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We have always been at war with Vapasia

India bans e-cigarettes as global vaping backlash grows

India has announced a ban on electronic cigarettes, as a backlash gathers pace worldwide about a technology promoted as less harmful than smoking tobacco.


“The decision was made keeping in mind the impact that e-cigarettes have on the youth of today,” India’s finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, told reporters in the capital, New Delhi.


The government said it would advance tobacco control efforts and contribute to a reduction in tobacco usage. Punishments include up to a year in prison.


According to the World Health Organization, India is the world’s second-largest consumer of traditional tobacco products, which are not covered by the new ban, killing nearly 900,000 people every year.


India is also the world’s third-largest producer of tobacco, the WHO says, and tobacco farmers are an important vote bank for political parties.

22 comments to We have always been at war with Vapasia

  • Julie near Chicago

    Re the penultimate quote:

    X smoked. X died. Therefore X died of smoking.

    It is perfectly true, of course, that everyone who breathes dies.

    In fact, it seems quite reasonable to essay that breathing causes death, because one who never breathes never dies.*

    Perhaps now we should move on to the discussions of What Words Mean, How Do We Know, What IS Knowing, and ultimately, of course,

    “Vhat iss everysing, anyvay?”


    *Interesting to note that a machine that has never been turned on never wears out.

    . . .

    And now, shall we discuss The Use and Meaning of Statistics? It really does depend on who is doing the counting, you know. And on just exactly what is being counted. And, in the end, on how the results of the counting are interpreted.

    Thank you all for attending.

    (Signed) The Stoned Philosopher

  • bobby b

    Interestingly, the majority of people in the US who have developed lung problems after vaping did so after vaping marijuana cartridges.

    THC isn’t water soluble like nicotine is, so the carrier liquid in the cartridges needs to be solvent-based. Various manufacturers have made some poor solvent choices, and users are bearing the burden.

    Since nicotine vaping started, cigarette usage of teens has plummeted. Everyone keeps ignoring this.

    But the progressives are still incensed that people would ignore their instructions to quit smoking everything and instead move to vaping – which is oodles safer than cigarettes – and they will not brook such disrespect.

    (And the tobacco money flowing into governments and campaigns doesn’t hurt this effort.)

  • Julie near Chicago

    Interesting, bobby. I didn’t know that about the THC-vaping. I have read that “vaping isn’t so safe after all,” so your remark about that certainly calls those columns into question. Were they distinguishing between THC and nicotine or just bundling them together “overall,” I wonder.


  • bobby b

    Julie, look at the new article on vaping in the City-Journal. John Tierney has done a number of articles on this subject over the past few years.

    Smoking cigs remains one of the biggest killers. Vaping offers the first effective quitting mechanism. It would be a shame to sacrifice this tool to appease perfectionists or to continue flooding public coffers with tobacco money.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Will do, bobby. Thanks.

  • TomJ

    This is also worth a read on the specific issues in the US.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Thanks to you to, TomJ.

  • John


    Not enough people are familiar with the self-assured wisdom of Hyman Kaplan.

  • Julie near Chicago

    John, an interesting observation. As it happened I studied Mr. Kaplan quite closely, from my teen years and right on into my 30s.

    Unfortunately, scumbag illegal immigrants wearing raccoon suits eventually got hold of a good many of my more important philosophical works (as well as the valuable legal casebooks of Erle Stanley Gardner) and turned them into bedding and litter-boxes. (I believe they ate the insulation.) But I’ve been a fan for 60 years or more.

    Even though my uncle never had a gless eye.

  • Jim Jones

    These propaganda pieces are regularly issued in order to make the State seem virtuous and to increase its power. Here om the UK lifespan is actually declining as a result of the War on Fags

  • Mark

    Yes, this has been going on since the emporer Vapasian. I believe he founded the flavoured dynasty which the Donald has just banned.

  • neonsnake

    Here om the UK lifespan is actually declining as a result of the War on Fags

    It is? How come?

