bekivapes

My journey into vaping


1 Comment

Warm it up, everything you’ve got. C’mon you apes, you wanna live forever?

This is for all you new people. I have only one rule. Everybody fights, no one quits.  Welcome to the Roughnecks!

We have a fight on our hands. It seems that there are no arbiters of truth in charge of laying down guidance in health. Corporate greed appears to have won. There are people smoking today who were happily vaping yesterday; I am not happy about this. As a direct result of guidance given by people who are supposed to help, not harm, people have chosen a more harmful option.

Someone asked me once if I knew the difference between a civilian and a citizen. I know now. A citizen has the courage to make the safety of the human race their personal responsibility.

I don’t care if you’re an ex-smoker, a never-smoker or a puritanical nicotine-phobic egocentric deranged lickspittle; there is no place in the human race for those who put ‘principles’ ahead of human life. Quality AND quantity of life. Vaping is SAFER than smoking. By arguing against that simple truth the net cost is in the number of smokers increasing. That’s not scaremongering it is simple common sense ground up assessment of the top down idiocy being forced on the masses. We have a duty to present facts. Cold hard facts which beyond a shadow of a doubt support the case for harm reduction. Please go and read up on the facts. Nothing but the facts, and unlike the powers that be, please read ALL of the evidence.

Figuring things out for yourself is practically the only freedom anyone really has nowadays. Use that freedom. [all quotes from ‘Starship Troopers‘]

———————————————————————————————–

Please Support the NNA so that their voice for vapers can be heard loud and clear. Add your name as a supporter and then find the Paypal donate button on the right of the main page. Follow @NNAlliance on Twitter.

Medical professionals please see M.O.V.E and add your voice.


Leave a comment

Seven months since I smoked a cigarette

Seven months since my last tobacco cigarette and I still don’t miss smoking. I haven’t found a dripper that I like more than either of my two basic Igos, but I’m still looking. I have three mech mods and the VTR that are in daily use alongside the RSST and my Kraken clone. My original 18650 batteries are beginning to show signs of needing to be replaced soon and recoiling is now a five minute job instead of an hour long swearing session. I still only do single coils; I find I like the vape better. My all day vapes still consist of TY4 & Vamp vape from concentrates, alongside my own caramel flavour with either a melon or (thank you Drippabox) Norseman vapours Grenadine which is exquisite. I’m generally down to 12mg and have stuck at that for nearly two months. I can’t see much point in cutting back further.

deskcheck

They all need a polish and they might not be the biggest, brightest and most expensive out there, but they are mine and I love them all. None of those things looks, feels or tastes like a cigarette and they are the things which are stopping me from relapsing to smoking, flavours and all. Without them I would not have been able to stop smoking. With them I have a better quality of life than I would have with any other method of smoking cessation that I have tried. I still get angry when I see articles written by those who would place abstinence over everything; I tried it and the negatives outweighed the positives enough for me to relapse over and over again.

So what if the smokers choose to die? If they’re going to, then let them do it and decrease the surplus population;

“Man,” said the Ghost,  “if man you be in heart, not adamant, forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered What the surplus is, and Where it is. Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die? It may be, that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child. Oh God! to hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust!”

Smokers and vapers are human beings, with human rights. Denying harm reduction to smokers, creating doubt that the products that vapers are using are safer than smoking breaks the first tenet of all healthcare; first do no harm.

———————————————————————————————–

Please Support the NNA so that their voice for vapers can be heard loud and clear. Add your name as a supporter and then find the Paypal donate button on the right of the main page. Follow @NNAlliance on Twitter.

Medical professionals please see M.O.V.E and add your voice.


6 Comments

Just say no – the quit or die mentality which is keeping people smoking

If there were no perceived benefits to smoking, then no one would smoke. It really is that simple. The percentage of people in the population who smoke may have gone down, but the population has increased at the same time meaning that (although these figures are hard to pinpoint) in absolute terms there are very probably more individual smokers year on year. For thousands of people the benefits of smoking outweigh the risks; simply looking at tobacco sales will tell you that this is true. That the risk of smoking has been overstated by people who are supposed to be unbiased arbiters of health muddies the waters for smokers trying to seek the truth. I could see that the information I was being fed was flawed and so dismissed it instead of trying to ascertain the truth behind the exaggerations. I was far more likely to attribute my concerns about the health risks of smoking to nicotine, the chemicals added to cured tobacco and to tobacco itself rather than what I now see is the real risk of smoking; the act of inhaling smoke.

