Electronic Smoking (7) Update 2014

Since September 2012, I have not had a cigarette. A ‘real’ cigarette that is, and neither has Julie. I have written many posts and updates about using the electronic alternatives, known as ‘e-cigs’, or ‘vaping’. As a way of giving up actual smoking, this method has become incredibly successful, and current figures estimate well over one million regular users, in the UK alone. Even such luminaries as the head of the Cancer Research Foundation have been prepared to go public with their view that it is not dangerous, and should be encouraged as an alternative to cigarettes and tobacco. These devices contain a glycerol liquid, with nicotine added at varying strengths, chosen by the consumer. They do not address the problem of addiction to nicotine, and do not attempt to do so. What they offer, is a far better alternative to normal smoking, and one that is considerably healthier for the user, with no notable side effects for anyone nearby.

As a result, many establishments allow the use of these in public areas. Even though some may look like normal cigarettes, the coloured lights that glow when the mixture is heated by the battery, and the fact that they have no odour, make it clear to anyone who sees them being used, that it is not an actual cigarette. Some of the devices are made to look nothing like conventional cigarettes or pipes, making it even more obvious that tobacco is not present. I have written before about the way that these e-cigs have enabled me to stop smoking. As a heavy smoker for over forty years, I never once felt that it would be possible to give up; but I am proof that these things work, as are many other successful quitters.

Ideally, I should have weaned myself off them altogether by now, and not be using anything. For that, I have no answer. At the moment, I am happy to continue using them, as they provide all the ‘benefits’ of smoking, at much less cost, and do not pollute my home environment, as well as being a lot healthier of course. There has been a lot of recent publicity about government regulation of these products. By 2016, they will only be available in shops with pharmacy counters. They will be treated as a medicine, and regulated in the same way. There may well be some taxation, so that the government can recoup the lost revenue from tobacco taxes. No doubt the powerful tobacco companies lobby in parliament will try to make it a lot more difficult for us to switch to them, and kick themselves for missing the profit train that they can see.

Today, the Welsh Assembly announced that they would soon be introducing a ban on e-gigs of all kinds, in public places. This puts them into the same category as normal tobacco products, and adds the same restrictions. Their stated reason for this, is that seeing the smoking of these will make people want to smoke real tobacco, so it is in the interests of public safety. If this goes ahead, the rest of the UK will soon fall into line, and also bring in the ban. This will be another move to make it more difficult to switch from real smoking, to the electronic alternatives.

Given that leading health experts have gone on record as approving the use of e-cigs as a desirable alternative to the use of tobacco products, how can this make any sense? Is it not much more likely that the pressure of the tobacco companies, with their large employment and investments, is leading to this controversy and regulation? I am sure you can decide for yourselves.

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12 thoughts on “Electronic Smoking (7) Update 2014

  1. Just like an alcoholic you never give up, your just waiting for the tipping point, and whilst I don’t smoke any more I do occasionally have a cigarette or two. I have friends who use the e-cig and to be honest I think it’s done them a world of good and I appreciate not having the temptation in front of me of a real cigarette (or my preferred roll up). Personally I think banning anything based on the possible influence you may be having on others is crazy, trends are set and can never be predicted, especially be government. And if the ban is based on some ill researched health basis then drink should surely be under attack first as it’s now one of the biggest killers, now that so many people have kicked the habit!

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    1. You are very right about booze Eddy, does more damage than tobacco products. However, there is no ‘secondary drunkenness’ to concern the authorities. They gloss over the physical abuse, drains on NHS resources, and destroyed lives caused by alcohol, and focus all their firepower on us ‘smokers’. They won’t be happy until they have brought in some kind of ban, as it is one of the few ‘personal’ vices left for ordinary people.
      Cheers mate, hope all’s well. Pete.

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  2. Well done to you and yours for giving up the cancer sticks.
    I think the e-cig things are a good idea for various reasons but I also agree with banning them in bars, clubs and so on.

