It's entirely possible I spend too much time thinking. Well, I've been thinking again, and here's why the "QUIT" word is unusable for ecigs.
Actually, the word that's most problematical is "Smoking", coupled with "Smoker". While "Smoking" nearly describes what we used to do, it falls short of the mark. In truth, we were nicotine users - much like a Heroin user, only, in this case, using a substance which is regarded by those who tell us they know these things which is pretty benign. Benign. As in not all that harmful, if it's harmful at all - after all, we have specific receptors for it in various parts of our body.
So, yes, we were nicotine users, who happened to be using nicotine parcelled up in a (again, according to the "experts) pretty noxious delivery system. Lit tobacco, that is. Did we use said nicotine medicinally? Nope - it was all about recreation (no matter what the CEO of ASH would have you believe).
And then along comes the ecig. Some of us switched brands from the lit variety of nicotine delivery to the aerosolised delivery format. In so doing, we got rid of the noxious part of the old delivery system, but we hadn't "quit" being nicotine users. We were still using nicotine, and not in a medicinal way. All we did was to change delivery system from noxious to, arguably, safe. Switched brands.
In the drugs harm reduction world, the analogue would be moving from injecting Heroin (very risky, and for a variety of reasons) to "chasing the dragon" (a kind of heat, not burn form of delivery, which is much, much less risky). In the drugs world, had we quit Heroin? Nope, had we hell - we'd simply switched delivery system to one posing much less risk of harm. This is not massively difficult to understand, is it?
Public Health and the "Q" word
Now, we all know the phrase "Quit or die". Public Health, as a movement, has, as long as I can remember, been on at nicotine users (note how I'm not using that tendentious term "smokers") to "quit". They didn't mean (and don't mean) "stop lighting tobacco" as much as "QUIT USING NICOTINE" - their aim was (and is) total abstinence. You just have to look at all the "oooh, it's an addiction, and addiction is bad" (tell that to the folks addicted to going to the gym - and yes, they are, the chemicals in their brains do that for them) to see this. It's never-ending. Their message has always been "be abstinent from nicotine". Even now, in the moderate ones, you'll see "While switching to ecigs is a good step, the ultimate goal is complete cessation".
THAT is what they mean by "quit". Switching is not good enough for them.
Moreover, the big players, the ones who head up various of the alphabet organisations in Public Health (and some lobbying so-called "charities") are desperate to see so-called "medicinal" ecigs. Desperate.
Now, whenever I see that kind of desperation, I start thinking. Why? Why are they so desperate?
And the answer shows itself fairly quickly, really. If ecigs are medicinalised, they are then, in truth, NRT. They're not recreational. They're not fun. They're intended for one thing only - quitting. Quitting on PH terms, IN PH terms. And they'd probably be as successful as NRT, the statistics for which they have to torture in order to make them look good - but we al know that NRT is a dismal failure at what it sets out to do.
And the alphabet orgs seem very happy with that dismal failure. Possibly because it keeps so many people in well-paid jobs, travelling the world, meeting in five star hotels and demonising ordinary people.
And here's the rub. Vapers worldwide are playing into their hands. "I've quit smoking". That word - "smoking". It REALLY means "using nicotine" - and have they? Nope.
But they have used the "quit" word. They've adopted PH's vocabulary. They're even trying to "help smokers quit" by introducing them to ecigs. Sometimes, it seems to me, forcibly. They even stigmatise nicotine users of the lit tobacco variety by referring to
"the horrible smell"
"I don't have to wash my clothes after a night out" (You mean you didn't have to wash them anyway, you dirty bugger?)
"I've been off the stinkies for X months now"
All very helpful to the PH and anti-nicotine cause. But not very helpful, at all, to the harm reduction cause.
Think on it...