E-cigarettes are the latest innovation in nicotine delivery products to fly the harm-reduction flag. They follow the huge failures of cigarette filters. Over years, filters falsely convinced countless smokers that they were reducing their being exposed to harm and so could keep smoking.
We also had the lights and milds fiasco – which saw 80% of Australian smokers select those misleadingly labelled brands, which the ACCC outlawed from 2005 as being a consumer fraud.
Along the way we saw reduced carcinogen brands and also asbestos filtered cigarettes.
There is massive publicity about harm reduction from filters and low tar, and massive consumer uptake, however, not a blip within the incidence of tobacco caused disease in those who still smoked.
Thanks 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 these people 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 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 best smoking prevalence on the planet.
For 35 years considering that the early 1980s, we now have seen continually falling incidence rates of tobacco-caused disease. Female cancer of the lung seems likely to never reach even half the peak we saw in males. Awkwardly for a few, Australia has developed into a world leader in lessening smoking without the mass cessation clinic network or major embrace of green smoke electronic cigarette review.
Today, demands are now being created to rush in soft-touch regulation to allow e-cigarettes to become manufactured, flavoured, promoted and used virtually without restriction.
This can be all being carried out on the shoulders of an argument that insists that after half a century of tobacco control, there remain many smokers who can’t or don’t want to stop their nicotine dependence, and that in a few years, sufficient evidence has already accumulated to show that e-cigarettes are generally benign and ideal for cessation.
However the “can’t quit” argument has gotten remarkably little critical interrogation. We know that countless an incredible number of often heavily dependent smokers have quit since the early 1960s, most without the assistance whatsoever.
We realize that today’s smokers smoke fewer cigarettes daily than anytime in the past, precisely the opposite of just what the hardening hypothesis would predict.
The demands in the “we don’t desire to quit/we love nicotine” vaping activists for unregulated usage of e-cigarettes as well as make use of them without restrictions must be balanced against the hazards of what these demands might mean izzert population-wide progress toward the aim 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 created history.
When we consider e-cigarettes as a transformative genie in a bottle, we have to think thoroughly before allowing it to out, because putting genies back in their bottles is a lot more difficult than impulsively allowing them to out. If they turn out to be benevolent, all’s good. But when they bring false hopes and keep many people smoking, we could be looking at the beginning of the third major false god of tobacco harm reduction.