Thanks to Kate over at vapersnetwork.org, I was alerted to this proposed UK legislation regarding ecigarettes. That any anti-ecigarette moves are taking place in the UK is particularly disturbing since it appeared to be free of the nonsensical opposition in many other parts of the world.
The excerpt reads:
“The inability to easily distinguish between a normal and an e-cigarette leads to confusion and upset amongst the public which can give rise to complaints as they believe that breaches of the legislation are taking place, and they are being subjected to cigarette smoke whilst in a no-smoking area. The use of e-cigarettes in premises where the law prohibits smoking could well encourage people to smoke, either in the mistaken belief that the law does not apply or is not being enforced, or that the individuals concerned will not be noticed and reported. There is also real potential for public order offences being committed where individuals are approached and asked or told to stop and this is challenged.”
1. That the potential confusion and upset of a member of the public on witnessing someone smoking should actually form the basis of a legal action is absurd. For instance, it is difficult to tell the difference between a skilled car thief making off and a legitimate owner driving off (or that common case of a driver having locked their keys in the car and attempting to break into their own vehicle). The onus is on the observer to prove the crime and not on the person to appear innocent.
Our society is built on trust, and even if that trust can be manipulated by some, it still remains the best approach. Better to assume that people are driving their own cars than to assume they are not.
2. And to say that e-smoking (vaping) will encourage people to smoke tobacco, though possible, is still not worth supporting. Again, it is similar to saying that thinking erroneously that people are stealing cars would lead to more car theft. It just might but it does not justify the theft, nor does it justify any legislative response.
3. And third, “There is also real potential for public order offences being committed where individuals are approached and asked or told to stop and this is challenged”. Would this not apply to any situation where an action, legal or not, is challenged by another? They are actually arguing that just because someone might defend their right to continue performing a legal action, or that another might assault them because they think they are doing something illicit, that it should be made illegal.
In summary, I might become confused and upset because I misinterpret any number of things but I would not want to see changes in the legal system even if it would make those misinterpretations less likely because I do not want to be limited by other people’s false assumptions. Even in this virulent anti-tobacco culture, the onus must be on the complainer to prove the case, not the vaper to appear to be innocent.