Guidance or Control?

I’ve touched on this briefly a few times before (here, here and most recently here) and it’s all about smoking/vaping in the workplace in particular, and anywhere else in public in general. As many readers will know Public Health England recently released some guidance on the “Use of e-cigarettes in public places and workplaces”.

Before I go much further, let me remind you of a comment that had been left on one of my posts about this particularly thorny subject:

She said she didn’t see why people could vape at their desks when she couldn’t smoke, that, in her opinion, vapers were not vaping to quit smoking but vaping as an alternative to smoking because they enjoyed it. How very dare they!!

In a nutshell vapers do vape because they enjoy it – I certainly do, but only when I feel like taking a toke on my device. It’s currently 09:39 as I write this post (I’m supposed to be working, but it’s relatively quiet for once), and I’ve been at my desk for an hour and not touched my mod (other than to knock it over like the klutz that I am). I haven’t wanted to, I’m perfectly content typing away, keeping an eye on my network statistics and monitors.

But, as I’ve mentioned in a this post, I am allowed to vape freely in the office. I did get a talking to once when I went overboard a little (c’mon I was bored waiting for my laptop to shut-down at the end of the day – what else was I going to do?!), and the only comment was to “be reasonable”. That is fair enough – this was long before the PHE “guidance”.

We know for certain, and it has been succinctly clarified in the guidance document that vaping (or e-cigarette use) is not covered by smokefree legislation. Which is of course in stark contrast to many places in the US where legislation is being passed to include vaping in smokefree legislation – which I think many of you will agree, is absurd. I will just point out that the existing legislation on both sides of the pond is based on fairly weak pseudo science and is hardly conclusive, but yet no-one seems to bother questioning it.

Thanks to that legislation, smoking indoors in public places is prohibited. But as I mentioned in this post:

It isn’t an overly ridiculous idea to have separate areas in pubs and restaurants (they did prior to the smoking ban, and with improvements in air extraction this is entirely feasible)

I have no problems with a separate room in workplaces for vapers, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if businesses decided to say “sod the legislation, we’re going to provide for smokers too”? After all, if vaping is allowed in a specific place inside, surely it’s only fair to extend the same courtesy to smokers? I would be delighted if businesses took a “screw you” approach and did that. But they won’t, ‘cos nanny says so.

As fellow blogger Dick Puddlecote succinctly says:

Vaping indoors is legal, not at all harmful to anyone, and it’s not any of our business what companies do. However, we’d like to say that if you ban these devices you’re a bit of a dick unless you have extremely strong grounds to do so.

Quite.

However, I’m not fond of being part of PHE’s “grand plan” for a tobacco-free generation by 2025 (yet another arbitrary number, where do these things keep coming from?):

PHE’s ambition is to secure a tobacco-free generation by 2025. We believe e-cigarettes have the potential to make a significant contribution to its achievement. Realising this potential depends on fostering an environment in which e-cigarettes can provide a route out of smoking for England’s eight million smokers, without providing a route into smoking for children or non-smokers

Well isn’t that just lovely? While I applaud the efforts of PHE and their fellows in getting vaping recognised as a viable alternative to smoking – whether that be for cessation or for general consumption – the choice, as they say is up to the individual. But as an organisation, PHE is intent of using any and all tools available to “end the tobacco epidemic” – individuals within PHE are different, but the organisation has, shall we say, some skewed views.

As highlighted by Simon Clark, PHE haven’t issued guidelines for allowing vaping at desks, instead they state:

Where a decision is taken to allow vaping in an enclosed place, policies could consider some simple etiquette guidelines for vapers, such as minimising the production of visible vapour

Does that sound at all familiar to anyone?

to maximise the number of smokers switching to e-cigarettes, vaping should be made a more convenient, as well as safer, option

While I would like to see more smokers switch to vaping, I’m not one to evangelise that they should. Let them choose for themselves.