    (Pure curiosity. I’m a lifelong smoker who’s having some success with substituting most of my fags with vaping, just so you know the reason I’m asking)

  • neonsnake

    John Tierney has done a number of articles on this subject over the past few years.

    Took me a while to find it, but here’s the paragraph I was expecting to find:

    Altria (the parent company of Philip Morris) successfully urged the FDA to issue regulations governing e-cigarettes, a move welcomed by Wall Street analysts who track the cigarette industry.

    Of course.

  • Surellin

    Well, back to ciggies for me then.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    Neonsnake — “It is? How come?”

    R.A. Fisher (1890 – 1962) was one of the giants of statistics — that much abused topic. Starting in 1958, he published a number of papers in which he concluded that the evidence cited to show that smoking caused cancer was statistically badly flawed. He continued to argue this case until he died. After his death, serious critique of the Conventional Wisdom came to an end.

    The analogy with today’s Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming scam is suggestive. The insiders in the “scientific community” know where the research funds are coming from and either sell out or shut up; the effective debunking of the AGW scam has come from a very few outsiders and retired academics — people like Fisher.

    I wonder if the anti-smoking campaign was the first successful push by the Junk Science Authoritarians? They demonstrated that they could manipulate people’s behavior — for our own good, of course. I have tried to look into the readily available US data, which does not on its face make a strong case that decline in smoking has been related to the decline in reported cancer deaths. Especially when there have been so many other changes over the decades of the anti-smoking movement — decreased physical activity, increased obesity, dietary changes, growing drug use, better medical treatment, etc.

    Junk Science is a real problem for a society that claims to use science as a basis for public policy — and for directing human behavior.

  • neonsnake

    he published a number of papers in which he concluded that the evidence cited to show that smoking caused cancer was statistically badly flawed.

    Possibly, but it will take some doing for me to believe that my smoking is doing me anything other than harm. From the times I’ve managed even just a few days without, and from shifting largely to vaping (except for when I’m having a drink), I’m comfortable that “not smoking” is far better for me than “smoking”.

    As you rightly point out, cancer deaths are not declining, but there are an enormous amount of other factors. I wouldn’t want to be in charge of attempting to “control” for that.

    I was just genuinely curious (very neutrally) by Jim Jones positing that the “war on fags” is actively decreasing life spans. I can’t immediately think how.

  • bobby b

    “The analogy with today’s Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming scam is suggestive.”

    Gavin, the crux of our problem with the Cook, et al. “97% of all scientists agree . . .” argument is that it is so clearly a manufactured lie.

    But it’s been my experience that 97% of relevant scientists DO agree that cigarette smoking causes (or at least triggers) lung cancer.

    The analogy might be superficially suggestive, but it fails quickly.

    (On an unrelated note – and I’m probably a horrible person for thinking this – the differences in American and British slang can cause somewhat hilarious misreadings. 😉 )

  • Gavin Longmuir

    Bobby — You know that science is not a democratic process. As far as scientific truth is concerned, it does not matter what 97% of scientists say. The AGW scam proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt. However, whether it is cause, or effect, or a self-licking ice cream cone, what 97% of scientists will say for public attribution does tell us a lot about which way the research funding is flowing.

    So that brings us to the interesting question — Was AGW the first time that 97% of “scientists” put getting access to (mainly government) funding ahead of really getting to the bottom of an issue?

    Remember President Eisenhower’s Farewell Speech in which he specifically pointed to the potentially baleful impacts of federal research funding on the direction of research. This problem has been developing since the 1960s.

  • bobby b

    “As far as scientific truth is concerned, it does not matter what 97% of scientists say. The AGW scam proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt.”

    I agree with almost all of what you say, but for this:

    The point about the AGW argument is that 97% of scientists do NOT say such a thing. It was a completely made-up assertion.

    And, while I agree that science does not come down to a vote, and that an assertion of 97% agreement isn’t proof of anything, the valid assertion that nearly all medical scientists looking at cancer agree about something can’t be ignored. It’s not proof – but it does reflect our current scientific ability.

