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 decades, filters falsely reassured countless smokers that they were reducing their exposure 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 a consumer fraud.
As you go along we saw reduced carcinogen brands and even asbestos filtered cigarettes.
There was clearly 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 backed up by many in public health who innocently thought these were no-brainers. Nigel Gray, a huge 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 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 earth.
For 35 years since 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 turned into a world leader in lessening smoking without any 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 get manufactured, flavoured, promoted and used virtually without restriction.
This is all being done on the shoulders of an argument that insists that after fifty years of tobacco control, there remain many smokers who can’t or don’t want to quit their nicotine dependence, and that in just a couple of years, sufficient evidence has already accumulated to demonstrate that e-cigarettes are both benign and ideal for cessation.
Nevertheless the “can’t quit” argument has gotten remarkably little critical interrogation. We know that countless countless often heavily dependent smokers have quit because the early 1960s, most with no assistance in any way.
We understand that today’s smokers smoke fewer cigarettes each day than at any time previously, exactly the complete opposite of exactly what the hardening hypothesis would predict.
The needs of the “we don’t wish to quit/we like nicotine” vaping activists for unregulated use of e-cigarettes and to utilize them without restrictions must be balanced from the risks of what these demands might mean izzert population-wide progress toward the aim of keeping smoking heading south.
Comprehensive tobacco control is not just concerning the preferences of vapers. It really is most significantly about continuing to starve the tobacco industry of the latest recruits and ensure that smoking is produced history.
If we think about e-cigarettes being a transformative genie in a bottle, we have to think thoroughly before allowing it to out, because putting genies way back in their bottles is more difficult than impulsively allowing them to out. Should they turn out to be benevolent, all’s good. But if they bring false hopes and keep many individuals smoking, we might be studying the early days of any third major false god of tobacco harm reduction.