So we're sat in a cafe in Bradford having something to eat. Outside the cafe there's a little gathering, about ten or twelve young people - boys and girls - aged 14 or 15. They're behaving exactly like you'd expect young people this age to behave - joshing with each other, lots of braggadocio from the boys, preening and giggling from the girls. All pretty normal and almost certainly a bunch of nice kids.
And three or four of them were vaping.
Now before you get all shocked, imagine the scene a few years ago. A dozen working class fifteen year olds in Bradford away from parents in the City centre - three or four of them would have been smoking good old-fashioned cigarettes. Instead they're vaping - doing something that Public Health England tell us is at least 95% safer than smoking.
It may be that you'd prefer these young people to do nothing - no smoking, no vaping. And maybe you're right in your preference. But if they're going to do something surely it's better they choose the least harmful option? Just like I was back in the 1970s, the young people are doing the naughty thing they're told not to do - in my case it led to being a heavy smoker for thirty years. For these young people their choice means they won't have the coughs, the shortness of breath and the massive risk of lung or throat cancer that I had.
Which is why it's very stupid to try and make vapers and vaping equivalent to smoking.