Sunday 5 June 2011

It Was Never About Health

It's something which is regularly pointed out by those very knowledgeable in tobacco control matters and harm reduction alike, but a couple of recent articles starkly illustrate the hypocrisy of anti-smoking bodies on regulation of alternatives.

Or, to put it more bluntly, they don't really care about health or wellbeing one iota.

Commenting on a Daily Mail article by ex-Sky correspondent, Ross Appleyard - detailing his harrowing experience of using Champix - we see the harm reduction principle being openly quoted.

Dr Clare Gerada, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, says: "As a GP, I prescribe Champix to my patients who want to quit smoking - usually along with nicotine patches and gum. In my opinion, the risks of smoking are far greater than any associated with taking the medicine."
Some may argue that the possibility of immediate suicide and/or violent murder is rather more scary than a 50/50 chance of tobacco-related complications in old age, but the point is at least valid to put forward.

Or would be if the exact opposite argument isn't regularly employed to prohibit electronic cigarette use.

[...] the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, a group that has helped states and localities draft laws on smoking bans, includes electronic cigarettes in its model legislation due to the fears over the safety of the devices.

"They raise significant health concerns for us. We don't know what is in the vapor mist, we don't know what else is in the contents of that electronic cigarette," said Cynthia Hallett, executive director of the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation. "The good news is more research being done. ... We may learn more, and if in the end they're safe, we'll have to revisit."

But she said that to be allowed in places where regular cigarettes are banned, electronic cigarettes wouldn't just have to be safer; they'd have to "do no harm."
So, on the one hand, harm reduction is perfectly acceptable when the product is produced by pharmaceutical interests, even if it is clear that the product is far from 100% safe.

But when talking of e-cigs, their 90% safer potential is to be completely ignored, and consumers effectively forced back to tobacco use which - according to tobacco control's own statistics - will kill half of them.

The tobacco control industry would command so much more integrity if it just admitted that their crusade never had anything to do with health, wouldn't it?


Anonymous said...

I fill my own e-cig with food grade glycerine and coffee granules.
Not everyones taste, but I like it.

I wonder just exactly what ingredient in my e-cig could be considered 'unsafe'
I have been stopped from using it at an airport and on a train.

Anonymous said...

Someone should produce a recipe book on making e-cig juices based on tried and true mixtures that taste nice and do not burn out the atomizer. It would be interesting to learn what all can be handmade to use in the things. The fact they might not require constantly buying corporate manufactured and sponsored refills might be another big reason certain industries will influence charities and ultimately governments to be against them.

Dr Evil said...

As I understand it the only way you could harm another person with an e fag is to poke them in the eye with it. It's just flavoured water vapour and some nicotine right? And not much nicotine either! So not smoke and not alight so it's not a cigarette and should not come under any tobacco laws. Obvious!