Vaguely reporting on the government's plan to ban e-cig sales to under 18s - something of an industry standard amongst retailers anyway so a bit of a non-story - Nanny Beeb instead chooses to take the opportunity to regurgitate every piece of fabricated tobacco industry propaganda from the past year or two of fright-induced activism against vaping.
Continuing its usual shoddy modus operandi, the BBC calls on one of its staff (today in the form of some credulous non-entity called Richard Warry) to offer 'expert' analysis which is anything but, and quotes Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies in such a manner that we can only assume she is a dribbling idiot who should have nothing to do with regulating e-cigs, so little does she know about them.
You will also notice that Deborah Arnott is asked for her opinion. Very odd, really, considering she is head of Action on Smoking and Health, whereas e-cigs are not smoking - just like they are included in the Tobacco Products Directive despite their containing no tobacco.
In case you're curious, it's because ASH altered their "objectives for the public benefit" a few years ago. You see, in 2009 it said this:
1) To preserve and protect the health of the community both physical and mental and in the furtherance of this purpose to provide other charitable relief for those practising or likely to practise cigarette and other forms of smoking.
2) To advance the education of the public concerning the effects of cigarette and other forms of smoking and their effects on the health of the community and the individual.
3) To assist, carry out, promote and encourage research into cigarette and other forms of smoking and to collect and study information relating thereto with a view to publication of the same and the communication of information in connection therewith to the general public and others having legitimate interest in receiving such information for the benefit of the health of the community at large.Nothing in there about e-cigs or any other device which doesn't contain tobacco.
In 2010 - probably when e-cigs started to register on their radar - it was quietly changed to what it remains today (emphasis mine):
1. to preserve and protect the health of the public against the harmful effects of cigarette or other tobacco products; and
2. to advance the education of the public about the effects of cigarette and other tobacco and nicotine products.Subtle, huh?
This is what Arnott believes renders her entitled to not only comment on e-cigs, but also be part of the steering committee trying their damnedest to place obstacles in front of all forms of harm reduction (latest accounts page 6).
Deborah Arnott was on the Commission for Human Medicines working group on harm reduction and is on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) PDG developing guidance on tobacco harm reduction.As we know, Arnott wants all e-cigs regulated as medicines, a process which costs millions of pounds 'per product' which - if public objections are placated enough for the MHRA to implement it in 2016 as they hope - means they must be replicated for each individual product to be marketed. This is important. It's not planned as an industry standard for a pretty simple interaction between three simple components to deliver nicotine from three benign ingredients.
Oh no. What is planned is a regulatory regime which would render every single product on the market today illegal unless each product is granted permission individually. The cost is stratospheric and would make e-cigs so expensive that no-one could afford to buy them, but to be accepted by a public largely unconcerned by e-cigs, this absurd over-reaction all relies on the scare-o-meter being cranked up to 11.
Arnott knows this, and also knows about affordability affecting sales considering her organisation regularly calls for massive tax rises on tobacco to deter smoking - it's been their prime tactic for over 40 years. Her approach towards deterring e-cig use differs only by the method employed to make sure the higher prices are installed.
She also knows - as her state-funded quango studied it recently - the 'gateway effect' of e-cigs is pure fantasy, but she was strangely silent on that salient fact today despite the BBC reporting it as if smoking is about to skyrocket because of kids scrambling for the Marlboros after a brief encounter with vaping.
While smoking rates have fallen to their lowest ever level, experts fear the electronic substitutes could be encouraging teenagers to take up the habit.But then, why let facts important to public health interfere with an agenda Arnott gets paid increasingly handsomely for, eh? (more on that tomorrow)