Rebecca Taylor, Lib Democrat MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, although more open minded than some MEPs, has been calling for ecigs to be banned in public places.
E-cigarettes should not be marketed in a way that “renormalises” smoking or broadens their appeal to non-smokers, especially young people. This may require a minimum age of purchase, forbidding free samples or below cost pricing, a ban on certain flavours and restricting advertising near schools, TV adverts except late night, adverts in magazines/websites for young people and e-cigarette use in public places.
Source: LibDem Voice
1. Ban in Public Places
Firstly, I’m not sure what Rebecca means by a ban in public places.
But then as David Atheron pointed out:
Scientists say that there is no danger to non-smokers:
With respect to smokers, there is substantial and compelling scientific research documenting that consuming the ingredients in e-cigarettes (nicotine, propylene glycol, water and flavors) is vastly safer than burning tobacco and inhaling 3000+ toxic by-products. Claiming that e-cigarettes are dangerous for non-smokers is about as credible as claiming that air travel is dangerous for people who never set foot in an airplane.
Source: Professor Brad Rodu
And there are several studies, such as this one, to back scientists’ opinions up.
Rebecca also complains that electronic cigarettes could renormalise smoking.
A little bit of background – demormalisation is not a subplot from Orwell’s 1984, it’s a deliberate policy to to make us appear subnormal, presumably in an attempt to get us to quit.
As a result of denormalisation, the New Zealand government has refused to legalise e-cigarettes despite admitting that their risk level is extremely low, anti-smoking groups have come up with a series of personal attacks on smokers and smokers have experienced discrimination – and even been blocked from some jobs!
Denormalisation deliberately encourages discrimination against a section of the population who are engaged in a legal habit, and has been used as an excuse for bans on vaping in several countries. There’s little doubt that some smokers will die because of these bans.
I’ve not seen any evidence that denormalisation works, and when advertising guru Martin Lindstrom took MRI scans of smokers’ brains that the extreme adverts used to attack anti-smokers activated the part of the brain that craves nicotine. He concluded that:
…those same cigarette warning labels intended to curb smoking, reduce cancer and save lieves had instead become a killer marketing tool for the tobacco industry
In contrast, studies show that electronic cigarettes are more effective than NRT aids, surveys show that very, very few non-smokers are taking up e-cigarettes and Professor John Britton believes that if every smoker in the UK switched to e-cigarettes we could save 5 million deaths in people alive today.
That’s got to be better than denormalisation, hasn’t it?
I’m a menthol user myself, and I fail to see how having a variety of flavours for vapers to enjoy is a bad thing. Having a variety of flavours makes vaping a more attractive alternative for smokers, and people should be free to enjoy their flavours in the way they want. Plus, when people have enjoyed vaping the many weird and wonderful flavours available, there’s even less reason to go back to tobacco cigarettes!
I am guessing that Rebecca’s reasoning behind banning flavours is that they could be more attractive to children, but surveys show far show there is no evidence of widespread adoption amongst children. Indeed, as Dr Adrian Payne pointed out in an interview with us:
I’m not aware of any evidence of adult non-smokers using either E-cigarettes …in any number as a gateway to smoking – if there were I’m sure we would have heard of it by now. Bad news travels fast!
Banning flavours in e-cigarettes also suggests double standards, as Nicorette market their fruit chill flavour with cartoon adverts.
4. Minimum age of Purchase
I think most of us probably agree here, although most responsible retailers already adhere to a voluntary code of practice and mark their kits with a no under 18 label, while TV networks have strict regulations on how electronic cigarettes can be marketed. Still, there’s always the irresponsible retailers to think about, aren’t there?
Please don’t take this as a personal attack on the MEP. I’ve got no issue with banning advertising in children’s magazines, and of course e-cigarettes should not be sold or marketed to children. Rebecca has shown herself to be more open minded than Labour MEPs (although not as pro-vaping as conservative and UKIP MEPs), and has been willing to research and even debate the issues with vapers. Let’s hope she continues to do so!