Tuesday, 3 August 2010

E-Cigarettes to be Banned in the UK

We all knew this day was coming. Ever since their release onto the public market ASH and so-called health groups have demanded they be banned. No one who understands the source of funding and overall agenda of these groups had any illusion as to why they wanted e-cigarettes removed from the market - the groups are funded by the pharmaceutical industry, the pharmaceutical industry makes nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) which has a 98.4% failure rate, e-cigarettes are not made by the pharmaceutical industry and work as a good tool for smoking cessation. E-cigarettes satisfy every facet of real cigarette smoking. ASH, Department of Health et al are still eluded by the fact that smoking is not an addiction to nicotine, but is a multi-faceted sensual habit. Smokers smoke for different reasons, from the Freudian theories of wanting or needing something to hold in their hands on their mouth, to enjoying the hypnotic dances of the smoke through the air, to the simple feeling it provides. E-cigarettes, with their looking, feeling and, to some extent, tasting like real cigarettes, allow a smoker to smoke without smoking. NRT, on the other hand, simply bypasses all the aforementioned, working instead on the placebo effect by convincing smokers they are simple addicts.

The pharmaceutical industry developed some time ago the inhalator; essentially their own equivelant of the e-cig except it looks like a lump of plastic and, frankly, anyone users it looks plain stupid. It also emits no vapour, looks nothing like a cigarette and feels nothing like a cigarette. Big Pharma cottoned on to the fact smokers often feel the need to have something in their mouths, but again overlooked the multi-faceted interest in smoking.

Chris Snowdon reported on his blog that e-cigarettes will soon be banned in the UK:

Michael Kitt at ecigarettedirect.co.uk has received a letter from a Trading Standards Officer who has (apparently) been told by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) that they  will be opting for what they always said was their preferred option and banning all nicotine products. There are are—of course—two major exceptions: the most hazardous nicotine products (smoked tobacco) will continue to be on sale, as will the least effective smoking cessation aids (pharmaceutical nicotine).

From the letter:

I have been in discussions with other Trading Standards authorities and have found out that the consultation is almost complete. The outcome will be that as of a date (yet to be announced) there will be a 21 days period and then these products will be outright banned in the UK, unless the traders apply for certification as a medical device from MHRA. This process could be complicated and costly so it is expected that many traders may cease trading.

There is a large and growing number of e-cig users in Britain, known as 'vapers'. With their newfound method soon disappearing, they will simply pick up real cigarettes again. Can we really take "health" groups seriously when they purport that cigarettes are the biggest health threat we face, yet systematicallyremove any harmless alternative? And why are we so quick to ban everything? We should long be aware by now that banning doesn't eradicate a substance or a problem, it simply increases criminal activity and turns good citizens into criminals in the process. As Angus Macqueen argued in his brilliant article and tv series Our War On Drugs, we are failing spectacularly.

We know the pharmaceutical industry acknowledges the threat posed by e-cigarettes, so it's very simple to see why they oppose them. And it's also plainly obvious why the anti-smoking brigade are against them - their agenda, now very much public knowledge, is against smokers themselves and not a dislike to the smell of tobacco smoke. They routinely use the phrase "denormalisation of smokers" to highlight their motives and end-goals. Clearly, e-cigarettes undermine this. Sure, they're a great alternative to anyone wanting to stop using the real things or to stop smoking entirely, but if more people use them then the image of smoking will perhaps become more normal again. Plus, e-cigarettes are permitted indoors, including planes, trains and pubs. While they pose no threat or irritation to people in the vicinity, they may remind people of when real smoking was allowed indoors. The long and short of it: e-cigarettes have the potential to shift the attitude towards smoking back to tolerance and acceptance. This isn't acceptable to ASH.

So unacceptable, in fact, that borderline Loony Toon Stanton Glantz has previously said that 

Promoting smokeless tobacco as a safer alternative to cigarettes will not result in a reduction of harm and may lead to an increase in harm at the population level.
 No, I'm not sure how he reached that conclusion either. He has changed his opinion ever so slightly this year though, saying instead "Promoting smokeless tobacco as a safer alternative to cigarettes is unlikely to result in substantial health benefits at a population level."

What needs to be realised is that these people are as far removed from public health as is possible. They spend years shouting of the thousands of chemicals and additives in tobacco, saying these are the reason for the harm, and when an alternative comes along with just nicotine it is apparently just as lethal.

It really is about time this madness was renamed from the anti-smoking movement to the anti-smoker movement.


  1. Part of me wants to be shocked, but at the same time, it's exactly what one would expect from these groups.

  2. Harm reduction is a human rights issue.

  3. It's sooo clear now: it's not about tobacco at all, not about (half a molecule of) smoke either, but it's all about the habit!

  4. The pharmaceutical industry developed some time ago the inhalator; essentially their own equivelant of the Electronic Cigarette except it looks like a lump of plastic and, frankly, anyone users it looks plain stupid.