Tuesday, 5 July 2011

E-Cigs: It Has Never Been About Harm Reduction, Either

Hey guys, did I ever mention to you that 'it's not about health'? Well, I was partly wrong. Not only has it never been about health (that is, anything proposed by the scrunch-faced jizzcrumpets in the laughably-named public health lobby), but also hasn't had even a passing resemblance to harm reduction, either.

I was struck by this anecdotal paragraph in an uncommonly sensible piece over at CiF.

No, the problem is that there are simply some people – no, many people – who do not like the idea of people smoking at all, and the impression one gets that if it were not smoking which were the issue here, it would be something else with them, like eating chocolate, or masturbating**, or some other common but unedifying pleasure. I once asked a doctor at a party whether she would still seek to ban the habit even if there were an almost costless one-a-day pill one could take which would negate every single adverse side-effect. I was much struck by the speed with which she said "yes". I was going to ask "why?" but saw a look in her face which made me think better of it.
This, I think, really isn't news to us here. If the conversation was reported correctly - which is hardly in doubt in the current condemnatory climate - the (obviously shallow) doctor concerned was far less concerned with health than she was the enjoyment of a product she, personally, finds distasteful. She would rather just ban it than see people happy, and with no possibility of harm.

I find that distinctly evil, but each to their own.

However, it reminded me of a quite appallingly irresponsible - and woefully inaccurate - article published by a San Fran anti-tobacco warrior last week on the subject of e-cigs.

E-cigs are only one of the latest tricks in pushing tobacco to people, and to subverting anti-tobacco education and restrictions.
No. They were originally marketed as a way of getting people off of tobacco. In fact, they still would be if ignorant anti-smokers hadn't campaigned against such an idea.

I mean, why would an anti-smoker want people to stop smoking tobacco, eh?

These supposedly "safer" cigarettes undermine secondhand smoke regulations and make them harder to enforce.
There's the ticket. E-cigs push people away from pharmaceutical products by helping them comply with anti-smoking initiatives without buying anything which provides the author with cash.

Sadly for him, he can't use tobacco control 101 and blame the tobacco industry. E-cigs not containing any tobacco; also being a thorn in the side of the tobacco industry; and being an invention of someone totally unrelated to the industry soundly destroys that line of attack.

Oh, hang on.

Every time the tobacco industry has presented a "safer" form of smoking, it has turned out to not be true.
And there was me thinking e-cigs were invented by someone who wasn't happy at all with the tobacco industry. The idea that the tobacco industry are behind it all is a conspiracy theory up there with lizards at the north pole, and about as based in fact as The Silence.

We used to see this type of loon standing in High Streets, under a sandwich board, declaring that the end of the world was nigh due to some inconsequential ill he had inflated in his tiny mind to apocalyptic proportions. The police would sometimes pop into his newspaper article-papered shed to ensure he wasn't self-harming as he ranted and screamed about monsters in the cupboard and giant, industry-financed robotic, curare-armed maggots under his bed.

They'd mop his brow, say 'there, there' and warn him not to keep scaring Mrs Prunehat at number 23, or the man with the big needle might pop round again. Before walking away laughing and advising social services to increase the dose next time they called.

Now, governments respect such daft, hallucinatory twerps.

The characters in 'public health' are no different to their forebears of a century ago who saw nothing but immorality, devilry, hedonism and the ignorance of the word of God in anything pleasurable. They've just altered the way they describe themselves - from the "Christian Temperance Movement" to "Alcohol Concern" or "ASH", and their religion is now that of lucre under the highly deceptive public health banner.

Because they don't give a stuff about health. Nor - as is proved by the vacuous burblings of the above SF author - do they even give a nod to harm reduction either.

E-cigs are harmless and a fantastic aid to reducing tobacco intake, or even eliminating it entirely. But still these righteous hectors push indefatigably to ban them.

Yet again, we see this 'public health' lobby actively working to cause more death and disease when, if they were truly altruistic in their intentions, they would be welcoming the widely reported harm reduction potential of e-cigs.

There should be a warning tattooed on the forehead of every blinkered public health lobbyist along the same lines as those on tobacco products. Because it's true - "the public health industry kills".

It's never been about health, and even harm reduction is unacceptable to the newly-resurrected church of righteous abstinence.

** These evil people have been there, done that.

UPDATE: Along the same lines, Simon Cooke has written an excellent piece to kick off a series he is writing on "The Church of Public Health". Well worth a read.


Anonymous said...

Of course it's not about health.
The drug money was about to run out.