    We don’t argue against the 97% assertion because it is meaningless – we argue against it because it’s a lie. If such an assertion had no meaning, we wouldn’t care if it was a lie. If 97% of scientists truly did believe in the CAGW theory, I’d be re-examining my own views. I’d be foolish not to.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “R.A. Fisher (1890 – 1962) was one of the giants of statistics — that much abused topic. Starting in 1958, he published a number of papers in which he concluded that the evidence cited to show that smoking caused cancer was statistically badly flawed.”

    Yes he did and yes it was, at first. The result was an extended academic conversation where the evidence was refined and all the gaps in the arguments filled in, until the final arguments and evidence connecting smoking to lung cancer were pretty solid. Nowadays, it’s not in doubt, and it was an excellent object lesson to science in how these things should be done.

    Unfortunately, it’s a lesson that hasn’t always been taken to heart. The Bansturbators took from it the lesson that they were right after all, and used the victory to leverage a pass on evidence for their later claims. And while we learnt a lot as scientists from the controversy, some of the many precedents and lessons Fisher et al established have been retained, and others not. The evidence on passive smoking is shaky indeed, as it is on a lot of other health scares like obesity or salt or saturated fats. But on smoking, ironically, it is rock solid – largely *because* of Fisher’s efforts to debunk it. A hypothesis can only gain scientific credibility by surviving sustained efforts to kill it by people competent and motivated to do so, in circumstances where we would expect to find flaws if there were any to be found. The Fisher-Doll debate is precisely how science should be done.

    The 97% thing in climate science is about the percentage of papers that can get published in climate science journals, not the opinions of scientists. But neither has any relevance on whether it is true or not. That has to come from the evidence.

    As for the idea that any putative within-the-margin-of-error change in overall UK life expectancy has been, or can be, attributed to anything at all, let alone the “war on fags”, my sceptical bullshatometer is pegging it off the top of the scale and now bending the needle. However, the right thing to do in these circumstances is to ask for the data, as has been done.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    NIV — You may be optimistic there about the degree of certainty on the link between smoking and cancer. Fisher died very early in the process, and with the tidal wave of government research funding flowing the other way, the search for the truth may have been less extensive than you have been led to believe.

    Research on living organisms is incredibly difficult because of the great range of individual variation. Most of us have known people who never smoked and died of cancer, and others who smoked all their lives right up to the day they fell down the stairs and broke their neck. It needs statistical skills which are beyond most of us to draw reliable conclusions. And it does not inspire confidence that Christine Blasey Ford is perhaps the best known statistician in the medical field today.

    From time to time, real statisticians look at published research and conclude that a lot of the conclusions are not defensible. One example:
    “He zoomed in on 49 of the most highly regarded research findings in medicine over the previous 13 years … Of the 49 articles, 45 claimed to have uncovered effective interventions. Thirty-four of these claims had been retested, and 14 of these, or 41 percent, had been convincingly shown to be wrong or significantly exaggerated.”

    For the short version, there is the well-known statement by the Editor in Chief of the Lancet, Dr. Richard Horton:
    “The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.”

    Does smoking cause cancer? I have no idea. But it is wise to maintain a healthy scientific skepticism about claims which are used to reduce human liberty.

  • the last toryboy

    The political progression of vaping has been fascinating to watch.

    When it first came out everybody was extremely accommodating to vapers. You could vape pretty much anywhere you wanted, and everybody was fine with that. In fact people would wryly comment how the government would soon clamp down on it for Big Tobacco’s sake.

    Fastforward a few years of official disapproval and laws making it equivalent to smoking, and suddenly people are far less friendly about it. Vaping in the street causes passersby to bitch and moan. Complaints are made about the horrible smell – which is actually rather nice, certainly far less obnoxious than tobacco. Parliament made it legally equivalent, and people are now treating it as such – even though it really is not.

    Even the medical profession are now loudly declaring that it’s ‘just as bad’ as smoking – surely it can’t be? It might not be healthy but without any tar it can hardly be as bad as a cigarette.