Sowing the seeds of hate

Well, the vapers are getting a real taste of antismoker hate this week. With one important difference.

The Puritans won’t ban smoking. Too much tax income involved and too many rich peoples’ pensions are locked into tobacco company shares.

Vaping has no such backroom protections. The Puritans can openly hate us smokers but they’ll never ban it because of the cashflow. Vaping doesn’t generate that cashflow.

So, we have the moves to ban flavours, very rapidly (not surprisingly) followed by moves to ban vaping altogether. Orange Don has tried to roll back on his ridiculous anti-vape stance but too late. Rolling back on it now is just going to get him tarred with the ‘You don’t care about the cheeeldren dying!’ hysteria. Which, incidentally, is coming from people who support abortion up to the moment of birth. Still, Don fell for that trap, let’s see if he can find a way out. I can’t.

Abortion is a separate argument. Personally I’d support it up to the point where they get elected to government but that’s possibly leaning towards the slightly extreme end of the spectrum. It seems to be all or nothing in the USA though. Some states you can have your photo taken with your newborn and then sell it for spare parts, other states you go to jail for a natural and unfortunate miscarriage. There seems to be no middle ground.

Anyway, back to smoking and vaping.

We’ve had pompous, self-important antismoking vapers since it started. Not all, I hasten to add, but a vocal minority, who delighted in siding with the Puritans against the smokers they left behind. We told them, one day they’ll come for you, but the ones breathing the Holy Steam never listened. I bet they still aren’t listening even as their Electrofags are snatched from their non-yellowed fingers.

It does wear off, by the way. The yellow finger stains, I mean. Change the way you hold your smokes and the stains from your habitual holding pattern will fade in time. Switch to vaping and they’ll vanish forever… until you are forced back to smoking by Orange Don’s Puritan Loonies.

The Puritans took full advantage of their new temporary vaper allies, letting them whip up more smoker-hate, until they realised the effect on their bottom line as vaping became more popular and tobacco taxes declined. So now they have turned on the vapers, and they have turned very hard indeed.

So hard, in fact, that they are trying to turn smokers into vaper-haters.

Yes. Really.

I inhale the smoke from a little bonfire in my face. You really want me to be scared of flavoured steam?

There can be absolutely no effect whatsoever from your nearby Electrofag while I’m actually burning leaves in my mouth. I’d get more effect from a kettle with a vanilla pod in it.

What this study actually says is that a third of smokers have experienced some poor bugger with a steam-stick thrust out into the same cold, inadequate shelter as the smokers. It does not equate to any kind of harm from that experience and it never will – because there can be no possible harm.

It’s fucking steam with a bit of flavour, a dash of nicotine and the chemical they use in asthma inhalers. Damn, if it does anything, it’ll do smokers good! It might even get a few interested smokers to try it for themselves. The price difference is a big pull here (that’s why I keep trying it, even though I haven’t found one to totally replace the real thing yet). That price difference is almost all tobacco tax, and that is why the alternative must be destroyed. Antismokers are losing money!

Get ready, vapers. The Puritans are turning smokers against you. It won’t be hard in many cases, remember how vocal your pompous bastards were in denouncing us? Petty revenge is petty, but you know it’s coming.

You are going to see smokers mysteriously diagnosed with ‘popcorn lung’ which, if it was real, should have been affecting smokers all along. You are going to see smoker cancer cases attributed to second hand vaping. Biologically impossible, but then look at the silly pictures on cigarette packets. You can’t get ‘meth mouth’ from tobacco, but here we are.

We already have ‘danger: contains nicotine’ warnings on packaged Electrofags that contain no nicotine. We do not have that warning on tomatoes or potatoes or the Pharmer’s nicotine patches and gum.

The aim is, of course, to split smokers and vapers further. There will still be the Holy Vapers who see their former compatriots as less than human. There will now be the Holy Smokers who at last have the chance to smack down the smug bastards – and to be honest, who can blame them?

Oh it’s going to work. It won’t take long.

If smokers and vapers were to come together as ‘nicotine consumers’ or similar, under a banner that covers us all, the Puritans would be screwed and they know it.

Will it happen?

Doesn’t look like it.

Has Trump blown it?