    As a regular gig goer I frequently see people lighting cigarettes because they’ve seen what looks like people smoking on the other side of the venue. Once one sparks up a real ciggy, one or two others always follow. This causes problems for security staff so best just ban the lot.

    Giving up is easy for some and tough for others. Personally it was easy, I got home chucked my smokes in the bin and that was that. I started at a ridiculously early age (peer pressure). That soon became 20-30 per day.

    To give up, people just have to want to.

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    1. Thanks Jimmy. You did well to just stop like that, and to never ‘fall back’ into the habit. I think that your last line sums it up. I really did not want to give up smoking. I enjoyed it, and I was almost identified by it, with my Zippo lighter, and packet of Lucky Strikes always to hand. I stopped using cigarettes mainly because of the cost, and not for health reasons. We also wanted our house to be free of smoke, though we do allow visitors to smoke, if they so wish.
      The real truth is, that if cigarettes suddenly became £1 a packet overnight, I might well start again; and would never have stopped in the first place, if they had not become so expensive. Still, as that will not happen, I will never know! (And my gig days are over, so I will take your word for the rest…)
      Cheers mate, Pete.

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  3. Pete, I have never taken a single puff off a cigarette. I was subjected to constant, unavoidable second-hand smoke for a good many years at work, though. As far as e-cigs go, I agree with your post entirely. Here is the link to a French advertisement for Kyf, an e-cig. I will e-mail you in private regarding the video.

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    1. Thanks David. The product in the video is more or less identical to the one we use, though we tend to use green or blue lights, to look a little less like a ‘real’ glow. Over the decades, I always preferred to avoid the company of non-smokers as a rule, as smoking would always become an issue at some stage. One of the reasons that we stopped using cigarettes, was to make our guests feel more welcome, if they did not smoke, and to remove any unpleasant smells from the house.
      Regards as always, Pete.

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  4. An interesting post Pete. I’m not sure I want to see people ‘vaping’ in restaurants and pubs having now got used to these places being ‘smoke’ free. They may be better than real ciggies but the fact that they don’t address the nicotine addiction worries me and what are the long-term effects of chain vaping? Perhaps smokers need to be encouraged to give up completely? Not just substitute one thing with another.I can’t imagine these things are cheap either.
    Jude xx

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    1. They are about 80% cheaper than cigarettes Jude, so definitely cost effective. Many types have no nicotine content at all, and are just intended to replace the ‘feeling’ of smoking. They are also for many, (though not so far for me) a proven way of giving up completely, so I just think that they should be encouraged, not restricted. The main public use is in cafes set up for their use, or specific ‘vaping’ areas in other establishments. They are not encouraged in restaurants, obviously, and many pubs don’t like them being used. It would never be my intention to offend anyone, and I would not advocate using them where others might object. I just think that they are a better alternative to smoking, so should be seen in a more positive light.
      Regards as always, Pete. x

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      1. So why the proposed ban? Are they increasingly being used in pubs then? It surely isn’t a good idea to go into the ‘smoking’ area with them. And I agree that anything to help stop smoking is a good thing, but are the e-cigs encouraging youngsters to smoke them and become addicted to the nicotine I wonder. Maybe they are becoming ‘cool’.

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        1. I personally think that youngsters think it’s a lot cooler to smoke real cigarettes. Plus the fact that ‘dope’ has to be smoked with real tobacco means that many younger people will never use them at all! There will always be for and against arguments, and as a former heavy smoker, I agree that smoking generally has had its ‘day’. I just think that anything that stops people using real tobacco must be better than nothing at all. After all, the prohibition of alcohol in the USA certainly didn’t stop people drinking, and only gave rise to organised crime. So, I don’t really see the point of the proposed ban at all. But then, as a user, I would take that stand, obviously.
          Regards as always, Pete. x

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  5. Although I think the whole business is nonsensical having given up smoking thirty years ago I utterly agree with you that the ban on e-cigs is absolutely unbelievable, draconian in fact. I would urge all elecsmoks to defy any bans and just see how one would be prosecuted and for what!
    But really . . give them all up folks
    for goodness sake.

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