Thursday, 14 February 2013

Letter to my MP

Thank you so much for your reply to my letter about "plain" packs. I am sorry you feel such visual abuse - medical "violenceporn" - fear inducing subliminals on packets of cigarettes is moral. Cigarettes are already invisible in shops, and will be in all shops very soon. They already contain abusive pictures. "Plain" packs are, to my mind, an attack by the State on a quarter of its citizens. The messages they carry are nocebos and adverse to the health of smokers. Following what we know about nocebos, smokers should become sicker quicker. It's a crime. It should not be supported.

The EU are debating the WHO directives on the 25th of this month (February). They suggest that "plain" packaging be left up to Countries to decide - in the UK there were over 250 000 signatures against during our consultation - a greater number than the pro group. But I should think we'll end up doing what the Government wants. I suspect the consultation was simply to placate us.

I say all that - but I don't smoke. So I come to another situation that fills me with a similar desperation. It is about the use of electronic cigarettes.

The WHO directive, though, is also about electronic cigarettes, not banning electronic cigarettes outright, but wants the nicotine content of electronic cigarette e liquid to be set at 4mg of nicotine and become medical devices, which in effect bans them as they are used now. This will seriously affect the electronic cigarette community who are now almost a million in the UK of which I am one.

I am asking you to become knowledgeable about electronic cigarettes. They are the most extraordinary things. I smoked for 50 years and the more we became marginalised by legislation and public opinion was turned against smokers, the more determined I became never to give up smoking. In 2011 I started "vaping" ie. using an electronic device, and the habit of smoking simply fell away from me - a miracle! Since then, I have promoted vaping as a solution for devoted smokers like me to change to a less harmful habit. My life has changed. I am physically better. The dentist is impressed. The doctor is impressed. My family is impressed. I am impressed.

As I get older, I become more horrified by the burden of legislation that is piled on citizens in a country, by regulators intent on making changes for "our" betterment. These things should arrive in our consciousnesses with education and not force. I think many people feel completely disempowered by the kind of non-democracy they see in the world and the amount of untruth and spin that is disseminated by various lobby groups, in promoting their causes (and their jobs!). We have become suspicious and cynical.

I have written this with great thought. I see one of the problems with our non-democracy as being that our Members of Parliament get caught up in the flavour of the current spin - whatever that might be - and it would be a better country if our politicians were suspicious and cynical too!

The recommendations from the EU will be taken on by our Parliament (because they have to). WHO is working to the beat of Tobacco Control's drum and the huge investment that Drug Companies have made to profit from Patches, Gums, Sprays to stop people smoking. The fact is that electronic cigarettes are far more successful in getting people to quit entirely or - like me - to continue with nicotine usage in a less harmful manner. I have also written to all my MEP's to try and stop foolish legislation at source..

Here are links to information about electronic cigarettes which, despite the spin to the contrary HAVE been studied. In the UK they are already regulated by our own trading bodies. We know a lot about them.

Gerry Stimpson Video Nicotine Harm Reduction - an end to smoking?

Clive Bates (former director of ASH) Medicines regulation for e-cigarettes – when caution can kill
There are many other thinking, intelligent scientists and non scientists who have material out there on the Internet on Tobacco Harm Reduction.

I hope you find time to investigate the phenomenon of elecronic "vaping" that is leading to smoking reduction in millions of people worldwide. They have done this, and are doing it, all by themselves without force, without any lobby group pushing them or manilpulation from the State.

If you know about vaping - properly know - you will become an empowered spokesperson in Parliament for me when the time comes, as it will. I will need to rely on you. You are my voice.

Thank you,
Yours Sincerely,