back to article Tobacco giant predicts the end of smoking. Panic ensues

A few years ago, I interviewed Dr Craig Venter, the man who decoded the human genome, about his plan to save the planet. Venter’s goal was to create a drop-in substitute for hydrocarbon fuels, using genetically modified algae. His algae facilities would be located beside high CO2 sources, and churn out synthetic oil. This …

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  1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

    Organisations perpetuate themselves

    I once worked in a charity that more or less got to its goal (baby-changing rooms in all public places, cubicles on public toilets to accommodate wheelchairs, a few other goals such as that) and I thought 'great! we have made the world a better place and can move on' but no, the workers there were well settled in and wanted to keep their jobs, and the managing committee felt that the charity gave them prestige or a reason for living, and everyone looked around for what else they could do. Eventually their aims and mission statement became so broad that it could have covered catering for WWIII. It did finally die, as funders finally thought WTF and the money stopped coming.

    By that time I was in the City.

    1. MrZoolook

      Re: Organisations perpetuate themselves

      "Organisations perpetuate themselves"

      As soon as I saw that, I thought TV Licensing Authority... weird!!!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tobacco giant predicts the end of smoking. Panic ensues

      That's no surprise...

      The elite doesn't need cigarettes to kill us by the time we'd start costing them pension money anymore.

      They got processed food, GMO food, Fluoride, MSG with 60 different names, High Fructose Corn Sirup, Carrageenan for the vegetarians, an infinite number of highly toxic pharmaceuticals with kick-back programmes and of course, the CIA distributing the other varieties of deadly drugs you can't buy in a pharmacy.

      So, stop smoking all you want, its not going to help you. And they'll get the rest of your savings for torturing you with a cheap and toxic chemo treatment, before they shovel you under.

  2. Alastair Dodd 1

    Vaping isn't cool

    I think you are wrong as I do know people who quit years ago taking up vaping and also kids starting instead of smoking... It's considered non harmful and enjoyable so yeah it's 'cool'

    1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      Re: Vaping isn't cool

      Really?? So you'd prefer it if these ex smokers and kids stayed smoking regular cigarettes then? I have no science to hand to convince you that vaping is "cleaner" and less unhealthy than smoking 20 Marlboro lights every day, but from my personal experience I would say that it is. Very much so.

      To be honest though, if a kid is going to smoke - then he's going to smoke. Whether that be analog or digital cigarettes (excuse the parlance). And surely any "less unhealthy" form of smoking is better than a "more unhealthy" form.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Vaping isn't cool

        "I have no science to hand to convince you that vaping is "cleaner" and less unhealthy than smoking"

        A study was done a few years ago in Utah. That's right, Utah. A place where tobacco use is about as 'unfriendly' as you can get, except for certain parts of California.

        Apparently they used a closed-up room in which they burned cigarettes (artificially 'smoked' I think) and then did the equivalent with a vaping device.

        The cigarette-smoke room tested positive for significant levels of various nasty chemicals, including nicotene.

        The vape-"smoke" room tested NEGATIVE for "all of that", _INCLUDING_ nicotene.

        So it appears that vapes aren't sources for second-hand nicotene, at least not in significant quantities.

        I'm allergic to cigarette smoke, or a component of it. Not tobacco, but specifically cigarettes and other things that use "that kind of wrapping" on it. Pipes and cigars don't bug me. Seriously. And I get really *NASTY* headaches if I'm even *NEAR* many people who were smoking a cigarette recently. So no meetings for "at least an hour" with me and 'that person' in the same room, k-thx. However, NO problems with 'vape' smokers that I can tell. Best I can tell, it smells like some kind of sweet perfume or air freshener. No allergic symptoms whatsoever!

        If you ask me, it's really a "personal freedom" thing. The only reason I get pissed off by discourteous smokers [who are a small percentage] is that their self-important "rights" interfere with mine, in particular my right to NOT have to be exposed to toxic substances in public places [or at work, or in a store, or in a bar, or in a restaurant, or in a casino even, yotta yotta].

