E-cigarettes are definitely the latest innovation in nicotine delivery products to fly the harm-reduction flag. They follow the huge failures of cigarette filters. Over decades, filters falsely convinced countless smokers that they were reducing their exposure to harm and so could keep smoking.
We had the lights and milds fiasco – which saw 80% of Australian smokers select those misleadingly labelled brands, that the ACCC outlawed from 2005 being a consumer fraud.
Along the way we saw reduced carcinogen brands as well as asbestos filtered cigarettes.
There was massive publicity about harm reduction from filters and low tar, and massive consumer uptake, but not a blip inside the incidence of tobacco caused disease in those who still smoked.
Due to harm-reduction arguments, countless smokers continued smoking who might otherwise have quit. The tobacco industry drove these arguments and was maintained by many in public health who innocently thought they were no-brainers. Nigel Gray, a giant of global tobacco control, later admitted that the decades-long, well-intentioned low-tar harm-reduction policy was actually a disaster.
Meanwhile, we continued with the core policies of attempting to prevent uptake, encourage quit attempts and denormalise smoking via smoke-free policies to protect non-smokers. Together, these objectives have delivered Australia the lowest smoking prevalence in the world.
For 35 years because the early 1980s, we have seen continually falling incidence rates of tobacco-caused disease. Female carcinoma of the lung seems prone to never reach even half the peak we saw in males. Awkwardly for many, Australia has become a world leader in cutting smoking with no mass cessation clinic network or major embrace of electronics cigarette review.
Today, demands are being designed to rush in soft-touch regulation to allow e-cigarettes to get manufactured, flavoured, promoted and used virtually without restriction.
This can be all being carried out on the shoulders of your argument that insists that after 50 years of tobacco control, there remain many smokers who can’t or don’t want to stop their nicotine dependence, and that within a couple of years, sufficient evidence has accumulated to show that e-cigarettes are generally benign and perfect for cessation.
Nevertheless the “can’t quit” argument has gotten remarkably little critical interrogation. We realize that hundreds of an incredible number of often heavily dependent smokers have quit because the early 1960s, most without any assistance at all.
We realize that today’s smokers smoke fewer cigarettes per day than at any time previously, exactly the complete opposite of just what the hardening hypothesis would predict.
The requirements from the “we don’t want to quit/we love nicotine” vaping activists for unregulated use of e-cigarettes as well as use them without restrictions should be balanced against the perils of what these demands might mean izzert population-wide progress toward the aim of keeping smoking heading south.
Comprehensive tobacco control is not only regarding the preferences of vapers. It really is most significantly about continuing to starve the tobacco industry of brand new recruits and make sure that smoking is produced history.
Whenever we think about e-cigarettes being a transformative genie in a bottle, we need to think thoroughly before allowing it to out, because putting genies in their bottles is more difficult than impulsively letting them out. If they prove to be benevolent, all’s good. But when they bring false hopes and keep many individuals smoking, we might be looking at the early days of any third major false god of tobacco harm reduction.