Donnie Trumpton has decided to ban all flavours for Electrofags.

Why? Well, six people have died and more have been hospitalised for using their vape devices (Electrofags) to inhale illegal drugs. Don the Trumper thinks this is solved by… banning the legal flavours.

No, Don-boy, what you intend will boost the sale of illegal drug-based vape jiuces and destroy the legal market. It will also boost the numbers of hospitalisations and deaths due to illegal vape liquids because the legal ones are no longer available. That is going to be used to beat you down, every single day. I have often wondered whether you are a genius or an idiot – this move puts you firmly in the ‘idiot’ box.

All the Democrats have to do now is oppose this, support the vapers, and in 2020 you are fucked.

It’s not just the vapers’ votes you have just lost. All their family, all their friends, were delighted to see them switch from smoking to vaping because, you see, in the real world we all know that vaping is at least 95% less risky than smoking. Now, all those family and friends have to watch their loved ones switch back to smoking and they all know that you are personally responsible.

Every time one of those ex-vaping smokers gets emphysema, they will blame you. Every time one of them gets lung cancer, they will blame you. Every time one of them so much as coughs, they will blame you. Don Trump, the Tobacco Pusher.

Look, Donnie, I live near Balmedie in Scotland where we haven’t liked you very much for decades anyway (you know why) but I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt as POTUS. So far you did pretty well, I thought, but it seems you have reverted to type. You don’t like it, nobody can have it.

You have no idea how deep this goes. Smokers who wish to try to quit were looking at vaping as a viable alternative. Let’s face it, the Pharmer crap doesn’t work even though it is mysteriously exempt from nicotine warnings on its nicotine products. Those smokers aren’t going to vote for you now.

And neither are their family and friends who hoped they’d quit smoking.

Donald, Don, Donny, Don-boy, Donnybubble (you don’t mind if I call you Donnybubble do you? Millions of vapers and their families are calling you a lot worse right now) you have fucked up big time.

You have just handed your opponents the nuclear button. ‘So the President is not interested in gun control but is going to ban mango flavoured steam’. Get out of that one.

You just have to hope the Democrats are as dim as you think they are, and my bet is, they ain’t all Alex Occaisonal-Cortex. They are going to latch on to this and they are going to swing millions of vaper votes their way.

Also, did you know that many Hollywood weirdoes also vape? Big names, Donny. Popular names. All inhaling harmless raspberry and coffee flavoured steam. Not oil-based illegal cannabis crap.

You, Don, the man who likes to shout ‘Fake news’, has just fallen into the trap laid by the fakest news of all. And your opponents will take it to the bridge. If they don’t, they must indeed be stupid.

I know you don’t like smoking and I’m betting you don’t like vaping either. So what changed?

Well, now the smoking and vaping voters don’t like you either.

Get that goodbye speech written. Ban the legal flavours on the pretence of stopping the illegal drugs and trust me, you’re done.

The Nicotine Worms

There has been a video circulating that looks like something Kenny Everett would have made as a parody of antismoking – or rather Antivaping, which is actually Antismoking, The Next Degeneration. It’s really, really bad. It’s like those old SF/horror B movies that were so bad they gained cult followings for being hilariously bad.

I have saved this still from the video because it has so much comic potential

They claim that vape pods are littering the whole planet, leaching out heavy metals (plus nicotiiiiiiine!) and getting worms addicted to both. So we can expect to see worms on street corners passing round illicit tobacco while bopping to Iron Maiden. I can see story potential in that image. I’ll consider an antismoking/antivaping parody short story collection if there are enough ideas out there and really, how can you be short of ideas now? There are more ideas than there are clowns in a car.

Do people randomly discard vape pods? I’ve never seen one on the ground and yes, I do enter civilisation (reluctantly) on occasion. I see cigarette butts but those biodegrade, despite the lunatic idea that they are immortal. You see them every day because there are new ones every day and that’s because smokers are forced outside. If they were immortal we’d be wading through them by now.

But vape pods? I bought one of those Juul things to try out. It’s okay but the EU have limited the nicotine in them to Consulate or More levels. So it won’t work. The best alternative I have tried is still the HNB IQOS device but you can’t use that when driving and it can be a bit of a pain when it runs out of charge. Oh I still use it, mainly when I run out and can’t be bothered tubing up some more ciggies, and it’s still pretty good, but it hasn’t taken me off the real thing so far.

