In 1976 Prof Michael Russell wrote that 'smokers smoke for the nicotine but die from the tar. When we urge people to stop smoking, we explicitly mean to quit smoking tobacco.
It is a worry that concern among smokers over the perceived dangers of electronic cigarettes and vapourisers appears to be rising compared to the much more harmful product which is tobacco. A significant number of people hold incorrect beliefs about the harm from electronic cigarettes and nicotine - believing that part or most of the health risks from smoking are from nicotine.Unusually for a tobacco control industry press release, this is actually true. Nicotine has been described by the RCP as a "very safe drug", by NICE as "relatively harmless", and Waldum et al concluded that "our study does not indicate any harmful effect of nicotine when given in its pure form by inhalation". So who is spreading all this alarm about nicotine?
Well, for one, step forward Jane Ellison MP (someone so in thrall to the WHO that she believes their COP6 where press and public were banned was 'transparent') speaking in Westminster Committee Room 11 on Monday.
This was in response to a question from Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood about why there was no mention of direct harm from e-cigs when passing laws against their sale. Interestingly, Horwood's wife works for Public Health England which might have prompted the curiosity.
In case the embed doesn't work, Ellison stated in reply - along with a contemptuous chuckle - that "addiction to nicotine, we would consider harmful", thereby ignoring the RCP, NICE and principled researchers, whilst also illustrating the damaging ignorance Fresh North East felt necessary to address in their press release.
Now, considering nicotine is on a par with caffeine when it comes to dependence and harm, I hope Ellison didn't drink any coffee on the day she uttered that nonsense. But more importantly, who on earth is advising her if she is so badly informed?