Drugmakers warned of $140 billion patent "cliff"

(Reuters) - The world's top drugmakers face the loss of $140 billion (70 billion pounds) in annual sales by 2016 as key product patents expire and cheap generic versions of their blockbuster medicines hit the market, according to a report on Wednesday.

Independent market analysis firm Datamonitor said that the huge patent "cliff" meant manufacturers of branded products could expect to face a decade of unrelenting generic competition.

As a result, many investors are concerned drug companies do not have enough new compounds moving through development to keep sales and profits growing at historic levels.

"While reformulation strategies may be effective at staving off generic competition in the short term, ultimately manufacturers need to develop truly novel drugs in order to maintain franchise and portfolio revenues in the face of generic competition," he said."

We are the new market.


WHO Europe evidence based recommendations on the treatment of tobacco dependence - 2002

"This was a three year project, funded largely by three pharmaceutical companies that manufacture treatment products for tobacco dependence, but managed by WHO Europe and a steering group which included government representatives and many public sector organisations."

Co-operation between public and private sectors in fight against Tobacco Dependence reaches unprecedented level

Chicago - Four major pharmaceutical companies -- Glaxo Wellcome, Novartis Consumer Health, Pharmacia Corporation and SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare -- are working together with major public health organisations in a series of unprecedented initiatives to fight tobacco use world-wide."

"Chantix sales could help Pfizer on its comeback trail, as it tries to fill its impending, multibillion-dollar sales vacuum that will result from some of its older blockbusters losing patent protection."

But not for e-cigs.

Anonymous said...

What bothers me about the ecig is what happens when Big Pharma' start making them.

The RCP has plans to coerce us all off tobacco and onto 'harm reduction' crap. Once Big P has the patent/s to these things, we will be made to suck nicotine out of tampon-shaped plastic tubes whether we like it or not. Anyone who says they'd rather have all the other 3,999 chemicals as well, please, will be sectioned and given an anti-joy receptor vaccine. Because you'd have to be mad not to agree with what 'everyone knows'.

I don't know if the race between BAT and Philip Morris to develop one is a good thing or a bad thing for the future of proper smokers.


Frank Davis said...

I once asked a doctor at a party

Do doctors go to parties? Surely they disapprove of them.

Dick Puddlecote said...

"I don't know if the race between BAT and Philip Morris to develop one is a good thing or a bad thing for the future of proper smokers."

Well, presumably they wouldn't demand we ditch one for the other, so I hope they get there before the more corrupt big pharma.

Steve K said...

Very well said, sir! I railed against that article as well, but it still gets under my skin. I think the more people that point out how plain misinformed that author is the better! Maybe misinformed isn't quite the word. I'm still not sure if they guy just didn't do his homework or if he's trying to raise the spectre of "Big Tobacco" to demonize ecigs.

Angry Exile said...

We used to see this type of loon standing in High Streets, under a sandwich board...

Used to? Well, yeah, but only because they're on bloody radio now.

Anonymous said...

Big Vape demonized Big Tobacco (and unfortunately, individual smokers suffering discrimination and on the receiving end of hate campaigns) when it built up the SHS Fraud and called it "the truth" when it was clearly not the truth.

So if Big Vape gets its comeuppance next, then it's not as if Big Vape hadn't already conspired itself in a manufactured lie in an attempt to sell its product, no different than Big Pharma, with whom they shared the same bed.

What goes around comes around, doesn't it, in time.

Dick Puddlecote said...

'Big Vape', Anon? If it were even 'Medium Vape' I'd be surprised.

westcoast2 said...

Small vape are trying to get the Electronic Cigarette Consumers Association up and running. (ECCA UK and Ireland) http://www.eccauk.org/ to (in part) help try and stop e-cigs from being banned.

One of the key things that has been recognised is that it is not about health and people should have a choice to smoke, vape or dual it's up to them.

The anti-smoking groups do not want the e-cig as it exposes their hypocrisy and, as DP has pointed out here, would ban them just like cigs.

Well not like cigs, more ban completely rather than just restricted. They are banned in Weatherspoons already.

Smokers and Vapers have common cause and many vapers recognise this. Indeed having come close to being put out of business by the MHRA earlier this year many vendors now recognise this too.

Choice all round is the key.

james said...

This post reminds me of a quote from Serena Chen. When she was asked about electronic cigarettes, she said:

"If you had a serial killer who liked to stab people, would you give him a rubber knife?"

Dick Puddlecote said...

James: Having just googled that quote, it's got to be the most bankrupt argument I've ever encountered. Desperate stuff!