December 30th, 2013

Where is the humility? Where is the empathy?

DRChristian

He gets it, why can’t the public health establishment?

With the approach of 2014 and New Year resolutions under negotiation, my thoughts and good wishes turn to all those smokers out there who would like to stop smoking – as in stop inhaling burning particles of organic matter and hot toxic gases deep into the lungs. I hope they give vaping a try.  An e-cig is working well for my brother and I’m really glad about that – he’s smoked for about 30 years and has never intended to stop, but this has all but ended his smoking over the last nine months. Not good enough for MHRA, Brussels, WHO and CR-UK of course, but he’s pleased, and so am I.  It reminds me that there are great stories about e-cigs, about personal triumphs, lives transformed and people getting back in control.  I love these stories.

But there is a striking contrast between the often moving, thrilling and visceral human stories told by vapers and the attitude and language of the bossy bureaucrats and fake experts in public health who claim to know better. I ask where is the humility?  Where is the empathy? Some examples from them, and then we can contrast these with the words of vapers:

  • The ‘thoughts’ of Professor Martin McKee on e-cigarette marketing “But can’t e-cigarettes help people to quit? This is the line that the tobacco companies are pushing in some countries…”
  • The views of Simon Chapman here: “But the needs of often desperate smokers must not become the tail that wags the dog of tobacco control policy
  • The idiosyncratic ideas of Anna Gilmore about business and economics, shown in The Lancet: “TTCs [trans-national tobacco corporations] are now investing in e-cigarettes, which needs careful monitoring because TTC control of this market would serve to maintain the dominance of the cigarette.”
  • The blog of Cancer Research UK: E-cigarettes the unanswered questions an exercise in simpering doubt-casting and fear-mongering. The comments to the blog are very good.
  • The stridently stupid position statement of IUATLD, which devotes not one word to any benefits or opportunities for respiratory health to balance the stream of falsehoods, half-truths and non-sequiturs it has deployed against e-cigarettes
  • All utterances on the subject by Professor Stanton Glantz “We are witnessing the beginning of a new phase of the nicotine epidemic and a new route to nicotine addiction for kidshere (with brutal rebuttal here and here).
  • The doctor-knows-best vacuity of the BMA, telling football clubs not to work with e-cig companies: “Sport is a healthy activity and [you] should be leading by example to encourage healthy living rather than advertising a smoking product, which contains the addictive substance nicotine“.
  • The World Health Organisation position on ecigs – including its deranged tweetbomb, the fail grade ideas of Roberto Bertollini, and the petulant dismissal of actual success by Kristina Mauer-Stender – the WHO’s officials in Europe.

Where is the humility? The implicit disapproval and sense that the views of users are worthless comes over quite strongly in the works of this faction in public health.  But you would think they would be a little more humble after the disgraceful fiasco of trying to get e-cigarettes banned in the UK in 2010/11, through the MHRA consultation on nicotine products in which they favoured removal of e-cigs from the market in either 21 days (or after a year for some).  Fortunately, hundreds of vapers told the real story with eloquence and  poise, and the prohibitionists had to back down – not with any apology or contrition mind you.   You might also expect them to be a bit less cocky after their 21-year error in getting snus banned.  Everything they said about snus, they are now saying about e-cigs, but everything they said about snus was wrong. It hasn’t stopped them, calling for snus to remain banned, so we can safely assume it is not evidence or health that drives them, or that the loss of a few lives matters to them (update: or perhaps 290,000 lives per year if Sweden’s success was repeated across the EU – even if a small fraction of Sweden’s success was attained, many thousand premature deaths might be avoided)

Where is the empathy? Surely if you work in public health, these are the stories that make it worthwhile to come to work. That doesn’t mean swapping anecdote for evidence. But it does mean approaching your work with something resembling humanity – and, yes, some empathy for the people involved and their experiences (not accusing them of ‘astroturfing’ because you don’t understand them, have done no research and can’t be bothered to find out). Even now, most grandees of the ‘tobacco control’ establishment would avoid meeting vapers if they could, and don’t really understand the modern and assertive rallying cry ‘nothing about me, without me‘ in public health.


Testimonies from vapers. I don’t solicit personal testimonies – but here are a few that have been left on this site. I hope you feel as inspired by them as I do.  If you work in public health, and you are working against e-cigarettes, I hope you feel ashamed and will reflect on how you could do a better job in 2014. Here we go…

In one year I have gone from 60+ a day roll ups to zero nicotine. on my own! My choice, My decision and yet there are those that wish to take this away from me. Why? It obviously works and works Well. I have probably helped somewhere close to 50 others also stop smoking completely and are vaping only, Just from my example and helping them with info. So that is now 51 people that no longer smoke, 51 people that will have Less affect on the NHS, 51 people that will spend less time off sick in their later working years, 51 families and friends that will no longer breathe in second hand smoke.

In 5 days (the 25th sept) I will have been tobacco free for 2 years, I smoked for over 40 years & had given up giving up … that is until I tried an ecig. I stopped smoking within 24hrs, I now feel fitter my bank account is noticeably fitter, It’s like I turned the clock back 20 years. But then public health people are not really interested in people like me because I don’t know what I’m talking about.

I am 48 now and have been tobacco free for more than two years, with only 3 one day lapses, one of which was last week. Tobacco use has been a way of life and experience has shown I will never be free from the desire having quit for more than 12 months 3 times in the past. Vaping has freed me form the terror of tobacco, with out it I will revert sooner or later.

I will not pretend to be an academic, but all I can state is my own truth. After 47 years f smoking (apart from my two last 6 months of pregnancy) I finally feel alive again. Everyone I meet says I look 10 years younger. I feel so amazingly healthy now just after 3 months of vaping, the first two months I still smoked 3-5 cigarettes a day, but now I have no desire for them. I can comfortably walk for an hour whereas before 5 mins was my maximum. I suffered and was phama drugged fr 30 years with panic attacks and now they have virtually disappeared. It was the cigarettes and the awful chemicals in them that were causing this problem. Now I am Free!! I defy anyone to take this away from me…….

Having finally quit smoking after 20 years and trying everything from the useless gum to the black pit of despair and rage that is Champix, it is heartbreaking that the one thing that really works for me is being attacked and threatened by powerful officials whose job is supposed to be about helping me. It’s like I have been trapped in a burning building and have just burst out of the fire exit, taken a gasp of clean air and then run straight into a fireman who tells me “I’m afraid you’ll have to go back inside sir, this fire exit hasn’t been properly tested yet

I was a smoker for 39 years. When I first quit I was using nicotine lozenges but found that I could not reduce the amount of lozenges I need per day. After 2 years of using them they began to have a negative effect on my teeth. My tooth enamel was wearing away and it caused the loss of several teeth. Faced with this I knew I had to give the lozenges up but also knew I was still addicted to nicotine. The last thing I wanted to do was go back to cigarettes so I decided to try e-cigs. I must say that they are working!! No issues with my teeth and most importantly I have not returned to cigarettes.

