E-cigarettes are the latest innovation in nicotine delivery products to fly the harm-reduction flag. They follow the massive failures of cigarette filters. Over years, filters falsely reassured millions of 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, in which the ACCC outlawed from 2005 being a consumer fraud.
In the process 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, but not a blip in 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 backed up by many in public areas health who innocently thought these people were no-brainers. Nigel Gray, a huge of global tobacco control, later admitted that this decades-long, well-intentioned low-tar harm-reduction policy had been 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 in the world.
For 35 years because the early 1980s, we now have seen continually falling incidence rates of tobacco-caused disease. Female cancer of the lung seems prone to never reach even half the peak we saw in males. Awkwardly for many, Australia has developed into a world leader in reducing smoking without any mass cessation clinic network or major embrace of e cigarette reviews.
Today, demands are designed to rush in soft-touch regulation to enable e-cigarettes to become manufactured, flavoured, promoted and used virtually without restriction.
This really is 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 give up their nicotine dependence, which within a couple of years, sufficient evidence has accumulated to exhibit that e-cigarettes are both benign and great for cessation.
But the “can’t quit” argument has gotten remarkably little critical interrogation. We understand that hundreds of countless often heavily dependent smokers have quit considering that the early 1960s, most with no assistance in any way.
We know that today’s smokers smoke fewer cigarettes per day than whenever you want in the past, the complete opposite of what the hardening hypothesis would predict.
The needs of the “we don’t want to quit/we like nicotine” vaping activists for unregulated use of e-cigarettes as well as utilize them without restrictions must be balanced against the risks of what these demands might mean izzert population-wide progress toward the goal of keeping smoking heading south.
Comprehensive tobacco control is not only concerning the preferences of vapers. It really is above all about continuing to starve the tobacco industry of brand new recruits and make certain that smoking is made history.
When we think of e-cigarettes as being a transformative genie in a bottle, we need to think meticulously before allowing it to out, because putting genies way back in their bottles is more difficult than impulsively allowing them to out. Should they end up being benevolent, all’s good. But if they bring false hopes and keep lots of people smoking, we might be looking at the early days of any third major false god of tobacco harm reduction.