Tobacco control hates tobacco and with it nicotine use. This hatred borders on irrational, leading to the demonisation of individual smokers alongside the demonisation of nicotine and tobacco. When faced with evidence that suggests that it is tobacco smoke that causes the issues in smokers, they dismiss it as evidence of new ways to addict people to nicotine, ignoring the bigger picture and refusing to move from their failed ‘abstinence only’ propaganda.

I’ve known for years that the nanny-state-knows-best arguments are failing smokers. This is the prohibitionist agenda. All smokers must renounce the evils of tobacco and nicotine and accept the smug sanctimonious purity of abstinence into their hearts. Only then may their lives be saved. There is no other way; inveterate smokers will be cast into outer darkness and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The reasoning is that the people who are advising smokers know better than us what we want. Despite the incontrovertible fact that smokers die from the smoke and not the nicotine, they believe and create evidence that supports the belief that all smokers actually want to quit nicotine rather than lit tobacco. They then reinforce that belief by demonising smokers so that we are more stressed when smoking. Bombard us with negative ‘nocebo’ images, create anti-smoking hysteria, turn friends and families against us so that the only honest answer is that yes, I would rather be free of the stigma surrounding my habit, but I do still enjoy the act of smoking.

The anti-tobacco zealots don’t care about the individual smoker. They believe that the aims of their war against tobacco – wiping all tobacco use from the planet – justifies the means. Collateral damage is acceptable in that fight. Even though the population effects of a switch to harm reduction would be overwhelmingly positive, winning the health battle would mean loosing that war. Compromise is not possible on this point. Their egos will not allow it. And so we have the current situation where tobacco control is unwittingly supporting the very industry that they are fighting against to demonise Tobacco Harm Reduction products on the ground that THR will not eliminate nicotine, and therefore it won’t eliminate tobacco. They can’t see that by giving smokers the choice, and making that choice more attractive than the lethal alternative, they might just win their war against smoking.

Where is the rational, analytical, evidence based argument for eliminating tobacco and nicotine use from the population entirely? What about the therapeutic uses for nicotine now being discovered? What about the treatment for Ebola recently trialled in extreme need, with the precautionary principle being properly applied because rational thinking and not zealotry was being applied to the issue. What about the social benefits on a population where thousands of smokers switching to a preferred lower risk alternative retain a higher quality of life than allowed by the zealots’ alternative of ceasing nicotine use entirely. What about the prevention of relapse to smoking, even after complete abstinence, where a relapse to a lower-risk alternative is still a net health gain compared with a relapse to smoking.

Maintaining the position that a safer alternative to smoking is not “safe,” that all tobacco use is always deadly and that the only safe choice is to cease nicotine use altogether simply convinces smokers that switching to a safer alternative doesn’t provide enough benefit to warrant the effort of trying. Why any public health official would try to convince the world that a 95-99% reduction in risk is as bad as smoking is utterly beyond my comprehension.

———————————————————————————————–

Please Support the NNA so that their voice for vapers can be heard loud and clear. Add your name as a supporter and then find the Paypal donate button on the right of the main page. Follow @NNAlliance on Twitter.

Medical professionals please see M.O.V.E and add your voice.


1 Comment

Vaping isn’t rocket science.

There have been gaps in my blog posts recently, some health related. Some because I often sit looking at my voice recorder, and notes I’ve transcribed as I scroll through social media and news searches with a giant yellow question mark over my head. Sometimes it switches to an exclamation mark. More frequently these days it switches to a row of characters often used to replace a swearword. I am astounded by the depths to which those who deny e cigarettes as a safer alternative to smoking will sink.

My newly pressed fellow vaping blogger The Random Vaper wrote an excellent piece on the latest idiocy from one of the three main ecig deniers today. I don’t need to start to write the same post, for which I’m very grateful. I really couldn’t face the task. This is what strikes me standing apart from the ecig debate and looking at this latest pile of tripe.

The people who are creating the myth that ecigarettes are just as harmful as smoking are not experts in relevant fields of study.  Let’s compare two of the main players. On the side of the deniers we have Professor Stanton Glantz. I’ve taken this from his Wikipedia page:

Glantz  gained a BSc in aerospace engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 1969, an MSc in applied mechanics from Stanford University in 1970 and a PhD in applied mechanics and engineering economic systems, again from Stanford, in 1973. Concurrently with his studies he worked at NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center, first as a student trainee then as an aerospace engineer. In 1973 Glantz carried out postdoctoral research on the mathematical modeling of heart tissue at Stanford University and then at the University of California, San Francisco, where he has worked since 1977.

