Following on from my last post, I want to relay a story ... and there is a moral to this story.
It is no secret that I am a big supporter of electronic cigarettes. I personally think they are the best invention for smoking cessation in our lifetime and certainly helped me to completely quit the tobacco habit that I had for the majority of my adult life.
For that reason, I cannot understand the blind ignorance and sheer bloody-minded puritanical attitude of Public Health and bodies like WHO and the BMA - all of whose mantra is supposed to be 'Do No Harm'.
However, rather than rant on about ecigarettes, in this blog entry I am going to relay a moral story which (ironically) dates back to my days as a smoker.
Back in the days before the smoking ban, I was privileged to make the acquaintance of two charming old gentleman who used to frequent my local pub every afternoon between 5pm and 8pm. Every day, they met there like clockwork and I got to know these two gentleman very well.
You see, both these gentleman were World War II veterans.
One had served with the Navy and had survived his battleship being sunk in the Atlantic, as well as taking part in some of the most pivotal sea-battles of the war.
The second gentleman had served as a tail-gunner on Lancaster bombers in the RAF. The tail-gunner was recognised as being the most perilous position on any bomber as most fighter-aircraft attacked from the rear. He was lucky in that his plane was never shot down. However, he had witnessed first hand the horror of watching his comrades blown from the sky in the many raids over Germany that he had taken part in.
Having survived the horrors of World War II, preserving the freedoms that later generations take for granted, all these men wanted to do was live the rest of their lives out in peace. Their greatest pleasure in the twilight of their lives was to meet up every day for 3 hours and enjoy each others company for a few beers. They asked for nothing and were always amiable and approachable, chatting with anyone who came their way. They were well-known and greatly respected by all who drank at the Pub. We all knew who they were and what they done for this country. We all made sure they were well looked after, even ensuring they had a taxi home every evening (especially if they 'over-indulged' - which did occasionally happen !!). They never really spoke in detail about their war experiences other than what they did in the war and (if enough beers were inside them) share the battle-scars and the stories around them. The real horror they refused to talk about (in common with many veterans).
Apart from the beers and chat, the other pleasure that both these gentleman enjoyed was to have a smoke with their beers. One was a cigar smoker, whilst the other enjoyed his pipe. Neither of these gentleman smoked at home. That was saved for when they came down to the pub for a natter and a few beers. I still fondly remember the faces of those gentlemen laughing at the bar jokes and putting about the odd wind-up of each other and of the regulars at the bar. They had fought for their freedoms and they made damn sure they enjoyed those freedoms.
Then the smoking ban arrived. It arrived a year earlier in Wales than it did in England, but it's effect was just as devastating. As soon as the smoking ban came in, neither of these gentlemen was ever seen in the pub again. The ONE pleasure they had left in life was extinguished at the stroke of a bureaucrat's (aided by Public Health) pen. Those men and their generation has given everything to fight for this country, to protect those they loved, to maintain the FREEDOMS that are supposed to be ours by right in the UK. All taken away by people who had no right to do so.
I have no idea if those two gentlemen are still with us. But I do remember them very well. My memory of them will live on.
Now several years later, the smoking ban is well established and is grudgingly accepted by all (after all, what choice do we have ?). But now we see similar parallels happening in our fight for the right to continue vaping on ecigarettes.
You see, us vapers CARE about our health and we CARE about our families, friends and acquaintances. Yes, we may be ex-smokers. But the emphasis must remain on the EX of that statement. We enjoy nicotine in the same way as others enjoy alcohol or caffeine. We KNOW smoking is damaging to our health. But the enjoyment we get from nicotine is no less relevant than the enjoyment others get from caffeine or alcohol.
Through ecigarettes, we have found a way to continue to enjoy nicotine. We are doing neither harm to ourselves or to anyone else by using our ecigarettes. This fact is SCIENTIFICALLY proven.
So why the hell won't the politicians, public health, the BMA, WHO etc LEAVE US ALONE ?
It is OUR lives. These are OUR bodies. What we choose to do with them is OUR business, not theirs. I am sick to death of the lies and misinformation that emanates from these so-called experts. The puritanical attitude of these people makes me SICK. They just cannot bear to think that somebody out there might actually be enjoying themselves.
For those who are fervently against either tobacco cigarettes or electronic cigarettes, just remember that we are the ones being persecuted today. If we let them persecute us, then tomorrow they will trying to ban your alcohol or caffeine to the annals of history. Already in the press we are seeing Public Health people calling for taxes on SUGAR for christ sake. These people will not stop because with each battle they win, they have to find another one to fight or else they lose their funding.
To paraphrase the well-known blogger - Dick Puddlecote, they are all rent-seeking parasites.
In this age of austerity, this country could be saving MILLIONS if they stopped funding these puritanical parasites instead of picking on the sick or disabled for their savings.
Vapers cost this country NOTHING. We buy our own gear. We harm nobody - neither ourselves or anyone else with our habit. We support a plethora of SME's (small and medium sized enterprises) that have sprung up around the country and that provide employment to their locality. FFS, we are supporting growth in business and jobs, and putting money into the economy. In a SANE world, what we do would be welcomed.
But this is not a sane world. It is an INSANE world where those very freedoms for which those two aging gentlemen and their generation fought and, in far too many cases, paid the ultimate price.
Let's honour those gentlemen and their comrades by celebrating our freedoms, not meekly surrendering them to the idealistic, puritanical parasites that live in the Public Domains mentioned above.
These are OUR lives and OUR choices.
LEAVE US THE FUCK ALONE !!