First a little confession…

I have been a really bad person for many years. Yes, I was a member of  the unhealthy, unclean, socially irresponsible and most reviled group (well next to politicians) called smokers. I fed my habit to the tune of a pack a day of those nasty baby killers called cigarettes, and was made to feel as though I was single handely destroying the health of whole city blocks and socially ranked slightly lower than a leper.

I had tried to quit a number of times, but nicotine and the habit of smoking proved to be too strong each time, and the lure of the ashtray kept leading me astray.

And then I saw the light dear readers, it was not a patch or a pill, it was a fun activity called Vaping.

For those of you that are not in the know, Vaping is an alternative to smoking. Rather than burning tobacco and inhaling it, you are heating up a liquid to a vapour and then inhaling that instead. The liquids that you are vaping usually consist of some flavourings, Propylene Glycol, Vegetable Glycerine and for those of us addicted to the evil weed, nicotine. Thats it, none of the hundreds of noxious substances that are contained in tobacco smoke, and other than nicotine, all freely available at your local Walmart. Vaping is not stinky – there is no odour of stale tobacco, and there is no health concern to people around you as is the case with second hand smoke.

I frankly cannot be sure that there are no health issues with Vaping – I’m not a doctor, but all of the reading that I’ve done, and personal experience lead me to believe that it is significantly bettter for you than smoking. I have a sense of taste again, I don’t sound like a steam engine starting up first thing in the morning, I can breath much better, my house/car smells significantly nicer and my significant other is no longer at risk from second hand smoke. All major positives.

So, there really doesn’t seem to be a significant downside to Vaping. So why in all that is holy is the EU considering banning it?

Well, lets be fair, the EU isn’t – it voted in the European Parliament to reject the proposal to regulate e-cigarettes. That hasn’t stopped the unelected bureaucrats in Brussles from proposing a series of regulations that would achieve the same ends.

Could it be the loss of revenue from cigarettes? Maybe the lobbying efforts of Big Tobacco? Possibly control for controls sake? Who the hell knows, but the interfering busybodies that tried to standardize the banana and have buried most businesses under an avalanche of regulations whose sole purpose is to employ more of their evil spawn are at it again. Mouthing platitudes about keeping children from smoking, they are working on banning one of the most effective smoking cessation tools there is. The logic is that if someone Vapes, then that will naturally lead to smoking.

That is specious bullcrap. There is no evidence to support this – none, nada, zip. What there is is a mountain of evidence that people can successfully stop smoking by Vaping. I’m one – I haven’t had a cigarette in two months, and there are thousands if not millions like me.

Fix or repair daily

That was the byline of a certain car back in the 70s, but they managed to turn it around. Can the other Ford in the news do the same?

Our dear beloved Mayor seems to be staggering from crisis to crisis as videos crawl out of the woodwork purportedly showing him smoking crack and wild drunken rants. His political opponents are speaking in measured tones to the media, mouthing platitudes while rubbing their hands in glee at his apparent self destruction.

Ford is a very polarizing figure, he has been an effective Councillor but does not seem to possess the one character trait that a mayor needs which is the ability to lead without completely pissing off all of the people that he needs to lead. Even before the current debacle, it was only a few days between stories of him having issues with someone, usually media.

Agree or disagree with his politics, you have to wonder about his political savvy. He has always had a love/hate relationship with the media, and has been at war with the Toronto Star during most of his term. That isn’t particularly effective even during the good times, but when you slip, the media is going to rip at you like a pack of hyenas at a wounded animal.

He also doesn’t appear to be handling this crisis very well either. He is making apologies, and then hiding from the media and doesn’t appear to understand that he can’t get back onto message, while he is the story. He seems to have forted up, with the hope that it will all blow over, or at least blow less strongly, and either isn’t listening to his advisers or doesn’t have any effective ones left.

Is there a way out ?

At this point it seems difficult – he needs space to put his house in order and the media and his political opponents are unlikely to give him that. He isn’t the first politician with issues – Churchill was a drunk, Clinton and Kennedy both couldn’t keep their pants zipped and the list is endless of the less stellar and their missteps. No reasonable person expects their leaders to be perfect, but we do expect them to show good judgement, and the Mayor is not showing that. He hasn’t shown good judgement with his actions, he hasn’t shown good judgement with the people he associates with and hasn’t shown good judgement about who he lets close to him with a camera.