By: Dan Laxer – mtltimes.ca
This week was tobacco-free week in Quebec, a one week period to promote smoking cessation, which is a good thing. But one wonders if our efforts are a bit off the mark.
Quebec has something, for example, called The Quebec Council on Tobacco on Health which, not to quibble over semantics, seems a bit of a misnomer, since tobacco and health don’t go together. But I suppose they can’t really call it the Quebec Council on Tobacco and Death; that would likely have the same effect on teens as those graphic warnings on cigarette packs. But how else do you convey a concern over two the things simultaneously? (The Conseil Quebecoise sur Le Tabac et La Sante does not appear to have an English component. But I digress…).
Teens are indeed the target of a new anti-smoking campaign. A youth group called The Enlightened Gang wants to get teens off tobacco completely by 2025.
Can they do it?
When I was in high school the only anti-smoking policy with any teeth was against smoking in front of the school. During recess and lunch we’d head out – not too far out, because smokers like to stand right by the front entrance of a building so that you have to walk through their stink – and smoke to our hearts’ – and lungs’ – content. One day the principal walked by and said. “Guys, please don’t smoke in front of the school or I’ll suspend you.” So, we crossed the street.
Things are different now. But just when you thought kids were “getting it,” just as the number of teen smokers is dropping significantly, Vape stores are popping up, well, like weeds, and with all of them selling some sort of starter vape diy kits are they really better than tobacco?
Vapes have made smoking cool again, from the look of the devices to what they’re called: E-cigs. Vaporisers such as a fenix 2.0 are becoming very popular in society as they have many benefits. And just like everything else, they’re rechargeable, yet another glowing light next to your bedside where your iPad and iPhone are charging, so you’re ready to go in the morning, walking to the bus sucking on something that’s reminiscent of a pipe, but contains only “juice,” or more to the point, “E-juice,” and blowing out deliciously-flavoured vapour. It’s like a little pocket-hooka.
There are those who argue, as passionately as smokers do, that vaping is a safe alternative to smoking, and a great way to help you quit.
Really? Because that just seems like part of the marketing hype of the vape culture. And it’s the marketing, along with peer pressure, that’s at the heart of the new anti-smoking campaign.
Look, if it has to be flavoured to get kids to buy into it, and referred to as “juice,” and fit into your pocket likes it’s a vape-touch or a vape-nano or whatever, it can’t be good for you.
I don’t really know what it takes to quit smoking. I was one of the lucky ones. I was never addicted to nicotine, I just smoked to be cool. I just enjoyed the activity of smoking: blowing rings, French-inhaling, and then seeing just how far you could flick the butt when you were finished, content in the assumption that cigarette butts were biodegradable, so it didn’t matter where it landed.
But inasmuch as I don’t want my kids to smoke, I also don’t want them to vape. If the stuff contains nicotine, then is it really better than tobacco? And if it doesn’t, well, then what’s the point?