In my life, I have seen how vaping has taken people away from smoking. I am a smoker that smoked for 50 years, determined never to stop and now, accidentally, a vaper. I promote it all the time. I know my experiences are only “anecdotes” and are not science, but they do not bear out what I am told by our rulers – NICE,BMA,BMJ etc.

Suffering from anxiety over issues of debates to ban vaping or regulate it. My husband is an over 50 year smoker, been coughing, getting lots of flu like symptoms. He was put on Champix which make him very ill and sick, so suddenly started smoking more when he stopped these tablets. However, since the 6th March started vaping and never touched a cigarette since. I am glad e-cigs are here and glad for there invention. They are only moaning about the nicotine, yet Cancer Research have stated that a cigarette has 4000 poisons that are harmful and nicotine wasn’t the problem. E cigs should have more support because it seems that nicotine patches and gum really have proved not to be 100% successful, why try to stop the next best thing on the market.

I was a smoker for 30-35 years, I tried an e-cig & my tobacco consumption dropped to 1/4 in the first week, I bought a second e-cig & I found no time to smoke.That was 6 months ago & I’ve not touched a cigarette since. I’m now mixing my own e-liquids and even though I’m not working, I have found the money saved allows me to buy gifts for my family,fuel for my car,pay the bills etc.

I never wanted to quit smoking. I was a cancer epidemiologist who taught students about smoking and lung cancer and still continued to smoke. I knew the risks but I enjoyed smoking, collecting lighters (especially Zippos), the ritual of transferring cigarettes into a nice case before going out, the maintenance of my petrol lighters, having something to do with my hands when nervous, and the pleasure of a long draw on the cigarette itself. There were also things I didn’t like about smoking; namely no longer being able to smoke in pubs or at social events, having to go out in the cold and wet, the waste of money, having my breath and clothes smell and the probability that it would harm my health.
Vaping gives me all the things I enjoyed without any of the things I didn’t like. In the long term vaping may have adverse consequences on my health, but the cumulative evidence to date suggests this will be considerably less harmful than continuing to smoke.

im a hopless long term heavy smoker, i was smoking 20, to 40 a day plus a pack of 12.5mg gv baccy if i was drinking at the same time, im now classed as a non smoker and i cant stand the smell of smokes any more, i haven’t touched a real smoke for over 2 years now and i owe it all to ecigs and the best thing is my dad who had smoked all my life is on ecigs as well and my best freind is also on them. we all started at 36 mg nicotine liquid on inadequite cig a like devices and now we are all sporting big mods with at least vivi nova tanks and were cutting down our nicotine intake eg im on 24 mg now and thinking of going lower soon. the best thing is we dont harm people around us and the harm to our selves is very much greatly reduced so i can enjoy my ecig and my gummi bear flavour im 30 year old and my dad is like 50 odd and he likes the candy floss flavour so older people like the flavours that people try to say are aimed at kids… i just ordered more gummi bear flavour 24mg :) i felt guilty smoking but im glad i switched i can do guilt free vaping at pennys a day (i use between 4 to 6 milli litres a day at 24 mg strength)… it has saved my life i can taste food better and i dont get short of breath like when i smoked, istarted smoking at 13, im also getting a lot less chest pains that have plagued me for years :)

My wife & I quit smoking 1st Jan 2014 – cold turkey style, & for health reasons (we didn’t exactly want to). By day three, I was crawling the walls – as was she. We got into vaping through the advice of a good friend. I find it to be every bit as pleasurable as smoking &, being weak willed, I can’t think of another way I’d have stayed ‘quit’ for this long. I feel better for stopping smoking & my sense of smell has improved greatly: after a week of quitting, I noticed how much my car stank of stale smoke, it was horrible! It really gets my back up – the fact that whenever a new idea materialises which offers a viable – often better alternative to a accepted norm, an ogre with vested interests & political pull, comes to shut it down. That said, it’s nice to see cracks appearing, opinions changing & lies being exposed, with this particular battle. It’s been 44 days since I quit smoking. I do not intend, nor desire to go back to it, thanks to vaping products. Your open-mindedness to these innovations is commendable, Louise. Thank you for contributing to the improvement of public health.

I switched to vaping nearly a year ago, having smoked for about 45 years! As I’m quite technically minded and internet-savvy, I was able to do this with the help of the various forums and shopping sites out there. I know many older people wouldn’t be able (or willing) to do this, and would benefit from a local support service to help them switch.

Vaping has probably saved my wife’s and my own life’s, I a smoker for 50 years, nothing I have ever tried has had the impact of vaping, this alone was the only thing that saved me, how can governments legislate against something that is saving so many peoples life’s.

I was a smoker for over 35 years and tried quitting many times using patches, gum, mouth spray, inhalators and pills. Nothing worked for me. In March 2013, I had a heart attack. After having angioplasty and a stent fitted, I was told that if I didn’t stop smoking, I could be dead within a year. Once again, I was given patches and a nasal spray. I only managed to stay off the cigarettes for a few weeks, the whole time was awful. I still had terrible cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Three weeks ago, I bought myself an e-cig. I started using it that very night, and three weeks later, I’m still off the real cigarettes. What’s more, I have no cravings or withdrawal symptoms whatsoever. My breathing has already improved vastly. I can now walk further and faster without getting out of breath. I’m so glad I made the switch to e-cigs. I know that I’ll never smoke a real cigarette again.

I’m a new “vaper” (3 weeks now) and these devices have given me hope – at last! – that I might eventually kick my tobacco habit of over 40 years. Already I’ve reduced from over 30 a day to around 10 a day – and its been easy. I don’t have that sense of panic and deprivation that has always hit me when I’ve tried to cut down before, using NRTs prescribed by my GP (at substantial cost to taxpayers!) that just don’t do the trick for me. I know that e-cigarettes may not be COMPLETELY safe, but I have read a LOT about the research that has been done and am completely certain that they are many times safer than tobacco cigarettes! And what, in this life, can we say is COMPLETELY safe anyway? I don’t think the licensed NRTs (or any other drug prescribed for me by my doctor) can claim to be completely safe. I go out and breathe car fumes every day – and I know that’s not good for me. I drink alcohol, I eat “ready meals” containing additives, I eat fruit and veg that have been sprayed with toxins, I cross the road, etc. Life is not completely safe – and I would not want it to be! But I WOULD like to stop doing something that I know will shorten my life and probably in a very nasty way….i.e. I want to stop smoking tobacco – before I get full-blown COPD, for preference.

