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.