On the side of evidence based science we have Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos. These are his main qualifications which I have compiled from publicly available information.

Dr Farsalinos obtained an MD (Medicine) from Charles University Medical School in 1998. Resident in Internal Medicine Kastoria General Hospital from 2002 – 2005, Cardiology resident Sitia General Hospital, Crete 2007 – 2008. Cardiologist (resident) Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center 2008 – 2011. Cardiologist (fellow) Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center 2011 – Present and also Clinical Observer and Researcher, Department of Cardiology, Medical Imaging Research Center University Hospital Gathuisberg, Catholic University of Leuven March 2013 – Present.

Which of these two people would you trust to give you a medical opinion? Glantz might be a “rocket scientist”, but I’d rather take the advice of a doctor when it comes to the effects of vaping on my body. While Glantz is still trying to tell us that ultrafine water droplets are as harmful to health as particulate matter, Dr Farsalinos has found no evidence that would make him advise against using ecigs. I look at the list of names on the letter written to the WHO in support of sane regulation by leading experts, and compare the list of names who wrote in argument of regulation that would effectively strangle the technology and I see the same sort of disparity in fields of expertise. Those who support ecigs generally have relevant qualifications, those who do not are outside their field of expertise.

The arguments and evidence coming from Glantz get more desperate over time. There is something very strange about the way that every last scrap of information is turned over and twisted to become a strike against vaping. Captain Ahab has to go hunt his whale.

———————————————————————————————–

Please Support the NNA so that their voice for vapers can be heard loud and clear. Add your name as a supporter and then find the Paypal donate button on the right of the main page. Follow @NNAlliance on Twitter.

Medical professionals please see M.O.V.E and add your voice.


6 Comments

The ‘Population risk’ argument has already been addressed.

I’ve noticed changes in the ways the anti vaping argument is being presented recently. Most notable is a simple change in the way the argument is being phrased. Instead of “we don’t know enough about them” we’re now hearing, “but the population effects!” here again we can go back to Sowell’s quote and make the very valid point that ‘experts’ don’t always know best:

“In their haste to be wiser and nobler than others, the anointed [the experts] have misconceived two basic issues. They seem to assume (1) that they have more knowledge than the average member of the benighted [smokers and vapers] and (2) that this is the relevant comparison.  Thomas Sowell in “Visions of the Anointed.” — P. 114 [denotes my explanations]

What do the experts mean by “population” effects?

Clive Bates makes it clear in his post “Briefing on e-cigarettes for policy makers.” that there are no new arguments being put forward. The argument is that we are confusing individual benefit with an overall social danger from a change in the way nicotine is being used:

This is the idea that though vaping is very much less hazardous than smoking, at population level it could be more dangerous because it causes changes in the way people smoke.

He goes on to give examples including the much argued ‘gateway’ and ‘renormalisation” and “vaping to get round restrictions to avoid smoking cessation”. We know that the current evidence does not support these arguments. It is nothing new. In simple common sense terms it seems obvious that if each individual smoker reduces their risk by switching to a lower risk delivery method, then the net population effect would be positive, not negative. But that leads to accusations of naivety from experts accusing vapers of not having looked at the bigger picture.

I knew that I’d seen a rational argument that put the whole thing in perspective somewhere, but couldn’t for the life of me remember where. I finally found it, in one of my most quoted studies. Carl Philips  In the section ” Net effect on social risk of lowering individual risk.”

“… it is plausible that lowering the health risks of consuming something could increase consumption to the point that the total social risk will increase. It must be the case that there is an improvement in total net social benefits, since the change would result from free choice of a preferred option, and the major externalities would likely also be positive. But health risk, considered apart from other contributors to welfare, might increase. All that is necessary for an increase in health risk is that the quantity consumed goes up by enough that even with the lower risk, the total risk (i.e., quantity consumed multiplied by average individual risk per unit of consumption or, in units of people, the number of consumers multiplied by the average risk per consumer) is greater. Whether this happens in a given case is an empirical point, but for the case of smokers and some nonsmokers adopting a low-risk nicotine product, a simple analytic reality check shows that it is effectively impossible.

Given the estimate that switching to a low-risk alternative reduces a smoker’s risk by 99%, if only 1% of a population switched from being continuing smokers to using THR products, then even if the entire rest of the population switched from no consumption to the low-risk products it would not result in a social risk increase.

Yet again the simple statistical analysis proves the THR case; no need for complex modelling. There it is, in basic simple terms. Your population effect framed by common sense. This was being argued back in 2009, and yet we still haven’t come any further forward in our arguments with ‘experts’.