At a personal level, I have to hope – against hope – that I will not be forced back into being a 30+ a day smoker. Started experimenting with cigarettes at school – wanted to look “cool” and was not really aware of how harmful they were (it was 1960s). But consumption rose dramatically to around a pack a day when I was around 18 and at university – oh, the stress of those exams! Then gradually crept up over the years – always increasing after every failed QUIT attempt. Tried all the NRTs – none of them worked for me. After more than 40 years of heavy smoking, I had given up trying to give up. Then, 4 weeks ago, tried my first e-cigarette. Amazed – able to cut down by 50% overnight. Now down by 66%, to just half a pack a day. And not struggling with it. So hopeful now that I will be able to get off tobacco completely over the next couple of months. Maybe the New Year Resolution I used to make every year – to stop smoking – will actually come true next year!!  Please, please, please, tobacco control authorities everywhere – don’t take this lifeline away from us!

I smoked for 45 years and tried every NRT product available, none of them worked. I continued to smoke even though my health was getting worse, resulting in COPD and using oxygen daily. September 2011 I discovered e-cigarettes and they worked. It was like someone handed me a miracle. In less than a week I stopped using regular cigarettes. I haven’t had a tobacco cigarette since. I wish the MP’s and MEP’s would understand how much e-cigarettes have helped thousands of people just like me.

I am not involved in the ecig industry at all, except as a user of ecigs who’s now managed 6 months without smoking tobacco and who’s converted several other people to ecigs. I haven’t felt this good since my teens (and that was a looong time ago).

At the beginning of this year I purchased an “e-cigarette” as a replacement for tobacco burning cigarettes!
As well as, i am sure, the risk to my health is lessened, i find “VAPING” a much more socially acceptable method of tobacco usage, I dont cough as much, I can breathe a lot better, I dont spread second hand smoke to my 10 grandchildren, or anyone! and I dont get smelly clothes! I enjoy Vaping and have not had a cigarette since i bought my e-cigarette but i can still enjoy the tobacco, in as it is a much safer delivery system, and i can cut down the amount of nicotine,until eventually no nicotine whatever.

My experience is that a lot of what a smoker does is down to habit!, make a coffee, light a cigarette!, get in the car light a cigarette! eat a meal finish with a cigarette! however with my e-cigarette that habit is not a problem, and the flavours make the experience a lot more enjoyable!! The loss of use of these products would be a bad thing for me, as I do not want to restart using conventional fire burning cigarettes, with all their obvious possible dangers to my health

Last year i was diagnosed with COPD a result of 40 years cigarette smoking. My lung function test was appauling. I was distraught of course who wouldnt be, smoking had been my enjoyment, so i was unhappy at the thought of stopping. On the way home we stopped to do some shopping and I spotted the ECIG i prompty bought a kit (2 ecigs) one for me one for hubby. As smokers of 40 cigs per day EACH we were thinking if this works and gets us to kick that habit it will be a miracle. MIRACLES happen, we never touched a cig since and that was july 2nd 2012. Now i recently was tested and my lung capacity on 3 tests were improved by 10%, 10% and 11% so who the heck can tell me they are harming anyone ??? they have improved my lung function dramatically.

My father died a horrible death of lung cancer and so did my uncle. I am 52 and was smoking up to 50 cigaretes a day. My lungs were so bad I expected to develop lung cancer at any moment. I messed around with a couple of E cigs and they did not work almost going to abandon it and Found the E-VIC. Incredible results. Just stopped cigarettes dead and have not touched one since I had it. Can ran up the stairs, the house is cleaner and I feel fitter. No craving for one even when I got a letter through the post today to say I have had an abnormal Mammogram and I have to go to the Hospital at 9am Monday. The Irony of it …….

I am quite new to vaping,and i have to say it is the best way i have found to give up the dreaded cigarettes,and i have tried almost everything on the market before.I had not realized how controversial the ecig has become,i thought that all the people in power etc would have been praising these products that is really doing an absolute brilliant job to eventually rid us of smoking, isnt this what everyone wanted including us smokers too.

I used to smoke about 40 cigarettes a day and did that for almost 30 years. I have been using e-cigs for 10 months and am feeling very much healthier and am also saving around £400 each month. I can’t see how the governments of this world can effectively ban e-cigs by using legislation and keep any credibility. I’m no scientist ( i’m a joiner ) but from what i have read most experts in this field say e-cigs are a much safer alternative to smoking tobacco.  The very fact that they are trying to legislate/ban e-cigs , in my opinion, makes them no better than murdering, drug dealing gangsters fighting to keep their profit margins up.

Hi I’m 58 have been smoking since I was 11 I have severe osteo arthritis in both hips nothing to do with smoking but I am on a large dose of morphine for the pain the side effects of this is you tend to fall asleep while just sitting any time of the day which is no good whilst holding a lit cigarette I have been vapeing now for the last five weeks started on a tornado and worked my way upto a vape pro so the most damage I can do now is break s toe so using an ecig has probably stopped me setting fire to myself

im a 64 year old senior citizen who has smoked since i was 18. because of this habit i encountered COPD. my asthama, was getting worse. i was given a home care giver because i could go 15 steps without huffing and puffing. my care giver sharon graham showed me her tornado t e cigarette. i even tried it. id made up my mind that i was finished with smoking with all the chemicals and not breathing. i went on line and bought my own e cig. its been over 3 1/2 years that i have never touched a regular cig. my doctor says that he has seen a really big change in my lungs and breathing. he told me if i hadnt have stopped the regular cig i would have most likely died. my mothe died at 54 with the same disease. if she had the e cig im sure she would still be alive today. thankyou totally wicked. im alive today because i feel i made the right choice.

As a realist, I always knew that smoking tobacco was bad for my health, but I also accepted that I didn’t really want to give it up. Even if I had decided to give up, nicotine patches, gums and sprays were never going to be the answer. So e-cigs have proved to be the perfect solution: I get the nicotine delivered in a form I enjoy using, and as a DIY user, it has become something of a hobby.

I have been smoking -2 packs a day- for 33 years. I’ve tried to stop smoking several times, following several methods, without any success.
3 years ago i’ve switched to electronic cigarettes. Since that day i’ve stopped smoking the real thing. Plain simple and -yes- that easy.
Now i can climb stairs without starting to gasp, i have discovered again a Whole world of odors and tastes, and recent lungs’ x-rays show a clear improvement of my health over previous clinical examinations. And, last but not least, my chances of getting lung cancer are decreasing as time goes by. Why are they trying to make all this more difficult to achieve?

I have COPD, diagnosed 7 years ago after 40 years of smoking. I have been using e-cigarettes for over 3 years now. Every year I undergo lung function tests to check the progress of my COPD and there has been no deterioration of my condition during this time. The test results have remained static. A recent CAT scan revealed no ‘nasties’ in my lungs. Had I continued to smoke tobacco I doubt the result would be the same.

