Kids being kids


It was this love of being a self-appointed moral arbiter and fighter for a just & fair society that led to my father picking up the torch when he complained to the Chronicle & Echo about a popular brand of real ale moving from cask to a pressurised system.

It would have been my shoulders that had to carry the weight of putting the world to rights were it not for the intervention of my brother. An early career in a newsroom opened my eyes to the proliferation of angry old men displacing the regret over the aging process by vilifying everything they once did.

Consequently I was amused to see the reaction to “Vaping Boy†this week.

Anger and notions that this was a clandestine plot by the anti-vaping industry gushed onto the modern day virtual equivalent of the print letters page.

“Ban this filth!†“Disgusting!†“Complain and get it taken down!â€

Now I’m not going to judge the lad (aside from a gentle mocking of his inability to differentiate between vape and smoke), I was 12 when I bought 10 Embassy No.6 from a vending machine in the High St. I was a year older when I covered our village bus shelter in graffiti.

The fact is young kids act like this, they explore the world and make a succession of poor choices just like we all did. My wife, from a respectable middle class family, spent her 13th birthday face down in a pool of vomit and vodka. Lil’ Asap may go on to a lifetime of nicotine addiction, he might even be one of the very few to make the leap from vaping to a more unpleasant alternative, who knows? Despite launching into the mighty world of booze like global stocks of it were more limited than the remaining oil reserves, the wife has cut out a lifestyle drinking culture for herself that involves a half of lager in her slippers and sleep by 9pm.

What is the appropriate response? I’ve no idea, I do know what my response was though – and it was the same as when I saw a comment by Martin McKee: laughter.

He isn’t the first kid to try vaping, there was one walking around Vapefest with his parents in 2012, and he certainly won’t be the last. Pretending it’s not taking place or hoping to hide the activity from the outside world is no better than the lies made up by Glantz. Deal with it and twist it into a positive would appear to be a positive step. Use it to amplify how the industry abhors vendors who sell to children, take it and run with the notion that kids have always experimented with smoking and if this prevents them from doing so then society wins.

Just don’t tell me that insulting him and getting his online account blocked is anything approaching the right thing to do as I would be forced to write a strongly-worded letter of complaint.

*These opinions are my own and do not reflect those held by Stealthvape