According to an article in the Gloucester (UK) Citizen, the health scare over electronic cigarettes has led many adoption agencies in the UK to prohibit anyone who uses e-cigarettes from adopting children. In fact, some districts preclude anyone who has used an e-cigarette in the past 12 months from adopting.
His response was much the same as mine:
This story really turns my stomach. Moreover, it is just heartbreaking. How misguided this policy is. How devastating the consequences. Due to the anti-smoking groups’ dissemination of false and misleading information about the hypothetical consquences of vaping, actual harm is being done to many people.
This story reveals that not only is this harm being done to smokers who have decided to continue smoking rather than engage in a behavior that many health advocates say is as dangerous as smoking, but serious harm is also being done to smokers who have successfully quit using electronic cigarettes.
In other words, smokers who quit successfully using e-cigarettes are actually being punished for using e-cigarettes rather than an “FDA-approved” method.
The sad reality is that despite the most important ethical principle of medicine and public health being “to do no harm,” the anti-smoking movement is doing tremendous harm, both to the public’s health and to the lives of many ex-smokers.
Would Siegel have been heartbroken if it had been a couple of smokers who had disallowed from adopting?
I don’t know for sure, but I doubt it, somehow. He believes that secondhand smoke is toxic, after all. He would probably want to protect the chiiiildren.
But wouldn’t it be just as heartbreaking for smokers to be disallowed from adopting? And just as devastating? It does happen.
My own view, for what it’s worth, is that whether someone vapes is irrelevant to their suitability as parents. But then, I don’t think that e-cig vapour is in the least bit harmful.
And I also think that whether someone smokes or not is irrelevant to their suitability as parents. After all, both my (natural) parents smoked. And they were, I must say, excellent parents. But then, I don’t think that secondhand tobacco smoke is in the least bit harmful. In fact, I don’t think firsthand tobacco smoke is harmful either.
The sort of thing that, off the top of my head, I would regard as relevant to suitability would be whether the prospective parents have a suitable home, an income of some sort, be in good health, with no criminal or psychiatric record, and such like.
But there’s another question to be asked here. And it is this: Were the prospective parents harmed by being refused to be allowed to adopt? Michael Siegel certainly seems to think so.
It seems to me that for someone to be harmed, they have to be worse off as a result of what has been done. And in this case, they have been left in exactly the same (childless) situation that they were before. There’s been no change in their circumstances, except that they have had their hopes dashed.
Is someone harmed if their hopes are dashed? I think not.
Perhaps they might have been harmed if they forked out for a crib, a set of baby garments, nappies, rattles, and so forth. Then they would have wasted all that money. And that would perhaps be a loss, although it then might be said that they should have waited for permission to adopt before making such outlays of money.
I think the reason they were refused to be allowed to adopted is horrible and unnecessary. But I don’t really see that they have been harmed or otherwise injured in anyway.
Michael Siegel may not support banning vapers from adopting. But he does support smoking bans, because he regards secondhand smoke as toxic.
Might we not ask if smokers are harmed by being banned from smoking in public places?
Again, the question is, when smoking bans are introduced, do smokers lose anything?
And the answer is that they lose a great deal. They lose the welcome they were formerly afforded in pubs and cafes. “Exiled to the outdoors”, they may lose an entire community of friends and acquaintances. They may also lose their jobs. And they may also lose their homes. And even their lives.
These are all, in various ways, very real losses. They are heartbreaking and devastating losses. And far more heartbreaking and devastating than the one-off disappointment of being disallowed from adopting.
Yet antismokers like Michael Siegel, while they may find a vaper’s disappointment “stomach-churning”, are entirely unmoved when far worse happens to smokers. And happens to millions of smokers everywhere, every day, in plain sight.
These people have double standards. They keep one set of standards for those of whom they approve. And another for those of whom they disapprove.
Michael Siegel approves of vaping (as a means of stopping smoking), but strongly disapproves of smoking. And so he is outraged when a vaper is refused permission to adopt a child, but is utterly indifferent when smokers are not only routinely refused the same permission, but also made to suffer any number of additional slights and injuries.
The Rest of the Story needs a slight rewrite:
The sad reality is that despite the most important ethical principle of medicine and public health being “to do no harm,” the anti-smoking movement is doing tremendous harm, both to the public’s health and to the lives of many ex-smokers and smokers.
To which might be added:
And Michael Siegel has himself already contributed greatly to the harm being done.
The smokers need to be remembered. And when the tremendous harm that is being done to countless millions of them is included in the tally, what is being done to them will be seen as a terrible atrocity.
And one day that is exactly how it will be seen.