Brexit Blues?

March 10th, 2019

By ChiralJon –, CC BY 2.0,

As we are about to embark on yet another week of Brexit turmoil, don’t you sometimes wish that you would never see, hear or read the word “Brexit” ever again? This wretched debate has paralysed the government and diverted attention and funds away from issues that matter.


But are we right even to call it a “debate”. The word “debate” suggests an impartial assessment and analysis of evidence. But what we get instead are statements of radically opposing views and, very frequently, abuse of anyone holding a contrary opinion. The abuse can be extreme, often involving threats of violence, threats of rape or death threats.


Why has the Brexit “debate” become so violently polarized? Social media may be partly to blame. A platform such as Twitter only allows for a brief expression of opinion rather than the exposition of a coherent argument. In that environment, debate can’t happen. Statements of opposing opinions rapidly degenerate into abuse.


But there is another reason for the intractable nature of the Brexit issue and it is a very surprising one. The real problem is that both sides of the Brexit argument – Leave and Remain – are right. And each side knows it is right.


Neither side is 100% right. But both sides put forward beliefs which are either self-evidently true or at least highly plausible.


For example: Remainers say that to remain in the EU guarantees ongoing, frictionless trade with our biggest trading partner and poses no threat to peace in Northern Ireland and risks no breakup of the United Kingdom. That’s true, isn’t it?


And Leavers say that in certain areas immigration has caused a reduction of job opportunities and a suppression of wage growth. That also seems highly plausible.


There are many other truths on both sides – I’m not going to list them all. But each side clings passionately to its own truths and the result is polarization and deadlock.


Like everyone else, I’ve no idea what will actually happen. But one thing I’m certain about is that, whatever the outcome, most people will be bitterly disappointed, including those who, on the face of it, get their way. This will add to the tension which this thoroughly toxic issue has already caused.


As a family man, a friend and a colleague, I have seen for myself the strain which Brexit has put upon relationships and friendships. So, whatever happens on the week commencing March 11, 2019, I would urge us all to try our hardest to understand and tolerate views which are different from our own. This can be very hard to do in the face of extremist rhetoric. But the majority of British people are not extremists. Most of us simply want the best for our country and ourselves.


If all this stress starts to get you down, why not book an appointment with me and offload a bit of it?



If e-cigarettes are completely safe, why is the use of them mainly banned in public places such as pubs, restaurants, in-door shopping malls, and so on?


People who grew up in the 1960s, 70s, 80s, or earlier, will remember when tobacco smoking was permitted in restaurants, cinemas, trains, busses and other public places. The smell of cigarette smoke would cling to the clothing of both smokers and non-smokers and the risks of passive smoking would be readily accepted by anyone who left a smoky environment with a clogged-up throat and running eyes.


But e-cigarettes are safe, aren’t they? They either have no smell, or they smell of things such as vanilla or fruit. Where’s the harm in that?


The harm lies in what the vapour actually contains. It is now accepted as a fact that the vapour exhaled by e-cig smokers (the “second hand aerosols”, to use the technical expression) contains high levels of hazardous particulate matter, including metals such as nickel and chromium.


In an article for Science News (vol. 185, issue 13), Janet Raloff summarizes some recent scientific research into the safety of e cigarettes. E-cigarettes release high levels of nanoparticles into the body. Nanoparticles have been linked to heat disease, stroke, asthma and diabetes. E-cigarette vapours usually contain at least some of the solvents in which nicotine and flavourings are dissolved. E-cigarettes which deliver high levels of nicotine need to dissolve nicotine at a higher temperature. Higher temperatures cause a breakdown of solvents and produce carbonyls such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, which cause, or are linked to, cancer.


Put more simply, recent research strongly suggests that although e-cigarettes pose less of a risk than tobacco cigarettes, there is still evidence of a cancer risk. “Passive smoking” of e-cig vapour is now perceived to be potentially harmful.


There are other reasons why e-cigarette use should be banned in public places. Use of e-cigarettes may encourage children and young people to regard smoking as safe and normal. E-cigarette use might encourage someone who has recently quit smoking to relapse. (“Vaping isn’t smoking, is it?”). Although the smell of e-cigarettes doesn’t compare to the pong of tobacco cigarettes, some e-cigs do smell very strong. You wouldn’t necessarily want to inhale some perfumed cocktail of vapour if you’re trying to eat.


Finally, we should remember that e-cigarettes were only invented in 2003 (in China) and were only introduced into Europe in 2005. Widespread use of e-cigarettes is only about a decade old. The real long-term effects have not had time to emerge.


Vaping isn’t safe. Decide to quit today – and then contact me.



I have been practicing as a hypnotherapist for over twenty years. For about fifteen of those twenty years, smoking cessation was one of the most popular issues which clients wanted me to treat. There has been a reduced demand for this treatment over recent years and the main reason is that instead of quitting smoking more and more people are turning to “e cigarettes”, or vaping.


How many times have you heard people say “I’ve given up smoking – I just do this now” as they pull out a weird smelling contraption, put it in their mouths and inhale the flavoured vapour rich in nicotine. Have they really quit smoking? Is it really “Job Done”?


There can be little doubt that vaping is less harmful than smoking tobacco. You lungs don’t get silted up with tar and therefore there is considerably less risk of lung cancer. I am in no doubt that it is better to vape than to smoke. But is there a downside to vaping?


The answer has to be yes, for the following reasons:


  1. Long term health risks of vaping have yet to be determined.


E cigarettes have increased in popularity over the past 5 – 10 years. They haven’t been around long enough for long-term effects to be revealed. Should that be a cause for concern? Perhaps it should. E cigarettes contain a cocktail of chemicals whose long-term use may be harmful to the heart and the central nervous system.


  1. E cigarettes can function as a “gateway drug”.


According to Michael Blaha MD, MPH of John Hopkins Ciccarone Centre, use of e cigarettes has increased by around 900 % with some 40 % of users never having used traditional cigarettes. Vaping is replacing smoking, not eliminating it. Young vapers will sometimes move on to tobacco products or use them casually whenever the need or fancy arises.


  1. E cigarettes are as addictive as tobacco cigarettes, if not more so.


Users of tobacco know that their habit has serious health risks. Every packet of tobacco has grim warnings and lurid imagery all over it. So smokers tend to favour lower tar products which contain less nicotine. But e cigarettes vary the amount of nicotine they contain. Some can contain levels of nicotine which are very much higher than that of conventional cigarettes. As nicotine is a highly addictive substance this means that e cigarette use is every bit as hard to break as that of conventional cigarettes.


  1. Nicotine is bad for you.


Nicotine is a poison. It raises blood pressure, greatly increases heart rate and makes heart disease, heart attack, artery problems and strokes far more likely. High levels of nicotine counteract the effects of alcohol which encourages users to drink more. And nicotine is addictive. It is as hard to quite e cigarettes as it is to quit smoking tobacco.


But it can be done. Just give me a ring on 01403 272559 or contact me through the Contacts page of this website. Make up your mind to quite today!


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