Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Banning e-cigarettes in 'public' places

I have been watching with increasing dismay the number of American towns and cities that have been banning the use of e-cigarettes in 'public places' (which is anti-smoker speak for privately owned businesses). Greg Conley has been patiently documenting the sewer of outright lies, vested interests and willful ignorance in which the prohibitionists wallow. We are used to seeing the 'public health' racket spit in the face of liberty, but in its crusade to stamp out e-cigarettes it is now shamelessly anti-health as well.

Today, this cancer spread to Wales...

Wales could be the first part of the UK to ban the use of electronic cigarettes in enclosed public places.

Ministers say they are responding to concern that the devices - which can contain nicotine - normalise smoking and undermine the smoking ban.

Let's consider this justification for a moment. In non-totalitarian countries, to make something a crime, you generally need a victim. We need not go over the shaky claims about secondhand smoke again, suffice to say that the smoking ban was based on a belief that smoking in enclosed spaces creates externalities which are potentially hazardous to health. There is therefore - if we disregard property rights and freedom of association - a victim, at least in theory.

Who is the victim from indoor vaping? No one. The Welsh government does not claim that there is the remotest health risk from e-cigarette vapour and all the evidence indicates that no risk exists. Campaigners therefore rely on the claim that vaping 'normalises' smoking and 'undermines the smoking ban'.

These are peculiar claims. Vaping cannot 'normalise' smoking because it is not smoking. It can only normalise vaping which is, in public health terms, the enemy of smoking. Nor can it 'undermine the smoking ban' because, assuming that those who campaigned for the smoking ban were sincere, the smoking ban was only intended to 'protect' bar workers from secondhand smoke. Since e-cigarettes do not create secondhand smoke, their use cannot undermine or subvert this effort.

Nevertheless, these are the justifications given. Perhaps the campaigners think that banning vaping in pubs will 'send out the right message'. But actions have consequences. They do not intend only to send out a message, but to establish a new crime and therefore create new criminals. If vaping is banned in pubs and clubs in Wales, as they hope, it will undoubtedly lead to people being punished for failing to obey. Proprietors will be fined, arrested and possibly imprisoned for allowing people to vape on their premises. Vapers will, at the least, be fined.

But why? Is it illegal to 'normalise' smoking? Is it illegal to 'undermine the smoking ban'? If this law is enacted, the answer to both questions will effectively be yes because, without a victim, these are the grounds upon which the state will criminalise vapers. Although they are harming no one, vapers will be prosecuted for offending the sensibilities of the public health lobby. Their crime will be to implicitly disagree with the direction in which the state wishes society to move. The government will have decided that smoking and anything that looks like smoking is not 'normal' and must therefore be illegal in public places. Vapers do not 'send out the right message' and so they must be punished by law.

This is the product of a fascist mindset (I'm afraid there is no other word for it). Persecuting innocent people to shore up the public health fantasy that smoking has been denormalised is beyond the pale in a free society. Even if e-cigarettes did undermine the smoking ban and normalised smoking - which, to repeat, they patently don't - it would not justify treating vapers as collateral damage. The fact that politicians are even contemplating creating this victimless crime demonstrates the extent to which 'public health' ideology has corrupted their understanding of what the law is intended to do.

25 comments:

Jean Granville said...

Yes, I made the same conclusion.
In France, they banned smoking in "public" places some years ago (2008 or 2009, I think). The ban was defended in a parliamentary report that insisted that it's sole justification was based on the health effects of second-hand smoke and nothing else. There was absolutely no talk of "denormalisation" or anything like that.
Then, last year, the same regulation was extended to vaping just like that, on the ground that it would be confusing otherwise.

Apparently, the "Idiocracy" universe is already here. How long have I been sleeping?

Jon Fell said...

When tackled on the denormalisation as justification point this morning, Mark Drakeford was allowed to say, unchallenged: "We know that e-cigarettes are being heavily marketed to young people, and we don’t think that’s accidental. We do think that it is part of a marketing ploy to move people along the chain so they start with e-cigarettes and move on to conventional cigarettes and we want to take early action to make sure that that doesn’t happen here in Wales"

Jon Fell said...

On Radio 4 Today Programme, sorry.

Sunex Amures said...

I was about to post a reasoned comment, but, what can one say against this sort of stubborn stupidity. I'm not going to go on - I'm just not surprised in a tired sort of way. They are just a bunch of ladygardens with Drakeford as the ladygarden-in-chief.

Sheru said...

"Who is the victim from indoor vaping? No one" except, I've already had my daughter pointing at someone using one on a bus wanting a go (she's 2.5), and the odd (bizarrely forgotten) craving from myself as an ex-smoker. I was never tempted before, and could avoid temptation, because I could avoid those situations...

I'm not so bothered about myself, but I don't want me kid on these things thanks.

Jonathan Bagley said...

Sheru, your daughter surely sees people in the street smoking tobacco - largely due to the indoor ban incidentally. Does she want a go? Take heart in that an ecig habit is both harmless and cheap.

Fredrik Eich said...

I think they should ban alcohol free drinks on the grounds
1, I can't tell the difference between someone drinking lager and alcohol free lager
2, I am prejudiced against people that drink non-alcoholic drinks in pubs.

jg Vaper said...

