I came across a blog post the other day, one of those special interest types that are narrowly focused and poorly written. People can be much more attached to their interests or habits than most other individuals would allow of themselves. I suppose that if Cosplay is your mania in life it may well take over the larger portion of time not spent sleeping, eating, or working. This is not a moral interpretation, by the way. I tend to spend a great amount of time reading and writing interspersed with activities such as remodeling houses and other such activities. But it must be pointed out that some activities become fixations, that is habituation that defines the individual in a very narrow sense.
So I read this post on this blog about “vaping”, the new term for electronic cigarette smoking. Oh, yes, it’s not cigarette smoking, which is so harmful, it is an alternative activity that is harmless to the health of the individual. You see, it produces vapors and not smoke. Does it really? As I recall, one obtains this device, which really isn’t electronic per se. Essentially one loads the smoking mechanism with a measured amount of chemicals that can be purchased prepackaged, start the element heating to the prescribed temperature that then evaporates or burns the chemicals and inhale the vapor or smoke. The electronic part is the operation of the heating element. I suppose that one could put a little crack in the chamber and do the same thing that a pipe and cigarette lighter does. Oh, but then one would be troubles o clean the ecig holder after every use. Sometimes advances in technology don’t work as well as the old methods. That would be like using your iPhone to make a plain old telephone call. But back to the story.
The author was trying to make a point but failed most miserably. He chose the wrong analogy and had a very weak moralist conclusion. The ecig is just that, something to smoke. The advertised advantage is that it contains no tobacco and thus is not harmful. It is a substitute for tobacco use, sort of the same approach to non-alcoholic beer and wine, which have a very small amount of alcohol in them. If you want to continue smoking because you derive pleasure from that act, both as a personal habit and as a social bond, then you “vape” either by yourself or with your friends. You are quitting the use of tobacco but not quitting the act of smoking. The idea behind this activity is like changing from eating meat to eating an all vegetable diet. One can still over consume but be healthy doing it…that doesn’t sound right. Bust to the story. So the analogy was that motorcycle operation was made safer with the introduction of the motorcycle helmet. And to ensure that safety, laws were passed that made their use mandatory. Now imagine, he says, that motorcycle riding becomes so popular among the young, you know, the adolescent crowd, that public outcry causes lawmakers to “do something”. So they ban the use of the motorcycle helmet to reduce the interest of these young people in riding motorcycles. Well, yeah, make it more dangerous and they young in all their wisdom will decide that the dangers are too great. Everyone knows the young are foolish dare devils. Having added the morality play that now the lawmakers can sleep peacefully at night knowing their did their duty…. But see, this is happening to the ecig users now. Maybe so, but wrong analogy.
When I was in the ten plus age my friends and I often bought a pack of cigarettes and smoked, always aways from home. Our parents did not approve of such behavior. In fact, my father gave up his pipe smoking because of me. I was attracted to his pipe and one day he thought, “Why not give the kid a lit pipe and let him get sick? That’ll cure him.” Oh, famous last words. One of the actions you never do as a parent is to try the old let-them-try-it-and-they;ll-be-sorry routine. It almost never works. I was about three and I am told that I took the pipe and proceeded to puff away, thoroughly enjoying myself. No, once children get such ideas in their heads it tough to change their minds. Do you see the point? If people actually thought about the high risk activity that they were about to engage their bodies and mind in the attempt, they would never make the attempt. When one is young one believes in invincibility. Most of the motorcycle riders I have met had that same belief in their own invincibility. Us exriders know better. You know, the one deciding factor in 1939 when the RAF interviewed personnel who wanted to be fighter pilots was not whether they rode motorcycle, but rather if they had given up that activity. A pilot who recognized that he is not invincible will pay attention to the risks of fighter combat. One can lost the aircraft but it takes more time and money to train the pilot.