———————————————————————————————–

Please Support the NNA so that their voice for vapers can be heard loud and clear. Add your name as a supporter and then find the Paypal donate button on the right of the main page. Follow @NNAlliance on Twitter.

Medical professionals please see M.O.V.E and add your voice.


13 Comments

What we have from the denialist outliers is a refusal to communicate

This used to be titled, “what we have from most of Public Health is a refusal to communicate’, but happily since it was published most of the people who were refusing to engage have engaged in positive ways. However there are a few blow-hards who still refuse to see reason and common sense and to whom this piece still applies over a year since this post first went up.

I’m a part of a community of vapers, which was established long before I switched. Some of these folk who I now call friends have been fighting for my right to vape for more than five years now. The community that exists in the vaping world does sometimes resemble a very large, very diverse, very argumentative family; we don’t always agree with each other. We fall out. Certain topics will pit vaper against vaper in disputes that have left us not speaking to each other. There are a few things that will band us together despite our familial arguments though.

Trying to discredit vaping activists. Labelling us as shills for any part of the tobacco industry will just make us furious. In all honesty, why would the tobacco industry want vapers advocating for products that are in competition with their main product. They may be trickling into the e cigarette market now, but they’re coming in at the wrong end, with too little of the market share and no real insight into vapers or vaping in general. The very new switcher might want something that mimics a cigarette; most of us come to realise that for vaping to really work it has to become better than smoking and stop being anything remotely like a cigarette. Our counter to it is to call out the pharmaceutical links from those claiming that we are being paid. Not always either true or helpful, but the anger generated from accusations that our points of view have been paid for when we actually use our own resources for this fight isn’t trivial, and really should be understood. Calling us a cult won’t wash either. Too much of the anti-tobacco and anti-nicotine ideology looks like a cult from the objective side of the evidence base. Too much of the anti-nicotine stance is based on evidence that wouldn’t stand up against creationism, let alone fact based and objective science.

Trying to twist the pro-vaping argument. Let’s get the message clear.

  • Vaping is SAFER than smoking. Unless your argument proves that smoking is safer than vaping, your argument is scaremongering and will produce net HARM as a result.
  • By your logic smokers are already addicted to nicotine, so what if we keep using it. Vaping nicotine stops us from relapsing to smoking. The health benefits of continued use preventing relapse to smoking make all of your anti-nicotine arguments irrelevant to ex-smoking vapers.
  • It is a product that was designed to replicate a consumer product. It was designed to be a consumer product. Regulating it as a medicine will make it into NRT. ONE in TEN smokers are succeeding with NRT. NRT is 90% ineffective.
  • There is no evidence that nicotine is as addictive as tobacco when it is not administered alongside the minor alkaloids in tobacco. The addictive nature of nicotine separate from tobacco is a topic which requires more study before accurate conclusions may be drawn. All else at this point (including my own rambling on the subject) is conjecture. I call for more research.
  • Your war against tobacco is now a crusade against nicotine. You want to eradicate all nicotine use from society. Prohibition has absolutely no lessons to teach you in this regard, and you’re certain that you’re correct in all your assumptions about nicotine and its role in the evils of society. Can you not see the red flags this throws up. Imagine if crusaders decided that chocolate was evil because of theobromine, and that it should be eradicated from society forthwith. Stop, step back, check all prejudice and regain some objectivity.

Refusing to engage with us. I would love to engage with public health in the hearty to and fro of twitter debate. I pride myself on staying objective and trying to keep my sense of humour. But those who disagree with my points of view have a distressing tendency to block all those who disagree with them. Science will obviously “flourish” where there is no debate. The points of view of those who refuse to engage with opposing viewpoints are always going to remain unchallenged. Cognitive dissonance is a good state when it is not immediately dismissed by turning off the opinions creating it. The best scientists look at everything with the attitude “I COULD BE WRONG.” That is where good science lives and breathes and generates better science.

Denialism: Denying reality one fact at a time

The Ecig Denier Terrible Trio.

The community of vapers isn’t going to give up, even if everything goes as badly for us as our worst nightmares, we won’t stop this fight. The problem is that we are actually right; the evidence backs up our arguments. History will judge you by the stance you take in this. That it judges against me is a risk I’m willing to take on the evidence. I could be wrong. Are you really so certain that you’re right?

———————————————————————————————–

Please Support the NNA so that their voice for vapers can be heard loud and clear. Add your name as a supporter and then find the Paypal donate button on the right of the main page. Follow @NNAlliance on Twitter.

Medical professionals please see M.O.V.E and add your voice.