Wednesday, September 04, 2013

A Letter To My MP About E-cigarettes

Dear Sir,

A number of months back my wife was diagnosed with a serious complaint that requires major surgery and, this tending to focus one on matters of health, we both decided it was time to give up smoking. However, having made numerous attempts in the past and simply failing, we weren’t optimistic.

Some friends, who had given up a few years before, handed over their stash of NRT including patches, gum, microtabs, inhalators and some electronic cigarettes. All of these worked to some degree but the e-cig was the most effective, even though the ones we had were a few years old and malfunctioning. We then, to our surprise, found them for sale in Tesco and bought a Vapestick each. These, with their ‘cartomizers’ and more modern design were even better. Better still, thereafter, was an e-cig with a small glass tank that can take various flavours of e-liquid. It was the moment I started using one of these that I had an epiphany, realising that I would never ever again smoke a cigarette.

Incidentally, since I’m a known SF writer (ask David Davis) who also blogs a lot, this has led to six of my fans finally taking the plunge and giving up smoking using the same method.

It is now the case that even if I cannot give up ‘vaping’ my chances of dying from all those smoking-related maladies have just dropped through the floor. These devices are massively harm-reducing. Ignore all this mealy-mouthed nonsense that starts with ‘but we don’t know enough’. We know that a ‘vaper’ breathes in nicotine, a vaporising substance found in asthma inhalers, and water. Nicotine is certainly addictive, but is no more harmful than caffeine. Yes, some further supposedly harmful substances have been found, but no more than are found in conventional NRT – trace amounts – and of course the merest fraction of a per cent of two or three of the thousands of chemicals and 60 or so known carcinogens in real cigarettes.  

So, imagine my surprise and horror to learn that there are people who want to ban these devices, and that bans have in fact already been introduced on some trains and in some pub chains. Imagine how annoying it is for me to discover that legislation is being introduced, much to the delight of drug and cigarette companies, that will kill innovation in this new industry, make these devices difficult to sell, impose limits on the strength and flavours of e-liquids and, in essence will drive many ‘vapers’ back to smoking; many of the 1.3 million people now using e-cigs in Britain today.

This is madness. This reveals that activists at the likes of ASH are more concerned with activism itself rather than the purported reason for it. This reveals that such is the hatred of anti-smokers that they would rather people died than use something that looks like a cigarette.  This leads to complete Twilight Zone situations like one recently, when an NHS quit-smoking manager was complaining about a lack clients, because they were using e-cigs.

Now, as my MP, what are you going to do about this? Here is something you can get behind that will actually save lives.


Yours Sincerely,

Neal Asher

18 comments:

Bob Lock said...

Nicely done but I have a horrible feeling you might be just vaping against a wind of closed-mindedness :(

Dean Frisby said...

Make that 7 of your fans - got my kit this morning and obviously far too early to tell yet but I'm sure and positive that this is it as far as tobacco. Thanks for your informative updates regarding the whole e-cig business etc and of course for your great books.

Miles Campbell said...

And 8 - After reading your account and having recently spent a large amount of money on a proper racing bike , i took the plunge and bought an e-cig just over a week ago. Quite why anyone would want to legislate against these things is a mystery to me. I've been cycling for years and since switching to vaping i've really noticed the difference. Get your 'Neal Asher Saved my Life' t-shirts here!
Really looking forward to the Penny Royal trilogy BTW.

Northern Fop said...

May I ask who your MP is?

Neal Asher said...

Yes, I probably am, Bob, but I have to try.

Dean, that's great to hear. What sort of e-cig have you got yourself?

Miles, again as above: that's great to hear. With me it was smoker's cough gone in two days and exercise becoming more pleasurable after a week. Sense of smell and taste kicking in pretty rapidly too.

Wow, all I can say is I done good!

Northern Fop, my MP is John Whittingdale.

Sandra Louise said...

Here in the states, they're also trying to ban them.

I think it's because, as you've said, big tobacco and big pharma can't muscle in.