The author should have appealed to the concept of personal freedom, not safety. First we put age restrictions of the buying of tobacco products. That only stops a few underage buyers. Then came the warning labels and the advertisements against smoking. The most ridiculous was Yul Brenner, who smoked like a fiend, got cancer in his fifties/sixties, and then whined how smoking was killing him and everyone should stop or never stop. He never stopped. Great object lesson. Then cam all the tax hikes on a pack to the point that what had once cost twentyone cents now cost over five dollars. Unlike Prohibition, where people of good intentions tried to legislate morality and produces one of the most violent and lawless decades by doing so, we now try to price sin out of the reaches of the masses. The fact is, smoking is no longer socially acceptable by the majority of individuals in this culture. So now its is egig and vaping. But ti is still not acceptable in social situations. The claim is that it is safe. Maybe, once the ingestion of arsenic in very small amounts was thought to be safe and healthful.
What happens when on places a load of whatever in the esig device, heats that load up, and then inhales the vapor or smoke? Ah, now that is a bit of complex chemistry. Well, I know that the chemicals I use are safe, blah, blah, blah. I mix my own and know that they are pure, blah, blah, blah. And I know that the burning element heats the mixture to a very high heat, blah, blah, blah. Yes, but what happens to those chemicals under very high heat and pressure. Silence. And then those chemicals in a vapor form now travel down the tube, which must cool that vapor to less that one hundred degrees for ingestion into the mouth, through the throat, and into the lungs, what are the interactions during the cool down period and what happens as the vapor is condensed in the mouth, the throat, and the lungs? What are the interactions And then it all gets exhaled and those around you must deal with your second hand vapor residues, How does that affect them? Silence. My point is that any effects on the body and associated bodies is cumulative and that takes time for the effects to register. I smoked a pipe for 25 years and no cancer. My Paternal grandfather smokes cigarettes for seventy years, no cancer. The other grandfather smoked cigarettes and was a blacksmith, very deadly combination, died of cancer in his early sixties. His oldest son smoked and died of cancer in his late forties. His eldest son lost half his face to cancer in his forties, another heavy smoker. Individual differences is that theme. My mother’s side of the family either died of cancer or heart failure. My father’s side either died of strokes, internal bleeding, or brain tumors, occasionally one actually died of old age in their nineties. So we may say that smoking or other use of tobacco products affects or helps promote the body to produce the cancers. We are finding that cancer is genetic. It is programmed in out genes so that some of us, regardless of how careful we are in our health we have cancer cells growing. And many of us who abuse our bodies seven ways to Sunday won’t be touched by cancer. Individual differences.
Now, lest you think I am against individuals using ecigs and ingesting vapor, I’m not. It’s a disgusting habit. But’s it’s clean unlike tobacco. It’s a habit, something one acquires over time by continuous use. It is behavior and when one constantly repeats the same behavior it becomes habitual. That is what cigarette smoking is, a habitual behavior. And one never extinguishes a habit, conditioned behavior. One can change that behavior by modifying it. That is why people, when they stop smoking tend to over eat, chew lots of gum, and other oral behaviors. Will the use of these ecigs ever be found to be a harmful as tobacco? I don’t know. But I will concede your right to smoke whatever you wish in the privacy of your own abode without government interference and as long as you are not interfering with anyone else’s rights. I see more need for government at any level to enter my abode and dictate prescriptive behavior on my behalf. That is the argument the author should have made. Our governments have no more right to tell us that we cannot smoke/vape that i does to tell us we can’t consume a gallon of ice cream every day. So you grow to five or six hundred pounds, so what? As long as I don’t have to pay for your health care or your self inflicted disability, you can die for all I care. That is the argument. The more government tried to protect us from ourselves the more it restricts our freedoms and the more in interferes in our lives, prohibiting our pursuits of happiness. Living is all about dying. Will being a vegetarian keep you from getting colon cancer? No, never. But we have this mania about prolonging life and worst yet, prolonging youth. I have news for you. No one leaves this world alive unless they are a astronaut. And then you have to land back on earth again if you do leave. The price of freedom is the cost of making dumb decisions, stupid choices.