I too had been smoking since I was 12 years old and I’m now 43 and started vaping 5 months ago and I love it! I cannot stress that more. Everyone I know has said they never ever thought I would give up and thanks to my e-cig I have proved them all wrong. AND have managed to help lots of other friends quit too in the process by recommending the e-cigs. I have no intention of giving up and my aim is to have zero nicotine ones but I shall always use them because I loved smoking despite its obvious health issues. I don’t understand all the government bull but I’m guessing its all about money and stupid red tape. I thought they’d encourage people to find alternatives to tobacco but no. I support & will do all I can to help to keep things exactly as they are.

i also smoked for 40 years+, but then tried a ecig also from Totally Wicked, i am pleased to say that i have not had or wanted a a cigarette now for 3 years and 10 days, but i want to stree that if this stupid ruling comes to pass, then i know i will return to cigarettes, that is after i have used up my stock pile of e-liquid etc, which should last me a good few years yet i would also like to add, that both my doctor and the whole surgery fully support the use of ecigs after i should them to them, and they have now had several other patients give up smoking by using ecig, for whom patches etc did not work for them

after 54 years of smoking and having tried every thing the nhs have given me to kick my habit I have failed. I have now packed up smoking now for 15 months thanks to electronic cigarettes & personalvapour.com so please don’t ban them they can help 1000s of us get of the killing cigaretts YES BAN THE REAL THING

I smoked for 29 years. Tried many, many times to give up using the usual over the counter remedies but because I actually enjoy smoking nothing worked for me. In November of 2012 for the hell of it I ordered an e-cigarette kit online, and from the moment of my first vape I haven’t touched a real cigarette since. Indeed, the packet of rolling tobacco I was using at the time still lies, half used, beside me on my desk. I am, and continue to be amazed just how painless this switch has been. So, imagine I and my girlfriend’s feelings, having so recently found a way we can both give up the weed forever, to discover that this incredibly poor directive is threatening to make it virtually impossible for us to get nicotine juice in the levels we need to make the switch worthwhile. There can be absolutely no doubt, that if it goes through we will definitely go back to smoking cigarettes if we can’t get quality nicotine juice to continue vaping.

Of course, these are a tiny fraction of those committing their experience – I think usually hoping that others will experience the same or simple out of excitement about the change they’ve experienced. Nor do I think this is worthless evidence just because it isn’t a randomised controlled trial – I take it as part of the evidential picture. And I like reading them! See more at:

And if you’d like to submit your own experience for posterity, the American group CASAA has a great facility for collecting testimonials.

If you are trying to stop toxic smoke entering your lungs, GOOD LUCK WITH VAPING!

45 comments to Where is the humility? Where is the empathy?

  • Frank

    Tabacco smoking has become more addictive than ever. The movie The Insider was based on this in the movie Russel Crowe is attacked and the company he works for tries to kill him. So what big tabac I had done is put a chemical in tabbacco that will make rats choose it over food. The same addiction is not the same for e cigarettes. I just recently ran out of juice and did I get more juice in a mad panic. Nope I stupidly ran for a pack of smokes. I hate smoking it killed 3 of my aunts and my mom. Smoking cigarettes is the real enemy.

  • Sorry, we are unable to give World wide web service at this address.

  • chris

    as ever spot on Clive Thanks

  • Petri L

    Hi.
    I tried these E-ciggs in March 2014.
    And im grateful of the work many of you E-smokers do. Living in the land of Snus i heard on the radio that ARN (Arland Airport Stockholm) has prohibited the use of vaporizers. Starting to feel the hunt is on…

    On the positive side: Me, my best friend, my mom and a co-worker has switched to vapors. And an another friend just has ordered too.

    Keep up the good work, pls.

  • Hello to all, how is all, I think every one is getting more from this site,
    and your views are fastidious in support of new people.

  • Hi my loved one! I want to say that this article is awesome, nice written and include almost all vital infos.

    I’d like to see extra posts like this .

    chaussure louboutin femme pas cher

  • There are as many valid arguments for and against smoking and vaping as there are smokers and vapers, non-smokers and non-vapers.

    Don’t look for it to be settled anytime soon.

    In the end, one must follow his or her own internal compass. Try not to impose upon others’ good nature.

    Dave
    owner
    GetYourLungsBack.com

  • I’m gonna post my take on all this…for whatever it’s worth

    It’s not the nicotine!!!

    “an error doesn’t become a mistake until you refuse to correct it”

    “Personal Vapers” or E-Cigs are a viable replacement for delivery of nicotine, just like the patches and gums, it just “resembles” smoking and for those who developed the bad habit of oral fixation thru smoking, allows them to satisfy that habit successfully.

    I know everyone has seen all the reports over e-cigs the media is pumping out, many have bought into the falseness of the claims…it’s time to break it down with common sense.

    What 3 chemicals are found in cigarette smoking? In ever single one no matter what brand, flavor, strength? In what ratios?

    There were studies ordered by the government of tobacco companies to produce a list of the ratios.

    http://www.econdataus.com/cigrs.html

    Now what can you tell me about that list…take a close look at look at the levels and ratios of nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide?

    The amount of nicotine you actually get from the cigarette is between 5-15 times LESS than the other two chemicals individually, combined 10-30 times less, so what are you REALLY getting addicted to when you “burn a stinky?”

    Now…ask yourself what are the effects of those chemicals on the human body after YEARS of use? What is the damage to your immune system with the constant stressing of it each time you smoke a cigarette for years, decades even, what does a healthy immune system do to cancer cells when they are found, what does a stressed or weakened immune system due to those stresses from the known chemicals in cigarettes?

    Now…let’s discuss these “e-cigarette” things
    When they first came out in their infancy in there may have been problems..the government did a study and found in a handful of samples chemicals that can be harmful, what they didn’t tell you is that in EVERY SINGLE one of those samples the 10-30 times the harmful chemicals WERE NOT THERE.

    Over time, ingenious individuals found better products that didn’t have those components that had the harmful chemicals that were found in the beginning yet most reports attacking e-cigs are based upon that early study. Technology has finally risen to allow those same ingenious individuals to create a device to deliver vaporized fluids containing small metered amounts of nicotine. Ni-chrome wire, high density Li Ion batteries.

    Personal vapers e-juice NOW contains 4 separate elements, propylene glycol which can also be found in NUMEROUS products most of us use and ingest daily, it is not antifreeze even though some antifreeze’s use it, guess what else is in antifreeze…dihydrogen monoxide…aka water.

    The second is food grade artificial flavoring that does not contain Diacetyl which is a chemical found when heated can release harmful chemicals, and used in e-cig juice early on…thru the same ingenious experimentation they identified this problem and have removed that too, also anything using artificial flavoring…you guessed it…you consume daily, sometimes multiple times daily.

