1. A good summation of the situation, John. One could add that further to the pharmaceutical companies controlling a multi-billion global NRT market on the back of the bans they financed, there is also a huge payoff from all the complaints that follow on from giving up smoking, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and depression. The medications prescribed for those alone is worth billions, too. All in all, persecution of smokers is a massive earner for Big P.

    I remain sceptical of the claims that e-cigs are ‘99% safer’, and the ‘billion lives’ meme. These are figures plucked out of thin air, and are meaningless. I think vaping probably is less harmful than smoking, but to what degree is really anyone’s guess.

    Carl Phillips, who is probably the cleverest and most honest THR advocate around, dismisses the ‘95% safer’ claim out of hand, pointing out that there is actually no evidence at all to back that claim up, although he still advocates for e-cigs over tobacco as a less harmful alternative.

    It will, as you say, be very interesting to see how the various governments deal with falling revenues from tobacco. And how they deal with the claims of the anti-smokers that giving up smoking prolongs life, with all that extended life’s attendant extra expenses to the government in health care and pensions. As you point out, they have passed the peak of the Laffer Curve as far as increasing tobacco taxes is concerned, so hefty increases in tax won’t bring any more into the treasury. I can see them all arriving at a ‘Fuck me, we royally screwed up by forcing smokers to quit’ moment, and deciding to do a rapid U-turn on smoking laws, Public Health whiners notwithstanding. It’s either that, or increase the base rate of tax by a few percentage points, which they know is a vote loser.

    • I agree with your points on Big P. As regards safer e-cigs, all of the accusations on the dangers of smoking point to the smoke from burning tobacco. Neither the cigarette, the tobacco in it or the resultant nicotine present any dangers. But when anything is set alight, its properties change fundamentally. So when you have a product that is not lit, does not contain tobacco and is therefore incapable of emitting smoke of any kind, in theory all of the danger is gone, hence the 95% safer claims. In the past I have read detailed studies on smoke from barbecues, coal fires, burning woods and even candles and it seems many of the claims made against tobacco apply here as well. But then, the very air we breathe is polluted with many kinds of carcinogens for a variety of reasons. No Government anywhere guarantees to provide its citizens with fresh air which makes the smoking ban a bit of a farce to my mind. In Ireland if you fear the air in your district has been poisoned for any reason, the onus on you is to prove it. Even if you could, and that’s highly unlikely given the ringer you would be put through, you would then have to prove that it wasn’t always polluted before you noticed it and that can’t be done. After mortgaging your home to pay for your case, it would inevitably be thrown out.
      A wise old man who is also my local publican and brewer told me once that the only way he could see the ban being dropped, (something he would welcome as a non-smoker), was if war broke out. Humourously for a man not renowned for being so, he painted a picture of even the most extreme anti-smokers packing is pub as they smoked and drank to forget the danger we were all in. Mind you I’m going to pray for war but maybe in our modern world I won’t have to.

    • Yeah! I remember reading something like that and in the case of home fires, a whole host of things that burn also emit noxious substances including many cancer causing agents in the smoke. The issue, as always, is the dose a person is exposed to. A room full of tobacco smoke is less dangerous than many common household items when ignited and the volumes of smoke produced by a house fire is far more. The question is the amount inhaled.
      When banning smoking I remember them saying that even one cigarette is dangerous. Fea-rmongering has to be kept simple for the masses to comprehend so exaggerating, telling lies or being completely inaccurate is fine if it misleads the public to support the lie.

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