E-cigarettes are definitely the latest development in nicotine delivery products to fly the harm-reduction flag. They follow the huge failures of cigarette filters. Over many years, filters falsely convinced countless smokers that they were reducing their being exposed 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, in which the ACCC outlawed from 2005 as a consumer fraud.
Along the way we saw reduced carcinogen brands and even asbestos filtered cigarettes.
There was massive publicity about harm reduction from filters and low tar, and massive consumer uptake, however, not a blip in the incidence of tobacco caused disease in those who still smoked.
Because of harm-reduction arguments, countless smokers continued smoking who might otherwise have quit. The tobacco industry drove these arguments and was supported by many in public health who innocently thought these were no-brainers. Nigel Gray, a huge of global tobacco control, later admitted that this decades-long, well-intentioned low-tar harm-reduction policy was actually a disaster.
Meanwhile, we continued with the core policies of trying to stop 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 on the planet.
For 35 years since the early 1980s, we have now seen continually falling incidence rates of tobacco-caused disease. Female lung cancer seems prone to never reach even half the peak we saw in males. Awkwardly for a few, Australia has become a world leader in lessening smoking without any mass cessation clinic network or major embrace of electronic cigarette consumer reviews.
Today, demands are made to rush in soft-touch regulation to enable e-cigarettes to be manufactured, flavoured, promoted and used virtually without restriction.
This is all being done on the shoulders of the argument that insists that after half a century of tobacco control, there remain many smokers who can’t or don’t want to give up their nicotine dependence, which in just a few years, sufficient evidence has now accumulated to demonstrate that e-cigarettes are both benign and ideal for cessation.
However the “can’t quit” argument has gotten remarkably little critical interrogation. We realize that countless countless often heavily dependent smokers have quit considering that the early 1960s, most without any assistance whatsoever.
We realize that today’s smokers smoke fewer cigarettes per day than at any time before, precisely the complete opposite of just what the hardening hypothesis would predict.
The requirements in the “we don’t desire to quit/we like nicotine” vaping activists for unregulated access to e-cigarettes as well as utilize them without restrictions has to be balanced against the perils of what these demands might mean izzert population-wide progress toward the goal of keeping smoking heading south.
Comprehensive tobacco control is not just about the preferences of vapers. It is actually above all about continuing to starve the tobacco industry of brand new recruits and make sure that smoking is made history.
If we consider e-cigarettes being a transformative genie in a bottle, we must think thoroughly before allowing it to out, because putting genies back in their bottles is much more difficult than impulsively permitting them to out. If they end up being benevolent, all’s good. But when they bring false hopes and keep many people smoking, we might be studying the beginning of the third major false god of tobacco harm reduction.