        So yeah, vaping is a GREAT idea for people to do something they want WITHOUT burdening the rest of the planet with their exhaust. Not *MY* business what others do when it does NOT affect me.

        The ninny-nannies that seek to change people's behavior need to shut the @#$% up and go away. And the discourteous smokers should simply abandon that stupid behavior [it's not helping their cause], obey the laws, etc. and NOT get in people's faces with their exhaust. And people complaining to 'vape' users need to at least look to see if it's a lit cigarette first, before bitching [then, BITCH LOUDLY if it's a lit cancer stick, or shut the HELL up if it's a vape device]. And don't walk up to a smoker just to complain [that's stupid], especially if that person had made reasonable effort to go where nobody else was to light up.

        Then we'd all "get along" right?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Vaping isn't cool

      Most of the kids are vaping 0% nicotine, so it's a million times preferable to them blagging a B&H off an older kid.

      I failed to kick the burning leaves several times over the years, until I discovered vaping. I've reduced the nicotine level to a fraction of its initial strength, and will be soon free of the dependance. I haven't had a "stinky" for two years.

      In the meantime my sense of smell has returned (only took 2 days) and I'm fitter than I have been for years.

      Just a pity that the e-cig market will be soon dominated by the big tobacco companies now they're successfully "convinced" the EU to pass some ludicrous legislation.

      1. ToddR

        Re: Vaping isn't cool

        Surely vaping has similar levels of nicotine as fags? It's not the nicotine that's carcinogenic but the benzene in the tar?

    3. JustNiz

      Re: Vaping isn't cool

      >> It's considered non harmful

      Only by the willfully ignorant or deniers wishing to justify their stupid habit. Vaping is definately better for your health than cigarettes but its wrong and misleading to say vaping is not harmful at all.

      1. Doc Ock
        Thumb Up

        Re: Vaping isn't cool

        @Justniz

        I agree 100% as a stupid person who took up smoking, it's the number one regret in my life. I've managed to kick cigarettes and turned to vaping but this is not without risk as others would lead you to believe but is far less harmful than a tar sausage.

        Nicotine is a bitch of a drug to kick and is on par with heroin for addiction, don't ever do it in any form.

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          "Nicotine is a bitch of a drug to kick and is on par with heroin for addiction, "

          I knew a couple who were ex-heroine addicts.

          Could not quite smoking.

          I knew then this was pretty bad s**t and any bo***ks about it being "non-addictive" was rubbish.

        2. Pirate Dave
          Pirate

          Re: Vaping isn't cool

          "Nicotine is a bitch of a drug to kick and is on par with heroin for addiction, don't ever do it in any form."

          Amen. I took up dipping snuff (aka "smokeless tobacco") as a teen. "Just a pinch between cheek and gum" is like shooting nicotine straight into your brain. I've quit a few times for a year or two, but always wind up back at the Cancer Altar, cursing myself for my inherent weakness of will, wondering which morning it's going to be that I wake up and find a lump in my neck or jaw. It's all downhill from there.

          I was asthmatic into my 20's, so smoking was never really an option for me, and not sure if vaping would be any better. Wife wants me to try it, but, eh, I dunno.

          1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

            Re: Vaping isn't cool

            I'm an asthmatic and I started smoking aged 14 ( yes, I was stupid at 14, but so was everybody ). I switched to ecigs a couple of years ago and my asthma has dramatically improved.

            Whether vaping would be worse for your asthma than snuff I don't know. Can't ( seriously ) hurt to give it a go, I don't think ?

        3. Grunchy

          Re: Vaping isn't cool

          He leaned against the fender of his 1946 GMC half-ton, the fading daylight casting long shadows across the wheatfields, the sunset shining brilliantly behind some clouds low on the horizon.