    The third is pharmaceutical grade vegetable glycerine which also is found in many products used, consumed, and ingested daily.

    Fourth being nicotine extract…which still allows personal vapers to get nicotine which is just another chemical stimulant similar to caffeine, in too much concentration can kill you, but due to ingenious and methodical measurements can be delivered in safe metered amounts just like analogs…but you guessed it WITHOUT the 10-30x the amount harmful chemicals found in cigarettes, you can actually get e-juice with no nicotine in it if you so choose

    Those that claim personal vapers or “e-cigs” are JUST as harmful are being disingenuous or even downright wrong (maybe even paid to be wrong…hmmm) The budding personal vaper community doesn’t have the media machine that those who want to see it stopped have

    How can it be just as harmful when you are removing 10-30x the harmful chemicals from smoking, and comparing it to smoking, yet still getting that chemical stimulant, it would be like taking liquid concentrate caffeine (which you can buy in gallon jugs) and putting it in sparkling water and calling it a coffee product.

    Governments and the FDA are looking to regulate and in some places even BAN personal vaping or the sale of its components because it “looks” like smoking even though it is almost NOTHING like smoking other than the small amounts of metered nicotine being delivered, there is no combustion, there is no tar, there is no carbon monoxide, there is no smoke how can it be a “tobacco” product or JUST AS BAD as smoking? It is an alternative form of nicotine delivery, same as patches, and gums that still can be bought over the counter or even on EBAY

    Last time I checked smoking cigarettes didn’t become “not bad for you” since the e-cig or personal vaper hit the market

    I quit smoking because it is bad for you, I started vaping to get my nicotine because it is MUCH MUCH LESS bad for you!

    It’s not about just the nicotine…It has NEVER been about just the nicotine

    now with this information, you can choose to believe an error, or you can choose to correct it
    http://casaa.org/

  • […] original blog post – Where is the humility? Where is the empathy? Simon Clark's response – Where is the empathy for smokers who don't want to quit? I don't know […]

  • john

    Because policing importation for personal use would be a very expensive ,very hard to, and a diversion of limited policing resources from more important problems, and because the difference between a atomizer with 18mg and one filled with 24mg or more is not at all visible, the EU/UK proposals have a ‘look busy’ feel.
    If you buy direct from Shanghai it would also be much cheaper that the EU approved versions. Creating situations where two otherwise very similar things are treated very differently by governments/regulators is one of the classic follies by governments. It wont work , but they will cling to the folly untill it eats them.

    • Jonathan Bagley

      I hope you are right John, but anyway, I don’t want to be worrying whether customs have seized my half litre bottle of 72mg/ml nicotine concentrate. I spent 15 years worrying whether the corner shop would have run out of Belgian Golden Virginia. I want to walk into a shop and say, “100mls of 72 please”; and get the answer,”That’s £11.99.”

  • Dodderer

    British American Tobacco will get the first ecig medicines Marketing Authorisation before Easter (this year).

    Discuss

  • Analyze This

    Why are Socialist politicians who are not known for their rampant capitalism supporting legislation that would hand a monopoly to the pharmaceutical industry?

    If you think of the National Health Service. Then the various drug pricing debacles, the bird flu shenanigans, the dire financial predictions, and then think of all the half baked remedies, what is there left to try?

    Think of cigarette use poised to fall off a cliff, along with the billions in tax revenue. Governments are more addicted to lit tobacco cigarettes than the populace. Then you realise that the cost of cigarettes is artificially high due to tax, then you realise that e-cig companies do not have to aim for a target price that is less than the actual price of cigarettes but the more profitable price including the extremely high tax. You cannot hand the e-cig industry to the pharmaceutical industry, it would be fiscal suicide. Wait a moment! If you nationalise the pharmaceutical industry, the state would get all the profits from a product that has massive growth potential. The extremely clever part is, as more people convert to e-cigs, the tobacco tax on conventional cigarettes is increased. The revenue from e-cigs pays for the nationalisation, while the tax received from tobacco remains high. It is virtually self-funded. By the end of the first term in office, the tobacco revenue will be miniscule in comparison; the tobacco industry is then, kaput! A huge political prize, which will go down in history. Therefore, e-cigs are a gateway for nationalisation of the pharmaceutical industry.

    Nationalisation of the pharmaceutical industry either the whole or part, would reduce drug costs dramatically for the NHS, and allow new drugs to be developed that would not be profitable for the pharmaceutical industry if they were in the private sector, but massively beneficial to the NHS. With a rapid fall in smoking prevalence, financial benefits to the NHS will be immediate and continue well into the future. This will be another Socialist historical milestone. The next general election will be fought on the NHS battle ground, the plan that convinces the electorate, will win it.

    For e-cigs, clearly a consumer product, to be put in the T.P.D. was a bit suspicious, to say the least!There was no proper consultation or any of the usual procedures; actually this requires a proper investigation with the participants under caution. A Junior Health Minister signed the UK Government up to this, under some rather strange circumstances. It was critical to rush the T.P.D. into law before any alarm bells rang. The full list of procedural abnormalities is available on the net. Some very good M.E.P.s, who took the time to conduct their own research, smelt a rat, and firmly closed the nationalisation door on the eighth of October. In December during the Trilogue the nationalisation and chaos door was flung open again, luckily we now know why, but, by whom?

    The big problem for the Socialists, and remember, this aspiration is Europe wide, is to suppress the e-cig industry until all the comrades are in power. Hence all the advertising clauses that treat a non tobacco product as though it were an ultra high tar tobacco product, with botulism added as flavouring.

    At one stage the Conservative fox was running with the Socialist hounds. We will hang the capitalists with the rope that they sell us. Is a quote that springs to mind. The political prize at the end of the process is so valuable to the Socialists that most of the e-cig equipment mentioned in the new T.P.D. is disposable and non refillable, destroying any green credentials the participants may wish to brandish in the future, and no amount of wind turbine hugging will recover. As it stands this amendment bans nearly all devices on the market! The Chinese will not be overjoyed! Reciprocal bans may be the order of the day. Germany, as the largest EU exporter to China will suffer the most.

    The Tobacco Products Directive is a gateway for nationalisation of the pharmaceutical industry.

    Please do not discuss on this site as it may be distracting, but disseminate and discuss far and wide.

  • Junican

    I wonder who gave the MHRA spokesperson permission to say that THE GOVERNMENT has decided to regulate ecigs as medicines? When and where did THE GOVERNMENT make that decision?

    • Dodderer

      And this from MsMcAvan’s letter to the Grauniad

      “The proposals on e-cigarettes are only a small part of a much wider law which will mean big changes in tobacco regulation, paving the way for standardised or “plain” packaging in Britain.”

