A Healthier Outlook…and a toxic government

It finally had to happen.  I’ve given up the cigarettes.

Now before you start to slap me on the back for the willpower, grit and determination in kicking a habit that I’ve had for over 20 years, its how I’ve done it that is key to this post.

Vaping, e-cigs or whatever else you wish to call them are the healthier alternative and have got me off the traditional cigarettes.  The addiction is still there of course and there’s nothing healthy about an addiction to anything, even nicotine, but when you look at all the harmful ingredients in a traditional cigarette at least now its only the addition to nicotine which poses the problem.

And talking about problems is the point here.  Over in the UK, the liquid that goes into these e-cig’s is not taxed to the hilt like a traditional cigarettes or tobacco and this I’d suggest poses the government with a problem.

Rumours are abound that next year will see a tax placed on e-cigs in the UK, which if true, begs the question, does the government want people healthier or not?  The government is “seen” to want people to give up, but from figures and various research it’s argued that the tax made from tobacco could more than off-set the health bill from related illnesses.  Being a consumer of alcohol too, going off the excuse the government gives for taxing tobacco, could easily be one for alcohol too.  How much does it cost with the health issues of alcohol? or what about crime related to alcohol?  If we put the “cost” argument to tobacco, then we must also put it to alcohol and its my opinion that the cost of alcohol in terms of use of resources is far higher than smoking.

So here’s the problem the government has – People can have their nicotine habit but its no longer unhealthy (in terms of what the government promotes as the reason for stopping smoking).  The government can’t surely tax people to the hilt with e-cigarettes because it is going to be the healthy solution surely?

I certainly don’t believe that the UK government has the health of the nation in mind and I believe they see the e-cig as a great threat to their finances.  I think that there are two reasons why they promote giving up smoking when it clearly makes so much money for them and that’s a/ they need to be “seen” to be concerned and b/ when/if smoker numbers reduce, the tax will continue to go up meaning money for the government remains.

Do I think the UK government will tax e-cigs?  Of course it will and I’m sure come up with a “great” reason for doing so.  It can’t have all that potential money going the healthy route.  It will be interesting to watch the UK and what it does in relation to e-cigs because you can almost guarantee that the government has on the drawing board at this very moment plans for a whole host of fines, penalties and rules relating to the product too.

Smokers tend to live shorter lives than non-smokers, which also saves the government money in terms of resources in retirement.  Its like having two bites of the same cherry, taxing people for something they know people will pay and saving money when those people generally will be relying on public services for less time.

Here is my prediction for what will happen.  The UK government will tax e-cig’s to a point where it won’t be a money saving choice.  They will restrict the nicotine content of liquids to a number much lower than it is now, with the higher strength products only being available through prescription.  The effect of this will be that people will return to the traditional cigarettes with the incredibly high price and the government will continue to tax those to.  It might sound far fetched.  I don’t think my prediction will be far wrong.  The government will also seek to demonise the e-cig with a campaign claiming that young people are being illegally sold e-cig products and finding an “easier” route to addiction.  It will also seek to claim that the plethora of liquid flavours are there to entice young people into the addiction and to keep those already with the addiction trapped.

There is only one thing more toxic than a cigarette and that’s the UK government with its associated agencies.

It also asks an interesting question.  When the UK government is sniffing around the public financial records of US States which have trialled legal cannabis,  you can bet that the saliva will start forming on their lips for a piece of the action.  They will of course on one side of their mouth tell you about the health concerns, but the other side will firmly be taking your cash.  Personally I don’t believe Cannabis is the wonder plant people claim it is.  I have grave concerns of the effect it has on the brain and whilst you can shout back at me that the same could be said about alcohol, I’d probably agree, but then my answer to that would be – Why would we seek to introduce yet another product to the market which has the potential of long term harm.  If you view is that alcohol causes harm, why are you not campaigning for the total ban (or heavily taxation) of alcohol? What Cannabis actually does is gives a very good reason for banning alcohol as well as tobacco.  If anyone is going to play “medical Cannabis” to me, I’m actually supportive of that, if its prescribed and monitored by a Doctor.   What I’m not supportive of is a new revenue stream for a government not only with the product itself, but the new laws that will have to come about and be enforced because of it.

I digress.  Returning back to the topic of e-cigs and myself, I can say to anyone who has not thought they could leave the cigarette for a healthier option – its fine.  I’ve had no issues at all.  I do not find myself needing a nicotine fix because the e-cig delivers it perfectly.  Bizarrely I do miss the taste of a real cigarette every so often and I have drifted back into the odd cigarette now and then, but we are talking less than 10 in 2 weeks, which I think shows how effective e-cigs are.  Now the next step is to reduce the nicotine until its removed from my life completely, but I’m taking it one step at a time, so that’s not for the immediate.

I have a few words of advice if anyone is considering moving to e-cigs.  The first one – If you choose a tobacco flavour liquid in the hope it emulates a cigarette you will be disappointed.  Every liquid I’ve tried so far tastes (at best) like the smell you get from a fresh pack of tobacco.  That’s no bad thing though, just something which I assumed I could easily find – that is not so far the case.    I’d also say check online for your liquid as a rule I’ve found it much better value ordering straight from the manufacturers websites.  The stuff you can buy in the shops will still save you a lot of money compared with a traditional packet of cigarettes or tobacco, but you can make even bigger savings spending a little time shopping around online.  And finally, when changing to e-cigs, try and keep your smoking routine.  I never smoked in the house and always went into the back garden, I still do this with the e-cig as I think part of the addiction is the routine surrounding it.

At the moment I’m “vaping” a pineapple liquid and feel rather pleased that my regular cough has almost completely gone and I can taste things better.

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