Do you remember going to see the careers guidance officer? At least that is what they were called when I was at school, I believe following continual cutbacks that the Department for Education has issued all institutions with a dartboard labelled up with all the options. Spotty hormonal teenagers now shuffle down a dank corridor, pick up a blunt set of arrows and have three opportunities to land one of the two placements in their town.
Landing in an even number gets the kid on a waiting list for a 6-month salary-free modern apprenticeship in Poundland. Any odd number automatically qualifies them for Higher Education, regardless of the likely GCSE results, and someone from the loan company pops out of a cupboard to harvest their kidneys.
Any double, treble or missed board moves them straight to the unemployment office, where they discover they were sanctioned while in Year 3 and can not receive any benefits until 2029. In the event the child faces more than one option, the worst one applies.
Bullseyes count for nothing, just like the promises to help fulfil their dreams the Head made at the start of Year 7 - before it became an academy, sacked all the staff, and replaced them with a second-hand floor-polishing machine from Azerbaijan. That said, Mr Polisher did achieve some spectacular exam results with 5C last year.
The one thing no career service ever told any child was that there are certain jobs, certain secret jobs, which contain the stuff of dreams. Nobody ever told me I could be a spaceman. Nobody mentioned Premier League multimillionaire football player was on the table. And not one word was spoken about the potential for me to work (ha! It’s funny to even use that word in reference to this) as a public health expert.
Somebody, somewhere thought ‘I know what, I’ll give a load of money to some people in Australia, Canada, the States and one in England to see if they can produce the most blindingly obvious study’. So stunningly obvious it would be the equivalent of walking through a forest, pointing at every tree and shouting the words: “That is a tree”.
Thus, “Does the regulatory environment for e-cigarettes influence the effectiveness of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation?: Longitudinal findings from the ITC Four Country Survey” was born.
“This is the first study to examine the impact of regulatory environment for electronic cigarettes (ECs) on their real-world effectiveness for smoking cessation,” writes the team. You can imagine their little faces all painted up with excitement as they discussed this during an online open conferencing session. The very first study to look at whether banning vaping had any effect on its success at helping smokers quit.
Hang on, it doesn’t sound so clever when I write it in my own words. In fact, it seems…never mind, let’s find out what the team discovered: “Use of ECs in the real world during a quit attempt appears only effective for sustaining smoking abstinence in a less restrictive EC environment suggesting that the benefits of ECs for smoking cessation are likely highly dependent on the regulatory environment.”
For those of you who don’t speak ‘Academic’, that translates to: Blimey, we discovered that vaping only works well for fag smokers in countries that allow vaping.
Science seemed much more aloof when scientists were allowed to stub cigarettes out in the eyes of beagle puppies. I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but feel I could have contributed to this stunningly insightful paper. Contributed, and then gone to spend all of my easy money on Blackjack and stuff.
Come on careers guidance officers, up your game.