      Has the independent review finished?

      PS hope you don’t mind posting the YouTube vid from your UKV post – it shows perfectly that humility and empathy are not limited to tobacco control

      • Dodderer

        Correction – not you but Jonathan Bagley – ooops

      • I came across that video earlier today. Certainly a lot of food for thought there.

        The video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzPnnDDCIjo

        It certainly describes a a process common to a lot of expert-bureaucracies in the last two decades. I’ve worked in international development and renewable energy and you can see the same process at work there. And it’s certainly relevant to the whole vaping debate … but at the end of the day, all these quango-bureaucracies eventually paint themselves into absurd corners created by their own ideologies. You can see it with the vaping debate. Everyone I know is positive about it … the media scare stories are just so ridiculous … here in Germany we had a story about how e-cigs could be used to vape hash and … wait for it … Viagra!

        So in a way, each outlandish story – of the My E-Cig Ate My Hamster variety – is evidence of how desperate the quango-bureaucracies actually are getting … and at some level aware that they are loosing. And every day that passes, there are more and more vapers … vaping is experiencing growth rates that Goldmann Sachs cannot even dream about.

        We are vapers
        We are Legion
        We do not forget
        And we do not forgive!

        Keep vaping, keep calm, and have a laugh:

        http://www.tomcousins.co.uk/Vaping%20Times.html

  • Doug Neaves

    Name changed so you will have to guess
    Mr. Barrie, is now almost universally referred to as Tinkerbell. The wonderful thing about a tinkerbell is that if no one, especially the paymasters believe in tinkerbell, Tinkerbell ceases to exist. children do not worry, Tinkerbell regenerates just like Doctor WHO, with a similar fictional take on reality.

  • Peter

    These regulators don’t care either way. They all just blindly follow the one who starts something. It’s just a way to keep their job easy and secure.

  • Doug Neaves

    Various organisations have opened the doors of their Craggy Island themed offices and unleashed their badly cloned versions of Mrs. Doyle and Father Jack Hackett, it was most regrettable that they did not get the joke when people shouted the word, off.

  • David Sweanor

    The current battle over nicotine is entirely consistent with what we have seen in past breakthroughs in public health. Whether it was on pure food, vaccinations, alcohol, sexual activity, auto safety or even bicycles, there are invariably those who see a big looming threat to all that is good in life if we fail to adhere rigorously to an absolutist/moralist approach.

    This is often not so much an ingrained dogma as it is the easy option for those not taking the time to wrestle with the more complicated issues the world invariably puts in front of us. It is certainly the current approach of some key anti-tobacco campaigners (though those in the UK are generally far more compassionate and pragmatic).

    In most cases as we look at the history of public health the pragmatists actually win (which explains why most of us are now alive) and people like Wayne Wheeler or the Pure Food Movement become lost to history.

    In fact it is likely a good idea to think about who should be described as being part of ‘the public health community’. In looking at smoking/tobacco/nicotine, as with other causes of death, injury or disease, a rational analysis tells us that there are just four broad areas of intervention. One can do things to prevent onset of the activity, cause cessation of the activity, prevent harm to third parties from the activity and/or reduce the risks for those who engage in the activity. Public health efforts embrace all four areas of intervention, and ‘meet people where they are’. Those who refuse to acknowledge the last of these four areas of intervention (the various ‘just say NO’ types of campaigns) are generally seen as engaging in moralistic crusades rather than public health efforts. So maybe it is time to say that those who put absolutism above humility, compassion or pragmatism are something other than ‘public health’ people.

    Oh, and we should also show compassion for those anti-vaper people who claim they know of no one who has successfully quit smoking by using such products. Given the popularity of e-cigarettes and the willingness of vapers to give testimonials, failure to know anyone who has used them to quit smoking is a sign of a distressingly impoverished level of social interaction. Befriend them.

    • Dodderer

      It does feel sometimes that smokers & vapers are just lab rats in part of a giant public health/tobacco control experiment.Various hypotheses are being tested on us in an attempt to find what cures nicotine addiction – if a few million die in the process,it does not seem to be particularly relevant to the science and the scientists.They don’t even see that as evidence that the hypotheses are wrong – they keep tweaking the experiments in an effort to find one that proves their hypotheses right.

      Pure evil

    • Jonathan Bagley

      You say,
      “In most cases as we look at the history of public health the pragmatists actually win (which explains why most of us are now alive) and people like Wayne Wheeler or the Pure Food Movement become lost to history.”

      There is, though a difference with ecigs. It’s easier to stop people people getting hold of 7.2% nicotine solution than it is types of food. Food prohibition is pretty much a non starter except for ready meal ingredients. You can’t easily ban butter or sugar. Also, what we understand now as Public Health didn’t exist before the smoking ban opened the floodgates and let all the junk science and statistics out. It was concerned with sanitation, providing access to nutrition (rather than taxing or banning “bad” food, and vaccination. Sometimes the seatbelt law of 1982 is quoted, but most people chose to wear seatbelts by then – particularly after the fitting of inertia reels, which took away all the inconvenience and discomfort – and if they didn’t, the chance of prosecution was negligible.

      • David Sweanor

        Hi Jonathan,

        Yes, it is only in ‘most cases’ that the pragmatists win the policy battle. We still have various moralistic/prohibitionist policies on such things as drugs and sexual activity (well, and e-cigarettes) in countries all over the globe.

        The Pure Food Movement was a 19th Century phenomena in the US (wonderfully documented by James Harvey Young) that sought to prohibit manufactured foods (as they encouraged immoral activities like urbanization). There were indeed lots of pretty nasty foods being sold in those pre-germ-theory days. But as the science developed it was possible to distinguish between food products as to relative risk (as in mercury in candies being bad and pasteurization being good) and key private sector players saw a marketplace advantage in moving to things like sanitary manufacturing and the sale of massively safer products. The moralistic/absolutist Pure Food Movement fizzled.

        Wayne Wheeler was probably the single most powerful person in the US alcohol prohibition movement. We can toast his memory because he ultimately lost – not least because moralistic absolutism made his approach untenable to society at large.

        This is not to say that the battle for massively safer alternatives to cigarettes will be as easy as it might be in some parallel universe where rationality dictated public policy. But the parallels with past breakthroughs are at least encouraging.

        As to preventing people from getting hold of 7.2% nicotine solution (or any other e-cig product) I might point out that I am sitting in Ottawa, where nicotine containing e-cigarettes are, like marijuana, supposedly banned by our federal government). Were you here and wanted either there is indeed a barrier. As it is currently minus 22C, you’d have to first put on a coat before going shopping.

