Number one: give up.
Okay, but SERIOUSLY – what ARE the alternatives?
Well, first we need to consider the FINANCIAL dimension. Nowhere in the VAST field of governmental corruption, lies and bullsh*t will you find more HYPOCRISY than when they address the issue of CIGARETTES.
Whilst wagging their fingers at us and droning on about health and safety – they rip us off for LITERALLY up to ONE THOUSAND PERCENT TAX, for what is a HIGHLY ADDICTIVE HABIT.
The MAFIA is the only other organisation that comes CLOSE to this level of blatant EXTORTION.
But while there are ways AROUND this injustice, this writer has already DEALT with those elsewhere in these ramblings – so let us move on. THIS piece is about those ALTERNATIVES.
First and most obvious comes the PIPE. But it still requires TOBACCO – and as an Alternate Delivery System, it has NO advantages and plenty of disadvantages. Plus you look a PRAT with one stuck in your mouth – this is not the Fifties.
Although if you REALLY want to go back in time, there is always SNUFF. It is still widely available – you do not even have to find a tobacconist (when did you last see one of THOSE?) as it can easily be obtained online – and has many advantages.
It is CHEAP, comes in a myriad of flavours, is far healthier than smoking – and you can nip into any loo and partake. Okay, it is a bit DISGUSTING – but if you can get into it, it IS a viable alternative. And these days, it is getting POPULAR.
Next come nicotine patches and chewing gum.
Both of these systems are sold as aids to GIVING UP smoking – no company has ever promoted them as an ALTERNATIVE.
Nevertheless, it has to be MORE THAN A COINCIDENCE that the COST of these Alternate Delivery Systems is EXACTLY the same as tobacco, when you allow for the nicotine contents.
Government corruption meets corporate greed.
They HAVE to have gotten together on this – perhaps in Smoke-Filled Rooms?
Anyhoo – let us examine them as Alternate Delivery Systems. Nicotine patches ARE a much safer Delivery System than tobacco. They can also be worn in secret, therefore bypassing the draconian bullsh*t anti-smoking regulations that abound today. You can wear one whilst reading The Lesson, in Church.
They are not without their disadvantages however. You need to stick them on an area of your body that is HAIRLESS, or they inflame your hair roots. In this reporter’s case, that would be on the top of his HEAD.
Plus they cause the skin to pucker – like when you sit in a BATH too long – where the sponge containing the nicotine contacts it. This requires that you re-site it every day.
Also, while retaining the nicotine high – you STILL need to have the occasional cigarette to supplement it. This of course is FROWNED on, but when you do it – it feels like it USED to, before your system became inured to the substance.
And so, if HEALTH is your issue, rather than COST – nicotine patches are a viable alternative. So long as you choose the highest content one available, you will find you can go for HOURS without a smoke (useful if you work indoors or travel on public transport) and the five or six REAL fags you will need – will taste like HEAVEN.
Nicotine chewing gum tastes like shit and is utterly unrewarding. Moving on…
This is the word that has been adopted by its devotees. E-cigarettes are generally NOT promoted as aids to giving up smoking – but as an actual Alternate Delivery System.
And it has governments in a MUCK SWEAT.
Although the technology has been around since the early Sixties, it has only recently become practical due to advances in BATTERY TECHNOLOGY.
It has the advantage of being LIKE smoking – but with water vapour being produced, instead of smoke. Thus it is far less offensive to non-smokers and far healthier for the vaper.
Some forward-looking COMPANIES have already approved the practice, in their buildings – as it has no financial downside for them. And whilst most airlines do not permit it, the vapour does not set off the toilet smoke detectors – so natch.
But like syldenafil citrate (see elsewhere in these scribblings) governments have no clue how to DEAL with it. In the last couple of years, it has taken off like a ROCKET – 50,000 sold in 2008, 3,500,000 in 2012 and NO-ONE KNOWS, today – threatening to REPLACE conventional smoking. And since the kits come mostly from CHINA, many people obtain them ONLINE – thus CIRCUMVENTING GOVERNMENT TAXES.
And so, some governments have BANNED it, citing health risks. However, since all SERIOUS research into e-cigarettes has concluded that the complete OPPOSITE is the case, their argument lacks conviction. Rather, just more governmental corruption, lies and bullsh*t.
Here in Thailand, all cigarettes are made by a government monopoly. They are VERY cheap by western standards – but still carry a 100% TAX. Therefore (predictably) THIS government has joined the prohibitors.
However, with said government currently being occupied by far more important problems – and with China being fairly close – and with conventional cigarettes still costing plenty, by Thai standards (smuggling is RIFE) – and given the damage that conventional cigarettes do to small, Thai men – and with anti-smoking regulations having recently been introduced (as usual, they have COPIED western practices) – one wonders how long it will be before vaping seriously catches on HERE.
This author has not tried vaping yet – but with AGE fast catching up on him, he would be MORE than interested in a viable alternative to tobacco. He is way too old to GIVE UP the drug – so a practical alternative would be MORE than welcome for HIM.
Cigarette smokers have long become RESIGNED to the extortionate taxes they pay for enjoying their habit – and have even accepted the BIGOTRY, SEGREGATION and ABUSE dealt out to them on a daily basis (try that on a racial minority and there would be RIOTS). But vaping is a game-changer.
While governments have long relied on people’s addiction to tobacco to raise massive TAXES – and with e-cigarettes, sold on the Interweb, being able to cut them OUT of the loop – and with research calling them LIARS, when they claim the practice is dangerous – they are between a rock and a hard place.
Of course, commonsense would suggest that the move from cigarettes to vaping would likely be gradual – at least over a few years – thus governments would only need to shift the focus of taxation GRADUALLY, to compensate. But then, when did the words “governments” and “commonsense” ever go together?
It will be interesting to see how this plays out…
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Footnote: now that marijuana is slowly (and belatedly) beginning to be legalised, one wonders whether tetrahydrocannabinol (AKA: THC) – the active ingredient of hash – could be added to (or for non-smokers, replace) the nicotine in e-cigarettes’ liquids?
Of course, stoners already HAVE an alternative delivery system, in the form of “hash brownies” – but for traditionalists…
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Update: it has now come to the attention of this writer that a number of big tobacco companies have BOUGHT UP a number of e-cigarette manufacturers – which would appear to be a case of “if you can’t beat ’em – BUY ’em.” And that – as Mr Holmes might well have opined – is instructive.
For while governments vacillate, the public are moving ahead regardless.
And whether e-cigarettes are legal, illegal or a “grey area” in a particular country – online shopping has made the purchase of them easy EVERYWHERE. We are now living in a Global Village, where local “niggles” can be ignored.
Thus use of e-cigarettes is currently QUADRUPLING every year. Therefore, while e-cigarettes might only have made a tiny inroad into the smoking community right now – this exponential growth could CHANGE all that.
And a lot quicker than some people might expect…