July 16th, 2014

Some hard messages for the tobacco control establishment – Peter Hajek

Brilliant!! No doubt in my mind – the best speech of the Global Forum on Nicotine conference by far. Professor Peter Hajek uses the conference keynote, the Michael Russell oration, to explain through the work of Michael Russell (1932-2009) and his protégés the case for tobacco harm reduction. He then tears into the zombie arguments (18′ 48 sec), ideology (22′ 38sec) and motivations (23′ 18sec) of the ‘tobacco control’ activists who oppose e-cigarettes, often for moral reasons (24’00 on), drawing the brutal conclusion that for them “evidence is just a tool to gain converts”. I really liked the lines about all the concerns of the tobacco control establishment do not matter unless they increase cigarette sales (27′ 14 sec). As he puts it: “Are you saying that if you allow e-cigarettes on the market it will somehow increase smoking?” – that’s the question that matters.  Mike Russell was a very smart guy with real rigour and edge, matched by a compassion for people and the risks they faced: he would have been very proud of Peter Hajek’s tribute.

14 comments to Some hard messages for the tobacco control establishment – Peter Hajek

  • […] support smokers who want to reduce their use of tobacco by switching to electronic cigarettes. Professor Peter Hajek of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies at QMUL, said: The evidence we currently have is […]

  • […] Peter Hayek, einer der weiteren Autoren der Studie, erklärt dies so: „Duale Nutzer erhöhten ihre […]

  • […] video of Prof. Hajek’s 30 minute presentation to the Global Forum on Nicotine is available at Hajek. If you vape, are considering vaping as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes or just want to learn […]

  • ed west

    Have you noticed that Simon Chapman left a comment in the youtube comments? He sounds a bit upset especially since Peter mispronounced his name :)

  • john

    Clive have you ever read “The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam ” by Barbara W. Tuchman ?

    If you are familiar with History or Economics ‘1’ and/or governance ‘1’ , then these health authorities approach to e-cigs, really looks like the makings of a expertly organised, mess. For example:

    Demand creates supply (not the other way round), e-cigs are already a well established consumer demand reality (and by 2016 they will be even established as a consumer preference).

    Regulation of personal use/importation of ecigs that do not contain nicotine looks , both in principle and pragmatically next to impossible. And that has obvious implications.

    Regulation of personal importing of small amounts of nicotine also looks next to impossible in practice- 300 mls of nicotine is provably equivalent to about a years supply of cigarettes, but could fit easily in a hand bag. And the stuff is not expensive, loosing the odd shipment to customs would not be a major loss.

    ‘Criminalizing’ a significant percentage of the population for consuming nicotine in a unapproved way also looks both in principle and pragmatically a ” very vast project”. Could go on …

    Really wonder if these health experts have even thought to consult with experts in the fields of economics, history , governance and policing and so on, at all.

  • sebt

    Absolutely brilliant. I watched this end to end.

    The beginning sets out some very interesting historical context, about the difference in historical attitudes to nicotine between the UK (Mike Russell, keep the nicotine but eliminate or reduce the tar) and the US (eliminate the nicotine, it’s ADDICTIVE and evil). This foreshadows a lot of the present e-cig debate, and explains why some activists simply do not _get_ smoking harm-reduction.

    The rest was an absolute no-holds-barred takedown of the anti-E-cig “arguments”. As Hajek kicked off this part of the speech: why is there a controversy about e-cigs at all?

    Very entertaining to hear Glantz’s name spoken and greeted with groans from the audience. And laughs from the audience at Chapman’s “The needs of smokers must not become the tail that wags the dog of tobacco control policy”.

    Perhaps there is a growing consensus of sanity, with which we can overturn the idiotic EU legislation?

  • Deb Downes

    Thanks so much for sharing this. A very eloquent presentation in honour of a man/researcher who thought ahead of his time. Oh that we had a few more right now in Tobacco Control in OZ :)

  • Christine May

    Absolutely a brilliant summing up of all of the issues! Wonderful! Thank you for posting :)

  • Thanks for posting and shared downunder, great talk

  • Brian Fojtik

    Thanks for posting, Clive. I had heard this was great and now I finally got to see it. It exceeded my expectations!

  • […] Brilliant!! No doubt in my mind – the best speech of the Global Forum on Nicotine conference by far. Professor Peter Hajek uses the conference keynote, the Michael Russell oration, to explain throu…  […]

  • Amen, Brother Clive. This was a tour de force.

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