Dear Dame Sally,
I really don’t care if you’re the Chief Medical Officer. You are clueless and ignorant. You have not done one really important thing. You have not considered the idea of “growing a backbone and quitting” from the point of view of a smoker. You’ve never smoked, or if you did you were one of those lucky people who did get rid of cravings. There are folk out there, I’m one of them, who get cravings at the same level as the first 24 hours of quitting forever. That gnawing, churning, impulse to put nicotine in my body does not get better over time for me. I put up with FIVE YEARS of it, using nicotine patches when I wasn’t pregnant because I was told that it would get better. It didn’t. It isn’t a case of my not being able to grow a backbone, it’s the knock-on effect of FIVE YEARS of that churning, gnawing, maddening impulse which nothing would banish except a cigarette. The anger, the tears, the mood swings, the weight gain, the downward spiral of health and well being. Giving up smoking made me get less healthy. I was only happy when I smoked. I never intended to give up again. I refused to put myself and my loved ones through living with Mrs Hyde.
Vaping offers me a SAFER alternative. It isn’t aimed at children. Children are not taking it up. The fact that your daughter thinks the equipment I use is “beautiful” does not give you the right to be horrified enough to call on bans for the one thing that has replaced smoking for me and hundreds of thousands like me. I’m horrified that someone who wields such power in Public Health can make such an important decision based on no scientific evidence at all. The science supports the opposite position to the one you’re promoting. So we find ourselves in the position where here, as in the states, it is Public Health which is undermining the message that e-cigarettes are a SAFER alternative to smoking. It is Public Health protecting the interests of the tobacco industry. PUBLIC HEALTH is ensuring that fewer people feel empowered enough to take the POSITIVE HEALTH DECISION to switch to vaping.
I do note that not everyone in Public Health shares your opinion; you should listen to your colleagues. There are a fair few of them who do have the right ideas. It seems that the only positive contribution from the few who do agree with you was to compare the effects of nicotine, PG/VG and flavourings used when pregnant to that of thalidomide. Shame on you both.
I hope to see two public apologies and resignations. I won’t be holding my breath though.
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