Learning from history

Hmmm how to start this post.  It is, or at least for me it is a bit of an upsetting topic but with the recent kerfuffle it needs to be addressed. Again.

For this post, I will be heavily referring to the brilliant postings from the lovely Lorien over on her blog.  True, she hasn’t posted for a while but she has been incredibly active elsewhere and I simply cannot give enough credit to her, or any of the other advocates.  Some of you may be wondering why I’m referencing older posts, well the answer is pretty straightforward in that nothing has changed.

Back in September ’14, Lorien posted this and it went into a lot of detail about her and her reactions and how she felt about it all.  That part of Lorien’s published past is pretty much the key reason why she is such a super-star advocate for vaping now, and why she has the respect and love of many of her followers and supporters – myself included.

Like many other vapers, Lorien’s story is horribly familiar.  We chose to smoke, not for the glitzy packs or any of that other rubbish that gets bandied about, but because we chose to.  It really is that simple.  Like Lorien and I suspect many others, I too was a target for the minor league public opinion. Unless you’ve directly experienced the looks, the nasty comments, the hand wafting across some holier-than-thou zealot, it is difficult to really explain how much it hurts.  It was a very dark chapter of my life.

When it comes to public health, there is a definite disconnect between those in public health and those that advocate public health.  Each one of the Twitter accounts listed here all claim to be either in or advocate for public health.  You’ll recognise most of the names on that list, if not all of them.  There is one common denominator that links each and every single one.

They will not communicate with the public.

Having taken it upon herself to write to The Lancet, everyone hoped that it would spur some discussion between the grandees so that they could hear our side of the story, maybe take into account the success rate of e-cigs in helping folk who wish to reduce harm or maybe even quit should they so choose.  I keep saying it, but the choice is open for all and it boggles my mind that so many would deny that simple choice, or even talk to us.

If they have to mention us, they do so in journals or behind a pay-wall.  Fortunately, it didn’t stop Lorien from at least trying to open the debate.  Unfortunately, she was totally ignored.  The good thing about Lorien is that she doesn’t give up easily.  As The Lancet has a limitation on the word count, Lorien chose to write a full response on her blog.

Trouble is, Lorien wasn’t the only one to try to open the debate with the grandees. Clive Bates, the former head of Action on Smoking & Health (ASH) tried to open a debate with Martin “Bobblegom” McKee, and unsurprisingly didn’t receive a response.

Fast forward from October 2014 to March 2015, let’s see if anything has changed shall we?

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Long story short. No, nothing has changed. PH Grandees refuse to engage, and even worse they refuse to listen to us.  Yet, these same grandees that complain about us being trolls and offensive towards them continue to spout the same, tired arguments to any and all who listen to them.  Don’t forget, these folks have a lot of friendly cronies in the upper echelons of public health, whilst we are the same, dirty, ugly, insidious people we were when we smoked.

It is an utterly repugnant holier-than-thou attitude which is slowly but surely spreading to other members of the health “industry”.

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So apparently, we are a hateful breed. Figures. I don’t know about you, but the hubris of these people is sickening and is highly disturbing as the agenda of “public health” becomes ever clearer.

COI: I declare an interest in preserving my own health despite the arrogance of those too ignorant to perform their own research and too arrogant to listen.