15 year olds) has “tried e-cigarettes once or twice”.

• 1 in 100 16-18 year olds (0% 11-15 year olds) uses e-cigarettes more than once a week.

• Among young people who have never smoked 1% have “tried e-cigarettes once or twice”, 0% report continued e-cigarette use and 0% expect to try an e-cigarette soon.

[5]  The estimates from this survey indicate that in England in 2012, around 120,000 pupils aged between 11 and 15 were regular smokers, around 320,000 had drunk alcohol in the past week, 200,000 had taken drugs in the last month, and 370,000 had taken drugs in the last year. Around half (52%) of pupils aged between 11 and 15 said that they had tried smoking, drunk alcohol or taken drugs at least once in their lives. 17% had done one or more of these recently. They were more likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week (10%) than to have smoked in the last week (6%) or to have taken drugs in the last month (also 6%). There was considerable overlap between behaviours. For example, 6% of pupils reported taking drugs in the last month and most of those (4% of all pupils) had smoked or drunk alcohol in the last week, or had done both.