When the smoking ban was announced there was a lot of grumbling.... However it met little resisitance..... The reason is simple : most smokers dont actualy enjoy smoking it a habit and an addiction that they curse every butt they stub out. I quit smoking 4 years ago after 16 years of 20 a day. I became a vaper. I enjoy vaping i find it entirely pleasent, my health has improved, i no longer have a permenant cough, I dont.get.out of breath when im playing with my kids. None of the none smokers/vapers who i use my ecig around complain.... Actualy some quite enjoy the aroma. They all coment how good it is that there is no lingering smell, it dosnt cling to clothes, doesnt make.your hair smell, doesnt stain ceilings. It doesnt cause any offence. My children have expressed no interest in trying one. Every vaper I have ever met is an ex-smoker, i have not met single vaper who has either come from being a non smoker or any who have gone on to become smokers. For the obvious reason that there is no good reason or evidence to ban ecigs there will be a great amount of resistance. People need.educating with facts not scaring by disinformation and wilful lies of some politicians. If vaping is banned I will ignore it. I will not accept the prohibitian. The fumes you breath in whilst walking along a busy road is more dangerous than using an ecig ..... Should we ban cars?

Fredrik Eich said...

jg Vaper,
There was no time to prepare to resist the smoking ban because it only became a blanket ban at the last moment. You will be able to ignore the coming vaping ban in places that are not policed but when it comes to pubs you will find it hard because publicans will be scared of going to prison.
I love smoking and will never quit and I guess a lot more people would smoke proper cigarettes if they were a cheap as vaping.
I certainly hope they will not ban vaping but we shall see.

Junican said...

Oh dear,jg, you have been seduced. You believe that you used to be a disgusting, filthy, stinking addict. Now you have been saved and a miracle has occurred regarding your improved health.
People accepted the smoking ban because they had no choice since the publicans were threatened with massive punishments if they did not enforce the ban. If ecigs are banned in pubs, the same will apply. If you try to resist, the publican or whatever will be obliged to throw you out, no matter how you protest.
Your main reason to complain about these proposals is that you hold the 'high moral ground' - you've done what you have been told to do and have stopped smoking. The Zealots are trying to cut that ground from beneath you by changing the argument from smoke to nicotine. Your argument should be:
1. It is not believed, and has never been stated, that the amount of nicotine in cigarettes is harmful.
2. Nicotine in patches and gum is not believed to be harmful, otherwise they would never have been permitted. Nor are they addictive for the same reason.
3. The nicotine in exhaled vapour is of such tiny concentration that the body of a 'passive vaper' would not even register its presence.
Do you think that these legislators do not know that? Of course they do! But the whole point of their histrionics is to change the demonisation from smoke to nicotine. That is, to get YOU to fear nicotine.

Furor Teutonicus said...

I presume if they are going to ban E-fags, they will also ban Kettles in the work place? All that dangerous steam, and that stuff???

Lisa_Belle said...

It's all about money and Junican is right, that their rederick is to that end of making nicotine hard to obtain, illegal, banned, taxed etc., LIES ALL LIES for money. How do the people match up to this power, they revolt. It will come down to that or it will be what the publicans and lobbyists want it to be.

Audrey Silk said...

Chris, thank you for a form of expansion on my organization's very lawsuit against the NYC e-cig ban. You bring up very good additional thought-provoking points as well. One in particular -- though not articulated with the exact word "speech" -- is when your discuss "the right message."

In crafting the lawsuit it took a great deal of discipline to avoid the speech element of this (these) ban(s) in order to preserve the purity of the strong ground on which we are challenging this ban. I bit my tongue plenty. But speech is an element as you well described! These bans all rest on "renormalization" and the "wrong message." How that is not regulation of speech (a violation of the U.S. Constitution's 1st Amendment) as well needs to be answered.

What difference is this product ban's intent from a ban on walking into any smoking-banned place and wearing a t-shirt that says "Smoking is normal"? It certainly "undermines" the zealot's goals, no? But no U.S. judge would ever agree to having that speech silenced.

In fact, just this second it occurred to me also that vaping could be argued is a sign of protest against smoking bans (in response to your own "Is it illegal to 'undermine the smoking ban'"?

Should, by any off chance our suit runs into obstacles during its run in court or even (unexpectedly) loses (appeals not withstanding), "speech" is tucked tightly in my briefcase as a route.

Dr Evil said...

They will have to ban kettles too, as these also produce steam and express water vapour into the atmosphere. Idiots!

Furor Teutonicus said...

XX Dr Evil said...

They will have to ban kettles too, XX

Bit of advice laddie. Read previous posts before repaeating what has already been said.

jg Vaper said...

All comments so far express a certain frustration with how our freechoice is being undermined. I believe that we should be free to choose to smoke if we want. Free to choose to vape if we want. None of us can argue that smoking does affect those around us, as I said clothes hair smell, and of course there is decades of evidence to support 2nd hand smoke. These things dont occur with vaping, so in order to excercise control they use these stupid and ill thaught out ideas of normalising smoking. Given the current state of the economy why would they attack what is a growth area? What are they thinking? I used to enjoy smoking a pipe i had to quit due to serious deteriarating health.... Vaping has been the only viable alternative.... I have stopped smoking i have not quit nicotine. I enjoy it equal to smoking my pipe. I feel genuinly under attack. Although I accept that it will never hapen i would like to imagine that if everyone igores a ban as we shoukd have with the smoking ban then it will have to be overturned. But it would need everyone and that wont happen... But its not just pubs that will be affected there are many bricks and morter stores selling vape products which also act as a vaping cafe, why would th welsh assembly condone putting new growing business ... Out of business.... At the very least youd thing they would.introduce some.kind of exemption liscence..... Infact why cant they do that for smoking?

Gareth Williams said...

jq, you haven't got a clue.Where is the "decades of evidence" of SHS? ,by attaching the freedom of smokers you are ultimately attacking yourselves - first they came for the smokers.....bla,bla,bla!!

And BTW I smoke and have done so for 30+ years, and I also cycle a 70 mile route every saturday.

Furor Teutonicus said...

Never mind the decades of evidemce, let Jq show us the death certificates with "Second hand smoke" as C.O.D.

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