Credit where due, I have to admit to being impressed at TCI's strategy and progress thus far. They invented the "Second Hand Smoke" scam, even managed to win several cases thus far (1) - and these were used as the prime reason why legislators had a duty to save employees... via smoking bans.
Then they focused their attention on children and, using them as an excuse, they've managed to convince several countries and States to ban smoking in cars; sometimes only when kids are present and sometimes its just a blanket ban. Also been milked to coerce them into tobacco display bans as well as plain packs.
Third hand smoke is a "relatively newly discovered concept" (2) that implies we leave a trail of contaminants on everything we touch or sit upon. This is transferred to anyone who enters any space where people have smoked and results in odors "lingering for weeks" via children of smokers, even if they themselves do not smoke (quote taken from a forum thread in the US).
Those who warned that the new president of the World Bank might devise some way to include a health aspect to their brief were correct. "The concept was initially proposed by a working group set up by the World Bank" is a taken from an article outlining their suggestion to fund health care in the Third World through a global tax on tobacco of up to 5 cents per packet of cigarettes. It's a seductive concept that's remarkably similar to the one put forward in California (Proposition 29); however this one requires no approval by voters or parliament. All that's needed is a signature on behalf of the UK so it can be rubber stamped and tacked on to the existing treaty, that Labour hung around our necks. (3).
Perhaps someone with a rudimentary understanding of economics might care to point out the effect on inflation, the drag on our economic recovery, the fact the WHO is most definitely not an impartial "safe pair of hands" and the fallacy of agreeing to anything based on a declining income stream. Any fool can see there's a fundamental conflict here; they want to tax something they want stopped. Should any country ever succeed in banning smoking then the cry will be for higher taxes from those that have not.
Mission Creep knows no limits, so why not do the same thing for UNESCO, UNICEF or the IDA? And why stop at tobacco? The underlying philosophy can be applied to anything deemed harmful to the user, the environment, or just plain old annoying. There's a valid case to extend this to salty snacks, fatty foods, alcohol, single use bottles, petrol, diesel, kerosene, disposable diapers and domestic pets. I jest not, because NZ scientists claim dogs (and cats) have larger carbon footprints than a thumping great SUV (4).
Once that door's been opened, there's no end to what they'll deem unacceptable and thus worthy of global taxation. It's a transparent Trojan Horse, with those in the Third World being shafted yet again.
Britain considers itself a world leader in Tobacco Control and easily exceeds the WHO recommended minimum level of taxation of 70% of the retail price. In fact duty and VAT account for about 85% of the price of cigarettes and more than 90% with rolling tobacco. Very easily suckered are British Chancellors.
However creativity is not restricted to the parasites that feed on us. TCI opened up a market for those who only want to pass through smoker hostile territory - and the e-cigarette offers a satisfactory solution. I know of several individuals who are using these to cut down on their consumption of real fags, including the owner of my favourite Chinese restaurant, who puffs away on his plastic tube with a blue light at the end until he shuts for the night, then it's back to chain-smoking for real.
I looked into these things but was horrified at the prices and all the bits that come with them. Weight is a major issue with some airlines, while charging through a USB port isn't an option when I'm on the move because the computer is turned off when I leave the house and doesn't go on again until I get to my destination. And when I'm at my destination I have no need of an electro-fag.
Recently I had one hotel-night followed by a day of flying with a tight connector. My routine is to stock up on the cheapest nicotine gums just in case. The hotel is usually very good at sorting out a smoking bedroom but the connector, if missed, would involve a very late hotel booking - and there's precious little chance of a smoking room in Amsterdam at short notice, never mind "on the day". Not my idea of a shed-load of laughs.
Saw this puppy at my local petrol station (5). It's a disposable electro-fag without gizmo's and, at £5.99, I decided to grab me one. Looking at the blurb on the back, I noticed this (highlight's mine):
Warning: The electronic cigarette will not cure a smokers addiction to nicotine, the electronic cigarette serves the same purpose as a tobacco cigarette - it delivers its user nicotine. If you do suffer from the disease of Tobacco / Nicotine Dependence Syndrome and want to take steps.... etc.
Now that's a new one on me, so I Googled it and discovered the phrase Nicotine Dependence Syndrome is perfectly legitimate, but the experts bill it as a psychological disorder. So I'm slightly nuts, but don't carry any disease. Wow, that's a relief!
I can sympathize with Totally Wicked. The person(s) who came up with the text had several choices, yet they decided to take it to a whole new level; they invented a disease of their own making for their own ends. Marketing people probably have a fancy name for it, though I call it lying. Were it anything else, doubtless someone would be touch with the Advertising Standards to complain. But it's not, it's a disposable e-fag, aimed at smokers and anything goes with us lot.
Of course the Tobacco Control Professionals have this sort of thing down to a fine art; they'd have a pile of research conducted on laboratory animals using outrageous experiments as examples of behaviour that no one could replicate in real life, even if they wanted to. Naturally these would be backed up with statistical extrapolation plus reasoned assumptions and peer reviewed by several groups with an expertise in Tobacco Control! Hey it worked in the USA and it worked in Australia and that's why it works in Britain and the EU.
Totally Wicked doesn't have that sort of clout; if challenged they'll simply say it was an error in translation in China. That's where their e-fag's made. Neat one.
So that got me to thinking. I suffer terribly from "TCI fatigue"; not because I give a flying fart about the juvenile rubbish they dish up, rather because it's so expensive to keep them clothed, housed and fed. And because hardly a day goes by when I'm not motivated to sit down and write a post shredding one of their clangers. Fortunately I know my limits, so stick to the wrap-ups or the really niche stuff.
I also suffer from "Charity Scepticism" which, as a consequence of CRUK and ASH, has led me to check up on the very few charities I support to confirm that at least 90% of my cash gets to the intended recipients. One doesn't and because they accepted a grant from the Bill Gates Foundation they've been dumped.
Undoubtedly I suffer from "Political Intrusion Overload" which includes all politicians, mandarins, public officials plus all the geriatrics in the House of Lords as well as the talking heads of all the fake charities. Can't abide any of them. However this has resulted in my "Blog Addiction"; a daily fix that involves a 20 minute trawl of all my favourites.
And the e-fag? Well the whole day went like clockwork, so it's still in its packaging and at the back of a drawer somewhere. I don't mind paying for insurance and, like the real thing, I always hope to never have to cash-in. This one's far better because I can use it in the future, which is just as well because I'm committed to another flight early next year. Oh the joys of well scattered friends!