          He took a draw - held it, swallowed, and slowly exhaled, smoothly, his eyes crinkled towards some birds amongst the bushes at the edge of the field. A sound of flapping wings, and train wheels on the tracks from a couple miles to the North. His jeans were careworn, the cowboy boots dusty & creased with years of duty. The smoke formed a cloud above his head and caught the fading light as the sky turned a deep purplish blue.

          "Kid - nicotine is a bitch of a drug to kick, and is on par with heroin for addiction," he intoned, staring towards the big dipper, effervescing out of the South East. He stubbed out the smoke and flicked it expertly into the dirt at the side of the road.

          "Just don't ever do it in any form." His lean frame settled, thumbs hooked into belt loops, elbows on fender, left heel on a wheel nut. Night was falling.

          "Yep. Just don't even start."

          1. Doc Ock

            Re: Vaping isn't cool

            >Night was falling......

            He was late for his doctor's appointment and needed to press the pedal to metal, he'd been coughing up blood and just like some two bit life insurance salesman the cough wouldn't go away. Guess he wished he bought the life insurance now, the wife and kids may sure have need of it.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Vaping isn't cool

          Nicotine by itself is not addictive. I know this because I never smoked cigarettes, and only I took up vaping nicotine to use it as an appetite suppressant.

          Whatever cravings that smokers get, they're not being caused by the nicotine. I use unflavored, plain nicotine juice and I never get any cravings for it, and I've gone for weeks and months at a time without vaping.

          There's a list of 599 known additives in cigarettes that you won't find in plain e-juice, and maybe only a couple of them would appear in a flavored juice. You don't know how many of them goes into your cigarettes because that's a trade secret, but you'll find that many of those listed are known to be addictive and toxic.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_additives_in_cigarettes

          1. BillsBacker

            Re: Vaping isn't cool

            "Nicotine by itself is not addictive."

            Yes. It is. http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/2278.aspx?CategoryID=53

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Vaping isn't cool

        >Only by the willfully ignorant or deniers wishing to justify their stupid habit. Vaping is definately better for your health than cigarettes but its wrong and misleading to say vaping is not harmful at all.

        It's no where near as risky as breathing the air in London or a similar big city.

        Ironically, big tobacco working with the pharma companies selling nicotine replacements, have spent many hundreds of millions trying to prove vaping is dangerous, so far without a single published study in a credible peer-reviewed journal.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Vaping isn't cool

          The vaping apparatus looks just like my great-uncles's 1950s asthma inhaler -- not a cool look!

          1. Semtex451 Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Vaping isn't cool

            I suppose you think Jeans that don't cover your ass isn't a cool look either?

            Mines the tracksuit top at the back

        2. Phil.T.Tipp

          Re: Vaping isn't cool

          Bingo. All the hysterical farrago and wrist-flapping associated with eleventh-hand smoke pales into watery insignificance given the fug of carcinogenic particulates which are airborne in all of our urban anthills.

          Diesel (yep, that's all those green buses and trains at fault) is amongst a massive variety of petrochems and other inorganic pollutant nasties including plastics and metals, all happily cycled through the mouths, noses and lungs of all town and city dwellers - and not one peep from the media/'charity' sock-puppets. Not one.

          Smerking tabs is personal choice, simply being alive in the presence of motorways, bus-lanes and train stations is not.

          1. Ben1892

            Re: Vaping isn't cool

            Totally agree about the diesel particulates in Cities, that's been the elephant in the room for some time now. I can't see the anti-smoking lobby become an anti-diesel lobby - much easier to go after vaping as it "looks like smoking so it must be bad for you"

      3. Milo Tsukroff
        Coat

        Re: Vaping isn't cool

        "...its wrong and misleading to say vaping is not harmful at all."

        Yep, another doomsayer. Everything is "harmful" to one teensy weensy degree or other. By those druthers, even reading The Register can be a little bit harmful, so I should quit the habit.

