We're very used to 'swarm politics' from the tobacco control industry, whereby they all spout off on the latest proposed prohibition when one of their coalition blows an embargoed whistle, but press coverage of e-cigs in the past few days has been relentless without any noticeable co-ordination.
For a start, the fiercely anti-smoking Independent have come out firmly in favour of them. Their Chief sports writer, James Lawton, penned a puff piece on New Year's Eve while on the same day, even tobacco company involvement didn't deter the paper from publishing more extremely positive column inches.
Companies, including some of the biggest names in tobacco, are poised to launch a generation of devices that mimic the experience of smoking without the lethal effects.Can you just imagine the horror of the psychotic wing of anti-smoking when they read such heresy in one of their favourite left-leaning rags? For the most committed tobacco-hating bigots, e-cigs are just a means by which many smokers are able to escape hideous, holier-than-thou, evangelical bullying, so I'm sure the bug eyes of one renowned weapons grade arsehole would have burned like being injected with acid if he opened the page and was hit with that.
One, being developed by a 29-year-old Oxford graduate, has attracted the attention of BAT, one of the world's largest tobacco companies, which has bought the rights to market it. A profusion of electronic and other devices has appeared in the past year, thanks to a legal loophole which allows them to be sold freely so long as they do not make any health claim.
He wouldn't be alone, either. As I've said before, e-cigs confuse (and scare) the hell out of anti-smokers, so much so that they have been charging around trying to ban them everywhere they possibly can. I wrote the other day about Holland's sad capitulation, but they're also currently illegal in supposedly free societies such as Australia, Brazil, Finland, Singapore and Canada.
Of course, if scathing articles like this today from one of Canada's largest news sources become more frequent, that may change.
It’s clear that since nothing is being combusted in an e-cigarette, their use is significantly less harmful than smoking. A 2010 paper published in the Journal of Public Health Policy reviewed the available data and concluded that, “electronic cigarettes are a much safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes.” Researchers at the Canadian organization TobaccoHarmReduction.org called e-cigarettes “the tobacco harm reduction phenomenon of the year.”Amen. Although the author solely places the blame on politicians, rather than equally the mentally unbalanced smoke-haters and richly-funded - partly from tobacco taxes - professional tobacco prohibitionists who advise them.
But just because a technology has the potential to save millions of lives, doesn’t mean someone hasn’t tried to ban it.
To figure out why the government would try to prohibit the use of these products, one simply has to follow the money. Between 2001 and 2008, the federal government collected $20.4-billion worth of tobacco taxes. Rather than implementing policies that are in the best interests of Canadians, it is the government that has become addicted to the lucrative tobacco industry.
It’s time to break the addiction: End the Canadian ban on electronic cigarettes.
Because that's the way the pharma-backed "quit or die" approach is intended to work. You quit by approved crony capitalist means, or the state and its allies will be quite happy to see you die.
It really hasn't ever been about health, and e-cigs are a perfect example. Especially since we've seen it all before, as the last of those recent articles I mentioned points out.
Writing for Ad Age - again, today - Judann Pollack recalls a time in the 80s when the battle for nicotine profits was won by smoke haters, and when - by tobacco control's very own reasoning - thousands of people died prematurely as a result.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more than 10 million smoking-related deaths since 1988. I often wonder whether that figure would be lower if it weren't for the rigidity of the anti-smoking lobby.Err, I'd argue with the 'best intentions' bit, unless talking about protecting salaries and research grants of course, but the rest is quite true and documented elsewhere.
Our story this week about marketers being unable to tout the potential health benefits of electronic cigarettes brought to mind an Ad Age storyline from 1988: The rise and fall of Premier. Premier was an audacious attempt by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. to sell a cigarette that heated, rather than burned, tobacco. It created no sidestream smoke, produced no ashes, contained zero tar, and had 97% less nicotine and 70% less carbon monoxide than other brands at the time.
Yet health advocates rebelled, maintaining, as they do now, that there's no such thing as a safer cigarette.
So with the best intentions, anti-smoking groups swooped into the St. Louis and Phoenix test markets faster than you could say "cancer stick." Local health organizations petitioned the state Board of Pharmacy to label Premier a drug and remove it from market. It was denounced by health commissioners in Missouri. New Jersey held hearings to ban Premier, even though it couldn't be purchased within 1,000 miles of the Garden State's border.
Former tobacco control activist Michael Siegel regularly highlights instances where the movement have gone off the rails and actively encourage politicians to bring in legislation which is pathetically thought-out and arguably kills people, but e-cigs are the best example yet by a long chalk.
And it is a major one which is happening now while modern communications enable the proof of their disgusting (and lethal) rent-seeking methods to be spread widely.
They have tried their utmost, globally, to extinguish (pun unintended) e-cigs despite their being a demonstrable boon to those wishing to move away from smoking. All because tobacco control's favoured quit partners and sponsors - who, by an amazing coincidence, all happen to be competing pharmaceutical companies - have told them to.
That they haven't succeeded, and now look likely to have to admit abject defeat, is not down to anything else other than true 'grassroots' opposition, rather than the feigned state-funded one that the likes of ASH still try to portray themselves as.
Time for some trumpet-blowing, I think, as I did predict as much last March.
As user numbers swell, government's enforcers in Whitehall are going to find it increasingly difficult to cut off vapers from an alternative to tobacco which offers massive harm reduction potential, without showing themselves up as vested interest stooges (if they haven't already, natch).To put it bluntly, any anti-smoking organisation who continues to act against e-cigs are openly admitting that they have no care for smokers' health (as if they ever did), and that can only be a good thing.
The sooner they are seen as the prohibitively costly, self-serving tax leeches that they are, feeding the prejudices of the most obnoxious in society, warping social fabrics worldwide, while delivering little by way of net health benefits, the better for all concerned.
The game's afoot for 2012, and I for one be watching developments with great interest.