Most vapers, certainly in the UK, use refillable tanks. They will only be discarding little plastic bottles and those will mostly be discarded at home, into the recycling (I do love to put empty Viking and Skjold packs, Danish cigarettes, into recycling in the hope it’ll scare the shit out of a dumb drone in the recycling plant).

No, I don’t care if they think they will get The Lumps from seeing the packs and subsequently shit themselves in a panic attack. Anyone stupid enough to believe the antismoking/antivaping nonsense deserves all they get. I am sick of trying to tell them the truth. No more. Die if you want to. Live in terror of a mythical monster if you want to. I don’t care any more.

Like the old saying goes, ‘First they came for the smokers, and I’m a smoker, and nobody (not even pubs) spoke out for me so don’t expect me to give a shit when they come for you.’

The same is true of the Church of Climatology. You want to believe that rubbish? Go ahead, believe it. Don’t make any preparations for the Grand Solar Minimum that has already started and boy, you think you have ten years? You don’t have five. You’re demanding action in the wrong direction and it’s already too late for you to change. Tough titties. I’m getting ready for the right thing and I am no longer interested in saving the world.

Truth be told, I never was. I was only ever interested in saving friends and family and me of course. I did try to warn the rest of them but they came back with sneers and insults until I thought ‘Why am I trying to help these morons?’ Oh I’ll still drop them a hint now and then but there’s no point getting too close to them. They’ll all be dead soon.

Nicotine is not addictive. Nicotine causes no harm at all. Nicotine, or rather the oxidised form, enhances brain function. These things are real. Science, what’s left of real science, has already proven them. Nicotine from burning or heated tobacco, or heated on a coil in a vapouriser, works this way. Nicotine absorbed through the skin does not. Patches and gum miss the point – if they were loaded with oxidised nicotine they might work but nobody is listening.

And I’m no longer telling them.

Nicotine delays or maybe even prevents dementia and Alzheimer’s. Antismokers seem to be largely already suffering these things.

Nicotine is not a bad thing. I will accept that smoking real burning leaf can lead to bad things but nicotine is not the cause of those bad things. Nicotine only became a ‘bad thing’ when vaping fired up. If nicotine kills, every doctor who has prescribed patches and gum is guilty of attempted murder. Take a moment to savour the idea of those trials. Imagine antismoking/antivaping trying to wheedle their way out of it now. I wish I could afford a lawyer for this.

Oh that oxidised form? It’s called niacin. Look up the history of pellagra to find out why it’s added to so many foods, and where it came from. Or search for comments by Rose in the history of this and other smoker blogs. Or, if you prefer, avoid all foods containing niacin (nicotinic acid) and die happy and in horrible agony. The game is yours. Make your choice. I really don’t care any more.

I have retired from science and from researching it. I still do rare consultancies when they show up but I do not work for tobacco companies because my specialisation means they have never asked me to. I will not work for antismoking research, and they are unlikely to ask.

As for vapers, most of them are good guys. Still they have a vocal born-again-nonsmoker group that means I will not support them. You support the fight against antismokers as well as antivapers or you will lose.They are the same enemy and they have been very clever in splitting us. You rail against antivapers and also against smokers? Half of your effort is directed at your own side.

If you will not see that, then…

First they came for the smokers. I was a smoker and they came for me first and nobody spoke out for me.

Then they came for the vapers. They added to the hate that was already on my shoulders so I will not speak out for them.

The game is on. Your move, vapers.

Juul

I have a pile of boxes in the middle of the kitchen, another in the utility room, more in the upstairs rooms and the dangerous stuff (some of which needs to be incinerated) is in the garage. The result of the lab clearout. It’s going to take some time to go through it all and I have to find and test the magnetic stirrers two people have already expressed interest in… but that’s just the reason for the long gap between posts.

A few months back I bought a monster Electrofag called Aspire Pockex in a clearance sale. Huge battery, glass tank on top and it makes cumulo-nimbus clouds of vape. First time I tried it I had a coughing fit that brought tears to my eyes but, in its defence, afterwards my sinuses felt clearer than they have since I was twelve.