  • […] With the approach of 2014 and New Year resolutions under negotiation, my thoughts and good wishes turn to all those smokers out there who would like to stop smoking – as in stop inhaling burning particles of organic matter and hot toxic gases deep into the lungs. I hope they give vaping a try. An e-cig is working well for my brother and I’m really glad about that – he’s smoked for about 30 years and has never intended to stop, but this has all but ended his smoking over the last nine months. Not good enough for MHRA, Brussels, WHO and CR-UK of course, but he’s pleased, and so am I. It reminds me that there are great stories about e-cigs, about personal triumphs, lives transformed and people getting back in control. I love these stories.  […]

  • Sebt

    “Where is the humility? The implicit disapproval and sense that the views of users are worthless comes over quite strongly in the works of this faction in public health.”

    I can answer that. There is no humility, because an embattled righteous minority (imagine Crusaders besieged in some Krak in the Middle East while Saracens rampage around them outside) can’t afford humility. Perhaps these people did have humility (as well as courage and determination) when they set out from somewhere in Western Europe, long ago; but now, backing down would mean admitting the whole thing was a disastrous idea from the start. And the Saracens are _really_ angry by now, so retreat doesn’t look too safe.

    E-cigarettes are suffering from a Tobacco Control insanity that was already well-developed long before e-cigs emerged. The development (not necessarily chronological) goes like this:

    1. Start with grandiose ideas of liberating the _whole world_ from the scourge of cigarettes. Not, NB, merely reducing smoking rates as much as possible (which might lead, in time, to 0% prevalence); no, this is a splendid dream of global liberation.
    By this yardstick, nothing short of entirely stamping out smoking can count as success. (The framing of smoking as some kind of infectious disease, transmissible not only by the inhalation of one molecule of nicotine, but also by sight and thought, is a direct and absurd result of this all-or-nothing mentality).

    2. Provide extensive education and public information about how bad smoking is for. Provide many alternative ways out of smoking (NRT, Champix, Alan Carr etc).

    3. You know what? The bastard Saracens are still smoking! The barbarians! After all we’ve done for them, a significant percentage of people are just carrying on smoking as if we didn’t exist! And claiming it’s their “free choice”!

    4. All right, gloves-off time. Since these savages clearly don’t know what’s good for them, let’s start laying down the law. Laws against smoking here and there. Inflated propaganda about SHS, to make them feel dirty and guilty. Laws that make smokers visually obvious as people smoking, rather than people getting on with their lives and, incidentally, having a smoke. That way we get them all in one place, to be pointed at and decried by the virtuous.

    5. Now they’re complaining that we’re attacking the smoker personally. How can this be justified? Easy. Smokers’ “free choice” is an illusion. There are no consumers of tobacco products – there are only victims or addicts. We’re not actually attacking people or peoples’ free choices, because smokers – by virtue of being smokers – are not actually fully-realised autonomous people.

    This is an easy move to make, because many smokers _do_, personally, find smoking difficult to give up; because smoking _is_ addictive. It’s all too easy to stretch this fact – based in a rich context of personal experience, which also includes enjoyment of smoking and a social use for smoking – and assert that all and any reported experience by a smoker is fully explained away by the radical Mind Control that the Addiction exerts over them.

    The righteousness and messianic hyperbole of Tobacco Control’s (failed) appeal to all the people of the world to stop smoking, and the insidious, unprecedently infinite evil of the Big Tobacco/Nicotine/Addictium Mind Control that opposes it, are mutually supporting and explanatory.

    The end result is that there are no people in this picture. Empathy and humility are not appropriate where there are no people involved. Anti-smoking campaigning has degenerated into a squabble between Tobacco Control and an imagined “Big Tobacco” for the seat at the controls of the Mind Control Machine. The targets of the Machine are not people but pawns: empty vessels, with no autonomy, to be filled with the “right” messages, like golems awaiting a text.

    It’s ironic that Tobacco Control posits the people it’s supposedly trying to help as infinitely pliant, silent, compliant and receptive to manipulation, while accusing Big Tobacco of exploiting exactly this.

    This started long before e-cigarettes came along. E-cigarettes have merely blown it up so that it’s now obvious. We do need anti-smoking campaigners to have more humility and empathy; ironically, having a bit more humility would allow them to step forward and claim some of their undoubted successes, rather than holding out for the great smokeless Rapture which will never come. But I wonder whether their lack of humility and empathy isn’t too long-entrenched; whether, ironically, they might be ADDICTED to their dream of changing the whole world.

    • Dodderer

      Great comment – summed up by this snippet above

      ‘The views of Simon Chapman here: “But the needs of often desperate smokers must not become the tail that wags the dog of tobacco control policy“’

      Prevalence in the UK has fallen by only 1% in the last 6 years;2 tobacco companies are top of the ‘most profitable on the world’ table

      TC policies are obviously working brilliantly

  • Adam Cherry (@Chegs2)

    I was a smoker for 30-35 years,I tried an e-cig & my tobacco consumption dropped to 1/4 in the first week,I bought a second e-cig & I found no time to smoke.That was 6 months ago & I’ve not touched a cigarette since.I’m now mixing my own e-liquids and even though I’m not working,I have found the money saved allows me to buy gifts for my family,fuel for my car,pay the bills etc.The government are only interested in making life easier for the rich,the poor in society are derided as scroungers and if that poorer member of society has an vile habit too(smoking)then they’ll try & crush them totally.Vaping has increased my energy levels so much that I will fight hard to keep these devices OUT of their bloody ignorant regulations.I’ve emailed my MP,got the “response” I expected..”We have passed your email to Jeremy Hunt MP’s office…”which is political speak for “We aren’t interested in your points of view,so we gave it to someone else to delete” Fair enough,they can ignore me & my fellow vapers but eventually it’ll be THEM asking for our support to remain in government…

  • Dragonmum

    Humility and Empathy are words unknown to the Pharma Mafia and all those who are in pawn to them. None of this has been about Public Health – they really don’t give a damn as long as the cash-flow doesn’t suffer. Most of us who read your blog are vapers – we will find our way round anything they care to throw at us; I am going into 2014 even more determined to fight this disgraceful conspiracy, for that is what it is, so that others can at least have the freedom to choose whether to switch to what I and all vapers see as a safer option. Thank you for all the clarity and encouragement that I have found in your writing over the past difficult year; my best for 2014 and please keep up the good work.

  • Oh Please!

    With the approach of 2014 and New Year resolutions under negotiation, my thoughts and good wishes turn to all those antismoking nutcases out there who would like to stop their derangement – as in stop the flow of toxic trash flowing through their minds. I hope they give sanity a try.

  • Clive Bates

    My guess is that Mitch Zeller is struggling with this. He’s much more interesting than a pharma shill and will be well aware of the harm reduction potential. The US legislation is extremely difficult to apply to ecigs – it was designed to prevent innovation in tobacco products and that obviously doesn’t work with rapidly evolving new alternatives to smoking. Let’s see what comes out.