        I'm going now, mine is the asbestos jacket with the mink lining...

    4. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: Vaping isn't cool

      A few years ago the only friends who had managed to kick the habit had gone cold turkey. Any other method seemed to perpetuate the addiction and didn't, in my friends' experience, work. Now many of them vape. Some claim to be nicotine free but there is no way for me to tell one way or another.

      I think vaping is safer for the "smokers" and the passive vapers - no definitive evidence and who knows what will be discovered in the future. I do not think vaping is a gateway into smoking and I know of no one who is vaping who was not a smoker. Who knows what the next youth fashion will be. Wearing your jeans with the waist around your knees - well that's as sensible as a fashion for vaping.

      My drug of choice is alcohol so I shouldn't pontificate but vaping is better than smoking, but not vaping is best. However bans are crazy and regulation is better. If it is forced underground then who knows what is in the vaping solution, it will be adulterated just as heroin is.

  3. Josco

    I know what's next...

    "Perhaps it's dawned on the more fanatical Public Health campaigners that the end is in sight, and a new cause is needed. "

    Beer! That's next on the list. (Oh how I hope I'm wrong).

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: I know what's next...

      Hopefully they'll pick a "sin" that I don't enjoy, although I can't think of one off hand.

      1. Paul Woodhouse

        Re: I know what's next...

        Gambling?... I could never be arsed with that one...

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: I know what's next...Gambling

          No chance with state run taxes on the poor, AKA "Lotteries". Used to be illegal in the UK.

        2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Paul Woodhouse Re: I know what's next...

          Lethargy?....I could never be arsed with that one...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I know what's next...Gambling

            Tax on the stupid and innumerate? What's not to like?

          2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

            Re: I know what's next...Gambling

            Lotteries aren't about the winning as such. They're a subscription to a dream. The idea that come the weekend, you'll be rich enough to retire.

            That's worth it for me, even though I know I'll never win.

            1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

              Re: I know what's next...Gambling

              yeah ive bought a ticket once or twice and lived that dream until the end of the week.

              but the cold hard mathematical facts stop me doing it anymore,

              Even when the boys in the office go "its a rollover! who's in ?" , I am secure enough to risk the 180 million to one chance that I'll be the only one coming to work monday, and save 2 quid

          3. magickmark
            Joke

            Re: Paul Woodhouse I know what's next...

            I would up vote that remark but I can't be arsed with that

        3. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: I know what's next...

          I'm fond of gambling, but I only spend about a fiver a week on it.

          I suppose if they're going to choose one, that's the one I would miss the least.

    2. Ed_UK

      Re: I know what's next...

      "Beer! That's next on the list. (Oh how I hope I'm wrong)."

      NO! Haven't you heard of passive drinking? Think of the childers.

  4. Tikimon Silver badge
    Devil

    An Activist's worst day ever...

    ...is the one where they get what they want. Because then they're not needed, and after the handshaking is done people forget about them. More of them than you know are all about The Struggle, not actually solving anything. And if you do find a solution to a problem, if it's not the one approved choice THEY wanted, well it's not good enough.

    1. Phil.T.Tipp

      Re: An Activist's worst day ever...

      “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

      C.S.Lewis.

    2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: An Activist's worst day ever...

      ...is the one where they get what they want. Because then they're not needed

      e.g. Nigel Farage

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wood behind the trees

    Charities are businesses now. Want to know how much does the head of Oxfam take home? World hunger?

    Some other time - that is why I show them down the street every time they ring on my door.

    The summary of the reaction in both cases is: HOW DO YOU DARE TO INTERVENE WITH OUR DAILY BREAD!!! And the 5 lines a day coke habit if you are in the management layer.