I don’t like it. Oh it does the job, it makes the steam, it clears the sinuses, but it also leaks like a bugger and now the battery is coated in vape juice so I’m scared to turn it on. No, this one is consigned to the ‘goodbye’ pile. I’m really glad I never tried to carry it in a pocket.

More recently I bought a Juul starter kit. Mostly because of the intense advertising campaign run by the anti-vapers. They really hate this one in particular and I had to find out why.

Well. It’s certainly easy to use. Reminds me of the early cigalikes with cartomisers, all you do is plug in a cartridge and puff on it. The difference is that it’s very light and the cartridge lasts for ages. It also has a clear tank so you can see how much is left.

Does it look like a USB stick? No. It looks like someone took the black monolith from ‘2001 – A Space Idiocy’ and put the Eye of Sauron in the top half. It looks pretty cool, and I can see why the AntiTobacco mob are pushing it so hard. Well, they are really trying to kill it but as with everything these idiots do, they are failing to the point where they could get a degree in it. Double fail with honours.

Charging involves plugging a tiny thing into a USB port and the Juul magnetically attaches to it. Also pretty cool – and easy. As gadgets go, this one has been well thought out. I like it, so thanks antismokers for bringing it to my attention.

Will it stop me smoking? Unlikely, in my case. The nearest was IQOS and I still use that in between proper burning baccy. They have brought out a new harder-tobacco flavour. I’ll give it a go, but getting me off the analogues is going to take a seriously impressive alternative.

Oh and I don’t care about IQOS or Electrofag upgrades and the fancy add-on toys. I just want something that will give me the feeling of a decent smoke. I don’t give a shit what colour it is.

Back to Juul. It’s nice, it’s easy, it has a disposable ‘smoking’ part so all of that is replaced with every cartridge change. No leaks, nothing to go wrong really. Simple and effective.

I can see why a lot of smokers might take to it. I can also see why a lot of young folk might go for this rather than real smoking – but apparently that’s a bad thing in the warped minds of tobacco control. Those kids should be smoking real tobacco! How else can we get our revenue and justify our existence?

I suspect Juul might have gone the way of the early cigalikes – which used a very similar model – if not for the concerted advertising put their way by the antimokers. It is, however, a big improvement on early Electrofags, not least in the provision of a clear tank so you know how much is left.

So far I have been using the ‘mint’ (pretty much ‘menthol’) cartridge that came with the starter kit. There is a ‘tobacco’ one, nobody else has ever got that right so we’ll see how that turns out.

Nicotine strength is limited in the EU but it really doesn’t matter. Nicotine is not addictive. That’s been proven. Smoking is about habit and enjoyment (something the Puritans will never understand) and replacing the burning leaf with something that covers the main points would do well.

Patches and gum will never do that.

So, will Juul or IQOS stop me paying massive amounts of baccy tax? Or will they just encourage me to grow more?

Time will tell. So far, I am planning the best place to hide next year’s crop.

The state of the world

I’ve been keeping up with the Christmas anthology (five authors in so far, I have hopes that two more regulars will come up with something and there’s still 16 days until the deadline) so have had little time to react to the news.

There is so much lunacy out there. At a private bonfire party on November 5th, a bunch of sickos burned a cardboard model of Grenfell Tower. Yeah, seriously bad taste, but six people arrested and charged over it as a ‘public order’ offence? Really? Nobody was charged over burning effigies of any President of the United States nor of any other political figures in this year or any past year. Nobody has ever minded the burning of a Catholic in effigy even though more and more people now wish his plot to blow up Parliament had succeeded. And yet burning a cardboard box is now an arrestable offence.

What about the guy who started the real fire in the real building, which killed real people? What has he been charged with? Anyone? Oh that’s right, he was never actually arrested and nobody is looking for him. It’s so much easier to arrest backyard proxy arsonists.

I would not have burned Grenfell Tower in a cardboard effigy. It’s far too twisted even for me. I’d say those who did this are arseholes but it’s not supposed to be illegal to be an arsehole. Especially when you’re being an arsehole in your own back yard and not actually harming anyone.

Their big mistake, of course, was putting it on social media. Thoughts are policed far harder than physical crimes these days, with the full backing of ‘anti-fascists’ who do not realise that what they are advocating is actual fascism. The policing of thoughts and ideas and opinions.