  • You only have to look to the USA, Mitch Zeller heads up the FDA push against electronic cigarettes. He works for Pinney Associates a consultancy that specialises in getting FDA approval for Pharms drugs, Pinney owns the nicotine gum patents worldwide, and they just happen to have an associate who works closely with GSK [ he lobbies the American government on their behalf ] , his name is Mitch Zeller, and GSK licence the patent for nicotine gum , do I need to say any more ? Mitch has been with Pinney about 25 years and gets regular visits to the White House where he lobbies hard to earn his crust. Mitch was responsible for the Snus ban, and I think he should be recognised for what he and his group are doing .

  • Pieter Bas

    It’s not about rules, it’s not about laws, not about money, not positions, dogmas, (in)tolerance, hard line, weakness, money, ideology, preoccupation, money, rules, money, laws, money, laws, rules, should or should not, money, laws, money, it’s about PEOPLE, it’s about LIVES. It’s about you, it’s about your brother or sister, your parents, your children, your friends, your friends children.Think.Act. Happy NewYear.

  • Pieter Bas

    J’Accuse!
    Great article, best I’ve read so far about e-cigs. Every decisionmaker should read this.Probable they won’t because they just don’t care (see ‘Where is the empathy’).

  • vapingpoint

    You fail to realise that the whole anti smoking lobby, of which you were once part(and still are?), have never operated with humility or empathy for smokers. Blinded by the cause of a new smokefree world, their ideology rolled roughshod over smokers like the blitzkrieg. Even now, it has no empathy for old people, prisoners, hospital patients, psychiatric patients, pub owners, shop keepers or the 13 000000 smokers in the UK. It has put about lies and half-truths and dodgy science, guesstimates, and sweeping statements about smokers, smoking, Second Hand Smoke and even Third Hand Smoke to promote its cause. It has brainwashed and frightened a whole society and divided it into “lepers” and “healthy”. It is pushing to have the Government drip medical pornographic images and nocebo slogans on “plain” packaging into every smoker’s consciousness and into young minds especially – brain rape – that is abuse on those who see them. I have watched the rise of the new smokefree totalitarian world and the iron grip Tobacco Control has on it. Why do you think it would treat vapers any differently to smokers? They are about control, not health. Vaping is the new smoking. It must be stamped out!

    I smoked for 50 years. The more persecutive legislation was passed against me, the more I was determined NEVER to give up smoking as a matter of principle. In 2011 I started vaping and have never smoked another cigarette. I constantly bang on in my blog that vapers should not scramble over smokers to get the recognition for vaping that we now need, because all the lobbying by anti smoking groups used to cause Government legislation against smokers, will be used against us.

    • Clive Bates

      Fair enough – I come at this from a public health harm reduction perspective, not a smokers’ rights perspective. They are different, but in the case of e-cigs, smokeless tobacco and any non-combustible tobacco, they are overlapping. The art of the great game is to find coalitions of the like-minded willing and work with them on what you can.

      • vapingpoint

        My post was about knowing the enemy. I was pointing out that the power of Tobacco Control, will ensure that even “harm reduction” will be smelted in their kilns. I wasn’t talking about smokers rights, but commenting on how their treatment will play out into how vapers can expect to be/are being treated. That is the model of how it will work. Empathy? Humility? No.

    • Oh Please!

      vapingpoint,
      Excellent description of the sickly antismoking circumstance.

  • Clive you also have to take into account that many policy/law makers score high on the psychopath spectrum, for those, empathy means nothing unless to faking it yields personal gain

  • Chris Price

    Clive, you said: “Everything they said about snus, they are now saying about e-cigs, but everything they said about snus was wrong. It hasn’t stopped them, calling for snus to remain banned, so we can safely assume it is not evidence or health that drives them, or that the loss of a few lives matters to them.”

    ‘The loss of a few lives’ is, I realise’, a figure of speech. However, someone in your position is probably capable of working out exactly how many that is – and it is not ‘a few’ – it is tens of thousands.

    The Snus ban is now 21 years old. It seems unlikely that less than 10% of UK smokers would not have switched by now. Working out how many deaths could have been prevented is not a simple matter because it would require a guess at the total percentage of ex-smokers per year quitting due to free access to Snus versus the time-lag in mortality from smoking, and a bit more besides, no doubt.

    Rodu calculated the number of deaths in the EU resulting from the Snus ban as 290,000 per year if EU residents were to consume Snus in the same way as Swedes. This is unlikely at present, of course (although I believe it is correct to say that, in theory, such a figure might eventually be reached). That could be regarded as a max figure; it’s anyone’s guess what the minimum is but if you started at around 10% of the annual EU death toll from smoking of 700,000 to get 70,000 – it could be in the right ballpark. Just 10% of UK smoker deaths is around 10,000 and not ‘a few’. Even half that number at 5,000 is a significant number, and it seems unlikely the figure could be any smaller than that.

    Naturally, you used the term ‘a few’ as a figure of speech. The actual number is a great deal larger than a few. Someone should calculate it, then we would know exactly what the scale of death is now; what it will look like in 20 years; and what the scale of death from a total ban on ecigs will look like in 20 years. Then, add the two together to get the death toll from commercialisation of health policy. That would be a useful figure to have.

    I guess as you’re now working in Sudan you’ll have more pressing issues…

    • Clive Bates

      Hi Chris – point well taken… and I’ve added a link to Brad Rodu’s piece on this. However, I don’t use this calculation much for two reasons… the first is trivial: that we have no idea what the uptake of snus would be outside Scandinavia, where it has traditional cultural familiarity, and so I think the ‘what if everywhere was like Sweden?’ assumption opens a distracting vulnerability. Second, is to make a more challenging rights-based argument. I don’t think it is necessary to show that hundreds of thousands of premature deaths would be avoided. Some public health people make the truly absurd argument that the public health gain from lifting the ban would be either: (i) too small to bother with (morally repugnant manslaughter by proxy) or (ii) insufficient to justify the political effort of lifting the ban (similarly repugnant but with a phoney pragmatic gloss – they could just stop being for a ban). In response to this, I like to say that if just one Swedish ex-pat, one City bond trader, one air-traffic controller, one God of Rock or one single punter of any type somewhere in London wants to use it instead of smoking that’s good enough for me. They have a right not to have it withdrawn by the state for no reason at all.

    • Clive Bates

      Alas, I’m not in Sudan. But the present crisis has long been in the making. The international community never took the South Sudan secession seriously – always believing that there would be unity after the independence referendum. Totally wrong and easily foreseeable. Once independent it was just a matter of time before the wheels would come off in an ethnically fragmented, badly governed, rentier state.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>