I do think people will enjoy this statement immensely:

while smokefree law protects people from the harm of secondhand smoke (questionable PB), forcing smokers outdoors has increased public visibility of smoking, including to children and young people

Oops. By banning smoking indoors, “public health” have inadvertently increased public visibility of smoking. Who knew?

So how about reversing some of the ridiculousness public health? Bring the smokers back inside into their own rooms so they can enjoy a pint and a smoke in peace eh?

Might also want to re-consider the ridiculous bans in sports stadia too. Go on, you know you want to relinquish a bit of control.

By the way, it’s now 10:17 and I’ve knocked my mod over three times now, but I still haven’t used it.

(image credit alice-photo/shutterstock.com)

  • Daniel Hammond

    With SHS being 96% water vapor and ordinairy air why not just smoke at your desk! SG report 1989 page 80 chemical composition of passive smoke.

    • Because others “don’t like it” of course 😉

      • Daniel Hammond

        Personal dislike is easily avoided by reading a sign smoking allowed

        • Which they won’t have (for cigarettes) because of the ludicrous legislation, and now most are wringing their hands over allowing vaping at desks. Go figure.

          • Daniel Hammond

            The Chemistry of Secondary Smoke About 94% of secondary smoke is composed of water vapor and ordinary air with a slight excess of carbon dioxide. Another 3 % is carbon monoxide. The last 3 % contains the rest of the 4,000 or so chemicals supposedly to be found in smoke… but found, obviously, in very small quantities if at all.This is because most of the assumed chemicals have never actually been found in secondhand smoke. (1989 Report of the Surgeon General p. 80). Most of these chemicals can only be found in quantities measured in nanograms, picograms and femtograms. Many cannot even be detected in these amounts: their presence is simply theorized rather than measured. To bring those quantities into a real world perspective, take a saltshaker and shake out a few grains of salt. A single grain of that salt will weigh in the ballpark of 100 million picograms! (Allen Blackman. Chemistry Magazine 10/08/01). – (Excerpted from “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains” with permission of the author.) .

  • Daniel Hammond

    …..OSHA also took on the passive smoking fraud and this is what came of it:

    Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence: Third Edition

    This sorta says it all

    These limits generally are based on assessments of health risk and calculations of concentrations that are associated with what the regulators believe to be negligibly small risks. The calculations are made after first identifying the total dose of a chemical that is safe (poses a negligible risk) and then determining the concentration of that chemical in the medium of concern that should not be exceeded if exposed individuals (typically those at the high end of media contact) are not to incur a dose greater than the safe one.

    So OSHA standards are what is the guideline for what is acceptable ”SAFE LEVELS”

    OSHA SAFE LEVELS

    All this is in a small sealed room 9×20 and must occur in ONE HOUR.

    For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes.

    “For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes.

    “Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

    Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up.

    “For Hydroquinone, “only” 1250 cigarettes.

    For arsenic 2 million 500,000 smokers at one time.

    The same number of cigarettes required for the other so called chemicals in shs/ets will have the same outcomes.

    So, OSHA finally makes a statement on shs/ets :

    Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.” -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA.

    Why are their any smoking bans at all they have absolutely no validity to the courts or to science!

  • Daniel Hammond

    ………..The rise of a pseudo-scientific links lobby

    Every day there seems to be a new study making a link between food, chemicals or lifestyle and ill-health. None of them has any link with reality.

    Manufacturing the science to meet the agenda, in black on white. Does anyone still have doubts?

    ”Bal laughs when asked about the role of scientific evidence in guiding policy decisions. “There was no science on how to do a community intervention on something of this global dimension,” he says. “Where there is no science, you have to go and be venturesome—you can’t use the paucity of science as an excuse to do nothing. We created the science, we did the interventions and then all the scientists came in behind us and analyzed what we did.”

    Read under the title :
    Tobacco Control: The Long War—When the Evidence Has to Be Created

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