BBC Breakfast later featured a three minute video slot - unhelpfully not embeddable, as usual - followed by conversation between Susanna Reid and reporter Graham Satchell (I can't remember the other presenter's name for obvious reasons) during which he volunteered an interesting revelation.
Graham Satchell on Breakfast says use of E-cigs is allowed in BBC buildings :)
— Dick Puddlecote (@Dick_Puddlecote) February 11, 2013
Both articles did, sadly though, feature serial prohibitionist Vivienne Nathanson of the BMA spouting her usual nonsense ...
"I would either take them off the shelves or I would very heavily regulate them so that we know the contents of each e-cigarette were very fixed," says Dr Nathanson.... which Jay has rightly called out as 'evil'. This, remember, from a woman who has already been caught out blatantly lying on the BBC in the past.
However, despite the inclusion of Nathanson, the BBC deserve a rare pat on the back for raising the issue so prominently. Perhaps, since Mondays are generally slow for news, it will be swiftly forgotten tomorrow now they can get their salaried secularists onto the Pope resigning, but a pat on the back is still perfectly in order nonetheless.
What is baffling me, though, is why? Why did the BBC feel that this was an issue deserving of such coverage? What's the angle?
As we know, their standard for health articles is to pick a press release and paraphrase it. But there doesn't appear to have been one in this case.
If Satchell had linked it in to the appalling Tobacco Products Directive and the resignation of John Dalli, it would make more sense, but he didn't. There was not a mention of Dalli's absurd proposals or of what is promising to be a Europe-wide campaign against them.
Perhaps it was just an excellent - and far too rare - piece of observational health journalism from Graham Satchell, I dunno. The BBC is the stopped clock that is sometimes accurate when wound by the right people, after all.
But, sadly, I'm wondering if it all might be far more depressingly simple. It was only last month that ASH produced an updated press briefing on e-cigs [opens in pdf] which was largely positive, and its contents are uncannily similar to the points raised in the BBC's coverage, as well as the comments made by Satchell in BBC Breakfast's studio this morning.
While it is great that the BBC are reporting on e-cigs - and also commendable that ASH UK are not replicating the fuckwittery towards them exhibited by their counterparts in other nations - a marshalling of the state-funded media by state-funded anti-smokers would still seem to be the status quo.