Oh and if you are one of the millions of Americans who tune in to UK stories to laugh at how ridiculous we have become (I don’t blame you, this place is a madhouse) you might want to check out what’s happening in your own country.

Worried about Donald Trump? Believe he is some kind of fascist? Is he trying to police your thoughts? Is he advocating the suppression of teenage jokey behaviour and its investigation by the police? Who is advocating that? That’s who you need to be concerned about because that’s who will turn you into a police state. Or you can just hate Trump because he’s Trump and let the fascists win. Like we have in the UK.

Of course, if you are an arsehole, the alternative to being arrested for burning a box is to go into politics where arseholes are welcomed.

Better yet, get a job with the Puritans in Public Control Health. Then you can be so much of an arsehole that you can call for a tax on meat, later to extend it to all foods (come on, really, you don’t think that’s the aim?), and demand a ban on milkshakes. And nobody will call for you to be arrested for arseholeness.

Milkshakes? Ban the old Moloko Plus?

Oh yes, really.

Fancy milkshakes must be banned because Studies have Shown and Experts have Said that they bring all the boys to the yard and this inevitably leads to teen pregnancy, heroin use, vaping, animal abuse and anal insertion of pomegranates.

Well it’s no dafter than any other Puritan pronouncement, and that’s actually true. When it comes to making up absurd stuff, Public Health make Kafka’s ghost gasp in admiration.

Milkshakes make you fat. Sure they do if you have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most of us have them once in a while as a treat. My personal milkshake intake is much less than one a year and my overall milk intake generally depends on how much coffee I drink (espresso doesn’t need milk so only the ‘plain’ coffee counts). I have occasionally drunk a glass of milk but it’s way down from top of the list.

It’s rare for me to get the urge to have a milkshake and I have never had one of these ‘freakshakes’ of which they speak. I don’t want one. It does not appeal to me at all. Should I support banning them since I don’t like them anyway?

How many out there support the smoking bans because they don’t like smoking? How many support vaping bans for the same reason? How many support minimum pricing on alcohol because they don’t buy much, or any? How many support taxing or even banning meat because they don’t eat it?

I think all of those people are arseholes and I don’t want to be one so no, I will never support a ban on anything just because I don’t like it. Hey arseholes, I am not one of you and am proud to be excluded from your cult of arseholery. You can believe I’m the one who is universally hated if you like but really, it’s you. In the real world, nobody cares about, or even notices, me. Because I am not trying to live their lives for them. I have a life of my own.

Speaking of vaping, I recently bought a new one because it was on clearance sale. This is a bloody monster of a thing and will be a later blog post.

The JUUL vaping thing does not seem to be available in the UK so far. It is apparently, in America, a teen epidemic (that, in Public Health terms, means a teenager tried one once) and is used as a cudgel to beat flavours out of vapes.

JUUL’s response? ‘Oh yes you must ban these flavours we don’t make because they are evil!’

Has nobody been paying attention? The antismokers were happy to have the born-again nonsmoking vapers on their side to hammer ‘real’ smokers… until they had outlived their usefulness. Then, surprise, the vapers got hit with the same hammer. They looked to smokers for support.

‘First they came for the smokers. I’m a smoker, the rest of you are on your own now.’

Why would I support any group that has already supported my suppression?

I have wondered about JUUL and whether it would be a good thing to try. I’ll never try one now, not even if it does appear in the UK. I’m not going to support a quisling.

My prediction is that JUUL is now doomed. They are siding with the business vampires and they are not an ally, as they think. They are the host for a parasite that will use them to get what they want and then ditch them. Their customer base will see what they have done and abandon them.This has happened to several early vape sellers who tried to side with the Puritans and it will happen now to JUUL because the stupid bastards never learn.

A saying has been born lately. ‘When you go Woke you go broke’. Ask Lucozade or Irn Bru about that. Ask the peanut companies who have reduced the salt. Give it a year and ask JUUL if they still exist.

‘Woke’ is a parody of reality. More on that in another post.

The best response to the Puritans is still the one given by the makers of Buckfast tonic wine. Which I have never tried, but one day I will.

