In sweltering temperatures of 37 degrees Centigrade and higher, one occasionally begins to lose control over one's temper when discussing stuff. I'm not normally a firebrand, given to over the top responses to idiocy, but I came awfully close...
So, we're sat, as ever, beside the pool as the new intake to our little enclave arrives to take up positions on the sun beds. Alongside Gill and I a couple - it transpired, from Wales - took up residence, while a younger - again Welsh - lady took up residence alongside them. Out of five of us sat there, four were vaping. That would the be the elder lady, the younger lady, myself and Gill. Behind us another vaper (cloud chaser, if I'm any judge) toted the travelling gear up the stairs to their apartment, box mod and big tank with chuff-cap sized mouthpiece in hand.
Not unnaturally , conversation ensued. The four of us sat down were, as you might expect, enthusiastic about our gear. However, elder Welsh lady confessed that she was looking to reduce her nic levels from the current 18mg she was using. I asked why, only for her husband (an ex smoker and occasional sucker of the nicotine lozenge - there's a clue there) to interject that of course she should get off the nic. He expressed dismay that, here she was, two or three years down the line, and she was "still using the stupid thing".
My reply? "She's not smoking, though, is she?". His riposte: "She's even taking crafty drags on the plane - there's no need, it's ridiculous!".
I cast about for clues... And later, they became apparent. First, he's a Sun reader. Second, "According to this piece I read by some science editor or another, those things will give you Popcorn Lung; even the CMO says so". Third - he'd heard of Drakeford and didn't immediately call him a disingenuous tit. In fact, liked the bloke.
So, ex-smoker, still sucking on a lozenge when the urges hit him (because NRT works SO well), dis informed and misinformed by The Sun and Sarah Knapton (the only so-called science editor to be so pig headed as to keep on lying even when she's been caught out) and, apparently, a touch holier than thou in his attitudes towards smokers and vapers.
Suffice it to say, we haven't shared any pleasant nights out with him.
But it DOES point out the need for our sensible health organisations to actually do something concrete and far-reaching to counter all this crap. We're it me, I'd force The Sun and Knapton's rag to print the following:
On behalf of the publisher, editor and all members of staff of this newspaper, we would like to apologise to our readers, and those they influence, for being total and utter lying bastards about Ecigs, electronic cigarettes, Vape machines and anything else to do with vaping. We not only acknowledge, but firmly believe that Ecigs are not only safer that smoked lit tobacco (a major lie we've often printed is that they're just as bad - they're nowhere near as bad - we're sorry) but they are so much safer that they're actually safe enough to be called safe. We have also frequently lied about them causing popcorn lung. We only did this to sell papers. But we did lie, and then some. There's no way Ecigs can cause popcorn lung, it hasn't happened and it will never happen. The science is there. We lied. We're sorry...
And I'm sure you can add further paragraphs. I'd make them print it on the front page, under the headline:
Ecigs a godsend, newspapers have peddled lies about them for years, and it ends today.
That, I think, would be a good start.