    1. cambsukguy

      Re: Wood behind the trees

      "In the financial year 2012/13, Oxfam's chief executive was paid £119,560, which is in the lower quartile of what other large charities paid for their chief executives.  We believe this is fair reward for a job that involves long hours, large amounts of time away from family and overseeing a £360 million organisation that runs everything from a 700-branch national shop network to major emergency responses and long term development work to improve the lives of the poorest people on the planet. Our chief executive is also responsible for more than 5,000 staff and tens of thousands of volunteers."

      Obviously well-paid but not really that well paid for the job done.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wood behind the trees

      In fairness, Oxfam is a very well run charity and if you want to make a difference with your money, they are a good place to give it to.

      Saying you don't give a charity money because they spend too much on admin is precisely as intelligent as saying you don't buy a company's products because they spend too much money on marketing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wood behind the trees

        In the financial year 2012/13, Oxfam's chief executive was paid £119,560,

        Fair point.

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11435754/32-charity-bosses-paid-over-200000-last-year.html

        There are enough that are paid 500K+ to compensate for that.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wood behind the trees

        "We believe this is fair reward for a job"

        Yes, you have to pay to get the right/best people working for you, well, that's what the bankers said in the decade running up to chaos.

      3. The Boojum

        Re: Wood behind the trees

        Hmmm.

        Not sure I agree. I actively avoid companies that spend vast amounts on marketing, on the basis that I'd rather have them spend the money on the product I buy than using my money to convince me to buy it in the first place.

      4. ToddR

        Re: Wood behind the trees

        Have to agree, Oxfam = Oracle

      5. Known Hero

        Re: Wood behind the trees

        @AC

        Saying you don't give a charity money because they spend too much on admin is precisely as intelligent as saying you don't buy a company's products because they spend too much money on marketing.

        I do exactly that, when a company pisses me off with intrusive ad's I will actively avoid them. It's called voting with your wallet and I do it for a few other reasons too.

      6. Ellipsis
        IT Angle

        Re: Wood behind the trees

        > if you want to make a difference with your money, they are a good place to give it to.

        [citation needed]

        How does it compare to the most demonstrably effective charities recommended by GiveWell and Giving What We Can?

      7. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: Wood behind the trees

        "

        Saying you don't give a charity money because they spend too much on admin is precisely as intelligent as saying you don't buy a company's products because they spend too much money on marketing.

        "

        Wrong. I buy stuff to benefit myself, and am pretty much indifferent to whether my purchase is of any benefit to the company I bought it from. Charitable donation are made for a completely different reason, and the benefit of the donation to the "cause" the charity is supposed to be supporting is of the essence.

        Such a low percentage of donations to most organised charities actually serve to benefit the people it is supposed to benefit, that I now only donate money to small outfits that I have actually visited and so am 99% certain that all my money will be used to benefit those I intend it to help. Giving to a street beggar is perhaps the safest way to ensure that nobody except the intended recipient will cream anything off the top. (And you have no right to insist that said beggar use your donation only for things that you approve of).

        1. Kiwi

          Re: Wood behind the trees

          (And you have no right to insist that said beggar use your donation only for things that you approve of).

          Ask someone who is homeless due to legitimate reasons (eg recent earthquake has cost them their home and business) how they feel about people who would use said money for drugs, and the effect those people who use that money for drugs have on the likelihood of other people donating to help homeless or similar causes.

          Those who waste the very limited donations not only waste resources that could be better used, they also cause more problems because people who would donate to someone who is truly in need unfortunately start to think all homeless are alike.

          It's absolutely reasonable to expect that your donation be respected.

  6. goldcd

    It's the problem all campaigners have

    Your job is as equally tied to the "problem" as your notional enemy.

    However your "enemy" can diversify into anything they want.

    Pick your battles carefully, be "against cancer" or "rising sea-levels" - not anti "smoking" or "hydrocarbon CO2".

    Allows you to pivot on your target, without coming across as a self-serving crank.

    I mean ffs, some of us still like smoking - but pro-cancer is thin on the ground. The only reason you wouldn't appeal to the broader market is because there are already big-boys there. You went niche, and you're reaping.

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