Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Puritan Island

According to Wikipedia, Australia was first discovered by Europeans thus:

The first recorded European sighting of the Australian mainland, and the first recorded European landfall on the Australian continent, are attributed to the Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon He sighted the coast of Cape York Peninsula in early 1606, and made landfall on 26 February at the Pennefather River near the modern town of Weipa on Cape York. The Dutch charted the whole of the western and northern coastlines and named the island continent “New Holland” " during the 17th century, but made no attempt at settlement. William Dampier, an English explorer and privateer, landed on the north-west coast of New Holland in 1688 and again in 1699 on a return trip. In 1770, James Cook sailed along and mapped the east coast, which he named New South Wales and claimed for Great Britain. With the loss of its American colonies in 1783, the British Government sent a fleet of ships, the “First Fleet", under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, to establish a new penal colony in New South Wales. A camp was set up and the flag raised at Sydney Cove, Port Jackson, on 26 January 1788, a date which became Australia's national day, Australia Day, although the British Crown Colony of New South Wales was not formally promulgated until 7 February 1788. The first settlement led to the foundation of Sydney, and the exploration and settlement of other regions.

Since that time, Australia has emerged from its roots as a penal colony and developed into a successful nation in its own right, playing a major role in both World Wars of the 20th Century, becoming one of the main destinations for immigrants all over the world looking to start a new life.

Until World War 2, the majority of the settlers and immigrants came from the United Kingdom, Since then the immigrants arriving in Australia have been far more diverse and it now attracts people from all over the world, probably influenced by the image of a carefree lifestyle and freedom, a warm climate and the sheer size of the country, promoted through various feature films and TV programs. We have probably all seen the stereotypical images of the hardened Australian male (usually in the outback where ironically few Australians actually live) and who doesn't know what Kylie Minogue, Nathalie Imbruglia or Nicole Kidman look like ?

What is not so much known about Australia is how it has become the poster child for prohibition. Australia has gone from being a libertarian society where fun and social responsibility were not mutually exclusive, to a country where Government and Public Health exert an ever tightening grip on practically all minutiae of its citizens everyday life.

An example of how this has affected Australian life is very amply demonstrated in an article entitled Would the last person in Sydney please turn the lights out?.

Australia also has some of the most draconian tobacco control measures on the planet. Not only does the Government inflict eye-watering tax measures on the sale of tobacco (which has led to one of the biggest tobacco black markets on the planet), but they are also proud of the fact that they were the very first country in the world to introduce plain packaging for tobacco products. What Australian Public Health will not tell you however, is that despite all of the above measures, youth tobacco smoking is actually INCREASING, as several recent independent studies have revealed.

Now with all the above measures introduced in a failed attempt to reduce tobacco consumption among its population, you would think Australia would be keen to embrace any innovation that helped them to achieve the ‘ideal society’ of a tobacco-free Australia. Yes ?

Sadly, the answer is No !!

For whilst the rest of the world begins to wake up to, and embrace, the phenomenon of Vaping, the Australian Government is trying its hardest to kill the emerging vape market.

Nicotine is a banned substance in Australia and it is an offence to possess nicotine unless you have a Pharmaceutical licence (or, ironically, unless you buy a heavily-taxed packet of cigarettes). This crazy state of affairs means that Australian smokers wishing to switch to the far less harmful eCigarette have to so with nicotine-free eLiquid (hardly conducive to the success of a heavy smoker trying to quit this way), or by performing an illegal act by importing the eLiquid (or Nicotine liquid itself) from other countries – which is exactly what many Australian vapers do.

To further attempt to keep their hands on the exhorbitant tax-revenue of tobacco, the Australian Authorities are also clamping down of anyone daring to help smokers quitting tobacco in the non-approved way by actively shutting down the Australian eCigarette Vendors. I am sure that most readers will be aware of the plight of Vince Van Heerden, but for those that are not, you can read his story here. If you are in a position to help Vince’s fight, I would strongly encourage you to do so.

But they have not stopped there as can be evidenced by this recent tweet shared by the New Nicotine Alliance Australia


To compare how bat-shit crazy the Australian Government (and Public Health) is, compare the advice of the Queensland Government, with the far more informed and scientifically driven advice given out by PublicHealth England, or the Royal College of Physicians.

The latest round of complete and utter madness from ‘down-under’ can be witnessed by the following advice allowing for an ‘amnesty’ for anyone daring to try vaping in an attempt to quit tobacco, released by somebody (presumably in Australian Public Health)


Dunno about you, but if I was living in Australia, I would be telling the Authorities to be shoving such advice up their 'alternative orifice' !!

So, basically Australia is admitting that it does not give a damn about the health of Australian citizens and would far rather Australians continue to smoke (and thus keep on swelling the Tobacco Control tax coffers). The sheer ludicrous disregard of Australian officials for the health of the Australian public, let alone their civil liberties, is an absolute joke and disgrace. Despite the overwhelming amount of evidence emerging in favour of eCigarettes, Australian Public Health (and we all know who are the main culprits behind this) are determined to keep their noses in that very deep Australian Tax trough and continue killing Australian citizens.

Yes, I know we have other (ill-informed) tobacco control puritans over here in the UK and in other parts of the world. However, here in the UK at least, we are slowly turning the battle around and we are winning the hearts and minds. Australia has a much deeper problem.

I am pretty sure that the founding fathers of Australia, when it emerged from its penal colony beginnings, did not expect that the new–found liberty and freedom they would enjoy would be slowly eroded away by a number of self-serving charlatans in both the Australian Government and Australian Public Health just under 230 years later.

Of course, there are voices fighting for the cause of vaping in Australia and those voices are starting to be heard. So, if you are Australian, get out and support the New Nicotine Alliance Australia. NNA Oz (as I prefer to call them) are making inroads. Their persistence and endeavour is starting to pay off. But they have an uphill battle ahead of them and they need the support of Australian Vapers in particular, but also other vapers from across the world (including the UK and USA).

A closing thought based around how I started this post.

Australia started its existence as a Penal Colony. Whilst something like that would (rightly) not be tolerated in the modern world, I do wish we could find another (largely empty) island like Australia where we could put all of the Prohibitionists in tobacco (and alcohol) control from around the world, and just let them get on with persecuting each other, going about their drab puritanical lives and reaching the golden ages they aspire too (probably about 150 years old). Though I strongly suspect they will have died from boredom long before then !!

At least if all the Prohibitionists were isolated in one place, far away from the rest of the world, then the rest of us could get on with enjoying life and having (a word banned from Puritan dictionaries) FUN !!


UPDATE:  I have since been corrected that Jennifer Stone does NOT work in Public Health and may actually be a vaper herself. I was unaware of that when I wrote the original post. Apologies to Jennifer for the error.

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