The complaint made here is that since it comes in multiple "flavors" children would be induced to try it.

It's the old "But think of the children!" defense.

Keep the fight over there, and we'll keep fighting here.

Thanks!

Miles Campbell said...

After an exhaustive 5 minutes of research, i went with Skycig, mainly from testimonials and the range of flavours available.
I didn't bother with the more expensive re-fillable ones as i'm planning on giving up entirely. I was never a heavy smoker so i don't seem to have developed a cough but my breathing is definately improved during cycling and my fitness level has rocketed in the last week. I've started cycling in the opposite direction to my place of work and then doubling back just so i can spend more time on the bike!

Neal Asher said...

Hi Sandra, it's crazy. The cigarette haters are now working to the benefit of the cigarette companies! And yes, it's always that 'think of the children'. Perhaps they should. E-cigs can be sold as being cool and if the children, in the kind of acts of rebellion that now lead children into smoking, choose them over normal cigarettes, which are still of course easily available, surely that's a good result?

Miles, yes, it is quite amazing when you're free of it realising just how far below full health and fitness you've been functioning while smoking. Main result with me is not easily measurable, but I feel about ten years younger.

Dean Frisby said...

I have an Olympian imist purchased from eCigWizard who have a shop in our town centre. There was someone purchasing a kit before me and a couple waiting behind me so they seem pretty busy and e-cig momentum continues to build.
Mind you I can see it now... "It was 5 years after we had managed to fight back and contain the zombie apocalypse. The question remained though. How did it start? Suddenly there was a breakthrough at a remote ASH containment facility. They had found the cause... E-Cigarettes!!!!"

Kirby Uber said...

funny thing, Neal, i bought one about the same time you did, and it's working wonderfully. I have two 'flavors' i am currently using, rasp-apple, and full flavor. i like the rasp-apple better. i tried several different types of cigarette flavors, and bought the wrong one. i mixed the names up. oh well, i'll get the other when this bottle is through.

the pure idiocy of banning such a great substitute for cigarettes boggles the mind. the reasoning? why it looks too much like a cigarette! someone might be confused! they might ask the person using it to put the cigarette out, and be slightly embarrassed when it is revealed to simply be water vapour, oh dear. we can't have that mildly uncomfortable situation for a bit while e-cigs become more common place.

how our species has come this for, perhaps, is all the suggestion one needs for a higher power. surely we won't survive on our wits alone.

Kirby Uber said...


forgot to show off the e-cig i am currently using today.

Kirby Uber said...

s/come this for/come this far/g

xwifflebottom said...

Hey Neal just thought I'd tell you since reading your letter I've begun posting it and the link to your blog across various sites. The more people wake up to the militant anti-smokers i.e. Big Pharma shills, the more they're likely to try a real alternative/method of quitting.

Neal Asher said...

Dean, even now someone at ASH is making notes.

Yes, I saw your e-cig on Facebook, Kirby. Excellent looking device. And yes, a kind of madness seems to have taken the anti-smokers on this subject. They don't realise that they've started straying into that territory where normal people start backing away making calming gestures with their hands.

Xwifflebottom, thank you kindly! By promoting this stuff you can actually tell yourself that you may save lives.

Chad Pilkington said...

In Canada you can buy the e-cigarets but you can only buy flavour loads for them no nicotine loads. If you want the nicotine loads you have to import them illegally from the U.S. The rational from Health Canada appears to be that you can overdose on the nicotine loads.

Neal Asher said...

Chad, I guess someone might be able to overdose if they were daft enough to drink the stuff.

Neal Asher said...

Chad, I guess someone might be able to overdose if they were daft enough to drink the stuff.

Frankie Edwards said...

The usage of the electronic cigarette has been under the fire lately. A lot of people are skeptical of its implications and treats it the same way as analogs. Truth is that the vapor these devices produce are harmless, unless one finds sweet smell offensive. I just hope more people keep an open mind and try to explore this healthier alternative to smoking.

Frankie Edwards