Want to know what the game changers – the UK Government, and the people who influence the government, politics think about e-cigarettes?
There’s conflicting opinions.
Many of the anti-smoking groups in the UK are largely funded by the UK. (That’s ironic, as some of their jobs entailing lobbying the government on policy.)
Some anti-smoking groups argue it is better for smokers who can’t quit or don’t want to quit to die rather than using a device which looks like a cigarette.
Sheila Duffy, of ASH Scotland, for example, argues:
“…e-cigarettes also look like real cigarettes and are able to be used in many places where smoking is banned.
Tobacco is not a normal product – it kills half of its consumers if used as intended. As a society we have a responsibility to protect young people by moving away from giving the impression that smoking is a desirable thing to do.’
Source: Daily Mail
ASH Scotland, incidentally, also argued suicide drug Chantix should be given to mentally ill smokers based on a study of just 4 people!
Clive Bates, former director of the England branch of ASH, has a very different view.
I’m in favour of e-cigarettes for the same reasons as I’m in favour of snus. Nicotine is a widely used drug and there is no reason to restrict its availability to only the most dangerous delivery systems. Plenty of reasons to allow smokers to adopt this alternative.
Source: Dave Atheron
The BMA, meanwhile, is also concerned that e-cigarettes just look like regular cigarettes:
“these devices may undermine efforts to prevent or stop smoking by making cigarette use seem normal in public and at work.”
They also argued that:
But there is a lack of rigorous, peer-reviewed studies to support the use of e-cigarettes as a safe and effective nicotine-replacement therapy.
(Not very relevant, but fascinating in my opinion, is the story of a BMA member suspended for questioning some of BMA’s studies – studies that the BMA itself had admitted was incorrect!)
In fact, there have been several studies into the e-cigarette (including one by the FDA which found out that the only carcinogens found were thousands of times lower than those in cigarettes.
Unfortunately, we are lacking in long term studies – one problem is that it is ethically difficult to test an alternative to smoking which is harmful (even if it just 1% of the risk of cigarettes) on non-smokers.
David Sweanor, who we interviewed some years ago, did have this to say:
“If there is anyone who believes cigarettes are no more hazardous than e-cigarettes I’d recommend a remedial course in basic sciences.”
Source: Interview with David Sweanor, Former Advisor to World Health Organisation on Tobacco Control.
And Professor John Britton, chairman of the Royal College of Physicians Tobacco Advisory Group, argued that:
The likelihood is that smoking electronic cigarettes is better than smoking tobacco.
Electronic cigarettes have the potential to save lives. The concept of nicotine replacement is powerful and good.
See ECITA’s response to BMA briefing here.
Source: Deadline News
The UK Government
The government has also been asked about e-cigarettes recently, and while its statements were cautious they do recognise the work our industry body has been doing with Trading Standards:
” We are aware that e-cigarettes are a concern to some local authorities and that Trading Standards have also been working with the industry association to develop an industry code of practice.”
Source: They Work For You
And the UK Government Nudge Unit, which has the ear of David Cameron, believes:
There’s no doubt it [the electronic cigarette] can save many lives and hundreds of millions of pounds.
Source: UK Gov Gets Behind E Cigarettes
Who will win? Only time will tell. In the meantime, why not share what YOU think in the comments below.