Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Burn The FT Heretics!

The FT yesterday produced something of a rarity these days, an editorial which ignored tobacco control industry bullshit and told the truth!
Given the potential of e-cigarettes to reduce harm to committed smokers, it is reasonable to assume that their rapid uptake would be welcomed by health regulators. Regrettably, the opposite is happening.
Well, yeah, it's something we jewel robbers have been thinking was a bit odd as well.
Both the World Health Organization and the US Federal Drug Administration are likely to classify e-cigarettes as a “tobacco product”. This is troubling. The WHO wants to reduce tobacco use by 30 per cent by 2025. Given that target, its determination to restrict e-cigarettes is inexplicable.
Not that inexplicable when you understand that they're funded by, and shill for, the pharmaceutical trade, but it's nice to see that the FT are beginning to realise there might be something whiffy going on.
The critical flaw in the position taken by the WHO and FDA is that science has not informed their thinking. Evidence of nicotine’s harm to humans is minimal. True, more research is needed, but so far no reputable scientist has concluded e-cigarettes cause cancer.
We still have no evidence that anyone has ever died from sitting near to a smoker at a football match either, but hey, it's banned anyway. It ceased being about health a long time ago.
A second argument is that the regulators object in principle to consumers taking addictive stimulants. But governments cannot regulate every addictive substance. For example, coffee and sugar are harmful taken in large quantities over time. The question of how they are consumed is best left to individuals.
Careful, FT, you're dangerously close to saying that the public should be able to choose what they get up to in a free society. That's classed as heresy these days.
The aim of health regulation must always be to reduce harm. E-cigarettes should therefore be embraced as part of the solution to the growth of cancer worldwide. Regulators should not take narrow-minded decisions to occupy an invented moral high ground. Instead, they should follow the science. This provides overwhelming evidence that electronic cigarettes are a benefit.
Indeed it does, but just watch the pharma-backed WHO pretend otherwise in Moscow later this year.


Mike Loftus said...

The FT has broken ranks. This could lead to an outbreak of honesty by canny editors who sense a wind of change, or it could be a minor aberration that will not be repeated. Any bets?

Kath Gillon said...

Well done the FT, will there be any useful roll on from this, I am doubtful the decision to demonise ecig products has been made at the highest level and the band wagon will just keep rolling because these people are looking for the next thing to ban all the time otherwise they run the risk of doing themselves out of a job.
Once they ban thins I am sure they have the next product already in line after all their concerted efforts on tobacco they lined up alcohol now those wheels are well and truly in motion they are looking to sugar as the next big campaign.
Ecigs are just the icing on the cake as far as these nosey parkers are concerned, an added bonus or by product of smoking for them to get stuck into in order to keep the wheels firmly on their moral outrage carriage as it hurls them towards the next big campaign.

westcoast2 said...

I'm not so sure. Their moral outrage carriage seems to be heading towards a cliff.

Antipholus Papps said...

Surely there are grounds for a lawsuit against the WHO? They can't just redefine items containing no tobacco as 'tobacco products'. If they apply these definitions to e-cigs then they must apply them to Nicorette products too.

Rotax said...

WHO is just an institute which gives statements and advices. They are not making any juristic statements because they are not making any laws. They are just lobbying their master's voice and their believers makes the laws.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

I reckon the issue of e-cigs is going to end up in courts all over the world, it seems inevitable. The result of deeply flawed people trying to ram a square peg through a regulatory round hole for ideological purposes.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

The former, we hope.

westcoast2 said...

The American Tobacco Control Act 2009 definition of “tobacco product” is “any product made or derived from tobacco” In the FDA/Njoy court case it was argued that the FDA could not regulate e-cigs as a drug because they were tobacco products. (see this summary of FDA vs Njoy/Smoking Everywhere - http://www.ecigarettedirect.co.uk/campaign/fda-njoy-smoking-everywhere.html).

At the time of the case some suggested using "the FDA could regulate e-cigs as tobacco" to stop them being regulated as a drug, leading to a ban in the US, would lead to problems later on. They suggested it would be better to argue that e-cigs fell outside of both sets of regulations, e-cigs were either covered by existing consumer law or should have their own regulatory framework. Unfortunately it was the Drug or Tobacco regulatory frameworks that were argued in court.

Although Judge Leon suggested that e-cigs could be regulated by the FDA under the TCA (thus e-cigs could not be regulated as drugs), it remains to be seen if that view can be challenged given that it seems to have been accepted that e-cigs are either a drug or a tobacco product.

So, to a certain extent and unhelpfully, the (re)definition of 'tobacco product' has already been tested in court.

Mark Wadsworth said...

The FT has its moments :-)

Kath Gillon said...

I hope so after all it could only make the world a better place, maybe I am just old and cynical and in my life time I have only seen deterioration, so improvement to me seems a long way away. :)

nisakiman said...

The critical flaw in the position taken by the WHO and FDA is that science has not informed their thinking.

So what's new? Science (as opposed to junk science) hasn't informed their thinking for decades. The purge on e-cigs is just the latest in a long line of ideologically driven mandates from people who haven't a clue.

Clive Bates said...

The FT editorial and coverage is very good - and given its no-bollocks-please readership, it has incentives to weigh these things up realistically. It's one of the few newspapers capable of penetrating the armour plated echo chamber of WHO's offices in Geneva.

The Economist also takes a broadly positive line too:



Tempo Fugit said...

Pointless depending on the media for an objective debate on tobacco
Tobacco is NOT allowed to contribute advertising revenue to media coffers
Government Agencies......................CAN
Pharmaceutical Corporations............CAN
Health Charities..................................CAN
Medical Bodies.....................................CAN
Chemists Companies............................CAN
So, it is about time some bloggers and their followers WOKE UP AND STUFFED THEIR NOSES IN THE NESCAFE
More action and less blithering
Get together and dump the Judas Goats,the bleating whimps and digital
weasels,lets have a look at who means business
Liberty at any price,any.
PS Latest from BBC (Health ????) Reichsgesundheitabteilung
Drink related street crime DOWN in last 7 years (7 YEARS????)
Domestic violence UP in same period

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Very true, but that was kinda like a Dunkirk moment for e-cigs in the US to avoid being destroyed at the time. Of course, we know what happened after Dunkirk in the 40s, don't we? ;)