‘You cannot have caffeine and alcohol in the same drink!’ screech the Puritans.

‘Awa’ an’ bile yeir heid, ya wee bawbags’ responded Buckfast.

Buckfast won. All the companies could win by just saying ‘no’ to the Puritan thugs. Most of them just cave in. Compromise does not work when your enemy does not want compromise, just total control. As with Tessie ‘Halfwit’ Maybe’s Brexit, it is not a compromise. It is pathetic submission.

When you give in to thugs it makes them bolder. Thugs have toddler minds, they push and push to see how far they can go. If you don’t set a boundary for them, there is no boundary they can see. Modern ‘progressive’ idiot parents are finding this out now.

Basically, don’t be Lucozade. Be Buckfast.

Then maybe the end of the madness will at last be in sight.

Money and smoking

If you live in the UK or any other idiot-controlled country where smoking is the main source of government hate and revenue, any saving is a good thing.

Currently it is impossible to buy a pack of 20 cigarettes for less than £8 in the UK. Rolling baccy is slightly less eyewatering but still a sting. Any chance I have to go elsewhere in the EU, I load up. It’s just common sense. Of course, after Brexit they’ll limit us again but while we are in this silly customs union we might as well make the best of it.

I have been playing around with the IQOS and the microfags for some time now and yes,  I know all about the turncoat Philip Morris and all the reasons why I should stick with real fags from real fag-sellers and I don’t care about the politics. This is about the contents of my bank account which have never been large and never will be.

A pack of real smokes is £8. A pack of microfags is £7. Plus, I have already taken £60 in Amazon vouchers from the IQOS survey thing which has more than covered the initial cost of the device plus 100 microfags. I am encouraged to persevere with this thing.

I have tried the amber (full strength) and the turquoise (girlie menthol) microfags. The amber ones are pretty good. The menthol don’t seem very mentholated, it’s there but it’s a hint not a blast. I can get the cleaning sticks from Amazon using the vouchers so they are technically free. You need those, the thing does need a cleanout once in a while or it tastes like smoking dried weasel poo.  I used the vouchers for a lot of other things too, including whisky. I have not yet tried the yellow (apparently ‘smooth’) but I just ordered some. I will report on them when I get them.

(UPDATE) I now have the yellow ones. They are indeed milder than the amber. Not bad if you prefer a smoother, less intense smoke but I’ll stick with the amber ones. They suit me best. Along with real ones of course but cost alone is going to force a switch here.)

Okay okay, you want to tell me how Philip Morris are sell-outs. Find me one vape company that does not repeat theTobacco Control mantra of ‘smoking is eeeevil. Tobacco companies are eeevil. Buy from us instead’ and maybe I’ll listen. This is a tobacco company doing business, that’s all it is. Tobacco in a different form. Trying to get through the current round of Prohibition. I don’t blame them for trying to stay in business.

Anyway, if they were really trying to appease tobacco control they should have talked to the (sensible) vapers first because appeasement never works. Those filthy Puritans hate anything that looks like fun, including IQOS. Especially IQOS because it uses real tobacco.

I like it. I don’t care who invented it or where it originated. I’ve used it more often, and for longer, than any Electrofag I’ve ever tried. And now that it’s reached a pound a pack (often more) cheaper than smoking, I’ll use it more often. I’ll still need real ones for driving because the IQOS can’t just dangle from your lips when both hands are busy but at home, it’s a useful thing.

Tell me I shouldn’t support this thing. I don’t care. Tell me I should go totally to vaping. I’ve tried quite a few Electrofags and they are a lot of fun but it just doesn’t stick. It doesn’t work for me. I don’t care. IQOS has persisted longer than any Electrofag I tried and I think that’s because it really does taste like tobacco. The one flavour Electrofag never quite got right.

The price differential is going to increase. The IQOS microfags might go down in price with more uptake, they might not. But I will state with absolute certainty that tobacco prices are going to keep climbing fast. Getting into alternatives is vital for my wallet.

Sure, every time I go to Denmark I will come back with a bag full of Vikings or Skjold. Maybe a tub of Home Roll or similar (about £30 for 280g). I will be resuming tobacco planting in the near future. I will continue to ‘cut’ tubing baccy and rolling baccy (also a lot cheaper outside the UK) with low strength pipe tobacco.

