News Ian O'Doherty

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Health fascists strike – triumph of the ill will

Ian O'Doherty

Published 01/05/2014 | 02:30

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E-cigarettes

Planning on visiting a friend or a loved one in a hospital today? Or are you an in-patient? Are you just reading your morning Indo with a coffee and a cigarette as you take a break from the drudgery of sitting in a bed, surrounded by strangers all day?

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Of course, you can no longer smoke on the grounds of a hospital, and that in itself is a malicious and belligerent imposition on those patients, staff and visitors who are now forced to walk – if they can – to the gates of whatever facility they find themselves in.

In fact, the next time you're passing by the Mater on a wet day, have a look at the patients and visitors who are forced to stand out in the rain and marvel at the genius of health-care professionals who would allow people be drenched rather than extend a little consideration.

This is a classic case of ideology trumping basic humanity. Smoking is bad, so let's ban smoking on hospital grounds – and who cares about the effects that may have, for example, on patients who are confined to a wheelchair?

But it's not enough to inconvenience people, particularly those long-term patients who portion out their day in terms of when they can go for a smoke.

No, from today you will no longer even be allowed to puff on an e-cigarette.

As you would expect from the brainiacs who are doing such a brilliant job in the health service, they can't come up with any scientific arguments so they resort to scaremongering and finger wagging. Because their remarkably petty and flawed argument for banning them is that "the HSE can only recommend safe and effective products and strategies for quitting smoking, and there currently is no conclusive evidence that e-cigarettes are safe for long-term use, or are effective as a smoking cessation aid".

Of course, what they are really saying is that there is currently no conclusive evidence that they are dangerous, either.

But the deranged drive to socially engineer us all into compliant, docile and clean-living drones isn't content with actually banning things that are dangerous – now they are banning things even when they admit that they are unaware of any danger. And you have to love the argument that seeing a bunch of patients enjoying an e-cigarette in a designated smoking area in a hospital "might encourage" children to smoke.

Because you know what? Nothing promotes smoking as a cool thing to do quite like a bunch of a pensioners in pyjamas and wheelchairs huddled together in a shed on hospital grounds.

What kid wouldn't look at that and think ... wow, I really want to look like them?

This is where the argument falls apart and their prissy, spiteful motivations become clear. And it also shows just how incredibly removed they are from the real world.

I guess the clear air of their ivory towers doesn't guarantee great vision because only a fanatical non-smoker could look at a device that is designed to help people quit smoking and think ... hang on, that device might cause people to start smoking.

Blaming e-cigarettes for encouraging people to smoke is like blaming life jackets for encouraging people to drown – they're designed to do the exact opposite and only those who have really drunk the Kool Aid could suggest otherwise.

Their secondhand stupidity continues with the laughable assertion that "the e-cigarette ban is being introduced as e-cigarettes pose a challenge to a smoke-free campus and come with safety concerns for a health-care environment".

Frankly, that reads like it was originally written in gobbledygook and then run through Google Translate, but how can something whose whole point is that is produces no smoke be damaging to a smoke-free environment? And as for their assertion that there is no proof that they help smokers quit? Here's a thought – did they bother asking anybody who uses them?

The reasons behind the ban are part of a desire to stamp out smoking and even the very appearance of smoking. This is not because they are worried that is dangerous – they admit that they have no proof that it is – but because they don't approve. Maybe it's an aesthetic thing.

Maybe it's contempt for what they so obviously see as a moral failing. Maybe they just see smoking as a sign of bad character.

Or maybe, and this is more likely, it is simply because they can. Some people just like telling others what do.

But there is one group who will be absolutely delighted at today's ban – Big Tobacco.

Because if you're told you can't even have a placebo on the grounds of the hospital and have to schlep to the streets outside, why not just smoke an actual cigarette?

If only there was an alternative. Oh wait, there is. And they just banned it.

I GUESS THEY DON'T LIKE GREEN EGGS AND HAM

A Canadian library has just released the most delightfully cranky complaint about one of their books –Dr Seuss's Hop On Pop.

The disgruntled reader argues that, as a father, he is worried that the book's title "may encourage violence against fathers" and he wants an apology and damages. Now I know we're all meant to be in a Reefer Madness-style moral panic over Call Of Duty and Grand Theft Auto, but blaming Dr Seuss for encouraging patricide is surely a new leap of imagination.

I'd love to think the person who made the complaint was acting the maggot and having a bit of mischief, but y'know what?

I doubt it.

Because some people really are that mad.

And they're taking over.

WELL, WHO WOULD YOU SUGGEST?

Yesterday's column touched on America's – botched, as it happened – execution in Oklahoma and argued that while it has many flaws, it is still the greatest country in the world.

Cue the usual torrent of America-bashing from people who were quick to list all the reasons why they see the States as the source of all evil.

Fair enough, we live in a free country and all that. But, interestingly, none of them were able to come up with a country that was superior.

What, the cat got your Tonga?

Irish Independent

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