Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Smoking-Vaping :-A Journey of Perception

I really don't wish to bore the pants off people, with yet another lengthy testimonial extolling the virtues of vaping, as I have written about such on many occasions. What I do wish to attempt here is to show the evolution of my perception of smoking.

As a smoker

I  thoroughly enjoyed smoking over a 45 year period,however due to a variety of stressful jobs I can truthfully state that that the vast majority of my 40/day went by mindlessly, as many burned away in the ashtray thus unmemorably. The most memorable were first and last in the day,following meals, or at some beauty spot of choice - hardly rocket science or anything unusual here! 

My perception of harms to myself from smoking were not well developed, but I realised that in periods of relative inactivity I could quickly lose breathing capacity. My early career was in coal mining,where lots of physical activity was required,I was relatively fit throughout this period. However,by my late 30's, with more responsible management roles,this resulted in increased physical inactivity,gaining weight, and becoming breathless with the simplest of tasks.

A change of career certainly helped this lack of fitness and breathlessness,to such an extent I was able to pursue some of the sporting pastimes that I had previously shunned.To aid this, a daily 2 mile run with the occasional 6 miler thrown in enhanced my fitness.Why am I giving you this potted version of Beard life? ...... Because my fitness improved,lost weight and importantly my breathing  was excellent,  throughout this period I was a smoker.

Fast forward a few years now, to my late 50's my sporting days over(stupidly!), weight piling on, and retired ,so in general less active in day to day life. My health gradually deteriorated,,but still smoking throughout this period. What I found the most troublesome or annoying was the smokers cough caused by phlegm and catarhh which increasingly disturbed my sleep 

The sleep disturbance, along with the progressively worse smokers cough, were the catalyst in deciding to be far more receptive to quitting smoking,which I had half-heartedly attempted many times previously 

Whatever the reasons, I personally had little peer pressure to quit(except my daughter who gifted me an Allen Carr book!),had neither seen or failed to take much notice of any stop smoking messages. In general, very uninformed outside of my personal experiences and I should add,up until this point, only a passing interest in politics,which was about to be rudely awoken.

As a Vaper 

Following a relatively seamless transition away from smoking(many thanks to AAEC forum advice here), I started to read some of the threads on AAEC, and another forum UKV, and was horrified to discover my 'healthier' option under threat. 

Via VTTV, I watched open-mouthed the performance of Linda McAvan and the ENVI committee farce, whilst listening to evidence from Konstantinos Farsalinos on the matter of TPD2.This was within weeks of starting to Vape in Febuary 2013, This travesty fuelled my interest in the Science and Politics surrounding Vaping,Nicotine, and Smoking,continued unabated to this day. 

Again,without wishing to bore anyone foolish enough to have read this far,I will highlight one notable event that unduly influenced my early thinking.I mentioned VTTV earlier, Andy Sutton,one of the presenters mentioned a twitterbomb to be sent on twitter to Linda McAvan,as I knew nothing of either, I dutifully signed up to Twitter. Quickly on Twitter I discovered a whole host of organisations and people opposed to Vaping - one stand-out person was Martin McKee and a guy who followed him (the name irrelevant + I cannot remember the name anyway)who I shall refer to as X.

X and I regularly swapped tweets,him with links and me with feeble words in response - I used him and others as twitter mentors, one thing really stood out after a few weeks. He eventually made sympathetic noises towards vaping but warned me of the dangers of aligning with smokers in our battle for truth,commonsense and acceptance.

To my nieve,uneducated mind I could see a lot of sense in that advice, expecting a more welcoming response from Anti-Smoking organisations and Government....BUT of course that was and remains NOT the case. Some Vapers carelessly,unthinkingly villify smokers with their comments in the media - this again is totally counter-productive to either group of people. My perception has slowly but surely evolved after reading such as :- 

http://www.ecigarette-politics.com/ along with many other sites eg http://www.clivebates.com/ a vast array of other sites are also read ,but this is not intended as a library entry!

 However,two great sources I heartily recommend:-

 http://memberdata.s3.amazonaws.com/jo/joejackson/files/3765647615810.pdf from Joe Jackson that is eminently readable.

http://vapers.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Big-Drugs-War-on-Nicotine.pdf from Wanda Hamilton charting the incestuous relationship between Big Pharma and WHO


Continuing,my journey was a growing realisation that much of the anti-vaper/vapor messages from certain Public Health bodies seemed to mirror exactly those given to smoking and has increasingly made me sceptical of either or indeed any Public Health pronouncements in general. The messages spouted to smokers such as enormous # of reported deaths attributable to smoking,second hand smoke.......etc are no longer believable. This propaganda clearly has been orchestrated to apply ever more draconian regulation, rather similar to what Vapers are now seeing around the world.The latest nonsense in the US to ban both Smoking and Vaping in social housing is a eg of this slippery slope.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzPnnDDCIjo the 'anointed' ones seem to expect their stone tablets will be unquestiongly accepted

**** PHE and a few others are very notable exceptions****

So, this brings me up to date(although missing out much detail), a reasonably well educated sceptic, with much empathy as a former smoker towards smokers.

  For improved effectiveness, an anti-nanny-state coalition of interested parties would appear the obvious avenue to pursue, both in the UK and across the EU. To successfully mobilise any of the individual  interest groups is problematic,so maybe a different approach is now called for to raise sufficient numbers to be an effective force?

***updated***

Twitter spats between Forest and NNA are totally unproductive for both organisations

recent manifesto announcement by VIP summarises my present day stance

https://vapersinpower.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/manifesto-update-outdoor-smoking-bans/


References  to Acronyms inadvertently used

 VTTV = http://www.vapourtrails.tv/?page_id=41

AAEC = http://allaboute-cigarettes.proboards.com/

UKV = http://ukvapers.org/

PHE =  https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england

WHO = http://www.who.int/en/

ENVI https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Parliament_Committee_on_the_Environment,_Public_Health_and_Food_Safety