Perhaps I Was Not Angry Enough! (Part One.)
It has been quite a while since I posted anything to this blog. It's not that I had nothing to say, but I was saying it elsewhere. That's wrong of me, for I have rarely been as angry as I am at the moment. And the reason for my anger? The same old rhetoric from 'Public Health' aka the Anti Nicotine and Tobacco Zealots (ANTZ), whose crusade against smoking has morphed into a crusade against the entire tobacco industry, the nascent but burgeoning e-cigarette industry, the smoker, the vaper, the free-thinker, the brewery industry, the distillery industry, the soft-drinks industry, the fast-food industry, the slow-food industry, .... In fact, the ANTZ have become the IDLE; that's the I Don't Like Ennything brigade (yes, I know, but a good many of them cannot spell either!). The only industry (apart from their own) that they appear to like, it seems, is the pharmaceuticals industry - the fount of so-called scientific funding that grants huge munificence in research grants to provide data that can be tortured into propaganda that can be used to coerce and bully politicians into instituting policies that ensure further profits for further research ..... It is a cycle that goes around like the galaxy, and the Black Hole at its centre attracts ever more fake charities, ever more civil servants, ever more unelected bureaucrats, ever more taxes, which then disappear from the Universe, never to be seen again by most human eyes. And that makes me angry. Not that it is MY money. In fact only a very, very small part of it is MY money. But I am angry that it is the money of billions of people like me, the LITTLE people, that is squandered, and I am angry that it is all done with trickery, fraud, dishonesty and lies by the people we are told are protecting us!
For those who don't already know, I used to smoke. I was told it wasn't good for me but I did it anyway. Then I was told that my habit was bankrupting the NHS, and I must pay extra taxes to offset the costs of medical care that I needed (actually didn't need) because I smoked. So I paid my dues and carried on smoking until I realised that I, and millions like me, were paying way more than our fair share. So I did the sensible thing, and quit smoking. All well and good, but I retained a liking for nicotine, the harmless plant extract that I am told was the only reason for smoking. The nicotine did me no harm, but the tar and gases from burning tobacco, I was told, were probably going to kill me at some point. Then I discovered that an electronic cigarette would allow me to continue to enjoy my nicotine in a way that was at least 99% safer than smoking tobacco, and for that reason alone I was prepared to give it a try. And then I discovered that the tax regime on this device was orders of magnitude more affordable, for I would not be penalised for the costs of treating the smoking-related diseases that I had never developed. This was a no-brainer! I stopped smoking, and began vaping - and I loved it, felt healthier, was wealthier, and no longer attracted criticism from family and friends for an anti-social, smelly, risky habit.
This was when I started to get angry. For I began to realise that the propaganda against smoking was a smokescreen (pun accidental but serendipitous!). It turned out that it was all about money and nothing to do with health! If I was not going to be a good little smoker, pay my inflated taxes, then die without drawing my pension, my quitting was likely to cost the Exchequer a vast fortune, especially if I were to live longer, draw more pension, need care into my old age, require treatment for age-related diseases (more expensive than that for smoking-related ones!). And that cannot be allowed, can it? So I began to see that it is essential to make up the shortfall that 2 million reformed smokers will cause, and that e-cigarettes will have to be taxed like tobacco products to balance the books - except that they are NOT tobacco products, they have NO proven risks, and there is thus no justification for taxing them like cigarettes. So I have watched the growing tide of anti-vaping propaganda swell into a tidal wave, while knowing that it was designed to keep as many smokers smoking for as long as possible, while hitting them with ever-increasing tax burdens yet simultaneously making vaping seem just as injurious to health in order to justify the same swingeing 'sin' tax in order to balance the Chancellor's books. And what makes it worse is that I see the 'public health' authorities being used to manipulate the public in order to bring this about!
That makes me VERY angry! Public Health should be about promoting, well, the health of the public. Not the fiscal health of an economy that is in crisis because of that black hole in the centre of the system.