But the price saving on IQOS is now at a level that looks significant, and it works as a substitute for the real thing for me. I’ll be using it more and more in the future.

Well yes, principles are important but the long and short of it is – IQOS is cutting down my spend on heavily taxed tobacco in a way no Electrofag has yet managed. I don’t have health problems, the biggest issue for me at the moment is cost. When I first tried IQOS, which was a matter of weeks ago, the price difference per pack of 20 was pennies. It’s already £1 and it’s going to get a lot bigger. I’m sticking with it.

And if that makes you think of me as a traitor to smoking, a sell-out to The Man or some kind of hybrid smoker-vaper monstrosity, I don’t care.

I do what works for me. I do not do what other people tell me to do. No matter who is doing the telling. Never have and never will.

If that comes as a shock you really haven’t been reading this blog for very long, have you?

HNB and free money

I just loaded a £50 Amazon voucher onto my account. And Amazon sell whisky…

I’m tempted to buy a low end one for under £14 just to cock a snook at the Spiteful Nannying Puritans and their minimum pricing, but I’ll probably get some of the good stuff instead.

Incidentally, I found a new one in Aldi. Castle and Crag, priced exactly at the minimum £14. It’s not a malt (I’d be delighted to find one at that price!) but it’s a single-grain whisky. Not a blend. A bit like Haig, but it’s not Haig. It’s actually pretty good. I’d buy it again.

Anyway, this free money, well not totally free, I had to do stuff for it, came via IQOS. Yes, I still use it, not exclusively but it’s outlasted every Electrofag I ever tried. About once a week they send a questionnaire asking how much you use it, do you use real smokes too, do you use Electrofags as well, how do you like it, what are the downsides and so on. I fill them in, and thereby accumulated points which I ignored for a while – but it seems they build up pretty fast. I remember my father collecting the points cards inside cigarette packets. This seems similar, it’s good to see the past coming full circle.

I don’t think they are allowed to let you redeem the points for their products which is a shame. I’m going to need more cleaning sticks soon and will need some more microfags to stick in the end. If I could have tried the yellow ones for free that would have been great. Alas, it is not to be.

Instead you can redeem the points for a range of vouchers. The Amazon one is likely to be the most useful for me so I went for that one. I’ve now loaded it onto the account and will browse for interesting bottle-shaped things.

I got the IQOS on a deal which was around £50 for the device and 100 microfags. I have amber (proper man strength) and turquoise (menthol) ones gradually declining here. I think I’d use it a lot more if the price of 20 microfags wasn’t the same as 20 real ones, but hey ho. At least they sell me the things. And getting this voucher technically makes the original purchase free anyway.

I did try to get a Blu electrofag but they didn’t believe I was over 18 and insisted I send a picture of my driving licence or passport to prove it. I’ve had a driving licence since 1977 and have voted in every election since 1978 but they can’t find me on the driver database or electoral roll, they said.

Well I’m not comfortable with sending my passport or driving licence over the internet so I cancelled. There will be no review of Blu here, it might be great but it seems I will never know. I see it in shops but… nah. I’ll skip that one.

It was a weird experience. I’ve bought pipe and cigarette tobacco, cigars etc. online for years. Also whisky and all kinds of Electrofags and juices and even been sent a few to review. And yet all of a sudden I have to prove my (somewhat gammony-advanced) age. I can skip one product. There are plenty more to choose from.

Still, for me, I think IQOS has a better chance of sticking than any Electrofag I’ve tried so far. I like Electrofag. It’s a great gadget. I like how I can ‘smoke’ weird flavours like absinthe and roast chicken and coffee. But… it doesn’t really feel like the real thing for me. It’s an ‘as well as’ not an ‘instead of’.

IQOS could almost become an ‘instead of’. The biggest stumbling block is the price. If the microfags were half the price of real ones I’d use it almost exclusively.

‘Almost’, because there is no way to smoke it while driving. You need a free hand to hold the device or the microfag will drop out of the end. Also, outdoors, how much smoke you produce is not an issue. I don’t see me having a beer outside on a warm summer evening without some real burning tobacco involved.

If we actually get a summer this year, I’m going to revive my pipes.