by Dick Puddlecote
Evidence Free Zones: Irish Edition Last summer I posted two articles on the policies being adopted by train companies regarding e-cigs.
In Train Policy Spotting, we found that Eurostar didn’t have one, Scotrail banned them because they’re Scottish and that’s what the Scottish do, Network Rail said they were cushty and the East Coast line didn’t currently ban them but were cracking their knuckles and thinking about it. In This Is An Evidence Free Zone, we discovered that C2C Rail impose a ban because they look a bit like like smoking and South West Trains allow them because they haven’t worked out how to enforce a ban just yet.
In the meantime, in a curious moment, I also FOI’d Royal Mail to find out what their policy is. Yup, you guessed it, an outright ban in buildings and vehicles (see their response here).
If you read the reasoning behind each of these bans being applied, or being considered, there is one vital element missing. Can you spot it? Read on for the answer.
Anyhow, the latest train company to go for an all-out ban is Irish Rail. Their justification has to be the most flimsy yet.
IRISH RAIL HAVE taken the decision to ban e-cigarettes on all train services and the DART.
There is no evidence that the devices cause any harm to anybody standing close to them, but Irish Rail say that they’ve had complaints from passengers about the smell they create.
No, I’m not making that up, go look at the link for yourself. You can eat a fish and chip supper, pile into a KFC bargain bucket, fart from Donegal to Wicklow, but use an odourless e-cig and you’ll be turfed out at the next station because some psychosomatic smokerphobic thinks they can smell something.
Now, forgive me if I’m wrong, but weren’t bans on smoking something to do with harm caused to passers-by based on evidence which was – and I’m being generous here – inconsequential myth-making which convinced gullible politicos? Stupid and illiberal as that was, at least there was some vague whiff of logic.
But now we have bans based on nothing but “It looks a bit like something else”, “Haven’t a scooby what they are, might as well add it to the smoking policy”, “They’re not a patch or gum”, and “I thought I thaw a puddy-tat”?
Once again, e-cigs deliciously reveal that none of this hysteria about tobacco and/or nicotine has had anything to do with health. Never has; never will. I think I should get some sort of graphic sorted for that phrase, or maybe a Puddlecote coat of arms with the motto in Latin just for jolly.
Do go read the comments at the Journal.ie piece as it’s laugh-a-minute, populated as it is by such a lot of Irish people who have been manipulated and conditioned by imagined fear easier than Pavlov managed to train his dog with real pain.